SWINDON TOWN: Barker opens up over previous loan failures

Swindon Advertiser: George Barker and Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper George Barker and Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper

AFTER two attempts at relaunching his career lower down the Football League which he brands as disastrous, George Barker is confident Swindon Town will provide him with the perfect platform to fulfil his true potential.

Barker signed an 18-month contract with Town on Tuesday after the Robins shelled out an undisclosed fee to Brighton for the striker. The move marks the end of a frustrating five years for the 22-year-old who, after turning professional with the Sussex club, has found chances few and far between.

Barker only made four substitute appearances for the Seagulls while the frontman experienced two miserable loan spells at Barnet and Newport County in search of regular first-team football.

The former, in December 2012, saw him feature just once in League Two for the Bees while the latter was even less effective as Barker played 29 minutes over two substitutes appearances for the South Wales outfit.

Barker explained that circumstance has contributed significantly to his loan nightmares, starting when the man who signed him for Barnet - Mark Robson - was replaced by Edgar Davids at the London club.

“Going to Barnet was a bit of a strange one because the manager that signed me - Mark Robson - was only there for a week or so and then he got sacked or left. With Edgar Davids it was a bit of a nightmare,” he told the Advertiser.

“He wanted to play his own players which is fair enough, he didn’t sign me, so it was a bit of a one-off that one.

“There was nothing I could really have done.

“I think everyone would say he is a bit of hard work.

“I think Edgar Davids came in and completely took over and for the boys that had already been playing under Mark it was hard for them to start over again with a new manager - especially someone coming in on loan.

“I have to give him respect, if he didn’t want to play me it wasn’t because of something I hadn’t done right it’s just the way it went.”

At Rodney Parade Barker suffered a similar fate. He suggested Newport boss Justin Edinburgh hadn’t wanted him in the first place.

“I went to Newport and was told I was going to play and later on I heard that it was more the backroom at the club that signed me than the gaffer,” he said.

“When they’re going behind the gaffer’s back and signing a player that he didn’t want to sign it’s not very good for me, is it?

“I thought as soon as I heard that there was no chance of me playing. That’s what happened there.

“He was good with me, the assistant was good with me but it was the club that signed me more than the actual manager and he didn’t see me in his plans.”

With his chances under Oscar Garcia at Brighton thinning out by the day, the opportunity to link up with his former coach, Luke Williams, and a wealth of familiar faces was too good to miss out on.

“I wanted to play as much as any player when I went out on loan and I was giving it 100 per cent every time I did but there were two cases where I’ve been out on loan and it’s just been a disaster,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s been down to playing, it’s been down to the management.

“Brighton is a good club, it’s done well in the last few years getting to the Championship and the play-offs last season “They’ve got a really good squad, there are only one or two youngsters playing in that team and for me I want to be playing on a regular basis.”

Swindon’s current management team is not the first to show an interest in Barker in recent years.

An agent who worked closely with the Paolo Di Canio regime during his first year in charge of the club in 2011/12 has told the Advertiser that Barker was mooted as a possible signing, only for the Italian to look elsewhere.

Barker was unaware of that interest, however, saying: “In literally just the last few months I’ve heard about it - since Luke’s been here and some of the lads.

“That’s when the real interest has come and when I heard about it I had an open mind to speak to them about coming here.”

Barker was drawn to the County Ground by the possibility of regular first-team football and the chance to team up with old friends.

The 22-year-old knows several of the Robins’ squad and staff from his time at Brighton & Hove Albion and is excited about the prospect of resurrecting his career in Wiltshire.

He is close friends with Grant Hall, the on-loan Spurs defender, and assistant coach Luke Williams and sees Swindon as the perfect place to get the gametime he craves.

“I knew a bit about the club before I came here, it’s obviously got quite a good set-up and I can see the average age is quite young which is good for myself. I’m really pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” he told the local media this lunchtime.

“All the staff have been really good, all the players have been really welcoming so I’m really pleased with it.

“I’ve been in recent contact with Luke and a few of the players. Ever since Luke went from Brighton I’ve spoken to him on a regular basis and he’d say to me ‘what do you think about coming to Swindon’.

“I jumped at the chance to come here because the main thing I wanted to do was play games and I wasn’t doing that at Brighton so it’ll be a good chance.

“I was good friends with Grant at Brighton so to be around him again is good and there are a few Tottenham boys on loan. Because it’s such a young squad it’s good.”

“I’m here to give 100 per cent in whatever I do - training, games, whatever I do. The main thing is to play games. If I get the chance I’m going to take it with both hands,” he said.

“I’ve come here to do what I do best and that’s score goals and create goals and that’s the aim.”

Comments (16)

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8:02am Fri 10 Jan 14

street2000 says...

he's saying all the right things! Lets see it now! This is your chance
he's saying all the right things! Lets see it now! This is your chance street2000

8:04am Fri 10 Jan 14

Billy hunt 65 says...

Good to see we have bought a proven striker :))
Good to see we have bought a proven striker :)) Billy hunt 65

8:13am Fri 10 Jan 14

old town robin says...

As Mark said yesterday, his signing is a bit of a risk, but one worth taking. Hope the fans show a bit of patience and don't expect too much too soon. He is a raw recruit with potential but no experience. I expect him to be in the match day squad and make some impact as a replacement for Jose who managed 10 in his 1/2 season with us. If this lad can manage 5 from now until May, then he will have done well and will hopefully shown enough to kick on next season
As Mark said yesterday, his signing is a bit of a risk, but one worth taking. Hope the fans show a bit of patience and don't expect too much too soon. He is a raw recruit with potential but no experience. I expect him to be in the match day squad and make some impact as a replacement for Jose who managed 10 in his 1/2 season with us. If this lad can manage 5 from now until May, then he will have done well and will hopefully shown enough to kick on next season old town robin

8:16am Fri 10 Jan 14

Billy hunt 65 says...

Might aswell have Ronnie Barker upfront :))
Might aswell have Ronnie Barker upfront :)) Billy hunt 65

9:04am Fri 10 Jan 14

ging999 says...

Had Di Canio signed him he would have cost us a lot more money + the inevitable agents fee scam.
Had Di Canio signed him he would have cost us a lot more money + the inevitable agents fee scam. ging999

9:22am Fri 10 Jan 14

bradley red 1 says...

failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.
failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power. bradley red 1

9:37am Fri 10 Jan 14

you gots ta be kidding me says...

bradley red 1 wrote:
failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.
Bradley I get what you are saying, but I rate Luke Williams, he doesn't wan't to look an idiot so would only bring in and recommend a player who he thinks could cut it at this level. Williams is a great coach and I trust him, so don't write the kid off before he kicks a ball, oh thats right he has kicked a ball, he scored against Birmingham in the development game the other day.... I think this kid could be a good signing, El Gabas was supposed to be a great prospect, so if we have swapped Gabas with Barker then "nice one"
[quote][p][bold]bradley red 1[/bold] wrote: failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.[/p][/quote]Bradley I get what you are saying, but I rate Luke Williams, he doesn't wan't to look an idiot so would only bring in and recommend a player who he thinks could cut it at this level. Williams is a great coach and I trust him, so don't write the kid off before he kicks a ball, oh thats right he has kicked a ball, he scored against Birmingham in the development game the other day.... I think this kid could be a good signing, El Gabas was supposed to be a great prospect, so if we have swapped Gabas with Barker then "nice one" you gots ta be kidding me

10:17am Fri 10 Jan 14

GL5 Arkells Stand says...

Not saying that this lad is going to be a world beater, but can anyone else remember the comments when we signed Yasser Kasim? That's turned out all right hasn't it?

How about giving the lad a chance?
Not saying that this lad is going to be a world beater, but can anyone else remember the comments when we signed Yasser Kasim? That's turned out all right hasn't it? How about giving the lad a chance? GL5 Arkells Stand

10:55am Fri 10 Jan 14

hertz says...

Hope he was'nt signed behind the "gaffers " back Good luck George I really hope it works out for all parties , be a tough game tomorrw COYR
Hope he was'nt signed behind the "gaffers " back Good luck George I really hope it works out for all parties , be a tough game tomorrw COYR hertz

11:46am Fri 10 Jan 14

Swindon1984 says...

bradley red 1 wrote:
failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.
Think you're missing the point - they've said it's a risky signing but also one which hasn't cost a lot of money as far as I'm aware - it's a player at least one of the coaching staff is familiar with, sees potential in, and given the previous lack of opportunities for the player, he'll be desperate for this one to work out.

Two points - one, maybe give the lad the benefit of the doubt rather than resign him to failure before he's even kicked a ball for us.

Secondly, "williams is a friend mmm" - and? How many players are signed on the basis that the manager/coaching staff have worked with them before and know the player and his strengths/weaknesses
. Better than spending a fortune on an unknown entity wouldn't you say?

It's been explained he's one for the future, and no-one's expecting him to set the world on fire within the first few weeks at the club. I'm sure you'd like us to spend big money on household names but it's not going to happen - how about having some faith and giving the staff and players a chance.

Welcome George, hope you do well for us and yourself.
[quote][p][bold]bradley red 1[/bold] wrote: failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.[/p][/quote]Think you're missing the point - they've said it's a risky signing but also one which hasn't cost a lot of money as far as I'm aware - it's a player at least one of the coaching staff is familiar with, sees potential in, and given the previous lack of opportunities for the player, he'll be desperate for this one to work out. Two points - one, maybe give the lad the benefit of the doubt rather than resign him to failure before he's even kicked a ball for us. Secondly, "williams is a friend mmm" - and? How many players are signed on the basis that the manager/coaching staff have worked with them before and know the player and his strengths/weaknesses . Better than spending a fortune on an unknown entity wouldn't you say? It's been explained he's one for the future, and no-one's expecting him to set the world on fire within the first few weeks at the club. I'm sure you'd like us to spend big money on household names but it's not going to happen - how about having some faith and giving the staff and players a chance. Welcome George, hope you do well for us and yourself. Swindon1984

12:52pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Old-Stager, Hilperton says...

Not quite the same buzz as we would get if we had just signed Paddy Madden or Rene Howe, but what the hell, nothing fails to surprise us in the world of football, for example Charlie Austin.
But George Barker could just turn out to be an unexpected goalscoring machine, and we might all talk about the rags to riches story in the coming months.
So come on George, show us what you can do !
Not quite the same buzz as we would get if we had just signed Paddy Madden or Rene Howe, but what the hell, nothing fails to surprise us in the world of football, for example Charlie Austin. But George Barker could just turn out to be an unexpected goalscoring machine, and we might all talk about the rags to riches story in the coming months. So come on George, show us what you can do ! Old-Stager, Hilperton

1:34pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Swindon1984 says...

Old-Stager, Hilperton wrote:
Not quite the same buzz as we would get if we had just signed Paddy Madden or Rene Howe, but what the hell, nothing fails to surprise us in the world of football, for example Charlie Austin. But George Barker could just turn out to be an unexpected goalscoring machine, and we might all talk about the rags to riches story in the coming months. So come on George, show us what you can do !
Absolutely - no-one knows if he'll bang the goals in or not but let's give our support and hope it works out - worst case scenario it doesn't work out but not a big money signing. Best case it could be a fantastic bit of business for a good young player.

We've spent good money on players who've looked poor and have then had a job getting rid of, I don't know why some on here are so dispondent about getting what Williams believes is a good player for a (probably) low price. He may not be a recognised goalscorer yet but everyone's got to start somewhere. Could be the next Austin or Parkin (before some smart alec points out Austin was already scoring goals, that was at non-league level, this new chap was signed for a league club at 17 and has been there ever since - who's to say Barker wouldn't have scored a load at that level?)
[quote][p][bold]Old-Stager, Hilperton[/bold] wrote: Not quite the same buzz as we would get if we had just signed Paddy Madden or Rene Howe, but what the hell, nothing fails to surprise us in the world of football, for example Charlie Austin. But George Barker could just turn out to be an unexpected goalscoring machine, and we might all talk about the rags to riches story in the coming months. So come on George, show us what you can do ![/p][/quote]Absolutely - no-one knows if he'll bang the goals in or not but let's give our support and hope it works out - worst case scenario it doesn't work out but not a big money signing. Best case it could be a fantastic bit of business for a good young player. We've spent good money on players who've looked poor and have then had a job getting rid of, I don't know why some on here are so dispondent about getting what Williams believes is a good player for a (probably) low price. He may not be a recognised goalscorer yet but everyone's got to start somewhere. Could be the next Austin or Parkin (before some smart alec points out Austin was already scoring goals, that was at non-league level, this new chap was signed for a league club at 17 and has been there ever since - who's to say Barker wouldn't have scored a load at that level?) Swindon1984

2:14pm Fri 10 Jan 14

STFCLee says...

Im guessing that the lad isnt on big bucks, cost us about 8 quid ,so it isnt a massive gamble , Good luck Barker
Im guessing that the lad isnt on big bucks, cost us about 8 quid ,so it isnt a massive gamble , Good luck Barker STFCLee

6:26pm Fri 10 Jan 14

smirg kcab says...

Make yourself a hero score the winning goal, Will be hard having lost 6/8 top teams, good luck and we will give you our support
Make yourself a hero score the winning goal, Will be hard having lost 6/8 top teams, good luck and we will give you our support smirg kcab

6:36pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Swindon1984 says...

smirg kcab wrote:
Make yourself a hero score the winning goal, Will be hard having lost 6/8 top teams, good luck and we will give you our support
Couldn't agree more.
[quote][p][bold]smirg kcab[/bold] wrote: Make yourself a hero score the winning goal, Will be hard having lost 6/8 top teams, good luck and we will give you our support[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more. Swindon1984

6:48pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Steve. Brentford says...

you gots ta be kidding me wrote:
bradley red 1 wrote:
failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.
Bradley I get what you are saying, but I rate Luke Williams, he doesn't wan't to look an idiot so would only bring in and recommend a player who he thinks could cut it at this level. Williams is a great coach and I trust him, so don't write the kid off before he kicks a ball, oh thats right he has kicked a ball, he scored against Birmingham in the development game the other day.... I think this kid could be a good signing, El Gabas was supposed to be a great prospect, so if we have swapped Gabas with Barker then "nice one"
Good shout ygtbkm, and a record amount of thumbs up i would of thought and throughly deserved,
[quote][p][bold]you gots ta be kidding me[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bradley red 1[/bold] wrote: failed elsewhere so swindon hand out 18 month contract mmmm luke williams is a friend mmm well done mr power.[/p][/quote]Bradley I get what you are saying, but I rate Luke Williams, he doesn't wan't to look an idiot so would only bring in and recommend a player who he thinks could cut it at this level. Williams is a great coach and I trust him, so don't write the kid off before he kicks a ball, oh thats right he has kicked a ball, he scored against Birmingham in the development game the other day.... I think this kid could be a good signing, El Gabas was supposed to be a great prospect, so if we have swapped Gabas with Barker then "nice one"[/p][/quote]Good shout ygtbkm, and a record amount of thumbs up i would of thought and throughly deserved, Steve. Brentford

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