Geoffrey Arthur “Geoff” Barker came through the Hull Schoolboys system in the early 1960s and signed apprentice terms with Hull City in 1964. He signed professional terms in March 1967 but had to wait two years for his first team debut under manager Cliff Britton. After starting the last six games of the 1968/69 season he kept his first team place for the first four months of the 1969/70 season, scoring his first City goal in October 1969, a 3-1 win over Oxford United. When Britton left City in November 1969 and the Directors took over day to day running of the team, Barker was selected for five games but dropped out of contention by Christmas. When Terry Neill took over the reins at Boothferry Park in August 1970 Barker was not in the club’s first team plans and he played in only one match during the 1970/71 season, as makeshift winger in a 1-5 thumping at Cardiff in which Geoff scored the consolation goal. By early December 1970 Barker had moved to Southend United on loan, where he started 25 league games, and left the Tigers in the 1971 close season.
Barker signed for Darlington in July 1971 and over the next four season he started over 150 games. Darlo drifted around the lower reaches of the Fourth Division in Geoff’s four seasons at Feethams so when he switched to divisional rivals Reading in February 1975 it provided him with elevation up the League table. Reading won promotion from the Fourth Division in 1975/76 season propelled by the goalscoring exploits of legendary forward Robin Friday – Barker shared centre back duties with Steve Hetzke, making 30 league appearances. In the 1976/77 season Reading were relegated back to the Fourth Division but Barker started only six games and left for Grimsby Town in the 1977 close season. In two seasons at Blundell Park Geoff started 66 games before leaving the club in 1979 and spending four years as player and player-manager for Bridlington Trinity and Grantham Town.
After a brief spell playing for Hall Road Rangers, Barker returned for a third spell at Bridlington Trinity in march 1986, this time as first team manager. He retained that role until February 1988 when he left the club, which was on the brink of collapse, and after a short spell at Barton Town he took over the reins at North Ferriby United. He led the Villagers between 1988 and 1991, guiding the side to a FA Vase semi-final in 1989 and signing a young unknown labourer called Dean Windass, who had recently been released by Hull City’s youth team and had played Sunday league football for Northwood alongside Geoff. Windass went on to return to Hull City in the early 1990s and eventually play in the Premier League, achievements that started with Geoff Barker and North Ferriby United.
Barker was a stalwart for the Ex-Tigers XI during the 1980s while working as an insurance agent and living in Willerby. In later life he battled Parkinson’s Disease and after a lengthy period of illness he died in February 2022.
In 2019, fifty years after Barker’s City debut, his grandson Matty Jacob signed his first professional contract with Hull City. Another defender, Matty broke into City’s first team squad during the latter months of 2020.
Date/Place of Birth: 7 February 1949, Hull
Hull City First Game: 5 April 1969, Millwall H (Division Two), 20 years, 57 days old
Hull City Final Game: 31 October 1970, Cardiff City A (Division Two), 21 years, 266 days old
Hull City (1967-1971), Southend United (1970-1971, loan), Darlington (1971-1975), Reading (1975-1977), Grimsby Town (1977-1979), Bridlington Trinity (1979-1980), Grantham Town (1980-1981), Bridlington Trinity (1981-1983), Hall Road Rangers (1984-1985)
Hull City Record
Career: 32 apps, 2 goalsGeoff Barker
|1969/70||22 (1)||1||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|