Over 20 years of writing about my club in Barnet matchday programmes, which sold to about 500 souls on a good day, now with this Blog Site everyone can read my ramblings, memories, interviews, experiences, features, guides to away grounds and pure love of everything Barnet Football Club. Enjoy and digest and tell your friends.
Reckless - Potters Bar March 2014.
Oh Yes, thank you to"Al" without whom.......that is all
in the spotlight a goal machine from our Conference winning days and
early seasons as a Football League Club.
Bull, or “Bully” as he is known in the football world was born in
West Bromwich in June 1966. His first club was Paget Rangers in the
Midlands League but in 1986 he joined Southampton as a trainee before
moving moving to Cambridge United in March 1988.
two consecutive second placed finishes in the Conference in 1986-87
and 87-88 Barnet’s centenary
season found them mid upper table mainly due to the demise of Newport
County whose records for the season were expunged in April due to
bankruptcy. Ironically Barnet’s performances against County were
the best in the division and the club lost six points and an
incredible 11-2 goal count. The club had also lost the services of
goalscorers Gary Abbott and Nicky Evans and new blood was needed for
another assault on the title. Bully along with Gary Poole and George
Reilly were all picked up from Cambridge United by Barry Fry – the
fee for Bull was estimated at just £2,200 one of the bargains of the
made his Barnet debut at home to Cheltenham Town on the 18th
March 1989 in the following line up:
Lomas, Gary Poole, Edwin Stein, Darren Angell, Phil Stacey, Wayne
Turner, John Docker, Derek Payne, Frank Murphy, George Reilly and
Gary Bull. Subs David Sansom and Richard Nugent.
won 3-1 with goals from Reilly (2) and the man himself of course.
the next four seasons Gary Bull would become an icon at Underhill,
not only for an incredible goal to game ratio but his outstanding
link play with the likes of Andrew Clarke, David Regis, Frank Murphy,
Harry Willis and more importantly with Mark Carter, and become that
ultimate “Number 9”.
1989-90 another second placed League finish, this time to Darlington,
ended with “Penalty King” Bull top scorer with 27 goals. Barry
Fry has said “He was bloody good that Bully, I never had to worry
about him being in the right place at the right time in front of goal
it was always just pure instinct”.
1990-91 of course we did finally gain promotion to the Football
League and frankly Gary's input to the season of 35 goals was simply
massive and he was voted Player of the Year. Scoring four times in
the first home game of the season in a completely one sided 6-1
massacre of Slough Town he picked up an injury missing all of
September. On his return he thumped a hatrick against Cheltenham and
then another four goal haul in the 8-1 thrashing of Fisher Athletic.
In the 3-1 win at Kettering Town, I believe that Bull had arguably
his best game in a Bees shirt. He scored two, the second of which was
a gloriously controlled lob, and despite being hacked throughout 90
minutes held his composure and dignity. In another 3-1 win this time
at Wycombe in the penultimate game of the campaign, in monsoon
conditions, another outstanding performance saw Bully score twice in
the first 3 minutes and set up a the excitement of the club needing
just a point from their final game at Fisher Athletic to clinch the
Barry Fry and Bully
am sure that virtually everybody knows what happened on Saturday 4th
May 1991 at The Surrey Docks Stadium but for the uninitiated - Barnet
won 4-2 after trailing 0-1 and 1-2. Harry Willis opened the scoring
for the Bees with a header after Lowe had chipped the ball against
the bar, David Howell powered in a headed equaliser leaving Gary Bull
to steal the show with a turn a volley to dream about and final
minute penalty with Bees fans already over the barriers ready to
invade the pitch. Over 4,000 of them were present to see Edwin Stein
presented with the Conference trophy at long last.
first season in the 4th Division saw the club reach the
playoffs and a two legged tie with Blackpool which was narrowly
lost. Gary scored another 33 goals during the season alongside
partner Mark Carter. In 1992-93 the pair again took the League by
storm as Barnet finished third in the table and clinching promotion
to what was then a reorganised Division 2, the highest point in the
League pyramid the club has ever reached.
administrative problems that decimated Barnet Football Club that
summer are well documented and we all know if that squad had been
kept together it would have moved on to greater things but it was not
to be. Bully was “worth” a fortune, offers of £200,000 during
the season were scoffed at by Fry and chairman Stan Flashman but the
FA terminated his contract leaving him as a free agent. Gary told me
recently at a Players Reunion of 1991 held in the Durham Suite at
Underhill, “All the players knew we had something special and it is
a shame that we never got to prove it!” I volunteered that with
respect they already had. “I would have stayed at Barnet but I had
a family to look after and had no choice but to move on – it was a
memorable four years and certainly a period that I look back on with
pride” he added.
final game in a Barnet shirt was in a 4-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra
on 8th May 1993 in the following line up:
Phillips, David Howell, David Barnett, Mick Bodley, Dominic Naylor,
Kenny Lowe, Tony Lynch, Derek Payne, Nicky Evans, Mark Carter and
Gary Bull. Subs Brian Stein and Jonathan Hunt.
to Nottingham Forest - where he was dogged by niggling injuries -
and then to Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion Gary never
reached the same heights as he did at Barnet. Two seasons at York
City (including a goal as
they beat Everton 3-2 in the second round 2nd leg of the League Cup)
was followed by a spell at
Scunthorpe United before a move to Grantham Town in 2000. By now
aged 35 he was still rattling in the goals scoring 40 times in the
League. A brief visit to Lincoln United was followed by a call from
United Counties League Boston Town. Bully spent eight seasons there
scoring 201 goals eventually retiring from football at the age of 46
lives with his family in the West Midlands and as I mentioned joined
many of his Barnet comrades for a reunion in December 2012. To tell
you he hasn't really changed may seem a little strange after 25 years
but the picture below will illustrate exactly what I mean.
was like a pig in the proverbial as were many of his admirers that
evening – the photographer, Ben Angel, was being called upon time
is more than just up there with Barnet's greatest ever goalscoring
strikers as his record shows because he had extras going for him –
fair hair good looks and a calm collected nature on and off the pitch
which endeared him to Bees supporters as well as his fellow players –
if you are ever fortunate enough to meet him you will understand.