Sam Barkas

Sam Barkas

Samuel Barkas was born in Wardley on 29th December 1909. After leaving school he worked at Wardley Colliery. A full-back, he also played football for Middle Dock before signing for Bradford City in 1927. The following season Barkas helped Bradford to win the Third Division North championship.

Barkas played in 202 games for Bradford City before joining Manchester City for a fee of £5,000 in April 1934. A stylish full-back, Barkas had the ability to "create positive-play from defensive positions". With the emergence of players such as Eric Brook, Alec Herd, Fred Tilson, Ernie Toseland, Frank Swift, Jackie Bray and Billy Dale, City was now seen as the club most likely to challenge the dominance of the Arsenal side that had won the league titles in the 1932-33, 1933-34 and 1934-35 seasons.

A record crowd of 79,491 watched the Manchester City game against Arsenal at Maine Road on 23rd February 1935. Eric Brook scored City's goal in the 1-1 draw. However, it was a disappointing season as City could only finish in 9th place in the league. That season Barkas played in 39 of the 42 games. In February 1936 Wilf Wild purchased Peter Doherty from Blackpool, for a club record fee of £10,000. He joined a forward-line that included Eric Brook, Alec Herd, Fred Tilson and Ernie Toseland.

By the end of 1936 Manchester City had obtained 23 points out of a possible 44. As Gary James points out in Manchester City: The Complete Record: "It was still not Championship form, but enough to give them a foundation to build on. The New Year saw City climb up the table and, by the time of their meeting with the usual dominant Arsenal in April 1937, the two sides occupied the top two positions." A crowd of 74,918 watched Peter Doherty and Ernie Toseland score the goals that gave City a 2-0 victory.

Over the next three weeks Manchester City went on to beat Sunderland (3-1), Preston North End (5-2) and Sheffield Wednesday (4-1). City could only draw their last game 2-2 but by this time had been crowned champions. City scored 107 goals in the 1936-37 season, the main contributors being Peter Doherty (30), Eric Brook (20), Alec Herd (17), Fred Tilson (15) and Ernie Toseland (7). The defence, that included Sam Barkas, Frank Swift, Jackie Bray and Billy Dale, also did well that season, only letting in 61 goals in 42 games. It was the first time that City had won the First Division league title.

Barkas won his first international cap for England against Belgium on 9th May, 1936. England lost the game 3-2. Barkas was recalled for the game against Scotland on 17th August 1937. The England team that day also included Jackie Bray, Cliff Britton, Raich Carter, George Male, Stanley Matthews, Freddie Steele, Vic Woodley and Alf Young. England lost the game 3-1. Barkas retained his place for games against Northern Ireland (5-1), Wales (2-1) and Czechoslovakia (5-4).

In the 1937-38 season Manchester City once again scored more goals than any other club in the First Division. Once again Peter Doherty (23), Eric Brook (16) and Alec Herd (12) were the leading scorers. However the defence, performed badly letting in 77 goals. The club finished in 21st position and was relegated to the Second Division.

On Friday, 1st September, 1939, Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland. On Sunday 3rd September Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. The government immediately imposed a ban on the assembly of crowds and as a result the Football League competition was brought to an end.

Barkas was only 29 years old at the outbreak of the Second World War. By the time the Football League started again after the war he was almost 37 years old. Despite his age, he led Manchester City to the Second Division title in the 1946-47 season. He retired in June 1947 after playing 195 league and cup games for the club.

Barkas later managed Workington and Wigan and scouted for Manchester City and Leeds United.

Samuel Barkas died on 8th December 1939.