Kilnhurst, Yorkshire born inside left Bert Barlow began his football career with Silverwood Colliery, where he was working as a miner, from where he signed for Second Division club Barnsley in July 1935 initially playing inside right, making his Football League debut at Bradford City in April 1936, scoring in a 1-1 draw, scoring once more in 3 further matches before the season end in a home win over Southampton. He became a regular in Barnsley’s line up over the following two seasons, but when they were relegated in May 1938 Barlow was sold to First Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers for £5,000 in June after being spotted by Major Frank Buckley, after 14 goals in 62 appearances for The Tykes. He scored on his Wolves debut in a 2-2 draw at Derby County that August but played only two more matches before losing his place in Wolves’ first team, before being signed by First Division club Portsmouth in February 1939, scoring in each of his first three matches for Pompey having moved to inside left.
Described as “cool and courageous… a great opportunist who seizes the least chance for a shot”, the following month he was included in Portsmouth’s FA Cup semi final side that took on and beat Huddersfield Town at Highbury, with Barlow scoring the winner, and he opened the scoring in the 1939 FA Cup Final against former club Wolverhampton Wanderers at Wembley as Portsmouth ran out surprise 4-1 winners in the last FA Cup Final for seven years.
Following the end of the Second World War, Barlow remained with Portsmouth and scored a career best 10 goals for Pompey in 1946-47, the first post war League season. He helped the club win the 1949 League Championship, scoring 8 goals in 34 appearances during the campaign but played only 3 more matches the next season before departing Fratton Park for Second Division club Leicester City in December 1949 having scored 35 goals in 119 appearances for Pompey over nearly 11 war interrupted years. After scoring 9 times in 44 matches for Leicester, Barlow made a move to Colchester United for a £1,000 fee in the summer of 1952, spending two seasons at Layer Road only two seasons after they had attained League status.
Making his Colchester debut on 13th September 1952 in a 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers in September 1952, Barlow would go on to make 67 appearances and score 17 goals for The U’s before injury forced him to retire from the professional game, Barlow later representing non league clubs Crittall Athletic in 1954 and Long Melford in 1956. He remained active in local junior football, running a grocery shop in Colchester while coaching Colchester Casuals, Barn Hall and Long Melford and assisting his son Peter when he was manager at Coggeshall Town.