For 16 years, Fred Barber was a staple of the Bolton Wanderers back room staff. The goalkeeping, who made over 400 football league appearances in his playing career, has now joined bottom-of-the-table League One side Bury FC as the head goalkeeping coach. Barber is famous for bringing legendary Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ali Al-Habsi through the ranks and, more recently, shaping Adam Bogdan into the keeper that he has become. Barber left the Reebok over the summer and Owen Coyle brought in his goalkeeper coach at Burnley, Phil Hughes, to take Barber's place.
One of Coyle's first moves as Bolton manager in early 2010 was to relieve Barber of his Bolton Wanderers duties in favor of installing Hughes. This reported change did not sit well at all with then-established starting goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. The big Finn reportedly said, in a training ground bust-up, that he would walk if Hughes was named head of goalkeeping. Jaaskelainen's reputation forced Coyle's hand and Barber would stay on for an additional year-and-a-half.
Barber will now coach the Bury goalkeepers full time as they hope to get off the foot of the table in League One. The coach is most famous for his performance in the 1987/88 Third Division playoff final in his second season at Walsall FC. The two-legged final ended 3-3 and there was a penalty shootout at the end of the match to decide who would have home field in the replay. Barber saved two penalties to take Walsall home and kept a clean sheet in the 4-0 replay win.
We were certainly sad to see Barber go after his long Bolton career. There's no question about his coaching ability, having brought through arguably the most underrated goalkeeper in England that anyone can remember. Best of luck, Fred.