Rhuddlan Town’s new manager might be quite familiar to some followers of North Wales football.
John “Barney” Barnes has taken the reins at the tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division club.
Barney had a spell at Prestatyn Town last season as part of the management team which kept the Seasiders in the tier 2 Cymru North.
The Lancashire-based boss enjoyed his time in North Wales football and was keen to return.
His appointment comes at a good time for Rhuddlan, who last week warned they faced folding unless they could find a new manager and boost playing squad numbers.
Barney arrives full of enthusiasm and belief and is looking forward to working alongside chairman Tony Hepton and former manager and now head of football Wayne Hughes.
The 42-year-old Barney, a Merseysider who lives in Skelmersdale, told Grassroots North Wales: “I read about the Rhuddlan situation on Twitter with them not having a manager and was worried they couldn’t get a manager in time for the season and that they might fold.
“I didn’t like the thought of that so I did some homework on the club with people I knew in Welsh football and they couldn’t speak more highly of the club. It’s a sleeping giant with ambition and plans to move forward.
“After speaking with Tony the chairman and head of football Wayne their ambitions and plans matched my own as a manager. We got on so well with good banter and a good outlook on football which is paramount for me.
“The plans they want to put in place and are putting in place were exactly what I was looking for, as I was waiting for an opportunity to get back into Welsh football.
“I had some great and big offers in non-league in England but they didn’t seem right; but there’s something about this job at Rhuddlan Town where I can put my football project in place and move my career forward as a manager, so it was a no-brainer to accept the manager’s role.”
Barney was a striker or winger in his footballing days and most of his career was spent in non-league semi pro playing for clubs such as Southport, Burscough, Skelmersdale United, St Helens Town and Burscough Richmond.
He added: “I’ve been coaching and managing for 10 years this year.
“I’m level 2 and will be getting my UEFA B licence completed very soon. My coaching started at grassroots for a club called Ormskirk FC, and I also worked in some English Premier League clubs development centres for their academies.
“Then I moved to Skelmersdale United as U17’s, U18’s and Reserves as manager, then Marine U18’s and Marine first team as a coach, then had spells at City Of Liverpool, Warrington Rylands, Burscough Richmond and then my last post led me to Welsh football with Prestatyn Town, where I helped them to safety in the Cymru North.”
Rhuddlan’s head of football development Wayne Hughes said: “We are absolutely delighted to have John “Barney” Barnes become Rhuddlan Town manager.
“After our previous manager decided to take on a new role, things started to decline quickly at the club, with no interest whatsoever. After two weeks of the manager leaving, players decided to leave as well.
“As pre-season was fast approaching and we didn’t have any answers for them, they decided it would be best for them to leave and find a new club.
“We put a statement out stating that we were on the verge of folding unless we could bring a new manager in.
“The response was amazing from everyone, local teams and players sending messages of support and sharing our posts on Facebook and Twitter.
“We had 255 retweets and endless messages of support. Without that support the club would have folded.
“When Barney contacted me on Twitter, I knew who he was straight away as I’d been keeping an eye on Prestatyn Town last season, I couldn’t believe it at first, I thought he was pulling my leg.
“I sent him over the chairman’s number and mine and he liked the plans that myself and Tony have for the club and understands that it won’t just happen overnight and it’s a plan we can all work together on.
“Barney and I have had hours of talking together over players coming in and what the standards are that he expects and it’s exactly the standards we want.
“Barney will have total control on the team with myself and Tony supporting him the best we can.
“Barney will now be busy putting a team together that will hopefully be challenging for the league title.
“This is a fantastic appointment for Rhuddlan Town and we can’t wait to finally get going for pre-season.”