Geoff Barnett, former Everton reserve goalkeeper from Harry Catterick's 1960s sides and understudy to Gordon West, died in Florida, age 74.
Geoff was scouted from local football, joining the club in May 1964, and won the FA Youth Cup with the Blues in 1965, alongside John Hurst and Jimmy Husband, but was unable to regularly dislodge Gordon West and Andy Rankin from Harry Catterick's fantastic sixties sides.
He kept a clean sheet on his debut against Sunderland at Goodison Park in November 1965 and made eight more appearances between the sticks that season, including the famous game at Blackpool when a 16-year-old Joe Royle made his debut at centre-forward in place of Alex Young.
Geoff played one more game for Everton, replacing Gordon West a week before the 1968 FA Cup final, before signing for Arsenal in 1969 after their No 1 goalkeeper Bob Wilson broke his arm early in the season. He would later team up again with Alan Ball at Highbury and played for the Gunners when they lost the 1972 FA Cup final at Wembley against Leeds United.
The keeper ended his football career in the USA with Minnesota Kicks, where he subsequently coached before the club folded in 1981. He eventually returned to England and ran a pub, the George & Dragon, in Holmes Chapel in his native Cheshire until 2010. Geoff retired to Florida, where he died on 15 January, age 74.
Reader Comments (11)
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1 Posted 16/01/2021 at 12:22:01
He didnt let himself down when he played for the first team, but he found himself 3rd choice behind West and Rankin, two very good keepers.
He went on to have a decent career. RIP.
2 Posted 16/01/2021 at 16:58:45
3 Posted 16/01/2021 at 00:09:08
Its always sad to read of players I saw in team photos as a child passing away. I think hes in the famous Summer of 69 team photo taken of what was to be a glorious Championship winning team, taken on a cloudless blue sky day at Bellefield. I had that photo on my bedroom wall in the mid 70s as a kid. Bally in his white boots, Joe Royle with a crew cut hairstyle, Tommy Wright, Jimmy Husband, Alan Whittle ( Tom Davies uncle ) and the three goalies in their green jerseys - West, Rankin and Geoff Barnett...
Happy days. Reminds you that life is short. Make the most of it.
4 Posted 17/01/2021 at 18:08:14
5 Posted 19/01/2021 at 09:46:12
Geoff in those days was a very tall, curly-haired would-be centre-forward (often in a Sheffield Wednesday blue-and-white striped No 9 shirt, if memory serves me right). But, not long after this, he took up goalkeeping and soon starred for Mid-Cheshire Schoolboys when they famously made the national semi-finals and played Liverpool boys at Anfield – a great day out for us local lads.
That set him on the road to a professional career and an Everton scholarship. I never saw Geoff again after I left England for Australia just after Christmas 1965 (I'm still here) but I followed his career from afar and was thrilled when able to watch him playing for Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on TV.
Geoff was a terrific young bloke whom we were all very proud of. I read of his death with great sadness. Karl at 3 is spot on: life is terribly short.
6 Posted 19/01/2021 at 10:20:04
7 Posted 19/01/2021 at 12:30:30
I remember, two old timers talking on the Old Swan Football Bus about who was better, West or Rankin. One claimed that Rankin made far more spectacular saves, but this was countered by the other as West did not have to make many spectaculars as his reading of the game and positional play were far better. Then, he struck the killer blow to the argument that Gordon Banks did not make many spectaculars because he read the game so well.
Sorry, I have drifted away from Geoff Barnett!
8 Posted 19/01/2021 at 21:44:09
9 Posted 19/01/2021 at 22:34:56
11 Posted 23/01/2021 at 04:45:53
12 Posted 23/01/2021 at 17:25:59
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