In primary school I had a friend who lived behind the old Smith/Parkinson’s garage in Brigg Market Place.
In holidays I would go up to his house late morning and we would play football with the mechanics in the yard during their lunch break. One of those mechanics was Barry Horstead who had just left Brigg Town to play for Scunthorpe United.
As his career developed as a centre-half he had to play in goal in our games for fear of being injured by a wild tackle, the sort primary schoolboys are proud of. I doubt if we would have injured Barry – he was just too good!
Barry completed his National Service before becoming a mechanic and part-time footballer. He soon became full-time and he went on to play 320 league games for Scunthorpe, mainly in central defence but also at right-back and occasionally in midfield.
Scunthorpe spent several seasons in the old Second Division, now the Championship, and nearly always Barry was at the heart of the defence.
Last week he died, aged 86, and the memories of those lunchtime kickabouts came flooding back.
My next-door neighbour Bill would take me some Saturdays to watch the Iron and we would go on the 1pm bus from Cary Lane.
Sometimes Barry would be on the bus which seems almost bizarre now. He would get off at the top of the High Street and walk up to the ground with his long striding, athletic gait which he used to good effect on the pitch.
Twenty years ago when I was writing for the ‘Brigg Star’ I went to interview Barry at his home in Westrum Lane as he recalled all those memories of his playing days in an era long since replaced by one where money dominates.
Barry was a no-nonsense defender, strong in the tackle, good in the air and unlike some modern central defenders he always dispatched the ball into Row Z when needed, just to be on the safe side!
He told me in that interview how the legendary Scunthorpe manager Dick Duckworth ordered the Iron to rough it up against Plymouth away one season.
Fellow defender ‘Noddy’ Neale, Barry recalled, had to stay behind in hospital after the match!
After hanging up his boots, Barry worked at the old sugar factory in Brigg and always had time for a chat and a smile. He was a familiar face around town.
Barry will be remembered fondly by all who were lucky enough to have known him.
He would not have been too good at roughing it up because more important than being a footballer good enough to play those 300 games in the second tier of English football he was quiet and unassuming; just a lovely, lovely man.
* Barry’s funeral takes place today (Wednesday) at 1.20pm at Woodlands Crematorium, Scunthorpe.