Opposing views: Barnsley (H)

Opposing views: Barnsley (H)

A clutch Barnsley fans say Vale fans should look out for Andy Cole’s son and it’s fair to say they’re not fond of Michael Brown… 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

Like 90% of us who support clubs that will never amount to much, I blame me dad for the suffering…

JAY – Daft hair, enjoy smoking roll-ups, far too old to care as much about a silly football club as I do. Afraid I don’t have a CV handy. Like 90% of us who support clubs that will never amount to much, I blame me dad for the suffering.

COMBATBOB – I’m 29 and this is my 19th year as a season ticket holder at Barnsley FC. I try to attend at least ten away games each season, mainly concentrating on grounds within an hour’s travel or grounds I have not yet been to. So far I have ticked off 47/92 league grounds.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Mid 40’s. Angry. Was taken to my 1st match by my Dad in 1976 and have suffered ever since.

ARCHEY – I started watching the Reds with my dad when I was about 3, so around 1992 however I don’t actually remember many matches before a game against Millwall in about 94 where I watched my one and only first team game from the West Stand. Had a season ticket every year since I was 8 (barring the first half of last season) and now travel t every home game from Leeds.

GORDON OWEN – Mid 30’s. First went in 1984/85, Mascot in 1986 and l can still fit in that shirt.

WHITEY – Big headed (literally), gobby, can’t handle my ale, been watching the Tarn since I was knee high, although that depends on whose knee we’re measuring me against in 1988.

JLWBIGLIL – I’m in my mid fifties & am an Indiana Jones wannabee. Started going down to watch Barnsley in the 1960’s, got my first season ticket for the 1969/70 season and had one ever since.

2. How do you expect your team to do this season?

JAY – Win some, lose some, finish sixth. We’re a very young side with a decent amount of skill, when things click we’re capable of ripping through many teams in this division. However, bigger, stronger and more experienced opposition players will have the beating of us in a physical battle and punish the mistakes young players are prone to make.

COMBATBOB – With Danny Wilson needing to recruit almost a full starting XI over the summer this for me was always going to be a gelling season with a decent final position in the table. The more players we signed the more excitement grew around Oakwell.

Players who scored nearly as many goals individually last season as we managed as a team were acquired in the likes of Sam Winnall and Kane Hemmings. Conor Hourihane – a young box to box midfielder who has so far scored wonder goals for fun from distance (not seen in a Barnsley #8 shirt since the days of Redfearn/Hignett) signed, much to the annoyance of Plymouth fans who thought he was taking a step backwards joining little Barnsley.

In previous seasons we were light on goals, this seems to have been addressed but we are still leaking goals that could easily be cut out. However, our start to the season and the way DW has us trying to play proper football is pleasing as is the introduction of some of the academy players but I feel with the addition of a right back and an experienced centre midfielder we’ll have enough firepower and squad players to at least challenge for a play-off spot. After years looking over our shoulders at the back end of the season in the Championship I for one would be very happy with that!

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – I said at the start of the season tenth, and seen nowt to change my mind thus far. That said, owt could happen and I’m shocking at predictions.

ARCHEY – I think this season will be a success if we can finish in the top 8, it gives us something the build on for next season as we have a completely different squad this year compromised almost exclusively with young inexperienced players. Personally I think promotion is out of the question but a play – off place may be achievable.

GORDON OWEN – Win more than they lose – eighth.

WHITEY – I expected much better football, for Oakwell to become a difficult place to visit again and expected a playoff push. If I’m forecasting a positional finish in my current frame of mind, I’ll say 6th.

JLWBIGLIL – I have no idea, but am hoping we’ll be towards the top end.

3. Who should we watch out for?

JAY – Connor Hourihane has scored five goals from between 20 and 35 yards in his first 6 league appearances for us from midfield. Give him a yard of space at that sort of range and he’ll do it again. If you don’t close him down he’ll punish you and even if you do he’s capable of skipping past a player and getting an unstoppable shot away.

Devante Cole, Andy’s son, is on loan to us until the new year from Man City. He’s quick, very quick, and although only 19 he already looks to be a bit of a star. He has 3 goals from his one start and 4 substitute appearances. I expect him to start the next couple of games and I’m just glad that I won’t be marking him.

Devante Cole (son of Andy) is proving to be a shrewd signing. He’s made an impact from the bench a few times already…

COMBATBOB – Conor Hourihane/Devante Cole. Conor for his lethal left peg, Devante for his pace.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Hourihane, Cole.

ARCHEY – Of our new signings, Conor Hourihane has hit the ground running with five goals all from 20+ yards out. But I think young Devante Cole (son of Andy) is proving to be a shrewd signing. He’s made an impact from the bench a few times already and is surely pushing for a start after scoring 3 goals in his first 4 appearances.

GORDON OWEN – Devante Cole’s dad Andrew, he’ll probably be sat somewhere in the stands.

WHITEY – Conor Hourihane. The best player in the division, probably in terms of form at least. Our loanee striker Devante Cole (son of Andrew) who has pace to burn, something we’ve not seen at Oakwell since Danny Haynes was here peeing away his talent and fighting with our then manager.

JLWBIGLIL – Conor Hourihane, Devante Cole.

4. What are your thoughts on your manager and his signings this season?

JAY – Danny Wilson took us to the Premier League for the first and only time in our history playing the sort of football you can usually only dream about. Now that he’s returned, even if he was crap, I’d still love him. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. For the first time in years we’re playing football how I like to see it being played.

In the summer we dispensed with almost the entire squad that saw us relegated. We’ve replaced that squad with younger players who look hungry for success. Things aren’t perfect, we’re not tough enough at the moment and are making too many mistakes that are costing us, but we look to be a much more skilful side than we have done for a long time and although we might not achieve instant success, I can see what we’re trying to do and believe we’re now starting to move forward.

COMBATBOB – DW will always be a club legend for the fact he took us to the Premier League. If he can replicate the same team spirit and work ethics we will be more than fine under his guidance. I think the team he has assembled so far is working well but it is very young. Maybe the addition of an experienced player as previously mentioned will help in those key battles. I like the fact he says it how it is, straight to the point and no bullshit. Worlds apart from our previous two managers with their philosophies and special human being quotes.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Solid gaffer. We’ve gone in the main with younger players with potential. This will take time -and we all know how patient owners and fans are.

ARCHEY – Danny wasn’t my first choice as manager however I think he is the right man for the current situation. He has a wealth of knowledge and success at this level. His signings last season were completely ineffective however the players he brought in over the summer for the most part seem very hungry and eager to impress.

GORDON OWEN –God like and exciting.

WHITEY – Danny Wilson is like a God to me. The bloke who did the impossible all those years ago, taking us to the not so promised land. I’ve grown up since (debatable) though and I wasn’t overly impressed with his efforts upon his return last season where he chose to persist with bellend footballers over club legends. However, I’m 100% behind him and was excited about seeing him build a completely new squad. The majority of his signings excited me also, and, in the main, they’ve all impressed me on occasion, some more than others.

JLWBIGLIL – I like him, rate him and believe he’s putting together a decent squad of young players.

5. What are your thoughts on your board & off-field club activities?

There appears to be a professionalism that we’ve lacked for a long time…

JAY – There appears to be a professionalism that we’ve lacked for a long time. Commercial enterprises, like the sponsoring of stands at Oakwell, are gathering apace and hopefully bringing in the kind of revenue that our club has let pass us by for so long. The board is relatively new, this is only the second season for our CEO and chairman.

I haven’t worked them out yet on a personal level and have had no dealings on professional level on which to judge, but the new policy to address fans on a regular basis through the local media is a welcome change. Some of that is in buzz words and management speak, which we’re not used to and hasn’t gone down well in some quarters, but just because you speak like a bit of an arse at times, it doesn’t mean you are one. Time will tell on that.

COMBATBOB – We definitely seem to have a lot more happening off the field than in previous seasons. There is also a sense of transparency with the club relating to the fans more and involving them in fan group sessions and on social media. Things generally feel to be looking up after years of negativity which is well overdue.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – No comment.

ARCHEY – Ben Mansford was appointed CEO last season and seems to have made the club commercially more efficient. We seem to be putting advertising everywhere at the minute which I suppose can only be a good thing.

GORDON OWEN –Acting like a normal football club now.

WHITEY – Been a big improvement the last few months, it has to be admitted. It seems our owner has rekindled his interest in the club, after struggling with illness and a court case over the last couple of years. The new CEO promised big things upon his arrival, and he’s been very hit and miss for me, until recently where he’s grown on me. All in all, I’ve little to moan about regards the board, manager or players. We’re undergoing a revamp, a rebuild. Patience is needed. And I’m all for that unless I’ve been drinking.

JLWBIGLIL – They seem to be finally getting their act together after years of stagnation and being disconnected to our fan base.

6. Which one Vale player would you take past or present to add value to your squad?

JAY – With 77 goals in 81 appearances, Chris Young must have been some player.

COMBATBOB – Not sure but it would definitely not be Michael Brown. An absolutely awful player who’s whole career has been to control the midfield in all the wrong ways. I think my dislike is even greater due to the fact he played for Leeds. If ever there was a player and a team more suited it would be these two, again for all the wrong reasons. That and the fact his stop at all costs tackle on Jacob Butterfield resulted in the player being out for the rest of the season! Dirty, dirty player.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Robbie Earle -dirty b’stard. Just what we need. Could play a bit too.

ARCHEY – I’ve always rated Tom Pope, just the sort of player we’re missing from our front line at present. Definitely not Robbie Williams.

GORDON OWEN – Wilf Kirkham, proper football name.

WHITEY – I’ll give you one from the present in Tom Pope, and one from the past in Neil Aspin.

JLWBIGLIL – Probably Robbie Earle.

7. How do you expect Vale to do this season?

I would imagine I know as much about your squad as the majority of Vale fans know about Barnsley’s, i.e. not much…

JAY – I would imagine I know as much about your squad as the majority of Vale fans know about Barnsley’s, i.e. not much. Carl Dickinson came on loan to us from Stoke and played well, all gritted teeth and clenched fists which goes down well with supporters. Tom Pope is a great big lad who scores goals and Michael Brown is an ‘orrible b’stard who all Barnsley fans hate. Where will you end up? Dunno, I guess if I say 12th it shouldn’t offend too many people.

COMBATBOB – Finish just above the relegation zone.

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Not a clue mate.

ARCHEY – If I remember rightly, you’ve also signed a lot of players this summer, so it’s all dependant on how long it takes them to settle. I reckon you’ll be around mid-table with the odd flirtation with the top 6.

GORDON OWEN – Lose more than they win.

WHITEY – Because I don’t like Micky Adams, I didn’t expect much from Vale this season. Suppose a lot depends on how Pope does, as per. But if you finish mid table I’d suggest you’ve done well. Although as it stands, we’re only three points off the relegation zone ourselves after the latest Oakwell embarrassment at the weekend where we made Antony Kay look like Franz Beckenbauer.

JLWBIGLIL – Mid table.

8. What is your team’s most memorable game with Vale?

JAY – Our record against Vale is pretty even, but it’s two defeats that stick out for me. In 1998, after just being relegated from the Premier League, we deservedly lost 2-0 at home to your lot and began to realise we weren’t going to bulldozer the division (success had gone to our heads and we were unbearable).

We’d replaced the legendary Neil Redfearn with a fat, bald lad called Robin Van Der Laan. He spent this game sauntering up and down, waving to the Vale fans to whom he was a former favourite. I wasn’t impressed and he remains one of the few ex-Barnsley players I really didn’t like.

Midway through the second half of our visit to Vale Park in 2006 Matt Carbon scored to draw us level at 2-2. We’d gone in at half time 2 behind, but then bossed the first 20 minutes of the second half. My mate turned to me and said, “There’s only going to be one winner now.” There was of course, it was Vale as Sam Togwell, who we later signed to no great effect, scored the winner.

COMBATBOB – Bad – I was one of only 82 Barnsley fans who travelled midweek for the LDV Vans Trophy match in 2004. A long way to go on a Tuesday night to lose 1-0 in a Mickey Mouse cup – it seemed even longer on the way home! I was excited for the game and to be able to tick off another ground visited. If I remember rightly we had Nardiello and Chopra on loan. A photo appeared in the local paper, the Barnsley Chronicle, of the fans (or lack of) who’d travelled. You could just about make us out between the vast number of empty seats. Added to that my mate had a football ground guide which highly recommended the pies at Port Vale, they lied!

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – Beating you 6-2 in ye olde 4th division – Alan Clarke hat-trick.

ARCHEY – All that sticks in my head is John Hendrie ‘ s first goal for us away to you in our promotion campaign of 96/97, absolute peach of a goal.

GORDON OWEN –2-2 1999/2000, some mates invaded the pitch after our 2nd and got locked up, more leg room in the mini bus on way home.

WHITEY – The 1999-2000 season stands out. We were robbed of a victory at your gaff when the referee gave a late penalty for a non-foul by Chris Morgan (seriously). We’ve only won once against you in the last ten meetings, way back in 2002, so it’s safe to say you’re a bit of an Ian Bogie team for us.

JLWBIGLIL – A 6-2 home victory on Boxing Day 1978 when player/manager Allan Clarke scored a hat trick.

9. A score prediction (and potential scorers for both sides)?

JAY – Depends how many Barnsley players Michael Brown injures and whether or not the referee lets him get away with it. He usually gets about 3 or 4 of ours. I dunno, 2-2, Cole and Hourihane for Barnsley and a brace for Tom Pope.

COMBATBOB – Port Vale -1 (Pope) Barnsley – 3 (Winall, Hourihane, Cole).

EXTREMELY NORTHERN – 1-1,Pope/Hourihane.

ARCHEY – Devante Cole (no score provided).

GORDON OWEN –3-3.

WHITEY – 0-0 draw. We’re due one.

JLWBIGLIL – 1-1, Pope & Lita.

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