The History Of Barnet FC - 1939 to the 1950s
War Period 1939-45
With the Athenian League, FA Cup and Amateur Cup all suspended the club arranged a wartime league, the Herts. and Middlesex League becoming runners-up in the first season. During this period the club won the London Senior cup (1940-1), Herts. Senior Cup (1941-2, 1944-5), Herts. Charity Cup (1942-3, 1944-5), Herts. Hospital Cup (1942-3), Barnet Hospital Cup (1942-3), Herts. Middlesex League Cup (1944-5) and Finchley Hospital Cup
(1944-5). Two players, J. Gerrans and J. McCarthy were honoured by being selected for the British Army. Sad news however for another promising player when it was learned that Sergt. Harold Faircloth M.M. had been killed. There was good news from Lieutenent Dennis Kelleher, R.N.V.R, who after being captured at Tobruk, succeeded in escaping from a prison camp in Germany.
Arriving home in England on Thursday (3 weeks later) he played for the club on the Saturday, scoring two goals.
With the end of the war came the resumption of normal football in the season 1945-6. The club were fortunate in being able to call on most of their old players with the addition of a few newcomers and quickly became a formidable combination. In the FA Cup they get through the qualifying rounds and met Queens Park Rangers in a two-leg affair losing 6-2 at Underhill and 2-1 at Shepherds Bush. However, the high spot of this year was reaching the final of the Amateur Cup for the first time. In front of 53,802 spectators at Stamford Bridge Barnet beat Bishop Auckland 3-2.
In October 1946 the television cameras came to Underhill and televised "live" the game between Barnet and Tooting & Mitcham - the first ever football match to be televised for which the club was paid a nominal £5 royalties.
The 1946-7 season was one, if not the most, successful seasons the club has seen. For the second season running they reach the semi-final of the Amateur Cup, only to be beaten by Leytonstone. A record was created in London amateur football when the club won the London senior Cup, London Charity Cup and London Intermediate Cup. Then on the last day of the season a victory over Hendon at Claremont Road, Barnet became champions of the Athenian league for the third time. Early in 1947-8 season the club played Sing Tao Sports Club of Hong Kong the first Chinese club to visit England and 5000 spectators watched Barnet win 5-3.
In April 1948 the club reach the Amateur Cup final for a second time meeting their old friends Leytonstone in front of 59,605 spectators at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately in a disappointing match Barnet lose 1-0. Consolation came when the championship of the Athenian league was secured for the fourth time.
Yet another Barnet player, George Wheeler, was honoured with an international cap and Dennis Kelleher became the second Barnet player to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games.
Success in the Athenian league was hard to come by in the fifties - in the first eight seasons the club finished 8th, 12th, 9th, 13th, 11th, 7th, 15th and 4th.
In March 1951 Barnet played in the Four-Nations Cup. The first game was lost 8-0 to Floridodorfer (Austria); the second a 4-0 win over Vejan Sportforerning. In September 1951 they played a team from the Gold Coast at Underhill losing 4-3.
The mid-fifties were a lean time for the club. Several administration changes and disbanding the "A" team for two youth XI's had little effect.
The ground was also purchased by the council and leased back to the club.
Things got better in 1957-8 when they reached the semi-final of the Amateur Cup, finally losing 3-2 to Woking after a replay. In 1958-9 they nearly did the double - after winning the Athenian League they narrowly lost 3-2 to
Crook Town in the Amateur Cup final. On the way to the final Barnet must have recorded the all time scoring record. In the second round they beat Willington 8-4 with the first three goals (one for Willington, followed by two for Barnet) scored in the first 75 seconds!
In 1959-60 they finished league runners-up spoiling the pattern of doing back-to-back doubles in Athenian championship wins (1931 & 32 and 1946 & 47).