Barry and the town

Barry Horne

The Big Interview:

Peter Davies meets a man who once had a very dodgy perm

Background: Barry Horne. Ex-Wrexham skipper. Ex-Everton skipper. Ex-Wales skipper.

Setting: We’re at the McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield. And not only that…we’re sitting in one of the dugouts at the side of the pitch. Nothing going on though - except the groundsman watering his beloved grass. So…


You last played against Wrexham in the Isle of Man. What did you think?
‘I was very impressed. They were well organised and they knew what they were doing - and they beat Huddersfield 3-0! Obviously it was a pre-season friendly, but Wrexham deserved a lot of credit - there was a lot of good movement in particular. Connolly and Spink played together upfront and they worked well. The midfield was solid. Nobody stood out particularly - it was just an effective unit.’

What do you see as the highlight of your time at Wrexham?
‘My career was on an upward curve while I was at the Racecourse - ‘84-‘87 - so it was just ups and ups for me personally. I suppose my first league game against Swindon was very special - we won 2-1 away. Steve Charles scored a great goal in that game - I think it was from one of my crosses. And then there was Porto.’

Tell us about it!
‘Everything about the trip was fantastic. My best moment in Europe definitely. The trip out was great but when we arrived in Portugal it was lashing with rain. On the night there was a full house, there was a great atmosphere, and we were playing against one of the European soccer giants. They were a very exciting side - they had a couple of internationals in defence and Futre upfront. I was just two or three months out of university - it was amazing! After 10 minutes we were 3-0 down but pulled it back to 3-2 with those two Jake King goals. Then it went to 4-2 - and with the last kick of the game we went through.’

What about after the game?
‘We couldn’t get out of the ground. All the home fans were milling around - they weren’t very happy at going out of the competition. It was a Portuguese custom to leave a gift for the opposition. We got this massive bottle of vintage port. We all had a drink and we were all extremely ill afterwards. We’d been 1-0 up after the first leg, but still it was a massive shock to go through in the end. After going 3-0 down so early on I don’t know how we were able to come back - but we did. I think a lot of credit has to go our manager Bobby Roberts. I’ve still got immense respect and admiration for him. He made some tactical changes after about 30 or 35 minutes - and that proved to be the turning point. Porto took their foot off the gas and they allowed us back in.’

Who were your big mates then?
‘I was, and still am, very friendly with Steve Charles - he’s a teacher now. I’ve seen Bobby Roberts recently as well - he’s scouting with Derby. And today I still see Joey and Flynnie now and again.’

What about the ‘84-’87 period at Wrexham more generally?
‘Well, I was brand new to it. It was a great opportunity to play for Wrexham and I loved every minute of it. It was great experience. The team pulled through by hook or by crook and we had a couple of decent spells in and amongst. We didn’t set the world on fire, but it was quite a difficult period. Only a few years later of course the club finished 92nd.’

Would you say you’re a Wrexham fan?
’I always look out for their result. Because they were my first club, and a Welsh club, they’ll always have a special place in my heart. I’ve always been an Evertonian though. That said, Wrexham gave me my chance. I don’t have the same kind of affection for my other clubs as I do for Wrexham - Everton excepted of course.’

Other Wrexham memories?
‘Getting into Europe and playing at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Playing on the same pitch as Falcao! To this day I still believe that we suffered a couple of dubious decisions over in Rome - the penalty especially. I also remember the Real Zaragoza games - when we drew 2-2 on aggregate overall. That was a great effort - I don’t think we lost at home in Europe during my time at the club. There were a great set of lads at the club then - I really enjoyed those European trips.’

barry horne: top trivia
Favourite music:
Drugstore, all the Welsh bands
Favourite food: It varies - I like sprouts though
Favourite players in your position: Graeme Souness, Ronnie Whelan, Peter Reid, David Batty. Batty is very underrated as a club player. I also liked watching Cantona when he played deep - he was great with Scholes and Butt around him
Favourite film: Varies - maybe Citizen Kane
Favourite players of the last World Cup: Zidane, Lizarazu
Favourite TV programme: I don’t watch much - maybe Frasier
Favourite book: Varies - too many to mention
Favourite newspaper: I’m a bit of a floater - maybe the Mail or the Independent

Tell us about your background…
‘I was born in St.Asaph and went to university in Liverpool when I was 18. I got taken on by Wrexham when I was 21 and, looking back, it was particularly nice to begin my career in North Wales. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but it was good to join a club in my home country. I’m proud to be Welsh - it just made it a bit special.’

Cheers Barry!  RP

[This is only an excerpt from RP’s interview with Barry Horne. For Part 2 click on this link.]