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Wallace "Walley" Barnes (January 16, 1920 – September 4, 1975) was a Welsh footballer.

Born in Brecon to English parents (his father, a soldier, was stationed there at the time), Barnes initially played as an inside-forward for Southampton in wartime games, where he was spotted and duly signed by Arsenal. He played in virtually every position on the pitch for Arsenal in wartime matches (including a match as goalkeeper), and despite a serious knee injury incurred in 1944, he recovered to make his League debut for the Gunners against Preston North End on November 9, 1946.

Barnes soon found a regular place in the Arsenal side, at left back, and was part of their First Division Championship-winning side of 1947-48. By then he had also become a regular for Wales, winning his first cap against England on October 18, 1947, where he was given the uneviable task of having to mark Stanley Matthews. Barnes went on to win 22 caps, and became captain of his country.

Barnes switched to right back following an injury to Laurie Scott, and won an FA Cup winners' medal in 1950 after Arsenal beat Liverpool. Two years later, Arsenal got to the Cup final again, this time against Newcastle United, but Barnes twisted his knee badly and had to come off the pitch; with no substitutes permitted, Arsenal were down to 10 men, and went on to lose 1-0.

As a result of his Cup final injury, Barnes was out for the entire 1952-53 season (in which Arsenal won the League), although he was back in the side for the next two seasons. With age as well as past injury now counting against him, he retired from playing in the summer of 1956. In all he played 294 matches and scored 12 goals (he was often the club's designated penalty taker).

After retiring from playing, Barnes entered the world of broadcasting, joining the BBC. He presented coverage of FA Cup finals and, with Kenneth Wolstenholme, was one of the commentators for the very first edition of Match of the Day in 1964. He continued to serve the BBC in various capacities, until his early death, at the age of 55, in 1975.

 

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