Three-time promotion winning captain Saddler pays tribute to Gavin Chesterfield
Barry Town United’s three-time promotion winning captain James Saddler has praised his former manager Gavin Chesterfield, as he approaches his 400th game in charge of the club.
Saddler who spent eight years with Barry Town United, remained with the Dragons, despite their demotion to Division Three in 2013.
He was entrusted with the captains’ armband in their Division Three days under Gavin Chesterfield.
The 26-year-old lauded Chesterfield as a big part of Barry Town United’s history: “Gav continually goes above and beyond the normal remit of a football manager and for this reason, the bond between Gav and Barry Town United Football Club is stronger than most; Gavin is Barry Town United.
“I know Gav doesn’t like to take credit for the team’s success but it’s clear that he’s a major factor and a driving force behind what the club is doing, on and off the pitch, both now and in recent years.”
Saddler says Chesterfield was a big reason in staying at the club, highlighting the demotion as a blessing as he and a number of teammates stayed to spearhead a promotion charge.
In Barry’s first season in Division Three, they won the title by an impressive 90 points, losing just four times that season and scoring an impressive 116 goals.
“From the first time I spoke to Gav, his plans to take Barry Town back to the WPL were clear, said Saddler.
“He always had that ambition and could see the potential in the club.
“Gav was a major factor in both my teammates and I staying at Barry despite the demotion. I was made captain before the start of the season in Welsh League Division Three and it was a real honour being part of the success at the club.
“The demotion to Welsh League Division Three, in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise because the club became supporter-owned and Gav’s plans could be implemented with no barriers or limits to success.”
In the summer, after eight years of service with the club. James Saddler moved on to Division One promotion hopefuls Penybont.
He’s settled well into Rhys Griffith’s side and has praised his former manager for helping shape him as the player he is today.
“Having played for Gav for eight years, he’s naturally had a big effect on how I play and see the game.
“He has also surrounded himself with good people who in turn play a big role.”
Chesterfield did have a brief spell in charge of Haverfordwest County, after being forced out of Barry Town United.
He was later reinstated as manager in December 2012, taking the club to a Welsh Cup quarter-finals, before losing to eventual winners Prestatyn Town.
And despite managing Barry in the lower leagues, the Penybont midfielder says he was always capable of managing at a higher level, but having been at the club for so long, it came as no surprise that he remained loyal to a club he had such a strong bond with.
“It must’ve seemed strange that Gavstayed despite being a very capable manager and I’m sure had plenty of opportunities to move on.
“However, as an insider at the club and knowing Gav personally, it was never a surprise because I knew his ambitions for both himself and the club.”
Gavin will take charge of his 400th game in charge of Barry Town United this coming Saturday, against reigning champions The New Saints.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)