“He didn’t forget a thing!” – Ex-Sheffield Wednesday assistant, Richie Barker, mourned by Chris Turner after the former Zamalek, Stoke City and Notts County manager sadly passed away

Former Sheffield Wednesday assistant, Richie Barker, has passed away. (via swfcofficial (YouTube))Former Sheffield Wednesday assistant, Richie Barker, has passed away. (via swfcofficial (YouTube))
Former Sheffield Wednesday assistant, Richie Barker, has passed away. (via swfcofficial (YouTube))
Former Sheffield Wednesday assistant, Richie Barker, has passed away at the age of 80.

Chris Turner, who worked closely with Barker during his years at Hillsborough, has spoken to The Star about the well-liked former Wednesday man, who came on board to work alongside ‘Big’ Ron Atkinson.

“He never used to forget a thing, that’s for sure,” Turner recalls. “I remember late one season, we’re having a team meeting, and about eight or nine months previously we’d lost 1-0 to Luton. Nigel Pearson’s tackle had given away the penalty.

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“In our team meeting, Nigel brought something up, and Richie straight away said, ‘Hey, I remember your tackle at Luton, so keep it shut!’

“He always remembered things from way back when.”

And he had plenty to remember. By the time he arrived at Wednesday, Barker had already had time at Stoke City and Notts County before heading overseas to work at Ethnikos Piraeus and then Egyptian giants, Zamalek, where he achieved the major honour of winning the CAF Champions League.

Turner went on to say, “When Big Ron was manager, and Trevor Francis, he was a big influence… He used to take the ‘keepers and warm us up most mornings - he’d always work you hard. He was a really good guy.

“He knew the game well, had been in it a long time and at big clubs. He always liked to be organised. Big Ron wasn’t the training ground coach, Richie Barker did that. He did the set plays and team plays, tactics and stuff. Ron just let Richie do a certain amount of his coaching. He was also a funny guy and you could have a laugh with him.”

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The former Owls stopper recalled one story that Barker told him about his time in Egypt which showed the importance of hard work and what the right coaching can achieve.

“He was talking to me about a player in my position, a goalkeeper,” he said. “He’d arrived and this goalkeeper was useless, but we couldn’t bring any more players in so I had to work with him.

“He said that he’d take him back every afternoon, and work him hard every single day. He became so fit that he came good, and ended up winning Player of the Season.”

Meanwhile, another former Owl, John Harkes, said via his Twitter account today, “Sad to hear this news. Condolences to Richie Barker’s family, friends, and the SWFC family and supporters. Enjoyed being coached by him, great person.”

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Barker will be widely remembered for the role that he played in Wednesday’s 1991 success in the Rumbelows Cup under Atkinson and his work with Francis as the Owls got to both the FA Cup and Coca-Cola Cup finals in 1993. He left not long after David Pleat’s arrival at Hillsborough.

Following his Owls exit, Barker spent time with West Bromwich Albion as a chief scout and also caretaker manager for a period. He is a man that will be missed by many and remembered very fondly for his years of service to the game.

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