Matt Healey continues the series.

Danny Bartley was born in Paulton on the 3rd October 1947. He spent nine seasons at Bristol City and then six seasons at Swansea City. He joined Hereford United in March 1980.

Bartley told me how he became a Bull “Swansea City circulated my name out there and they wanted a £20,000 fee for me. I thought this was a bit unfair as I was nearly in my mid 30’s and had given the club good service. I spoke to the (Swansea) manager John Toshack and he relented by giving me a free transfer. Newport County and Bristol Rovers were interested in me, but the over riding factor was to play again with Peter Spiring, we had played together at Bristol City and he said Hereford was a great club to play for”

Bartley made his Hereford debut in a 2-0 win over Stockport County on the 15th March 1980 “Me and Jimmy Harvey signed the same week. All I remember from the game is Stuart Cornes scoring”

Danny Bartley 1980

Bartley lived in a flat close to Edgar Street “I know the Heads of the Valleys road inside out as I was travelling back and forth to Swansea where my family was, no wonder they are still renovating it. I must have worn out the road with the amount of journeys I made, we had a good set of lads like Chris Price, Keith Hicks, Winston White and Stewart Phillips”

Hereford United 1980/1981 Team Photograph

Bartley was the 1980/1981 Hereford United player of the year “I still have the trophy in my house. I enjoyed my time at Edgar Street. I had played at a higher level during my career, so at my age it was still good to see I could hack it in the Football League”

Bartley also returned to Swansea City in the 1981 Welsh Cup Final “It was played over two legs, we lost 1-0 at the Vetch in the 1st one, the Swansea fans gave me a terrific reception when I came out of the tunnel, the North Bank were very appreciative. the Vetch was such a great ground and it’s a shame it’s no longer around. I think 90% of Swansea fans would prefer it to the Liberty Stadium” Hereford would lose the final 2-1 on aggregate.

Bartley made 138 league appearances and scored 9 goals for Hereford. His all action displays made him a fans favourite, he was a steady and reliable full back whose overlapping runs and crosses into the penalty area assisted in a number of goals.

“I don’t remember many of the games sadly, it was such a long time ago. I remember scoring against Blackpool”

I have Ron Parrott’s fantastic Hereford United league era book with me, so to try and trigger a memory I ask Bartley if he can remember the opening game of the 1981/1982 season and a 2-2 draw away at now Premier League Sheffield United. “I can vaguely, we had some really good players individually, but it just didn’t gel as a team. We had a young lad called Ian Bray who was a really good left back and I knew he would be taking my place eventually. Winston White was a great talent on the left wing, he was a single lad at the time and had a great career in football and moved around the country a lot, he had a really good sense of humour”

Hereford United 1980/1981 Team Photograph

Bartley suffered an injury during the 1981/1982 season and missed out on playing Leicester City in the FA Cup 4th round “I had a cyst on my knee and it caused me a lot of difficulties, so I had a lot of time with Peter Isaac on the physio table”

Bartley appeared in the final game of that season which was a 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth on the 15th May 1982.

Hereford United would suffer serious financial problems during the 1982/1983 campaign. The club was 24 hours away from being liquidated “I saw your interview with Keith Hicks and he mentioned about the PFA coming to see us which is true, we also had psychologists come and try and help us as well. I remember one chap asking the players if we wanted a clock in the dressing room to try and relax us. The thinking was it would make us less tense if we knew when kick off was, it never happened as one of the players shouted out that we all had watches on our wrists”

Hereford United 1982/1983 Team Photograph

The arrival of a new manager in John Newman signalled the end of Bartley’s Hereford career “John told me he was going to go with a younger squad that season and I left, I was about 35 then and made over 400 Football League appearances. I had a good career. Hereford was a fantastic little club, I remember Archie Phillips who was the Vice Chairman, he was a right character. He would be at the ground picking up litter and doing weeding every day, he did everything and never retired. Me and Mel Pejic also did a plastering course at the college and I helped out Peter Spiring who had just started an electrical contractors business, we did a number of jobs at Frank Lord’s house (Then Hereford manager)”

Danny Bartley 1983

A former Hereford United player in John Layton would extend Bartley’s football career “I could have gone to Mansfield Town who were the same league as Hereford, but they would only offer me a one year contract. I was in my mid 30’s and didn’t want to uproot my family from Swansea all the way up there on a one year deal. John got in touch as he was manager at Trowbridge and I had a season in what is now the National League. It was a lot of travelling and I remember a long midweek trip up to Gateshead, but when John left I wound up my career at Forest Green who were in the Southern League then and after I left them I finished up at a number of clubs in the south of Wales. I got myself a job in the financial industry and did that for 25 years. I retired in 2008”

Bartley resides now in Swansea “I saw Mel Pejic when he was physio at Wrexham, my lad was playing for Afan Lido against them in the Welsh Cup and we had a good chat after the game. It was definitely the players I remember more than the games, we had a couple of great strikers in my time like Fred Binney and Dixie McNeil. Dixie was a Hereford legend in the 1970’s and he returned to help the club out. Fred Binney scored his 200th league goal with us, he would hang around in the penalty area and he just had that goal scoring instinct. There were some top players at Hereford and I’ve got myself on Social Media so I’m hoping to reunite with some of them”

Danny Bartley 2020

*Photo’s and stats supplied by Ron Parrott