Jim Barrett Jr - 1930-2014

Former West Ham United forward Jim Barrett Jr has sadly passed away following a short illness at the age of 83.

Inside forward Barrett Jr played 91 times in Claret and Blue between 1950 and 1954, scoring 26 goals. He returned to the Club to coach the A team during the 1960s, helping to develop a number of players at the Academy of Football.

Born just a stone's throw from the Boleyn Ground on Bonfire Night 1930, Barrett was the son of Hammers legend 'Big' Jim Barrett - a centre-half who played more than 500 games for West Ham between 1925 and 1945 - and played alongside his father for the A team himself in the 1945/46 season.

Barrett Jr made his first-team debut at the age of 19 in a Division Two fixture at Blackburn Rovers on 22 April 1950, netting his first goal in a 2-1 victory at Chesterfield in October of the same year.

In May 1951, he was part of the side which defeated Southend United 2-0 in the Essex Professional Cup final at the Boleyn Ground. The 1951/52 season was Barrett Jr's most productive in a West Ham shirt as he scored ten goals in 25 appearances in all competitions, including nine in Division Two.

Barrett Jr made a memorable final appearance for the Hammers on 18 December 1954, when he scored one of West Ham's goals in a 3-3 Division Two draw with Swansea Town at the Boleyn Ground.

Joint-Chairman David Gold was a schoolboy and A team player during Barrett Jr's time at West Ham and has fond memories of the inside forward.

"I am really sorry to hear of Jim's death," he began. "I remember him so well. He joined the Football Club when I was a schoolboy and we would train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

"Sometimes we would train at the Boleyn Ground and that would give us the opportunity to see the first-team players. We warmed-up indoors there in a gym the size of a squash court and Jim would come in and ask us how we were doing, which was a real thrill for us all.

"I remember that he became involved in the A team and I particularly remember him when I was in the Colts. What was nice about Jim was that he was always willing to help the youngsters. I played for the A team a number of times and I have great memories of him - he was a nice man.

"As a player, he was an inside forward who played as one of the front three in the old W formation, and he scored a fair few goals. The fans liked Jim and I liked him too."

West Ham's Division Two rivals Nottingham Forest swooped to sign Barrett Jr in December 1954, taking the inside forward to the City Ground. The forward enjoyed an outstanding time for the Tricky Trees, finishing as the club's leading scorer in three straight seasons between 1954 and 1957. In 1956/57, he scored 30 goals as Forest finished second and gained promotion to Division One.

Barrett Jr moved to Birmingham City in 1959, scoring four goals in ten league appearances before hanging up his boots from the professional game at the age of 29.

He returned to the Boleyn Ground in the 1960s as player-coach of the A team, where he assisted the development of the likes of Harry Redknapp, John Charles and Paul Heffer.

Barrett Jr completed his coaching career at Millwall, where he worked under former West Ham wing half Benny Fenton.

Everyone at West Ham United was saddened to learn of Jim's passing and would like to pass on their sincere condolences to his family and friends.