Almost 1,000 people came to Jenner Park on Saturday for a party years in the making, as Barry Town United celebrated their first Welsh League Division One championship in more than two decades.
Watched by the biggest crowd of the entire campaign, Barry recorded the 20th and final victory of their successful Division One season against former league champions Ton Pentre, with forwards TJ Nagi, Jordan Cotterill and Drew Fahiya helping title-winning Town to a comfortable 6-0 triumph.
Having secured the silverware seven days earlier, Barry arrived to a guard of honour, while hundreds of the Town’s youngest footballers flanked the field, dressed in the club’s signature yellow and blue.
With the grandstand awash with bubbles, balloons and ‘Champions’ banners, this colourful chapter in the team’s proud history was a real community occasion and one befitting of a remarkable revival that has dragged a one-beleaguered Town from the depths of despair to the Welsh Premier League.
After fans had flicked through the day’s commemorative ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’-style programme, Barry set to work unpicking the Ton defence and it would not be long before they found a breakthrough; TJ Nagi’s ninth-minute effort diverted by a Pentre defender into his own net.
With Drew Fahiya bagging a brace before the break, Jordan Cotterill soon added his name to the scoresheet, before Fahiya completed his hat-trick, his second at Jenner Park in the month of April.
It was then left to Nagi to bring down the curtain on a triumphant 2016-17, putting away Barry’s sixth to the cheers of the healthy home crowd and tying top goalscorer Fahiya on 19 for the season.
The second half would also saw appearances for defender Ryan Evans (his 150th in Barry colours) and goalkeeper Dan Bradley, who manned the Town goal for the 361st time since arriving in 2006.
After unflustered official Darren Adie (enjoying his 1,400th career outing) sounded the final whistle, attention switched to in front of the Jenner Suite and the long-awaited trophy presentation.
Introduced one-by-one by announcer Ryan Cox, the players and backroom staff emerged in commemorative t-shirts, joining together before captain James Saddler lifted the title high.
With the squad and onlookers alike drenched in confetti and champagne, the subsequent celebrations will live long in the memory, a fitting end for a fantastic season of football and fun at Jenner Park.
In the end, Barry wrapped up their Welsh League Division One stint with 66 points from 30 fixtures, scoring 69 times and conceding a mere 18, a testament to goalkeeper Mike Lewis and his defence.
Watch this space for a full review of Barry Town United’s 2016-17 season during the coming weeks.