B: Phil Barry
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
A flourishing domestic Manx wrestling scene in the late sixties and early seventies was headed by Phil Barry, a popular blond haired mid heavyweight from Douglas. Born in 1949 he was just 21 years old when we came across him, having been alerted to his potential by Stockport's Ian Wilson. Phil told us at the time that his match against Ian had been his most memorable, and this despite his opponents including Klondyke Bill and The Outlaw!
As a youngster Phil was an armchair fan watching wrestling on the television every Saturday afternoon. As he sat mesmerised by the grunters and groaners he imagined that one day he too would be in the ring. There was little hope of his dream becoming a reality. The opportunities for Phil were less than most, non existent in fact, because although live wrestling had been staged on the Island since 1932 there were no wrestling clubs on the island at that time. Not until George Barnabus started a club that gave Tony and a handful of other islanders the chance to learn how to wrestle.
A tough start to his career against the giant Klondyke Bill in 1970 Phil was able to work fairly often during the summer season with twice weekly shows on the island, but with that reducing to monthly in the winter Phil found himself taking the three hour ferry crossing to the mainland to gain further experience. His ambition paid dividends and led to work for Joint Promotions, meeting top performers like Steve Veidor and Brian Goldbelt Maxine. Phil wrestled on the UK Joint circuit usually for Jack Atherton and Wryton Promotions, returning to the Isle of Man in later years.
Phil's interest in local politics led to his election as a Member of the Manx Parliament, the House of Keys, in 1986. Phil was to remain a MHK until 1996 but continued to play an important part in Manx Public life. For a time Phil was an ambulance driver and later went on to run his own taxi business around the island.
Page added 16/11/2021