Winning promotion to the Football League 1991 was exhilarating, not a care in the Barnet FC world, then something happens to bring everybody associated with the club back to earth.

When one remembers the closed season of 1991 it was one of excitement for the club and supporters as we had secured promotion to the Football League for the first time in May at Fisher Athletic. However we also lost the services of a very gifted and respected player in June of that year time from the very illness that I was thankfully helped with in 2009 – Kevin Durham.
Kevin with the GM Trophy

Kevin and his family were holidaying in Majorca when he suffered a fatal heat attack. The whole of the football world was shocked that this could happen to a very fit full-time athlete. Manager Barry Fry was quoted as saying “Kevin played 48 games for us that season and was a very fit player. There was no indication of any sort of problem and his death came as a serious shock to us all. He was excellent company and the sort of player who always kept the dressing room happy. His death put a real dampener on out celebrations and put everything into perspective”

Kevin was born in Oxford April 6th 1962 and started his footballing career with Oxford Schools FA. He turned out for Abingdon Town and Pressed Steel in the Hellenic leagues before signing with Oxford City then managed by the legendary Bobby Moore with assistance from Harry Redknapp. He joined Wycombe Wanderers in August 1986 spending four seasons gaining promotion to the Conference, FA representative honours in 1989 and the admiration of the Chairboys supporters for his 100% commitment.
A long time target of Barry Fry, Barnet secured Kevin’s services in September 1990 for £15,000 – a snip! Many Wycombe fans were seething with anger at the time believing he was worth a lot more.

Kevin made is debut at home to Kettering Town on Tuesday 4th September 1990 in the following line up which lost 0-1 in front of a 4,261 attendance.
Gary Phillips, Paul Wilson, Geoff Cooper, Mick Bodley, Richard Nugent, Kevin Durham, Edwin Stein, Paul Harding, Andy Clarke, David Regis and Roger Willis. Subs Paul Sugrue and Steve Welsh. In the following game in a 3-0 win at Kidderminster Harriers, Kevin opened his goal account for the club and a week later he scored in the FA win against Clapton.
Durrers” who normally operated in left midfield joined the club while they were in the middle of a fabulous run of form. September 1990 saw us win seven and lose just one game during the month including a 3-2 win over Kevin’s old club in front of a massive 4,579 attendance at Underhill.   

The highlight of his Underhill career apart from being selected in the starting line up at Fisher Athletic in the promotion winning game was I believe officially scoring the winning goal at Northampton Town in the FA Cup 2nd round direct from a corner – the goal had been credited to Andy Clarke at one point and it seems that many Barnet players staked a claim on getting a touch!

At the end of the season with the Vauxhall Conference trophy safely in the boardroom Kevin realised a life long ambition and signed professional forms with the club. He was all set for a well-deserved summer holiday and a new stage of his career. Barry Fry said, “We hardly discussed terms because Kevin was so happy just to be a professional footballer”.
Former Barnet programme Editor and club aficionado the late Tony Holmes, who was very close to Kevin has said in one of his articles in a Bees programme – “Kevin was simply overjoyed when Barnet won promotion. When the final whistle went at Fisher, he flung his arms in the air and sunk to his knees and the look of exuberance on his face left no-one in any doubt exactly what it meant to him.”
The Durham Suite in mid construction

The club awarded a well-attended benefit match to Kevin’s family in September 1991, the opposition? Wycombe Wanderers of course. In a further gesture towards him the newly built administrative and social club was renamed “The Durham Suite” in his memory.

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