Tony Barnett

Tony Barnett

It is with great sadness that Cumberland FA shares the news of the passing of Honorary Member, Tony Barnett.

It is with great sadness that Cumberland FA shares the news of the passing of Honorary Member, Tony Barnett. 

From his playing career, which commenced around 1968 when he played for Gosforth right up until the current season, where he helped to oversee the commencement of the new West Cumberland Sunday League, Tony was an integral part of grassroots football locally. 

Likewise, the game was a huge part of his life. 

A talented player, upon his return from university, Tony played for Marchon, Gosforth and Scilly Banks, before taking his first step into management as player-manager at Stork FC. 

In 1988, he took on a St Bees team with his close friend Steve Durham, on what was the start of an involvement with the club that oversaw their most successful period and involved Tony taking on pretty much every role that there was in the club, including secretary, chair, groundsman, unofficial Director of Football, and self-appointed barman. 

Around the same time, he was asked by Kenny Hailes to become involved with the Egremont & District Sunday League. He was soon joined on the committee by long term friend, Fred Conway, and so began a relationship that Tony liked to describe as ‘good cop and bad cop’ which oversaw the management of that league, until Fred’s death in late 2022. 

Tony was invited to apply to join Cumberland FA as a member of council and served upon numerous committees, including the sanctions and competitions and the discipline committee. After a period of distinguished service upon the CFA, Tony decided to step down from his involvement with the County. Having done so he was rightly recognised as an honorary member around 2013. 

Tony loved football. All football. He was a huge Preston North End fan, with a close affinity to Workington AFC. Tony loved to go to games and often accompanied by Steve Durham, would think nothing of jumping in the car to travel to some game, somewhere in the UK, to tick off another ground on their ever-growing list. 

However, most importantly Tony was a good man. He was kind, modest and always there for others. He had a huge personality and an even bigger grin. The biggest complement we can pay him is that whenever his name was mentioned within grassroots football, anyone who knew him would automatically smile. 

The thoughts of the County FA and the grassroots football community go to the only thing that was more important to Tony than the game, his family. 

Whenever he would call the office or a member of staff to discuss football, he would always start the conversation with ‘It’s just Tony/TB/Tony Barnett’, but as a County we can assure you that it wasn’t just TB, it was so much more. It was a true football man who has been pivotal in the grassroots game within Cumberland, and someone who we will sorely miss but always remember. 

Tony Barnett's Funeral

The funeral service will be held at St. James' Church, Whitehaven, on Monday 25th March 2024 at 10:45am.

For further information, and to donate to the FreeKicks Foundation in tribute to Tony, please click here.