Ken Barnes was widely regarded as one of the finest footballers of his generation never to have won an England cap. During a distinguished playing career with Manchester City, Ken appeared in the FA Cup finals of 1955 and 1956 and later captained the club before retiring in the early 60s. He spent nearly a decade away from Maine Road as a manager of Wrexham and Witton Albion before returning to Maine Road as a coach under Joe Mercer. Ken subsequently went on to serve under every City manager as either a coach or chief scout from Joe Mercer to Joe Royle. As someone who holds forthright views on the game, especially when it comes to the subject of coaching, Ken's views could be dismissed as the 'in my day' rantings of another embittered former pro. Yet one should bear in mind that his integrity and knowledge of the game saw him serve under every Manchester City manager from Joe Mercer to Joe Royle. In his time, Ken has seen trends come and go from the 'deep lying centre-forward' via 'wingless wonders' to today's 'holding midfielder' and is uniquely placed to give his opinions on them all. Away from football, Ken is described as a 'character'. Make of that what you will. That may be a tale for another day. This is the story of Ken's life in football. I'm honoured, and privileged, that he asked me to help him tell it.
From the Publisher
Bland autobiographies appear all too frequently for the liking of most football supporters. Players who were once lions on the pitch often seem to become lambs in print as a plethora of books over the past decade has shown. The same cannot be said of 'This Simple Game'. Ken Barnes has lived and breathed Manchester City since he arrived at Maine Road as a callow youth in the early 1950s. During his 50 year connection with the club he has seen it all from the Revie Plan Ken describes as 'b*ll**ks' to the modern obsession with coaching his opinions on which are not printable here. He has played with and against many of the greatest in the game and, in the 80s and 90s, his talent as a chief scout was second to none. A word of warning 'This Simple Game' contains industrial language, there's plenty of effing anf jeffing, but that is in itself a passionate expression of Ken's exasperation at the state of the game over the last half century. If you are easily offended please look away now, but if you're a football person, with the good of the game at heart, then Ken's book is the one for you - you'll laugh along with him as he recalls a remarkable life in the game. Enjoy.