A ‘Keeper’s Debut

On this day (23 November) in 1957 Manchester City goalkeeper Steve Fleet made his debut in a 4-3 defeat by League leaders Wolves. I’ve met and interviewed Steve often over the years and here’s a 2,500 interview I did with him where he talks about the circumstances around his debut, the game (it was an extraordinary match) and the rest of his career. I’ve also included a match report. Enjoy!

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On This Day in 1976 – Manchester City v Middlesbrough, a thrilling semi-final

On this day (21st January) in 1976 goals from Peter Barnes, Ged Keegan, Alan Oakes and Joe Royle in the semi-final second leg against Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough guaranteed Manchester City an appearance in the League Cup final.  The Blues had lost the first leg 1-0 to a Boro side that included Graeme Souness.  The aggregate score was 4-1.

Here’s the story of that game and the situation around MCFC at the time with quotes from interviews I have performed with Alan Oakes and Rodney Marsh.

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Gary James and Peter Barnes Talks – Nov & Dec

Over the coming weeks Peter Barnes and I will be talking at various locations about the biography I have written on Peter. Here’s a brief rundown of the locations and dates, starting with tomorrow night (Tuesday 2nd November 2021):

Tuesday 2nd November – West Yorkshire MCFC Supporters Club (8pm; Morley Cricket Club, Scatcherd Lane Morley, Leeds LS27 0JJ)

Thursday 4th November – Castleton MCFC Supporters Club (7pm; Royle Bowling Club, 958 Manchester Road, Castleton, OL11 2TL)

Monday 8th November – Denton, plus Haughton Green, branches of the MCFC Supporters Club (Denton Conservative Club, 45 Manchester Rd, Denton, M34 2AF)

Thursday 11th November – Abbey Hey MCFC Supporters Club

Tuesday 16th November – Orrell MCFC Supporters Club (7.30pm)

Friday 19th November – Ashton under Lyne MCFC Supporters Club

Friday 26th November – Stretford & Urmston MCFC Supporters Club

Thursday 2nd December – Warrington MCFC Supporters Club

Monday 13th December – Wilmslow MCFC Supporters Club

Monday 20th December – Irlam MCFC Supporters Club

At each talk/evening we’ll be selling the book at a discounted price of £15 (cash only) and we will, of course, sign copies for those in attendance. Obviously, our diaries are pretty full with events and other activities but if you are interested in myself and where possible Peter talking about the book at your event then please contact me with details and we’ll see what we can do: gary@GJFootballArchive.com

This 372 page, colour paperback book is £16.95 (including UK postage). For those interested in buying the book but unable to attend you can order it here:

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – UNITED KINGDOM

Order today for £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).


UK postage included; outside UK contact me for additional postage costs. You do not need to have a PayPal account to order – use the ‘Pay with PayPal’ button above and it will give you the option to pay by credit/debit card without creating a PayPal account.

Thanks Alex

The former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams has been featured on BBC Radio Five Live recently and took time out to talk about my new biography of another Manchester City star Peter Barnes. You can hear what Alex had to say here:


While we’re talking about Barnes… Peter and I will be appearing at the Hazel Grove branch of the City Supporters Club tomorrow (5th October) at 8pm. We’ll have copies of the biography available at the discounted price of £15 (cash only) and, of course, Peter and I will be signing copies on the night. Why not come along and say hello.

I’m currently arranging visits to a number of supporters clubs over the coming months. Watch this space for details soon.

If you can’t attend any of the meetings but would like the book copies are available via all usual stockists. For example:

Thanks Reddish!

I’d like to thank Howard Burr and all at Reddish MCFC Supporters Club for making Peter Barnes & I so welcome last night. It was a great night and we really enjoyed talking about the book.

Reddish is a great branch (if you’re local and not a member then why not?) and it was wonderful to be in a room with City fans again.

Thanks for supporting the book and keep up the excellent work. Some great questions and I hope our answers encouraged a few to take a look at the book and see what it’s all about.

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Available Here!

Tonight Peter & I will be talking about my new book on Peter’s life and career. At Reddish MCFC Supporters Club. If you can’t make it you can still order the book here:

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – UNITED KINGDOM

Order today for £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).


This 372 page, colour paperback book is £16.95 (including UK postage).

You do not need to have a PayPal account to order – use the ‘Pay with PayPal’ button above and it will give you the option to pay by credit/debit card without creating a PayPal account. UK postage included; outside UK contact me for additional postage costs.

Here are the contents pages:

This is the life story of Peter Barnes who, at the age of 18, scored the opening goal in the 1976 League Cup final. Playing for the team he supported, Manchester City, Peter was idolised by fans and was awarded the 1976 PFA Young Player of the Year award. The following year he made his England debut and was described by one journalist as the ‘saviour of English football.’

These were the days when Manchester City won the League Cup; were runners up in the League (missing the title by a point); and were challenging in Europe but then Malcolm Allison returned as coach and within months Peter, and a whole host of international stars, were on their way out. Peter was sold for a record amount. City’s fortunes suffered while Peter carved out a new career at West Bromwich Albion (where he played for Ron Atkinson).

Another record breaking transfer to Leeds United followed, before spells at Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United (playing for both Ron Atkinson and his replacement Alex Ferguson) and Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Written by acclaimed author Dr Gary James, this book covers the highs and lows of Peter’s life with stories about his time playing for some of the game’s biggest clubs and most famous managers. It also discusses Peter’s ongoing involvement with the sport and the significance of his family.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the cover came from… it’s based on the packaging and advertising for the cult toy from the late 1970s The Peter Barnes Football Trainer.

If you run a book shop and would like to know more about the book please email: accounts@manchesterfootball.org

If you’re a media company interested in interviewing Peter or Gary about the book then please contact author Gary James: gary@GJFootballArchive.com

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks are now available for book shops.

You can listen to Peter in conversation with myself about the book here:


Gary James

Reddish Event – 20 August 2021

For those who are interested: tomorrow night Peter Barnes & I will be appearing at the Reddish branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club to talk about The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography. Copies of the book will be available on the night at the specially discounted price of £15 (Cash only).

Details of the evening here:


40 Years Ago Today

On this day (2nd August) in 1981 the Sunday Mirror published an interview with Peter Barnes saying he would return to Manchester City if he could. The player was at WBA and, following Ron Atkinson’s move to Manchester United, it looked like Peter was to move from the Hawthorns.m

Both City and Leeds United seemed interested. This article from 1981 talked of Barnes’ final days at Maine Road two years earlier. Of course this time is extensively covered in my new book The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography which is now available direct from most bookshops. If yours doesn’t stock it then let them know they can get hold of it from their usual supplier or direct from me.

For those who use online retailers and prefer to use Amazon here’s their link:

Leeds V Real Betis: The Peter Barnes Derby?

Every game seems to need its own unique moniker these days. Every time there’s a live game on TV that is perhaps a difficult sell to those accustomed to only watching the so-called Big Two/Three/Four/Five/Six (delete as applicable depending on what decade we’re in) the TV companies rush to give them a name, often connected with a road (If Denton play Hyde would that be the M67 Derby?) or area of the country. So… as Leeds are playing Betis on Saturday (31/7/21) what better than calling it the ‘Peter Barnes Derby’?

Peter played for both clubs in the 1980s. At Betis he was known as El Rubio (the blond one) and at Leeds he was the club’s record signing (for many, many years). These are two clubs that, unless you’re a fan of either, the general public don’t tend to associate with Peter.

In The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography, which came out at the start of this month, Peter and I talk about what Leeds and Betis meant to him. Neither period was the highlight of career of course but both did mean something to him and he had been keen to play for Leeds for years. In the book he talks about almost joining the club as a boy; idolising an Elland Rd player (a Leeds legend); Don Revie’s singing interests and life at Leeds during a difficult period.

Peter’s time in Spain is also covered, including a game in which he nutmegged Maradona! To find out more order the book now.

You can still buy the book direct from me by using the link below:

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography (£16.95 incl UK Postage)

372 pages, 110,000 words, 100s of illustrations… Of particular interest to fans of City, United, WBA, Leeds, Real Betis, Coventry, Tampa Bay Rowdies and England. Outside UK contact for additional postage cost.


Of course, if you only ever buy your books from certain online retailers then both Amazon and Waterstones are now advertising that they have it. Outside the UK this may be the cheapest way to order your copy. If you are outside the UK then please let me know if you find an online retailer servicing your country and I’ll post the details. Thanks