Some 10 years ago, Barnsley brought in Emil Hallfredsson on loan from Reggina. He spent the season at Oakwell - a campaign of initial struggle under Simon Davey that later saw the Tykes pull away from trouble with Mark Robins in charge and ultimately end the campaign in lower mid-table. Hallfredsson scored three goals and made four assists in 27 Championship games for Barnsley. It's a pretty unremarkable return even by the in-and-out standards often set by wide midfielders and wingers.
The career of this Iceland international was anything but ordinary. However, after coming through the ranks at Fimleikafelag Hafnarfjardar in his homeland, Hallfredsson was headhunted by then-Tottenham Hotspur sporting director, Frank Arnesen. That great Dane had a glittering playing career and was charged with finding left-wing options for Spurs. Arnesen took a scattergun approach to solving this problematic position, also signing Switzerland's, Reto Ziegler, and the famous Andy Reid from Nottingham Forest.

Hallfredsson never made a first-team appearance for Tottenham, but did show glimpses of what he could do in the reserves and later show further promise during a 2006 loan spell with Malmo in Sweden. He then left White Hart Lane on a permanent basis for Norwegian capital club, Lyn Oslo only to immediately move on to then-Serie A side, Reggina.

It was in Italy where Hallfredsson would spend the vast majority of his club career. Although in and out of the picture at Calabrian club Reggina, he dropped down two divisions to help Hellas Verona go from Serie C back to Serie A.

Once the momentum of that rise through the divisions ebbed, however, Hellas became something of a yo-yo club between the Italian top flight and Serie B. Since Hallfredsson left Verona midway through 2015-16, they've gone down and been promoted twice. They're among the favourites for the drop again this term at 11/8 in the latest Serie A betting on relegation outright markets with bet365.

During his time in Italy, Hallfredsson played with established stars and cult heroes like World Cup-winning striker, Luca Toni, Mexico defensive icon, Rafael Marquez, and Udinese talisman, Antonio Di Natale.

It was whilst he was on the books of that club that Hallfredsson enjoyed his finest hour. He not only qualified with Iceland for a first major international tournament in Euro 2016, but was a part of their squad when they reached the quarter-finals - famously eliminating England in the last 16 en route.
Hallfredsson may have been on the fringes of Icelandic exploits, but was again a part of the roster that reached the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As an individual, his goal in a Euro 2008 qualifier against subsequent dual European champions, Spain, that earned his country a point, would most probably be a personal highlight for the player.

Iceland's opposition that day counted future World Cup winners, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Fernando Torres, and David Villa among the players involved. All in all, not bad for a lad who didn't really cut it at Barnsley!
For the first South Yorkshire derby of the season, The Reds make the short trip down the M1 to Hillsborough, to face a Sheffield Wednesday side coming off of the back of a terrific 3-1 victory over Reading on the opening day.

So ahead of Saturday's clash, I spoke to Eddie from the superb Sheffield Wednesday blog 'Opinion of an Owl' to try and gain a little bit of intel on our opponents from S6.



How was your opening day fixture against Reading?

Very successful. A great team performance, with the addition of the shining performance of Kadeem Harris, making his competitive debut. Would have been the perfect start had Westwood not been sent off.

Which Barnsley player are you most fearful of come Saturday?

Mallik Wilks, without a doubt. I have to admit, I was hugely surprised and jealous when I saw you sign him. He is everything Wednesday needed (although we now have Harris) and his performance against Fulham was certainly impressive.

Since Steve ‘Snakey’ Bruce has left S6, would you have Carlos Carvalhal back?

No. Whilst the first and, to an extent, second season of Carlos’ reign were some of the best since the turn of the century, that is in the past. We should now look forward and appoint a manger who can use money wisely - something Carlos failed to do.

Following on front that Q, who would be, putting all odds aside, your top three for the vacancy?

Chris Hughton - the only one of the three to have experience in this league, his record speaks for himself. However, there are many rumours flying around that he has declined the opportunity to speak to the Hillsborough hierarchy already.

Lee Bullen - the only one of the three to know the squad, I feel he may deserve the chance to have a go at the job full-time. Continue the good results and I’ll have no complaints.

Danny Cowley - Unknown at this level, yet has done wonders with the Imps. Would be a gamble but a young, innovative manager could be what we need.

Which SWFC player should The Reds really keep a look out for on Saturday?

Kadeem Harris. Did wonders on his debut and looks like he may be what we have been missing. Also making his home league debut, hopefully he can reproduce his display at Reading.

Any good memories of this fixture, and on the other hand any bad ones?

I remember a few years ago when we beat you at Hillsborough 2-0 I think, yet the highlight for me was the bizarre red card for Adam Hammill. If I remember rightly, Hutchinson should have received the marching orders, not Hammill. Talking about bad memories, I’m not sure. Probably Harvey Barnes’ wonder-goal in the last home game we had against you. That was the start of the ‘Barnes will tear you apart, again’ curse.

Even though it’s early days, how do you see this season coming to fruition for SWFC?

It all depends on the manger situation. I would be happy with anywhere from 4th-10th. I just want us to be pushing for play-offs. Anything higher is a bonus.

Lastly, score prediction?

1-1 (One all). I think it will be a great, fast-paced, end to end game. It will be interesting to see the certain battles on the pitch. I think the game will be won or lost in the midfield.

On Monday evening The Reds announced the departure of much loved striker Kieffer Moore, as he shunned Oakwell to team up with the Latics and 'Crusty the Pie'. The result of this departure was The Reds receiving a hefty £4M, and 'Keef' leaving a hole in The Reds' squad, so with many fans expecting that hole to be filled in, I look at the rumours swirling around Grove Street on the week of the transfer deadline.



First up, and with his name in the post it will come as no surprise to you that I'm going to write about Croatian striker Sandro Kulenovic, currently playing for Legia Warsaw in Poland's top division, the Etralaska. Likened to both Mario Mandzukic in physique and strength  and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in how quick he is.

Kulenovic has represented Croatia at every single youth level, right from U14's up to U21's. Last season in the Etralaska, Kulenovic bagged 4 in 21 games. Not outstanding numbers, but almost certainly not to be scoffed at, especially when you consider that he started most games on the bench and scored whilst on the pitch - once in every 178 minutes. Going off of this average, if Kulenovic were to have started all 37 games in the Etralaska he would've probably bagged around 17 goals, which is outstanding for a player who hasn't even turned twenty yet. This season so far, he has scored in his sole appearance in the league for Legia, and a further once in the Europa League, starting this season off with a bang you could almost say. Available for around €3M, The Reds have already bid €2.7M, which with bonuses could hit that magic figure, keep your eyes peeled Reds fans. I think this one could be a go-er.

Next, a player who has been linked with The Reds for well over a month now, Marcus Tavernier. Having seen an opening bid of £1.7M rejected on July 21st, and a second bid of £2.6M rejected in early August, could we see 'Tav' in a Red shirt before Thursday's 5PM deadline, with The Reds set to swoop in with a final bid?

Despite being seen by 'Boro fans as a poster-boy for Jonathan Woodgate's new look side, The Reds quite clearly think a deal can be struck with the Teeside club, as most likely if not negotiations would not have been carried out so far down the line from our first bid. Tavernier looks set to be a top player in the future as well, already capped 19 times by England U19's and England U20's. He is a top talent and I would love to see him at Grove Street.

Merely to round off my points on Tavernier. For Middlesborough, in total he has 6 goals and 4 assists in 35 appearances; most of which came from the bench. We should also consider his age, Tavernier's record is outstanding.

Now probably the player who has been linked heaviest to The Reds, Tom Pearce. With a bid in the region of £850K enough to tempt Leeds into selling. It looks as though The Reds could get a real coup in the form of Pearce.

Like many of the players in this post, he is capped for his country at youth level, having made 2 appearances for the England U21's and 8 for the England U20's. Ironically Pearce's first ever professional career goal was actually against The Reds in a 2-1 victory for Leeds in April 2018. A 3rd incoming from Leeds in one summer may be on the cards here, and I'm all for it, Left-Back is without doubt our weakest area on the field in terms of depth, and i feel Pearce would be a superb option to have.

Lastly, a couple of rumours. Reports from Football Insider, the firm who first brought us news of Mallik Wilks and Aapo Halme's incomings have suggested that a 'Loan to buy' move may be about to occur for young West Brom midfielder Sam Field. Once again he has been capped by England at youth level 22 times across three different age groups, and displays a bit of Championship pedigree having played 12 times for the Baggies last term. However, it remains to be seen whether interest in Field is actually concrete.

Another one from the Oakwell Rumour Mill is that the 'back-up option' if a deal for Sandro Kulenovic fails to materialise is Hannover 96 forward Hendrik Weydandt. Weydandt bagged 6 goals in the Bundesliga last term, averaging a goal every 287 minutes in Germany's top flight. If a deal were to be struck for Weydandt the touted fee is that he would cost around €2.5M. So a hefty amount, but still a fair bit cheaper than Kulenovic. However, much like a deal for Sam Field, it remains to be seen if interest is concrete and not just a falsification.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.


Kicking off the new season, Fulham head up the M1 from Craven Cottage following a disappointing season in the Premier League. Ahead of Saturday's match, I caught up with Dan Smith from the excellent Fulham blog, Fulham Focus, to find out what we can expect from our opening day opponents.



What are your hopes and fears for the season?

It’s the hope that kills you right? I think given our position coming down from the Premier League plus, having spent £100 million last summer, it would be quite worrying if we weren’t hoping to be in the mix for automatic promotion. We’ve kept the majority of our squad together, Cairney and Mitrovic have signed new contracts whilst we’ve added quality with Cavaleiro and Knockaert out wide. We have potentially the best attacking line in the division so anything short of top 6 really will be underwhelming.

On the flip side, we have a manager who is taking on his first managerial role in a season where it is essential that we are promoted. We have a new Riverside stand being built and it’ll look like a white elephant, failing to meet the corporate market that it’s being aimed at if we stay out of the top flight for too long, so he’s under pressure immediately to deliver. Add to that our defence, you couldn’t be given a bigger contrast between attack and defence if you tried. We are yet to sign any defenders to improve on the second worst goals conceded record in Premier League history and if Barnsley are to have any joy against us, it’ll be at that end of the field with an in-form Woodrow coming back to haunt us.

Which Fulham player should the Reds be most fearful of?

Take your pick from the front 4. Cavaleiro, Mitrovic, Knockaert with Tom Cairney behind them orchestrating the attacks. It really is a devastating line up at this level. We are yet to see 'Cav' or Knockaert play as this will be their debuts. But knowing what he’s capable of, I have to stick with 'Mitro' as the main threat. When he joined us in the January of our last promotion, no defender in this league could handle him. He’s now fitter and settled in Fulham and that does not make good reading for centre backs in the Championship.

How do you think you will do this season?

As mentioned above, I think we will be heavily reliant on our attack to win us games. So it should be a very entertaining season with goals galore at both ends. My fear is that behind every good team there is a good defence and it’s impossible to gauge our potential based on that. But I’m forever the optimist and I’m going to quietly whisper that I feel we ‘should’ win the league or at least be a strong contender. Our squad on paper cost significantly more than everyone else’s so by rights I think that’s a fair assumption to make rather than a cocky one. If we don’t there can be no excuses and worst ways I’m hoping for top 4 for the home advantage in the playoffs.

What are your thoughts on Barnsley, and which player would you take from us?

I’ve always seen you as a second tier club and it’s good to see you back. With so much money coming down with the failed Premier League clubs, plus so many sleeping giants in this division, it’s going to be hard for the likes of Luton, yourselves and Charlton to compete beyond mid-table. You face 5 really important games after us, all against sides that I expect to be in the bottom half of the league. So the six pointers start from the off and your season will most likely be determined by how well you do in those early games, just like it will be for most clubs. I think you’ll survive but will be down there in the mix along with 6 or 7 others.

We have put all our eggs in one basket with Mitrovic up top and have very little cover if he was to get injured. So Cauley Woodrow being the tried and trusted would be a safe bet. He struggled to make an impact here but as a backup who will only be needed in emergencies (because of 'Mitro’s' fit, he plays), we could do a lot worse.

Any fond memories of trips to Oakwell?

It has to be the 1-3 victory during our 23 game unbeaten run in the 2017/18 promotion season. You were 1 up before Dimitri Cavare discovered the red mist and man handled Stefan Johansen foolishly just before half time. You were controlling the game up until that point but it gave us a platform to grow into the game. We nicked it in injury time with a really scrappy goal from Kevin McDonald scrambling it over the goal line and Sessegnon rounded it off a minute or so later for 3-1. It’s always a good journey home when you score a late winner and Oakwell in general is a good away day.

Any not so fond ones?

None that stick out but I’ve just looked it up and we’ve only lost to you once up at yours in my lifetime and I was born in 88! So that bodes well!

Lastly, score prediction? 

It’s the worst time to be playing a promoted team away from home. Everything is hunky dory and there’s no pressure yet. Plus, we haven’t kept any clean sheets during pre season and ex players (this time Woodrow) always seem to do well against us. So, I’m going to go with a 2-4 win to Fulham. That fire power proving the difference after a very nervy start.

In this series we are celebrating the 11th anniversary of OnThePontyEnd, and to do so we decided to set up a number of Twitter polls, to well and truly decide once and for all, what is the greatest Barnsley FC XI of the last eleven years?

Today we look at the final part of the XI, the attack. Midfield and defence issues have already been published, and the links to them will be at the bottom of this post.


RF: Ricardo Vaz Te

Despite spending only six months with the Reds, Ricardo Vaz Te was the winner of the right-forward vote, beating Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Marley Watkins to the position. Initially joining the club on a trial basis after his release from Hibernian, Vaz Te impressed Keith Hill that much that the Reds offered Vaz Te a contract. However, despite his red hot pre-season form Vaz Te could not take that same form into the start of the 2011/12 season, taking until October 18th against Burnley to bag his first goal in a Red shirt. After that goal, there was no looking back for Vaz Te, goal after goal followed, screamer after screamer, which meant every-time he put the ball in the net, came that shimmy celebration with Jim O'Brien! Particular screamers include one at London Road in a 4-3 victory over the Posh, and that ridiculous 8 second strike against Crystal Palace, the fastest goal in the history of the Championship. Then came probably Vaz Te's most iconic moment in a Red shirt, a hat-trick against Leeds United at Oakwell on New Years Eve, inspiring the Reds to a 4-1 victory, having come on as a substitute following the leg-snapping challenge from Michael Brown on Jacob Butterfield. Sadly, just a day later Vaz Te rejected a new contract offered to him by the club and the writing was on the wall. He left for West Ham at the end of that month. Despite this though, in the end it proved to be his early season goals that ultimately kept the club in England's second tier, and a Portsmouth points deduction.

LF: Adam Hammill

Taking 91% of the vote, Adam Hamill most certainly has the mandate to take up this position, absolutely thrashing Martin Devaney and Ryan Kent on his way to the left-forward birth. Initially joining us on loan from Liverpool, Hammill was an instant hit with the Reds fans scoring on the last day of the 08/09 season at home park in a 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle. The season after, 09/10 Hammill signed permanently at Oakwell, and had a good season, at the age of just 21 scored 4 and set up 5, along with also winning the 2009 goal of the year award for his screamer against Derby County in a move that we have seen so many times from Hammill. Cutting in from the left and bending a beauty into the corner was uniquely his trademark. However it was 2010/11 when Hammill became arguably the best player in the division at the time, and if anything that is an understatement. Scoring an impressive 8 goals and bagging 6 assists in half a season, along with stellar solo performances, most notably on that night at Oakwell where Leeds United were torn apart by Hammill's brilliance, he assisted 3 and scored 1 as we were victorious 5-2. Performances like these were bound to attract Premiership interest, and Hammill left for Wolves in January 2011, marking the end of his first era. It was just like the stars had aligned perfectly when Hammill made a return to Oakwell with Barnsley languishing at the bottom of England's third tier and on a run of 8 defeats in a row, Hammill scored and assisted in a 2-1 JPT victory over York City, the game many regard as the start of the comeback trail. What followed after this game was more than a mere fairytale and Hammill inspired the Reds to Wembley in both league and cup, with 3 goals and 3 assists in the JPT amongst which was a beauty against Oxford United at Wembley. In the league and play-offs Hammill was a different beast, scoring a Maradona-esque goal agaisnt Millwall at Oakwell in a game that lifted the Reds to within touching distance of the top 6, and eventually The Reds made the play-offs after a do or die fixture against Wigan Athletic. Scoring the opener in both legs against Walsall, Hammill stepped onto the turf at Wembley knowing full well that if he could repeat his heroics against Oxford he would confirm his place as legend. He did just that and more. Cutting in from 35 yards out on the left and unleashing a rocket into the top right stanchion, scoring what is in my opinion the greatest ever Barnsley goal, incredible. Despite two pretty average seasons after the Reds had returned to the Championship, Hammill will forever be remembered as an all-time Barnsley great, my favourite Barnsley player of all-time, no doubt whatsoever about that. 'Adam Hammill Is A Red, Is A Red, Is A Red, Adam Hammill Is A Red, He Hates Leeds Scum!'.

ST: Cauley Woodrow

Victorious with 56% of the vote, Cauley Woodrow is the striker in this side beating off Sam Winnall and Daniel Bogdanovic, both of whom probably didn't have the best chance of winning due to the way they left Grove Street. Anyway, onto Woodrow. Arriving from Fulham for a reported £700K, Woodrow made the perfect start to life at Barnsley, bagging in his 2nd league game for the club in a crucial away game with a sell-out Barnsley crowd at Accrington Stanley. Since then Woodrow has just gone from strength to strength always seeming to pop up with a vital goal, scoring 7 match-winners in 2018/2019 alone, more match-winning goals than any other Red since Craig Hignett in 1999/2000. Not simply popping up with winners, but also with crucial equalisers, like against Doncaster Rovers and Blackpool at Oakwell. With an end of season total of 16 goals as The Reds achieved promotion at the first time of asking to the 2nd tier, for the first time since the rebranding of the Championship, the Reds would have probably been a far cry from the top two if it was not for Woodrow's goals, and contributions. Impressively bagging a goal every 154 minutes, Woodrow's 18/19 we can only hope will be followed up by an even better 19/20! 'Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah, na na nah ... Cauley Woodrowwwwwww!'.

This post marks the end of the XI, but don't fret more #OTPE11 themed content will be coming soon!

Read Best XI: Defence
Read Best XI: Midfield

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

In this series we are celebrating the 11th anniversary of OnThePontyEnd, and to do so we decided to set up a number of Twitter polls, to well and truly decide once and for all, what is the greatest Barnsley FC XI of the last eleven years?

Following on from our recent Best X1: Defence post, today we are looking at the Reds' Midfield. Keep your eyes peeled for the final post in this series which is coming very soon and will feature the popular players from Attack.


CM: Conor Hourihane

Taking the biggest victory of any player in these polls with 95% of the vote, Conor Hourihane is the first Centre-Mid in this side, comprehensively beating Jacob Butterfield and Josh Scowen. Arriving from Plymouth Argyle for a bargain £225K in June 2014, Hourihane made the perfect start to life at Oakwell bagging worldies against Yeovil Town, Gillingham and Coventry City, picking up the Sky Bet League One player of the month award in the process. Despite not picking up any other personal accolades that season, 14/15 was a stellar one for 'King Conor' scoring 13 goals and picking up a further 14 assists. Then came a season that truly wrote his name into Reds folklore. In 2015/16 with the Reds languishing at the lower reaches of League One, Hourihane took over the captaincy from Alfie Mawson, and the fortunes of the Reds changed dramatically. Losing only 3 games from December 19th onwards, Hourihane was a real catalyst in both league and cup, scoring in the EFL Trophy semi-final against Fleetwood Town, and providing 4 assists in the competition overall, including one in the final. Yet it was in the league where he truly made his mark once again hitting double figures for goals and assists, bagging 10 and assisting 14, in amongst them goals were crucial thunderstrikes against arch-rivals Sheffield United in the final minute, and in a do or die play-off deciding clash with champions Wigan Athletic, an incredible season. In his final six months with the Reds, Hourihane inspired the side to 5th place on January the 28th when he eventually made his long awaited move to Aston Villa, scoring 7 and assisting 12 on his way. It was fitting that his final act was a goal of the season winner, that victorious strike against Leeds United from 25 yards out. A goal that many feel amongst the Oakwell terraces was one that cemented his place as a true Barnsley legend, 'Here's to you Conor Hourihane, Barnsley loves you more than you will know...'.

CM: Brian Howard

In a much closer contested poll than the one talked about prior, Brian Howard is the victor, only just edging current Red Alex Mowatt, and Josh Brownhill. Joining really as a back-up to Stephen McPhail in 2005, Howard really came into his own following his recovery from a broken bone in his foot, and was an integral member of the side that eventually gained promotion to the Championship, following that famous play-off final victory against Swansea City. However once he had been given the chance to showcase himself at a higher level, Howard become the Reds' star man. In 2006/07 bagged 8 goals and assisted a further 6, as his contributions ultimately were a key factor in The Reds avoiding the drop. During 2007/08, Brian Howard became not only Barnsley's most talked about prospect, but the Championship's too, all whilst simultaneously managing to flood his own house by leaving the tap on whilst at training (don't ask me how I know that). In all seriousness though, a season which included THAT goal against Liverpool and an appearance in the PFA Championship team of the year truly merits his place in this XI. It's just a real shame how Howard left the club. A decade on from the controversial move to the red and white side of Sheffield, the sour grapes have been swallowed and any Reds fan that voted for Howard to be in this side can look past it, and see what a marvellous 'laiker' he was for Barnsley.

CM: Cameron McGeehan

In probably what was the weakest selection of players in these midfield polls, Cam McGeehan reigns victorious easily beating Hugo Colace and Jim O'Brien. A midfield pivot, whose role is to rampage forward and provide the killer pass, Cam McGeehan shone on the Reds' road to the Championship last season after a slow yet turbulent start to life at Oakwell. Signed by Paul Heckingbottom for just shy of a million pounds, McGeehan's minutes were restricted at the start of the season due to his recovery from a broken leg, which he had suffered whilst playing for Luton Town. However once he was back fit again, 'Hecky' used Cam as a number 10 in a midfield three, much more often than his preferred role of an 8, as maybe his squad number may suggest. Then due to sub-par performances in his non-preferred role he was turfed out to Scunthorpe for the latter half of the 2017/18 season. Yet when Daniel Stendel came in he breathed a new lease of life into McGeehan, and stellar performances coupled with vital goals helped him retain his place in the side - even when Kenneth Dougall returned from injury. A real class player in every sense, Cam Mac is regarded as a real bright prospect for the season ahead, as many of the Oakwell faithful cannot wait to see him once more partner Alex Mowatt in the Reds midfield. But thanks to your votes, it will be Brian Howard and Conor Hourihane whom he partners in this side!

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.