At 99, Jack is football's great survivor; BIRTHDAY: Oldest living ex-City player is looking forward to a big celebration.
THE Sky Blues are hoping for victory in their last home game of the season tomorrow - but one former player will be celebrating whatever the result.
Jack Barnes is 99 tomorrow, the oldest surviving former Coventry City player.
In his prime, Jack was a speedy winger. Now he's taking life a lot easier at his care home and saving all his puff to blow out the birthday candles.
He'll be joined by family and friends in Coleshill to toast his long life.
His daughter Janet, aged 68, a mother-of-two, said she put her father's long life down to his early sporting activities. He continued playing golf until the age of 93.
Although he doesn't get to see the Sky Blues play any more he is an honorary member of the CCFC Former Players' Association.
Janet said: "He was always very sporty and every now and again continues to talk about his sporting days.
"It was only very recently, in the last few weeks, we found out he used to keep greyhounds."
Research by Coventry City historian Jim Brown has shown that not only is Jack the oldest surviving former City player, but he is also the oldest surviving former Football League player.
His soccer career was a far cry from today's multi-millionaire Premiership players.
Pay was could measured in pounds and shillings, and Jack had to supplement his meagre returns with other jobs.
Jack left school at the age of 12 to help his parents provide for his younger siblings.
He worked in coal mines and also had an evening job in a bakery.
During the war he worked in a munitions factory in Coventry.
He tried several other jobs including painting and decorating, plumbing, working in a tannery, before ending up in the hosiery trade working for Freers in Atherstone.
Born on April 28, 1908, Jack grew up in Atherstone and played for the "Adders" as a teenager before being spotted by Coventry.
He played on the left wing at Highfield Road in the 1928-1929 season.
He played eight games that season, but it was one of the most miserable times in the club's history.
In one game against Crystal Palace just 2,059 turned up to watch.
In the summer of 1929 Jack joined Walsall. He went on to score 18 goals in 68 appearances.
He went on to play for Watford where he scored 11 goals over two seasons. He also played with Exeter City and York City before a foot injury ended his professional career.
Jack later returned to Atherstone Town and also worked on his golfing skills.
By 1938 he was on the verge of a career as a professional golfer but put his family - wife Nancy and daughter Janet - first.
SPORTING LIFE... Jack Barnes (top) during his professional career; (above) celebrating with his great-granddaughter Jenna and (right) the Coventry City 1928/29 team with Jack circled.