Linnets Legends - Barry Howard
Barry Howard joined the Linnets from Hyde Utd in 1972, having previously played as a junior for Oldham Athletic. He was born in Ashton-under-Lyne in February 1950. As you older fans will remember, Barry was a really quick left winger, 5′ 8″ and 11st 10oz, who also proved to be a great goalscorer. By profession he was a painter a decorator but became part of the legendary team that won the NPL title in 1976. Howard seemed to follow a tradition of left wingers at Canal Street, with Johnny Williams and Paddy Daly in the same mould.
During his time with the Linnets, Barry was an extremely popular player and stayed with us until 1978. During that time, as well as the league title, he also collected winners medals for the Cheshire Senior Cup twice, in 1973/74 and 1974/75 and picked up a winners medal for the NPL Challenge Cup in 1974/75. Barry was also part of the team which so nearly reached Wembley during the 1970s. The same team knocked Southport out of the FA Cup in 1977 in the First Round proper and went on to play Hartlepool.
In that 1975/76 championship season, the trio of Howard, Whitbread and Finnegan scored a total of 93 goals between them, with Barry Howard contributing 21 of those. The two Barrys later went on to play together for arch rivals Altrincham. Howard was always prepared to attack players and his best position was as a wide old-fashioned winger, able to cut in and shoot with either foot. Howard tried his luck briefly in the League with Stockport but was soon transferred to Altrincham in the summer of 1978 for a then record club fee of £3000!
Barry was good enough to win seven caps for the England non-league team (although none of these in his spell at Runcorn) and ironically was named as one of the Non-League players of the season in 1981/82 for his performances at Altrincham, which was the season Runcorn won the Alliance!
A great player in a great team, Barry deserves to be remembered as a Linnets Legend.
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