Introducing Barry Patton, Finn Harps Board Member

Barry Patton

Tell us about yourself?

From Stranorlar. Married to Celine, we have adult children and one grandchild. Living in Athboy, Co. Meath. Armchair sports fanatic. Finn Harps, Donegal GAA, Rugby, F1, etc., etc., but It’s Harps number 1.  Absolutely love attending the games and now history is repeating as my son (who never lived in Donegal) is a number 1 Harps fan.

What attracted you to getting involved with the club?

I have always been involved with voluntary organisations like SVP, local Tidy Towns, Parish Finance Committee and Citizens Advice. With the family grown and more time on my hands. I wanted to contribute to an area I am passionate about. Finn Harps. Club is a huge personal passion

Tell us about your history with Finn Harps?

I have been a Finn Harps supporter for as long as I can remember.
In the mid 1970’s my uncle would bring myself and my cousins to the Sunday afternoon Finn Harps games. Followed by a stop off in Sweeney’s pub where he would have his bottle of Phoenix and we got the customary bottle of Coke and a packet of Tayto and played the table version of space invaders
He went on to set up Saint Mary’s United under age football club, which only increased my passion for soccer at a local level. I came home from living in the US in 1999 and for the last 23 years have prioritized my Friday night around the Harps games.  My brother-in-law Ray is a die-hard Rovers supporter and does the catering for lots of the Premier teams.  Over the past few seasons as Harps used his service in around Dublin I would drop in the food after the game and seeing the teams’ reactions to both wins and defeats (and Ollie’s).   It made the whole thing a little more special and made me feel like an insider.

Favourite Game?

Going to Limerick in 2018 and getting promoted back up.

Favourite player?

Lots of players come to mind. Recently Filipe Mihaljavic ( great honest player ). Tunde back in 2021, Will Seymour and of course the Derry Pele, Paddy McCourt. –  he scored a fantastic free kick against Rovers  in 2017 stayed with us when we went down Coyle, Barry Mc Namee and Connelly.   I think Gareth Harkin would be my pick though.

How do you plan on helping the board?

I am a qualified accountant with over 30 years experience. We are at a point where we have multiple competing programs for the same funds (First team, New Stadium, Finn Park needs, additional cost, Ladies and the underage).  And to be successful they all need financial resources.  We need to figure out how to manage and deliver the support to all these programs to be successful  I hope that my career will help add something as we try and navigate the next few years and achieve the various targets the board are setting.

How do you want to see the club develop in the coming years?

We have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move into a new stadium and it’s within our grasp. Making this a reality is going to be tough as we raise the funding while also supporting our drive back to the Premier league. I think looking back in 5 years time it would be a fantastic legacy as a custodian for the club.

Final thoughts?

There is something special about following your childhood team, going to Finn Park seeing familiar faces, people you went to National School with …. having memories.  For the away days my brother John who lives in Dublin often comes along with my son, those car trips are special. (And we have the next generation of fans on the way). Following a team is emotional.  They win or they lose and we have emotions. It’s so much more than the Uniteds and Liverpools that we watch on Sky on Sunday afternoons.  This is our team, this is local, there is history, we have seen both good and bad times and will experience both again.  But I will say it again this is our team it’s local and it’s emotional.  “Come on the Harps”