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Remembering Mr Manchester City

Born on March 16th 1929 in Birmingham Ken Barnes made his Manchester City debut exactly 60 years ago today. That day saw City beat Derby County 4-2 but it would be not until August 1954 before Barnes would get his second game for City. 

In that time between appearances City had only won 29 league games from a possible 100. With Barnes deployed within, what was known as the ‘Revie plan’ the first season saw City win 18 and progress through to their first Cup Final since 1934. Although City would lose to Newcastle in the final the ‘plan’ was kept and City returned the next year, and won the Cup against Birmingham, despite goalkeeper Bert Trautmann breaking his neck. 

In fact, in Barnes first 80 League games for City we’d won 34. Not a bad return for someone who we had signed in 1950 for a mere 900 pounds from Stafford Rangers. Although Bolton had shown interest in signing Ken and he had played there when circumstances allowed while on National Service he had decided on Stafford Rangers where he had been based with the RAF, citing simply that he ‘liked it there’.

Barnes was the Captain of City when a young twenty year old prospect called Denis Law set foot inside Manchester City the first time in 1960. Law would later go on to describe his Captain as the ‘best uncapped wing-half in the country’. High praise indeed.

At the end of the 1960-61 season Ken Barnes, now aged 32, left City and joined Wrexham as a player manager. After four years there he went onto Witton Albion and then Bangor before returning to City as a trainer-coach in 1970. He stayed at City, in various roles including Assistant Manager to Johnny Hart before being let go by Peter Reid. 

He did get to witness his son, Peter, play for City and England and as coach he he got to help Paul Lake, David White and Ian Brightwell with their careers at City. He was invited back in 1994 as a part time Scout by Francis Lee and stayed there for a further 6 years. 

Now aged 75 Barnes was inducted into the Manchester City Football Hall of Fame and a year later was also inducted into Wrexhams Supporters Association Hall of Fame. July 2010 however Barnes, who was a heavy smoker, died from lung cancer aged 81. 

Written By: PA Cityboy(

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