29th August 2011
Chris Barker was born in Sheffield and began his football career at Alfreton. He joined his first professional club, Barnsley at the age of 18 and appeared in over 100 games for the club before joined Cardiff City in a deal which was thought to be worth £600,000.
Barker, playing at left back, helped Cardiff to win promotion in his first year. He went on loan to Stoke City in August 2004, but so impressed the fans when he returned that he won the Cardiff player of the season award that season.
He spent the 2006-07 season on loan to Colchester United, but the move did not become permanent and in June 2007 he signed for Queens Park Rangers for 2 years on a free transfer.
In August 2008 he joined Paul Storrock's Plymouth Argyle on a three-year contract, but when Peter Reid took over management at the club it became clear Chris did fit into his plans, so was allowed out on one month loan to Southend in August 2010 where he started at left back. He made the move permanent when he signed two-year contract on a free transfer.
After the team's disastrous performance at home to Port Vale, he was switched by manager Paul Storrock to centre defence alongside new signing Bilel Moshni and proved a thoroughly reliable defender, the rock around which to rest of the defence worked. An injury against Rotherham at the end of October took a month to mend, but when he returned to the team his performances continued to be excellent and he was used at left back again when injury sidelined Gilbert in March.
Barker's role at attacking set pieces is to be last defender and he positions himself on the halfway line. He only pushes up field during normal play when he has the ball at his feet, so scoring chances are virtually zero.
However despite a stunning second half of the season from Ryan Hall, a series of majestic midfield performances from Anthony Grant, 21 goals from Barry Corr and an ever present right back in Sean Clohessy, it was Chris Barker's quiet reliability over 47 games that saw him voted Southend's Player-of-the-Season for 2010-11.
Barker, who was Vice Captain in his first season, was named Club Captain for the 2011-12 season and hung onto his no 23 shirt and may soon find himself mentioned in the same breath as Freddy Eastwood, the most famous owner of that shirt.
Article by Robin
|Years||Totals||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other Cup|
|Joined||5 August 2010||Plymouth Argyle||Initially on loan for 4 games|
|Still under contract with Southend United FC|