02 January 2020 16:38
The video will start in 8 Cancel Sign up to FREE daily email alerts from mirror - football Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Former Barnsley and Cardiff City defender Chris Barker has passed away, aged just 39. The Sheffield-born left back made more than 500 career appearances since making his Football League debut for Barnsley back in 1999. Barker went on to feature for Cardiff, QPR, Plymouth, Southend and Aldershot during a career that spanned almost 20 years. His management agency World in Motion announced the heartbreaking news in a statement. They wrote: "It is with great sadness that we learn of the untimely and tragic passing at the age of 39 of Chris Barker.
Chris was a client throughout his outstanding playing career of over 500 League games for clubs including Barnsley, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth Argyle. "Moreover, Chris was a wonderful person, an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to work for. RIP Chris Barker" Barker's career got off to a flying start, after winning Barnsley's young player of the year in his first full season. His form for the Tykes prompted Cardiff to shell out £500,000 for his services in 2002, whom he helped gain promotion back to the Championship in his debut campaign. Stints on loan at Stoke and Colchester broke up his time at Ninian Park, before he signed for QPR on a free transfer in 2007. Barker's former Cardiff teammate Joe Ledley wrote on Twitter: "Devastating news to hear the loss of Chris Barker my thoughts are with his family and friends, One of the most down to earth guys I've met. Will be truly missed. Rest In Peace barks." He lasted just a year with QPR before joining Plymouth, where he spent two seasons prior to a switch to Southend. Barker was voted Southend's player of the year at the end of his first season with the club, and was appointed captain ahead of the 2011-12 campaign where the Shrimpers reached the League Two play-offs. He moved on again to Aldershot in 2013, where he later briefly took up the role of player-manager, before occupying similar roles at Hereford and Weston-super-Mare. (Image: EMPICS Sport) Former Cardiff captain Darren Purse paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Waking up this morning to the terrible news that Chris Barker is no longer with us. "A very hard working, loyal and trustworthy man who will be sadly missed. Rest well Barks.#RIPBarks." Barker's brother, Richie, is also a former professional footballer, and is currently assistant manager at League One side Rotherham United. His cause of death is yet to be confirmed.