Football / Non-League Notebook: Separate lives for Barri and Barry Town

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The Independent Online
THE dwindling numbers of followers of the round-ball game in the South Wales town of Barry have two teams to choose between at present: one based at Jenner Park, the town's main stadium, and one in exile at Worcester City, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Last season, Barry Town played at Jenner Park as members of the Beazer Homes League. Their refusal to transfer their allegiance to the new Konica League of Wales in the summer meant that they were cast into involuntary exile in order to maintain their place in the English non-League pyramid, and they now play at St George's Lane, Worcester, under the new name of Barri FC.

Meanwhile, a new club was formed back at Jenner Park, using the traditional name of Barry Town. Hopes of joining the Abacus League or the South Wales Senior League were blocked by the hard-line Football Association of Wales, however, and they play at the lowly level of the Barry and District League.

Last year, punters at Jenner Park could watch the likes of Newport, Tamworth and Evesham, now they have to make do with Monty Smith Windows and Wenvoe Park B. Nevertheless, Barry Town have managed to attract experienced players like Phil Dwyer, the former Cardiff City and Wales centre-half, and they remain unbeaten in their league.

Barri are also enjoying a good season in the Beazer, they are in fifth place in the Midland Division, four points behind the leaders, Gresley Rovers, with a game in hand. However, despite subsidised coaches to Worcester from Wales, crowds have shrunk from around 200 to fewer than 60. 'The gates are clearly not as good as we would like,' Chris Aust, Barri's secretary, said yesterday. 'It is not a situation that we can stand for long financially.' There seems little hope of Barri returning home, though, for there is no sign of the FAW softening its attitude towards Barri and the other three exiled clubs.

Bangor City, one of the original group of rebel clubs, backed down and joined the League of Wales, which means they are still allowed to compete in the Welsh Cup. They travel to Merthyr Tydfil tomorrow in the pick of six fourth- round ties. Two village teams, Llansantffraid and Cemaes Bay, are among 12 non-League clubs competing to join Cardiff and Wrexham in the last eight.

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