Everyone at The Hive London was saddened to hear the news that Barnet supporter Chris East passed away during his journey to our match against Hartlepool United on Saturday.
Chris was a loyal and passionate Barnet fan, and the club would like to send their condolences and best wishes to his family and friends at this difficult time.
Fellow Barnet supporter Matt Tully was a friend of Chris and has paid tribute to him, saying:
“I’ve known Chris for a long time – I’m friends with his older brother, Joe, and he travelled to home and away matches with us for years.”
“He was at most games – he was at Hartlepool away this season on a Tuesday night, that’s how dedicated he was!
“Chris’ first encounter with the club was in 2005 when he was nine-years-old – he went to a pre-season friendly between Barnet and Arsenal.
“At that time Chris was a die-hard Gooner, and they remained his only club for the next couple of years.
“But he would always check Barnet’s scores to see how they were fairing, once they were in the Football League.
“A year or so later, he and his Mum went to a Barnet match together.
“Being the little adventurer he was, Chris finally convinced her to allow him to go to a couple of games with a mate.
“It was at this point that he fell in love with the club – he was allowed to go on a regular basis and ended up becoming a season ticket holder.
“His obsession grew and grew, and he eventually started going to away matches up and down the country. It’s a good job that his other passion was travel!
“Despite the difficulties that he had in life – having had heart and eye problems since birth – he put those problems behind him.
“There was no better place to do this than in the stands watching his beloved Barnet FC.
“Last summer he was seriously ill, but it was testament to his fighting character that he managed to pull through and was soon back at the Hive.
“He was looking forward to going to University in September and had five offers on the table.
“For the last few months of his life he had a buoyancy and spring in his step.
“Despite the tragedy of his loss, some comfort can be taken from the knowledge that he was on the way to do what he loved the most – watching the football club that he adored.
“Chris’ other interests were the music of The Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys, politics and travel.
“He was a family orientated boy, and a loving son and brother.
“He was extremely compassionate and caring, and was resilient to his last breath by all accounts.
“He will be missed by all those who were lucky enough to know him.
“Chris was the kind of person who didn’t know who Michael Caine was, but was able to tell you how to get from Preston to Carlisle by train on a Tuesday night!
“He was a bit of a walking Sat Nav!
“It always made him happy going to games, and it really was his second home.”
Barnet supporters Joe Cullum and Charlie Cassen have started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a flag in Chris’ honour, which they plan to take to all home and away matches.
Their target of £700 was met in under 2 hours, which is a testament to Chris’ popularity. The total continues to rise.
Charlie met Chris in 2009/10 and they would regularly watch games together:
“He was the most loyal fan – he’d go up and down the country, and go on his own if nobody else was free,” he said.
“It’s such a small club and such a tight community – we have grown up together.
“It was something that we had in common, and we enjoyed such memorable days together.
“He was a cracking bloke.
He was the sweetest kid and didn’t have a bad bone in his body – he lived for Barnet FC.
“You just don’t think something like that will happen, it hasn’t sunk in yet.
“He’s always been at matches for as long as I can remember. It’s going to be strange.”
Former school friend Jack Bennett added:
“Chris was genuinely one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever meet.
“He never had a bad word to say about anybody, and got along with absolutely everyone he met.
“He was so loved by everyone who knew him, and it’s an absolute tragedy that he can no longer be here with us.”
In honour of Chris, the club would like to invite supporters to join in a minute’s applause in the 19th minute – during our home match against Oxford United on Saturday 19th March.