The original one club man, Stratford, Essex born centre half Jim “Big Jim” Barrett (Senior – his son Jim Jr also played for West Ham in the 1940’s and 50’s) played twice for England Schoolboys in 1921 and played his first game at Upton Park for West Ham Boys against Liverpool in the English Shield Final of 1920-21. He began his career with Fairbairn House in 1923 before signing for First Division West Ham United aged 16 the same year. He made his Football League debut at Tottenham Hotspur in March 1925 and was an ever present for his first two full seasons in 1925-26 and 1926-27. Barrett’s only England international appearance came in a 2-1 victory over Ireland at Goodison Park in October 1928, where he lasted just four minutes before succumbing to injury (leaving the field after 8 minutes) making his appearance the shortest ever England international career.
After West Ham’s relegation in 1932 he was part of their 1933 FA Cup semi final team beaten 2-1 by eventual winners Everton at Molineux. He was a near ever present in their 1934-35 and 1935-36 teams that narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight, finishing third and fourth respectively. However he lost his regular place in the side from October 1936 and only played 10 more first team games, making his final appearance at Manchester City in September 1938.
He played 467 times for The Hammers over 13 years, scoring 53 goals. During the Second World War he was a member of West Ham’s team that won the 1940 Football League War Cup. After a retiring from playing, Barrett had a spell in charge of the West Ham United ‘A’ team, when he played in the same team as his son during 1945-46.