Wardley Colliery, Gateshead, County Durham born left back Sam Barkas was arguably the most successful of several brothers, including Ned, Harry, and Tommy, and a cousin Billy Felton, all of whom played professional football. He began his football career with Middle Dock in the Tyneside Junior League in 1926, from where he signed for Third Division (North) Bradford City in August 1927, making his Football League debut at New Brighton in February 1928, playing only 4 matches in his debut season. He played 216 games for them scoring 9 goals over the next six years, helping them to promotion in 1929 as they won the Third Division (North) Championship, before he was sold to Manchester City for £5,000 in April 1934.
He was first selected for England on their May 1936 European summer tour, and three days after being reserve against Austria won his first cap in a 3-2 defeat to Belgium in Brussels, unusually playing at inside left. His next cap came in a 3-1 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park in April 1937, before winning three more caps between October and December 1937, on each occasion captaining his country, his final cap coming in England’s 5-4 win over Czechoslovakia at White Hart Lane. He also made three appearances for The Football League.
At Manchester City he won the League Championship in 1936-37, however he lost his place after their relegation in 1938 and didn’t play at all in their final campaign before the Second World War intervened in September 1939. Barkas, and his Manchester City teammate, Eric Brook, were on their way to play for England against Scotland in a Red Cross International on 2nd December 1939, they were involved in a road accident at Dishforth and were injured, both later receiving damages against the vehicles’ drivers.
Aged 36 he resumed playing for Manchester City after the War in their 1946 FA Cup campaign and played 41 times after the War, bowing out by winning the Second Division Championship in 1947 having scored once in 196 appearances for Manchester City before joining non league Workington where Barkas was appointed as player-manager of Workington in May 1947, until his resignation on 22nd March 1949. He managed Wigan Athletic from April to September 1957.
He came from a footballing family: his brother Ned won the League Championship twice with Huddersfield Town and also played for Norwich City, Birmingham and Chelsea; a cousin, Billy Felton, played for Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur and also played for England; and three other brothers Tommy (Bradford City, Halifax Town, Rochdale, Stockport County and Carlisle United), James and Harry (South Shields/Gateshead and Liverpool) were professional footballers.
NB This photograph shows Sam Barkas shaking hands with the Czechoslovakia captain František Plánička before the match at White Hart Lane on 1st December 1937. England won the match 5-4 with Stanley Matthews scoring a hat-trick.