Singleton, Barney

Birth Date

14th April 1924


Conisbrough, Yorkshire



Biographical Text

A mainstay for much of the immediate post-war period, goalkeeper Bernard 'Barney' Singleton played for Exeter City between 1946 and 1954. Starting his professional career with Wolverhampton Wanderers, a quirk of his time with the Grecians came against Aldershot in December 1950 when he scored a goal in open play after suffering an injury and being forced to spend the rest of the game in an outfield position. 

Working as a miner Barney commenced his playing career as an amateur with Lincoln City having previously played for Wath Wanderers. He signed professional forms with Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 1941 but the War years put paid to much of his football whilst he served with the Royal Navy.

Barney signed for Exeter in January 1946 and made his competitive debut at Bristol Rovers in a Third Division South Cup (Southern Section tie) on 12 January 1946. With the resumption of ‘official’ Division Three South fixtures in 1946, Barney made his Football League debut in the sixth game of the season against Northampton Town on 18 September 1946 as he made 23 league appearances in 1946/47 (to Bert Hoyle’s 19) . 

Barney had the upper hand on Bert in 1947/48 when he made 33 league appearances but the roles were reversed in 1948/49 when Barney played just twice to Bert’s forty appearances. Then, with 1949/50 proving to be the last season when the goalkeepers were in direct competition, Barney played 28 league games to Bert’s 14 meaning that -  over a four-year period - he had made 86 league appearances to Bert’s 82. 

With Bert moving to Bristol Rovers in May 1950, Barney appeared in all-but-four league fixtures in 1950/51 and even managed a goal when - injured in the defeat at Aldershot on Christmas Day 1950 - he played out the rest of the game on the wing. Subsequently losing his place to Graham Lear early in 1951/52, Barney went on the transfer list at his own request in October 1951 before regaining his place to make 29 league appearances that season followed by 9 in 1952/53 and 11 in 1953/54. 

On leaving St James’ Park in the summer of 1954, Barney signed for Yeovil Town before playing for Bridgwater Town and Minehead ahead of becoming a scout and reserve team trainer for City whilst making occasional emergency appearances for the reserves. He was also to coach Ottery St Mary and run the Devon County FA youth team. 

Barney died in Exeter in December 1981 aged 57 having just been appointed to take charge of the recently-opened White Ensign Club in South Street.