Bryan Hills Surprise Reunion

At the Mangotsfield United home game a surprise reunion was arranged for former manager, Bryan Hill, to celebrate his 80th birthday.

The event was well attended by his former players, family, and supporters.

Barnstaple Town Football Club would like to thank everybody who helped to arrange the event, and to all those who came along to make it a special day.



Bryan Hill was brought in to manage the Club after Brian Perks jumped ship mid-season and made the short journey down the road to Bideford. At the time Barum were 2nd in the table with 15 games to play, 3 points behind AFC Bournemouth with 3 games in hand – remember it was only 2 points for a win in those days.

Bryan’s first game in charge was on Saturday 8th March 1980, a 4-0 win away at Frome Town. A further 7 wins with 6 draws and only 1 defeat, saw Barnstaple Town crowned Western League Premier Champions at Bridport with a 2-0 win on Saturday 3rd May 1980. A mere 57 days after his first game, and Barum were Champions again for the first time since 1952/53. Bryan’s reward was to be sacked, with Richard Gray brought in for the following season.

Bryan returned to the Club for the start of the 1992/93 season with Barum in the First Division of the Western League, having been relegated at the end of 1990/91. A 9th-place finish was an improvement on the previous season’s 17th, and set the foundation for the following year.

1993/94 started with a 3-0 home win over Heavitree United on Saturday 21st August, followed by a 3-1 defeat at Clyst Rovers three days later – not the best of starts. What came after was to cement the names of Bryan Hill and his side into the Barnstaple Town record books for all time. They went on a 33-game unbeaten run in the league.

Barnstaple Town won the league by ten points over the second placed team, Bridport.

BARNSTAPLE TOWN   P38  W28  D8  L3  F107  A39  PTS89

BRIDPORT                         P38  W24  D7  L7  F90  A46  PTS79

The following season was a mediocre affair with 15 wins and 15 defeats, but with a very respectable 4th-place finish. So what was Bryan’s reward for yet another title and respectable league finishes? Yes, you’ve guessed it, he was sacked again – his reward for emulating Arthur Coles in winning both divisions of the Western League.

Two titles, and a win percentage of 52% place Bryan Hill among the very best to occupy the Mill Road dug-out.
Bryan Hill’s complete league record:

1979/80  P15  W8    D6    L1    F25    A10    1st

1992/93  P34  W16  D8    L10  F58    A48    9th

1993/94  P38  W27  D8    L3    F107  A39    1st

1994/95  P40  W15  D10  L15  F62    A58    4th

Total       P127 W66  D32  L29  F252  A155

Here are some pictures from the day, how many former players can you spot?
(Click the images to increase their size)

Bryan presents the man of the match award to Jack Rice


Thanks again to all involved.

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