It is with much sadness that Barnet FC learned of the passing of one of its most influential and respected players, Barrie King, who has died in Australia at the age of 74.
Born in West Drayton on the 4th July 1940 he started his career with Watford schoolboys before joining St Albans City in 1957. An FA amateur international he also represented Middlesex Wanderers before moving to Hitchin Town in 1963.
Dexter Adams signed King prior to Barnet’s first season in the Southern League in 1965, making him the club’s first ever professional player. He was essentially a midfield player but in those times he was known as a left-half, wearing the number 6 shirt.
His debut on 21st August 1965 in Barnet’s first game as a semi-professional club saw them thrash Hinckley Athletic 10-1, with the followingline-up taking to the field for the Bees:
Johnny Barr – Bobby Warman, Jeff Voyce – Les Picking, Dennis Roach, Barrie King – Don Whyte, Les Eason, Roger Figg, Tony Harding, Reg Finch.
With Barnet the pioneers of the 4-2-4 line-up in the Southern League during the mid-1960s, King formed a midfield partnership with Gerry Ward and appeared in over 400 games for the club between 1965 and 1972.
Discussing the role of his former teammate, Les Eason once said of King:
“Barrie was ball winner of the team, the terrier, his job was to win the ball and just give it to Gerry to do the passing.”
Although goal scoring was never his forte – records show he only scored two first team goals while at Underhill – he did score perhaps the most bizarre ever Barnet own goal in an FA Cup tie at Kettering in 1971.
With Barnet leading 2-0 Barrie turned to lob a back pass perfectly over Bees goalkeeper Jack McClelland from fully halfway, although fortunately the Bees went on to win the game 4-2.
He played at Wembley in the 1972 FA Trophy Final when Barnet were defeated 0-3 by Stafford Rangers but his contribution to that team in those seasons can never be underestimated.
At the end of that 1971-72 season he emigrated to Australia, returning briefly to England in 1976 to become player-manager of Herts County League side Sandridge Rovers.
He returned to Australia in 1978, settling in Adelaide, and actually represented South Australia in Lawn Bowls. He continued to live in Adelaide until he passed away on Sunday 29th March 2015.
The club send our deepest condolences to all of Barrie’s family and friends.