I enjoyed Richard Williams’ excellent piece about my older brother Barry Hines’ football novel The Blinder (Sport, 26 March), and I can confirm Barry did play for Barnsley A team. He also played one game for Barnsley reserves – away from home against Stoke. His only memory of that game was being booed by the Stoke fans for a reckless tackle.
Barry did not have a trial for Manchester United, as suggested in Williams’ piece, but he was invited to take part in one. I was 11 when a United scout, who wore an overcoat and trilby, knocked on our door, and I recall how my pride turned to dismay when Barry turned down the offer of a trial because he wanted to become a PE teacher. When he taught in London, Barry played semi-professional football for Crawley Town before he returned to teach in Yorkshire, where he played for Stocksbridge, the former team of the Leicester and England player Jamie Vardy.
• It would be a fitting tribute to Barry Hines (Yorkshire found its voice in Kes, 22 March) if writers generally adopted his spelling of the Yorkshire version of was. He spelt it, correctly, wa’, and not the usual were, which insultingly suggests grammatical ignorance.
• I appreciated Mike Daly’s letter (24 March) about trying keep his composure when reading a moving passage in Kes to his class. It reminded me of my much more mundane but amusing recollection when reading the same book to my class of 10/11-year-olds and leaving out the word “bugger”, only to see a table of four girls grinning at me – as they had brought the book from home and were following it as I read!
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