Matt Healey continues the series.

Born in Birmingham on the 21st November 1968 “Oooh Jonny Narbett” was the cry from the Meadow End which was heard for a number of seasons.

Initially signing on loan from Shrewsbury Town in October 1988. Narbett later signed on a permanent basis and became the then record signing at a cost of ¬£27,500. I asked him whether being the biggest fee that the club had paid at the time came with any pressure “No, not really, I just wanted to play so joined on loan, and by the time the fee was arranged, I had settled as a Hereford United player”

Narbett would later earn a reputation as a superb penalty taker, but during his early days at Edgar Street he didn’t want to take them “I had scored a couple in a 3-1 win over Halifax in November 1988. so was on a hat trick, we won a penalty near the end. Phil Stant was the normal taker, but he said I could take it, I kind of bottled it, and left him have it”

I asked him how he got so good at penalty taking later on his career “I got so fed up winning penalties, and not having the chance to score a goal. Richard Jones had missed one, so i volunteered to take one. A penalty is a one off on the day, you can’t recreate the pressure, I never practiced them. Each penalty is a one off”

Being the penalty taker meant Narbett’s goal tally increased. With the added responsibility it meant he scored hat tricks against Carlisle and Scarborough during his Hereford United career.

Narbett had a fantastic record at spot kicks, he only missed one, a game against Lincoln City where Hereford won 3-0 on a sodden pitch, Narbett’s penalty was pushed on to the post by Imps keeper Ian Bowling, but the ever alert Narbett slotted home the rebound, so technically he had a 100% record.

Narbett was part of the team that played Manchester United in the FA Cup “Ian Bowyer took us down to Torquay for a couple of days to get away from the tension, the city was buzzing, everybody wanted a ticket. I remember thinking we were going to get a replay at Old Trafford, but then Clayton Blackmore scored a late winner, a couple of years later we played away at Nottingham Forest and I missed that match, as a week earlier I got injured when we played Blackpool”

Jon played under three managers. Ian Bowyer, Colin Addison and John Sillett “I remember Ian Bowyer signed Darren Peacock on a free transfer from Newport County when they went bust in 1989 , his debut we were away at Colchester. Darren’s first kick of the game was a free kick, he went to play it to the wing, and he literally smashed the ball out of the ground. The players were thinking who is this guy?, but Bowyer could spot a player, and Peacock went on to become a Premier League star at QPR and Newcastle”

“Colin Addison was massively experienced, I had my best season scoring goals under him and he encouraged me the get forward”

“John Sillett was an amazing one off character, a fantastic motivator, and I scored plenty of goals”

Narbett left Hereford in the summer of 1992. He had previously gone on loan to Leicester City earlier in the season in a swap with Kevin “Rooster” Russell, Narbett was gaining plenty of interest from a lot of higher level clubs.

With plenty of teams after him Narbett opted to join Oxford United for £65,000. They were now in what is the Championship, it meant Hereford United supporters could still watch him on Central News Southon Monday evenings.

After leaving Oxford in 1994 next up came a spell in Sweden playing for Kalmar, but on his return to England with Chesterfield he suffered a cruciate ligament injury. Narbett had been part of the Chesterfield team that won promotion to Division Two via the Play Offs in 1995. He tried to resurrect his career playing non league with Kidderminster Harriers, Evesham and Worcester City, but he had to retire from the game.

Back in 2019 we organised a Hereford United reunion, and Jon who currently lives in Chicago came over especially for it. He told Your Herefordshire “My memories change over the years because its only when the time has passed that you reflect more on your experience at the club, and for me Hereford is my club and I always look out for their results”

Narbett now works in the USA in the financial industry and is an active member of the Hereford United Facebook group.