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Poll: Chester Barnes - Best Uk Player?

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  1. #1
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    Default Chester Barnes - Best UK Player Ever?

    Barry Meisel has recently did an article about the great Chester Barnes of which the news clip is attached below:



    Barry's Article in type:

    Champions from the past and present:Chester Barnes - the maverick badboy, five times English national champion

    Chester Barnes was born in London’s East End in July 1947. He became England’syoungest ever national champion, when he won the championships for the firsttime in 1963 at age 15.

    There was two sides to Chester, who was an exceptional, charismatic player froman early age, but his “my way or the highway” attitude caused him to be bannedby the ETTA on several occasions for many different reasons, which includedfailing to turn up for international matches.

    Chester represented England over 250 times and he was a maverick of theswinging 1960s to be likened to Georgie Best the footballer, Alex Higgins ofsnooker and Terence Stamp the film star. His infectious grin & sense ofhumor endeared him to his audiences, who flocked to see if the talented butvolatile player would lose to a no body, or beat an internationalchampion.

    He was at the height of his fame an icon, a one-man marketing machine, the onlyplayer with a personal manager & photographer who wore a show stopping pinkshirt, and drove a pink Jaguar E-Type sports car, registration number FU 2.

    Chester claimed that he would be a world champion, but the highest he managedto reach was number 16 in the world. He had the first square shaped bat, soldunder his name.

    Without a doubt he was one of England’s best players of his time, whichincluded Ian Harrison and Denis Neale, and the publicity surrounding him didwonders for the game. On one occasion he told the ETTA he would never play forEngland again if he was not ranked number one, then in 1968 he was banned fromplaying in the European Championships for not training with the other playersof the national team.

    During one of the times when Chester was banned, he turned up to watch histeam-mates play in an international match against Czechoslovakia, which wasbeing televised by the BBC. Stuart Gibbs was ready to serve in the first game,but the umpire became temporarily confused and announced “ Chester Barnes toserve”. Without skipping a heart beat, Chester jumped over the barrier in hissuite & tie, borrowed Stuart’s bat and served the ball. This was classicChester Barnes, the Czechs were confused, and the spectators roared withapproval, loving every minute.

    Chester was given the opportunity to play Jill Hammersley, the England numberone and European ladies champion in a 1,000 pound winner take all match,presented by Global Table Tennis Promotions. He withdrew at the last minute andwas replaced by England number 1 Denis Neale who was defeated by Jill, who wonthis first ever man versus woman match 3 games to nil, making tabletennis front page news for the first time in the world press.

    Chester decided to retire from the sport competitively before he was 30years ofage, but performed a table tennis cabaret act at venues such as Caesar’sPalace, Wembley, Butlins Holiday Camps and many major cruise lines.

    Today, Chester at 62 years of age is a successful race horse trainer, and ismarried to an English teacher. They have a son named Lester, named after thefamous jockey Lester Piggott. He chooses not to discuss his table tennis careerthese days, which adds to the aura that still surrounds the legendary ChesterBarnes.

    Chester Barnes was not the best player England ever had but he did get thesport into the spotlight with packed out venues not seen today.

    Just like other personalities in different sports John McEnroe, Illie Nastasieof lawn tennis, Georgie Best of football, Mohamed Ali of boxing and of courseMarty Reisman and Chester Barnes of table tennis, all characters which helpedtheir sports become a top attraction.
    Today table tennis and most other sports need similar personalities
    The question was asked "was Chester the best UK player ever in the UK"

    Chester undoubtedly had a high opinion of himself and lets be honest to be successful one could argue the qualities apart from skill, dedication and talent have to be a degree of self confidence and arrogance. The following gives you some idea of those two qualities just mentioned:

    "Essex had to play Yorkshire in a County match one Saturday evening. The night before we had played Lancashire, not far away, then driven to a hotel in Leeds. We knew the match was to be played in Leeds YMCA and on Saturday morning my team mate Stuart Gibbs, and I decided to go and have a look at the place. We went there and found the Table Tennis hall. There were several tables and a few people playing. I suddenly felt i just had to have a game, but we had left our kit in the hotel and we were wearing jeans and sweaters. Stuart didn't want to play, so I had to challenge one of the locals. I watched until I saw who was the best player, and as soon as he finished a set I wandered over to him and said:
    'Give me a game?'

    He looked me up and down and said:
    'Do you know how to play?'

    I assured him that I did.
    'Have you got a bat?'

    was his next question, and as hadn't he told me I'd find one in a cupboard at the side of the hall. As I turned to go to the cupboard I just glimpsed at him giving a wink to his friends.

    Another boy was at the cupboard, and he whispered to me:
    'Your'e daft, you are. He's the YMCA champion!'

    I wish i could spell their accents, but you can guess. Anyway, suitably impressed, I went back to the table. He insisted on starting a game immediately and he served first. He smiled at his friends and then served a high-pat ball to my forehand. I killed it stone dead down his backhand. He stopped smiling. His next serve was just as high to my backhand. I killed it down his forehand. He walked back to the table , having picked up the ball again, with an expression on his face rather like someone who had been asked a very difficult question. I won the game 21-7. I thanked him and went to walk away, but he said grimly:
    'We'll have another one.'

    He then took off his pullover, clenched his teeth and adopted a menacing crouching stance. I won the second game 21-3.

    He was nice enough about it afterwards. He growled:
    'You play like ----- Chester Barnes.'


    At the match that evening I spotted him in the middle row of spectators. I chose my moment. Just as my opponent was about to serve I held my hand to stop him. Then I walked right to the barrier in front of the YMCA champion and said to him out loud:
    'I look like, too.'

    Several hundred people heard me; only one knew what i meant. The faces of the rest were a picture.............................
    Taken from the book 'more than a match'

    ------------------------------------


    A rare footage of Chester in the clip.


    A nice story but demonstrates not only his arrogance and self belief, but also his ability in carrying out the task in hand. One other thing that springs to mind is the reference to the crowd of 'several hundred' people, which now is not heard very often. Not even premier British League. It may be that we don't sell the sport well enough with characters like Chester Barnes spear heading the media promotion wherever possible. This may even mean that events such as premier British League would get better promotion and therefore media exposure. That said unless the financial carrot is dangled in front of the overseas top players we will not see the BL premier league given prime time in this Country, which is a shame given it's importance and standard.

    Is Chester Barnes the best player we had in the UK?

    Not only his playing ability but his ability to bring eyes and ears to to the sport of Table Tennis, which we are not seeing nowadays. Although it is sometimes extremely difficult to judge 'now and then' as we are in different eras and yes there may well be a better player or players in our present crop of top players but can, will or do any of the players create and stimulate the same interest Chester Barnes did many years ago?

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    Difficult one to vote on with Des Douglas being higher ranked?

    The question of being the better player and or better for the sport of TT is probably more apt of which Barnes was the winner. Not a superior player though so i would vote no on that count Doeglas was for mysefl a fantastic talent.

    It is a good question as to the numbers watching the games nowadays and as the video shows crowds seem to be more vibrant years previous.


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    Some comments on FB

    • Chris Angus hi dave, chester was the best player at that time no one could beat him in the uk as the best player ever i dont know as the equipement we had in them days were so different from the eighty onwards i would have liked to have seen a match between chester and dougless2 hours ago · Like

    • Barry Meisel Table Tennis Hi Chris, I had seen and played them both. Chester was great for the game and filled halls all over the country due to his ability, personality and persona. But I can tell you one thing for sure Desmond was the better player he reached No 7 in the world rankings while Chester got to No16. Both players were great for the game and table tennis reached top billing in UK sport.about an hour ago · Like

    • Rob Dodd Dennis was up there as well55 minutes ago · Like

    • TableTennis Talk I agree50 minutes ago · Like

    • Barry Meisel Table Tennis Yes Dennis Neale was also great as was Ian Harrison these two with Chester shared the No 1 ranking over a decade.27 minutes ago · Like

    • Barry Wykes Barnes was the master showman and pulled the crowds in to table tennis.10 minutes ago · Like

    • Chris Angus i agree with everything said but i wonder if given the same equipment (blades and rubbers) would we have a different opinion.6 minutes ago · Like


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    • Barry Meisel Table Tennis I am closing my eyes and putting the clock back to the 60s. The game then was faster with more spin than the 50s but again with the equipment today the game has more speed than ever before. The best way to explain this is that I feel sure if any of the worlds top 15 players today played in the 60s or 70s they would all have been capable of winning the world championships at that time. The other difference is that today the top players can earn a living from the sport and therefore can train and practice more than back in the 60s all three Harrison,Barnes and Neale had to earn a living outside the sport as there were just trophies for winning championships. Harrison was a top buyer for Burton's, Barnes relied on coaching in holiday camps and had a column with the Sun, Neale was a bookmaker.16 minutes ago · Like
    • Keith Shepherd I think Barry is right, you cannot compare yesterdays champions with todays. Same with most sports.A few seconds ago · Like
    • Barry Wykes
      I played Chester in his prime,everything was so new then,reverse rubber had come in , the so called "modern game" b/hand counter,f/hand counter and topspin, this was a new age of table tennis and it was just made for Chester.A few seconds ago · Like

      Barry Meisel Table TennisOK TTT, yes the swinging 1960s was a very good era for English table tennis. There was also another great at the time Trevor Taylor who won all his three matches against Japan in the Swaythling Cup,Japan was the best in the world at the time. We must also not forget Stanley Jacobsen who invented the loop shot in 1960/61 and changed the game forever. Stanley was a Middlesex club player and overnight he beat everyone and won the first three open tournaments and became an international overnight.about a minute ago · Like

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    Think it will be difficult to see past des douglas as uk best player in the sponge era.
    Once people who played me ended up Punch Drunk

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    Glad to hear that TT players were not part of those dreadful Teddy Boys and Beatniks.

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    Default Standing on the shoulders of giants

    For TT at least, I think each succeeding generation of top10 players have been better than the preceding if only because of increasingly better coaching from their TT forebearers.
    In Ma Long's matches this year, he has displayed every attribute required of a top player. I doubt if anyone before him could have beaten him using a 40mm ball, non-SG bat and non-hidden serves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinykin View Post
    Glad to hear that TT players were not part of those dreadful Teddy Boys and Beatniks.
    nothing wrong being a beatnik in the sixes lol

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    Some very good and interesting response re Chester Barnes. Yes he was a very good player of that era and had some very good wins but only won one international event the Dutch Open whilst Desmond Douglas won the European Top 10 and English Open. In his prime Chester was practically unbeatable in the UK except for Harrison and Neale on occasions but he did also lose to lesser players ie Vic Ireland in two tournaments. But overall he did wonders for English table tennis by filling venues and getting the sport back to the public with media and TV coverage. In answer to your question how would he have done with today's equipment, very difficult to answer but he would certainly be up there with the best.
    It is a pity that there are no videos available of Chester in action as I am sure people of today would still get a lot of pleasure watching him play similar to McEnroe in tennis. Re Desmond he was the best England had since our world beating team of the 50s, I can't remember him ever losing to a British player and he had many top international wins. Here is a video of him playing D.Surbek in one of my promotions in 1980.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5Gfxa03aFo&sns=em

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    Barry. I believe Dave Hannah of Scotland was first Brittish player to defeat Des.

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    Really ?????

    Dave was a good player


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    Quote Originally Posted by IAAS View Post
    Barry. I believe Dave Hannah of Scotland was first Brittish player to defeat Des.
    Could be. I also remember Des losing to a Lancashire junior in the first round of the North of England Open in Manchester one year.

    Barry - I believe the first sentence of your article on Chester is incorrect. I recall him telling me that he was born in Coley, part of Reading, and not East London.
    @As_seen_by_Nick
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    Funny how we are trying to remember the one or two players that des lost to a period of says 5 to 10 Years
    Once people who played me ended up Punch Drunk

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    The guys a legend Andy

    Des for me is the best UK player we have had

    Would he create interest by his character style would be a seperate issue as Barnes seemed to have more savvy and charismatic charm which the media nowadays like even more

    You will always get those wanting to simply pick on certain losses but lets be honest it's sometimes heresay unless written in a match book or scorecard


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Could be. I also remember Des losing to a Lancashire junior in the first round of the North of England Open in Manchester one year.

    Barry - I believe the first sentence of your article on Chester is incorrect. I recall him telling me that he was born in Coley, part of Reading, and not East London.
    Barnes was born:

    27th January 1947
    Roman road
    London

    Not sure where this but sure someone will clear the location issue up

    Edit:
    Roman road is east London ????

    Barry must be correct


    Ps another from Facebook on the subject


    14 hours ago
    Rob Dodd
    • Dave problem voting from the blackberry but I would vote NO perry leach in the past. And des in my. Opinion were all a little better than chester



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    Des lost to Steve Cowley, he mentions it in one of his books.

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    Nick seems you are incorrect (amazingly) Chester was born as stated above in his book and his own words. Roman Road, East London.

    My take on this is that Des Douglas was and may well be still the best ever to come out of the crop of the UK Table Tennis field of stars. Not seen anyone who matched his speed and hand eye technique so my vote goes with him. I do agree as a media hype point of stance Chester would probably slotted well with media in this present era as they do love a maveric type of charecter and therefore TT gets more coverage in press and other media avenues.

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    Des the best player from England and cannot be questioned with his record. Chester was a great player but like many on here i have not seen his footage or his play to give enough opinion on it.

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    Des lost to Cowley and Palmer, so what, Cowley lost to silk and Palmer to ken Philipson! Des world 7 and euro top 12, trev Taylor would have been up there if not for etta


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    Best character maybe

    Douglas best player by a Country mile

    Easy picking on someone's loss here and there happens to anyone and everyone. Preano had a fantastic record against Waldner if i remember correctly?


 

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