FeatureWhat we learned from John Barnes' 'We are Liverpool' podcast



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John Barnes was the second guest on the 'We are Liverpool' podcast – enjoy some takeaways we learned from his appearance.

Robbie Fowler and Peter McDowall hosted the Reds icon in AXA Training Centre's studio for a wide-ranging chat about his life and Anfield career.

Here are three snippets from Barnes' episode…

'We are Liverpool' podcast: Episode 2 - John Barnes

A doctor believed he might not be able to play again after injury

Barnes famously reinvented himself as a player after suffering a serious injury when playing for England in 1992.

The seriousness of that setback meant he could no longer fly past defenders on the left wing for the later stages of his playing days.

Instead, the 1987-88 PFA Players' Player of the Year moved back into a central-midfield role, where his high football IQ and technical ability still allowed him to run games.

The reality, however, is that getting back on the pitch was a major achievement in itself.

Barnes reveals: “Since I was young, what was instilled in me was what your responsibility to the team was.

"When I ruptured my Achilles tendon, I couldn't do what I did on the left. So if I wanted to continue to play, that's what I'd have to do.

"In fact, the doctor thought I wouldn't play again after I ruptured my Achilles tendon against Finland just before Euro 92. They never told me until I retired but it was such a bad injury that he thought I wouldn't play again.

"So for me to play football at that level, I would just then have to be a holding midfield player."

'What do you want from the chippy?' - a unique pre-match team talk

There was a bit of adjustment required for Barnes when moved to Liverpool from Watford in 1987.

The laid-back approach from the now-iconic coaching set-up was unique to say the least.

Barnes recalls: "Graham Taylor [at Watford], our team talk before the match, 45 minutes tactics and whatever. I remember my first away game [at Liverpool], they just went, 'There's the team.' That's it – not another word.

"Then Ronnie would go, and in this an hour before the game, he'd come round with paper and then he'd go, 'Fish and chips or chicken and chips?' He'd go around and that lasted half an hour.

"The arguments because you'd go with fish and chips and then all of sudden you'd go, 'No Ronnie, can I have chicken and chips?'. 'You said fish and chips, you're changing your mind, he wants fried rice!'

"This would go on for an hour and I'm talking, 'Any chance of a bit of tactics here?'"

Sir Kenny's surveillance

Barnes took recommendations from his new teammates on board when deciding where to live after moving up north from Watford.

Despite being somewhat pushed to settle in Southport by Liverpool manager Sir Kenny Dalglish, Barnes decided to head across the water.

He explains: "Kenny actually showed me around all the houses in Southport because McMahon, Whelan, they all lived in Southport. I thought, 'OK, this is quite nice.'

"I got to training and met the lads for the first day. There was Jan, Rushy, Bruce, Craig Johnston and they lived on the Wirral. They seemed more interesting, so I moved to the Wirral!

"They went, 'Listen, if you live in Southport, Kenny and Marina know everything that's going on – you won't be able to move.' So I moved to the Wirral."



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