Barry Players celebrate Luke Coppers' first goal of the game. Pic: Same Old Smith.
Gavin Chesterfield and Barry’s Barmy Army fans are on the march – and they are heading to the Rhondda aiming to win the championship.
The next test for Chesterfield’s men is a trip to play Cambrian and Clydach on Saturday. They have already clinched promotion and a win at Cambrian would make sure of the title.
Barry Town United have achieved what looked impossible by regaining their place in the top flight of Welsh football, climbing from Welsh League Division Three to the Premier.
“There’s a danger people just see my name there,” says Chesterfield. “But behind our rise there has been an army of people.
“We have is a passion for football in Barry. We’re ready for this and will relish the challenge.
“It’s great to see kids wearing Barry shirts around the town. This is the biggest town in Wales and Barry deserves a place at the top table.
“We’ve completed the circle and returned to the Welsh Premier. There were 12 players who stuck with us in Division Three. They trained when there was no club, played when we didn’t have any proper kit and stayed with the club when all seemed lost.
“It’s a fairytale story and this promotion to the Welsh Premier is reward to this 12 and everybody who has backed us every step of the way.
“To me this means everything. We set out on this journey a long time ago.
“These boys have stuck with us through thick and thin, it’s a romantic story.
“There are hundreds of people involved in this club at all levels who contribute time week in and week out.The supporters have been there through everything as well.”
James Saddler is Barry’s captain and he joined his team-mates in joyous celebrations after the 3-0 home win which made sure their team were going up.
“It’s brilliant and we all hope to kick on in the Welsh Premier,” said Saddler. “A lot of people have been involved in the club success and it’s great to see so many smiling faces in the changing room and our clubhouse.”
Barry were withdrawn from the Welsh League by a former owner four years ago, won the right to start again in Division Three and now they are back in the top tier after being saved by their fans.
“Gavin Chesterfield kept the club going through dark times and now has brought the glory days back,” said secretary Dave Cole, who has been with the club for 28 years.
“He has done everything for the club and has been the catalyst of everything that has happened over the last four years.
“Without Gavin we would not be where we are now. I firmly believe that.
“This is the culmination of four years of fighting to get back to where we believe we should be. Four years ago we were in the footballing wilderness and at times it felt like a pipe dream, but we have proved fairytales do come true.”
Barry, eight points clear at the top, could still be caught by Goytre FC or Penybont. But one win from their last two fixtures – v Cambrian away and Ton Pentre at home – would clinch the title.
They are already promoted because Goytre and Penybont still have to play each other and they can’t both gain maximum points.
Barry’s target was to finish in the top two to guarantee promotion.
Welsh League Division One
Top five only – all teams play 30 fixtures
Pl GD Pts
1 Barry Town United 28 +44 60
2 Goytre FC 27 +29 52
3 Haverfordwest County 28 +8 51
4 Penybont 26 +22 49
5 Cwmbran Celtic 29 +11 45
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