Judge dismisses bankruptcy petition lodged by tax officials against John Barnes

A judge has dismissed a bankruptcy petition lodged by tax officials against former Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes.

Judge Mark Mullen was told by an official from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at an Insolvency and Companies Court hearing on Wednesday that a tax debt had been paid and a settlement reached.

But the judge was also told that Barnes, 60, was facing another claim, from the liquidators of a company he used to run.

Barrister Honor Brocklebank-Fowler, who represented the liquidators of John Barnes Media Ltd, told Judge Mullen that a “director’s loan” was “outstanding”.

John Barnes Court Case
John Barnes played for Liverpool (Barry Batchelor/PA)

Ms Brocklebank-Fowler said Barnes had been the sole director of the company, which went into liquidation earlier this year.

She said the liquidators, specialist insolvency practitioners, wanted to lodge a separate bankruptcy petition but gave no indication how much money was involved.

Judge Mullen dismissed the bankruptcy petition lodged by HMRC and said he would reconsider the John Barnes Media liquidators’ claim on January 22.

Barnes was not at the hearing in the Rolls Building in central London and was not represented by a lawyer.

Another judge considered the HMRC claim at a hearing in September.

John Barnes bankruptcy
Ex-footballer John Barnes has worked as a TV pundit (Jacob King/PA)

Judge Catherine Burton was told by an official from HMRC that Barnes owed £238,000.

Barrister Nathan Webb, who represented Barnes at the September hearing, told Judge Burton that his client “just” needed time to pay.

He said Barnes was employed by Liverpool Football Club “on a salary of £200,000” and was “very well and able to pay”.

A different judge dismissed another bankruptcy petition lodged by tax officials against Barnes in June.

An HMRC official had indicated, during that earlier litigation, that Barnes owed at least £200,000 and said money owed had been paid.

Barnes played for Watford, Liverpool and Newcastle.

He also won 79 England caps between 1983 and 1995 and was head coach at Celtic after ending his playing career.

Liverpool FC said in a club website statement in November 2022 that Barnes, who works as a television football pundit, had been “appointed as a club ambassador” – a role that would see him “represent the Reds at home and abroad”.