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Two Town favourites to move on

By Ashley Cox

Baldock and Hartley to leave Jenner Park

“They have both shown us immense loyalty and have been instrumental to our success over the past four seasons. Their legacy at the club is safe.” Gavin Chesterfield

Barry Town United are saddened to confirm the departures of two of the club's longest-serving players in Michael Hartley and Lee Baldock.

Each an integral part of the club's survival and resurgence, we are massively thankful for their contributions, on and off the field - and wish them the very best at their new clubs.

With almost 350 appearances between them, made in a pivotal time in Barry's history, Harts and Bully are adored at Jenner Park - and will be missed by the supporters, players and staff alike.

Manager Gavin Chesterfield commented this afternoon: “I’d personally like to thank Harts and Bully for all they have done for myself and our football club.

"They have both shown us immense loyalty and have been instrumental to our success over the past four seasons.

"Their legacy at the club is safe and I know how proud they are to have secured promotion for the club, back to the Welsh Premier League.

"Whilst I am sad to see them depart, I understand both of their needs to play regular football and I wish them both all the best at their new clubs.”

Arriving at Jenner Park in 2010, former Cardiff City youngster Michael Hartley soon forged a reputation as an effective and dependable forward, who gave his all for the Barry cause.

Debuting as a substitute in a 2-0 win at Garden Village on September 4th, Hartley went to make 22 starts that initial season, scoring six times, including one in the incredible 6-0 win over Bryntirion Athletic at Jenner Park.

This match marked quite the turnaround for Barry, who had been beaten 6-1 by the eventual Welsh League Division One champions Bryntirion, only six days earlier.

In 2011, Hartley cemented his place in Barry's storied history by scoring twice in the 3-0 win at Merthyr Town - a brilliant brace on a glorious day for all involved, as the travelling Town knocked the Martyrs out of the Welsh Cup.

A semi-finalist the following season, Hartley’s love affair with the national competition would continue in later years, as he netted in notable Welsh Cup ties with Cefn Druids, Denbigh Town and others.

Harts would also score Barry's equaliser in a memorable match with Cardiff City, played at a unique point in the neighbouring sides' histories, with one Premier League-bound, while the other was left without a league at all.

After weathering the Town's off-field storms, Hartley enjoyed a stellar season in 2013-14, scoring 16 times in 28 appearances, including a spell of seven in eight and a Goal of the Season contender at Llantwit Major.

Unfortunately, Harts’ prolific participation in the Division Three championship season would end in injury against Pontypridd Town in March, sidelining the striker for the entire 2014-15 programme.

Despite this setback, Hartley would return to the frontline with the Welsh League Division Two winners, eventually taking his tally up to 37 goals in 184 appearances and starting in January’s televised Nathaniel MG Cup Final against The New Saints.

His last appearance in Barry colours came in this May's 6-0 home win over Ton Pentre, on a day when the Town finally lifted the long-elusive Welsh League Division One title.

After spending time in the Barry youth system, former Colcot schoolboy Lee Baldock signed first team forms with his hometown club in March of 2011.

A senior team standout at nearby Sully Sports, Lee would be following in the footsteps of father Neil, who had also worn the Town colours in years gone by.

An intelligent and versatile player, Lee featured primarily as a full-back for Barry, but would score some spectacular goals to boot, including crackers against UWIC and Carmarthen Town and another at Aberaman in the penultimate outing of 2011-12.

That same year, Bully would score both goals in another win at Aberaman Park, as the Town outlined their claim to honours in the 2012-13 campaign.

In August 2012, Lee had enjoyed a full 90 minutes against Cardiff City, watched by around 2,000 fans, the largest crowd to attend a Barry match at Jenner Park in over a decade.

There would be more success to come however, as Lee would play an important part in Barry’s subsequent Welsh Cup run, joining Hartley on the scoresheet in front of the Sgorio cameras as Pontardawe Town were beaten 2-1 at Jenner Park.

Bully would go the distance against Flint Town United in the quarter-finals and Prestatyn Town in the semis, as Barry came within a few goals of an unexpected place in Europe.

The following season saw Bully score another big Welsh Cup goal as the Town ousted Undy Athletic in extra-time. Despite being hampered by injury for a time, he would achieve winners' medals in Welsh League Division Three, Two and One.

In what would prove his final campaign at Jenner Park, Baldock would be a big part of the magnificent 7-1 win over Haverfordwest County that sealed the club's progression to the semi-finals of the Nathaniel MG Cup.

Bully's final goal for the Town arrive in the emphatic 11-0 win over Risca United in May of 2017 - a history-making occasion that ranks among the club's five biggest ever victories.

In total, Lee would score nine times, while keeping countless clean sheets, in his 156 appearances for the club.

On behalf of all at Jenner Park, we would like to wish Lee and Mike every success in the future. We will miss you, but hope you know you will never be strangers at Barry Town United. Thank you for everything.

"Bully's gonna get you..."
"I've got a fire in my Hartley..."

Updated 14:08 - 19 Jul 2017 by Ashley Cox

Where next?

Newman in midfield for 2017-18 Barry-based Ryan Newman signs up with the Town
Barry preparing for Football League test Town back in training and looking forward to the test of League Two side Newport County

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