TESTIMONIAL matches are a rare occurrence in football these days with footballers a floating commodity and increasingly less likely to spend anything like ten years at one club.

But Barnsley legend Joe Joyce managed the feat through the 1980s with more than 350 appearances in a Reds’ shirt.

To celebrate, a Barnsley XI took on a Manchester United XI, led by Alex Ferguson, at Oakwell on November 29, 1990.

Bryan Robson played in the game with 6,000 spectators in attendance.

Barnsley put out a team which included some of Joyce’s former teammates including Norman Hunter, Derrick Parker, Paul Futcher, Ian Banks, Ronnie Glavin, Dave Speedie and Stewart Barraclough. Joyce thanked those for coming out in the rain to attend the match as well as the players from Manchester United.

The Consett-born full-back joined Barnsley in the late 1970s with another Geordie, club record appearance maker Barry Murphy, helping to broker the move after the recommendation of scout Dave Bowman.

Joe wrote in the programme from the game: “It seems like only yesterday that Barry Murphy, then youth team coach, brought me down from Consett.

“The ten years since then have passed very quickly, but I must say, very happily. It was Allan Clarke who gave me my first chance in league football and it is well documented that my debut coincided with a 7-0 defeat at Reading.

“My excuse, of course, is that I only went on as a substitute. Roger Wylde insists on telling people: ‘Ah, yes, but when he went on with 15 minutes to go, we were only losing 1-0.

“Norman Hunter and Ian Evans took over and gave me an extended run in the first team. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that the players knitted together very well as a team.

“It was great under those two and of course there was always their right hand man Norman Rimmington, ready with the dry comment that inevitably hit the nail right on the head.

“He can sum up anything in a few words can Rimmo – a great bloke to have around. The game is not just about managers, coaches and players, though. It is about the entire backroom staff and supporters.

“There has to be a special relationship to complement each other, and this shows in the fact that the spirit in all the teams I’ve played for, has been very good. It’s been a great ten years for me. Of course, there have always been bad spells but we have always managed to pull through and we’re still pushing for promotion to the First Division, that’s everybody’s aim."

The programme also featured columns from the then England manager and fellow Geordie Bobby Robson as well as Graham Taylor, then Aston Villa manager and a host of leading journalists including Peter Cooper (Daily Mirror) and Mike Morgan (The Sun).

Clarke himself described Joyce as ‘a manager’s dream’ who ‘rarely makes the headlines’.

He left the club in 1991 to move to Scunthorpe United before finishing his career with Carlisle United in 1995.

He later took to coaching with the Cumbrians and later worked with the PFA and as Academy Director with Newcastle United in his native north east.