The club had finished runners-up in the first two GM Conference seasons and Barnet supporters were still dreaming of some Silverware in the boardroom.

The average attendance at Underhill in 1987/88 had risen to an impressive 2,600 but supporters were to witness the side that had entertained them so royally for two years disintegrate as faces came and went in a season in which a staggering 47 players were used in 40 league games.
In fact the only two Barnet players to register over 30 league games were club Captain Edwin Stein and Goalkeeper Andy Lomas. In all honesty the club suffered more than their fair share of injury problems yet by the month May two shiny Cups were perched on the mantelpiece, the club was sitting in a creditable 8th place, and Barry Fry had finally managed to piece together a side that was to mount another serious and rollercoaster assault on the league in 1989/90.
Andy Lomas
Edwin Stein Programme Cover

For Barnet’s centenary season Newport County had been relegated from the 4th Division but sadly their existence was to be short one as their records for the season were expunged in April due to bankruptcy. Ironically Barnet’s performances against County were the best in the division and the club lost six points and an incredible 11-2 goal count - ho hum.
Over the summer months Fry had lost the services of Noel Ashford to Maidstone Utd for nearly £30,000 and Keith Alexander to Grimsby Town for £12,500. By September five more players had left. Robert Codner and Nicky Bissett had moved to Brighton & Hove Albion for over £100,00 each while Lee Payne surpassed everybody’s expectations and had a dream move to Newcastle United for a mind boggling £125,000.
Lee Payne

Glyn Creaser joined rivals Wycombe Wanderers and Kevin Millett had decided on semi retirement due to business commitments. To compensate Fry and Chairman Stan Flashman negotiated the signings of ex Coventry City , Luton Town and Brentford Captain Wayne Turner, centre back Trevor Slack on loan from Northampton Town and defender Darren Angell from Lincoln on a free transfer plus they spent £10,000 for the services of Frank Murphy from Kettering Town who had scored nearly a 100 goals in four seasons at Rockingham Road.

Turner Slack and Murphy
Frankie was to become very popular at Underhill and ended up top scorer for the season even though out injured for over two months.

To set the scene, Libyan terrorists planted a bomb which exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Seoul held the Summer Olympics, Wimbledon shocked Liverpool in the FA Cup final, although the reds walked alone in the Barclays League Division 1. ‘Must sees’ at the cinema included Die Hard, Rainman and A Fish Called Wanda. We were singing along to Perfect by Fairground Attraction, The Only Way Is Up by The Plastic Population and Loadsamoney Doin' Up The House.
An opening day 3-2 win at new boys Chorley and a hard fought 1-1 draw at Welling Utd set the Bees up for two home games. David Sansom’s goal was purely consolation in the 2-1 defeat by Stafford Rangers who comfortably outfought us while Sutton Utd’s rough tackling approach helped them steal a 1-1 draw in front of 2,503 fans. Murphy opened his account with a trademark cheeky finish. At the beginning of September the club sat 13th in the table a country mile behind Boston Utd and Kettering Town at the top.
Frankie "Cheeky Chappie" Murphy
In September Gary Abbott made club history by scoring 3 consecutive hatricks - all three goals at Wycombe Wanderers in a 3-2 win, another in the 7-1 annihilation of Newport County at Somerton Park and another in the 7-0 cruise at home to Epsom & Ewell in the FA cup 1st Qualifying round.

Gary Abbott
The visit to County was somewhat spoiled by the unacceptable racist chanting aimed at Herbie Smith and Edwin Stein and the fact that the Bees fans were charged £3.00 (nearly double the home admission fee) to watch the game from a cage on a muddy slope. It was a pleasure however to witness a second half four man forward line of Smith, Abbott, Nicky Evans and Murphy - very reasonable. 
Herbie Smith
The club then travelled in high sprits to Rockingham Road where Kettering were rather fortunate to grab a 3-1 win courtesy of, in my opinion, having an extra player that evening wearing a black shirt! Two more home defeats followed with Macclesfield (1-4) and Fisher Athletic (2-3) the visitors. By now Barnet had moved up to 11th spot but it was looking like a long hard season.

October started with a shaky 4-3 victory over Leatherhead in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying with goals from Sansom (2), Murphy and Abbott but perked up with two home league victories against old adversaries Runcorn (3-2) and Aylesbury Utd (1-0). However Grays Athletic were the visitors to Underhill for an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying round tie and nicked a 1-0 win. Booing and disenchantment rang round the ground for the first time in many years and an apology was issued to the supporters by Barry Fry promising more effort in the future. The effort was obviously lacking at York Street Boston Utd a week or so later as the 0-5 scoreline illustrated! Goalkeeper Gary Phillips briefly returned to the club on loan to cover for the injured Andy Lomas and the loss of the unlucky Steve Humphries who had suffered a broken leg.
Gary Phillips

November was a much brighter month as a run of four wins and a draw out of five league games was recorded. It could have been five wins but the game at Aylesbury was abandoned due to fog with the Bees winning 1-0 courtesy of a goal from recent acquisition Chris Leadbitter.

By the beginning of December the ‘effort’ promised by the manager had paid off and the Bees occupied 5th place in the table with 31 points, nine behind leaders Kettering but with a game in hand. Barnet lost 3-2 in an extremely entertaining game at John Still’s Maidstone Utd, Evans and Murphy with the goals, but beat a struggling Aylesbury side 3-1 (Murphy 2 and Richard Nugent) in the rearranged game. 2,434 witnessed a Paul Wilson winning goal against Wycombe at Underhill and then two John Docker goals stole the points in a 2-1 win Stafford Rangers.
John Docker
In both games recent signing Liam Daish and Darren Angell were outstanding in the centre of defence, while the substitute appearance of a very young loan signing Dion Dublin in a Bees shirt at Marston Road went barely noticed by the Barnet faithful.

Now sitting 4th in the league only four points behind Kidderminster Harriers with a game in hand everybody involved with club thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas dinners but how we all suffered terrible indigestion on Boxing Day at Southbury Road. Andy Lomas suffered concussion and at half time midfielder John Margerrison took over goalkeeping duties. Then midway through the second half Angell was dismissed. Enfield ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in front of a bumper 2,240 attendance. The bees did extract revenge on January 2nd with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from another new signing Paul Shinners and Murphy - 4,247 paid to see it. In between these games Barnet registered a 4-1 home victory over Weymouth including two goals from Nicky Evans.

By the middle of January Barnet were sitting 3rd in the table on goal difference behind 2nd placed Macclesfield and seven points behind leaders Kidderminster Harriers with two games in hand. Kettering, who were 4th visited Underhill and over 3,000 fans witnessed a thrilling game which the Bees eventually won 3-2. The West Bank was certainly the place to be at the time as the winner came in the very last minute courtesy of a Kettering defender own goal in front of a packed terrace. With all this euphoria how ironic that Beazer Homes League Gravesend & Northfleet would dump the club out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle. In the transfer stakes heroes John Margerrison and Peter Brown left the club for Wealdstone and Chesham Utd respectively while new faces included £12,000 Derek Payne from Hayes and the aforementioned Leyton Orient striker Paul Shinners on a free.
Paul Shinners with Derek Payne asking for the ball!

Due to fixture postponements the club incredibly would play no less than seven consecutive homes league games during February and March. Is this a record? The facts are that only three were won, three were lost and one drawn and as a result Barnet found themselves down in seventh place in the league ten points behind new leaders Maidstone who had been on a phenomenal run of form since Christmas. The 3-1 defeat by Telford attracted 3,280 fans to Underhill but a large proportion were there simply to witness Liverpool and Eire international Mark Lawrenson marshal the Barnet defence. He lasted just two games before accepting a coaching position at Tampa Bay Rowdies in Florida.
Mark Lawrenson
The month of March 1989 will be remembered by fans as it saw the transfer of the ‘King Of Underhill’ Nicky Evans to Wycombe Wanderers for a cut price £32,000. Nicky had scored over 150 goals in Barnet colours and was worth an extra nought as far as the Underhill faithful were concerned! The Manager and Chairman took an immense amount of criticism (I wrote Barry a letter to which he did reply) over the sale but on reflection they were trying to rebuild the team for the future. More new faces arrived including three players from Cambridge Utd, ex Watford striker George Reilly, Gary Poole and a certain young man by the name of Gary Bull.
The "real" Hand of God

April started brightly with a 3-0 victory over Altrincham including two goals from soon to voted Player Of the Year Edwin Stein. Eddie without doubt is in my Underhill Hall Of Fame, a loyal servant to the club for over 10 years.

The removal of Newport County’s records as I mentioned earlier severely affected Barnet’s slim chance of a title challenge and this was effectively extinguished as the club gained only 4 points from a possible 15 during April. Champions elect Maidstone Utd were the last visitors of the season to Underhill and 2,650 saw a vintage Barnet performance with the winning goal in the last minute from Gary Bull.
Gary Bull
The final league game was away to Sutton Utd and a second string Barnet eleven were soundly beaten 5-1. The Bees goal was scored by a fresh faced young man full of pace and trickery who Fry had discovered playing park football a month earlier, his name was Andrew Clarke. The reason for the under strength team? Well the following day Barnet were to line up against Hyde Utd in the Club Call Cup final at Bucks Head Telford. Comfortable victories over Windsor & Eton (4-1) Bromsgrove Rovers (2-1) and Dover Athletic (5-1) pitted the Bees against Maidstone Utd in the quarter final at London Road. Abbott and Shinners goals won the day. The semi final was a one leg affair against Bishops Stortford and a Gary Bull goal earned a replay. At Underhill the job was completed with a resounding 4-1 victory the goals courtesy of Murphy, Steve Ketteridge and two from Gary Poole.
Gary Poole
Steve Ketteridge

I recall an incredibly hot afternoon for the final where the 800 or so Barnet fans sang merrily in the sunshine but at 3-1 down approaching the last 15 minutes things looked decidedly gloomy. Big George Reilly had scored early in the game but enter the ‘Acid Man’ Gary Poole and “Headband” Dave Sansom to take the game into extra time and then onto a penalty shoot out. Poole, Stein, Ketteridge and Sansom held their nerve and as Murphy nonchalantly tucked home the fifth perfectly taken spot kick terrace pandemonium ensued. Falling head first over the barrier I lost my wrist watch but managed to procure Mr Sansom’s shirt and a Mr Ketteridge’s sock hold up for souvenirs as compensation. Eddie Stein danced for joy on the pitch holding the cup aloft and much fun was had by all.

Barnet line up that afternoon: Andy Lomas – Paul Wilson, George Reilly, Kevin Millett, Gary Poole – Wayne Turner, Edwin Stein, Steve Ketteridge – Frank Murphy, David Sansom and Gary Bull. Subs Nicky Ironton and David Regis.
Barnet 1988-89 - much changed by seasons end!

This splendid trophy was joined in the Underhill boardroom by the Wendy Fair Capital League Shield which had been won by the clubs reserve side against some very strong league opposition, an impressive achievement.
The cup success on the pitch whetted the appetite for those of us on the terraces and the following season when we went head to head with Darlington, the team were to respond in the typical Fry tradition by scoring lots of goals, entertaining the public and once again mounting a serious challenge on the title and the dream of league football.


ChorleyAWon 3-21,834Cox, Sansom, Abbott
Welling UnitedADrew 1-11,227Stein
Stafford RangersHLost 1-22,241Sansom
Sutton UnitedHDrew 1-12,503Murphy
AltrinchamADrew 1-1968Murphy
Wycombe WanderersAWon 3-21,815Abbott 3
Newport CountyAWon 7-11,397Abbott 3, Ironton 2, Turner, Murphy
Kettering TownALost 1-32,500Murphy
Macclesfield TownHLost 1-42,035Abbott
Fisher AthleticHLost 2-31,488Abbott, Sansom
RuncornHWon 3-22,016Angell, Turner, Sansom
Aylesbury UnitedHWon 1-02,014Murphy
Boston UnitedALost 0-51,634
Cheltenham TownAWon 2-11,241Murphy, Nugent
Fisher AthleticAWon 2-1705Wilson, Turner
Northwich VictoriaHWon 2-02,096Wilson, Sansom
Aylesbury UnitedAWon 1-01,371Leadbetter (Abandoned Fog)
WeymouthADrew 1-1878Sansom (pen)
Yeovil TownHWon 2-02,059Murphy (pen), Evans
Maidstone UnitedALost 2-31,110Murphy (pen), Evans
Aylesbury UnitedAWon 3-11,114Murphy 2, Nugent
Wycombe WanderersHWon 1-02,434Wilson
Stafford RangersAWon 2-1833Docker 2
EnfieldALost 0-42,240
WeymouthHWon 4-12,324Evans 2, Docker, Murphy
EnfieldHWon 2-14,247Murphy, Shinners
Macclesfield TownADrew 1-11,612Docker 2
Kettering TownHWon 3-23,097Shinners, Evans, Own Goal
Newport CountyHWon 4-12,526Angell, Evans, Sansom, Abbott
Telford UnitedHLost 1-33,280Docker
Boston UnitedHDrew 0-02,607
ChorleyHLost 2-42,384Murphy, Shinners
Cheltenham TownHWon 3-12,067Reilly 2, Bull
Welling UnitedHLost 2-33,006Stein, Regis
Kidderminster HarriersALost 0-11,610
AltrinchamHWon 3-02,061Stein 2, Bull (pen)
RuncornALost 0-3772
Yeovil TownALost 1-22,304Poole
Northwich VictoriaADrew 1-1625Bull
Telford UnitedAWon 3-01,113Bull 2, Murphy
Kidderminster HarriersHLost 0-22,095
Maidstone UnitedHWon 2-12,650Turner, Bull
Sutton UnitedALost 1-5727Clarke

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