Boy From Brazil Bradford City Hall of Fame

Inductee November 2001

John Hendrie

There is a type of City fan, of which I am no doubt one, who can trace a memory back to a certain point in the mid eighties sparked off by a single phrase:

"Skin 'em Johnny"

John Hendrie was for Bradford fans now 25 to 30, the first "most exciting player" we ever say. Barrel-chested, superb ball control, short with darting runs. John Hendrie was the finishing touch on the McCall powered City team that drove up the leagues before 1988.

Signed on a free from Coventry Glasgow born Hendrie settled quickly at City. Right winger at times and right forward others Hendrie is remembered for his abilities with the ball. It held under his body as he moved forward, smart burst of pace never far away, darting into the box. If John Hendrie had one great thing about his play it was that everything he did with the ball was about causing damage to the opposition.

Never did Hendrie waste runs, they either ended in chances or with Hendrie's pigeon chested tumbles forward that resulted in a 12 yarder for Ron Futcher. When Hendrie went down it was a fall of epic proportions. Chest out, feet off the floor, his tank like frame not tumbled by anything other that serious contact...

Hendrie was the type of player that City fans have grown to love. Tommy Wright was much the same, Robbie Blake wins a lot of affection on the basis that on his better days he is Hendrie personified.

John Hendrie left City for Newcastle after the Bantams failed to win promotion. £500,000 seemed to little, but a scant 12 months later he joined Leeds for £600,000, a move that he always wanted while in West Yorkshire. He did not see eye to eye with Howard Wilkinson so left for Middlesborough where is he is still held in high reguard.

Hendrie had the chance to rejoin City, but opted for Barnsley, becoming a valuable part of the team that took the Tykes to the Premiership. He later spent a year as manager at Oakwell.

Remembering the young Hendrie charging at goal and the possibilities in front of him one has to ask the question: Did John Hendrie achieve what he could have in the game? Old team mate Stuart McCall is still playing now and went on to score for his country n teh World Cup finals. Hendrie seemed at the time to have a similar talent. Perhaps in the end the fact that Hendrie did not get as far as we though he should back then was no fault of the permanently committed winger's own. Career choices that seemed good turned bad. Newcastle should have been good with £2m Gazza cash to splash, but they flopped. Leeds should have been the start of something, but that did not work out.

In the end though the measure of the man is this. Bradford, Newcastle, Leeds, Boro and Barnsley all had Hendrie, and all hold a place for him in their hearts. Players come and players go, but the sight of that barrel-chested Scot pushing towards goal, giving everything he has lives long in the mind.

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