John Charles Bryan Barnes MBE (born 7 November 1963) is an English former footballer, rapper and manager, who currently works as a commentator and pundit for ESPN and SuperSport. A fast, skilful left winger, Barnes had successful periods at Watford and Liverpool in the 1980s and 1990s, and played for the England national team on 79 occasions. In 2006, in a poll of Liverpool fans' favourite players, Barnes came fifth; a year later FourFourTwo magazine named him Liverpool's best player of all time.
Born and initially raised in Jamaica, the son of a military officer from Trinidad, Barnes moved to London with his family when he was 12 years old. He joined Watford at the age of 17 in 1981 and over the next six years made 296 appearances for the club, scoring 85 goals. He made his debut for England in 1983 and four years later joined Liverpool for £900,000. Between 1987 and 1997 Barnes won the then top-flight First Division twice and the FA Cup twice with Liverpool, scoring 106 goals in 403 matches. By the time of his last appearance for England in 1995 he had been capped 79 times—then a record for a black player. After two years with Newcastle United, he ended his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1999.
Barnes moved to Scotland to become head coach of Celtic in 1999 with his former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish as director of football. This was not successful and Barnes was sacked in 2000. Since then Barnes has managed the Jamaica national team in 2008–09 and the English club Tranmere Rovers for four months in 2009.
During his playing career Barnes was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice (in 1987–88 and 1989–90) and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year once (in 1987–88). 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.Close