Film To Chronicle Shaun Barker's Comeback From Injury
A feature length documentary about former Blackpool player Shaun Barker is in production, with a view to a release in December 2016.
The film chronicles the horrific knee injury Barker suffered while playing for Derby County against local rivals Nottingham Forest on 13 March 2012, and his subsequent rehabilitation.
The defender, who turns 34 today, made 134 appearances for Blackpool in a three-year spell with the club, prior to joining Derby County for an undisclosed fee in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, he quickly become a fans’ favourite at Derby for his commanding defensive performances, but his time at the club was overshadowed by spells out injured. Often playing through the pain, Barker developed a reputation as a player that put his body on the line for the club, sacrificing his own personal wellbeing for the benefit of Derby County.
His career-threatening injury came in a collision with Derby County goalkeeper Frank Fielding, as both came out to clear a ball. The collision snapped his kneecap and ruptured his medial, anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments - in the defender’s own words, his leg “was only hanging on by the skin”. His surgeon admitted it is the worst knee injury he had ever seen.
Despite being told he would never play again, Barker spent three years in gruelling rehabilitation sessions, before miraculously making a comeback for Derby County's Under 21s in 2015.
Shaun Barker: 1,065 Days director Ashley Carter, a lifelong Derby County fan, is keen to show all sides of Shaun Barker’s personality, and shed light on a period of his career that fans might not know all the facts about.
“Since meeting Shaun in 2015, it’s clear that he isn’t like other footballers, and the players we’ve interviewed so far constantly talk about how influential and inspirational he is off the pitch as well as on it. What he went through on a personal and professional level is astounding, and to still be looking to play professional football again is remarkable.”
Filming has included interviews with team-mates at previous clubs Rotherham and Blackpool, as well as current and past players at Derby County.
Barker recently completed his comeback, making his first professional appearance in four-and-a-half years, after signing a contract with Burton Albion. Now managed by his former Derby County boss Nigel Clough, his first game back came as a last minute substitute in a 1-0 win against both his and Clough’s former team.
As well as looking back on Barker’s career, the film will also examine some of the misconceptions football fans have about the post-playing careers of professional footballers, particularly those playing at lower levels.
“I think everyone would agree that professional footballers live a dream life, but there’s something intrinsically tragic about being forced to stop doing the thing you’ve devoted your entire life to your prime. A lot of people think that footballers are financially set for life once they’ve hung their boots up, but it’s a big myth. That’s only the top players,” Carter added.
Shaun Barker: 1,065 Days will continue filming through the year before holding a Premiere screening at the QUAD Cinema in Derby, as well as being released online. All proceeds from screenings and sales will be going to the Shaun Barker Foundation, which aims to help underprivileged children in the Derby area.
The project is currently running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign until 2 October, where backers will get the chance to get some exclusive signed merchandise, including signed shirts, photos, footballs, tickets to the Premiere and the chance to be on set for a day of filming.
For further information and to view a trailer, please click here.