Paddy’s Predicament over John William Barker

3 January 1970

South Yorkshire Times, January 3, 1970

Light on Paddy’s Predicament

Over 40 years ago, Midland League Club Denaby United hit the sporting headlines with an astute and profitable deal that took one of their players to Derby County and netted £250 for the local club.

That was in 1928, but even today arguments still rage on the terraces of Tickhill Square, over the transfer of John William Barker.

One “South Yorkshire Times” reader, a member of the Denaby squad at the time of the transfer, in a letter to us claims that it was he who was responsible for moving Barker from the centre forward position back to centre half.

Mr. Paddy Windle, now living in Thrybergh, who played for United between 1924 and 1930 says: “I would be grateful if your paper could clear up these argument with the help of your files.”

In 1928

He goes on, “it was in 1928 that we played Wath Athletic in the final of the Mexborough Challenge Cup and won 2-1 after extra, time.

After this match he was transferred to Derby

“I say that he was picked centre forward for the match but didn’t have a good game so I changed him to centre half and I went to centre forward. He was brilliant. The manager at the time, Percy Harrison, congratulated me on the move.

“People say that he was picked for the match at centre half, but I say centre forward.”

The files of the “Mexborough and Swinton Times,” for 1928 reveal that Denaby did not meet Wath Athletic in the final but in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup. United, the holders, won the match 3-1 with second half goals from Ogley (2) and Jenkins.

Denaby met Mexborough at Hampden Road in the final of the competition, and although outplayed in the opening stages fought back to earn a draw, 2-2.

However, in what the “Times” reporter described as Denaby’s worst show of the season Denaby lost the Cup 3-1 in the Tickhill Square replay.

Denaby’s team for the final is not given, but their semi-final line up for the Wath clash was: Binney; Rodgers, Taylor; Clegg, Barker, Windle; Johnson, Jenkins, Ogley, Brayshaw, Kelly.


This evidence seems to suggest that Mr. Windle is mistaken as he reporter has Barker in the entre half spot.

Representatives of Derby watched Barker in the Mexborough Cup final tie and transfer arrangements were completed after this match. Huddersfield Town, Aston Villa and Birmingham had also shown interest in the player.