It seems that with every managerial departure over the last few years, there has always been the question as to whether we should look back to Danny Wilson, the architect of ‘the glory years’. As a mere three year old during his last reign, my only memories of his last tenure in the Oakwell dugout stretch to seeing my Uncle and Cousin make the weekly pilgrimage to the stadium to see the names that appear only in legend or on Sky’s Premier League Years, today. Despite having not been old enough to fully live ‘the Wilson era’, I cannot help but be filled with a sense of nostalgia around the time. Danny returns to the club having amassed a vast experience since then, with a 40% win rate, and over a thousand games under his belt. In spite of a couple of relegations, I feel that it is difficult to question his pedigree, even now. But circumstances are somewhat different now to his first tenure, though not polar opposite.

Danny comes to the club at what seems like a time of desperation. Amidst the expectations built up from David Flitcroft’s ‘Great Escape’, the events of this campaign come as somewhat unprecedented, given that very much the same squad showed what bordered on promotion form last season. In a way, I feel that Mr Wilson has a greater task on his hands than the one that met David Flitcroft, as he is very much the man that was approached (in public at least), and ultimately appointed, with the weight of expectation on his shoulders, in contrast to a fan base that was almost resigned to the drop following rejection from messieurs O’Driscoll and Butcher. Where the squad had been re-united last season, they have become divided again, and in some cases have been spread around the country in one of the most bizarre loan clear outs that has ever been seen.

So what has Danny inherited exactly? In his press conference, he alluded to the fact that we had seemed like ‘nearly men’ this term, with games being won and lost on fine margins - which is a viewpoint I would tend to agree with. I feel that, within this squad, there are certainly players capable of helping us to retain our championship status, though in other cases our acquisitions might have been more astute. It goes without saying that at this point in time, the likes of Dale Jennings and Lewin Nyatanga seem like wasted signings, whilst some of the loan signings made, such as Fox and Tudgay, have failed to pull their weight. I would argue that the team is missing leadership, belief, as well as a spark of magic. These seem like simple demands, though with a budget our size, they are without a doubt difficult players to find. I feel that the answer doesn’t lie in specific players or suggested acquisitions, but more in the squad’s make-up. I feel it is essential we trim the fat, and without paying over the odds or beyond our means, look to a smaller, high quality squad, with space to bring through the youngsters.

It is without a doubt that a half season’s worth of starts for the likes of Digby, Noble Lazarus, et al might come at a stretch, however I am certainly of the opinion that they are more than capable of being used as substitutes to make an impact, or to fill in for their more experienced counterparts. This is something that I believe Danny will be keen to do, and indeed achieved in his first tenure at Oakwell, as well as in his most recent post at Bramall Lane. All that remains is then to create the right mix of youth with experience, loans with our own players, as well as the right balance within the team. Ben Mansford claimed that Danny will be backed in the transfer window, but has the perfect opportunity now, with the quantity of games in absence of a loan or transfer window, to assess the squad in detail and make the acquisitions he deems necessary to keep us in the division.

But is Danny the long term appointment that the fan base having been crying out for? The non-disclosure of the length of Wilson’s contract is certainly interesting and in contrast to what we have become accustomed to at Oakwell, but is nonetheless a wise move I feel. Former Chairman, John Dennis, referred to an expectation earlier on Tuesday that his contract will span until the end of the season, however I believe that, should we be relegated, Wilson will remain the man trusted to turn around our fortunes, particularly with his past play-off exploits. This would seem a realistic expectation, as both Mansford and Wilson referred to the fact that we will be looking towards ‘a different profile of player’, therefore it seems that Wilson is genuinely Mansford’s choice for the role, especially given the expectation that we might ‘push-on’ next year if we remain in the division. The only question I feel that could be raised as to the ‘permanence’ of the appointment is that of the retention of the backroom staff. Would a fully-backed Wilson have been given the opportunity to bring in his own men? You’d think so, though this might simply be a case of money rather than belief, particularly since Flitcroft is expectedly still on the club’s payroll (possibly along with his predecessor, Keith Hill). Though the situation is not ideal, I don’t feel that in our circumstances, and at this stage we can complain with a staff that we are told remain committed to the club, indeed Wilson himself seemed satisfied with the retention of Mellon in particular. Instead, Wilson’s budget will go on what will ultimately, regardless of who is at the helm and coaching them, keep us up - the team, rather than compensating the skeletons in our closet.

So what now for the club, and most importantly the fans? In the first instance, I would urge everyone to get behind Wilson, who I am sure was not everyone’s first choice. I would then urge them to get behind this group of players, who will no doubt still be in limbo as to their position, particularly in the New Year. Will we stay up? It will certainly be tough, but I feel that with a new man, with fresh ideas, and a different approach to the past couple of regimes, we at least have a fighting chance. Instilling belief from the get go on Saturday will be key in picking up a few results before the New Year, ahead of our new manager’s much anticipated activity in the transfer market in January. Whatever happens, it is vital that we rid ourselves of the sacking culture that has plagued us as a club for years. Should we be relegated, it is key we stick with Wilson to build this club in the way suggested in my earlier post about short termism - and I feel that he is indeed the man to do that.

For now then, I’ll take the early opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and hopefully a much happier New Year as far as the team is concerned. Please feel free to comment below or share your thoughts with me on Twitter: @MichaelRoach55. Also, look out for my programme notes in the Leeds programme this weekend, if you’re taking the trip to Elland Road.

Thanks for Reading.

The Reds succumb to Burnley at Turf Moor, conceding a single goal this afternoon to keep them rooted to the bottom of the Championship, whilst the Clarets climb to the top.

So will an autopsy ensue on Mellon's brief tenure after just two games at the helm? With two games played away against highly rated opposition, did a haul of three points from our travels signal a positive return or not? Whether the Barnsley board opt to stick to their interim strategy or implement an alternative permanent plan is their prerogative, but most supporters might hope that they lower their stance on remaining tight lipped about the situation sooner rather than later.

And just like the recent postponement of the 'Reds on Tour' activities across the borough, there's noise across forums and social networks that it's probably right that any talk of off-the-field commercial initiatives become temporarily silent too until we know what will be done to halt this relentless tailspin we're in on the oblong green stuff!

It's a big challenge for all concerned. Looking at the bookies' top five candidates to be the next Barnsley FC boss, Micky Mellon, Danny Wilson, Neil Redfearn, Michael Appleton and Chris Wilder, how do you assess the personal and technical qualities that will be needed of each potential applicant, giving proper consideration to the circumstances we find ourselves in?

For what it's worth, my view is that a candidate shouldn't be on the short-list for a mid-season managerial vacancy unless they possess a reasonable bank of games at the helm elsewhere. Using that yard-stick, I'm afraid that Redfearn and Appleton have to be eliminated straight away. Maybe if we were planning ahead, with ample time to build systems in pre-season and test these out in friendlies, I might be prepared to accept a different game plan.

Of the remaining three, whilst Chris Wilder boasts a managerial record 619 games in charge and a win ratio of nearly 45%, most of this experience has been gained at non-league level. Even our very own Micky Mellon impresses with 225 games and a win ration of nearly 52%. Which probably suggests I'm meandering up a rather biased garden path that leads to Danny Wilson's 948 games, with nearly 41% of them won as being the gold-standard. I'm not. But its a start.

There's just 27 games remaining and only 14 of those fixtures take place at Oakwell. Whilst nobody can guarantee anything, by my reckoning if 41% of those games could be won anywhere, it would give us a precious 33 points. Also, with somebody of the calibre of Danny Wilson who has drawn 27% of games over his career, if that could be replicated and maintained we would have a further 7 points in the bag too.

So here we sit. Bottom of the Championship on 14 points. Potentially with options (mathematically at least) to shake the dice again and take a gamble - with bit of science thrown in too. It's over to you Mr Mansford, you do the sums.

Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on the tactics needed now? Whatever the outcome, do you believe as I do that Micky Mellon remains an important asset to the club and if the board decide to seek an external candidate would be a vital resource in any new regime? We would love to hear your comments below, or get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Let me start by saying it’s never nice to hear somebody has lost their job; especially a man who I feel represents many of the values this town is proud of. After the heroics of last season, most of the Oakwell faithful were behind the man who achieved what had seemed the impossible at the time of his appointment. So what went wrong?

The second half of last season was characterised by a side that would run their blood to water, would press for 90 minutes, and would bomb forward without fear. Everyone was given a chance, players were happy to make an impact from the bench, and most of all they were enjoying their football. I would argue that the mistakes were made mostly before we’d kicked a ball in preseason training. The likes of Marlon Harewood and Stephen Foster, who were seemingly pivotal in the dressing room and great with the fans, were released, whilst the likes of Jim McNulty and Tomasz Cywka, who the manager refused to play this season, were allowed to stay.

The signings of Jennings and Nyatanga, as well as the retention of O’Grady looked to be the makings of a squad that were going to push on to mid-table - especially when added to the players who had achieved the unthinkable. Since then, Jennings has gone out on loan, and Nyatanga has fallen off the face of the earth.

We can look at specific failings, such as Mellis being pushed out to the wing, Digby and Noble-Lazarus being promised 30-40 games only to disappear or be loaned out, or the general abandonment of everything that characterised our success last season; but the only feeling I have is that of genuine disappointment. I felt that Flitcroft had brought the good times back to Oakwell, was a breath of fresh air, and was the man to back for a five year period to try and build something great. But unfortunately for one reason or another, he couldn’t fulfil his promises.

So where do we go from here? Well firstly I’d urge everyone to have a look at my article on Short-Termism. The fans, the board and the players need to lay down the foundations for what will be Barnsley Football Club for the next five years, and stick to that plan. Let’s implement a style of football and have a genuine go at bringing through the best products of our academy; players with a genuine pride for this town and this team. If that takes us down, then what will be, will be. Of course there are no guarantees these youngsters could bring us back up, but whatever level we play at, we’ll find a team that will bust a gut for these fans, and want to play.

But what do we do in the short term? Firstly come the managerial appointment. Sky’s early favourites for the job don’t inspire me at all, and I must admit I can’t think of any obvious replacement other than perhaps Steve Evans from Rotherham - he has an eye for a player and is very demanding of his players. Whether he’d come to Oakwell is a different matter, but the Barnsley board need to learn from last season’s Butcher-O’Driscoll-fiasco, and appoint a manager ASAP.

All I ask then is that the new manager gives everyone a chance, and puts his own stamp on the squad. We will never be able to break the bank, however at this moment in time I believe there is much to be said for heavily streamlining the squad, and looking for the best bang we can get for our buck.

I’ll finish by wishing the best of luck for the future to David Flitcroft, and whoever else might leave Oakwell over the coming few moments. Thanks for some great memories and some of the most enjoyment I’ve ever had attending football matches. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and become your own man. You typified what I call ‘typical’ Barnsley values last season, and deserved success this season, but it wasn’t to be.

We’re all guilty of wanting things yesterday, it seems like a natural part of life, and when it comes to the Football Club, we can all be guilty of calling a player, only for him to go on a run of form, or criticise the manager, only for him to pull us out of the mire; but is short-termism killing our club?

Let’s be straight. Barnsley Football Club do not have the budget to challenge for promotion to the Premier League tomorrow, and, as I would argue, even if we did, we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in that one basket. As we all know, we in fact have a budget that wouldn’t even put us among the big hitters in League 1 - so what should our expectations of our supporters be exactly? Every season, at least in Don Rowing’s era, we were told that Barnsley is lucky to even be in the league, a view that many a level headed fan (or someone who considers themselves as such) supports. However, should we allow our budget to limit our expectations and make the supporters set out expecting failure?

The obvious answer to such a question is no, however every season since our promotion to the Championship, we have tried different formulae, different staff, and have thus far produced results with little variation year upon year. Cup runs and star players aside - the Championship period since 2006 has been much of the same year upon year for BFC.

As a marketing proposition, I can’t say I particularly envy Ben Mansford in the task of making the club more marketable and appealing to bigger crowds. That said, Mr Mansford certainly has a vision for the future of the football club, with the ‘Be Proud Be Barnsley’ logo rebrand campaign well underway as part of a long term plan to increase crowds by 8000 in order to end the vicious cycle where without supporters we have no money and no great team; but without no great team we have no supporters, and therefore no money.

It is clear that however much we complain about the quality (or lack of) of the manager and players, chopping and changing has had little or no effect on our results in the period since returning to the Championship. Mark Robins mustered the best league positions in the period, but did so under conditions that would have killed the club financially in the long term. The idea that chopping and changing has little effect in the longer term isn’t unique to BFC, and it’s something that’s explored in Anderson and Sally’s ‘The Numbers Game’, which looks deeper behind the stats in football. Stats have their value, sometimes they can go towards confirming what you already (thought you) knew, but sometimes they can be overused; with conclusions that aren’t necessarily true drawn from them.

Whatever your opinion on the use of stats however, it is clear that our short-termist strategy is bearing less and less fruit as the years go by, with average results and performances seeming to deteriorate year on year, but for the little runs that ensure our championship survival at the end of each campaign. It is almost unanimously agreed that Barnsley cannot continue with the same strategy if it is to remain in the Championship, with the financial and quality-of-player gap continuing to increase. It is for this reason that I urge the hierarchy at Oakwell (fans included) to look to the future and embrace a change in culture.

Barnsley FC needs to create a brand for itself - and by that I don’t mean a logo, a motto or whatever else you can think of in a marketing sense. What I am saying is that the football should speak for itself, we as fans, together with the board and management should buy into a philosophy - but what would it be?

Born and bred - in recent years our academy has seen somewhat a revival in producing the likes of Jacob Butterfield and John Stones who have since moved on, as well as the likes of Danny Rose, Jordan Clark, Paul Digby, and Reuben Noble-Lazarus who are yet to get a sustained run in the team. Many will labour at the point that when a player comes into poor form we should ‘throw these lads in’, but are we willing to change our behaviour in order to make this work? Will we actually give them a chance, or condemn them as being ‘rubbish’ and boo for making the most minor of mistakes? Do we accept that if we are to give these players the playing time they need, they could make errors that cost us games - and will we stick by them?

Playing style - the great and memorable teams play with a distinct and memorable style, be that tiki-taka or not. Plan B aside, are we prepared, as fans to agree upon a style of football to be played, and stick by it through thick and thin? Swansea fans are receiving great dividends for investing in a style of football over a long period of time - which the chairman has insisted stick even if the manager should change - should we demand as a set of fans a certain style of football, and TURN DOWN managers who won’t agree to play it?

Squad size - do we demand marquee signings year upon year at the expense of a larger squad to fall back on when injured? Do we use loanees to plug the gaps or give the youth a chance? Do we opt for mercenaries and change the team every year, or try and develop players in the hope that it will come good in the long term?

Budgeting - do we build a ground, or an expensive squad?

Time scale - where do we want to be and when? what sacrifices will we make to be there?

The questions I’ve just posed are naturally what you’d expect to be questions that the likes of Ben Mansford should answer to, but I believe we as fans have a responsibility to answer those questions for ourselves, and buy into something for the long term. Each of the alternatives that are given can reap huge rewards, but they can ultimately be extremely costly.

A combination of administration, which led to a lack of quality playing staff left Southampton in the mire, but they have since resurged with a strong English backbone and the results are clear for all to see. Swansea nearly dropped out of the football league, but a long term philosophy has brought them European football. I guess the overarching question is, what are we prepared to sacrifice in order to make it work at this football club?

Many will argue that we cannot at any price, lose our league status - but if it meant we had given a young squad, full of potential, some vital championship experience - what is to say we couldn’t come back stronger? That said, we may never return to this division, which, as the club who have played the most seasons in it, would be a real shame and a tough pill to swallow.

I guess I talk as a desperate fan who wants to see some ‘good times’ come back to Oakwell again. I had desperately hoped that last season’s exploits would translate into something even more special this season, but I think that we can all agree that it has been nothing short of lacklustre.

So I ask you, the Barnsley faithful - do we look to the long term, adopt a philosophy and give it at least 5 or 10 years, or do we continue trying to make ends meet and hope for a miracle? Comment below or tweet me @MichaelRoach55 - thanks for reading!

As is natural in such a results driven business, there comes a point in a manager’s season when you begin to wonder how long they might remain in their club’s dugout. And it’s safe to say that as far as many Barnsley fans are concerned, this point might well have arrived. 11 games in, and with just one win, the Reds are certainly not having the season that fans predicted at the beginning of the year, with many expecting David Flitcroft’s men to be sitting comfortably in mid table.

A combination of some unlucky results, injuries to some key players, as well as others not finding their feet this season, are where many fans will place the blame, whilst others will claim that the buck stops with the manager. Regardless of whether or not the manager is directly to blame, many fans will recognise that the next two games will be crucial in deciding who will manage the football club for the rest of the season, with 12 games marking the quarter mark of the season, and a point where many clubs evaluate their manager’s future.

The next two home games then, provide the perfect opportunity for the Reds to get their season back on track, with Saturday’s tie against Middlesbrough kicking proceedings off following a much-needed international break, followed by a crucial South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend.

Both teams sit in the bottom half of the table, with Wednesday joining Barnsley in the relegation zone, ahead by one point, having played a game more, and Middlesbrough lying in 16th, 7 points ahead of the Reds. Both games, as are any games in the Championship, are very winnable, but crucial if the Reds are finally to kickstart their season. By next weekend, Barnsley could well be out of the relegation zone, however the term ‘relegation six pointer’ springs to mind when thinking ahead to the Wednesday game, who’s boss Dave Jones is also under fire.

What perhaps is the most baffling aspect of this season, is that Barnsley have shown just what they are capable of in terms of performances under Flitcroft when achieving the great escape, yet have been incapable of replicating them, despite what is arguably a stronger squad on paper.

However the balance of the squad has come into question on a number of occasions, with calls to give Dale Jennings a chance on the left wing seemingly unanswered, whilst out-of-form Jacob Mellis is persisted with, despite being noticeably out of position. Performances of the whole team have improved over the last few games, despite not getting the results to match, which many fans have attributed to the arrival of Ronnie Glavin’s second coming, Paddy McCourt.

If the Reds are to get back to the form they produced to achieve ‘the great escape’, then they must also return to the winning formula that allowed them to go on such a great run. With a hard-working, no-nonsense attacking and pressing game, the Reds were capable of making some of the division’s top sides look extremely ordinary - yet it appears that Flitcroft has overcooked the formula and tried to continue his predecessor Keith Hill’s slow build up play, having had less weight on his shoulders at the start of the season. By sticking to what worked previously, demanding performances from players, and setting the stall out to win each match with nothing to lost, Barnsley produced some of their best performances since returning to the Championship. If that style was replicated over the season, I feel that Barnsley could yet be a surprise package this season. However, if Flitcroft persists with the system he has used so far this season, the Wednesday game may well be his last.

Don’t forget you can follow me @MichaelRoach55 on Twitter as well as @OnThePontyEnd. Please comment below with your thoughts on these next two games and what remains of this season. Thanks for reading!
It’s an age old expression that floods the media at the start of the season. The perennial strugglers, often faced with tough starts against the teams expected to be in the mix at the end of the season, are always told that ‘their season starts here’ come the arrival of a winnable fixture.

And Barnsley fans, full of optimism, might have expected a much stronger start to the season after last season’s thrilling climax. However defeats to Wigan, Blackpool and Blackburn, and a draw to Charlton in the League were not the start Barnsley had hoped for, with the Reds’ Capital One Cup campaign no sign for optimism either, having drawn to recently relegated Scunthorpe, and being thrashed 5-1 by Southampton.

With a defence leaking goals left, right, and centre, and a mis-firing strike force, early optimism was soon quashed, and many fans believed that this was the start of another long, hard season in the Championship.

But the saying ‘the season starts here’ might hold true more than ever after Saturday’s game, and recent dealings at Oakwell.

Scott Golbourne

Dubbed by David Flitcroft as one of the best left-wing-backs in the Championship, Scott’s campaign was cut short by injury last season, after a flurry of impressive performances in a 3-5-2 formation which might have seen him win the Player of the Season award, minus his injury last year.

However, his return to the side this season has been met with mixed reviews, and needless to say the defender struggled to find the form which made him a fans’ favourite in the previous campaign.

Wolves’ bid two weeks prior to his eventual departure might have been the reason for a lack of form heading into the campaign, and therefore, with a year left on his contract, it seems that the Reds’ new hierarchy deemed the best option to be to sell the player to Wolves, earning a rumoured £700k in the process.

Scott’s departure was compared by many to the alleged offers received last season for Matt Done and Jim McNulty, mooted to be around 500k - with Matt Done leaving Oakwell last season on a free to join up with Keith Hill again at Rochdale, whilst former Captain McNulty has fallen well down the pecking order at Oakwell, despite signing a 1 year deal recently.

Scott is not without replacement however, with youngster Reuben Noble-Lazarus taking his place on Saturday and putting in an impressive performance, and Tom Kennedy also providing an option down the left side.

The Reds were however rejected in a move for Leeds full-back Aidan White, who might have been seen as a natural replacement for Golbourne, therefore David Flitcroft may opt to do some business in the loan market, or stick with Noble-Lazarus following his impressive display.

Squad Harmony

Needless to say, the squad appeared much more harmonious on Saturday, which may have been down to a mixture of Golbourne’s departure and Mellis’ exclusion, who has also struggled to find form this season amid rumours of an exit to newly-promoted Crystal Palace.

The midfield trio of Etuhu, Perkins and Dawson appeared to work well, with Dawson taking the Captain’s armband for the fixture. Mellis did gain an appearance from the bench, and appeared brighter in his brief stint in the game. Now that the transfer window has slammed shut, Mellis will be able to get his head down and find the form that attracted Premier League interest in the first place.

Late Transfer Dealings

Another departure that Flitcroft must have deemed an improvement to the squad was that of goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, who has just joined Charlton after having his contract terminated by the Reds. After losing his place to Luke Steele at the start of last season, Ben has at times struggled to make the bench, and has had limited outings in pre-season.

At one time it looked like Alnwick might have been the man to to replace Steele, should he have rejected his contract, but it appears that the Reds were keen to get the goalkeeper off the wage bill, having recently swooped for veteran Mike Pollitt from Wigan Athletic, who has replaced Steele in net for the past 2 games.

Despite doubts over his age and conceding 5 goals in his debut against Southampton, Pollitt impressed against Huddersfield, only conceding following a mistake from Jean Yves M’voto that allowed James Vaughan to pop-up in the box and slot past the Barnsley goalkeeper. Pollitt’s arrival has been seen as a relief by Luke Steele, and his control on crosses and experience in organising a defence certainly helped in defending against Huddersfield’s late onslaught.

Barnsley added further experience to the defence on deadline-day with the capture of Peter Ramage from Crystal Palace on a season-long-loan deal. The 29 year-old has plenty of experience in the Premiership and Championship with Newcastle and QPR, and will add plenty of steel to the defence in place of absentees Lewin Nyatanga and Martin Cranie.

The Season Starts Here

The Huddersfield game put right a lot of wrongs and provided a good platform for the team to build on this season. The defence looked solid, particularly in the latter stages when phased with an all-out attack from Huddersfield, and our strikers finally found their feet.

Pedersen and O’Grady combined well, and the Norwegian looked like a genuine striker, with composure on the ball and the confidence to shoot on sight of the goal.

With Cranie and Nyatanga expected to return from injury, and a few players set to finally find their feet, Barnsley fans can be much more optimistic looking ahead.

Though the first few results were a shock to the system, I don't think that they will set the tone for another season of doom and gloom. However, I do think they provided a slight reality check for those expecting us to romp the league.

Where will we finish? I’d predict around the 16th place mark, with a couple of outstanding results along the way and a platform to build on for the next season. People will claim that we've been waiting for a platform for too long and have languished in the bottom half for too long now. However, our new management team at both board and pitch level need time to adjust to the Championship.

Barnsley needs a culture change and this will take more than one season. We've already seen transfer dealings handled in a much more professional way and I expect this to continue under Ben Mansford. As Barnsley Football Club finally adapts to the business demands of the Championship, I expect that if the fans engage with the club and vice versa, it could become a powerhouse in the division as financial fair play bites, and the mighty begin to fall.
There can be little doubt about it, but in the first few games this season Barnsley FC have certainly lacked that killer instinct in front of goal. So is it any surprise that Flicker has now turned his attention to a Viking in the hope that he will maraud his way into the opposition's box, get the goals and pillage the points to bring some momentum to our season?

At just 23 years of age, there may be fans amongst us who will question whether Marcus Pedersen has the pedigree or experience to have a successful crack at the English Championship. Others may doubt that he can comfortably carry the weight of expectation that will rest on his shoulders when goals will be demanded, not patient development. Looking at a CV that includes the likes of HamKam, Strømsgodset, Vitesse and recent loans to Vålerenga and Odense, ask the man on the street how the Scandanavian leagues compare to the Football League and their response might tally to having equal substance to a mid-table League One, but in reality is that really the case?

In his defence, he has already picked up international caps for Norway at every level of his development, including two senior caps. He can count on tournament with Norway in the recent Under 21 European Championships, which included an appearance in the 3-1 elimination of England.

It's often the case that some supporters will jump to their conclusions before Pedersen steps over the white line to represent the Super Reds. However, I'm going to be the optimist and leave you with this thought for the day. It took Alan Shearer 118 games to pick up his first English cap, having scored 23 senior goals. Maybe he wasn't the finest striker to grace the game, but he would have been a god at Oakwell. Pederson has bagged 32 senior goals in just 91 games by comparison and has two full caps.


Can a Viking save our season? Please reply in the comments to share your views or provide feedback to us on any other area. Contact @OnThePontyEnd on Twitter or follow us on Facebook.
It's the start of a brand new campaign for the Super Reds and to celebrate Barnsley Football Club's unrivalled 73rd season in English football's second tier, On The Ponty End has formally unveiled a crisp new look for our 2013/14 journey.

Dedicated to Barnsley FC fans online and around the world, we will aim to bring you lots of opinions, mixed with a match report or two from the people who really care about what they're watching.

As always, we welcome guest posts from home and away fanatics and always have room for new writers who could contribute regularly to the site too. Get in touch.

With plans to make this season more interactive than ever, we want to re-launch the Podcast (with a difference) in September 2013. The format isn't cast in stone at this stage, so if you would like to recommend any one-off or any regular features, we would love to hear your ideas. Drop us a line regarding anything that you think would work in a live environment especially.

So, that leaves us with one more thing to add. Our very best wishes go to David (Saviour) Flitcroft, the players and staff for this highly anticipated season. You did this town proud last season. Let's keep the momentum going and really shake this league up.

Come on you Reds!

What do you think to the new look site? Please reply in the comments to share your views or to feedback to us on any other area. Contact @OnThePontyEnd on Twitter or follow us on Facebook.

On The Ponty End has joined forces with Fantasy Football League, the official fantasy game of the Sky Bet Championship, to give you the chance to build your ultimate team, win some money-can't-buy prizes, including exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of your favourite Sky Bet Championship club and the chance to meet your team's players and manager.

Just for fun, take on other community fans in our very own Private League.

Spend your imaginary transfer treasure chest on some of the best footballers in the country and score points for the goals they score every week. Plus, go head-to-head with your friends and rivals to prove you know the most about the beautiful game.

Enter Your Team into On The Ponty End's Private League
  • First register at Fantasy Football League and pick your squad.
  • Click "Private Leagues", scroll down to "Joining Private Leagues"
  • Enter Pin Number 3797249 in to the box below and hit 'Find League'. If you are sure you have the right league, you must then click 'Join This League' to apply.
  • Once the League Chairman has accepted you in to the league, you will be able to view your table by clicking on the relevant Private League name on your team screen.
Please note: There are no formal prizes offered directly via On The Ponty End, this is operated just for fun. Regular updates will appear on this site throughout the season.
This summer, keep up to date with the latest Barnsley FC tittle-tattle with On The Ponty End's round-up of the current gossip taking place on Twitter.

Have you heard any speculation at all regarding player ins and outs at Oakwell?

We want to hear about rumours you've seen on other websites, the blather you got whilst travelling in a taxi, the story that came from a well connected source, the prattle everybody seemed to be on about in your local pub. If it concerns loan deals or even reports linking new owners with the Reds, don't hold back.

Simply post your status updates on Twitter, including the hashtag #BFCRumourMill, and these will automatically be picked up and displayed in our dedicated real-time search.

Take a look at the latest updates now.
The events of the Huddersfield game will naturally go down in Reds’ folklore and stay in the minds of Barnsley fans for years to come thanks to the achievement of what seemed a mammoth task at Christmas. Flitcroft and the players produced unprecedented promotion form, whilst uniting a fan base and a dressing room. However the hard work has just begun, and if the Reds are to build, and learn from this year, the board needs to make simple but effective changes, whilst creating a long term plan for this club. 

It is well known that Patrick Cryne intends to sell the club, however the board needs to continue to plan as if they’ll be here for the next five or ten years. Be it through financial crisis or not, the club has lost numerous fans and struggled to adapt to their consumers’ new climate - seeing some of the lowest attendances this season since returning to the Championship. Games that once had 20,000 spectators now have 15,000, and regular matchday crowds which used to push 11,000 sometimes fail to push 9000. As the board, being experienced businessmen have stated, a price drop simply isn’t the answer, and it is a risk the club are not willing to take - though when the club did answer the calls in January, spectator numbers barely increased.

Naturally, in the uncertainty surrounding the close to this season, prices for next season’s season ticket were released late, however the board have once again failed to try something innovative, and market it to death. Hartepool United for example have sold out season tickets due to deposit guarantee schemes, which is perhaps tricky to implement, but something that would have been opportunity for the board to do something positive in the community. Barnsley FC naturally doesn’t have a huge marketing budget ton encapsulate this community, however the steps it could take don’t need to break the bank - they just require a change of tact.

David Flitcroft, in his four months in charge united the fans in a manner that is unheard of in modern times (other than perhaps in the case of the departing Sir Alex) - with ninety-nine, if not one hundred percent of the fans behind him. His inspirational team talks and team huddles have become YouTube hits - showing that his values and messages can truly resonate within football fans. Flitcroft  along with the team that performed this season’s heroics should take to the town for a day and truly try to re-align with the community that the football club represents. Abandon Facebook and Twitter - for the day, and sing the club’s praises from the rooftops. 

It might be argued that if the club are to progress though, and if any of the measures suggested should be heard, or should have been heard by the board, then the fans need to answer the club’s rallying call. It’s essentially about balance, the club needs to offer a financial package that appeals to fans, and wash away it’s “£30 a game” stigma that has grown attached to it by spreading it’s message beyond social networks and trying something new to bring in the punters. Flitcroft, Mellon and Scott’s team have largely spoke for themselves this season, and that’s a trick the club really ought not to miss. If the club awarded the fans with an accessible price on match days or for the season, then the fans would need to get off the club’s back and support it on to bigger and better things next season.

Barnsley will never be the richest club in the Championship, but now is the prime opportunity for the club to build a positive image around David Flitcroft’s work. Fans need to hear positivity from the club, as does the club from the fans. Now is the time to let past events be forgotten, and build next season as if it were our first in this league. Barnsley supporters are realistic; they know that the finances needed to progress in this league are beyond what the current budget can produce - however if the club becomes pro-active in promoting itself to the fan base, and aims higher, then this can help to maintain the buzz created around Oakwell in remaining in the division and hopefully generate the extra income needed to create a situation where 21st place isn’t ‘lucky’ or an achievement ‘beyond belief’. It is possible to become a force in the Championship, but as this season has shown, this comes from adapting to the supporters rather than trying to adapt too highly to the division. Barnsley fans want a total product experience which is perceivably good value for money - decent ales, decent atmosphere and decent food at a decent price. All are achievable by extending ‘Flitcroft’s Barnsley Brand’ to the people by creating real value for money rather than just following other championship clubs’ trends. Naturally there is risk in reviewing prices, food and bar experiences, but a value for money and creative Barnsley Brand experience at a football match, as opposed to mass produced commercialised football could rejuvenate this club in the same way that local and craft ales have rejuvenated local pubs. 

I believe that this club could have gone, and could still go in part from to strength to strength by taking steps towards the fan base this summer, which will unite the fans and club like never before, both on the pitch by developing the academy and a side of hard-working players, and off the pitch by creating a good old fashioned Yorkshire match day atmosphere. By no means is this a simple task, but one that could bring the supporters back to Oakwell, and spur the team on to become a continued force in the Championship, with the occasional play-off push - in other words, no more great escapes! I just fear that the season ticket prices announced look set to undermine Flitcroft’s hard work.

This has been my first post for a while due to various commitments, so please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and by tweeting myself @MichaelRoach55 and @OnThePontyEnd on Twitter - hopefully I'll be able to contribute more next season!

What a weekend. Have we ever experienced such feelings of joy and relief together, amongst a tide of abounding emotions, at extremities like that before? Will we ever again? Did you cry?

The Championship roller-coaster that was 2012/13 has slammed on its brakes and Barnsley can celebrate that we're still on the passenger list for next season. As the dust begins to settle during the summer, maybe I'll be able to get my head around the season properly and reflect on the journey we had in more detail. Right now, I remain utterly amazed.

Before the season began, we were already everybody's strugglers, in the perennial prediction game that had Barnsley set for relegation certainties, often from the same people who had Wolves and Bolton down for an instant return to the Premiership. It's a funny old game!

We were reminded constantly by Mr Hill that our expectations to differ and remain in the 2nd tier were highly unrealistic and built his relationship with supporters on that basis from very early on in his tenure. A change at the top was protracted. By late November the writing was on the wall.

In the end, the decision was made on 29th December, leaving Flicker in temporary charge whilst the board started the search for the club's 10th manager since Dave Bassett led us to the Championship play-off final in 2000.

Talk about jumping from the frying pan and in to the fire then! The utter indignation I felt as our progress (or lack of it) was aired in public, with candidates publishing entire press releases explaining their reasons for rejecting Barnsley's advances. Including League 1 bound Bristol City Manager, Sean O'Driscoll and ex-England Captain, Terry Butcher.

Certainly by accident, rather than by design, Flicker stood up to the challenge, took control of the situation, waded in to and resolved a significant amount of negativity that was being felt, picked us up and carried the whole club forward - to fight on.

Table from Barnsley FC Fixtures with David Flitcroft in charge 2012/13
Table generated from fixtures played 1st January (Peterborough 2 - 1 Barnsley)
through to Saturday 4th May (Huddersfield Town 2 - 2 Barnsley)

What he has achieved in just 21 league games (which include the fixtures he was in temporary charge) is nothing less than miraculous. If you then include the FA Cup run he masterminded, surely you have to consider him already as deserving legendary status at our beloved club. Would anyone disagree?

Speculation will be rife. Could the achievements of this team act as a catalyst for much bigger changes ahead? Will the club court interest from new owners, keen to be involved in Championship football now our status is fully confirmed? Will Flicker get the opportunity to roll-out a blueprint for long term success at Barnsley Football Club, which includes player development at its core?

In just 4 short months, David Flitcroft has transformed opinions and built a new stature for Barnsley FC in the football world. What could be achieved in four years?

Thanks for visiting and reading this latest blog entry. It's been a whirlwind of a season, it would be great to hear about some of your experiences and hopes for the Reds next season, please comment below. Join the debate on Twitter by following @OnThePontyEnd.

Two Premier League chairmen, Reading's John Madejski and Wigan's Dave Whelan, have called for the former prime minister's death to be commemorated this weekend.

Speaking to the press Whelan has called for the FA to arrange a tribute before his own club's FA Cup semi-final against Millwall at Wembley on Saturday, saying: 'We owe Mrs Thatcher a minute's silence.

'It is not my decision, it is for the FA to decide, but I would be in favour of wearing an armband out of respect to Mrs Thatcher. We have to say thank you very much for the services the former PM has given us.

'Mrs Thatcher was a very, very special lady and a very special Prime Minister. After Winston Churchill, we have probably had two or three really good PMs and she was definitely one of those.'

Reading chairman Madejski said: 'We have got to appreciate that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader who did so much for this country. She deserves a minute's silence.'

I was going to be very careful on this issue and keep my own counsel, especially as I would not wish to offend, but overall the sentiment being expressed makes me very unhappy. Not least because it would lead to the creation of a very dangerous precedent.

To illustrate my point, let me make a comparison. Wheras one political leader helped build the NHS, achieved full employment, built 1 million new homes and built 1,000 new schools - which employed 25,000 new teachers, the other created record levels of unemployment, halved the capacity of British manufacturing,  closed hospitals and schools, whilst also taking the milk out of school childrens mouths.

There was no minutes silence or a grand funeral with military pomp for Clement Atlee.  I will leave it up to you to fathom which of the previous descriptions describe his political legacy.

For goodness sake, if Oakwell and Barnsley FC supporters are expected to remain silent and show their respect to the former Prime Minister - it could never happen. That would be perceived as the authorities inciting the fans to riot.

In another universe, that would be about as ridiculous as football fans collectively singing "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead", between the 84th - 85th minute of play, in honour of those who struggled throughout the miner's strike.

Come on, what would be the chances of that happening?

Reds fans. Do you think there should be any formal events in football for the deaths of political leaders? How should sport in general respond to events like this in your opinion? Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below, or join the debate on Twitter by following @OnThePontyEnd.
The Reds have departed Selhurst Park with a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere, Wednesday pile more misery on a hapless Blackburn Rovers. Peterborough continue to be resolute in their efforts to remain in the Championship with an 86th minute equaliser at the John Smith's Stadium to draw 2-2 with our relegation rivals Huddersfield Town. Bristol City remain rooted to the base of the pile, losing 3-1 in a ruthless display by the Clarets of Burnley.

So the sun has been shining in both a figurative way and in a literal sense on our wonderful town this weekend and I'm convinced that Barnsley FC are staying up!!

Custom Championship table created on www.statto.com
based on all league fixtures played since January 1st 2013 - April 6th 2013.

So please forgive me if you think my approach to this post is a little bit lazy. Since the turn of the year and Flicker's move in to the hot seat, perhaps we've all had a feeling that Barnsley have competed (most of the time) with "the best" the division has to offer. I had an overwhelming desire to see it actually spelled out. And here's the cast-iron evidence I unearthed that unequivocally backs it up.

Take a closer look at the custom built table above and you can see that it reveals much more about this closing phase of the 2012/13 Championship season.

For instance, the recent form of another Yorkshire rival has now clearly set them in a relegation battle. What a difference a month makes and in the case of Leeds United, they've gone from play-off hopefuls to something that resembles a passenger liner that's been struck by an iceberg. The passengers probably believe it's unsinkable, but Captain Colin has already jumped ship. Even our legend Redders has placed on record that he doesn't want the job permanently. Something is seriously wrong there and the trap door to League One could be looming for the Mighty Whites!

Could Bolton Wanderers turn out to be this season's equivalent of the likes of the Blackpools, Burnleys and Readings of recent seasons? Second place is definitely out of the question, with Hull City 14 points ahead with just 5 games left to play, but they could burst in to the end of the season lottery and form would have to make them hot favourites.

And get a load of the Super Reds! It's unquestionably promotion form they've been achieving and if they can keep it going for the remainder of the closing games, the Oakwell outfit could exit the campaign on a total of 59 points and in to the delirium of mid-table obscurity in any final table. Our form this year provides an attractive platform for players at this level. Flicker certainly has the coaching methods and resources to make things tick in the Championship - I don't think this is any fluke!

Please Don Rowing et al, get this situation sorted out soon or don't be surprised to see Mowbray heading out of the Riverside door to be replaced by one of English football's brightest young managerial prospects!

Nothing is certain for sure and complacency is our biggest threat, but from no hopers to big dreamers we've had a miraculous journey this season. The Reds are staying up!!

Barnsley fans: Have the Reds' got enough in the tank to see us safely home? Are there any shocks or other facts this table brings to light that you want to share? Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below, or join the debate on Twitter by following @OnThePontyEnd.

Sat on the coach at the Etihad, waiting for our cue to leave and it feels like the whole football world has conspired against Barnsley today.

Other clubs have bagged precious Championship points at the expense of our brief taste of Arabian soccer hospitality.

Those regular readers know that I rarely provide match reports and that remains the case today. Flitcroft's boys did very little to excite or make anything about this game memorable for the right reasons.

What will remain with me is having the opportunity to witness in person the stunning corporate takeover that's occurred at the very top of our national game. The whole distortion of the game in this respect is frightening.

The Pharoahs had the common man build his pyramids, to then have them gasp in wonder at the greatness of his achievement. City have their Sheikh!

We'll carry on our fight in the English Championship. Defeated, but not down!
Are you one of the 6,000 supporters travelling to the Etihad this weekend? Do you think that the Reds can pull-off another unexpected victory on the road in the FA Cup?

Deciding to take the "inside-track" to understand what this fixture really means to Manchester City supporters and to discover if Barnsley FC have registered [even as a small blip] on their radar. I spoke to Robert Pollard – Editor and Writer at the Manchester City Blog - Typical City.

Robert got his first season ticket at City in 1994 when, as a young lad at Maine Road, he was dazzled by the skills of Beagrie, Quinn, Rosler and Walsh. The grip the club has had over him has continued ever since. He is a freelance music, sport and politics writer.

Barnsley advanced into the next stages of FA Cup after picking up a massive victory over their opponents MK Dons on Saturday.

The Reds didn't take long to showcase their strong intention in advancing into the next stage as they  took the lead after just three minutes of play with a fine finish from Chris Dagnall. Then just before the 20 minutes mark, Barnsley struck again with another fine effort, this time from Marlon Harewood with an excellent low shot from inside the area, providing a comfortable lead going into the break.

MK Dons were not planning to give up easily as they tried to make their comeback in the second half and after an hour, things seems to be turning into the home team's favor when Dean Bowdicth broke through into Barnsley's penalty are before netting home with a nice finish. However, the victory was secured as Dagnall scored his second in the game.

A winning combination: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Flicker getting technical: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Jacob Mellis fouled: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Wiseman and Harewood: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Scott Golbourne in action: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro
Following a magnificent victory at Stadium MK on Saturday 16 February, in the FA Cup fifth round and todays draw for the quarter finals, Flicker's Red Army must be drooling at the prospect of now facing English Premier League champions, Manchester City, at the Etihad Stadium.

Whether you travelled for two hours and a bit (each way) to watch yesterday's triumph or managed to harness one of the live streams on the internet, Barnsley showed why this current vein of form is no fluke, taking the game by the scruff of the neck right from the off, demonstrating once again their frightening pace, V8 like work-rate and clinical finishing.

The fact that MK Dons boss Karl Robinson said he was "ecstatic" to have drawn Barnsley at home in the FA Cup fifth round really does show you just how far under-the-radar David Flitcroft's charges have been flying, when League 1 opposition fancy their chances. But equally, the media say it all by relegating the Oakwell outfit's performances to the distant borders of their coverage, their time and their attention at every opportunity. SHAME ON YOU ALL!

Jim O'Brien heading towards the 'Boro goal: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Mowbray just can't look: Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

Spot the ball. Scotland has. Image © Rob Nunns 2013 / @PitchsidePro

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Well, the deal has happened that perhaps most of us were fearing. Barnsley and England U19 right-back John Stones has moved to Everton for an undisclosed fee (believed to be in the region of £3m) on a five-and-a-half-year deal.

Despite only making 24 appearances for the Reds, 'he's one of our own' and I'm sure we've only seen a teasing glance of the ability that this player has and are eager to watch him continue to develop. Everton supporters should be equally excited.