John Barnes


Former footballer and esteemed sports speaker, John Barnes is a calculated commentator who frequently shares his knowledge with enthralled fans, both on the screen and on the stage. The talented left-winger soared within the sport in the 1980s and 90s, earning himself 79 caps for England in the process. John is a highly sought after public speaker, who is frequently booked to appear at awards evening, business conferences and more.

On top of his footballing career, John’s early life was dominated by military work. Initially a member of the West India Regiment in 1956, he moved to the 1st Battalion Jamaica Regiment before being promoted to Colonel in 1973. When he retired from the army in 1989, John turned his hand to semi-professional football. During this period, John developed skills in calculating risk and teamwork that he applies to his public speaking, offering strategies to the audience that can improve their personal and professional development.

Over the course of his career, John made 586 local appearances throughout two decades. Whilst playing for such teams as Liverpool F.C from 1987 to 1997 and Newcastle United F.C from 1997 to 1999, he scored over 150 goals, making him a formidable player. Upon moving to play with both the England under-21s and the England National Football Team, John made 82 appearances and scored 11 goals. In doing so, he was voted England’s greatest ever left-footed player by readers of The Times.

Upon retiring from professional football, John developed his media career. He also regularly tours the speaking circuit, attending events as the awards host, after-dinner speaker and sports speaker. An advocate against discrimination, he frequently and candidly shares his personal story, as well as discuss his continued work towards equal opportunities. John’s experience of top-level football has given him a wide range of personal skills, including peak performance, maximising success and performing under pressure. Elite sporting stars perform under great expectations, meaning that John has developed methods to staying calm which he presents in his public speaking.

To book John Barnes as the football speaker for your corporate event, conference or function simply contact the Champions Speakers agency using the contact details below.

When at corporate events, John Barnes is known to cover the following topics:

  • Football Speaker
  • Sports Speaker
  • Achieving Goals
  • Peak Performance
  • Teamwork & Leadership
  • Drive & Determination

“I didn’t get to say bye to John but he was absolutely amazing and I cannot begin to thank him enough!! He got up on the tannoy and did two fantastic raps, he really motivated so many people to give. Thank you so much, John and we will let you know how much you helped us raise. We are sharing the fun of the day on social media but I wanted to send John a huge thank you.”- Deutsche Bank

“I asked John if he minded diving straight in, he was more than happy with this and provided a great opening, describing his early years, his family background and how he came to live England. He also echoed much of the philosophy we coach here, which was fantastic as we’d not had a chance to brief him on that, it was all very natural and spontaneous, both myself and Luke Webb were enthusiastically nodding away as he spoke to the audience. During the meal, he went table to table and signed various items for the students and staff.”

“Later in the evening, we retreated with some staff members to the bar where John was more candid about his career and life experiences, which I personally found fascinating, I think we could have booked him in for a week and still only scratched the surface of his life experiences and thoughts on the game. I’ve suggested a “John Barnes Part II” because of that.”

“I really appreciated that John devoted so much time to each of our students’ questions and you could instantly perceive his passion for football but also the passing on of his knowledge and development of kids, not just in sport but as people. Many of them (who board) were looking forward to Face-timing or Skyping home to tell their parents about it, which was great to see.”

“Once again a great evening – thanks for your help in arranging everything.”Trevor Benstock, Bradfield College