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 is a player who had power, speed and a superb
instinct for a goal and was top scorer at Underhill for three
in Lewisham in 1972 Sean was on the books of Millwall as a trainee by
the age of 17 impressing Manager Mick McCarthy but failed to break
into the first team at the New Den. “I was up against it with Teddy
Sheringham there at the time wasn't I?”. He had a loan spell at
Woking before dropping into the Isthmian League with Bromley. “I
went to America for a short while to try my luck there too”. Back
in England after trials at QPR and Leyton Orient an unsettled season
at Fisher Athletic followed before the lure of the sun and sand of
Cyprus beckoned the 21 year old and he signed for Famagusta, where he
spent some six months.
were lacking in fire power up front after Dougie Freedman's move to
Crystal Palace, and Chairman Tony Kleanthous, who allegedly had heard
about and witnessed Sean playing while on holiday, forked out £10,000
to allow Bees boss Ray Clemence let the striker have another crack at
made his debut on 7th October 1995 at home to Exeter City
in the following Barnet line up scoring in a 3-2 win.
Taylor, Shaun Gale, Mark Stimson, Alan Pardew, David McDonald, Terry
Robbins, Glen Thomas, Peter Scott, Paul Wilson, Alex Dyer and Sean
Devine. Subs; Lee Charles, Danny Mills and Mark Cooper.
soon started to repay the faith shown in him by scoring with
monotonous regularity hitting a real purple patch in the Spring of
1996 alongside strike parter Lee Hodges who also had found his
scoring boots. Devine finished the season with 22 goals from just 35
appearances, while Hodges scored 17 from 34. They really were a
deadly duo and hot property but Barnet narrowly missed out on the
Division 3 play-offs finishing 9th just two points behind
Colchester United, who did qualify, but with a far superior goal
was to follow at the start of the following season under the
direction of new Manager Terry Bullivant, and by October 1996 Alan
Mullery. Regular headlines akin to “Sean saves the Day” or more
likely “Devine Intervention” adorned programmes and and the local
and national press. Sean or 'Lumpy' - “I have Peter Scott to thank
for that, its a long story!” he has since revealed - became an icon
on the terraces at Underhill even posing for a series of photographs
with a fashion magazine. Sean would invariably turn up for training
with his English Bull Terrier Duke in tow. “He would terrify
Sean Devine - Fashion Icon
an astonishing vein of form at the start of that season Devine became
the new King of Underhill. However in the run up to Christmas of
1996 a series of groin and hernia problems then severely restricted
his effectiveness and
he only returned to full fitness after a lengthy rehabilitation spell
at Lilleshall during the summer of 1997. He
still finished the season top scorer with 17 goals from 39
Still's arrival at Underhill heralded the arrival of two strike
partners for Sean in Ken Charlery and Scott McGleish. The competition
for places should have been healthy for the club but it also
contributed to Sean's natural progression to want to move onto a
higher level and his attitude frankly became a little erratic.
drew Norwich City in the first round of the League Cup and in the
thrilling second half of the second leg at Underhill with the Bees
3-1 down on aggregate, goals from Greg Heald and a stunning brace
from Devine won the tie for Barnet. It was an highly charged
emotional night watching from the terraces, I can tell you. Possibly
as a consequence of his impressive displays in those League Cup
matches and indeed the previous season at Upton Park also in the
League Cup, a week long trial at West Ham United was arranged.
However an outstanding three match suspension possibly influenced the
Hammers decision to not to follow up their initial approach and Sean
was somehow forgotten. West Ham coach Frank Lampard Senior was quoted
at the time “Sean
did well, and could have had a goal or two against Bournemouth in one
game. But we need to know how he moves and works, and we will want to
look at him again". "The
ball is in West Ham's court," said Barnet boss Still. "It's
up to them to make contact with us and make a reasonable offer."
Further enquires from Stoke City and Stockport also fizzled out.
His goal tally for 1987-88 was 18 from 46 appearances including a
quite brilliant hatrick at Darlington.
I have already hinted being constantly in the spotlight, together
with the gossip of an imminent move up the football ladder, did begin
to have an effect on Sean on and off the pitch. Yet he was called up
8 times for Republic of Ireland B duty by his old ally Mick McCarthy and
scored 3 goals. That team included Robbie Keane and Damian Duff in
and McGleish had become the forward partnership preference for John
Still at the start of the 1998-99 season and there were indeed
hearsays of conflicts between the Still and Devine. “"For
the past two years there have been rumours about me going here or
there. But after so long at Barnet I felt I was stagnating and I need
a move to lift me. I now have a chance to represent my country, but
there's also a chance it might lead to something else "
said Sean at the time.
was loaned out to rivals Wycombe Wanderers and ironically if not
frustratingly from a Barnet point of view his form immediately
returned scoring 6 goals in 7 games. The Underhill faithful certainly
voiced its disapproval towards their Manager on a regular basis but
by April 1999 a firm offer was received from The Chairboys and a fee
of £200,000 was agreed.
last appearance in a Barnet shirt was on 9th
March 1999 in the following line up against Carlisle United at
Underhill as a substitute for Marlon King in a 1-0 win;
Harrison, Sam Stockley, Robbie Sawyers, Greg Heald, Mark Arber, Mike
Basham, John Doolan, Udo Onwere, Stevie Searle, Ken Charlery and
Marlon King. Subs: Darren Currie, Steve Barnes and Sean Devine.
set a Wycombe club record for most goals in a single season by
scoring 25 goals during the 1999/2000 campaign. However, a knee
injury caused him to miss the whole of the 2000/01 season and after
that he was unable to regain his old goalscoring form.
boss Lawrie Sanchez accepted an offer from Exeter City in December
2002 and Sean then became a Grecian for £70,000 where he spent 2
seasons scoring over 40 goals but couldn't prevent them from being
relegated to the GM Vauxhall Conference.
moved on again in May 2004 but abroad once more. The other side of
the world came a calling and he signed for New Zealand Knights, at
the time the Kiwis only professional side. He remained with them
until 2007, when the club unfortunately disbanded. He ended his
career in the 2008 at another New Zealand club, Metro FC in the New
Zealand National League, before retiring.
reports are that he is still happily residing near Wellington.
Barnet career ended on a sour note, unfortunate maybe but it still
doesn't stop us appreciating the grace, the power and the quality of
his play or indeed smiling while recalling his little tribal like
dance whenever he celebrated scoring a goal. Sean was a truly fine
player who will always be fondly remembered by Barnet supporters.