MICK Tarmey had hot curry thrown at him, his pants pulled down by Dave Bassett in front of a full Oakwell and saw his beloved hometown club lose at Wembley – but he still remembers the 1999/2000 season as one the best times of his career.
The former soldier turned Barnsley physio, from Thurnscoe, was with Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett’s team throughout their journey to the play-off final and particularly remembers the Reds’ 4-0 win at Birmingham City in the first leg of their semi-final.
Tarmey said: “It was a very partisan atmosphere. I went onto the pitch to treat Robbie Van der Laan in the first minute and I think I earned £1.46 on the way back because I got battered with coins from the home fans.
“The goals started to go in and the Birmingham supporters were getting more and more irate. At the end of the game, Millsy (goalkeeper Kevin Miller) was really milking it to the home fans and the place was starting to look like The Battle of Rorke’s Drift with Birmingham fans instead of Zulus.
“I grabbed him because I was faster than him and pulled him down the tunnel but I felt this really, really hot feeling on my neck and back.
“I went straight into the dressing room, everyone was euphoric but I was in pain – covered in this very hot, sticky curry. None of the players were sympathetic or helped me get my top off. Craig Hignett just said: ‘has anybody got naan bread?’”
Tarmey was again embarrassed after the second leg, which Barnsley lost 2-1 but booked their place in the final.
“I was so happy because we were going to Wembley for the first time in our history. After the whistle, I walked towards the stand where all my family were and I was waving to them.
“The next thing I know, ‘whoosh’, Harry has pulled my tracksuit bottoms and everything else down to my ankles and I am standing naked from the waste down in front the crowd which included my mum, and also the Sky Sports cameras.”
Bassett would get Tarmey and other staff to play jokes on him.
“Harry always wanted to lift people. I used to put Deep Heat on his phone earpiece so his ears would go bright red. The players would find it hilarious but they didn’t know it was Harry who had organised the whole thing.”