After days of seemingly protracted negotiations, the announcement has finally arrived and Mark Robins alongside his staff now takes the helm at Oakwell.

What will Mr. Robins and his team find? Just what expectations do fans of Barnsley FC have and how can this era in the football club's history be regarded as one of the most positive periods we have had since the heady days of Danny Wilson and the Premiership?

Can we dream? Yes we can!

The fans

With an average of just 52% of the ground inhabited on a typical match day, "fickle" or "care-less" could easily be directed at Barnsley's fan base, but the potential has been demonstrated on more than one occasion in recent times.

Take the Play-Off final as just one example, where 20,000 Reds fans hit the road in support of their heroes; to see Barnsley return to the Championship.

Versus Chelsea, Oakwell achieved an attendance of just over 22,400 with the proportion of visitors supporting Chelsea at maybe 6,000. That's around 16,000 Barnsley supporters (who could gain tickets) eager to see the Reds fulfil a fantasy.

Fans will not simply flood back in to the Ponty End and elsewhere over night, but giving them something more than three points is where fans dreams lay. Yes, results dictate almost everything in the modern game but the Oakwell faithful crave for clear evidence that the playing staff and management share our passion for the club. They demand total effort and uncompromising flair.


The goal need not be survival for a club like Barnsley, who in comparison to other clubs in this league may seem relatively small in stature. Presently, only Scunny, Blackpool, The Posh, Donny and Plymouth rank lower than Barnsley on their average attendances. Statistically though, Barnsley have spent more seasons in the second tier of English football than any other club in history. Call it our "natural" home.

Would mid-table obscurity suffice then? Possibly, but fans expect to see cohesion amongst the playing staff and fondly remember the team assembled by Danny Wilson. On paper they were not "the cream" of the division as individuals, but they knew and went about their job as a team.

Further evidence of this was shown at Eric Winstanley's testimonial; when a star studded Manchester United side arrived including the likes of Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke, against Steve Parkin's BFC squad. From memory it was a lacklustre performance to say the least and an easy going (fruitless) 0 -0 by half time. In the second half however, Danny Wilson and Eric led their "promotion eleven" to replace Parkin's men and the fluidity of play between players and the understanding they had as a team made it clear for all how a unit ought to play.

That day, Barnsley won 1 - 0, but it was more than a result. It was an example of how a Barnsley team could and should play. It was a poignant reminder of what Barnsley had lost after Wilson.

League position is important, especially at this moment in our season. Clearly, fans will expect more than they have had dished up over the last few games, but in fairness they deserve more anyway than an annual relegation scrap. They want to be entertained and excited, not bewildered an alienated by the team they love.

"And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."

- Barack Obama (November 2008)

Come on you Reds !!

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Ian Wilkinson

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