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Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:00

Victory for fan power as Barry defeat faceless gang of the FAW

The Welsh club have successfully had the short-sighted decision to relegate them overturned in court
by Luke James

Welsh Football Weekly: Justice is not a concept that fits easily with the unpredictable nature of the beautiful game. That seemed to be proved once again when Barry Town owner Stuart Lovering pulled the club out of the Welsh League at the end of last season.

But all precedent was spectacularly smashed in court last week as Town successfully challenged a Football Association of Wales decision to relegate them out of the Welsh League.

The club’s fans had been funding and running the football team for the past two seasons.

And a key piece of evidence was the FAW-produced match programme for last season’s Welsh Cup semi-final between Barry and Prestatyn, which acknowledged this.

Town fans and officials argued that gave them the right to reform the club as Barry Town United in the Welsh League and a judge agreed.

They defeated a faceless gang of over a dozen FAW councillors, who we now know were being led by former president Phil Pritchard.

Their original decision was so short-sighted and damaging for Welsh football, even high-ranking FAW staff were privately working to undermine them.

Chief executive Jonathan Ford was organising a compromise agreement where Barry would be placed just one division below the Welsh League pyramid but his efforts proved unnecessary.

Another respected FAW staff member gave Town fans a sly celebratory fist pump as he left court behind Pritchard and other councillors on Friday.

An emergency meeting of the FAW council before yesterday’s match against Ireland was due to readmit Barry to Welsh League Division 3 under threat of further legal action.

Barry should finally look forward to another season of progress on the pitch but the battle to reform the FAW into a body fit to run our game must now continue off it.

Last season’s first Welsh Football Weekly column focused on Newport County’s mission to reach the Football League after 25 years in exile.
They completed a long journey back to the promised land of league status at Wrexham’s expense in last season’s Wembley play-off final.
And Justin Edinburgh’s side have signalled their intention to play high-stakes attacking football in their first three matches this season.
County thrashed Accrington Stanley 4-1 on the first day and went on to knock Brighton out of the League Cup in extra time at the Falmer Stadium last week.
That scalping came at the expense of captain Byron Anthony, who is out for the season after a serious leg break, and that loss showed as the Exiles were brought back down to earth with a 3-1 loss at Northampton on Saturday.
But strikers Danny Crow, Chris Zebroski, Conor Washington and Christian Jolley are all off the mark already and look in the mood to outscore any side.
With thousands of Newport fans will pack the stands of Rodney Parade for a clash with historic rivals Bristol Rovers this weekend, the County dream looks set to continue for some time.

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