Liverpool legend lifts lid on Kop move from Watford and reveals strongest attribute in players

Tom Procter

John Barnes has given an in-depth interview to and lifted the lid about his move from Watford to Liverpool back in 1987.

Barnes is often suggested as one of the Hornets' greatest ever players and spent six years at Vicarage Road before joining the Reds for £900k.



A string of good performances towards the end of his Watford days meant that it became widely expected he would leave the club for bigger and better things, and leave is exactly what he did.

On his departure from the club, Barnes said: "At that time I was quite naïve as a young footballer, and even though we had got to a Cup final and finished second, I didn’t think about how big the club was and how it could grow and challenge clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool. 

John Barnes
John Barnes

"Maybe it was because at those clubs they were able to sustain that success whereas at a club like Watford you have to go through periods of success.

"Graham [Taylor] knew that this was a special time for Watford and he had a special group of players, who once these players got older – and even if I had stayed at Watford and got to 35-years-old – would be finishing in the top five or six, but not be challenging for championships.

"He understood that and he told me ‘you have to go to Liverpool’ because they were the next stepping-stone in my future to maximise my potential."

Steve Chettle of Nottingham Forest and John Barnes of Liverpool
Steve Chettle of Nottingham Forest and John Barnes of Liverpool

Kingston-born winger Barnes was famed for his footwork and dribbling abilities throughout his career but championed one attribute above all else that footballers need to have to succeed.

He added: "Most people would say the strongest attributes you can have are skill and pace and strength…but discipline is so important. Discipline, working hard and appreciating your team – it’s all about working together.”

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes