Sadly, Barnes' superb playing career was overshadowed by his role in 1988 musical atrocity the Anfield Rap. Due to his Jamaican heritage, it was wrongly assumed that Barnes could rap - instead he produced the couplet "I come from Jamaica, my name is John Barnes, when I do my thing the crowd goes bananas."
Amazingly, Barnes didn't learn his lesson and he made the same mistake in New Order's drab 1990 World Cup song "World In Motion" where he uttered the lines: "You’ve got to hold and give, But do it at the right time, You can be slow or fast, But you must get to the line, They’ll always hit you and hurt you, Defend and attack, There's only one way to beat them, Get round the back, Catch me if you can, Cos’ I’m the England man, And what you’re looking at, Is the master plan, We ain’t no hooligans, This ain’t a football song, Three lions on my chest, I know we can’t go wrong."
After retirement Barnes tried his hand at TV, but he was no more a presenter than he was a rapper. The former forward looked all at sea on Channel Five's John Barnes' Football Night and would often forget to do quite important things like mention an advert break. The sobering sight of the increasingly corpulent Barnes bursting out of his suit as he struggled through an interview with the likes of Peter Beagrie and Dean Windass struck terror in the hearts of Channel Five executives.
"Barnes’ inability to perform the basic television duties of reading an autocue without sounding as if he learned the alphabet yesterday and allowing guests a chance to express opinions without continual interruption, really undermines the whole viewing experience," Raymond Travers of the Scotsman lamented.
For a time, Barnes did divvy things like Strictly Come Dancing and playing Masters Football until he landed the Tranmere Rovers job in June 2009.
Barnes' crazy accent, which is nearly impossible to impersonate, has been equated to someone banging on sheet metal with a half melted Wellington Boot.