November 07, 1963,
July 14th 1981
Arguably the most gifted player to ever wear the yellow of Watford, John Barnes cost the club a full set of kit when signed from Sudbury Court in 1981.
A modest transfer fee, but it soon became apparent that the Hornets had unearthed a real gem in the skilful winger. Just 17 when making his debut, Graham Taylor’s side were promoted during his first season at The Vic, and they finished their maiden top-flight campaign as runners-up with Barnes contributing 10 league goals.
His glittering form in Hertfordshire resulted in an England call-up at the age of 19, and he scored a famous solo goal in Brazil while on Watford’s books. During six seasons he scored 83 goals in nearly 300 outings, and earned a £900,000 transfer to Liverpool in 1987.
Barnes enjoyed a success-laden decade at Anfield, twice winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award as Liverpool secured two league titles, two FA Cups and one League Cup. He was capped 79 times by England, and also turned out for Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic before hanging up his boots in 1999.
He subsequently tried his hand at management with Celtic, Tranmere Rovers and the Jamaican national team, but it was as one of this country’s most talented footballers that Barnes will be best remembered.