Barry joined the club in 1963 as a 6 year old. He soon impressed and was selected in representative teams from an early age. He made his debut for the 1st team in 1973, with one game from the bench, but the following two seasons he was a 1st team regular, scoring 17 goals, before giving some compelling performances as a goalkeeper in 1976.
In 1977, Barry transferred to Stop Out for National League football until the end of the 1980 season, after which he played for Christchurch United in 1981, and then for Miramar Rangers through to 1986. During this time he was in the 1982 New Zealand World Cup squad in Spain and made 20 appearances for New Zealand.
After 5 seasons at Miramar Rangers, and his career threatened by serious injury, Barry returned to Petone as 1st team coach for the 1987 season. That year however coincided with the entry of Hutt Valley United (HVU) into the National League, and of course Petone was one of the three clubs that formed HVU. Barry ended up playing virtually a full season for HVU on Sundays, winning Player of the Year in doing so, while coaching our Central League side on Saturdays. He then played national league football for two more seasons before semi-retiring with several games over the years for our 1st and 2nd teams. Of particular note over these years was his scoring his 18th career goal, a match-winning goal, which saw us win the 1990 Central League 1st division; his playing a full season of Superclub in 1996; and his last game for the 1st team being in goal at the age of 47. Overall, in national league, he had played over 200 games and won Player of the Year awards on 7 occasions, while for Petone he was almost a 1st team centurion.
We were always very proud that Barry was only the second born and bred Petone junior to play for New Zealand, (after Tony Evans). The fact that he had to leave our club to achieve the level of football required to sustain national selection never lessened our pride in his success. In a similar vein, it was straight back to our club for him when injury curtailed his days of national representation.
In terms of administration, Barry was first elected to the Management Committee in 1994, and that year became the key person in developing the Committee’s proposal to build the fence around the No. 1 pitch. Barry undertook most of the planning, specifications, funding arrangements, and Council authorisation work. Using his ample football experience, he also contributed in the area of appointments and liaison with coaches and players, and was a key figure in our newly set up Football Committee. From January 1999, the Committee elected him as its Chairman. He held that position for five years, and when he stepped down from that role in 2003, the annual general meeting elected him as Club Secretary, a position he still holds after 9 years.
With two sons emerging into junior football, Barry became a junior team coach in 1995 and he continued in this role, moving up the age grades for 15 years. He was also a representative coach for 6 years, and a coach at Hutt Valley High School for some years. He also coached goalkeepers at various levels over many years, and is currently the 1st team goalkeeper coach.
Barry was elected a Life Member of the club in 2006 in recognition of the substantial contribution he had made as a player, coach and administrator in his 33 years with the club. He had served in key positions of responsibility, on and off the field, and had also performed a myriad of other tasks. If something needed to be done, he would ‘just do it’, seldom asking for the help of others.
It is easy to sum up Barry’s contribution by way of referral to the years of position-holding, but it is very difficult indeed to quantify the sheer intensity of the contribution he has made in the depth and breadth of the club’s administrative area. Ground set-up, gear, organising the Hilton-Petone Tournament for a decade or so, coaching and playing resources, 1st team appearances and match records, Council and Capital Football relationships, the inauguration of Team Wellington, the artificial turf development, the clubrooms, collation of results, communication with teams – these are all areas in which he has contributed significantly, and that list isn’t exhaustive.
One key contribution worthy of special mention is the challenging area of the club’s applications for funding from the various poker machine charities. The success of our funding applications overall is crucial to the club’s survival in its current form. The diverse criteria that the charities have for grants and the wide range of funding requirements we have, not to say the importance of getting the timing of applications just right, are all demanding of a systematic and integrated approach which Barry has managed carefully and successfully for many years.
As of this year, Barry has been an active club member for 40 years, and most of those have involved very substantial contributions. Not so well known would be that over much of that time, and befitting someone of his playing achievements and administrative responsibilities, he has taken an holistic and open-minded view of the structure of local football and where Petone might best be placed in terms of any national and regional aspirations. It will be important for the club to be able to benefit from his strategic approach as we move further into an era of less funding available, local authorities reducing their direct involvement with grounds, and higher costs impacting on our sport.