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Dennis Signy OBE was a former wartime cub reporter on the Hendon and Finchley Times at £4-a-week and became group editor for 17 years in the late Sixties. He was a national press football writer for five decades, is author of several football books and director of Barnet FC.
Posted on 11:33am Thursday 10th March 2011
As I return to the fold after 78 days in hospital and the loss of three stone in weight, I can only thank the myriad well wishers who contacted my family and to repeat the quote of Mark Twain, the American author and humourist, who once wrote: "The report of my death has been greatly exaggerated".
Posted on 4:45pm Friday 23rd July 2010
THERE were hair-raising moments galore as I learned to drive in a 15 cwt truck on the Khyber Pass years go, with buses and lorries careering round corners towards me at speed with dozens of excitable Indians hanging out of the windows.
Posted on 10:58am Monday 28th June 2010
Over the years I have regaled family and friends with the show stopping news that I learned to drive up the Khyber Pass during an undistinguished career in khaki as 14894617 Sergeant Signy Sahib. The only action I saw was in the Punjabi riots soon after the end of the war when an excitable young man stuck a knife in my right hand - the remnant of a scar is still visible.
Posted on 11:27am Monday 24th May 2010
There are signs of World Cup fever in our staid suburban neck of the woods. Pennants flutter from the sides of cars.Flags of St George are proudly displayed outside houses. Fabio Capello, the England manager, seems to have inspired a level of expectancy in the land that the Three Lions can emerge triumphant.
Posted on 11:43am Monday 12th April 2010
Take a close look next time you see the oldest man in Britain on the TV news. He's usually 108, invariably from Scotland and inevitably is holding a glass of Scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other. "Crikey", I mutter to myself. "I've got a few years left then".
Posted on 9:41am Wednesday 10th March 2010
Each Saturday in the football season, as a result of a series of gaffes over the years, I am subjected to a severe sartorial test by Mrs S and eldest daughter Julie before I am allowed to appear in public. Despite this, last weekend I found myself confronted in deepest Cheshire with a chap wearing an identical cashmere sports jacket.
Posted on 9:37am Monday 1st March 2010
IN her heydays as a no-nonsense magistrate -- a trait she has carried into our family life - Mrs S was allocated many football hooligan cases at Tottenham Court and would come home to tell me of the banning orders imposed on fans she had surprised with her knowledge of life on the terraces when they offered a futile defence.
Posted on 5:20pm Thursday 28th January 2010
My CV records a variety of modest achievements as a newspaper editor, football writer and author and charity worker ... but no mention of the days when I stood accused of a variety of offences ranging from housebreaking to assault.
Posted on 12:29pm Thursday 17th December 2009
Bouncy comedian Jimmy Tarbuck tried to catch me on the hop when we got together at the 'Saints and Sinners' Club Christmas lunch at the InterContinental Hotel. We had been discussing the decline of Liverpool Football Club when we were joined by two other guests. "Do you know Dennis?" one of them asked Jimmy.
Posted on 11:34am Tuesday 24th November 2009
MR Chalk, the rather austere headmaster of Finchley County School at the start of the second world war, once observed that my form 2B was the worst that he had encountered in 27 years as a teacher and he particularly singled me out as a no-hoper academic.
Posted on 2:33pm Tuesday 17th November 2009
It was always a source of amusement to me that 14894617 former Sergeant Signy was elected a member of the officers' Mess at Inglis Barracks at Mill Hill and passed the port and brandy to vastly superior ranks on regimental occasions.
Posted on 6:28pm Monday 5th October 2009
Years and years ago the then Labour leader of Barnet Council, one Robbie Robinson, photographer Rod Brewster and I, in my guise as investigative editor of the Times series, crouched on a roof at Heathrow and watched the old town clerk of the borough return from a holiday in his villa in Spain and be driven back to Hendon in the Mayoral car.
Posted on 9:37am Wednesday 23rd September 2009
Wild horses won't drag from me the exclusive quote on what might have befallen Rio Ferdinand in the Manchester United dressing room on Sunday if Michael Owen had not scored a 95th minute winner against Manchester City.
Posted on 3:44pm Wednesday 2nd September 2009
One of my favourite comedians of the glory, glory days of music hall was a fellow named Billy Russell, whose billing proclaimed "On behalf of the working classes". I'm beginning to think I should devise a (not-so-humorous) 2009 follow up version "On behalf of the Barnet council taxpayer".
Posted on 2:47pm Monday 24th August 2009
What happened to news sense? I have just returned from a delectable weekend break on the English Riviera to discover sports page headlines about a cricket match south of the Thames rather than li'l ol' Barnet FC's sterling 1-0 victory against Torquay United that elevated the lads to a nosebleed sixth place in the League 2 table.
Posted on 2:16pm Thursday 30th July 2009
Birthday in Billericay sounds like a good title for a song. Maybe not possessing the lasting world-wide appeal of Chicago or San Francisco or as romantic as It Happened in Monterey, but it has possibilities.
Posted on 8:58am Monday 20th July 2009
I never thought the day would come when I would publicly say that I could kiss Justice Secretary Jack Straw. In my mind's eye he has always been a downtrodden supporter of Blackburn Rovers rather than an outstanding political decision maker.
Posted on 9:52am Friday 19th June 2009
There are a few disrespectful and anonymous souls who read my column in the Barnet FC match programme and my news reporting on the website who have me tagged as a name-dropping dinosaur who should hand in his computer and retire quietly to a corner of a dark room.
Posted on 9:09am Friday 29th May 2009
There's a sad story on Sky News about an Arsenal fan in Africa hanging himself when his team lost 3-1 to Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final. Looking back on the football season that finished this weekend, I guess I was lucky that Mrs S didn't have a shotgun to put me out of my misery when Barnet were humiliatingly trounced 5-1 by Chester City last August.
Posted on 9:41am Thursday 23rd April 2009
The trouble began when I bought Mrs S a season ticket for the 1966 World Cup finals at Wembley. Her honeymoon treat included Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick and Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy. It's been downhill for both of us ever since.
Posted on 9:18am Wednesday 25th March 2009
ITV1 screen a documentary on Brian Clough. The controversial film, The Damned United, about his turbulent 44 days in charge of Leeds United, is due for release. And Amazon e-mail me with an offer of 'Provided you don't kiss me; 20 years with Brian Clough" for £6.25.
Posted on 1:41pm Monday 2nd March 2009
Fings aint what they used to be. I read that magistrates at Tameside in Greater Manchester gave a conditional discharge to a chap found in possession of heroin and crack cocaine but fined another £175, and £155 costs, for dropping a cigarette butt. Seems to me a drastic way of trying to stop people smoking!
Posted on 8:39am Monday 23rd February 2009
Euphoria swept over Underhill on Saturday as "little old Barnet" - one win in 21 games - swept to victory in their League 2 David v Goliath home game against promotion hopeful Bradford City by a thumping 4-1 margin.
Posted on 10:04am Wednesday 4th February 2009
The late top-of-the-bill comedian and Fulham FC chairman Tommy Trinder joked about his side's reaction to a continuous flirtation with relegation: "When the players win a corner they want to do a lap of honour".
Posted on 12:04pm Wednesday 24th December 2008
As a callow and skinny teenage youth I spent one Christmas in the mid-1940s on my own based in a bungalow in Peshawar on the NW frontier of India as one of the last of the British Raj. If my memory serves me correctly, I relieved my boredom by driving through the Khyber Pass across to the Afghanistan border when my 60-year-old bearer finished pandering to my needs and went home to his eight children.
Posted on 5:12pm Friday 5th December 2008
In those carefree 17 years when I was in the front line and the trenches guiding the Times group of newspapers, I was dubbed a "controversial editor" by the Sunday Times in a full page spread examining my front page comment that anti-Semitism was a worse problem in NW London than colour.
Posted on 4:40pm Wednesday 12th November 2008
Can you believe what you read in the papers? I never thought I'd say that after a lifetime in the profession. I'm a simple soul, a poor old pensioner who promptly pays his bills, coughs up his taxes with just a touch of middle class moaning, has never had an overdraft and has brought up five children.
Posted on 8:44am Wednesday 15th October 2008
Every day I pass this portrait photo hanging in the hallway of our apartment and take note of this pleasant looking middle aged former editor in a smart dark blue suit and a white shirt -- then have a reality check face to face with the updated me in the mirror in the bathroom.
Posted on 10:03am Monday 13th October 2008
A renowned football writer of my acquaintance many years ago drew breath at the final whistle of a dire goal-less match and penned what should have been an immortal intro on his report to his daily paper: "Much ado about nothing-nothing".
Posted on 8:54am Monday 29th September 2008
A foggy day in London Town early on Saturday ended with sunshine and smiles in Cleethorpes at around 4.50pm with Barnet FC winning their first game of the season against Grimsby Town with a solitary goal.
Posted on 8:56am Monday 15th September 2008
Followers of the Signy Story probably know by heart how I learned to drive on the Khyber Pass and was for some while the sole representative of the British Army on the Afghanistan border — but I have never written or boasted about acquiring the Distinguished Service Medal or the Burma Star.