John Barnes made his league debut for Watford 33 years ago today

On this date in Watford FC history

On this date in Watford FC history

First published in Sport

Saturday, September 5, 1981

Goals from Gerry Armstrong and Roger Palmer within a minute provided a stalemate between Watford and Oldham Athletic at Vicarage Road in front of what was to be the last four-figure league gate at the ground for seven-and-a-half years.

The 17-year-old John Barnes, recruited from Sudbury Court the previous summer, made his league debut as a substitute for Malcolm Poskett in the second half, the only senior substitute appearance of his Watford career.

After his full debut in a 3-1 victory at Chelsea a week later, Graham Taylor was moved to suggest: "I think we may have unearthed a jewel."

Reproduced by kind permission of Matt Rowson from his book,Watford FC On This Day

Comments (9)

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5:49pm Fri 5 Sep 14

bornyellow says...

John Barnes was a great winger in Taylor's 4-3-3 outfit....always remember his pace....linked up so well with Blissett.....with the prem spending over 800 million pounds before the transfer window ended i sometimes wonder about these two great hornets.....these two made my childhood as a young hornet back then.
John Barnes was a great winger in Taylor's 4-3-3 outfit....always remember his pace....linked up so well with Blissett.....with the prem spending over 800 million pounds before the transfer window ended i sometimes wonder about these two great hornets.....these two made my childhood as a young hornet back then. bornyellow
  • Score: 5

7:21pm Fri 5 Sep 14

The Not-so-enlightened one says...

I seem to remember it was 4-4-2 with the Real Ross Jenkins and the Legend that is Luther Blissett up front, being supplied by Barnes and Callaghan. Either way Barnesy was/is the best player I've ever seen in a Watford shirt. Some of the current squad may have the potential to match him but I smile every time I remember him completely doing defenders and supplying a killer ball or scoring himself.
I seem to remember it was 4-4-2 with the Real Ross Jenkins and the Legend that is Luther Blissett up front, being supplied by Barnes and Callaghan. Either way Barnesy was/is the best player I've ever seen in a Watford shirt. Some of the current squad may have the potential to match him but I smile every time I remember him completely doing defenders and supplying a killer ball or scoring himself. The Not-so-enlightened one
  • Score: 4

8:18pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Eurotourhorn says...

Barnsey was the complete player. His versatility was underrated. I re beer his last season when he played down the middle and sublime way he would pluck the ball out of the bring it down shield turn and stitch the defender up a treat. I agree with ' the not so enlightened' the best player I've ever seen in a watford shirt. Some of this current lot are good but still a distance to catch john when you think how many seasons he did it for us,. True legend.
Barnsey was the complete player. His versatility was underrated. I re beer his last season when he played down the middle and sublime way he would pluck the ball out of the bring it down shield turn and stitch the defender up a treat. I agree with ' the not so enlightened' the best player I've ever seen in a watford shirt. Some of this current lot are good but still a distance to catch john when you think how many seasons he did it for us,. True legend. Eurotourhorn
  • Score: 3

8:42pm Fri 5 Sep 14

gloryhornet4 says...

See Kenny Dalglish you did NOT discover John Barnes and turn him into a an international and top flight player.

He scored for fun against Liverpool.
See Kenny Dalglish you did NOT discover John Barnes and turn him into a an international and top flight player. He scored for fun against Liverpool. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 5

8:51pm Fri 5 Sep 14

micksolly says...

He was one of those players who excited you when he got on the ball. I remember a home game against Villa and you just had to feel for their right back, every time digger got the ball he would go past him at will. He was the complete player as stated in the earlier posts and also at corners where he won so many near post flick on's.
He was one of those players who excited you when he got on the ball. I remember a home game against Villa and you just had to feel for their right back, every time digger got the ball he would go past him at will. He was the complete player as stated in the earlier posts and also at corners where he won so many near post flick on's. micksolly
  • Score: 1

9:46pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Vespa Crabro says...

My favourite JB moments were both in the FA Cup. Firstly the sublime goal at St Andrews and secondly, hearing the monkey chants of the Argyle fans dying in their throats as George Reilly put the perfect finishing touch to JB's run down the wing and cross.
My favourite JB moments were both in the FA Cup. Firstly the sublime goal at St Andrews and secondly, hearing the monkey chants of the Argyle fans dying in their throats as George Reilly put the perfect finishing touch to JB's run down the wing and cross. Vespa Crabro
  • Score: 3

12:49am Sat 6 Sep 14

Sleeping with the enemy says...

Absolutely agree. Best player I've seen in a Watford shirt. Just a shame that he seems to have forgotten his roots.
Absolutely agree. Best player I've seen in a Watford shirt. Just a shame that he seems to have forgotten his roots. Sleeping with the enemy
  • Score: 3

2:33pm Sat 6 Sep 14

gloryhornet4 says...

Sleeping with the enemy wrote:
Absolutely agree. Best player I've seen in a Watford shirt. Just a shame that he seems to have forgotten his roots.
When JCB was looking for a club GT was asked if he was interested in him.

GT replied - he hasn't asked me about playing for Watford.

John - better career move than going to Celtic and taking the blame for Dalglish not cutting the mustard yet again.
[quote][p][bold]Sleeping with the enemy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely agree. Best player I've seen in a Watford shirt. Just a shame that he seems to have forgotten his roots.[/p][/quote]When JCB was looking for a club GT was asked if he was interested in him. GT replied - he hasn't asked me about playing for Watford. John - better career move than going to Celtic and taking the blame for Dalglish not cutting the mustard yet again. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Sat 6 Sep 14

bornyellow says...

The Not-so-enlightened one wrote:
I seem to remember it was 4-4-2 with the Real Ross Jenkins and the Legend that is Luther Blissett up front, being supplied by Barnes and Callaghan. Either way Barnesy was/is the best player I've ever seen in a Watford shirt. Some of the current squad may have the potential to match him but I smile every time I remember him completely doing defenders and supplying a killer ball or scoring himself.
I think your right...it was 4-4-2....back then i was a young boy and Taylor and 4-3-3 seems to stick in my mind....
[quote][p][bold]The Not-so-enlightened one[/bold] wrote: I seem to remember it was 4-4-2 with the Real Ross Jenkins and the Legend that is Luther Blissett up front, being supplied by Barnes and Callaghan. Either way Barnesy was/is the best player I've ever seen in a Watford shirt. Some of the current squad may have the potential to match him but I smile every time I remember him completely doing defenders and supplying a killer ball or scoring himself.[/p][/quote]I think your right...it was 4-4-2....back then i was a young boy and Taylor and 4-3-3 seems to stick in my mind.... bornyellow
  • Score: 0
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