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Liverpool legend John Barnes receives support after accusations of homophobia

The 54-year-old is best known for helping the Reds to two league titles.

 John Barnes (file pic).
John Barnes (file pic).

FORMER LIVERPOOL WINGER John Barnes has been evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house after a controversial stay on the Channel 5 television show.

The 54-year-old was voted out by his fellow housemates and left the house through a backdoor eviction rather than on the usual Friday night live programme.

Barnes admitted he did not have a problem with his exit from the show, saying: “There are no hard feelings whatsoever because I know it is a hard decision for them to take.”

However, the ex-England international made headlines on the outside world after some controversial remarks.

Barnes was accused of homophobia following comments made during a conversation with fellow contestant Shane Jenek, who is better known as Australian drag queen Courtney Act.

The former footballer claimed that heterosexual men can often feel uncomfortable around homosexual men, telling Jenek that: “There’s this uncomfortable feeling. They’re thinking, ‘You’re going to make a move on me, you’re going to touch me.’”

The comments caused uproar from fans on Twitter as well as gay rights groups, who said that the former footballer’s remarks were offensive.

Barnes’ family and friends released a statement in reaction to the backlash, which read: “It seems quite clear to us from the discussion as presented on the show that John is not offering the statements as reflections of his own feelings but as an explanation (but not justification) of the mentality that can cause some straight men to hold homophobic beliefs.”

Jamaica-born John Barnes moved to London as a 12-year-old, and made his Football League debut at 17 after signing for Watford. He played 233 league games for the Hornets before moving to Liverpool in 1987 for £900,000.

Barnes achieved his greatest on-field success while at Anfield, helping Liverpool to two league titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup. He spent 10 seasons with the Reds, playing 314 times in the top-flight as the First Division became the Premier League.

Stints at Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic followed in the latter years of his career, before he turned to management. He teamed up with former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish at Celtic for his first managerial job, and later took charge of the Jamaica national team and Tranmere Rovers.

Barnes also gained off-field fame during his time as an England international, providing the rap for New Order’s 1990 World Cup song ‘World in Motion,’ which topped the UK singles charts. He scored 11 times in 79 appearances for the Three Lions and played at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups as well as the 1988 European Championship.

In 2006, he finished in the top five Liverpool players in a poll conducted by the club’s official website called ’100 Players Who Shook The Kop’.

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