Former Cardiff City, Barnsley, QPR and Southend player Chris Barker has died aged 39.


A defender with close to 700 total career appearances, nearly 450 of which came at various levels in the English Football League (EFL), Barker had a senior career that spanned 18 years.

Cameron Jerome,Chris Barker

He started out at Championship level with Barnsley in 1999 and went on to play most of the next 10 years in the second tier. Barker later played in League One and League Two, before finishing his career in non-league football and retiring in 2017.


Barker joined Cardiff in 2002 and helped the club secure promotion to the First Division, or the Championship as it soon became. He also turned out for Stoke, Colchester, QPR and Plymouth in the division just below the Premier League, playing at a consistent level for a decade.


Barker played for Southend in League Two as he reached his thirties and went on to play for Aldershot in the National League. He had a brief spell at caretaker manager at the Hampshire-based club in 2015, and wound down his playing career with Hereford and Weston Super-Mare.


A statement from Barker’s management company, World in Motion, read, “It is with great sadness that we learn of the untimely and tragic passing at the age of 39 of Chris Barker. Chris was a client throughout his outstanding playing career of over 500 League games for clubs including Barnsley, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth Argyle.”

A statement from Cardiff described Barker as an ‘extremely popular player both on and off the field’, with the club ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ by his sudden passing.


Barnsley issued a similar statement and confirmed that black armbands will be worn in tribute to Barker for Thursday night’s Championship fixture against Derby County.


Like Cardiff, Southend described Barker as ‘extremely popular’ and praised him for being ‘fantastic servant in what was a difficult period at the club’.


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