In our latest Opposing Views feature, we talk to two pretty solemn Barnsley fans ahead of their clash with the Valiants.
Thanks to REP for asking the questions.
About the fans…
Rob Miles is the editor of the Barnsley Forum barnsley-mad.co.uk. He is joined by the wide of one of last week’s Maidenhead’s contributors – Caroline Maskell – who just so happens to be a Tyke!
Rob: “I have supported the club for as long as I can remember. I think my first match was around 1991. I moved to Newcastle in 2010 but still attend matches when I can. I have seen four so far this season… all of which we have lost!
Caroline: “Although I am originally from Hull, my granddad was a lifelong Barnsley season ticket holder. I started attending when I was five years old along with other family members. I have never lived in Barnsley and have always had a commute of at least an hour to home matches.”
How do you expect your team to do this season?
I cannot even see where our next point is coming from…
Rob: I am writing this with the club on a run of seven straight league defeats, eight out of nine in all competitions and having just been dumped out of the FA Cup by Altrincham so I cannot even see where our next point is coming from. We will probably rally to finish somewhere around 15th but considering we were all expecting at least a push for the top six it is set to be a very disappointing season!
Caroline: I was hopeful at the beginning of the season that Lee Johnson seemed to talk a good game. However they have lost eight in a row and before that performances were very inconsistent. After seeing them play so well against Everton in the Capital One Cup the recent run has been very disappointing. As things stand we’ll be happy just to remain in the division.
Who should we watch out for?
Rob: Two new lads have arrived in Ivan Toney and Adam Hammill. Hammill was a fantastic player in his first spell with us and if he can hit anywhere near those heights againwe will have arguably one of the best players in the division on our hands. Amongst the rest of the squad, we cannot score unless Conor Hourihane is on the pitch as he makes us tick.
Caroline: Winnall is a goalscorer. Roberts has a potentially dangerous long throw. Pearson is adept at breaking up play in the middle of the park, however he can himself get caught in possession. Scowen is another terrier in the middle of the park. Adam Hammill has returned to the club and was a fans favourite last time and may add much needed width to the attack.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
Despite leading us to our worst run in 56 years I still back Lee Johnson…
Rob: Despite leading us to our worst run in 56 years I still back Lee Johnson. He’s young so he makes mistakes but I do believe he will come good. Unfortunately he’s packed the side with loan signings (something which he and the board were adamant back in June that we would not do) and our oldest player is the newly re-signed Hammill at 27 so we are lacking in experience. He also keeps playing one up front against everybody including the bottom side at home so STOP doing that Lee!
Caroline: Johnson has signed too many similar types of player, we have no width on the pitch at all. I do think that most of the players he has signed have some ability but he does not have them playing as a team or in some cases in the right positions.
What are your thoughts on your board?
Rob: A lot of people blame them or namely our chief executive Ben Mansford for our current predicament and some claim he even picks the signings and team. This is something I very much doubt but something does need to change off the field.
Caroline: I’ve o real issues with the board who seem to take action when they need to and they have backed Johnson with resources. Chief Executive Ben Mansford seems to be a good communicator and comes across as genuine with his intentions.
Which Vale player would you take past or present?
Rob: I’ve always been a massive fan of Anthony Grant ever since he, briefly, broke through at Chelsea whilst Carl Dickinson is a bit of a legend around these parts thanks to his time at Oakwell.
Caroline: I attended Vale’s FA Cup tie on Sunday – my husband is a volunteer at Maidenhead United – and the most impressive player was Moore who scored your goal and showed a turn of pace throughout.
How do you expect Vale to do this season?
I always see you as a solid League One side…
Rob: I always see you as a solid League One side, you will never be sucked into a relegation battle but probably not quite good enough to ruffle the top six’s feathers. I’m going to go for a modest 13th.
Caroline: You look a mid-table side on the evidence of what I saw on Sunday.
A score prediction?
Rob: If we lose to York in the JPT on Tuesday [they didn’t, they won] then morale could be that low you hammer us but I am going to be positive and say we will win that and therefore pick up our first point since September against you.
Caroline: On the basis of eight defeats in a row probability suggests we are due a win! 2-1 Barnsley, Winnall and Scowen for us and Moore for you.