John Barnes

  (Redirected from John Barnes (footballer))

John Charles Bryan Barnes MBE (born 7 November 1963) is a Jamaican-born English international former professional footballer and manager. He currently works as a commentator and pundit for ESPN[4] and SuperSport. Initially a quick, skilful left winger, he moved to central midfield later in his career. He won two league titles with Liverpool with whom he also won two cup finals at Wembley. He was also a FA Cup runner-up with Watford, Liverpool and Newcastle United. He earned 79 caps for England.

John Barnes
John Barnes in Kristiansund, Norway.jpg
Barnes in 2012
Personal information
Full name John Charles Bryan Barnes[1]
Date of birth (1963-11-07) 7 November 1963 (age 56)[1]
Place of birth Kingston, Jamaica[1]
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.81 m)[2]
Playing position(s) Left Winger
Youth career
Stowe Boys Club
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1981 Sudbury Court
1981–1987 Watford 233 (65)
1987–1997 Liverpool 314 (84)
1997–1999 Newcastle United 27 (6)
1999 Charlton Athletic 12 (0)
Total 586 (155)
National team
1982–1983 England U21 3 (0)
1983–1995[3] England 79 (11)
Teams managed
1999–2000 Celtic
2008–2009 Jamaica
2009 Tranmere Rovers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Barnes was born and initially raised in Jamaica as the son of a military officer from Trinidad and Tobago and a Jamaican mother. He moved to London with his family when he was 12 years old. Barnes joined Watford aged 17 in 1981 before playing 296 competitive games for them scoring 85 goals. He was a Watford 1984 FA Cup Final runner-up. He debuted for England in 1983 and in 1987 joined Liverpool for £900,000.

In his 10 seasons there Liverpool won the then top-flight First Division twice and the FA Cup twice. He scored 106 goals in 403 matches. By the time of his last cap in 1995, he had more caps than any other black England player. After two years at Newcastle United, he ended his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1999.

Barnes was the PFA Players' Player of the Year once (in 1987–88) and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year twice (in 1987–88 and 1989–90). In the run-up to England's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign he recorded a rap for the official team song, New Order's "World in Motion". In 2005, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. In 2006, in a poll of Liverpool fans' favourite players, Barnes came fifth; a year later, FourFourTwo magazine named him Liverpool's best all time player. In 2016, The Times readers voted him England's greatest ever left-footed player.[5]

Barnes had 8 months as Celtic head coach when his former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was director of football. Barnes has since managed the Jamaica national team in 2008–09 and English club Tranmere Rovers for four months in 2009.

Early lifeEdit

Barnes was born in Jamaica, to Roderick Kenrick "Ken" Barnes (a Trinidadian) and Frances Jeanne Hill (a Jamaican). Ken Barnes hailed from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago emigrating to Jamaica in 1956 as a member of the West India Regiment. He joined the Jamaica Defence Force when formed after the nation's 1962 independence when he was initially commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Jamaica Regiment. In 1973 he was promoted to colonel remaining in the army until retiring in 1989. While in the army, he was a semi-professional footballer for a Jamaican league club and also captained the Jamaican national team.[6][7] Barnes spent his early childhood living in Jamaica's biggest military base,[8] playing football and living a disciplined life. His father was president of the Jamaica Amateur Swimming Association and later formed Jamaica's first bobsleigh team.[7]

Barnes' father was a huge squash and football fan who encouraged his son to pursue sports, having named him after Welsh footballer John Charles.[9] Ken Barnes, who was promoted to Colonel in 1973,[7] was appointed Defence adviser to the High Commission of Jamaica, London (1976–1981)[7] and Barnes moved to London with his family in January 1976[10] when he was 12 years old. He attended the rugby-playing St Marylebone Grammar School[11] then a short stint at Haverstock School, Camden Town.[12] While at school he played four years of youth football at the Stowe Boys Club in Paddington.[13]

Club careerEdit


Barnes was noticed by Watford as a teenager while playing for Middlesex League club Sudbury Court.[14] After a successful trial game in Watford's reserves, Barnes signed on 14 July 1981 for the fee of a set of kits.[15]

Barnes debuted aged 17 as a substitute on 5 September 1981 in a Football League Second Division 1–1 home draw with Oldham Athletic. With manager Graham Taylor Watford were eight months away from completing a five-year rise from the Fourth Division to the First.

Barnes quickly established himself as a regular player and scored 12 Second Division goals as Watford were promoted, as runners-up to fierce rivals Luton Town to the top flight of English football at the end of season 1981–82. Watford finished runners-up for the League title[16] to Liverpool the season after. Watford lost the 1984 FA Cup Final as under-dogs 2–0 to Everton.[17] Watford lost a 1986-87 FA Cup semi-final to Tottenham Hotspur.

At the end of the 1986-87 season, Taylor called time on his 10-year spell as Watford manager to take charge at Aston Villa. Bassett, resigned to losing Barnes to a bigger club, gave Alex Ferguson the chance to sign Barnes for Manchester United. Ferguson rejected the offer still having faith in United's left winger Jesper Olsen. Ferguson later admitted that he regretted not signing Barnes, especially as Barnes helped extend Liverpool's dominance in England by three seasons, while Olsen fell out of favour at Old Trafford and had left by the end of 1988, with his successors Ralph Milne and Danny Wallace failing to live up to expectations. Ferguson's United waited until 1990 to win a major trophy and 1993 to win the league title.[18]

Barnes left Watford on 9 June 1987 to sign for Liverpool after 233 league appearances scoring 65 goals.


Barnes arrived at Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool in the same close season as England teammate Peter Beardsley and linked up with new signings John Aldridge and Ray Houghton. Barnes debuted for the Reds along with Beardsley on 15 August 1987 in the 2–1 league win at Arsenal. After 9 minutes Barnes and Beardsley combined to set up Aldridge to score. Barnes' first Liverpool goal was on 12 September beating Oxford United 2–0 at Anfield.

In his first Liverpool season they won the League title, remaining undefeated for the first 29 games of the season. Barnes' 15 Liverpool league goals in his first season there was second only to John Aldridge. The 2 April 2–1 defeat at Nottingham Forest was the last of only two league defeats that season. 11 days later Barnes, Beardsley, Houghton and Aldridge were instrumental in Liverpool's 5–0 home win over Forest described by Tom Finney as "One of the finest exhibition I've seen the whole time I've played and watched the game. You couldn't see it bettered anywhere, not even in Brazil."[19][20] The double however was thwarted by Lawrie Sanchez' Wimbledon goal beating Liverpool 1–0 in the 1988 FA Cup Final. Barnes was a key performer on the Anfield Rap; the club's cup final song that UK charted at number 3. Barnes was voted PFA Player of the Year.

In the summer of 1988 Ian Rush re-signed for Liverpool. Following the death of 95 Liverpool fans in April 1989 as a result of the Hillsborough disaster, Barnes attended several funerals and visited the injured in hospital. He pulled out of an England international friendly in order to fulfil these public duties.[21] Liverpool won the 1989 FA Cup Final with a 3–2 victory over Merseyside rivals Everton, with Barnes creating goals from the left wing for Rush. In the 1988-89 title decider at Anfield, Arsenal's Michael Thomas' 92nd minute, league winning goal occurred in their counter-attack 17 seconds after Barnes lost ball possession attempting to dribble past Kevin Richardson.

Barnes played in the 1990 title winning side at Liverpool and scored 22 league goals from the left wing – the highest goal tally of his career. Ian Rush scored four fewer league goals than Barnes. Barnes was voted Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year, and expectations from England manager Bobby Robson were also high, seeing Barnes as a key component in the buildup to Italia 90. Teammate Peter Beardsley has since said Barnes at the end of the 1980s was "The best player I ever played with, bar none. For three or four years at the end of the '80s, John was possibly the best player in the world."[22]

Barnes continued to play regularly for Liverpool and England into the 1990s. In 1990–91 he scored 16 league goals. Arsenal were league champions in the season of Kenny Dalglish's resignation and his replacement by Graeme Souness as manager.

Liverpool had qualified for the 1991-92 UEFA Cup, being readmitted to European competitions a year after the ban on all other English clubs in European competitions since the Heysel disaster in 1985 had been lifted. This was the first time Barnes had played in European competitions since Watford's 1983-84 UEFA Cup campaign.

However, Barnes missed most of the 1991-92 season due to a succession of injuries and played just 12 league games, scoring once, as Liverpool finished sixth in the league – their lowest finish in two decades and the first time since 1981 that they had failed to finish champions or runners-up. Liverpool won the 1992 FA Cup Final but Barnes missed the game through unjury. The next month in June he was injured playing for England in Helsinki in a warm up game before Euro 92. Barnes was out injured for five months. He never recovered his explosive burst of speed that had been a key element of his play. He was now past his playing peak.[23]

Barnes and several other senior players had frosty relationships with Souness during this period as the manager tried to impose new methods quickly. Many senior pros resented his hard discipline approach as well as the increased pressure in training.[24] Barnes also once had to make a public apology to Souness after he gave an interview criticising the tactics employed by the manager before an important match.[25] Young teammate Robbie Fowler also said in his autobiography that Souness felt at the time Barnes was past his best, but in Fowler's (and others') opinion he still had a lot to offer and was still one of the most talented players at the club.[26]

Souness later stated in his autobiography that Barnes due to his injuries was now taking a "less demanding" central midfield playmaker's role as opposed to a goalscoring winger. Despite the effects of the injuries, Barnes was still regarded as one of club and country's best players and Souness noted that Barnes "Retained his quality on the ball, using it well and rarely losing possession".[24] Mark Walters who had played for Souness at Glasgow Rangers had been purchased as cover/competition for Barnes but failed to displace him.

His improved form in season 1994–95 won an England recall. He scored 7 league goals (9 in all competitions) despite being now principally a central midfielder.

After Liverpool's league title in 1990 Liverpool were usurped by Arsenal, Leeds United, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers each winning the league at least once. Under Evans, Barnes and younger players like Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Fowler (who had been given their debuts by either Dalglish or Souness) won the 1994-95 Football League Cup and were 1996 FA Cup Final runners-up due to Eric Cantona's Manchester United goal that gave United a second league and FA Cup double in three seasons. Liverpool's Spice Boys team drew stinging criticism for wearing matching cream Armani suits to the final.[27]

By the mid 1990s, Barnes had been moved from the left wing to the position of a holding midfielder. He often captained the side in 1995–96 when regular captain Ian Rush lost his place to new signing Stan Collymore. When Rush departed to Leeds United at the season's end Barnes became full-time captain. Barnes created the final goal after a dribble and passing movement for Stan Collymore during Liverpool's 4–3 win at Anfield against Newcastle.[citation needed]

Jamie Carragher debuted for the Liverpool first team in January 1997 and said that despite 33 year old Barnes now being past his peak, he was still the best player at the club. "Technically, he's the best player I've ever trained or played with, he was great with both feet, they were both exactly the same. I'd say he's the best finisher I've ever played with (including Torres, Fowler, Owen). Barnes never used to blast his shots – they'd just get placed right in the corner. You speak with the players from those great Liverpool sides and ask them who the best player they played with was and they all say John Barnes".[28]

On 13 August 1997 three months before his 34th birthday, after 10 years at Liverpool with 407 appearances, 108 goals and five major trophies, Barnes left on a free transfer. He had missed just three Premier League games in his final season at Anfield, scoring four goals (including a memorable late winner against Southampton just after Christmas) as they had led the table for much of the first half of the season before being overhauled by eventual champions Manchester United at the end of January and having to settle for a fourth-place finish. Paul Ince, with a completely contrasting combative style, was signed from Inter Milan to replace Barnes in central midfield.[29]


Barnes made his Football League debut at a time when racism was still rife in English football, and black players had only recently become a regular feature in the game. When he signed for Liverpool in 1987, he was only the second black player to appear for Liverpool, after Howard Gayle, who had made a few appearances for the club at the beginning of the 1980s. He was frequently subjected to racial abuse by supporters and even players of opposition teams during the 1980s and to a lesser degree during the 1990s.

At one of his first appearances at Anfield, Barnes said that the tea lady had, intentionally or unintentionally, served tea to all the players in the lounge except him, and he made a joke about it by asking light heartedly, "Is it because I'm black?"[29] He also said Liverpool supporters had written to him not to join the club. The only other black player to have appeared for Liverpool at the time was Howard Gayle, who played five games for the Reds at the beginning of the 1980s.

As well as being abused by opposition players, on occasion he overheard a teammate make a racist remark towards other black players in opposition teams. Barnes was racially abused by a section of Everton supporters in the Merseyside derby at Anfield, which led to Everton chairman Philip Carter disowning the offending supporters, branding them "scum". A photograph was once taken of Barnes, in full Liverpool kit and mid-match, casually backheeling away a banana which had been hurled at him during a match with Everton at Goodison Park.[30] This was not the first time that Barnes had suffered racial abuse from fans of rival clubs, as he had been regularly barracked by fans of other teams when still playing for Watford.[citation needed]

Newcastle UnitedEdit

Barnes was subsequently snapped up by former teammate and manager Kenny Dalglish, who was managing Newcastle United. Although an approach had already been made by Harry Redknapp of West Ham, Barnes had agreed in principle to join them, until at the final moment Dalglish called him, and Barnes changed his mind. In the 1997–98 season Barnes played up front mostly, deputising for Alan Shearer after Shearer was injured for most of the season, and Barnes ended up Newcastle's top league scorer with six goals, highlighting the Magpies' lack of ability to score in the absence of the injured Shearer, while Ferdinand and Beardsley had both been sold. Former Liverpool colleague Ian Rush and England colleague Stuart Pearce were also drafted in for the 1997-98 season. Pearce has since stated in his autobiography, "Psycho", that he felt Barnes was overweight by the time he joined Newcastle and that both Barnes and Rush had less desire than himself to win at that stage in their careers as they had already won everything, and that they could have had more of an edge to them.[31]

Newcastle (the previous season's Premier League runners-up) endured a disappointing league campaign and finished 13th, although they did reach the 1998 FA Cup Final, and Barnes went onto the field for the fourth FA Cup final of his career. However, Newcastle lost 2–0 to Arsenal, and following the sacking of Dalglish early in the 1998–99 season, he was left isolated and shunned along with a number of Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan era players including Rob Lee and Stuart Pearce. Barnes with many others was dropped from the first team by new manager Ruud Gullit and spent several months in the reserves despite, in his opinion, "excelling in training" and showing he had lost none of his quality if some of his pace. He felt that himself and others were deliberately being cold shouldered to make it known Gullit wanted his own players in; Barnes had worked briefly with Gullit during the 1998 World Cup ITV commentary team, and they had played numerous international matches played against each other in the 1980s and 1990s, but they were not friends. Barnes knew it was the last straw when even his MBE from the Queen was overlooked by Gullit after a presentation had been given to Stuart Pearce for receiving one – this was in the winter of 1998 and he knew he was unwanted.[29] Barnes left the club on a free transfer to newly promoted Charlton on 10 February 1999.

Charlton AthleticEdit

Barnes made his debut for Charlton on 13 February 1999, coming on as a substitute in a 1–0 home win over Liverpool.[32] He made a further 11 league appearances that season, mostly as a substitute, and did not score any goals.[32] Defeat on the final day of the season relegated the Addicks back to Division One, and Barnes announced his retirement as a player after 20 years.


During his short spell as Celtic manager, Barnes would later register as a player although he did not make an appearance for the Scottish side.[32]

International careerEdit

Although born in Jamaica, Barnes had no intention of representing Jamaica at international level as the "Reggae Boyz had not yet made a significant mark on world football and he was eager to get to the game's biggest stage".[33]

At the time of Barnes' international career, FIFA's national team eligibility criteria allowed British passport holders to represent one of the British football associations if they had no blood ties to the United Kingdom. In 1983, while a Watford player, Barnes was approached by the Scottish Football Association to represent Scotland.[34] Barnes had already planned to represent England where he had lived since the age of 12.[35] Barnes said: "the only reason I played for England was because they were the first to ask...if Scotland had asked [first]...You go and play for Scotland."[33]

Barnes debuted for Bobby Robson's England on 28 May 1983 as a second-half sustitute for Watford teammate Luther Blissett in a 0–0 at Northern Ireland's Windsor Park in the British Championship.[36] Blissett was the fifth and Barnes the seventh black full England football internationalists.

England failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championships, so instead toured South America. On 10 June 1984 Barnes v Brazil dribbled through several Brazilian defenders and rounded Roberto Costa to score in a friendly match at Rio de Janeiro's Estádio do Maracanã.[citation needed]

It was after the World Cup that Barnes became a British passport holder. Speaking in 2008, Barnes said "I don't even know if the English F.A. didn't know that I wasn't born there and wasn't brought up there...maybe I played (for England) illegally, right?"[33]

In his early England days, he and fellow black player Mark Chamberlain were subjected to threats from racist groups. Barnes was abused by supporters of the National Front on the plane back from South America in June 1984; the racists claimed that England had only won 1–0 against Brazil because Barnes' goal "didn't count".[citation needed]

Bobby Robson did not use Barnes at the 1986 World Cup until the quarter final with 15 minutes left when trailing 2-0 v Argentina.[36] (BBC commentator Barry Davies shouted: "Go on! Run at them!" when Barnes was given the ball), setting up a goal for Gary Lineker and laying on another chance denied by the head of Lineker's Argentine marker. England were eliminated with Barnes praised for his contribution and many asked why he had not played more nor in previous games. He then became a regular starter for England at both the 1988 European Championships and 1990 World Cup.[36]

As part of a front four with Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley, and Chris Waddle, England lost all three of their group games at the 1988 European Championships. However, Robson stayed in his job.

Barnes pulled out of England's first international game after the Hillsborough disaster due to grief he felt at the time.[citation needed] In his absence, England won the World Cup qualifier against Albania 5–0 at Wembley on 26 April 1989.[37]

In the Football World Cup 1990 lead up, Barnes played several times as a forward alongside Gary Lineker, and in a warm up game against Uruguay played well and scored a half volley from a Stuart Pearce cross. Barnes again rapped this time in New Order's UK Number 1, "World in Motion", tie-in song.

At the 1990 World Cup he injured his groin against Belgium shortly after his volleyed goal was wrongly disallowed for offside. England went out to Germany on penalties in the semi-final.

In June 1992 v Finland in Helsinki in England's last warm up game before the 1992 European Championships, he tore his achilles tendon. He was injured for five months. In his absence England were eliminated at the group phase. On his return he had lost his explosive burst of speed and was now past his peak.[23]

In a Wembley 1994 World Cup qualifier against San Marino, Barnes was booed by an entire section of England fans after the whole team played poorly. Barnes later believed an article attributed to Jimmy Greaves in the Daily Mirror citing his supposed support for the West Indies cricket team questioning his loyalty to the England team, had influenced the crowd to boo.[29]

He earned a surprise England recall in 1994 under Terry Venables and was in the squad in the run up to Euro '96 after improved form for Liverpool. He was not though selected for the final tournament squad despite England not having an established left sided alternative.

Barnes' 79 caps (11 goals) made him England's record capped black player for a time. Compared to his club form, he was never seen as a player who peaked wearing an England shirt. Bobby Robson described him as the "Greatest enigma" of his career; whilst including him for his all time dream team England squad of all the players he had picked as manager in his 1990 book "Against All Odds" (placing him on the bench), he was baffled at Barnes's inconsistency. He described Barnes as being a player of "the highest calibre" but sometimes being unable to reach for that bit extra when he or Captain Bryan Robson shouted at him to take more players on.[29]

Barnes has since said he felt the systems England played were "rigid" focusing on speed, aggression, and attacking through the centre rather than patient, passing play. He also said he could receive the ball as few as six or seven times in a game whereas at Liverpool he may receive it more than twenty times, and he had more freedom under Kenny Dalglish who did not ask him to stay on the left wing all the time. England also had a very different system to Liverpool at the time who were much more free-flowing, and later said that to have got the best out of him, they would have needed a similar system to the one used by Dalglish, which was never likely to happen. He also cited Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle who he felt England were unable to get the best out of.[29]

Newspapers at the time of his England career even queried whether his disciplinarian upbringing in Jamaica to a military family and rumoured beatings as a child from his parents had contributed to his underperformance as an England footballer.[29]

Tony Adams subsequently picked Barnes to be in his England dream team in his 1999 book Addicted, citing that Barnes "Could pass, move, dribble, had Brazilian style movement... what more could you want?" He also backed Barnes's claims that England at times used rigid systems.[38] Nevertheless, Barnes was in the top ten most capped players list for eleven years until David Beckham and then Gary Neville edged him from ninth to 11th.

After 12 years Barnes won his 79th and last cap on 6 September 1995 in a 0–0 friendly draw with Colombia at Wembley that contained extrovert Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita's 'Scorpion Kick.'[39]

Managerial careerEdit


In a "dream ticket" style move, Barnes was appointed head coach of Celtic on 8 June 1999 working under Kenny Dalglish as director of football. After his appointment he later re-registered himself as a player but never played a competitive game for Celtic. He was sacked 8 months into his tenure following a home 3-1 1999-2000 Scottish Cup defeat by lower division Inverness Caledonian Thistle in February. The result led to the newspaper headline, "Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious". Kenny Dalglish took over first-team duties until the end of the season.[40] Although Dalglish won the League Cup in the process, his contract was not renewed and the board decided to replace him with Martin O'Neill.


Barnes entered discussions with the Jamaica Football Federation in September 2008 regarding the possibility of him managing the Jamaica national team.[41] On 16 September 2008, Barnes was appointed as manager of Jamaica announcing Mike Commane as his assistant. Barnes guided his new Jamaican charges to a first-place finish in the 2008 Caribbean Championships, qualifying as the top Caribbean side for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In February 2009, Barnes told Sky Sports that he wanted to return to club management if the opportunity arose.[42] It was reported in May 2009 that Barnes contacted English League Two side Port Vale to see whether he could replace out-going manager Dean Glover.[43] Ultimately, though, the potential move to Port Vale did not happen. Instead, on 14 June 2009 he confirmed that he was to be appointed manager of League One side Tranmere Rovers.

Tranmere RoversEdit

Barnes was officially named as manager of Tranmere Rovers on 15 June 2009, with Jason McAteer assisting him.[44] He got off to a disastrous start, with Tranmere only winning three of their first fourteen games. During their time at Tranmere, Barnes and McAteer were allegedly dubbed "Dumb and Dumber" by the Tranmere players.[citation needed] On 9 October 2009, Barnes was sacked by the club six days after a 5–0 defeat at Millwall and a run of just two wins from eleven league games.[45] He has since applied to become the manager of the Rwandan national team with Stephen Garside as his Youth Team Coach.[citation needed]


Former England international Tom Finney remarked that "players like John Barnes come along just once in a lifetime."[46] Twice in his career, Barnes was voted Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. He also won the PFA Players' Player of the Year. Although he is widely regarded as among the most underperforming players, when compared to his club form, to wear an England shirt, Barnes was voted England's "greatest left foot" by readers of The Times in 2016, ahead of Chris Waddle and Jimmy Greaves.[5] Barnes was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the English game.

The Liverpool fans’ adoration for "Digger" (he was nicknamed after the character Digger Barnes in the American soap opera Dallas)[47] was emphasised when he finished in the top 5 of the poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop which was conducted by the official Liverpool Football Club web site in the summer of 2006. More than 110,000 supporters worldwide voted for their 10 favourite players of all time, Barnes finished 5th behind Robbie Fowler (4th), Ian Rush (3rd), Steven Gerrard (2nd) and the man that signed him three times (for Liverpool, Newcastle and Celtic) Kenny Dalglish (1st).[48]

He also appears frequently as a selection in FourFourTwo magazine's Perfect XI, a choice in which current and former professional footballers select the best 11 players they have ever seen, played with or against, including selections by Michael Owen, Steve McManaman, Peter Beardsley, Ian Wright and Jamie Carragher.[49]

Music careerEdit

He performed the Keith Allen-penned rap section of New Order's "World in Motion" as well as appearing on the track "Anfield Rap", a Liverpool FC FA Cup Final song, rapping the lyrics "Liverpool FC is hard as hell/ United, Tottenham, Arsenal",[50] and performing lead rap in Liverpool's '96 cup final song Pass & Move (It's the Liverpool Groove).

World in Motion reached #1 in the charts and spent 18 weeks in the UK top 75 (including re-releases in 2002 and 2010) although Barnes was only paid a flat rate of £200 and received no royalties.[51] Anfield Rap reached #3 and spent 6 weeks in the top 75, and Pass & Move reached #4 and spent 4 weeks in the top 75.

The rap portion of World in Motion is the most remembered part of the original song, becoming an iconic piece of English football culture in its own right, familiar to subsequent generations of England football fans not even born in 1990.[52]

Personal lifeEdit

Barnes was first married to and subsequently divorced Suzy and they have two sons and a daughter - Jamie, Jordan, and Jemma. John's second wife is called Andrea and they have two daughters: Isabella and Tia, and a son: Alexander. With fellow former footballers Les Ferdinand and Luther Blissett, he has founded Team48 Motorsport, a team aiming to promote young racing drivers of African-Caribbean background. In 2008, the team entered the British Touring Car Championship, running Alfa Romeos for white Jamaican Matthew Gore and 18-year-old black Briton Darelle Wilson. However, the project never got off the starting line and the team failed to show up for any of the races.

A few days after being sacked by Tranmere, Barnes was declared bankrupt. He has described the bankruptcy as a technicality, saying "The bankruptcy issue is a tax oversight which is being dealt with."[53][54] Barnes' claims of the bankruptcy being a "tax oversight" proved true and the order was quickly overturned.[55]

Media, charity work and politicsEdit

Barnes became a pundit on ITV and a presenter of the football coverage on Five as well as having his own weekly football discussion show on LFC TV called The John Barnes Show, every Thursday. He also worked as an ambassador for Save the Children. Barnes has appeared on several shows and media outlets to promote his charity work, including a notable appearance on Soccer AM in February 2009 performing the "World in Motion" rap and a parody of the mistimed advert by ITV in the previous week's Everton vs. Liverpool FA Cup tie, with Barnes' "Under-11 World Champion Baton-twirling" routine missed by mock commercials.[56][57][58] In 2001, Barnes appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.[59]

In 2000, Barnes presented a one off soccer special with Lisa Rogers entitled The Pepsi World Challenge, devised and produced by Nathan Carey and airing on Channel 5 in the UK. The show was edited with local presenters around the world.[citation needed]

He was the subject of a This is Your Life programme in 2001, when he was surprised by Michael Aspel.[60]

Barnes competed in the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing which started in October 2007. His dance partner was Nicole Cutler. They finished in seventh place. He was also the first male celebrity to receive a ten from the judges, which he got for his salsa.

After an absence of nearly eight years, Barnes returned to football in late 2007. He agreed to run several coaching clinics across the Caribbean for young players with the possibility of them joining Premier League side Sunderland on trial.[61]

He made a guest appearance as himself in episode 10 of Series 6 of Waterloo Road that was aired on BBC One on Wednesday, 27 October 2010.[citation needed]

He has been used as a pundit in ESPN's coverage of the FA Cup 2010, and in SuperSport's coverage of the UEFA Champions League 2010–2011, in South Africa.

He appeared on Russell Howard's Good News best bits show on Thursday, 15 December 2011, as his Mystery Guest. In the show he was dressed as Santa Claus and along with Russell Howard he performed his famous rap from New Order's "World in Motion".[citation needed]

On 17 October 2012, Barnes featured in series 9, episode 9 of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?.[62]

Barnes has suggested the American National Football League's controversial Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for coaching positions, should be adopted by the Premier League.[63]

In 2016 in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, Barnes refuted Michael Gove's claim that he wished the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, clarifying that he supports continued UK membership of the EU.[64]

In January 2018, Barnes participated as a housemate on the twenty-first series of Celebrity Big Brother.[65]

On 21 February 2019, Barnes was a guest on Question Time, commenting on racism and discrimination in society.[66]

Career statisticsEdit


Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Watford 1981–82 Second Division 36 13 3 0 5 1 0 0 44 14
1982–83 First Division 42 10 4 1 3 0 4 2 53 13
1983–84 39 11 7 4 2 1 6 0 54 16
1984–85 40 12 2 0 5 3 0 0 47 15
1985–86 39 9 8 3 3 1 0 0 50 13
1986–87 37 10 7 3 3 1 1 0 48 14
Total 233 65 31 11 21 7 11 2 296 85
Liverpool 1987–88 First Division 38 15 7 2 3 0 0 0 48 17
1988–89 33 8 6 3 3 2 0 0 42 13
1989–90 34 22 8 5 2 1 0 0 44 28
1990–91 35 16 7 1 2 0 0 0 44 17
1991–92 12 1 4 3 0 0 1 0 17 4
1992–93 Premier League 27 5 2 0 2 0 0 0 31 5
1993–94 26 3 2 0 2 0 0 0 30 3
1994–95 38 7 6 2 6 0 0 0 50 9
1995–96 36 3 7 0 3 0 4 0 50 3
1996–97 35 4 2 0 3 0 7 3 47 7
Total 314 84 51 16 26 3 12 3 403 106
Newcastle United 1997–98 Premier League 26 6 5 0 3 0 5 1 39 7
1998–99 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 27 6 5 0 3 0 5 1 40 7
Charlton Athletic 1998–99 Premier Legue 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Celtic 1999–2000 Scottish Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 586 155 87 27 50 10 28 6 751 198

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.[68]
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 10 June 1984 Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   Brazil 2–0 Friendly 1
2, 3 14 November 1984 Besiktas Inonu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey   Turkey 8–0 1986 World Cup qualifier 2
4, 5 14 October 1987 Wembley Stadium, London, England   Turkey 8–0 Euro 1988 qualifier 2
6 11 November 1987 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade, Yugoslavia   Yugoslavia 4–1 Euro 1988 qualifier 1
7 8 February 1989 Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece   Greece 2–1 Friendly 1
8 8 March 1989 Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania   Albania 2-0 1990 World Cup qualifier 1
9 3 June 1989 Wembley Stadium, London, England   Poland 3–0 1990 World Cup qualifier 1
10 22 May 1990 Wembley Stadium, London, England   Uruguay 1-2 Friendly 1
11 28 April 1993 Wembley Stadium, London, England   Netherlands 2–2 1994 World Cup qualifier 1

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of 6 September 2009
Team Nation From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Celtic   Scotland 10 June 1999 10 February 2000 29 19 2 8 65.5%
Jamaica   Jamaica 16 September 2008 30 June 2009 11 7 4 0 63.6%[69]
Tranmere Rovers   England 15 June 2009 9 October 2009 12 3 1 8 25%


As playerEdit


As managerEdit



See alsoEdit


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  46. ^ Player profile. "Liverpool career stats for John Barnes". Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  47. ^ Hansen, Alan (26 April 2004). "Ron's gone, but not forgotten". The Daily Telegraph. London.
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  63. ^ Stone, Simon (16 April 2015). "Is football failing black managers? BBC Sport investigates". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
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  65. ^ Ben Allen (17 January 2018). "Who is John Barnes? Celebrity Big Brother 2018 housemate profile". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
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  67. ^ Jones, Trefor (1998). Watford Season by Season. pp. 172–183. ISBN 0-9527458-1-X.
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External linksEdit