Forest Green Rovers coach Barker dies at 39

forest green rovers coach barker dies at 39 - Forest Green Rovers coach Barker dies at 39
Chris Barker (right) challenges Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie

Former Cardiff City defender Chris Barker has died at the age of 39.

The Sheffield-born player helped the club to promotion from the third tier of English football in 2003.

Barker, whose other clubs included Stoke City, Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers, made 162 appearances for the Bluebirds.

Cardiff City confirmed his death via social media on Thursday adding “details of a Club tribute to Chris will follow in the coming days”.

South Wales Police have confirmed the sudden death of a 39-year-old man who was discovered at his home address in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff at about 14:00 GMT on 1 January.

They added that the death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.

Barker was voted Cardiff’s player of the season in 2004-05.

He spent 2006-07 on loan at Colchester United before joining QPR on a free transfer and went on to play for Plymouth, Southend, Aldershot, Hereford and Weston-super-Mare, before retiring from playing in 2017.

Barker also assisted with coaching at his last three clubs and was under 18s manager at Forest Green Rovers.

“We’re all heartbroken to hear this news which came as a shock to everybody,” said Hannah Dingley, Forest Green Head of Academy. “Our immediate thoughts are with his family and friends.

“Barks was a strong, inspirational leader to our under 18s and a much loved colleague. We’ll be offering help and support to those at the club affected by the tragic news – particularly our young players, and ask that Chris’ family get some privacy at this challenging time.”

Alongside his former clubs there was a tribute from Rotherham United, where Barker’s brother Richard is assistant manager.

Fans and former team-mates have also paid tribute to Barker on social media.

Former Cardiff City striker Andy Campbell posted on Twitter: “RIP Chris Barker, so so sad. A friend, a team-mate & all round nice fella.”

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