Fancy That ! 10 Surprising facts about Brian Barwick
He’s recently left the FA on a high after a triumphant 4 years in charge but the English public know too little about dapper man about town Barwick. Having discovered his secret diaries in a BBC cupboard, former colleague David Davies swapped us this factual treasure trove for an old Panini sticker of Alberto Tarantini, a signed, limited edition Midfield Dynamo Fire Blanket and a pork pie.
- 1 Brian, in his early years at the BBC, was employed as Arthur Lowe’s stunt double on the set of Dads Army.
- 2 In a similar vein Brian often gets confused by confused people with Bond villain actor, Gert Frobe. Frobe who played gold fingering maniac, Goldfinger in the eponymously titled film of the same name, Goldfinger, is reckoned by many experts in the Lookylikey industry to be an absolute ringer for Barwick. Or Goldfinger. These same experts believe that Frobe could make a bomb in the Lookylikey industry as Barwick, if he were to come back from the dead.
- 3 And if there was a market for Lookylikies of former football administrators. The bottom dropped out of the market in 1996 with the failed launch of the Sweet FA stable. There was little appetite for Lookylikies of Ted Croker, Joao Havelange and Sir Stanley Rous. The only money spinner was the late Allan Grubb who was a ringer for Sir Bert Millichip.
- 4 Brian was a producer on Football Focus in the 1980s and was insanely jealous of the better viewing figures for rival ITV show Saint and Greavsie. His ideas to spice the programme up included making presenter Bob Wilson wear a dress and having a sequence of celebrity co-hosts for Wilson including Danny La Rue, Spit the Dog (sans Bob Carolgees!) and Norman Tebbit.
- 5 Brian was the senior editor of the BBC’s World Cup coverage in 1990 & 1994. Before the Italian tournament Brian fell out with star presenter Des Lynam over the choice of the BBC’s theme tune. Thankfully, Lynam won the day with his choice of Nessum Dorma as sung by the great Luciano Pavarotti. Barwick had wanted Shaddap Ya Face by Joe Dolce.
- 6 On moving to ITV Brian had the difficult decision of firing “Big” Ron Atkinson for his racist comments about Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly. This brought back similar memories from his time on the Dads Army set when he tried to punch John Le Mesurier for calling John Laurie, aka the shows Scottish gloomster Private Fraser, a “Jock Bastard” after a night out.
- 7 The name “Barwick” literally means “turkey baster” in Serbo-Croatian. Imagine the chuckles in Zagreb when Brian asked for turkey drumsticks when England played there in 2006!
- 8 Brian moved to the FA in 2004 and was instrumental in the recruitment of Steve McClaren to replace Sven Goran Eriksson in 2006 (no attempt at comedic license is necessary here).
- 9 Prior to the appointment of McClaren, “Big” Phil Scolari was wooed by Barwick for the job prior to the 2006 World Cup. Scolari was mightily impressed of the film of Barwick dangling precariously off the edge of a steam engine during the filming of Dads Army. Unfortunately when Barwick tried to insert a clause into Scolari’s contract that he would have to dress up at the FA Christmas Party as a lookalike for silent movie star Ben Turpin, Scolari lost interest.
- 10 On leaving the FA in late 2008 Barwick was asked what his finest achievement was during his tenure at Soho Square. He thought for a moment before deciding on the introduction of recycled toilet paper for the office bogs. He had to face down an incandescent Sir Trevor Brooking over that one.