A Sit Down with John Barnes – 21st April 2021

After a weekend that sent shockwaves reverberating around the world of football, we’ve spoken to BonusCodeBets ambassador John Barnes. The former Liverpool midfielder shared his thoughts on the European Super League, Jose Mourinho’s sacking at Tottenham and why Rangers and Celtic would join an elite European league if they had the chance.

John Barnes Exclusive: The European Super League concept was not surprising; it was a negotiation tactic for more money from UEFA

“I wasn’t surprised by the European Super League announcement. It was a negotiation tactic by the big clubs to get more money out of UEFA. – it’s as simple as that. They don’t want to leave [UEFA]. However, with the new format of the Champions League coming in, and more clubs coming into the competition, it means there will be less money for the European Super League 12, and they feel that they deserve more money- rightly, or wrongly.

That’s what the Premier League did in 1992. The five clubs; Everton, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham wanted to break away from the football league because they wanted more money. They gave the other 15 football league clubs financial inducements to support them, and they did, everyone was happy. This was to the detriment of the second, third and fourth divisions.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Sky taking the moral high ground on the Super League was hypocritical after what they did in 1992.

“Sky blasted everyone else out of the water in 1992, so that terrestrial TV lost the rights [to air football matches], and people had to pay to watch Sky. Did they think that was wrong because people shouldn’t have to pay to watch football, because they can watch it on BBC? They’ll [Sky] be concerned about projects like the European Super League because if Google or Amazon has come on board, maybe Sky would lose the television rights for the big six clubs. 

They are talking about the moral issue. How can Sky talk about the moral issue when they did the same thing in 1992? They had a monopoly, they had all the rights, they can make all the money, and now they’re the ones complaining.

The European Super League conversation shouldn’t have happened at all, but a lot of people have been disingenuous as to the reasons why they were against it. The reason why many are against it is because they’re not invited. If they say to these teams [other Premier League clubs], okay you don’t have to get promoted, but we will give you 50 million a year to support it, what do you think Premier League teams will do? 

It is not good for football, but not for the reasons they are claiming.”


John Barnes Exclusive: The working class have been shafted in football since the Premier League’s inception.

“The working man has been forgotten about since the Premier League started. Let’s not pretend that football, since the Premier League started, has been about the working man.

The working man has been priced out of football, priced out of taking his kids every single week to football, priced out of buying shirts, this has been going on for a long while – it is nothing new!

With all these sponsors, how much do these Premier League clubs make abroad, when they go to sponsors in China and Australia, and neglect the fans and industries here? That’s not just the big six either.”


John Barnes Exclusive: It is impossible to know if Spurs were correct to sack Mourinho right now

There is no way to tell if Spurs were right or wrong to sack Jose Mourinho. Were Chelsea right in sacking Frank Lampard? Well, looking at what they [Chelsea] are doing now, you would argue that they were right, but if Frank Lampard had still been there, maybe they would have done the same [as they have since he left]. 

Tottenham can still get in the top four. With Mourinho there, could they have? Yes. Without him, can they? Yes. If they don’t make the top four does that mean they have got it wrong [by sacking him], we don’t know. You take a decision, and you live and die by it. 

They made the decision and there’s no way back. It won’t be the wrong decision in terms of them getting relegated, but if they finish eighth instead of seventh because they sacked Jose Mourinho, then is it the wrong decision? Not necessarily. 

We won’t know unless they qualify for the top four with Ryan Mason in charge, whilst they don’t have a manager.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Jose Mourinho was sacked from Tottenham as he didn’t have control at the club!

There is an attitude problem within all squads, if the players don’t take responsibility. Jose Mourinho had it at Manchester United, Arsène Wenger had it at Arsenal, where the players downed tools, and they weren’t accountable because the fans said it was Arsène’s fault. 

Subconsciously players will down tools and that is nothing to do with the manager specifically, it is to do with any manager when the fans will not give them the power to make decisions.

It happened to Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, it happened to Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. If you don’t give the manager the power to make decisions, the same result will always happen, the manager will get sacked!”



John Barnes Exclusive: Regulate football club’s finances with salary caps, and they won’t have to sell their soul

“You look at the pressure to spend money [in football], it means that clubs feel they have to try and make more money. Bringing in a salary cap in that means you don’t pay 300 grand a week [to one player] would help. Liverpool’s wage bill is over 150 million pounds a year, just on salaries. Manchester City’s is probably double that.

If you don’t have such high salaries, you will have a maximum transfer fee, so you don’t have to spend £100 million on players. If the best player in the world costs £30 million, then you regulate agent fees for transfer deals, then owners will feel they can make money out of this [football].

Owners are being asked to spend so much money by the fans, because fans demand to be the best.

If it (salaries) was regulated and Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint German couldn’t spend more money than Arsenal, in terms of salaries and transfer feels, then they could all compete. Then teams won’t have to go looking to sell their soul.”


John Barnes Exclusive: World football should follow the financial model in the MLS to make the game more fair

“If you look at the American model, it is fine in terms of the way the clubs [in America] are run from a financial point of view, with a salary cap, financial fair play, it is completely governed. That should come into world football. That’s what the fans would like to see. Then you won’t have situations whereby clubs are trying to compete with these ‘clubs’ who are financial machines. 

If there was to be an American model, with promotion and relegation, whereby Chelsea could not spend more than Leicester on salaries, so therefore Cheslea, Liverpool or Manchester United couldn’t get all the best players, that would be the perfect scenario to stop these clubs [dominating the sport].”


John Barnes Exclusive: If Rangers and Celtic were invited to a Super League, they would have taken the opportunity.

“Back when I was Celtic manager, there was talk of Rangers and Celtic breaking away from the Scottish league with a North Atlantic League. Unfortunately, as the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga was so strong, they were talking about a North Atlantic league. You had a couple of Dutch teams, Portuguese teams, Celtic and Rangers, so the second-tier leagues [in Europe], who wanted to breakaway and form another one to get more money.

It is sad to say because Scottish football wouldn’t be there without them, if they were offered a chance [at a profitable international league] they would likely take it.”


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