Len Barry

The Transfer Record: Len Barry

As part of a regular series on LCFC.com, Club Historian John Hutchinson looks at the story behind another Leicester City transfer record.
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In September 1927, Leicester City broke their transfer record for the third time by paying £3,450 to Second Division Notts County for their amateur England international, Len Barry.

Barry was signed by manager Willie Orr, who had arrived at Filbert Street at the start of the previous season, following a remarkably successful managerial career at Airdrieonians in Scotland.

He had guided them to four successive runners-up spots in the Scottish league as well as winning the Scottish Cup. These achievements have never been equalled by Airdrieonians.

Until Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2016, meanwhile, Orr had also led the Club to its highest finish, second place, in the top-flight. Barry played a vital role in this achievement.

When Orr arrived at Leicester in July 1926, the Club had just completed its first season in the old First Division, finishing 17th. He later led them to seventh place in 1926/27.

At the end of that season, the directors’ minutes indicate that City’s finances were ‘eminently satisfactory, the best on record and encouraged confidence for the future’.

Consequently, funds were available to bring Barry to Filbert Street. It was an inspired signing. When he arrived at Filbert Street, Leicester had lost their previous four games and were in 14th place.

He appeared in all of the remaining 35 league and cup games that season, including an FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur, which attracted a Filbert Street record crowd.

Len played a key role in helping the Club to finish third in the top-flight at the end of the season. In the close season, meanwhile, he won his first two England caps, against France and Belgium.

The following campaign, he only missed one league game, playing a vital part in the Club finishing as runners-up in the old First Division.

He combined well with the Club’s previous record signing, inside-left Arthur Lochhead, and provided good service for goalscorers Arthur Chandler and Ernie Hine.  

At the end of the campaign, Barry won three more England caps on the left wing. His Leicester team-mate Hugh Adcock, on the other hand, played on England’s right wing in all three games.

During Barry’s time at Filbert Street, he was one of five Leicester City players to be picked for England.

He was a fixture in the side for four more seasons, but the squad was ageing, and there was a steady decline with the Club finishing eighth, 16th and 19th twice, just avoiding relegation.

Orr left the Club in January 1932 and the following season, Barry eventually lost his place to Scottish international Danny Liddle, who himself went on to have a distinguished career at Filbert Street.

In August 1933, after playing over 200 games for Leicester City, Barry signed for Second Division outfit Nottingham Forest. 

The fans were sorry to see him go. He had more than justified his record transfer fee and will forever be linked with Leicester City’s first golden era.

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