John Barnes is one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players, that much is sacrosanct. The legendary winger tore up trees for us in the 1980s and 1990s and is one of Anfield’s favourite sons as a result.
But he’s made a mistake here. Not one that won’t be forgiven, and not one that should damage his legacy, but a mistake nonetheless.
Appearing on the Wright Show, Barnes was part of a panel reviewing the morning’s papers – and after being asked by presenter Matthew Wright: ‘Right, John what quotes do you want to take?’ he says, ‘I want to take one from the S*n’…
Barnes though has explained that this wasn’t his choice but already set by the producers and researchers of the show.
“The fact that I am speaking about it [The S*n] does not mean I am endorsing it. I was reviewing all newspapers and one of them was the S*n. We review all the newspapers that day but it’s not about the paper,” he told the Echo.
“We get there at 8am and there are newspapers you have to review. We don’t get a choice. The stories are written at 5am. We are given a bunch of papers and given a topic. We don’t choose any stories at all. This has been going on for years and I am sure the show will verify that.
“What I will try and do tomorrow is ask them not to give me any stories from the S*n. I didn’t think reviewing a paper would be seen as a story. It’s crazy. I don’t like the Express or the Mail very much either but I still review them.
“How it works is there’s a pile of papers and a piece of white paper on top that just says the name of paper and the story. That’s what you are reviewing. I never really thought about it. The S*n aren’t paying me do anything.
“I was on on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and maybe I could have mentioned the S*n then too. I don’t know. Tomorrow I shall make a point that I won’t do anything from the S*n.”
Barnes has done well to claim he won’t make the same mistake again, but in fairness – he probably should have issued an apology too. It’s not about ‘not liking the S*n’. It’s about showing proper respect to the families of the 96 who died.
He was on the pitch during the Hillsborough disaster and has an emotional connection with the tragedy and subsequently the city’s relationship with that newspaper. In reality, he should know better.
Barnes was in a pressured situation where he was doing a job he was asked to do, but we’re sure it now won’t happen again.