Everyone at Bristol Rovers was saddened to learn of the death, in Durban on Sunday, of our former player Barrie Meyer.
Born in Bournemouth in August 1932, Meyer also played for Plymouth Argyle, Newport County, Bristol City and Hereford United.
Already a successful cricketer he concentrated on that sport when he retired from playing football and went on to become a well known umpire, standing in the middle for no fewer than 26 Test matches.
Moments before half time, after his initial shot had been saved, he crashed the ball into Manchester United’s net to give Rovers a 2-0 interval lead in a January 1956 FA Cup tie, which Rovers won 4-0.
The tall, powerful forward scored many goals for the Pirates, his hat tricks against Fulham in November 1955 and Derby County in August 1957 being added to when he scored three times for Bristol City against Southend United in April 1963, and he also enjoyed a successful career as a cricket player and umpire.
It was manager Brough Fletcher who took Meyer to Eastville in 1949 on a weekly wage of £7, impressed by his 47 goals in 32 games for Pokesdown as well as Hampshire Boys representation, and the young forward played for England Schoolboys as well as in one match for England National Association of Boys’ Clubs against Wales.
Whilst with Rovers, in his early years, he enjoyed local football too with Kingsway, once scoring four goals in a game. Meyer was Gloucestershire’s wicketkeeper from 1957 to 1971, his 405 first class matches bringing 5,367 runs at an average of 14.19, as well as 118 stumpings and 709 catches and he took part in the county’s tour of Bermuda in 1962.
It was a dispute over pre-season training clashing with cricket commitments which led him to leave Eastville after appearing in 139 league games and scoring 60 goals for the club.
Sixteen goals in 36 Southern League games at Hereford were to follow his time at Ashton Gate and Meyer, his pace going, was converted into a solid wing half at Edgar Street, before top scoring at Glastonbury in 1966/67 with 14 goals. The reliable cricketer evolved into a respected cricketing umpire who, between 1978 and 1993, took charge in 26 Test matches, including the famous Botham Ashes Test at Headingley in 1981, and 123 one day internationals, including the World Cup Finals of 1979 and 1983.
He undertook an annual lecturing and cricket coaching visit to South Africa through the 1980s and at one stage had a golf handicap of five. A salesman who lived in Pucklechurch with his wife Gillian and three sons, one of whom Adrian was a team mate of Gavin Kelly at Scarborough, Meyer moved to Little Eaton in Derbyshire and, despite suffering a stroke in the autumn of 2005, after which he moved to the warmth of South Africa, he continued to follow Rovers’ fortunes.
A biography, ‘Getting it right’ by Andrew Hignell, was published by Tempus in 2006.
Our thoughts are with Barrie’s family and friends at this sad time.