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Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Escape From League One: Inside The Rat Race

Escape From League One: Inside The Rat Race

Rewind to 15 March 2015. Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal taunted his neighbours and City rivals by stating "Whether they want that or don't want that, that is the position," said Van Gaal after United's 3-0 win over Spurs. "It is a rat race. They are in it."

Whilst fancy, overpriced, Premier [Fantasy] Football is not our fayre or preferred topic, the observation Van Gaal made was probably a more accurate description of the pressure cooker that is League One and the intense battle that is being played out by almost every side in the top twelve.

In our recent post in this series, we gained an insight from those fans whose teams still have a realistic shout at an automatic spot. No doubt, last weekend's battling draw at Oakwell versus Preston North End, will have been appreciated at Stadium:mk and the County Ground.

Today, we look at the nearby 'Rat Race' for the most realistic last [two] places available. And with confidence seemingly brimming from every quarter around us, should Barnsley fans start praying that a 'plague' of poor form consumes our rivals?



Sheffield United

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



We haven't got any of the teams [who are currently occupying] the top six left to play, but saying that, our current form has been poor, so I would be looking at maybe around 18 points [76 points in total].

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



We have still got three local teams around us; Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield. I see us getting all six points from the two fixtures against Doncaster (7 April) and Chesterfield [3 May] at home. Barnsley are in such good form at the minute, so I don't see us getting anything there.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



I think we could finish in sixth position just, but with the form the teams in and around us are in then it will more than likely be seventh.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



I think it would probably be considered a success, but I think for our club [Sheffield United] it should be at least the play-offs as a minimum.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Poor, drab, unenjoyable football and lacklustre in the final third. 

Thanks to Callum Cheswick for his contribution.
Follow on Twitter @Calblade147 or catch his updates on Vital Sheffield United

Peterborough United

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



[Short and sweet] 69

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



To me a banana skin would be a game which we lose and as result no longer have our play-off position within our own hands - so that would have to Barnsley away [Sat 18 April]. I personally fear every fixture now that we have sixth place though, I don't want to lose it!

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



[To the point] Sixth (just)

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



At the start of the season it would have probably been seen as a failure, but after the run we've had it can only be seen as a massive success.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

An absolute roller coaster, where we lost many games and lost many faces, but in the end it looks like everything has come good.

Thanks to Kelly Green for her contribution.
Follow on Twitter @kellmarie92

Rochdale AFC

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



I reckon sixteen more points for us between now and the final game. That would take us to 69 points going into that last game of the season. Will 72 points get us in the play-offs?

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



As above, that last game of the season at Oakwell sticks out somewhat. It could be a cracking winner takes all fixture for the final position in the play-offs, especially with the return of a certain Mr Hill. All the pressure will be on the home side, and I'm sure Barnsley fans will fear the obvious scenario.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



My gut feeling says that we'll finish outside of the play-offs. We are in good form right now and with games in hand, the balls in our court and all that, but I reckon we will be hard pushed to fully maintain it between now and the end of the season. 

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



If we finish in the play-offs, it will be our highest placed finish in the club's history, so it's fair to say that it will be a considerable success. The feeling seems to be that reaching the play-offs would be the success, and it being a stepping stone to the Championship seems almost secondary. I guess that is what comes from having spent most of your life fighting it out in the 'Rochdale Division'. 

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A typical Keith Hill season where we've achieved beyond all expectations, making a mockery of the financial disparity between ourselves and our peers.

Many thanks to Col Cavanagh for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @RochdaleAFC.com or catch his updates on RochdaleAFC.com

Doncaster Rovers

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



We have been very inconsistent of late, this coupled with the fact that we have some incredibly tough fixtures ahead of us in the coming weeks, it’s going to make it difficult for us to accumulate many points. I can see us finishing on the 66 points mark come the end of the season.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?




The next game is always a potential banana skin! We have some big games coming up against the likes of MK Dons, Bradford City and Sheffield United to name a few, and if we buckle under the pressure against these promotion contending sides, it could have an adverse effect on our run-in.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



I’ve said since the start of the season that we would finish around the ninth/tenth mark, so I’ll say ninth. There are so many teams in the play-off hunt who have a lot of momentum and we could struggle to catch-up if we lose vital games against them.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



In the overall context of our season, not getting a play-off place shouldn’t be regarded as a total failure. Obviously, expectations are raised when you are in and around the play-offs at the ‘business end’ of the season. So for this reason, I feel that a handful of fans could see a finish lower than 6th place as a poor season, especially after competing very well against some very good Championship sides during the previous season.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Tactical naivety and individual errors, coupled with poor home form. 

Thanks to James Errington for his contibution.
Follow via Twitter @JimmyDRFC

Watch Out For Our Next Instalment

There could still be a trio of surprises left in the shape of Chesterfield, Fleetwood Town and Bradford City, so keep looking out for the final part in this series soon.

Thanks for reading. If you have any views on how you think the final league table might look, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.

Saturday, 21 March 2015
Escape From League One: The Final Countdown

Escape From League One: The Final Countdown

The season is now well within its final quarter. At long last, excited Barnsley fans can actually look forward to the remaining schedule of fixtures that lay ahead. Alive with hopes and dreams, the potential rewards are in our sights and within our each. Dare we dream of a possible end-of-season hurrah at Wembley? Could we escape from League One at the first time of asking?

With only five points separating fourth placed Sheffield United to twelfth placed Doncaster, it could be a race between seven teams (including the Reds) for the [most realistic] last two spots. The latest odds with Paddy Power sees us 4/1 to finish in the top 6, and 20/1 to achieve promotion.

Bristol City may have all but guaranteed their safe berth to the Championship, as any capitulation at this stage would be one of biggest reversals of form ever seen. Of course, football folklore is being written all the time, even when the scenario might seem impossible.




What do those fans who are closest to their teams think? Is confidence in abundance throughout the top half of the division? Doing the mathematics and predictions for us, we spoke to some of our rivals in League One who gave us their low down on the climax to the 2014/15 season.

Bristol City

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

I would like to think, with the form we've shown this year, that we can reach three figures [in points] and win the league - beating Wolves' total the other year.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?


Preston North End (Away, Sat 11 April) could be interesting, if the gap is closed between now and then.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

I would be disappointed if we're not top. We've been there for the majority of the season.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Failure. We are guaranteed the play-offs now. Getting that [outcome] would be a major fail.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Driven, togetherness on and off the field - led by the this season's best manager and influenced by the fan's passion.

Many thanks to Stu Radnedge for his contribution.
Follow on Twitter @stu_radnedge or catch his updates on The Exiled Robin.

Preston North End

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

The aim for any team is to pick up two points a game, on average, over the season. Anyone who does that is almost certainly promoted. If we keep up this impressive form then we might challenge Bristol City for top spot, but just getting out this league is the priority.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

We've got to play Bristol and Swindon, but both at Fortress Deepdale where we've only lost once all season in the league. Barnsley are flying under Johnson and this weekend's game will be tough. Saying that, there are no gimmies in this league, it's one of the closest leagues in terms of ability, as everyone is on a pretty level playing field in terms of finances. Our run in isn't that tough on paper, but as we all know; Anyone can beat Anyone.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

Head says second, but would love to pip Bristol City to top spot. Getting promoted at Port Vale would be fantastic - given their love for our main man Garner.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Please don't mention those words! Nine play-off failures, the worst in English football. If you had offered me a play-off spot in January, when we had a horrendous month (not winning a league game) I would have probably snapped your hand off.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A steady start that has blossomed since the return of the Jackal and the purchase of  Daniel Johnson (from Aston Villa for a rumoured £50k fee).

Many thanks to Jimmy for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @baysidepne / @pnefansteam

Swindon Town

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

I don't like to speculate about points tallies, but I would have to say it will need to be pretty high for how tight the league is.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

Any game has the potential to be a banana skin at this stage of the season. The games I most worry about are the away game against Bristol City, Preston North End and the home game to MK Dons [Sat 4 April]. These games will surely decide whether or not we achieve a top two place this season. 

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

I hope we make second [automatic] place, but my head tells me it will be third place.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

We were considered relegation favourites [at the start of the season] so to achieve the play-offs would be a massive success. However, after being in and around the top three for the whole of this season, I think there would be a slight air of disappointment.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A young vibrant squad that loves upsetting the odds.

Many thanks to Calvin Hothi for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @CalvinHothi45

MK Dons

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

Hard question to answer with any certainty, but I expect us to achieve 85 points plus. Depending on Preston North End's run in and form, we might just squeak into the second automatic position, but it's the play-offs that look like being the most likely.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

If you look at our run, the stand out fixture is away to Swindon in April and that could well define our end of season position. Win or draw and we could push for the Auto's, lose and it's the play-offs. Our results in the big games this season has been great though. Other than Swindon, the Fleetwood Town fixture (Away, Tues 14 April) looks very tricky.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

My head says third or fourth, but my heart says second.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Pre-Season, most of our supporters would have been ecstatic at the thought of the play-offs, but we went on that fantastic run of form and topped the table, which brought a great deal of optimism that we could even go on and gain an automatic place. If it is to be the play-offs for us, then whether we deem it to be successful or not will depend on the ultimate outcome, of promotion [to the Championship] or another League One Campaign.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A season of great highs, winning against Manchester United 4-0 and some very low points like losing to Coventry and Chesterfield [three times], all in all though a season that gives us the confidence that the club continues to move in the right direction.

Many thanks to Franchise Don for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @EMKAYdons18

Watch Out For Our Next Instalment

If you want to learn more about the perspectives offered by fans of Sheffield United, Peterborough United, Chesterfield, Fleetwood Town, Bradford City or even Doncaster Rovers, watch this space. Part two of this blog series should be live soon.

Thanks for reading. If you have any views on how you think the final league table might look, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.
Friday, 6 March 2015
Is A Play-Off Place Ours To Lose?

Is A Play-Off Place Ours To Lose?

What a difference a month has made. A resurgent Barnsley now sit in tenth spot in League One, only two points outside a coveted top six spot. Confidence is rising on and off the pitch and Barnsley's Head Coach is in no mood for compromise.

“We have to go out on Saturday and make sure we keep the hammer down," Johnson has stressed, in conversations this week with the media.

“We’ve had a good start and I thank the players for that, but we’ve got to continue to strive forward. We just have to make sure we keep going.”

Far from being complacent, there's a serious air of intent in those small soundbites. For the first time in several seasons, Reds fans can look forward to a battle for betterment rather than scrap for survival.

We look ahead to the closing campaign and ask, is a play-off place ours to lose?



Strengths

Despite the defensive weaknesses that have affected the Reds, on an almost perennial basis, the recent lock-outs should be considered as a genuine signal that real change has finally happened. The first-eleven has started to have a  certain semblance of permanency about them. Whilst recent squads have not included Winnall and Ramage, both will undoubtedly return and have colossal part to play in terms of where Barnsley will finish.

After a less than convincing first attempt at the dawn of the season, Adam Davies has made a real claim for the number one jersey recently, in the absence of Turnbull. We can be happy that Waring has a passion for the shirt and remains at Oakwell until the end of the season, with the heirarchy also looking to replicate that sort of agreement too for Manchester United loanee Ben Pearson. Hourihane is showing glimpses of recapturing the imperious form and attitude which brought him so much praise, before the rumoured link with Doncaster in the last transfer window. And if anyone could, Mason Holgate is shaping up rapidly to to fill the void left by England international, John Stones at Barnsley Football Club.

Weaknesses


Whilst complacency has to be guarded against, there's another less welcome quality that is worrying me more. Maybe the point I'm trying to make is summed up best in, Greavsie: The Autobiography by Jimmy Greaves who said, "An experienced pro very rarely has a bad game. He may have a game where his performance and contribution fall somewhat short of normal, but rarely will it be poor. Young players, on the other hand, are wildly inconsistent. They can be on fire in one game and anonymous in the next."

Whilst it's not inevitable that the final twelve fixtures will contain a substantial number of off-colour performances, it is reasonable to expect it will happen. When Preston North End and Sheffield United visit Oakwell, we will need to be at our very best. Away from home on those key trips to Bristol City, Oldham and Bradford City, can we expect every player to stand up and be counted?

Opportunities


The deal which saw Leroy Lita join Notts County on loan for the remainder of the season may prove to be one of Lee Johnson's earliest and potentially most prudent decision. Whilst Lita has undoubtedly proven his talents at the likes of Bristol City, Middlesbrough and Swansea City, his stay in South Yorkshire has largely been disappointing. After scoring in his first two league games, since 19 August a twenty-one game barren spell has ensued.

Perhaps one consideration may have been that a senior professional of his calibre, who may not have been enjoying his football, could have been a destabilising influence amongst the younger crop. Equally, with Sam Winnall looking like he may have recovered from his own injury nightmare and George Waring being the preferred partner up top, Lita could see the writing on the wall.

With a bit of financial freedom that the Lita deal creates, Johnson might have a bit of room to shake the dice once more and identify one or two faces to help us get over the line.

[UPDATE] Lee Johnson has snapped up two players today, Friday 6 March. Cardiff City’s teenage left-back Declan John and experienced Colchester United striker Jabo Ibehre, both on loan for the remainder of the season.

Threats


The atmosphere and noise at Oakwell has been muted of late. That's understandable. It's not necessarily a nervousness amongst supporters, it's been more like a communal apathy that swept in and like a bad case of flu, it's been bloody hard to shift. With six games on home soil, including the potential pivotal meeting against Keith Hill's Rochdale on the final day, it's important that the Ponty End is rocking and that all supporters generate the noise to lift performances on the pitch.

Results, even potential losses against relegation threatened clubs like Leyton Orient, Colchester or Notts County won't determine the outcome. You don't have to look too far back to remember how we won on the road at Charlton Athletic last season, only to realise that our survival was not resolved as a result of that ecstatic trip. We can afford to lose and still achieve our goals. It may be that defeat comes from the most unexpected places. But let's keep the faith. Let's not waiver.


Come on Barnsley fans. Do you think a play-off place is still a realistic proposition given our inconsistencies over the season? Or, maybe you think we've done enough already to consolidate our position and look forward to another tilt at League One next season? Wade into this discussion now, we would love to hear your views. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.

Last chance for adidas Originals years supply giveaway!

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Click here to enter. Terms and conditions apply.
Friday, 27 February 2015
The Wright Stuff

The Wright Stuff

"He has extensive knowledge of the players throughout the divisions, has done a lot of scouting, of course he's had a good career as well. He's a technically good coach. He's got that change of tempo in his voice in training sessions, he can demand that Scottish aggression if you like, that's on the verge of being over the top, but it demands that players raise the tempo"

- Lee Johnson heaps praise on his new assistant Tommy Wright, Oakwell, 25 February 2015




It was an introduction like no other. In just a few short sentences, Barnsley's new Head Coach provided his own personal insight on his friend and colleague. As a preface, many Reds supporters would be left drooling with excitement, whilst the current crop of players learned that there's more than one new face that they will have to please.

Career

Thomas Elliott (Tommy) Wright, also referred to jokingly as Tommy Johnson, by Barnsley's new head coach, was spotted by Leeds United's senior Scottish scout as a 16 year old, moving to Elland Road in 1982, breaking in to the senior squad alongside the likes of John Sheridan, Denis Irwin, Scott Sellars and Neil Aspin under manager Eddie Gray.

In a playing career that spanned 18 years, the goal scoring winger racked up 455 senior appearances, finding the net on 86 occasions, working under the likes of Joe Royle and David Pleat. It was a journey through a number of destinations including Oldham Athletic, Leicester City, Middlebrough, Bradford City, St. Johnstone and Livingstone, before retirement finally beckoned after a stint at Doncaster Rovers.

Wright was working with the Under 16s at the Latics in 2006 when his old Leeds United colleague John Sheridan asked him to step up as his assistant.

"I always said that if I went into management I would take him with me," Sheridan told the club website. "Tommy has a terrific record at bringing young players through this club and, like myself, is very excited about the future."

And when Sheridan joined Chesterfield in June 2009, it was to his trusty sidekick he turned once more to support him in mounting a promotion challenge. A success they achieved together in 2010/11 as Champions of League 2.

Wright had a brief spell as caretaker boss of the Spireites, before leaving in April 2013 and returning to Oldham as assistant manager, nearly five years after leaving the League One club.

“I knew Lee Johnson, as he played under us at Chesterfield on loan there. I saw him at a reserve game and we had a chat. A few days ago he asked if I would be interested. I was desperate to get back in on the coaching side, so I didn’t have any second thoughts.”

What makes him tick?

Naturally time will tell. However, we found an audio file on SoundCloud from just under two years ago. In this interview with the Chesterfield Post, Wright comes across as being refreshingly honest and a very likeable character. There's certainly no hint of a 'HillCroft' (Guardiola Complex) ego at work here.

It's certainly recommended listening for all those Oakwell Anoraks out there.


 

On a final note

Could Tommy Wright have inadvertently been singing the praises of Lee Johnson in return when he made the following remarks?

"I think, over the last four or five years, I've really studied, I've worked extremely hard - obviously you have to get your coaching badges - but in other ways such as watching DVDs and reading books. 

"The best coaches now are probably the best educated coaches, not necessarily the best as players in their careers but they are the best educated."


What do you think readers? Has the new duo on the block inspired your confidence in the future at our beloved Barnsley Football Club? We would love to hear your opinions. Get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
Are You Titan Bet's Ultimate Football Fan?

Are You Titan Bet's Ultimate Football Fan?

If you think you are the ultimate Barnsley fan then listen up because your dedication to the team could be rewarded with amazing prizes… Simply join Titan Bet’s ‘Ultimate Fan’ competition and upload a video, picture or text which shows your love for Barnsley FC.



The Rules:

The Titan Bet Ultimate Fan competition has been set-up to as a way for football lovers across the UK to show how much they know about their team. Utilising three forms of media - video, images and text - football fans must submit a short piece outlining their passion for anything related to their team.

Submissions are encouraged to be as entertaining, impassioned and engaging as possible. The theme for each video, image or text must be related to the entrant's football team, but the way in which they show their love is up to them. A marriage proposal wearing the team's shirt, a song dedicated to the manager or a poem outlining the club's qualities: anything entrants can think of to show their love is fair game.

To successfully enter the competition, ultimate fans need to complete the following process.


  • Join Titan Bet Sports and upload some text, an image or a video.
  • Take part in regular challenges to win additional prizes throughout the competition.
  • Check your progress and size up the competition through the Fan Zone on Titan Bet.


By completing the following steps, entrants will be fully entered in the prize draw and eligible for bundle of prizes worth thousands of pounds.

The Prizes:

Prizes for the Ultimate Fan Competition come in three main categories: technology, cash and football tickets. Depending on the challenges which entrants complete and where their submission ranks, the prizes they can claim will differ. However, for the ultimate fan, a top package with a value worth more than money itself awaits.

Tech Prizes: For the avid sports punter, Titan Bet is giving away a selection of GoPro cameras.

Cash Prizes: One of the best ways to show your love for a team is to bet on them. That is why Titan is giving away thousands of pounds in free wagers.

Football Tickets: For a selection of the top ranking fans, Titan Bet has put together the Ultimate Perks Package. In addition to receiving complimentary gift cards for their team's club shop, Ultimate Perks winners will be given VIP hospitality packages for a selection of matches. When each über fan arrives at the ground they love, most will be ushered down a red carpet of luxury before being wined and dined during the game.

The Ultimate Prize: So what do you get if you are the most passionate supporter in the land? If you can demonstrate that you are a football fanatic, Titan Bet will send you to three of the biggest matches in European football.

The Ultimate Finals Package comprises of tickets for two to three finals in Europe. From the UK's Wembley stadium to the leading venues in Berlin and Warsaw, fans will be treated to some of the best action inside some of Europe's finest grounds. Moreover, to ensure the ultimate fan gets to each game in style, Titan Bet is also providing travel and luxury accommodation for two at each event. So, the ultimate fan has the ultimate experience to remember.

If you're the ultimate fan then make sure you join the competition today.

The Small Print


To check out the full terms and conditions for this promotion, entrants are asked to visit TitanBet.co.uk. For ease of reference, the following conditions will apply throughout the competition.

  • Submissions will be accepted from February 8, 2015, until Sunday May 3, 2015.
  • Winners will be announced on Sunday May 10, 2015.
  • Applicants agree to give publishing rights to their submissions to Titan Bet.
  • All applicants must be aged 18-years-old or older.
  • Videos must be no larger than 1GB in size and last for 60-seconds max.
  • All submissions must be original and not contain any copyrighted material.
  • Foul or explicit submissions will not be accepted.
  • Titan Bet reserves the right to refuse any submission.
  • Prizes cannot be sold, transferred or reassigned.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
5 Reasons Why Lee Johnson Is The Perfect Choice For Barnsley

5 Reasons Why Lee Johnson Is The Perfect Choice For Barnsley

The cat is finally out of the bag. Following thirteen days since the departure of Danny Wilson, which included seemingly endless hours of  debate, speculation and rumours, Barnsley Football Club have identified their brand new 'Head Coach'.

On behalf of OnThePontyEnd, we extend a huge welcome Lee Johnson to Oakwell and wish him every success in his role at the Reds, in the immediate future and beyond.



Whilst every appointment is likely to stir a range of emotions an opinions amongst supporters, I am convinced that a brighter future awaits us under the stewardship of Johnson. The former Oldham Athletic Manager has developed an enviable reputation as one the games brightest young bosses - in just under two years at 'the other side of the big hill'.

He has been tested often. His successes have shone through.


Managerial Record


In 103 games in charge at Boundary Park, Johnson has won 36, drawn 32 and lost 35 proving a win percentage of 34.95%. His first game in charge was a 3–0 victory against Hartlepool United on 19 March, which lifted Oldham out of the relegation zone, before eventually guiding them to survival.


Recruitment


Following his short introduction to the hotseat at Boundary Park, a total of eighteen players were out of contract before the start of the 2013/14 season. Adding to this, financial constraints have been par for the course, at a time when investment has also gone in to the demolition of the old Broadway Stand to make way for their new North Stand.

Operating in this environment, Johnson has proven to be a shrewd operator. Often emulating some of the better qualities Keith Hill had in fixing broken toys and getting a bargain. There are many examples, but most Reds fans cannot fail to have seen the performances of Genséric Kusunga and George Elokobi in our recent encounters with OAFC.


Media Scrutiny


After the whole sorry 'Ched Evans' saga at Oldham Athletic, few people who could have exited this drama with any credit. Lee Johnson was one individual who did.

Against a back drop of threats against staff, sponsors threatening to pull their support and with the media remained camped outside Boundary Park, politicians also took a stance, including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. 70,000 people signed an online petition. It was a period of intense scrutiny, more than that experienced by some of highest profile Premier League Managers. Johnson calmly and respectfully took it in his stride.





Reputation


As one of the few gaffers in the football league with an active Twitter account, Lee Johnson will have to get used to the banter and direct feedback he will get from the Barnsley faithful. But it's also clear from this community how highly he is regarded.







Preparation


Whilst most players would take international breaks as a chance to enjoy relaxation on the beach, Johnson would travel across the continent, observing training sessions at some of Europe's top clubs.

Perhaps one of the most famous tales relates to his interview at Oldham (arranged for him by an admiring Kenny Dalglish), where an eager Johnson arrived armed with reports on the club's last three matches. All had been attended unannounced and undercover. This level of detail had obviously inflated his credentials with the Latics board and signalled the death knell to the hopes of other 'established' candidates.

Johnson is ready. No doubt he will have observed his new charges many times before. At Glanford Park, the planning for Saturday against Gillingham will have already been in motion. The new Reds boss will have done his homework.  While the mathematics still support a push for the play-offs, that will be the immediate goal.

As fans, let's get behind this appointment. In Lee Johnson we trust. We would love to hear your views. Get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.
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