In five years at East End Park, Barrie Mitchell was never far from the headlines even though it was often for reasons other than his playing ability.
Born in Aberdeen on 15th March 1947, he rejected the chance of joining Arsenal as an amateur and subsequently spent four years with Sunnybank at both juvenile and junior level before joining Arbroath at the start of 1967/68.
Mitchell had only played half a dozen senior matches when, on 5th September, Dunfermline manager George Farm caused a sensation by signing him for £13,000, a record fee for a Second Division player.
A difficult first season saw him undergo an appendix operation, break a bone in his foot and injure himself in a car crash but in between all this he scored his first goal in a 3-0 win at Morton on 25th November.
Becoming a first-team regular in 1968/69, he made his European debut against Olympiakos, scoring in the first leg before being sent off in Athens for retaliation. Although this was only the second dismissal of his career he earned the dubious distinction of being the first British player to receive a three-match ban from UEFA. Along with Alex Edwards, Mitchell refused to turn up for pre-season training in 1970 and despite a furious manager and disciplinary action against them, neither returned until October, after Farm had been sacked and pay rises awarded to the entire playing staff.
His Dunfermline career came to an acrimonious end on 29th April 1972 when, on the morning of a match that would determine the club's fate, it was reported that he had already agreed to sign for Aberdeen. The Pars lost to Dundee United and Mitchell was given abuse both on and off the field.
Dunfermline received a much-needed £25,000 for Mitchell, who scored 40 goals in 168 appearances, but a slipped disc severely curtailed his Aberdeen career before he had even played a game, costing him that vital half-yard of speed.
In February 1974 he moved on to Tranmere and then played for Preston, York and Vancouver White Caps before heading back to Tranmere to run a pub.
Views : 4,329