Dartford, Kent born outside right Fred Barnett began his football career immediately after the First World War with Hawley in 1919 and spent much of 1919-20 on the books of First Division Bolton Wanderers, without making The Trotters’ first eleven. He joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1920 and was loaned to their nursery club, Northfleet, in 1921, before returning to White Hart Lane, making his Football League debut at Bolton Wanderers in April 1923. Very much a fringe player at Tottenham, he scored his only goal for Spurs in a 4-2 win over Port Vale in February 1929 and joined Southend United in the 1929 close season after 16 appearances for Tottenham.
He was an ever present during his first two seasons at Southend before eventually missing a fixture in January 1932, and in 1930-31 he scored his career best 11 goals for The Shrimpers. It was while at The Kursaal that he got to play at Wembley Stadium in unusual circumstances. Their away fixture at Clapton Orient’s Lea Bridge Road stadium was moved to Wembley Stadium as Orient’s ground had been closed following a bad injury to a Torquay United player resulting from the close proximity of the pitch barrier to the playing surface. While remedial work was carried out the East Londoners were forced to hire the Empire Stadium in order to stage two home games. The first resulted in an easy 3-0 win over Brentford in front of a healthy 8,000 plus crowd. However, the visit of Southend United attracted a crowd of only 1,916 (which must have looked very odd in vast stadium with a then capacity of 100,000) and Barnett played in a 3-1 defeat by Clapton Orient, albeit in a Third Division (South) fixture on 6th December 1930.
After 38 goals in 187 appearances for Southend United he joined Watford in the summer of 1934 but failed to make their first eleven, before finishing his career with hometown non league club Dartford, joining them in 1935.