David Howell. Says Reckless, “As much as I despised Enfield FC (still do really) I still hungered for some of their numbers to play in amber and black, “Owsy” was always top of that list”

David was born in Hammersmith in October 1958 and bought up in Shepherds Bush as one of seven brothers and sisters. “I started playing as a centre half as that was what it was known as then but did toy with being a centre forward on Sunday mornings for a while” smiled Dave. Quickly progressing from Schools Football to District and County level onto England under 15 and under 18 Schoolboys, he joined Fulham aged 17 and played regularly in their South East Counties side. Drifting into non league football at Hillingdon Borough he found himself up against players of the calibre of Jeff Astle who was at Weymouth and even Geoff Hurst who was at Tonbridge, “That was fantastic marking these truly great players! In fact at Hillingdon I had my first run in with someone who would eventually be a large part of my life. The manager who superseded Jim Langley, and who in fact let me move on to Hounslow Town was none other than Barry Fry!”

Moving next to Harrow Borough Dave became a England non League International and captained his country seven times. “The first black player to do so” he says with pride, and rightly so. “I then joined Eddie McCluskey at Enfield in 1984 and won an Alliance League title and a FA Trophy medal”.
Barnet and Barry Fry started showing a serious interest in the evergreen Howell from around 1987 and finally managed to sign him in the summer of 1990 at the ripe old age of 31 although he was still very fit with an extremely influential personality. He smiled and said, “I wanted to play with the best players and a club who could achieve, and that was Barnet”.
Whenever I saw him play, be it from the West Bank Underhill or at Southbury Road he basically oozed confidence and class. He always seemed to have time together with a coolness, yet he was hard as nails.
Dave made his debut as a substitute in the following line up on the 18th August 1990 at Macclesfield Town :
Gary Phillips, Paul Wilson, Geoff Cooper, Richard Nugent, Mick Bodley, Edwin Stein, Paul Harding, Derek Payne, Andy Clarke, David Gipp and Gary Bull. Subs David Howell and Wayne Turner.
Dave soon forged a solid partnership with either Richard Nugent or Mick Bodley in the centre of defence, and that season of course saw Barnet win the GM Vauxhall Conference playing the sort of football every supporter wants to witness. “Barry would simply say 'Go to bed as late as you want the night before but I warn you be ready to play for me, express yourself and entertain the public'” revealed Owsy!
I told him that on that May day in 1991 at Fisher I have always maintained that although Gary Bull’s volleyed 3rd goal was simply magnificent it was the Howell equaliser in the second half that settled the game.“Yeah that was a nerve racking day but we had the belief. I can still see the Kenny Lowe corner coming over to which, I just jumped as high as I could fully committed to attacking that ball with so much confidence, it was perfect. I tell people that I didn’t just out jump the keeper but I out jumped the cross bar!”
Dave Howell, Gary Bull, Harry Willis 

In 1991/92 he made 34 appearances scoring twice in the season where the club narrowly failed to reach the Division 4 play-off Final at Wembley by loosing out to Blackpool over two legs in the Semi Final. “There were goals everywhere in that wonderful team it was an incredible time”. At the end of the season Dave was awarded the Barnet Supporters Association Player of the Year, fully deserved for a brilliant season.

The 1992/3 season, when the club actually won promotion by finishing 3rd, ended in turmoil as administration problems and media intrusion were rife at the club and David expressed his sadness at the problems surrounding them, the players not getting paid etc. As he put it “The whole ethos of the Barnet team was destroyed. I was actually made spokes person by the others and I sat in Chairman's Stan Flashman’s house trying to sort things out. Eventually the PFA intervened because they simply had to It was however without doubt the greatest team I have ever played in during my career and some of my most treasured memories come from those years.” He didn’t have to make it any plainer to me that he felt that team would have more than just competed in League Division 2 had they remained together, it just wasn’t to be.
Dave made his final appearance for Barnet in the following line up at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday 8th May 1993. The team lost 1-4 with a goal from Mark Carter in front of 4,264:
Gary Phillips, David Howell, Dominic Naylor, Mick Bodley, David Barnett, Kenny Lowe, Derek Payne, Nicky Evans, Tony Lynch, Mark Carter and Gary Bull. Subs : Brian Stein and Jonathan Hunt.
David found himself at Southend Utd for the start of the 1993/4 season. Barry Fry had become manager and had dragged along a whole bunch of his favourite players from Barnet. There, Dave became the oldest player ever at the time to sign a full professional playing contract for the first time superseding Tony Book of Manchester City. Soon he moved to Birmingham City again with Fry and long time friend Edwin Stein He started to get more involved with the coaching there and loved it. “After I left Birmingham I got a call from a certain Paul Fairclough who was manager at Stevenage Borough and assisted him as player/coach in their successful push to win the league.”

Business took Dave away from the UK for a while but he returned to England in 2001 when he received a call from his old mate Edwin Stein. “That unmistakable loud voice appeared and invited me to join him at Harrow Borough. When Ed moved on in November 2003 Owsy was offered the position of caretaker Manager and then Manager.
 In June 2011 he left Harrow Borough after leading them to their best season, in recent times and developing the talents of a certain Albert Adomah, to become manager at St Albans although he was rather bizarrely sacked  in November 2012 .

David is an extremely open and honest guy, calm and cool just like his playing personality. He currently resides in Hammersmith with his wife Beatrice and young son Luca. He says, “Life goes on I didn’t become a household name as player as much as I would like to have been but I know exactly how I want to manage and work. No one can say anything negative about me as a coach or a manager because I have learnt from the likes of Barry Fry” .
David is also one of life's true gents and was a regular visitor to Underhill. I am going to make sure he continues to visit the Bees at their new home as we must fondly remember our great past players and times.
Owsy and Reckless 2013

David Howell 78 Appearances 4 Goals

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