Barney DAY RIP
By Jim Flynn/Rob Nichols
Tuesday 19 May 2020 16:04:00
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Boro fan Jimmy Flynn brought me some bad news last week. He had been in contact with Chris Day, Bernard (Barney)Days younger brother who now lives in Australia, who told him that Barney had passed away in September 2018. Barney Day wrote for Fly Me To The Moon for many years under the name of the Spider. He was a well known and respected local league footballer, former Boro trainee with a keen interest in local history. I used to look forward to his visit's to Fly Me office to drop off his latest batch of accounts drawn his long association with Boro and Northern League football. It was precious stuff. And we were so lucky to be able to read first hand memories going back to the days of Boro manager Bob Dennison.

Jim Flynn has put together this short obituary for Bernard or Barney as he was more widely known.

Barney who I knew for many years was a remarkable man. He was a legend in local and Northern League Football circles. He came close to signing professional forms for Boro and was part of the club's outstanding Intermediate team of the early 60s of whom coach George Hardwick famously said, they were capable of beating Boro's first team. The reserves actually played the first team behind closed doors and unsurprisingly came off second best.

After leaving Boro, Barney played for Billingham Synthonia, Shildon, Bishop Auckland, West Auckland and South Bank in the Northern League and several teams in Teesside local Leagues. He also played professionally for Torquay Utd for a year. Off the field, he was a quietly spoken man which belied his football persona. He was blessed with natural football ability and could play in several positions but it was as a no nonsense defender that he forged his considerable reputation. He was an astute reader of the game and phenomenal tackler who quietly went about his task of demolishing opposition attacks.

As fmttm readers will know Barney was also a talented writer, he will be greatly missed. Such a legend in local and Northern League Football and it is so sad that his passing has gone unheralded. He was very well spoken and well mannered which totally belied his on-field style. He was one of the hardest men ever to kick a ball or for that matter the unfortunate opponents he marked in every sense of the word.

Thank you Jim.

I would like to add my own memories here. It must have been in early 2018 that I last met Bernard Day in the cafe in Cherry Hill Nursery. I had not seen him or heard from him for quite some time. I had not received any of his writing through the post which concerned me. I had asked everyone I knew that might have links and had phoned his number on many occasions but had drawn a total blank. Then there he was in Cherry Hill drinking a cuppa. Am now so pleased we did meet up one last time.

I should say something more about Bernard Day, the name he used to sign off his articles. He would give me a batch of those articles in an A4 envelope at the start of a season. Every article was hand written in entirely block capitals. He was severely dyslexic yet despite this he had written a book about English baseball, he was a real authority. He is pictured here with a fine old national baseball trophy.

Barney Day

Barney wrote in a gentle style that might seem from a bygone age. Perhaps along the lines of the old Readers Digest, but it was totally charming. The details he revealed about players from the 1950s and 1960s were absolutely priceless. After all he had right there on the spot, training with Middlesbrough as an Intermediate at Hutton Road and Ayresome Park. So it was fly on the wall stuff, revealing hidden details behind the pen pics of players from the Boro history books. Without Bernard Day and his anecdotes so much would have been lost to us forever.

A former manager of Billingham House in ICI Billingham, Barney was there for the final golden years of the Teesside chemical giant. I am sure he could have blessed us with many stories from his working days also. But he also spread his wings by recounting stories from local history that I had never ever heard before. He loved his local history also.

Boro fan, local footballer, baseball enthusiast, collector, story-teller par excellence and above all an absolute gent. I will always think fondly of my meetings with Bernard “Barney” Day. A quite man but a real people person. A man of many talents. As Jimmy says, Barney Day is gone but he left his mark and will not be forgotten.

Rest In Peace.

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