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John Benjamin Barnes (28 April 1908 – 1 April 2008) was an English footballer who played as an outside left for several Football League clubs,[1] as well as for non-League side Atherstone Town.

Jack Barnes
Personal information
Full name John Benjamin Barnes
Date of birth (1908-04-28)28 April 1908
Place of birth Atherstone, Warwickshire, England
Date of death 1 April 2008(2008-04-01) (aged 99)
Place of death Coleshill, Warwickshire, England
Playing position Outside forward
Youth career
Atherstone Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1928–1929 Coventry City 8 (0)
1929–1931 Walsall 68 (18)
1931–1933 Watford 75 (11)
1933–1934 Exeter City 18 (1)
1934–1935 York City 15 (1)
1935–? Atherstone Town ? (?)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Early lifeEdit

Born in Atherstone, Warwickshire, Barnes left school at 12, to help provide for his family. He worked in various coal mines, as well as a bakery. His football career began as an amateur for Atherstone Town. He signed on professional terms for Coventry City in March 1928.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Barnes played eight consecutive games for Coventry at the end of the 1927–28 season. One of these matches—a 2–2 draw with Crystal Palace—was the lowest attendance in Coventry's history, attracting 2,059 spectators.[3] After being confined to Coventry's reserves the following season, Barnes joined Walsall in June 1929.[3] He stayed there for two years, scoring 18 goals in 68 appearances as they recorded consecutive 17th-placed finishes in the Third Division South.[4][5] In July 1931 he joined Watford, managed by Neil McBain.[2][6] After 83 games and 11 goals for the Vicarage Road based club, he was transfer listed for an asking price of £300, before eventually joining Exeter City for a third of that figure.[6] His stay in Exeter lasted just one season, before he joined what would be his last professional club, York City, in August 1934. Barnes played 15 York City games, scoring once, before retiring from professional football due to a foot injury.[7] Barnes rejoined first club Atherstone Town as an amateur in 1935.[6]

After footballEdit

Following his retirement, Barnes worked in a munitions factory during the Second World War, and later did work as a painter/decorator, plumber and tanner.[3] His family included wife Nancy, daughter Janet (who later had two children Angela and Paul), and he lived to see all four of his grandchildren, Jenna, Matthew, Naomi and Niall.[2] Apart from football, Barnes' sporting interests included golf, boxing, cricket, swimming and greyhound racing. Barnes considered becoming a professional golfer in 1938, and although he did not pursue this possibility, he continued playing until the age of 93.[2] Barnes died from Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, only 27 days before his 100th birthday. Prior to his death, he was the oldest surviving former Football League player and one of the last surviving professional footballers to have played before World War II.[2][8]


  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData (Tony Brown). p. 17. ISBN 978-1-899468-67-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e Samantha Clarke (27 April 2007). "At 99, Jack is football's great survivor". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Jim Brown (14 April 2008). "TV remote takes the strain in Coventry City relegation battle". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Walsall 1929–1930: English Division Three (South) table". Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  5. ^ "1930–1931 : English Division Three (South) Table". Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Trefor Jones (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. p. 32. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1.
  7. ^ Jim Brown (10 March 2007). "Our most senior citizen... Game on Sky Blues". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Gone But Not Forgotten: Jack Barnes". Coventry City Former Players Association. Retrieved 23 December 2010.