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This is the curious tale of four Peters.
Peter Barnes, Peter Pan, Blue Peter and, er, Peterborough.
Peter Barnes was something of a poster boy for the Blues in the 1970s.
The skilful left winger had become one of the top flight’s most coveted talents and had become an England Under-21 regular and then a full England international.
The homegrown talent was hugely marketable, so when an opportunity to endorse a training aid that could improve youngsters’ technique and control was presented, Barnes didn’t hesitate – though it didn’t quite turn out the way everyone had hoped…
“I’d just got into the England team at the time and things had started to take off for me,” recalled Barnes.
“I was in a great team and we were in Europe every year, so it was a really good time for the club and me personally.
“There was a guy who worked for a company whose name always made me laugh - Peter Pan Playthings in Peterborough – and they wanted to create a training aid that was basically a football on an elasticated string that clipped to your belt.
“So, I went down, listened to what they had to say and signed a three-year deal with them and the Peter Barnes Trainer from Peter Pan Playthings of Peterborough was born!
“Not long after it had been released, I was invited on to – what else? – Blue Peter in Shepherd’s Bush to demonstrate the trainer on live TV.
“It was surreal. I was in an Adidas top and wearing jeans, and I could see Joan Noakes and Shep across the studio.
“Meanwhile, there was me, trying to juggle this confounded ball, but I could never manage more than two or three.
“It was a nightmare and when people asked me where to get it from, I’d tell them not to bother!
“I think they only sold it at Macro, a cash and carry outlet in Manchester and a few other cities. It wasn’t well distributed, but that might have been a blessing.
“I wish I still had one, just for novelty value but I haven’t seen one for a long time. Did they sell well? I’m not sure – I doubt it – but they paid me a decent fee so I was happy enough at the time."
Go on - name another football club that can bring you a feature with Shep the dog in!
Do you have a Peter Barnes Trainer in your loft? If you have any rare City treasures you'd like to share with the Club - we'd like to hear from you!
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