Barry Fry Years - Part Three
Click on the years above to navigate through the history.
So far we have chartered the history since the formation of the club, up until the end of the 83/84 season.
We would be grateful to anyone who can add to anything written here. Apart from pointing out any inaccuracies, we would be pleased to receive contributions so that this history can be "fleshed out" even more. For that reason, the details on this page are likely to be changed as more information is unearthed.
Please contact us if there is anything you can help us with.
Same Old Barnet...
The 84/85 season kicked off with much anticipation of better things to come. The league had been renamed the Gola League and the Bees were buzzing! They lost their first game. And their second. The next two games were victorious, however, one of which included Enfield. The return match against Enfield had Barnet losing 3-0 with just over twenty minutes remaining. Barnet woke up, and snatched three goals to force a draw. Due to injuries and inconsistent results, Barnet hovered between mid-table and the relegation zone.
The FA Cup provided some relief as Barnet secured their first ever victory against Boston. Their First Round opponents, Plymouth, looked like they could be beaten, as they were bottom of the Third Division. However, they had just appointed a new manager and, as is so often the case in these situations, their game improved enough to dispatch Barnet 3-0.
Off the pitch, trouble was brewing. For some time, there had been occasions where there had not been enough money to pay the players. By the autumn of 1984 the problem had become so acute that there was pressure to sell some of the players as creditors were threatening legal action. The club were also unable to run the Social Club, which was an important source of income, due to some technicality with the brewers. Barry Fry took the initiative and secured a loan on his own house to buy the brewers off.
Gary Phillips was sold, for £5000, to Brentford. Nuneaton also offered £4000 for Nicky Evans, which Fry had no choice but to accept, but Evans refused to leave Barnet so the deal was called off. Money was so tight that the BFCSA held collections to help pay for the players' away trips. Both the coach and physio left as economy measures. Meanwhile the Inland Revenue was chasing money owed to them.
Santa Visits Underhill
Barry Fry was responsible for so many things at the club, he even became involved in the ground keeping. Early on Christmas Day the Police were called to Underhill as local residents had heard and seen strange things. Eight policemen were immediately sent the half-mile or so down the hill to the ground, to investigate. They encountered a man driving a tractor round the pitch. According to Barry Fry, the following words were exchanged.
Policeman: "Oi! You've done thousands of pounds worth of damage to this pitch, you maniac."
Fry: "Of course I haven't. It isn't worth two bob!"
Policeman: "Can you come this way sir?"
Fry: "I am Barry Fry, the Manager."
Policeman: "And I am Father Christmas!"
Bye Bye Fry
Shortly after this example of dedication to the club, it was announced that Barry Fry had gone. He was the new manager of Maidstone United - also of the Gola League.
The replacement was Roger Thompson. He had played for Barnet over 100 times in the sixties, before taking coaching roles at two USA sides - which both folded...
Barnet descended into the familiar area of the relegation zone once more. Injuries plagued the side, and in one game, against Yeovil, goalkeeper Steve Waller played with a broken arm! (Interestingly, up front for Yeovil were Ian Botham, more famous for his abilities to hit small red balls a long way with a lump of wood, and Colin Barnes, whom Barnet had argued with Torquay over the previous season.)
In March Barnet faced a winding up order, brought by the Inland Revenue and Brewers Whitbread and Watneys. Things looked bleak until a mysterious benefactor stepped in and bailed the club out - paying off all its debts.
Results improved for the remainder of the season. In their last thirteen matches Barnet lost only once and conceded four goals. The last game of the season was against Wealdstone, who had already won the league and were due to take on Boston in the FA Trophy final. 1300 people watched Barnet stuff them 7-0 - Nicky Evans scoring four and the other three by Steve Mahoney.
Barnet finished in 15th place, only one point behind Maidstone - Barry Fry's new team. In the euphoria, the mysterious benefactor who had bailed out the club agreed to become the new chairman. His name was Stan Flashman.
Meanwhile, Barnet's form in the league was not good, especially at home. The last straw for Flashman was a 1-0 home defeat by Wycombe in the FA Trophy, just before Christmas. Flashman went straight to the dressing room and dismissed Thompson. This was, perhaps, somewhat unfair as Barnet had a fairly comfortable mid-table position and there were more injuries than usual. Perhaps the crowd chanting "Thompson Out" during the game had influenced Flashman. But any chairman or manager can tell you that these chants occur every now and then...
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