John Barnes | After Dinner And Speaking EngagementsJohn Barnes is a retired English footballer who is perhaps best known for his time spent at Liverpool along with his celebrated career representing the national side. Born in 1963 in Kingston, Jamaica he is considered to be one of the best wingers to have ever played the game. He twice won the Football Writers' Association 'Footballer of the Year' award and in 2005 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame - a great accolade which recognised his successful career and dedication to the game.
After completing his education in Jamaica, John moved to England. He signed for Watford in 1981 and this was to become the start of a long and successful sporting career. He made his debut at the age of seventeen in a game against Oldham Athletic. The club's manager at the time was Graham Taylor and they were just eight months away from the completion of their incredible rise through the divisions (from fourth to first!). Watford gained promotion and went on to have a number of successes including finishing runners up for the League title and runners up in the 1984 FA Cup.
The big break in John's career came in 1987 when he signed for Liverpool. He was under intense scrutiny, but set about winning the hearts of the fans. Along with fellow new boys, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, he endeavoured to become one of the most formidable attackers in the club's history.
John made his debut for Liverpool on 15th August 1987, at Highbury, where they beat Arsenal in a 2-1 win. In his first season John proved to be an outstanding player and played an instrumental role in Liverpool winning the League title. In fact they only lost two games. However, the unexpected defeat to Wimbledon in the FA Cup final meant that John and his fellow team mates were denied the joy of winning the double.
Over the next nine years John continued to play at the highest standard for his club. Liverpool won the FA Cup in 1989, but this success was overshadowed by the tragic events at Hillsborough in the semi final.
In 1997 John decided it was time to leave Anfield, thus ending his illustrious career with the Reds, and moved to Newcastle on a free transfer. During his time at Liverpool he had played a total of four hundred and seven times, and scored an impressive one hundred and eight goals. Following his short stint at Newcastle , he joined Charlton Athletic, but announced his retirement after just one year.
Although a Jamaican by birth, John opted to play for the country that had become his home since being a teenager. He made his England debut in 1983, under Bobby Robson's management, where he was a substitute for Luther Blissett in a game against Northern Ireland.
He represented his country many times during the following years and was a regular face on the pitch. He played in the quarter final of the 1986 World Cup when England famously went out to Argentina. He also played in the 1988 European Championships and the 1990 World Cup - the latter of these providing more heartache for England and their fans. Who can forget exiting the competition ( in the semi-final) to Germany on penalties! On a lighter note, John is fondly remembered for his rapping on the New Order song 'World in Motion' which reached number one in the charts and is considered by many to be one of the best football pop songs ever.
After twelve years representing the home side John won the last of his seventy-nine caps in 1995.
In 1999 John was appointed head coach of Celtic, for one season, under Kenny Dalglish. In 2008 he became manager of Jamaica - he guided his team to a first place finish in the 2008 Caribbean Championships. He has also managed Tranmere Rovers.
John has worked as a pundit on television and appeared on a number of shows to promote his charity work - he has worked as an ambassador for Save the Children.
He appeared in the 2007 series of Strictly Come Dancing finishing a credible seventh. In fact he was the first male celebrity to receive a ten from the judges! He has also appeared in an episode of Waterloo Road where he played himself!
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