By Tony Attwood
Geoffrey Colin Barnett was born on 16 October 1946 in Northwich,Cheshire.
He is rather unusual as a footballer in history in that although he played in a relatively recent era no one seems to know what he did in later life.
What we do know is that Geoff Barnett started out with Everton in 1962 and gained school boy and under 21 caps with England at that time.
However as is commonplace with keepers he found two players in form ahead of hims – one in particular Gordon West having international stature. And so in seven years he made only 10 league appearances as he suffered the curse of the understudy. But in 1965 he won the FA Youth Cup with Everton.
Then in October 1969 Bob Wilson sustained a broken arm and Barnett was signed for £35,000 by Arsenal. He made his Arsenal debut against against Coventry City on 4 October 1969.
During that spell he played 11 times in the league for Arsenal and also played in both legs of the second round match of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, keeping and successfully keeping clean sheets in both legs against Sporting CP – as well as saving a penalty in the first leg.
He then returned to the reserves but then a second injury to Bob Wilson meant that Geoff Barnett played in the Cup final against Leeds in 1972.
Bob Wilson had problems with his recovery the following season and Geoff Barnet played more regularly. The era was recognised in the Arsenal History Society quiz a couple of years back when we said…
Bob Wilson was injured near the end of the 1971/2 season, meaning that our deputy keeper played in the Cup Final of 1972, and through the first third of the next season. Who was it?
Everyone who entered the competition got it right.
In 1974 Bob Wilson talked to the club about wanting to retire that summer and so in February of that year Jimmy Rimmer was signed. Geoff Barnett stayed l with Arsenal however and his last match was against Stoke on 13 December 1975.
In January 1976 he moved on to Minnesota Kicks in the USA having played 49 times for Arsenal. He stayed with the club for a number of years and was manager of the club on 14 May 1981. However at the end of that season the Kicks ceased to exist.
After that we have two quite separate tales of Geoff – and indeed both might be true at different times.
One is that after the folding of the Kicks he returned to England and ran or runs a pub in Cheshire. The other is that he lives in Minnesota working for the Pines Golf Course at Grand View Lodge, Nisswa. If I had to guess from what I have read I would say that he did both – first in the pub, second in the golf club.
If you know for sure, or have any evidence it would be great to know.
There is an index to our Anniversary Files on the home page