Friends and Deadly Rivals

JAMES DAVIES remembers the football rivalries he shared with Barrie Devney during their days on the Daily Express.

Barrie and I were close friends for 40 years or more but deadly rivals most Saturdays.

As Terry Pattinson says, Barrie was a passionate supporter of Mansfield Town – God's Own as he called them – while I was equally devoted to the giants of Rotherham United or The Kings of Europe as they were known – at least by me!    

mansfield town

For most of our lifetimes the two floundered aimlessly in the nether regions of the Football League but matches between them were greeted with  bloodcurdling partisanship by Devvers and I.

I remember one Friday when they were due to play each other the following day, we were exchanging the usual wildly exaggerated claims when Alan Frame walked through the specialists' room and asked who we were talking about.  

He walked away with a bemused expression and said to a nearby sub:  "You think they are on about Manchester United and Chelsea? Well it’s Mansfield and bloody Rotherham."

rotherham

The last phone call I had from Barrie was when victory by the Kings of Europe consigned God's Own to the Conference, a fate worse than death."You bastard," he snarled. "I'll never speak to you again”.  

Of course he didn't mean it but sadly, because of retirement and distance, he never did.

© 2005-2019 Alastair McIntyre