In 1991 League football at last came to Underhill for the first time in its history after a season full of tension, thrills, despair, excitement and goals.

Chairman Stan Flashman and Manager Barry Fry fine tuned the squad - Roger ‘Harry’ Willis from Grimsby and Enfield defender David Howell both for £10,000.However as the season began to simmer some awesome talent began to arrive at Underhill as Big Stan wrote out the cheques. In October midfielders Kevin Durham from Wycombe (£15,000) and Paul Richardson from Kettering (undisclosed fee) plus a winger Tony Lynch from Wealdstone (£15,000) put pen to paper just for starters!
To set the scene, The Channel Tunnel was completed, in the cinema we watched Goodfellas and Dances with Wolves and we all joined the “New Kids on the Block Fan Club”

David Howell
Roger "Harry"Willis

Gary Bull

Barnet’s opening game was a hard fought 3-3 draw at Macclesfield Town but Slough Town then came to Underhill and were completely overwhelmed 6-1 as Gary Bull netted four. A 2-0 victory at Northwich and a dogged 0-0 at home to Altrincham made it an unbeaten start in August which must have impressed new club sponsors Levitt Homes.
September arrived and David Regis scored an absolute beauty from fully 25 yards in the 3-1 defeat of Barrow. As I watch this goal on video over 20 years later it still amazes me that a ball can be propelled at that velocity with the minimum of leg back lift. Three days later league favourites Kettering Town arrived at Underhill and 4,261 fans witnessed a first league defeat for the Bees albeit in a thrilling encounter.
David Regis
Gary Phillips

A magnificent Gary Phillips penalty save helped us to a 3-0 win at Kidderminster while a 5-0 crushing of Boston Utd on a chilly Tuesday night warmed the souls of another 3,000 plus gate at Underhill. Nearly 4,600 showed up for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers and they were also royally entertained in a 3-2 thriller At the end of the month The Bees were sitting in 2nd place in the table 6 points adrift of Kettering with a game in hand and 2 points ahead of Colchester Utd.

This month saw the departing of Paul Harding and Dave Regis, both to Notts County for big fees It hardly seemed to matter to the team as they recorded a stunning 4-1 victory at Cheltenham Town, including a ‘Bully’ hatrick, a comfortable 2-0 defeat of Stafford Rangers and an 8-1 mauling of Fisher Athletic at Underhill. Bull’s second four goal haul of the season in this game was overshadowed by substitute Lynch who scored with his very first touch in an amber shirt and then added another shortly afterwards.
Tony Lynch

November and December
Three 1-1 draws were to follow against Merthyr Tydfil, Gateshead and Telford Utd but Barnet were still in touch in 2nd place. A 3-2 defeat at Runcorn ended a 17 match unbeaten run in league and cup matches but bouncebackability was the word of the season and the team responded with a clinical 4-1 win at Yeovil which included a great ‘Lynchy’ hatrick and Andrew Clarke supreme.
An edgy 2-1 win at home to Cheltenham came off the back of a epic 1-0 replay win at 4th Division leaders Northampton Town in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup. The Match Of the Day cameras had joined over 5,000 at Underhill to see the team hold the Cobblers to 0-0 but on a very hostile night at the County Ground Kevin Durham scored direct from a corner and Barnet held on. Film evidence illustrated the reason for the hundreds of Barnet fans jumping around on the pitch that night. It was not only to celebrate an emotional victory but to fight off hypothermia!
Kevin Durham
Colchester United were Barnet’s festive opponents and the 0-0 on Boxing Day at Layer Road was a total lottery due to the appalling condition of the pitch and gale force winds. The return at Underhill on New Years Day bought the Bees down to earth with a bump as the visitors deservedly won 3-1 in front of 5,105 fans. Squeezed in-between was a fine 4-1 victory at Welling Utd with winger David Tomlinson, making his debut, having a fine game.

Barnet had dropped to 3rd in the table but January was packed to the rafters with incident and exciting arrivals. The team frankly didn’t do themselves justice when a classy Portsmouth visited for an FA Cup 3rd round tie. In front of Underhill’s biggest gate for 18 years 6,209, it finished 0-5 and possibly should have been more. The fans however were more than compensated with the return of the ‘Goalden Vision or The King Of Underhill’ Nicky Evans from Wycombe Wanderers for £25,000 while another £40,000 was spent on the ‘Glen Hoddle Of Non league’ Kenny Lowe from Barrow. Flashman and Fry meant business and before long top non league international Mark Carter joined the squad from Runcorn also for £40,000.
Kenny Lowe
Nicky "God" Evans
A last minute Andy Clarke goal grabbed 3 points at Sutton Utd leaving the Bees 11 points behind Kettering but with 3 games in hand. A poor performance at home to Northwich Victoria (1-1) was in the end quite fruitful as all the other title challengers dropped points. Amends were made by beating Bath City at Underhill 2-0 yet that game was seriously lacking in atmosphere as the hallowed West Bank had to be closed off due to the mysterious fire which had destroyed the old clubhouse.
Andy Clarke

Approaching February Kettering had 60 points from 27 games, Colchester 54 from 26, Barnet 52 from 25 and Altrincham 49 from 24.
Nicky Evans’ first goals since his return helped Barnet to a fine 3-1 at Boston but a 4-2 reverse at Barrow was tough to take – it's a very long way to Barrow! That game was to mark the last Barnet appearance by Andy Clarke as he moved to Wimbledon in a deal worth a staggering £350,000. The Dark Shark had been a revelation in Barnet colours since Barry Fry had discovered him playing Sunday morning park football some two years earlier.
The team then scraped a 3-2 win at home to Yeovil and then picked up another 3 points with a 2-0 win at home to Runcorn.
March was a mixed bag as a win at Gateshead (3-1), a shock home defeat to Merthyr Tydfil (2-3) and nervy 1-0 win at home to Sutton Utd, courtesy of a goal from loan signing Paul Culpin from Peterborough illustrated. However the performance of the month was reserved for the visit to Rockingham Road Kettering. 1,200 Bees fans saw two Bull goals, and a first goal for Mark Carter in an amber shirt win the game 3-1 with Evans outstanding. Barnet were top of the table.
Hard tackling utility man Duncan Horton was signed from Welling Utd for £25,000 to bolster the defence but even he couldn’t help the Bees overcome an Altrincham side who were on a phenomenal run of form inspired by a name for the future in winger Paul Showler. 1-4 was the result.
Mark Carter scores at Kettering

The first two Underhill games of April certainly didn’t ease the tension as firstly a Telford side, including a revitalised ex Bee Steve Humphries in goal, took a point in a goal less draw. Then a Kidderminster side, who had not won a Conference game since Christmas, rocked the boat by snatching a 3-2 win. It was looking bleak for the Bees with 6 games remaining, they needed to put together a high quality run of results and others to slip up. Fry rallied his troops to go on an all out assault with the message that miracles can happen.
The lowest Underhill attendance of the season saw the team regain their form as they easily dispatched a Macclesfield side 3-1. They followed this by winning by the same score at relegation threatened Slough Town. The next three games played in just six days were to elevate the Bees back to the top of the table. Incredibly at a vital time Altrincham dropped six points. A 2-2 draw for the Bees at Stafford Rangers was disappointing as they had led 2-0 at half time but the game for tearing hair out was the last home fixture of the season versus Welling Utd. The Barnet superiority was shown by a two goal lead courtesy of a Bull finish and the ‘Goal Of The Season’ from the charismatic Frank Murphy - three defenders left standing and staring into space in midfield the fourth sold the perfect dummy and the 25 yard chip over the goalkeeper was perfection. Booker and Robbins equalised completely against the run of play but with just 3 minutes remaining Mark Carter was hacked down in the area and ‘Mr Cool’ Gary Bull stepped up to slot home the penalty. The ground erupted and Bully should have been granted the freedom of Barnet.
Frank Murphy "Goal of the Season"

Monsoons hit Buckinghamshire on Monday 29th April as over 1,600 Bees fans made the journey to Wycombe Wanderers. The Duke Of Kent was present to officially open the new Adams Park and he immediately became a Barnet fan as Gary Bull scored two goals in the opening five minutes. Kenny Lowe scored a third before Wycombe pulled one back near the end. This game was perhaps the club finest performance of the season and TV cameras caught the soaked to the skin players celebrating with the ecstatic soaked to the skin supporters.

The following evening over 200 Bees fans were present to cheer a Slough Town side on against Altrincham at Wexham Park. Unbelievably the Bucks boys were 3-1 down but grabbed a last minute equaliser to leave Barnet needing just a draw from their visit to Fisher Athletic to be crowned champions.
I 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.
Barry Fry Lifts the Trophy
Dressing Room Celebrations

Stan Flashman & Barry Fry

What went on during the evening at the Brookman Park Hotel to celebrate the Championship win I can't tell you, as every supporter and player I know who attended doesn't remember. Surely no-one begrudged Barnet’s achievement after 3 times runners up and everybody connected with the club fully deserved the success.
Barnet had scored 103 league goals including 30 from Player Of the Year Gary Bull in only 30 games while Barry Fry used only 28 players in league matches and Gary Phillips played in every one of them.

The Football League finally embraced Barnet FC with open arms and the show rolled on.

Macclesfield Town A Drew 3-3 1,917 Nugent Bodley Bull (pen)
Slough Town H Won 6-1 3,193 Bull 4 (1 pen) Nugent Own Goal
Northwich Victoria A Won 2-0 819 Harding Regis
Altrincham H Drew 0-0 3,696
Barrow H Won 3-1 2,431 Regis 2 Harding
Kettering Town H Lost 0-1 4,261
Kidderminster Harriers A Won 3-0 1,344 Bodley Durham Clarke
Boston United H Won 5-0 3,138 Bodley G Cooper, Willis Clarke Regis
Wycombe Wanderers H Won 3-2 4,569 Clarke 2 Poole (pen)
Bath City A Won 4-1 1,041 Clarke 2 Willis Regis
Cheltenham Town A Won 4-1 1,476 Bull 3 Willis
Stafford Rangers H Won 2-0 2,850 Bodley Clarke
Fisher Athletic H Won 8-1 2,923 Bull 4 Lynch 2 Clarke Bodley
Merthyr Tydfil A Drew 1-1 1,175 Bull (pen)
Gateshead H Drew 1-1 3,045 Willis
Telford United A Drew 1-1 1,485 Willis
Runcorn A Lost 2-3 634 Bodley Bull
Yeovil Town A Won 4-1 2,768 Lynch 3 Clarke
Cheltenham Town H Won 2-1 2,309 Bull Clarke
Colchester United A Drew 0-0 3,946
Welling United A Won 4-1 1,777 E Stein Willis Bull Lynch
Colchester United H Lost 1-3 5,105 Poole (pen)
Sutton United A Won 1-0 990 Clarke
Northwich Victoria H Drew 1-1 1,842 Willis
Bath City H Won 2-0 2,096 Clarke Durham
Boston United A Won 3-1 1,751 Evans 2 Richardson
Barrow A Lost 2-4 1,584 Bull Willis
Yeovil Town H Won 3-2 2,262 Evans 2 Bull
Runcorn H Won 2-0 2,450 Richardson Bull (pen)
Gateshead A Won 3-1 972 Lowe Evans Bull (pen)
Merthyr Tydfil H Lost 2-3 2,594 Evans 2
Kettering Town A Won 3-1 4,540 Bull 2 Carter
Sutton United H Won 1-0 3,551 Culpin
Altrincham A Lost 1-4 3,000 Culpin
Telford United H Drew 0-0 2,842
Kidderminster Harriers H Lost 2-3 2,521 Murphy 2 (1pen)
Macclesfield Town H Won 3-1 1,335 Durham Bull Murphy
Slough Town A Won 3-1 1,548 Evans 2 Lynch
Stafford Rangers A Drew 2-2 1,306 Bull (pen) Willis
Welling United H Won 3-2 2,451 Bull 2 (1 pen) Murphy
Wycombe Wanderers A Won 3-1 4,488 Bull 2 Lowe
Fisher Athletic A Won 4-2 4,283 Bull 2 (1 pen) Willis Howell

No comments:

Post a comment