Richie Barker, player and manager, dies at 80

It is with much regret that we record the passing at the age of 80 of Richie Barker who, as both player and later manager, rendered yeoman service to Notts County.

He came to Meadow Lane from Derby County in December, 1968 when acting-manager Jack Wheeler, persuaded chairman Jack Dunnett that Richie was worth every penny of the £10,000 fee being demanded by the Rams for his services.

It was at this stage of his football career that he gave up part-time work as a draughtsman in order to become a full-time professional. 

Richie made his Notts debut a few days after signing, turning out for the visit of Exeter City and helping the Magpies to a 3-1 win with two well-established players, Les Bradd and Don Masson getting the goals - two from Les and one from Don. In his very next appearance, on Boxing Day, against Chesterfield, Richie scored his first Notts goal in a 2-1 win, Don getting the other from the penalty spot.

In total Richie made 99 League appearances for Notts, plus 13 as a substitute, scoring 37 goals. His most memorable season was 1970-71, by which time Jimmy Sirrel had become manager, piloting Notts to his first promotion success as champions of the Fourth Division. Tony Hateley returned mid-season for his second spell with the club, joining Richie and Les - all six-footers - in the forward line.

Richie left Meadow Lane for Peterborough United in September, 1971 but returned in 1984 as manager following previous spells in charge of Shrewsbury Town and Stoke City.

He worked tirelessly to try to improve County’s fortunes but five consecutive defeats proved to be his last and the club’s directors parted company with him but, unlike some others, Richie showed no acrimony towards his former employers and he was always a welcome guest at Meadow Lane.

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