As modest as his CV as a footballer was, so unforgettable was Barry as a trainer, entertainer and above all as a human being.
Barry Hugh Hughes (31 December 1937 – 2 June 2019) was born in Wales and played in the youth of West Bromwich Albion. A classic football club in the West Midlands. The Baggies' first team never made it to Barry. As a result, he moved to FC Blauw Wit from Amsterdam. A few seasons later he switched to Alkmaar '54, one of the two forerunners of the current AZ. This is where he stopped playing football.
Hughes became coach in Alkmaar in 1966. His very first job that would be the beginning of a successful period as a trainer. Or successful… he didn't win big prizes. Still, his players ran away with him. Joop Böckling described Hughes as "a wonderful man, a motivator of the purest water. From a football point of view it might have been possible to improve, but through and for him you went as the fire brigade.'
In 1970 he brought ruud Geels to Deventer as trainer of Go Ahead Ruud Geels. The Haarlemmer had lost the competition to Ove Kindvall at Feyenoord and flourished again under Hughes. Two seasons and 35 goals later Geels left for Club Brugge. The addition of 'Eagles' to Go Ahead can also be counted among hughes' record.
Also in Haarlem they cherish warm memories of the Welshman. On a bus he picked up supporters himself for the games. He also made his Ruud Gullit debut here at the age of sixteen. He had convinced the Amsterdammer (and his father) to come and play football with Haarlem, because the chance of playing minutes was much greater than at his favorite club Ajax.
At the trainer's course where Barry Hughes was, Georg Kessler was in charge. "For two years, he's given me hell. He hated the English type of trainer. He didn't like English football. The first year I failed my exam, but in my second year I still got my diploma. And I've always kept in mind, if I ever get a chance to get back at him, I will."
When the game against AZ '67 was on the program and Kessler was in charge there, he bought the -infamous- roll whistle. Before the game, he had figured out that when Haarlem played well and won, he could use it well. And so it came to pass: Haarlem played great and won 3-2. Every time Kessler came out of the dugout annoyed, to coach his team, Hughes blew his roll whistle, accompanying it with the text: ''Hey Georg!'' hughes shared this hilarious moment with the audience behind him.
So was Barry Hughes; striking, colourful and full of jokes and jokes. Not for nothing did he later make several carnival crackers. With the hit singles 'I want a room-wide carpet on my head' and 'Happy with Barry / You shouldn't have done that' he ended up in the top 40. A trainer with several side activities that made him once called 'entertrainer' by Johan Derksen.
Being successful is not just expressing yourself in winning prizes. Barry Hughes left an indelible impression everywhere he went. That's being successful. We would like to remember him in the words of René van der Gijp: "He is a trainer i do not forget from my life days, a real phenomenon. "
Photo: National Archives – Peters, Hans / Anefo