I'm not a fan of country music, but the headline seems pretty apt when referencing our dear old football club.

In his song, 'I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal' 
the Texas singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver tells a story of transformation, using the coal to diamond metaphor to represent his faith in Jesus, and the change he anticipates when he makes his transition.

For me, this tune doesn't touch my bones in any way, but seems like a fairly cool analogy of the Reds' ongoing circumstances. Let's be fair. Whenever the national press decide to offer any opinion on Barnsley, it's generally poorly researched and offers nothing in terms of any 'inside knowledge'. Check out, Josh Scowen and Marley Watkins set to leave after rejecting new deals.


Of course, It's massively disappointing that we have to develop and move talented players on, but I'm convinced that Paul Heckingbottom will rebuild yet again. None of these players are a one-off. There will be more. Barnsley seem to be one of a few British clubs giving talent a platform to play and naturally, once proven, we lose 'em.

The following First Team and Under 23’s players have not been offered new contracts and will be released when their current deals expire.

I started following 'The Reds' from an early age, during the Jim Iley era. I can't be exact on the details, but I think my first game might have been against Newport County, in the 'old' fourth division. Barnsley ran out victors 3-1 in that encounter. Don't ask me why I remember it. I honestly don't know. Maybe I still have a copy of the 'Oakwell Review' somewhere to prove it.

In terms of any actual memories of this time, they're all 'sketchy'. Quite a few of the lads were sporting some great moustaches, so were the faithful supporters and Peter Springett was unashamedly a bit thin on top - but seemingly very wide in the goal. My early memories were mostly of the atmosphere, the floodlights at many games I attended with my Dad, Grandad (and even Great-Grandad) in the West Stand. The pipe and cigar smoke in the stands, constantly berating everyone and perching on the wall to get close to the action were all acceptable behaviour within the confines of Oakwell at the time.

Ed: The kids mostly sat on the wall. The adults mostly smoked and berated folk. Some did both.

Recently, It's had me wondering. In our moments as Barnsley fans, we have definitely enjoyed some great times. There can't be many clubs who have experienced anything close to the extreme highs and depressive lows that we have. As a community we've been pressured beyond belief outside of football, but have remained steadfast within it. Perhaps starting my journey as a fan in Division Four was a blessing. Everything we have achieved since has always seemed miraculous to this particular supporter.

Who made the difference though?

We've got a proud history. Pre-World War England felt the might of 'The Tykes', and a force that lead us to two FA Cup Finals, one glorious victory and plenty of clogging in the second tier for the rest of the time - upsetting the bigger boys. The desolate years, that began in the sixties and ended in the eighties, still had their characters and heroes. The climb into the Premiership was sublime, but would later wreak havoc on our stability as a club. The play off final of 2006. Our famous FA Cup run of 2008. The double at Wembley in 2016. No doubt you will have your own favourites.

We asked a hundred people (well ninety nine to be exact). And if the Twitter generation had their say, the outcome would positively point in only one direction:


But also, our Facebook followers would share a different perspective.

Allan Clarke was our Shankly - he kick started our golden years and Hunter took us on. I was lucky that it was my first season - since then we've been to Wembley four times, Millenium Stadium, three trophies, five promotions, one of which to the Premiership.  ~ Craig Moffatt

Clarky started to bring good times back. When he came we were in real trouble and he gave club the kick start to where we are now. Hunter and others followed on ... thankfully. ~ Roy Wilkinson 

Allan Clarke changed the culture of the club when he came in 78. Made the players more professional in themselves and kick started our rise from division 4. ~ Andrew Wilson 

For me, let's start with Arthur Fairclough. Another 'One of our own'. Our FA Cup winning manager and three-times chief of The Reds. The only shame to his claim is that he was the founding manager of Leeds United too. But at least we can always stake this first, whatever 'success' that colourless lot have ever experienced, it was engineered and tested at Oakwell first!


Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @OnThePontyEnd. Please comment below with your opinion on who's better, who's best. Thanks for reading!




What a year? Especially when you can add a statistical element to the emotional rollercoaster we've all experienced - on our latest trip around the sun.


Clearly, most of our readers ARE Barnsley fanatics. However, we don't always read the stories and background noise that happens in the football world that concerns us. For this reason, I simply love sharing my homework with you all.

So, let's absorb ourselves with our beloved Barnsley FC, at this time last year, courtesy of the analysis done by the professors at Experimental 3-6-1. We can all remember that we were tied to a division where anyone could beat anyone. The evidence was there for all to see.


As quoted on the site, "Every team in this graphic has been beaten by the one immediately clockwise of it during the 2015/16 season. For example, starting in the top left, Bradford lost 2-0 to Peterborough who lost 3-2 to Wigan who lost 1-0 to Burton and so on".

As any December graphic would definitely have suggested, the Reds were not the kingpins of the division. We were not an unbeaten side, capable of breaking the mathematical formula. Instead we were the experts in breaking hearts, away at Altrincham. It all seems a very long time ago now.

Jump ahead a few months. The form table at the closing stages of the season also suggests that we had no right to expect our automatic elevation from the so called 'pub league' either. We may have felt that we finished with a flourish, especially in the euphoria of our final day win (away) at Wigan. We were the stuff that dreams were made of, but other teams had held their own too.

In the play offs, the Reds were sublime. Making the best Walsall side for a generation look very ordinary. However, the barmy fans from South Bermondsey, London, would have expected more from their side at Wembley - in the showcase League One final, on Sunday, 14 May 2016.



What are your best memories following the Reds this season? Are you optimistic about Barnsley's chances in the Championship during 2017? Can we climb into the top six once again? Comment below and join the Super Reds Debate!
The Reds' skipper has been in cracking form this season and is certainly one of the major catalysts in helping Barnsley achieve a healthy league position on their return to the Championship. His performances have earned him rave reviews and plaudits from way beyond Oakwell.  Conor Hourihane has already collected the SkyBet Player of the Month award for August 2016 and it would take a better Irish bookie than many to doubt that further recognition and awards will follow.


Twice this season the 25-year-old has been on the cusp of making his international debut having been called up to the provisional Republic of Ireland squad. At the time of writing this post, WhoScored.com have him as the top rated player in the Championship (7.87). His stock is certainly on the rise. But perhaps, here are five things you didn't know about 'Captain Conor'.

  1. On the day Conor Hourihane was born, 2 February 1991, The KLF ft. The Children of The Revolution topped the UK charts with '3 a.m. Eternal'.

  2. Under Peter Reid, Connor Hourihane made his professional debut on 6 August 2011 for Plymouth Argyle, in their opening day draw with Shrewsbury Town at the New Meadow. He was amongst a total of ten debutants on that day.
  3. Born in Bandon, a town in County Cork, Ireland, Conor shares his hometown with Graham Norton, the BBC One chat show host and commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest.
  4. Having won a Cork Person of the Month award in July 2016, Hourihane is up for the Cork Person of the Year gong, to take place in January 2017. Watch this space.
  5. Since taking over as Barnsley captain in December 2015, the club rose from the relegation zone to playoff winners in just five months. Now occupying a comfortable league position in the Championship, life is never dull at Oakwell. But if it ever was, Captain Conor can take comfort from the fact his long term partner, the former Miss Great Britain, Shelby Tribble is there for support. Lucky man. As if being the captain of Barnsley FC wasn't enough?

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As we arrive at the international break, it's hard to believe that we're nearly a quarter of a way in to the 2016/17 season already. Barnsley sit in tenth spot, having accrued an impressive 16 points from their first eleven games back in the EFL Championship.

There's still a long way to go for Hecky's boys. The travelling faithful will be jamming in to football hotels up and down the country, on the way to completing well over 5,000 miles on the road following the Reds, before this season's full journey comes to a close.

By the time the international break returns, our next block of fixtures will have featured Barnsley at home over four of those games, with the only exceptions being Brentford and Buton away on Saturday, 22 October and Saturday, 5 November respectively. Perhaps therefore, it's our home form that will count most as we play host to Fulham, Newcastle, Bristol City and Wigan over this influential series of matches.




If 'Fortress Oakwell' is to retain it's reputation, fans need to be mindful that we are currently averaging a healthy two points per game on home soil. A couple of wins and at least a couple of draws are needed to maintain this return. The question is, can we improve on our average of just one point per game away from home? Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom certainly feels the Reds are adequately equipped for this division.

“We’re playing against some really good quality at the minute and we’re holding our own.” ~ Paul Heckingbottom, 27, September 2016

With just one point gained from our last three outings, the doomsayers (often situated on the M1 slightly north and south of Barnsley) would have you believe our promising start was simply a fluke, our bubble has burst and the Championship has now 'found us out'. Don't believe them!

If this is where we are today, with a team that is just beginning to taste football at this level, just think of where we can be with more game time under our belts.

And as Camille Yarbrough (featured later by Fatboy Slim) famously sang, “We've come a long long way together, Through the hard times and the good, I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should.”


What's your take on the season so far? We would love to gain your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. Please share this post far and wide, and thanks for reading.