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
a player who was recognised as a Player of the Year in 1985 not for
scoring goals or saving penalties but for sheer 100% input and a big
Peter Ronald Brown was
born In September 1961 in Hemel Hempstead and his break in football
was down to his Father. “When I was still at school my Dad wrote to
Chelsea requesting a trial. Ken Shellito took me on and I signed as
an apprentice in 1977” says Peter.“
I supported them as a
boy and its where I first met Mike Pittaway who went on to play for
Barnet too. I didn't make the first team but Dario Grady was a coach
at Chelsea and when he became Manager at Wimbledon he took me there.”
Brown played in over 50 first team games at Plough Lane before a
brief spell in New Zealand with Napier City. “Things started to
change at Wimbledon when Dave Bassett took over as it normally does
with a new Manager and I spent 6 months in Hawkes Bay which was
fantastic but I came back home to join Tring Athletic. Very soon
Barry Fry came in for me which allowed me to work for my Dad as an
engineer and still play football at a good level”.
“Brownie” spent the
next six years at Underhill in a team nurtured by Fry that took the
Vauxhall Conference by storm in the mid 1980's. Performing at right
back or centre midfield alongside some of the best loved players who
graced the Underhill turf, the era was a special time to follow the
club which was overflowing with larger than life characters and
risqué stories. It also presented some of the best football too –
at least from an entertainment angle. “The camaraderie at Barnet
was second to none. I already knew “Pitts” from Chelsea and John
Docker from Wimbledon. I became very close friends with Edwin Stein
and Nicky Evans – my wife Cath and I are God Parents to Nicky's
Peter's debut was on 11th
December 1982 away at Dagenham. The following Barnet line up won 2-1
with goals from Danny Westwood and a very rare effort from Kevin
Gary Lewin, Mike
Pittaway, Kevin Millett, Tony Bennett, Simon Webster, Gary Sargent,
Edwin Stein, Peter Brown, Stewart Atkins, Danny Westwood and Colin
Barnes. Sub: Steve Ragan.
“There are some
infamous names there not least Steve Ragan who got a game at Yeovil
abandoned when he collided with the goal post and the post lost!
Gary Lewin has gone onto much greater things at Arsenal.”
I asked him for some
memories from the time - “Playing in that team was incredible. We
were beating Trowbridge 10-0 and then Wealdstone 7-0 at Underhill
one minute but then we would lose 7-0 to Enfield in the FA Cup which
is a horrible memory, we were thrashed that day but we responded by
winning the Herts Senior Cup and making the final of the League Cup”.
We played some of the best football ever seen at that level with the
likes Eddie Stein, John Margerrison, Noel Ashford and Robert Codner
in midfield with Nicky Evans, Keith Alexander and David Sansom in
attack. Gary Abbott was another really good player. The defence of
Glyn Creaser, Steve Cox, Kirk Stephens and Kevin Millett was
watertight, normally!” laughed Brownie. “We were all close mates
off the field too and spent a lot of time socialising together which
doesn't happen at many clubs, believe me”.
Peter was rightfully
presented with the Player of the Year 1984/5 for his outstanding
contribution to the era.
He tells a great story -
“Typical Barnet, we played away at Bangor and were warming up on
the pitch. Johnny Marge was quietly exercising on his own as usual -
he stayed well away from physical contact of any kind, he could never
get his head around us going in hard tackling him in training because
that wasn't his style - when all of a sudden the kit man Dave
Whitbread smashed one of those old black diamond balls which were
hard as a rock straight in Marge's face. Marge missed the game with
concussion and Barry went absolutely ballistic! Only at Barnet.”
Peter Brown 1987
Peter's final game in
black and amber was as a substitute at home to Wycombe Wanderers on
the 10th December
1988. The following line up won 1-0 with a goal from Paul Wilson.
Andy Lomas, Edwin Stein,
Darren Angell, Liam Daish, Chris Leadbitter, Paul Wilson, Wayne
Turner, John Margerrison, John Docker, Richard Nugent and Frankie
Murphy. Subs: Peter Brown and Herbie Smith.
“Although Stan Flashman
had saved the club by coming in it was obvious that he could see a
lot of financial potential in the players. The old team had started
to break up and players were moving on for decent fees. The offer I
got from Chesham United was very good so accepted it. Did I regret
going? On reflection yeah certainly but if I had known what was
around the corner for Barnet I would have stayed but you make a
decision at the time.”
Brownie spent two seasons
at Chesham before representing among others St Albans, Edgware Town,
Dunstable and Berkhampstead.
“I then drifted away
from football enjoying the family and went into business plastering
and decorating”. Peter has been married to Cath for 29 years and
has two children, Oli 24 and Hannah 27, who is soon to be wed.
“Our dream was to own a
pub and we did for a couple of years, The Black Horse in Tring, but
it was very hands on running a bar and a restaurant and we sold up
after a couple of years and moved to Berkhampstead where we are now”.
Nicky Evans and Peter Brown 2007
I asked him if he missed
football and he told me “I didn't for a number of years although
maybe now as I am getting older I regret more not trying to stay in
the game. Talking about old times and mates with you reminds me of
the great fun I had as a player, especially at Barnet where I spent
the majority of my playing career. It is a great little club and I
have some fantastic memories”.
Peter promised to visit the Hive
very soon - “It will be nice to see the new home perhaps with some
of the old guys, can you organise it please Reckless?” I shall.
Well Peter got his wish with this reunion with Glyn Creaser, Edwin Stein, John Margerrison and Kevin Millett at "superfan" Steve Percy's retirement do at the Hive in May 2015