It’s not everyday that you get to meet one of your idols. Thanks to Courts Singapore, that’s one more thing checked off the bucket list – meeting my favourite player EVER – Liverpool FC’s John Barnes.
Liverpool’s record signing, back in 1987 for £900,000, Barnes ruled the left wing combining with the talents of Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton, to form what was probably the most fearsome attacking line Liverpool have ever had. Although Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho and Sterling might actually give them a run for their money considering their form this season.Skill, Pace, Power and Strength of Character. Four qualities that were synonymous with John Barnes. These qualities were on display every week through his magical goals and assists. His goal for England, one of the greatest goals in football history, against Brazil at the Maracana stadium no less, where he glided past the Brazilians, round their keeper and score is a testament to his great ability with the ball.JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI0ODAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNjAlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjIlMkYlMkZ3d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20lMkZlbWJlZCUyRjlTQ3lYR2lKLWpjJTNGcmVsJTNEMCUyMiUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==However, it is his strength of character and personality that really deserves the plaudits. Barnes rose to football stardom during a time when racism was still very much commonplace in English football. His dedication to his craft, determination and self-belief not to let the taunts get to him, set the foundation and paved the way for other black and coloured footballers, such as Andrew and Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling, allowing them to make their mark as professional footballers that are embraced not only by their clubs, but the English national team as well.Barnes, now a respected media personality, still finds the time to visit the fans around the world. It is a demanding task, but one he relishes. Photo after photo, armed with an ever ready smile and a fantastic personality, he was constantly joking with fans and interacting with the crowd – all before he had to rush off to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to appear on Astro for the Liverpool – Arsenal clash later that day. However, he did find the time to entertain the crowd with his rapping skills by performing his version of Rapper’s Delight.Once again a big thank you to Courts Singapore, who continue to bring in football personalities to the fans who can only watch them on TV.