Barry Town United: Boss Gavin Chesterfield hailed as 'glory days' return

Gavin Chesterfield
Gavin Chesterfield was sacked by then-owner Stuart Lovering in 2012, but reinstated when fans took control of Barry Town United

Barry Town United manager Gavin Chesterfield has brought the 'glory days' back to the club, according to their secretary David Cole.

Barry secured promotion back to the Welsh Premier League with a 3-0 win over Goytre United on Tuesday.

The club were withdrawn from the Welsh Football League in 2013 but are back in the top tier after being saved by fans.

"He kept the club going through dark times and now has brought the glory days back," said Cole.

As Barry Town, the Vale of Glamorgan club had enjoyed a legendry place in Welsh football folklore.

The club dominated the then-League of Wales in the 1990s and forays into Europe saw them become the first Welsh club to win a Champions League qualifier in 2001 when they beat Azerbaijan side, FK Shamkir to set up a tie with Portuguese giants Porto.

Despite an 8-0 hammering away in the first leg, Barry pulled off a now legendry 3-1 victory in the second-leg in front of their own fans.

But administration followed and in 2013 former-owner Stuart Lovering pulled them from the league, effectively killing the club until fans stepped in and took over.

There was a High Court fight with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to even get readmitted to the Welsh Leagues, but now, after 13 years away, Barry are back in the domestic top-flight.

Out of the footballing wilderness

Chesterfield, who has even had his wife come in to help with the running of the club at times, was keen to share the promotion plaudits.

"To me this means everything," he said.

"We set out on this journey a long time ago These boys have stuck with us through thick and thin, it's a really 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 thick and thin too. There's a danger people just see my name there, but behind it there has been an army of people."

One of that 'army' has been Cole, who has a 28-year association with the club, and he was keen to praise the role played by Chesterfield in Barry's renaissance.

"He has done everything for the club," he added.

"He has been the catalyst of everything that has happened at this club over the last four years, without him, 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."

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