BARRY Corr has paid tribute to former Southend United skipper Chris Barker ahead of a match being played in the former defender’s memory later this month.

The ex Blues captain tragically took his own life at the start of 2020.

But a number of his former team-mates, including Corr, will be re-uniting at Roots Hall on Saturday May 28 to feature in a fundraising clash for South East and Central Essex Mind.

And the Irishman still holds Barker in the highest regard possible.

“We both signed for Southend in 2010 and by the end of the season I knew why Paul Sturrock was desperate to bring him in as our captain,” recalled Corr.

“Sturrock had worked with Barks before and I know he only signs people twice if they are good people.

"What has subsequently happened to the club gives an idea of how much of a success finishing mid table actually was.

“Barks was a role model for a lot who needed it, led by example with his performances on the pitch and had a totally no nonsense approach to standards and training.

"I’m pretty sure he finished the season with all of the player of the year awards that season too and gave top service to the club when the club needed it most.”

Echo: Popular - Barry Corr will be back at Roots Hall later this monthPopular - Barry Corr will be back at Roots Hall later this month

However, Corr also has plenty of memories of Barker off the pitch too.

“Like many I remember Barks enjoying a litre of tea from a Sports Direct mug and a giant bar of chocolate after training,” said Corr.

“I’m sure he wore the same pair of battered adidas World Cup boots during his entire stay at the club, something that showed his no nonsense approach and lack of ego.

“But more important than football I remember him treating everybody at the club exactly the same and I know he was popular and friendly with all the non playing staff.”

Barker had been with Plymouth before heading to Roots Hall and the move saw him reunited with another ex Pilgrim Ryan Leonard at the very start of his career.

“I remember him as almost a father figure to Ryan Leonard, who he lived with during his time at the club,” said Corr.

“I think along with Graham Coughlan, he looked after Lenny so well and had a hugely positive impact on him as a person and the excellent player he’s gone on to be.

"But my biggest memory of Barks was how much he loved his daughter.

"He was a brilliant footballer, leader, and a good person but his daughter meant more to him than anything else.”

Leonard - who now plays for Championship club Millwall - will be back for ‘A Game for Barks’ as referee while other former favourites including Mark Phillips, Liam Dickinson and Bilel Mohsni will also be in attendance.

The match, which kicks off at 3pm, will see a side of former Blues players taking on a team made up of Barker’s team-mates from elsewhere including his brother Richie and nephew Charlie.

Tickets are priced £5 adults and £1 for concessions and are available here

Every penny will be donated to SECE Mind.

>Blues heroes to reunite to remember Chris Barker