Harvey Barnes will arrive at his dad’s old club this weekend as one of the most in-form players in the country.
Barnes Jr is being tipped for an England role at this summer’s European Championships as he produces match-winning performances for Leicester, scoring eight times in 23 appearances so far this season.
Barnes Sr, Paul Barnes – the former Stoke City, Notts County, Birmingham striker – has laughed that he has to dig out videos to convince his son that he played too.
Paul told The Athletic earlier this season: “He wouldn’t have remembered much about me playing really. I still rib him a bit and grab a few goals out from YouTube and show him, ‘This is how it is done, even by an old man!’”
He added: “Because the highest level I played at was the Championship, I wasn’t a top Premier League player, perhaps he never really felt that pressure. It was probably a nice thing his dad was a professional but no one was coming up saying, ‘Oh, your dad is Paul Barnes’.
“Local people would know but there wasn’t that pressure that he was going to be judged against me. It is probably only now that he has come to the fore with Leicester and now with England that people link me being his dad.”
Paul Barnes joined Stoke for £30,000 from Notts County in 1990, brought in on transfer deadline day by Alan Ball as the club slipped to relegation to the third tier.
He ended up stuck behind Wayne Biggins and Mark Stein in the pecking order under Ball’s successor Lou Macari and he was an unused sub at Wembley in the 1992 Autoglass Trophy final.
In the reserves that season, however, he was prolific, scoring 28 times as they were crowned Pontins League champions – and he did also spark a riot with a goal for the first team.
His injury time equaliser at promotion rivals Birmingham was followed by mayhem.
The Sentinel’s Ian Bayley wrote at the time: “Controversy surrounded Stoke’s late goal, with Brum complaining that striker Wayne Biggins had fouled keeper Alan Miller before the ball ran loose to Barnes but Lou Macari saw nothing wrong with it.
“Substitute Barnes’s goal-poaching instincts served him well when he was in just the right place as the ball ran free and rolled his shot in from six yards.
“Even then there was more drama as Blues swept upfield and almost snatched a winner, with Paul Tait’s shot being half-stopped by Ronnie Sinclair before Ian Cranson cleared off the line.
“That was the signal for a pitch invasion by hundreds of Birmingham fans who spilled down off the Spion Kop and swarmed around officials and players. Sinclair still clutched the ball to his chest as he disappeared beneath a ring of police who escorted him away.
“One of the invaders broke through the cordon and punched the keeper on the back of the head. The players dived into the cover of the dressing room as police and security stewards struggled to restore order.
“Stoke fans, who had done nothing to incite the violence, then found themselves under attack as the rioters tried to storm the visitors’ terrace. Supporters at the front of the packed 6,200 away following had nowhere to run and could do little other than stand their ground as punches rained on them.
“Then, half an hour after the chaos, bizarre calm as referee Roger Wiseman led the players back out before a near-deserted stadium to complete the match.”
Stoke missed out in the play-offs and Barnes Sr – after five goals in 30 appearances – was snapped up that summer by fourth-tier York City.
He scored 21 times in 92/93 to help win promotion and 25 times the following season back in the higher division. In September 1995, he secured his place in the club’s folklore with two goals in a 3-0 League Cup win over Manchester United.
He eventually moved on to Birmingham, Burnley – where Harvey was born in 1997, Huddersfield, Bury and Doncaster before dipping into non-league with Tamworth and Hinckley.
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Now he is Harvey’s biggest supporter – and most important critic.
Barnes Jr said: “It is going to be the most honest opinion I am going to get, after a game, whether it is good or bad. That is important. You can’t always get just the positives. You need to know what you need to improve on.
“When I have done well, he is definitely the first to tell me. He has been a massive help for me. Having played as many games and scored as many goals as he has, he has definitely guided me and helped me throughout the early stages of my career, when I was going out on loan. He helped me a lot and pushed for that. I feel he has been a massive help to me.”