Born in South Shields on 29/12/1909 he had 4 brothers who played League football, and it was on the recommendation of one of them that he travelled south to Yorkshire to sign for Bradford City at the age of 17 where he played more than 200 games before his £5,000 transfer to Manchester City in April 1934. He made his debut at Anfield on 2/05/34 and during his 13 year career at City he captained the side to the League Championship in 1937 and the 2nd Division title 10 years later. In between he won 5 England caps and captained his country.
An attack minded left back, he was more than capable of playing up front and he played at inside left for both club and country.
Sam spent the war with the RAF, and after his demob, at the age of 38, he captained City’s promotion team of 1946-47. He then left Maine Road on a free transfer to manage non-league Workington and later Wigan.
10 years later he returned to City as a part-time scout.
ADAPTED FROM A-Z OF MANCHESTER FOOTBALL BY DEREK BRANDON
TO the best of his knowledge, Sam Barkas had no silver spoon in his mouth when he was born. Instead, they put a ball at his feet the first day they touched the ground. And nobody, least of all England and Manchester City, regretted it.
Barkas was one of a prolific and talented footballing family-four of his brothers reached Football League status-and after moving from the North East, he joined Bradford City in 1928. And because they were short of staff, he played in nearly every position. Years later, when he made his first appearance for England it was at inside forward and Barkas recalls ruefully that England that day suffered their only defeat against Belgium.
He joined Manchester City in 1934 a few days before the F.A. Challenge Cup final for which, of course, he was not eligible, and from then on he developed into one of the finest attacking left backs of all time. A car crash in which Eric Brook also was involved, curtailed his international appearances-and so too perhaps did a radio commentator who could not understand why Barkas spent so much time in attack-but he led England successfully in the late 1930s. Against Czechoslovakia at Tottenham in 1938 he switched Stanley Matthews from the right wing to inside right, and Matthews obliged with three of England’s five goals.
But Barkas’s special affection was Manchester City whom he took to the top of the First Division, into the Second, and back again to the First after the war during which he served with distinction in West Africa. The grand old Duke of York had nothing on Sam Barkas! In 1947 he moved to Workington Town as player manager but a knee injury ended his great career.
AN ARTICLE BY ERIC TODD OF THE GUARDIAN FROM THE CITY PROGRAMME 18TH AUGUST 1971
Sam passed away on 10th December 1989 at the age of 79