Sunday, 18 January 2015

Player Profile - John Barnes


John Barnes was born in Jamaica on the 7th of November 1963 and moved to Liverpool from Watford for a transfer fee of £900,000 on the 9th June 1987 in my opinion one of the best signings made by the then manager Kenny Dalglish, forming one of the most formidable attacking line ups the club has ever seen, with Beardsley, Aldridge, Rush and Houghton.  Barnes made his Liverpool debut on 15th August against Arsenal at Highbury setting up a goal in a 2-1 win, he scored his first goal a month later on the 12th September in a 2-0 win over Oxford United at Anfield.

In his first season Barnes and Liverpool lifted the championship trophy and we're only denied a double as they lost the FA Cup final due to some very strange refereeing and a missed penalty, despite these achievements it is probably his performance on the clubs Cup Final song, the Anfield Wrap that he is best remembered for, all round a fabulous first season.  He was voted PFA Player of the year and won rave reviews from everybody with Bobby Robson claiming he was as good as George Best at his peak.

Barnes would win another title and two FA Cups whilst at Liverpool but many felt that due to the European ban following Hysel Barnes and his team missed out on further glory in Europe, they were certainly good enough to challenge the very best.

During his time at Liverpool Barnes suffered at the hands of racists and it is a testament to the man that he always handled his with grace and dignity generally making opposing fans eat their words with his performances on the pitch.  The Everton Chairman at the time Philips Carter disowned a section of their own fans following them abusing Barnes during the Derby.

Following the Hillsborough disaster Barnes along with the manager Kenny Dalglish at his team mate's attended many funerals and visited the injured in hospital even pulling out of an England game in order to fulfil these duties for which we all owe a debt of gratitude.

In 1992 Barnes picked up a severe achilles injury not only forcing him out of that seasons FA Cup final but causing him problems with his acceleration, he was never the same player again.  He played in for Liverpool in a deeper midfield position that after a poor start he did master but we never again sawn him gliding through opposition defences.

On 13 August 1997 and after 10 years and 407 games for Liverpool Barnes was given a free transfer joining Newcastle United.  A true Liverpool legend and a player who I am delighted to say I saw play and was one of the best I have ever seen.


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