A BARRY football coach has launched a new scheme to get people supporting local football - alongside her footballing hero.

Chloe McBratney - coach of Barry Town United’s pan-disability team - met with former England Lioness captain Karen Carney to launch a new scheme through which National Lottery players are able to get buy-one-get-one-free tickets to local football games.

Across Wales, people will be able to get involved with watching their local JD Cymru Premier and JD North and South leagues for free. The aim is to build up an interest in and support for local football sides after the pandemic hampered many clubs’ income and left them struggling.

One of the games free tickets will be available for is Barry Town United’s clash with Cefn Druids on April 2.

Ms McBratney, who is registered blind and has multiple health issues, spoke of the importance of the support. She said: “It was so important we got funding from the National Lottery during covid-19 as we are so much more than just a football club. By supporting the teams at the weekend, you help children and young adults play the game they love.

“Once the pandemic started to ease, coming and playing some football was often the one escape; where everyone could forget everything that was going on for an hour or two. During lockdown, some players had physical conditions that had got worse, but they are regaining fitness again now that they are able to come back and play.

“The club is like a family – we all look out for each other and support each other in everything that we do.”

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Describing Ms Carney "my role model", she continued: “I remember watching women’s football in that era and Arsenal was the team to beat.

"They were unstoppable. Karen was my role model growing up so to meet her today was amazing and an experience I will never forget.”

Ms Carney – England’s most capped player with 144 caps, and who has an MBE for services to sport – said: “Clubs like Barry Town United FC are absolutely crucial to our communities right up and down the UK. From walking football to a pan-disability side for children and young adults, it’s clear that the club is at the very heart of the community.”

The National Lottery’s Football Weekends campaign will see more than 100,000 tickets available across the UK for selected games. The lottery provided £12.5 million in emergency funding to community football clubs, including Barry Town United FC at the height of the pandemic to ensure they would be able to operate and survive.


Ms Carney said: “The National Lottery Football Weekends are designed to say a big thank you to National Lottery players. The funding that went to clubs during the pandemic was a lifeline and it’s fantastic that we can now get behind our local side for free and in our droves.”

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FAW chief executive, Noel Mooney, urged everyone to support their local side.

To find out more about The National Lottery Football Weekends and to find your nearest match visit www.thenationallotteryfootballweekends.co.uk.

Each club will be responsible for distributing tickets for its home match and details on how to claim will be available from each club. Terms and conditions apply.