Dai Ward signs for Barry – legend status assured

The Football Express
Saturday 4 September 1926

That Ward, the recent acquisition from Aberaman, is regarded as an important capture to Barry was exemplified in both engagements. So impressed were both the directorate and spectators by this speedy, clean-limbed player’s brilliant performances that he is readily acclaimed as the best forward Barry has imported for several years.

The Football Express
Saturday 11 September 1926

One cannot praise too highly the performances of Ward, who has filled the pivotal position rendered vacant by the departure of Hopkins to Crystal Palace.

Not once in the engagement with Pembroke Dock did this enterprising young footballer allow a solitary wing-pass to escape him without making a real effort to turn it to good account.

So completely is he in possession of those material necessities which go to make a fine bustling forward that supporters fear that such a splendid exponent of the right class of football will not long escape the notice of those eagle-eyed and alert club managers who are ever anxious to ‘snap-up’ promising talent.

Ward is not one of those players whose ability is allowed to go a-begging for want of adequate support, for there was not a weak link in the home team

The Football Express
Saturday 2 October 1926

Serious concern has been occasioned amongst soccer enthusiasts at Barry at the knowledge that in consequence of a cut-head, sustained in colliding with a defender in the Mid Rhondda game, Ward, the popular Linnets’ forward, who has scored more goals in six weeks that any other player on the Barry books for many years past, was put right out of action.

It is hoped that his ‘knock’ will not incapacitate him for today’s game with Lovell’s Athletic at Barry, for without his aid the Linnets’ chances of qualifying for the 2nd Preliminary Round of the English Cup contest would be considerably minimised.

Final Score:
Barry 2 – 0 Lovell’s Athletic
(D.Ward, C.Brittan)

Ed: Dai Ward would go on to score 66 goals in the 1926-27 season, including TEN hat-tricks, assuring the club of an excellent mid-table Southern League position, the Championship of the Welsh League (leaving the ‘seconds’ of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport in our wake), as well as becoming winners of the South Wales Senior Cup. Ward had several hugely successful seasons at Barry before finally moving on – but by then, by coincidence, Barry had hired Fred Whitlow which is another goal-scoring sensation story waiting in the wings. Dai Ward’s son, Dai Ward Junior, also played for Barry Town – in the 50s – and went on to represent Wales.


A glimpse of the creation of Jenner Park: For the people, by the people

The Barry Association Club :

“A Host of Voluntary Workers”
South Wales Daily News
Saturday 30 August 1913

When the new Barry Association Football Club ground is opened a revelation will be made.

The playing pitch is level and the turf is in a healthy state. The amphitheatre-shape of the field and the erection of the dressing rooms and stands and other conveniences display the remarkable activity of the club officials, who have Mr. C B Griffiths at their head and Mr T H Hill as president of the Supporters’ Club.

A remarkable fact connected with the task is that artisans have been going their work free of cost, whilst the cost of the dressing rooms and a large proportion of the stands has been paid by means of two handsome donations. The Supporters’ Club have also provided the goal-posts, nets, and other necessary material.

It is no common occurrence to see masons, printers, carpenters, and dock labourers devoting their leisure hours to the service of the club, and this element augers well for the future.

The day 10,000 fans said ‘no’ to their match getting called off

The Barry Herald
Saturday, 19 September 1925

Barry v Mid Rhondda United
Referee forced to allow match to proceed

Angry scenes were witnessed at Jenner Park today, when in consequence of the referees decision to abandon the match, two huge crowds numbering over 10,000 raised a stormy protest and clamoured for admission.

When the referee first inspected the ground he was settled in his decision that the game would have to be postponed owing to the bad state of the pitch, but suspended his intention when some of the Barry directorate offered to sweep away the water with brooms.

This they did, while the two huge crowds at the Gladstone Road and Crogan Hill (Barry Road) ends patiently awaited the verdict. Eventually, upon the townspeople demonstrating, the referee reversed his decision.

(ED: The match at Ninian Park between Division One Cardiff City and Sunderland HAD been postponed, so Barry folk returned from Cardiff in time for our kick-off and were not best pleased when our match was going to get called off as well. Interestingly, across the country, because of the weather, games were either called off or had severely depleted crowds.

The 10,000+ crowd at Jenner Park that day was a larger crowd than that seen at several English League Division One fixtures, such as Birmingham v Notts County (5,000), Sheffield United v Blackburn (7,000), WBA v Bury (8,000) and equal with that of Burnley v Arsenal, and only slightly less than the 12,000 at Leeds v West Ham, and Bolton v Aston Villa. The attendance at Anfield for Liverpool v Manchester United was 18,000, while Newcastle had the biggest attendance of 25,000 for their match with Leceister.

The attendance is even more extraordinary when you consider we had already played Mid Rhondda United in the Southern League twice already. But this was the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. This match ended in a 2-2 draw with our goals scored by Hopkins and Dai Collier. The Replay also ended in a draw, but the 2nd replay saw us edged out 2-1 in Tonypandy.

Amazingly, that wasn’t the end of it. We were drawn against them in the Welsh Cup 3rd Round, and after we held them 4-4 at theirs, we beat them 4-3 in the Replay. By the time this was settled, we had played Mid Rhondda United SEVEN times by the January.

Here are those stats:

02 Sep 25 : Mid Rhondda United (H) League 2-1 : W
14 Sep 25 : Mid Rhondda United (A) League 0-1 : L
19 Sep 25 : Mid Rhondda United (H) FA Cup 2-2 : D
23 Sep 25 : Mid Rhondda United (A) FA Cup 2-2 : D
26 Sep 25 : Mid Rhondda United (A) FA Cup 1-2 : L
13 Jan 26 : Mid Rhondda United (A) W. Cup 4-4 : D
27 Jan 26 : Mid Rhondda United (H) W. Cup 2-1 : W

…and that’s not including our Welsh League teams meeting twice during the season as well.)