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’S TWO STINTS AS BARUM MANAGER
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)
Thanks again to all involved.