When this gentleman arrived at Underhill, players and supporters alike said "I can't believe we have signed Gordon Ferry!"

Over 300 appearances, twice Player of the Year, club captain and a spell as manager is an exceptional CV at any club and certainly deserves the label of “legendary”. Gordon Ferry featured in that notable 1960’s and early 70’s team managed by Dexter Adams and then Tommy Coleman. A hard tackling centre half, great in the air but could also hold his own in a central midfield role, Gordon was part of a magnificent back four alongside Peter Jenkins, Ben Embery and Jimmy Lye – “those lads were outstanding” he said, “and I have played with some very good players in my time”. Gordon was a model of consistency in his time at Underhill and was a class act.
Gordon at Arsenal 1961

Ferry was born near the docks of Sunderland in December 1943 and played at halfback for his school team before joining Sunderland Boys where he moved to the centre half position. At 17 Gordon and another local lad George Armstrong were picked out by scouts from Arsenal joining the club in 1960 and playing in the Juniors alongside future Barnet players Billy Meadows David Court plus Peter Simpson and Jon Sammels. Turning pro in January 1961 and as understudy to Ian Ure, Ferry played in countless games in the Gunners reserves finally getting his chance in September 1964 making his first team debut at Sheffield Wednesday before making a total of 11 appearances that season. “I played at Stamford Bridge in front of 63,000 and I can also remember travelling with the team and watching from the bench at Goodison Park Everton and hearing the most appalling language and suffering continuous banging on the roof on the dug out, they were completely mad up there”.

By May 1965 Gordon had moved to Leyton Orient under Dave Sexton and after two seasons at Brisbane Road had a successful spell with the Atlanta Chiefs in Georgia USA winning the NSL as a Player-Coach. “I spent the “Summer of Love” with my wife Dianne in America, it was wonderful”.

On his return to England Ricky George put him in touch with Dexter Adams at Barnet and much to the delight of everybody at the club he signed up in November 1968. “I met up with so many old mates including the great Gerry Ward”.

Gordon gave me his insight in how simple it is to play football when you have the calibre of players that were at Underhill then - “Jack McClelland would roll the ball out to Ben Embery or myself, we would by-pass Barry King – because he was the only player in that team that couldn’t pass - and give it to Gerry Ward. Gerry would simply play it forward to Bill or Les Eason, it would be knocked straight back to Gerry who would then spray a perfect pass out wide to Paddy Powell on the right and he did the rest. Skipping past the full back he would knock the ball in for Bill or Les or Ricky George to score – easy isn’t it?”

Gordon’s greatest games in the Amber and Black shirt without doubt came in FA Cup ties. In January 1971 when Colchester United visited Underhill in treacherous icy conditions Ferry was supreme and was singled out by the national press. Two years later when we went head to head with the mighty Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, Ferry and Steve Tom were the kingpins and perfectly marshalled Stan Bowles and Don Givens in the Rangers attack.

I asked him about Wembley in 1972 and the FA Trophy Final against Stafford Rangers. “I have a medal that says I played there and I have seen the dodgy TV footage of the game and I know that we didn’t do our selves justice and were poor on the day. After what had been a season full of great football it should be crystal clear, but I honestly don’t remember much about the day at all. I have tried to remember but it is a blur, it flashed by. I can recall little moments like looking around the stadium before the game and sitting in the dressing room listening to Tommy’s team talk but little else.”
Gordon Ferry 1972

When Gerry Ward retired as a player and took over the Manager’s seat Gordon became team Captain at Barnet. He was presented with the Supporters Association Player of the Year 1972-73 for the second time in three years. When Ward resigned in March 1974 Gordon was invited by the club to take over as Player-Manager and accepted the challenge although he admitted he found it hard work. At the start of the following season Gordon was in charge of a squad that had lost familiar faces and added several new faces. Gordon revealed the club were having problems and we didn't have enough back up players when injuries arrived. “Those splendid teams of 1968-72 would have won trophies if only we had the addition of perhaps two or three more top players, that I have no doubt. When new manager Brian Kelly was taken on I reverted to a playing role but the good times had gone. I had truly loved playing for Barnet but all good things do come to an end sooner or later” said Gordon.

Gordon signed with Barking in 1975 for a year but soon family life started to call.
My son was beginning to play and I thought to myself, I have had my time, now I must give time to my family. On reflection it was the right move as I have always thought that to keep playing well as you get older you have to be playing in a good side. Your body eventually needs someone else to do your running. That’s the way it is you simply cannot keep up the pace. Fortunately I had always played in brilliant passing teams during my career” he smiled broadly.
Who would be your perfect playing partner I asked? He replied without hesitation, “Ben Embery by far. He and I had a great relationship on and off the pitch.”

Gordon and his wife Dianne are fully retired and living in Welwyn Garden City. After a football career spanning some 16 years he settled into a normal routine very easily – well he would, he is a charming man and so comfortable to talk to. “My garden is my recreation now” he said. It seems to have kept him young looking!

Reports have reached me that very recently Gordon, Ben Embery, Les Eason, Paddy Powell, Bill Meadows, Ian Fusedale, Ricky George, Jimmy Lye plus others including Barnet Press men Roger Jones and John Motson met up for a lunch in a top London Hotel and all got the worse for wear reminiscing about our great club. I would have loved to have been there too!

Gordon and Reckless 2009

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