Barnes says bankruptcy order due to 'oversight'

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John Barnes has applied to have a bankruptcy order against him annulled after the chaos of his departure from Tranmere Rovers led to it being issued at court in his absence. His embarrassment about the order has been compounded by suggestions that he filed for bankruptcy, but he told The Independent yesterday that the order had been issued because he failed to answer a court summons on 14 October.

His lawyers have applied to have the order rescinded and a new date set for a court hearing in which he would answer a petition to settle an Inland Revenue bill. "It is a tax oversight and I should have dealt with it days before I was sacked," Barnes said. "The only thing on my mind was the job, but I can and will clear the tax bill."

Barnes declined to divulge the amount owing but feels that his financial position has been misrepresented as a result of this episode and also a court hearing last year in which he answered charges of driving without insurance. He believes a jocular private discussion about the cost of putting four of his children through university, which took place with court staff after proceedings had adjourned, has led to suggestions that he is broke.

Barnes, dismissed by Tranmere on 9 October, says media and charity work, his contribution to the FA's World Cup bid and work for confectioners Mars provide him with enough work. Of suggestions that he earned £4,000 a week at Tranmere, he said: "Divide that by a third at least."