Lasting legacy in honour of Black Dog football legend

Barney Filsell with his granddad Paul Vass, at the Maltings Meadow, in the stand named as a memorial

Barney Filsell with his granddad Paul Vass, at the Maltings Meadow, in the stand named as a memorial to his great-grandfather, Barney Vass. - Credit: Archant

Barney Vass is a legendary name in the annals of Bungay Town Football Club, a committed Black Dog until his untimely death 14 years ago.

And since then the family has wanted the name Barney to be carried on, and to be given to one of his great-grandchildren.

In time, seven came along - all girls - and of course all cherished by the Vass family. They were losing hope of a male successor until a boy finally arrived for Barney’s granddaughter Amy and her husband Peter, who live in Hales. He was immediately named Barney Joseph Filsell, a brother for four-year-old Daisy.

And this week the now 13-week-old Barney junior visited the home of Bungay Town at the Maltings Meadow for the first time, with his granddad Paul Vass, Barney senior’s son.

Following Barney’s death the club re-named the stand the Barney Vass Stand as a memorial to him and all he did for the club. Now the family hope Barney junior, born on October 13, will share the same passion for football.

Grandparents Paul and Jane Vass said: “We were thrilled to have a grandson after seven lovely granddaughters, but to have a family name is also special. Now we are hoping he will follow in Barney’s footsteps, his dad loves football and is a keen Rushden and Diamonds supporter.”

Barney spent well over 40 years committed to the club, from the time he moved to Bungay in the 1950s. He took over the running of the A side in 1959, and was later involved with the Reserves before taking over as first team trainer (the physio of today) from Ted Myall. He did a stalwart job in that role for many years before going into the management side, becoming first team manager in 1977. Four years later he took the club from division one of the Anglian Combination into the premier division.

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His training sessions were legendary among players of his period as he made sure they were as fit as possible for matches.

In 1981 Barney was presented with the Bezant Cup, given by the town council to the Bungay sports personality of the year, in recognition of his services to football. He was still an active member of the club committee, and immensely popular at the club and the town in general, at the time of his death in May 2002.