Fan Favourites: Liverpool

Published on 22 August 2023 at 20:00

People are always asked, “Who is your favourite player?” the answer is simple, I have no favourites, I tend to support and back whoever dons the Liverpool shirt and gives the level of commitment and passion on the pitch, I as a supporter, give to the club off it.  

This is the answer a now 42-year-old me will give when faced with that question, however, take me back a few years (okay, a little more than a few) my response would have been clear and without hesitation....... “John Barnes” I would announce, enthusiastically.  


As a man born in the 80s, I was privileged to experience some truly fantastic footballers on the Anfield turf, but nobody gripped me like Digger, I was spellbound, struck by this majestic elegance on a football pitch. It took one viewing of this player we signed from Watford, for me to steal his identity and become him every time I had a ball at my feet. He would fly down the wing, dazzling, twisting and turning, defenders clueless as to where to go, often culminating in some form of brilliance that would see him score or a team-mate benefit.  

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1987 saw John Barnes join Liverpool from Watford in a deal worth £900,000, somewhat overshadowed by the arrival of Peter Beardsley for £1.9 million in the same summer, he quickly, however,  become central in the way Liverpool played and won the hearts of football lovers across the land. Blessed with pace, trickery and power, there was very little not to love. I remember my dad saying “This kid is special” a very simple and obvious observation, but from my dad, it was high praise indeed, only further enhancing my wonderment.

It wasn’t long before John Barnes was a constant part of my thinking, be it at school, at home, or my very own Anfield turf, that my friends and I would appear on each evening before dinner. Barnes, that’s me, that’s my hero, you be someone else! I would leave our make-believe Anfield, with a feeling of doing my hero justice – I was just like him, did all of his tricks, scored his goals, Digger would be proud, perhaps even impressed. The joys of youth, eh?



As I started to grow older, my own footballing career was starting to get a little more serious, I wasn’t the flying winger like my hero used to be, however, but a central midfielder, just like my hero was now mastering. It was perfect, to watch a man create his own time bubble, it was effortless, his ability to find a pass, his strength on the ball....WOW!  

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My Love for Barnes never dissipated throughout his time at Liverpool, and whilst it was his time, when he left for Newcastle in 1997, I was still devastated that he had gone. I wanted his final kick of a ball to be whilst adorning the Liverbird upon his chest, it simply wasn’t to be.  

The only sadness I have, when it comes to John Barnes, is the signed shirt I was gifted as a young boy, it was stolen. Never have I had the opportunity to have it replaced, I have never had an opportunity to meet my Hero, the man I was every evening, after school. But what I do have are the memories of the most gifted footballer I have witnessed, memories I still enjoy today and will do so forever.


Jamie Brown

(@Jrb Scribbles)



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