Horace Barnes was born in Wadsley Bridge on 3rd January, 1890. He played local football before joining Derby County in 1908. Playing at inside-left, over the next six years, Barnes scored 74 goals in 153 league games.
In 1914 Manchester City paid a record transfer fee of £2,500 for his services. During his first season at Maine Road he scored 22 goals in 39 games. According to Gary James, Manchester City: The Complete Record (2006): "He (Horace Barnes) possessed a very powerful kick and one anecdote passed through the generations tells how he once hit a 35-yard free-kick with such force that the ball broke both wrists of the opposing goalkeeper who, apparently, tried to punch it clear."
In the 1914-15 season Barnes scored 12 goals in 25 games. His career was interrupted by the First World War. Barnes worked in a munitions factory and was fined by Manchester magistrates for playing in a game against Stockport County when he should have been carrying out his war production duties.
In the first season after the war, 1919-20, Barnes finished up joint top scorer with 22 goals. The following season he helped Manchester City finish second to Burnley in the First Division championship. He established a great partnership with Tommy Browell, who ended up with 31 goals that year. They repeated their achievements the following season with Barnes scoring 20 and Browell adding 21 to his impressive total of goals.
In the 1923-24 season Barnes was only selected to play in 23 games. Even so, he still managed to score 20 goals. At the age of 34, he seemed to be out of favour at Manchester City and was sold to Preston North End in November, 1924. Barnes scored on his debut against Nottingham Forest. He went on to score six in his first 10 games and finished as the club's joint top scorer. Despite the goals of Barnes, Preston finished in 21st place in the league and were relegated to the Second Division.
Barnes had a good start to the 1925-26 season scoring twice in both the first two games. However, he was allowed to move to Oldham Athletic half-way through the campaign. He had scored 16 goals in 19 games. Despite his age, Barnes did fairly well at Oldham scoring 16 goals before retiring from the game at the end of the 1926 season.
Barnes returned to Manchester where he worked as a packer at the Mather & Platt factory. He continued to work until he was seventy. Horace Barnes died the following year at his home in Clayton in 1961.
He (Horace Barnes) possessed a very powerful kick and one anecdote passed through the generations tells how he once hit a 35-yard free-kick with such force that the ball broke both wrists of the opposing goalkeeper who, apparently, tried to punch it clear.
He (Horace Barnes) had a fierce left-foot shot and scored 108 goals in 192 league games for city after the hostilities.... In November 1924, Barnes joined Preston North End and scored on his debut in a 3-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest. In fact, Barnes scored in each of his first 3 games.