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
the spotlight is Nicky Evans who to this day is revered as an icon at
our club due not only to his abilities as a footballer but also his
overall impact of image and personality. Such was this persona he was
dubbed "God" by Bees supporters in the 1980's. I also
hereby declare that Nicky is my all time favourite player from
Underhill's history – Reckless.
Nicholas John Evans, born Bedford 6th July 1958, had been rejected by Peterborough and Q.P.R as a youngster and was plying his trade at Kettering Town. However sometimes just sometimes the bargain of a lifetime is acquired, Barry Fry we are forever in your debt.
He made his debut on Tuesday 13th September 1983 at Underhill in fine style scoring two goals in a 10-0 trashing of Trowbridge Town in the Alliance Premier League Cup. It was a shame that only 432 witnessed it!
Line Up: Gary Phillips – Peter Brown, Kevin Millett, Bill Baldry, Chris Kinnear – John Docker, Edwin Stein, John Margerrison – Steve Ragan, Steve Mahoney, Nicky Evans. Sub Bob Pittaway
Two weeks later he scored a hatrick in a 4-0 win at Trowbridge in an Alliance Premier League fixture.
Hampered by frequent injuries (which littered his whole career) he scored 17 goals in his first season and although signed first and foremost as a striker Evans often played in the hole behind Mahoney and Atkins in midfield.
The following season, normally decked in the number 10 shirt (which I have as a souvenir) he scored another 17 goals from less than 40 starts. In the final game of the season Alliance League Champions Wealdstone visited Underhill but found "God" in unstoppable form. In the 7-0 rout Evans scored four.
Nicky was voted Barnet FC Player of the Year in 1985-86 by The Supporters Association as he scored 26 goals in all competitions. Allegedly Nuneaton Borough offered a sizeable transfer fee for Evans early in the season and with Barnet under financial pressures like many clubs in the renamed Gola League Barry Fry had no choice but to accept. However Evans refused to leave Barnet so the deal was called off further adding to his hero worship on the Underhill terraces. "Born is the King of Underhill" was adapted from the hymn The First Noel and adopted by the more vocal of fans who took him to their hearts. His characteristic military salute to the crowd after scoring a goal was accompanied by a beaming smile. He was cool!
Nicky Evans 1987
He was very approachable for an after match chat in the social club and always immaculately turned out on and off the pitch, bronzed skin, fair hair to go with the film star good looks. Jocular rumours from the dressing room were circulating that while most players carried a spare pair of shin guards in their kit bags, Nicky carried a spare hair dryer! On the pitch he was quick, good in the air and took his fair share of tackles from behind yet was very rarely disciplined by officials.
In 1986-87 Nicky's 29 goals helped Barnet finish second in the GM conference behind Scarborough. He went one better for the 1987-88 season scoring 30 goals 12 of them goals in the space of 14 days in September 1987. Shortly after the 7-0 win at Loakes Park Wycombe (where Nicky scored 4) it was revealed that he had won second place in Wycombe's Player of the Month due to numerous Bees fans sabotaging the voting slips issued that evening.
Nicky was sold to Wycombe Wanderers in March 1989 for a transfer fee of £32,000. Barry Fry and Barnet Chairman Stan Flashman were bombarded with complaints and heavily criticised at the time by supporters who felt that Nicky should not have been sold but the club were in fairness in the process of trying to rebuild the squad.
The real Hand of God
In January 1991 Barry Fry jumped at the opportunity to return Nicky to his beloved Underhill and a team challenging once again for the GM Vauxhall Conference, forking out around £25,000. He was welcomed with open arms by the fans and soon reopened his goal account with a brace in a 3-1 win at Boston United. Playing in a deeper role behind strikers Gary Bull and Mark Carter. He played in the side that beat Fisher Athletic 4-2 to secure Barnet a place in the Football League.
Evans was one of the few players that stayed to help new manager Gary Phillips piece together a team for the season 1993-94 - after the players contractual disputes with the FA - which was to be his last as a player. It was very obvious to all and indeed Nicky himself that it would be impossible and damaging to continue playing at this level with his ankle problems. His final game in a Bees shirt was at Hartlepool United 2nd November 1993. Barnet lost the game 2-1 but Nicky Evans scored the goal of course.
Nicky Evans 1991
Barnet rewarded Nicky for his outstanding contributions for over 10 years with a Testimonial versus Birmingham City on the 13th May 1994. In 1997 in a Barnet Football Club Supporters Association poll he was voted Barnet Player of the Decade 1980's, one of a distinguished list of Barnet legends - Les Eason 1960's, Colin Powell 1970's and Paul Wilson 1990's.
He is currently, as always, residing with his family in Bedfordshire and like many ex players keeping a low profile. Yet I will confess to always being just a little excited when I get to chat with him even after all these years – well he is Nicky Evans isn't he?