Last week, we reflected on the reports that Wakefield Wildcats' plans for a new community stadium at Newmarket had hit the skids, with the government office requesting a public enquiry.

With their very status in the Super League now at risk, The Wildcats are allegedly pressing on with their contigency plan; which would lead to a ground share, at Oakwell, with Barnsley Football Club.

Okay, so it's not an authoratative poll, ideally you would need to qualify opinion over a larger number of voters to assume any answer from such an exercise. Lets just say it nearly qualifies for a round of light entertainment on Family Fortunes instead, but here's how you voted.

There's nothing better than a game at home on Boxing Day to refresh your mood after a day confined to the inevitable commitments and over indulgence of Christmas Day.

Apart from the freezing conditions we've all had to endure this week, the outlook would suggest that the match will go ahead without any disruptions and I certainly can't wait.

History has been kind to us in this fixture, with Burnley unable to claim a victory at Oakwell since 16th April 1932. Yep, I'm kicking myself for publishing the fact, but that's the truth!

As a result of the postponement at Millwall, the other factor riding on this encounter may be answered too. Can the Reds become the first club to win 1,000 matches in the second tier of English football on Boxing Day 2010?

In both respects, I don't know if Mark Robins or the players are aware of just how much history rides on the outcome, but it promises to be more than three points at stake.

For those of you have been following the blog for some time now, you will have noticed that I try to freshen up the content as often as possible and will invite guests to post or to take part in Q&As where relevant. Prior to this weekends match, I have been delighted to have been in touch with Adam Haworth at NoNayNever.net, the Burnley FC Blog.

Whilst dedicated entirely to the Burnley FC cause, its a great site for the general football fan to read too and would recommend that you make a visit over there at some time in the future. We caught up with Adam to ask him a few questions pertinent to both this fixture and his beloved Clarets in general, I hope you enjoy the post.

Can you describe life as a Burnley FC fan over the last couple of years?

It's a very cliche'd phrase but the correct description would be up and down. In both physical and emotional meanings of the phrase. We've experienced promotion to, and subsequently relegation from the Premier League. It started so well, but as our then beloved manager swapped Burnley for Bolton it all turned a bit sour. The appointment of his successor, Brian Laws, was a surprise to some and many did not agree with his appointment. (more of that in the next question). Our relegation from the Premier League was not exactly a surprise given the circumstances, but as with every relegation it brought disappointment - but a renewed energy to bounce back.

Were you surprised when Brian Laws was appointed as the new boss at Burnley FC after the departure of Owen Coyle?

Brian Laws. Where do I start? It's a bit of a tricky question because there's so many different opinions on the man. Initially, I was surprised at his appointment. After all, a man who'd been sacked at a championship club just several months earlier taking charge of a Premier League side would raise a few eyebrows anywhere in the world. I must say, however, that taking the reins from Owen Coyle was always going to be an extremely difficult task. It has proved so, if not because of the way we have been playing recently, then because of the belief and support that Laws does - or doesn't in this case - have. Many fans, including me now, want to get rid, and perhaps that was always deemed to happen.

What were your pre-season expectations for Burnley and how are you fairing compared to those?

The expectations pre-season was always to be at least in the playoff places by Christmas. We are a good side with a strong team but currently, and for whatever reason that might be, we are underachieving. At the time of writing, we are sat in 12th place in the league - this means we're as close to relegation as we are to being in sixth place. But still, this only goes to show what a tight league we're in.

Ahead of our game on Boxing Day, how do you rate your chances of winning?

We're very close together in the table, and so hopefully this means we're in for a close - and entertaining - game. If we were at home, I'd say we should win this easily, but as we're away, it's a totally different situation. I don't know if you know about our away form, but let's just say it's not the best in the world. Having not won away in the league since April this year (against Hull, where we won 4-1) we're still searching for that away win. Fingers crossed though...

As a Burnley FC fan, tell us your worst experience, best experience and hopes for the future?

Worst experience: Close to call between relegation and Owen Coyle's departure. Coyle's departure gutted (probably) every single fan of Burnley Football Club. The nerve it must have taken to walk out on the many of thousands of fans that he'd previously told how the fans and himself are 'in it together' amongst other complete lies. It's a very touchy topic amongst us fans, and why shouldn't it be. If it was Easter, it'd be totally adequate to call him Judas Iscariot. However, it's christmas, so it's not as adequate. Nevertheless, it's still totally fitting of a man who betrayed a whole load of fans, as well as the staff (not including his back room staff- he took them with him) he worked with.

Best Experience: Play-Off Final at Wembley. Promotion to the Premier League. Inspiring Stuff. I think that just about covers it.

Hopes for the Future: Return to the Premier League without a doubt. I don't care whether it's under Brian Laws or Brian Blessed, but as long as we can establish ourselves as a mid-table - or even better(?) - Premier League side, it doesn't matter.

What would you say your squad’s strengths are?

Quite honestly, I'd say our squad are extremely skilled at losing leads. We've lost or drawn after leading the game, around five times this season. It's a problem.

On a good note: we've got a nice mix of experience and youth in our squad. More so with the addition of John Guidetti - a young swiss player who recently signed on loan from Manchester City.

Who is Burnley’s star player, squad clown and undervalued gem, in your eyes?

Star Player: Andre Bikey in defence - he's recently been out with an injury, but started the season as a player comparable (both looks wise and as a man) to B.A Baracus of 'The A Team'

Undervalued Gem: I don't know about undervalued but he's certainly a gem - Jay Rodriguez. He's a local lad and has broken in to the first team consistently this season. He always tries his hardest, and sometimes his efforts are fruitful.

Squad Clown: I can't really think of one to be quite honest. Although Chris Eagles is always doing funny dance goal celebrations.

If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?

Adam Hammill looks a good player. The stats are impressive with seven goals so far. Here's hoping that he doesn't score against us. As a team, we need someone who can convert chances, and perhaps Hammill would do this.

What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?

Barnsley (annoyingly often confused with Burnley) certainly have a rich heritage, with the ups and downs of recent times. Like us, Barnsley suffered from the collapse of ITV Digital so I can sympathise with you there. As a team, you're breathing right down our necks at the minute. If I'm honest I haven't seen too much of gameplay from Barnsley, but the goals I have watched have been fairly well crafted.
Perhaps one of the most memorable footballing quotes of this year is "that one" belonging to Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson. You know the one he made during the "Wayne Rooney Contract Saga".

Initially, he appeared to bemuse the press and the public, but within this statement, I believe he was completely forthright in his opinion of modern player (and perhaps agent) attitudes in the game today.

He said, "“Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it’s a better cow than the one you’ve got in the field. It’s a fact, right, and it never really works out that way. It’s probably the same cow and it’s not as good as your own cow. Some players like to think there’s a better world somewhere else. It never really works.”

With just three weeks to go until the Reds kick-off their FA Cup campaign at West Ham United, do you reflect on the campaign of 2007/08 like me? Sir Alex had got me thinking.

There will always be one outstanding player from that particular run; and no I'm not referring to Kayode Odejayi, although the goal against Chelsea will always deserve recognition. Unfortunately, that memory though will always be blighted by the sitter he missed at Wembley.

According to reports, Wakefield Wildcats' plans for a new for a new community stadium at Newmarket hit the skids this week with the government office requesting a public enquiry.

With their Super League status at risk, The Wildcats may now press on with their contigency plan to ground share at Oakwell with Barnsley Football Club.

Partnerships such as this already exist in the Super League with The Galpharm Stadium (Huddersfield), The KC Stadium (Hull) and the DW Stadium (Wigan) hosting regular Rugby League and Football fixtures.

With the Rugby League season operating between February and October, do Barnsley FC fans feel that this will create disadvantages for the football side?

Counting the coffers, do you see this strategy as a means of opening up a new revenue stream to the club, bringing greater investment in to the Reds?

Are You In Favour Of A Ground Share Arrangement With Wakefield Wildcats?
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An interesting statistic has come to light as a result of last weekends win over Sheffield United. Did you know that if Barnsley gain victory over Millwall today, the Reds will become the first club to win 1,000 matches in the second tier of English football?

So when was the first victory?

Well according to the history books, it all began on September 1st 1898 versus Luton with the Reds recording their first ever victory at this level, with goals from John McArtney (Penalty) and Harry Davis with the winner.

Up for grabs then, three points plus the accolades for the history boys?

Update 12:30 pm, 18/12/2010:

This afternoon's Den meeting between Millwall and Barnsley has been postponed due to the heavy snow which is currently falling in London.

The Lions had been confident the game would go ahead because of their undersoil heating.

However, they were advised at noon by the police and the referee not to let the match take place.

A severe weather warning is in force for the capital this afternoon, which is set to cause a rapid deterioration in conditions.

Next up: Barnsley FC Vs Burnley FC, Sunday 26 December 2010
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Despite the current weather and the uncertainty it may bring this weekend, we got in touch with Glen Wilson over at Viva Rovers to get his view on the planned fixture between Donny and The Reds this Saturday.

Do they see Barnsley FC as a rival to be reckoned with? Read on ...

Ahead of our game on Saturday 4th December, how do you rate your chances of condemning us to our first away defeat at Donny in five years?
Slightly liberal use of statistics there as it only includes two seasons in which Rovers have actually played Barnsley, but all things considered Rovers would probably be favourites to win this. Barnsley are in form, but their away form isn’t great and Doncaster have been strong at the Keepmoat so the smart money is on us.

About Doncaster Rovers, tell us something new, something old and something borrowed?
I’ll switch ‘something’ to ‘someone’ to make this question easier to answer. Mustapha Dumbuya is someone new, plucked from non-league a year ago he’s cemented a place in the team this season with some exciting full-back performances. Someone old is Neil Sullivan who despite being in his 40s now continues to make some great saves and provide valuable experience to the squad, whilst the key someone borrowed is probably David Healy. Surplus to requirements at Sunderland he’s struck up a good partnership with James Hayter whilst here on loan.

More than 30 teams from the Premier League and Football League have joined up with Show Racism the Red Card and produced special 2010/11 team posters that are now available to download for free from the charity's website. Copies of the posters are also available by post.

Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) is an anti-racist educational charity, set up in 1996. They aim to combat racism through enabling role models, who are predominately but not exclusively footballers, to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.

Barnsley FC Squad

The posters are available as pdfs, or as jpgs for use as desktop wallpapers. You can also request a hard-copy of the poster to adorn your walls, for the price of an SAE (large letter stamp). Simply send your request to Show Racism the Red Card, PO Box 141, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, NE26 3YH.
Yesterday, I shared a post with you from the perspective of a Watford F.C. fan about their take on their club and the game on Saturday. Earlier, I had received a request to answer the same questions for their forum  www.wfcforums.com, a copy of which, including their preliminary introduction can be found below in this post or at Barnsley FC V Watford FC | OnThePontyEnd.com's View

Incidentally, the Watford Forum also invites away fans to debate on their board if you wish. What are your views on the same series of questions? Here's mine:

Ahead of our game on Saturday, how do you rate your chances of condemning us to another away defeat?
I honestly rate our chances very high. We have had good form at home, with defeats coming at the hands of Cardiff City & a “Sven inspired” Leicester City. Our confidence has risen since we have started picking up points on the road.

Garry O’Connor & Paul Hayes give us more options up front nowadays and Mark Robins can change things up front because of this, if Plan A isn’t working.

Last season, Barnsley achieved a sequence of three wins in a row against West Bromwich Albon, Ipswich Town and Doncaster Rovers in September / October; a run that was halted on the road versus Nottingham Forest. This Saturday, at Home, can Barnsley go at least one better?

On The Ponty End invited Alex Prentice of www.wfcforums.com to discuss how he feels Watford might fare and to tell us a little bit about more the opposition that their fans affectionately call The `Orns.

Ahead of our game on Saturday, how do you rate your chances of picking up all three points at Oakwell on Saturday.
It depends how we turn up in all honesty, if we turn up as the bunch of frightened kids that have looked apparent in the past few weeks then we’ll lose without a whimper, if we fight for it like we have done so successfully on many occasions this season we could come away with a convincing victory. One things for sure we need our defence to stop making stupid errors and our strikers to get on with it and get some shots away.

About Watford FC, tell us something new, something old and something borrowed?
New – Marvin Sordell, not so much new but freshly into the team from the academy, he’s been a breath of fresh air and made up a gap we never expected to fill. In his first professional season he’s chipped in with a fair few goals and offers a good pacey battling alternative on the floor as opposed to what we already have.

Old – John Eustace, not very old but the oldest in our squad anyway, he’s what really keeps us ticking, just sitting back allowing the others to roam forwards and breaks up play with his defensive abilities and intelligence of play.

Borrowed – Jordan Mutch, at the start of the season he didn’t look too convincing but he’s come into his own under the wing of the aforementioned Eustace, he’s dynamic, strong and gets stuck in, good range of passing and isn’t afraid to have a shot.

What were your pre-season expectations for Watford and how are you fairing compared to those?
We didn’t have the best of pre-seasons so we were expecting a season of sitting just above relegation but hopefully keeping out of the bottom three and surviving the drop come May. However we started brilliantly and was right up at the top end of the playoffs, that purple patch has ended now and we’re sort of settling into what we probably are, but hopefully we can retain mid-table status for the rest of the season and build from there.

What would you say your squad’s weaknesses are?
Our youthfulness most definitely, we lack experience everywhere on the pitch, our goalkeeper doesn’t exactly exude confidence all the time despite his England honours and form, our defence leak stupid mistakes that shouldn’t be happening but then the week before can be brilliant. We also go missing too easily and frequently.

What would you say the squad’s strengths are?
When we get the ball down well and grab some momentum, we play well, if we score an early goal during this we look like we could go on and score a dozen, we do have the ability in us to destroy sides but it’s just their mental capabilities of carrying that out.

Who is Watford’s star player, squad clown and undervalued gem, in your eyes?
Our star player is Danny Graham at the moment, he’s on a bit of a barren run himself right now but he’s vital to our team, he’s our best forward by far and pretty much has it all, he’s quick, he’s strong, he can head and he can finish. Squad clown is probably Lloyd Doyley, he’s a bit of a hero at Vicarage Road but trust me this is not down to his abilities, he’s played a large amount of games for the club (you may remember the pandemonium on Sky Sports when he scored his first and only ever goal including in training, against QPR last season) but he’s a bit lacking, he can’t kick a ball straight, in nearly almost goes out for a throw in, he looks like he can’t run and it takes him forever to decide what he’s doing with the ball. Undervalued gem for me is probably McGinn, a lot of our fans are on his back already because of his lightweightness but that isn’t everything and he’s clearly got talent, he’s very good on the ball and can pick out a gem of a pass.

If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?
Has to be Adam Hammill, he really has the ability to make something happen and will go very far in the game, I’m quite jealous of you to be frank.

What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?
One of those clubs around the country that I don’t really have a negative, nor positive opinion on. Similar to ourselves in stature, fan base and history, but no matter what we always seem to lose too (or at least never beat!). I’ve meant to come up for our game at Oakwell every season for 3 years now, but I keep buying my train/match ticket and waking up too late, every single time!

Barnsley are the proud Champions of the Yorkshire Masters and narrowly went close to making the National Final, losing out on penalties in the semis to the eventual tournament winners Birmingham City.

Proving that you're not past it at 35, Football Replay are offering you the stage to mimic the Barnsley FC masters.

Football Replay, an FA-backed scheme offering fun five-a-side football for over-35s will operate weekly from Sunday 3rd October at 40 centres nationwide. According to Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s Director of Football Development, it’s an “exciting and much-needed initiative” that is an ideal alternative for those no longer able to commit to playing the 11-a-side game.

Everyone’s welcome. Turn up on your own and get fitted into one of the ‘All Stars’ teams that they will form each week - or better still, round up a group of mates and form your own team.

Players of all abilities and fitness levels are invited to GET INVOLVED and show that it’s still possible to enjoy the beautiful game.

Sign up now at http://www.footballreplay.net/
In August 2009, I received an unexpected email.

The sender explained that they had begun a project which aimed to capture the spirit, humour and knowledge of the terraces and had been speaking to key fans, clubs, forums and fanzines, asking them to contribute some of their thoughts and memories relating to their clubs and players.

Perhaps at first I felt daunted by the task, but quickly realised that I had an opportunity to share this news with the readers of this Barnsley FC Blog and listeners of the Podcast.

You probably haven't failed to notice the gap between this and any previous posts. The international break didn't help, but I found myself unable to speculate on the games coming up between two sides that had just been promoted from League One.

Norwich City, with the obvious connection for Mark Robins plus the visit to Oakwell of the former "mighty Leeds United", should have given me tons of material, but somehow it simply failed to materialise in time. But both outcomes have given various writers a field day, haven't they?

How often, can one side be responsible for more than a single goal in one game, yet still come out of it on the losing side? Someone out there will have the stats. But allegedly, unlike an England versus Pakistan test match, a result like this could never be forced.

So to Tuesday night. I would have to leave it to others to provide a match report, but for those of you who didn't manage to make it, you missed some breathtaking performances.

Garry O'Conner was outstanding. Strong, intelligent and battled throughout, which can't have gone unnoticed by his fellow professionals. I believe it was this attitude that gained the result last night, despite going down 0 - 1 to an early strike from Howson.

From that moment on, Leeds were never really back in the game, enduring long periods in their own half before the Reds justly equalised.

Adam Hammill basked in the songs of the Ponty End, and he truly was "a Red" throughout.

Jim O'Brien was inspirational, a goalscorer early in the second half, but also a constant thorn in the side of Leeds.

For the club to treat it as a Cup Tie on a par with Chelsea or Liverpool is their decision. Apparently there is a pending release of a DVD plus car stickers. But I'm sure there's many a Barnsley fan that works in West Yorkshire and nobody in that area would have seen last night's result coming.

Will more fans now make it in to Oakwell regularly as a result? Time will tell.

One thing is certain though. Mark Robins has assembled a team that has the potential to beat anybody in this league. If consistency can be attained and with the support of that so-called 12 man, us the fans, this season has plenty to offer.

My writers block seems to have disappeared. There's tons to consider and look forward to as the Reds now look to gain and sustain a position in the top six.

Bring on Derby County!
In August 2009, his signing was heralded as a great coup for Barnsley FC. with Simon Davey stating at the time that, "Adam is a fantastic prospect and one we are delighted to bring to Oakwell on a permanent basis."

Just one year later and Davey's prophetic view must make him a blood relative of Mother Shipton as The Reds' "Young Player Of The Year" is now a major linchpin in Mark Robin's team. Hamill also believes that there is even more to look forward to.

"There's a lot of talent in this team and I think if we all gel really quickly – which on the training pitch we are – I think we can push towards the top end of the table.

"Last season when we got within touching distance of the play-offs we sort of, I don't know, shied away a bit, I don't think we believed in ourselves.

"Hopefully we can kick on this season. We've got the right mix, there's a great atmosphere, and it's looking good this year."

Adam Hammill was speaking to Lee Sobot of the YEP.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this great compilation of clips of the Reds' man of the moment, courtesy of m469bex

At 5 p.m. today, the Premier League management teams will have to name their 25-man squads. Eight have to be 'home grown', meaning they must have spent at least three years training with an English or Welsh professional club before they reached the age of 21.

A number of senior pros will simply not make the cut under the new rule changes, implying that the Championship may gain further stars, perhaps with the most notable to date being Craig Bellamy who recently tied up a deal with Cardiff City.

Thankfully Barnsley FC will not see any of our own established and promising talent leave permanently. With the loan window now the only major area to create change, MR has spoken about loans in and out a distinct possibility.

Under this tweak to the squad system, what will result from the potential influx from this "open" pot of talent?

On the one hand, many players may already be in the last throws of their current deal and this new twist may serve to create a shop-window for their next contract/deal. On the other, can clubs afford to pick-up the pieces of a demoralised professional, at the expense of their current crop's morale?

So for those awating the latest arrivals from the fringes of Everton, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Fulham, Sunderland or Bolton Wanderers, the system could be a generous gift if the player involved is motivated to move for the right reasons. But could the hype and speculation in reality be fools gold?

What's your opinion?

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Without wanting to claim anything significant, it was surely coincidence that had Barnsley FC linked with a number of players before Ian Holloway appeared on the scene, setting Blackpool's sights on the same said targets.

Remember the Varney rumour? I heard the Tangerines were after Richard Wright too!

Then don't get me started with the speculation over the weekend surrounding the potential exit of our current miracle man, Adam Hammill. After Saturday's spectacular finish, who could be blamed for feeling nervy over the last 72 hours or so?

I keep checking BBC Sport, Sky Sports Transfer Centre and the forums, nobody has firmly closed this window just yet.

Can somebody please close that window?
Iain Hume. Image cropped from original at Flickr.Image via Wikipedia
The final one in the current series places Adam Le Fondre back in our sights, as if he's ever to leave them whilst Mark Robins is in charge.

In this version of the ongoing speculation places the Reds in charge of a £500,000 transfer with Iain Hume travelling in the opposite direction on a season long loan.

Can anybody support this?
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Could another striker be on his way to the Reds this week on a two year deal. Whispers are circulating that Derby County Striker, Luke Varney may be a potential new capture.

During a loan stint at S6 last season, despite scoring eleven goals for the Wendy's he was unable to prevent them sliding in to League One.

In my book that goal tally is enough to prove his potential worth. A more cynical view might suggest that to have scored more may have even saved their skin.

Maybe even then he was lining up a dream move to S71? 
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Over the last couple of days I've posted my views regarding the keeper situation at Oakwell.

The latest speculation to surface, albeit I may have heard it before, links former Ipswich Town keeper, Richard Wright with the Reds.

This could be a useful signing. I must admit, I remember his performance at the "old" Wembley during our play-off final very clearly. Especially the way he directed Higgy's blast against the crossbar off himself and in to the net to send Barnsley 1 - 0 up.

Ipswich v. Barnsley

Alistair | MySpace Video

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With plenty of talk before the weekend concerning Iain Hume, Mark Robins told the Yorkshire Post "Iain's not getting any games here so it might be right that he goes out on loan."

His preferred choice of Goran Lovre supporting Andy Gray has been on show for the early games of this season, leaving MR cautiously monitoring the situation, admitting that he would "keep an eye on his frustration and hope it doesn't boil over."

By all accounts, Lovre is deserving of his position at present and unlucky not to have scored yet, meaning that chances for Hume will inevitably be thin on the ground under the current status quo.

One option from the rumour mill has Simon Cox of West Bromwich Albion on the radar of the Reds. Just one year in to his contract, Cox is on the fringes of the Premiership squad under Roberto Di Matteo.
Talk has it that a deal could be brokered for the entire season, with an option to purchase part of that deal. Something will have to give to make this closer to reality.

Cox has an attractive record. In 2008-2009, he scored an impressive 29 league goals whilst under contract at Swindon Town and has hit 9 in 28 appearances for the Baggies in a stucato spell.

Maybe a period on loan would be the right thing for Hume, but I would equally value his return after a string of games and hopefully the goals we all know he's capable of getting.

Could the changes ring for this weekend?
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The great Liverpool Manager, Bill Shankly, once said that, “If you're not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we'll discuss your options afterwards.”

Had that been said in the same spirit about a goalkeeper, then quite frankly, the only objective that matters is to stop the opposition from scoring.

Well, we're three games in and the Reds have conceded seven goals already, is anybody worried? MR has succeeded to a good extent in creating competition for almost every position in the team, but is Luke Steele being challenged hard enough for the No. 1 jersey?

Personally, I am a big fan of the player. The patience and professionalism he demonstrated right through the period he played No. 2 to Muller was exemplary. When he finally returned to the first team, he contributed massively to the Championship survival of the Reds at the end of 2008/09 season. On form, he's perhaps one of the top five keepers presently playing in this league, but I feel that the team can not rely on just one man to deliver consistently in this crucial area.

And sorry ... at 34 years of age, David Preece is not the player who provide this.

Rumour has it that the present No.1 at the Galpharm could be a potential target. Is Alex Smithies the perfect solution? However, with Huddersfield investing in automatic promotion as one of League One's biggest spenders, is this likely?

According to speculation, it could cost Barnsley FC a fee of £800k plus for the England U19 shot stopper, but with interest from and links to Premier League sides, would the Reds be able to pull this one-off?

Congratulations to the lads yesterday. Bagging three goals on the road at Ashton Gate is no mean feat, our record there proves that. Perhaps on another day we would have returned with all three points, but in any scenario we can't be happy scoring three and not gaining our full points quota. In the final shake up, these games are costly.
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I genuinely wonder what @DuncanBannatyne might think of this new product. The Metasox, is apparently a "shinpad for the foot". Erm no ...., that would be a footpad wouldn't it?

Apart from the story that a whole company grew out of a foot injury, which of course is infinitely better that MRSA or Gangrene, Nathan Doyle alongside our Academy players appear to have been utilised in helping develop this prototype.

Who says that the academy can't turn out a finished product? Metasox proves they can!

The marketing blurb goes in to some detail about the product and its development. You have to agree that the game has changed in style over the years to the extent that players are more susceptible to metatarsal injuries, but without coming over all "Parky", you can't kid me that "Skinner" Normanton didn't tread on a few feet at corners!

Perhaps the difference was that if you didn't play the following week, you didn't get paid, resulting in less reported occurances.

Good luck with the product, but when marketeers get to work on a problem which really isn't significant enough to solve, they can really spin you a yarn, can't they?

From Metasox, "In football your feet are your most important asset and protecting them should be a footballer's number one priority".

Surely talent, determination and a desire to win come before all else? But in my mind I can hear those clever marketeers retort, "But how could you even attempt all of those things if you couldn't even kick a ball?".

But I'm one step ahead of them. There's a vital flaw in their protection range and it's so obvious that I feel I must illustrate the point.

Your toe bone connected to your foot bone,
Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone,
Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone,
Your leg bone connected to your knee bone,
Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone,
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone,
Your hip bone connected to your back bone,
Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone,
Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone,
Your neck bone connected to your head bone,
I hear the word of the Lord!

Forget putting it all on the line then! and in Duncan Bannatyne's immortal words, for that reason... I'm out!

Keep in touch with the very latest news regarding The Barnsley Fans' FFL with regular updates, including the latest League Table.

Click On The Image To Visit Barnsley FC Fans' Fantasy Football League 

New teams are welcome and Registered Members are invited to contribute.
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Well hardly ... But in the eyes of my youngest, that could have easily been the case on Saturday as the Reds clocked up their first three points of the new season.

In his experience to date, Barnsley are unbeaten, with fixtures attended at home versus Derby County (last season), Huddersfield Town (friendly) and Palace at the weekend.

World Cup? Impossible. Champions League Final? We can dream ... but at this rate, with my lad at my side, it's only ever three years away - potentially!

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Okay, so I may not be writing in reference to the drubbing we received at QPR, but does that make me any less passionate or optimistic for the season ahead. I don't think so.

It wouldn't brighten up anyones day if I added my slant, neither would I be qualified to having only listened to the match. However, it would have been considered a good start to have gained a point on the road, so I see us only one point off target, one game down. Enough said!

Have you heard the latest rumour?

According the oracle that is Football Rumours, "Barnsley FC boss Mark Robins is poised to complete the signing of Wigan Athletic striker Jason Scotland in the next few days for £1.4m on a three and a half year deal".

Speculation occurs all the time, but it was one response that stopped me in my tracks. You've probably felt the same way I did, when you have also seen a badly researched comment that crops up whenever Barnsley FC are mentioned.

In response to the aforementioned rumour, one user has written, "Don't think so, thought Ipswich were after him, much more ambition and a lot richer".

I concur that according to SkySports, Ipswich seem to be close to signing Scotland.

Regarding ambition, how do you measure this? Could this be linked to the level of risk your prepared to take to achieve your aims?

If that is indeed the case, then maybe the comment is correct. Perhaps more clubs are prepared to demonstrate more ambition (risk) than us, but richer? Now let's see ...

Any Wednesdayite would claim to have more resources than your good old BFC, which as we know is entirely false. Furthermore in The Telegraph, Ipswich's debt had surpassed £35m.

Is that genuine wealth and riches? Let them have Scotland. Another weight on to an already over packed saddle and another hard-luck football club story.

Ambition indeed!
Okay, so its not entirely a revolution in terms of style, lets just class it as an evolution on an existing theme - just like Barnsley FC's home strip.

If you haven't visited a while, please take your time to find and read a number of new pages that have been inserted in to the menu.

> Frequently Asked Questions
> The Reds Npower Championship Fixtures App

Plus many other Links.

New Child Site Live

Also today, for those followers who have joined the OnThePontyEnd.com League via Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11, a new series of pages have been lauched  specifically for the banter surrounding this splinter competition.

Further information will be posted soon. In the meantime, why not visit the new site here, Barnsley FC Fans' FFL.

All the best to Mark Robins and the Super Reds for the season ahead. Lets hope for a win at QPR for starters, who knows where that could carry us?
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At the time of writing this post there's just over one day remaining to the start of the new season. Thanks for following this blog over the last two seasons and hopefully there will be even more reasons to keep coming back to the original Barnsley FC Blog, On The Ponty End.

Fantasy Football

Have you registered your team yet in the Barnsley Fans Fantasy Football League? Its dead simple, enter your own team today, by registering at Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11. Then come and join our Private League (League PIN: 1599).

New Site

Over the next 48 hours a new "child" site is going to be launched specifically for the players and other interested readers. Keep checking OnThePontyEnd.com for further details.

Become A Registered Member

If you would like to contribute posts and banter to the new site, relating to the Fantasy Football League, contact OnThePontyEnd.com to become a registered member, stating Your Name, Your Preferred Nickname, the Team Name you have entered in to the league and Your EMail Address (your email will not be published, your full privacy is assured).

Personal log-in details and further information will be sent to registered members only at the very earliest opportunity.

The Real Thing

Whilst a lot has already been written about the predicted fortunes for the Reds from many sources, lets hope that plenty of folk get down to the `well this season to cheer on the lads.

More brass in the kitty from paying spectators will boost the coffers for player purchases and loans. A consistent following and positive support from the terraces should boost player performances.

One scheme that might help and I would encourage armchair supporters to use is the ‘Footy with a Friend from £9.50’ promotion.

All fans need to do is collect four out of the six tokens printed in The Sun from Saturday August 7th to Friday August 13th. The offer gives them access to over 100 matches from August 14 until November 6 at 57 Championship, League 1 and 2 clubs and with 100,000 tickets available they could save up to as much as 80 per cent on standard ticket prices.

The Barnsley FC games that you can make this great saving at are:

Barnsley Vs Derby County
Barnsley Vs Cardiff City

Make sure to pick up a copy of Saturday’s Sun for details of how to get hold of your £9.50 footy tickets.

If you’d like any more info head over to The Sun/Footy Tickets.
I've just picked my team of npower Championship players on Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11, and created us a league so we can find out who really knows their football!

Enter your own team today, by registering at Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11. Then come and join my Private League (League PIN: 1599).

The game's easy to play, free to enter, and there are loads of great prizes up for grabs if your team does well.

Prizes include npower Championship Playoff Final tickets and the chance to meet your favourite club's manager, so get involved today!

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In 2004, Barnsley FC Manager Paul Hart made one of his most astute acquisitions; by taking Michael Chopra on loan from Newcastle United initially for one month.

Chopra was just 20 years old and went on to score 17 goals in a period with the Reds which extended to a stay for the full season.

Unable to compete with the lure of returning to his home town club and later interest from Cardiff City and Sunderland, the striking talisman has never returned to play for Barnsley FC despite the bond he had built with the Oakwell faithful.

All clubs are seeking to procure goal scorers and we hope we are no different. The rumour mill has two further Premier League reserves linked with a gig or two in front of the Ponty End.

Could either player replicate the goal tally achieved by Chopra?

Paris Cowan-Hall, signed for Portsmouth FC in 2007, having spent time on trial previously as a 16 year old with Manchester United and Chelsea. Whilst he has not yet surfaced in a senior game with Pompey, the evidence from this 19 year suggests that a glittering career may be just around the corner.

Take a look at this ...

Frank Wiafe Danquah, is Ghanese in origin, played in the Ajax academy and has been top scorer for Newcastle reserves. At 20 years of age, his previous two year contract appears to be coming to an end, having made no senior appearance yet for the North East outfit.

Sadly, there's no video out there presently to justify his talent. However the similarities in age and his record with the Magpies is conspicuously similar to Chopra.

Admittedly, this speculation is hardly a scoop, but would a similar post pre-August 2004 be written in a similar vein?

Keep dreaming folks!
During the last four weeks or so, Uruguayan football has been in spotlight for many reasons, not least because of their impressive performances in South Africa.

Across football, the scouting search light will no doubt attempt to find every whiff of talent, now this South American Republic can claim "top-dog" status once again over their close neighbours.

The Reds snare their man in capturing (Uruguayan International) Diego Arismendi, on a season long loan via Stoke City.

OnThePontyEnd turned to our friend, the former Barnsley FC defender, Mateo Corbo, to learn a little bit more about our new arrival and his fellow countryman.
I'm gathering support for an event that is being held to raise funds for Bluebell Wood (The Childrens Hospice).

A friend of mine has launched a campaign The Jean Genie - a competition which leads to an event in Barnsley during September 2010.

One of the planned activities is to shoot a calendar which will also be sold at this event. All of the images will be professional photographs of the 12 best entries (models, photographers, hair stylists and make-up artists are all on standby).

All that is needed is 12 sponsors to help to cover the print costs (around £100 each) or a Printer to do it for £FOC - which is probably impossible!!

So, what's in it for the sponsors ...

A free "Barnsley Halo"

One month's exclusive advertising or One Year (dependant upon the Calendar End-User)

The event is being featured in Barnsley Eye, The Chronicle & Dearne FM, plus sponsors could be featured on the Jean Genie site before the event.

Within the Alhambra, a shop has been donated to be used as the campaign headquarters from mid-July onwards, so this could also be a great way for Sponsors to align themselves with a high profile and worthy cause!!

For further details, please contact me via On The Ponty End.


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Could synchronicity be playing a trick on me?

England crash-out of the World Cup after numerous apathetic displays, whilst during the close season, clubs appear to be acquiring competitive talent on seemingly fewer resources than Barnsley FC.

Does the FA & the Football League act like the proverbial ostrich. Are things really getting worse? Is it my singular opinion that football is now so far removed now from the sport and institution it used to be?

Despite the continuing work from Mr Cryne et al (and much credit is deserved) in running a secure and profitable football business, the playing field continues to look more uneven.

Doesn't the whole English game need revising?

Here's my argument. Particularly now, how can any player or club justify a playing contract worth an estimated £200k per week or even half that figure?

The response is always similar and is justified in terms of its commercial rationality. It is often along the lines that the total revenue returned and the "good" it generates throughout the game will be greater than the sum being invested.

Now I'm crap at finance, but if I ran my household budget this way, pretty soon I would be sleeping in a tent on a ration of a bean a day - if I was lucky (cue Monty Python). However, the facts are simple, we all suffer in some way from the lack a proper financial control in football and the resulting effects.

If you follow your team home and away, you may find yourself at the mercy of an egotistical chairman. Your (and our) club may be safe at the moment, but who knows when the next capitalist is about to strike?

Okay, so you don't watch the matches regularly, but probably get drawn to the purchase of the odd item of merchandise. You only have to look at the end-of-season sales to understand that no item could ever be sold at a loss and do the math.

Maybe you've gloated at the ill-fated club whose circumstances force their inevitable slip in to administration. Perhaps though, you have never considered the suppliers whose business have folded or been seriously compromised by the debts the club had accrued and failed to pay.

Club owners, the FA and the players wipe the slate clean and begin again.

At its pinnacle, "England FC" are unable to field a comprehensive squad capable of assuring us that personal player wealth = superior professional skills. You feel herded in to feeling that our "rich league" should illustrate, but fails to show, the deficiencies that ought to plague "lesser" all-comers.

Even in abject failure, the sponsorship will continue to flow and contracts will remain protected, whilst agents scream for more .. more .. more, and get it. After all, its down to market forces isn't it?

At the same time, we hear ....

Regional Development will be axed
Government plans to axe school rebuilding
Cuts to social services will effect the most vulnerable
Austerity measures are inevitable and unavoidable for our long term benefit ...

An email arrives in my inbox. Take a look at Oi! FA.

This group is concerned with the lack of control on ownership of our football clubs and the pitfalls this creates. If you feel strongly about their cause, sign their petition in support.

Interestingly, there is a host of other statistics and figures concerning the financial performance at the top to the bottom tier of English Football and its a fascinating read.

This must be just the tip of the iceberg though. When the supporting public are still making the biggest investment in football (directly or indirectly), it is they who bear the consequences of failure in all branches and levels of the sport. Surely they deserve to be heard.

Do you feel like me? Did the World Cup debacle feel like the whole commercial machine mugged you? Do you expect former ethics to be restored or did they never exist in the first place?

Surely a reality check is both timely and seriously overdue. The public deserve their faith to be restored in the people's game!

> Include your comments on this article
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With copyright issues affecting the way fixtures can be displayed or re-published across the web, I've just discovered a series of files online, which allows anyone to download all Barnsley FC fixtures for the 2010/2011 season direct to your Outlook Calendar, Google Calendars or Apple iCal Calendars.

Not only is this a great tool to gather your full fixture list from, it will also send automatic updates when inevitably the league begins its rescheduling process due to TV, Replays and Global Warming. Allowing you to remain fully informed from your own Calendar.

How do I download this calendar to Microsoft Outlook 2000/2003/XP?
Simply click the "Download for Outlook" link below and select the "Save" button and save the file to your disk. Use the File menu then Import to import this file into Outlook.
Download for Outlook

How do I subscribe to this calendar with Microsoft Outlook 2007?
Simply click the "Subscribe with Outlook 2007" link below and select "Allow" when prompted.
Subscribe with Outlook 2007

How do I add this calendar to Apple iCal Calendars?
Simply click the "Subscribe with Apple iCal Calendars" link below.
Subscribe with Apple iCal Calendars

How do I add this calendar to Google Calendars?
Simply click the "Add to Google Calendars" link below.
Add to Google Calendars

Are you looking forward to the 2010/2011 season?
Let me first of all assure everyone, this is not my opportunity to scoff at the official club site or FL Interactive Limited, but has anybody panicked today over the squad profile of James O'Brien.

If the player profiles are to be believed, we've just signed a 20 year old from the Bantam's on a pre-contract agreement.

But hang on, I hear you say. Isn't the lad in question coming all the way from Motherwell with a guitar strapped to his back? For the record, there's been a slip up on someone's part. Wikipedia provides all the details of the bona fide Barnsley FC player, James O'Brien here.

Next up, prepare yourselves for the signing of the century.


But of course, don't believe the profile, even if it does suggest we've won the signature of the Portuguese "Winker". With the form we've seen today, it's far more likely to be the human tin-opener from Brazil instead !!

Forget England temporarily, have a great weekend.

> Include your comments on this article
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Popular rumour sites keep throwing names in from leftfield almost every single day at the moment.

I'm sure that by the time the World Cup is due to close, many of the players from the successful but unfancied nations may continue to provide yet further fodder, particularly for those fans of Leeds United, who appear to be bidding for everyone.

Interestingly, an original target from last seasons winter transfer window continues to appear once again. Some say on trial, others claim that MR may have yet pulled off a further signing. The player in question is Juan Francisco Martínez Modesto (aka - Nino / Spanish for Child).

He's no bairn at 30 years of age. Could he possibly be nicknamed for his diminutive height in contrast to many professionals at 5ft 7 in?

Currently "Nino" is under contract with CD Tenerife, who have recently been relegated from La Liga after just one season in the top flight. Speculation is now rife that their current coach José Luis Oltra's future is now uncertain at the club, fueling a number of changes and player departures.

Back in January, OnThePontyEnd highlighted Barnsley's interest in Juan Francisco Martínez Modesto, a fact confirmed by the player himself in the Spanish press.

On the 19th January 2010, according to Marca.com, Nino stated:

"They called me, but I'm happy here. Presently, I do not want to go because I have two years left on my contract."

Maybe MR now gets his second bite of the cherry?

The lad's goals to game ratio for Tenerife has been exempliary. Since joining them on loan from Levante, prior to his formal transfer, he has scored an incredible 61 goals in 120 appearances.

If Bogy could be used as a yard stick, with his contribution of 16 goals from 45 starts, Nino could finish on roughly 22 or 23 goals, providing his strike record travels with him.

Here's some more footage ...

> Include your comments on this article
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Throughout May, there's been plenty of whispers from both Sheffield Wednesday Forums and also other various sources on line connected with Barnsley FC, that Mark Beevers (frum Tarn) could be on his way to Oakwell this summer.

At just 20 years of age, the Ponty End would easily forgive his naivety in joining Wednesday as a trainee.

Even despite this knock-back, Beevers is already developing in to a significant Championship talent having already made 99 senior appearances since his debut in January 2007.

The Owls Player Of The Year 2008 would not come cheap, with a fee of around £1.5m being mentioned. However when you consider both his age and the fact that he is literally at the starting point of his career, surely there's no way that could Barnsley fail to invest and not get a generous return; should the event ever arise.

Quoted as "Strong in the air and hard in the tackle", with 6ft 4in of Barnsley brawn to boot, this is one rumour that I sincerely hope will transpire.

Just cut out the calamities if / when you arrive Mark ...

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For anyone that has been viewing the rumours over the weekend, one name being linked to the Reds via a number of sources include that of Portuguese Striker, Orlando Carlos Braga de Sá.


Okay, the facts first, Sá started his career in the youth ranks of Sporting de Braga before signing for Portuguese Champions F.C. Porto for an estimated fee of €3 million on the 1st June 2009. Also, a reported target of Chelsea since 2008.

Arriving injured from Sporting de Braga, he had to wait until January this year to make his debut at F.C. Porto.

With one senior international cap to his name, it has been claimed that Sá is a potential senior star of the future, having already been selected by the ex-Manchester United No.2 and current international coach Carlos Queiroz.

At 22 years of age and standing at 6ft 2, could this lad be about to start a prolific career in England and Barnsley FC of all places?

A spurious story indeed with "rumour" sites and Wikipedia recently adding weight; however, we all need to bare in mind that any user with internet access can create these entries and I personally remain dubious.

The €3 million paid by Porto is not the kind of money any club simply throws away on an international player, albeit with just one senior cap earned. If it's true, as a permanent deal, I would be blown away. As a season loan, it would certainly raise the profile of our club and add further credit to MR on his seemingly far reaching scouting repertoire.
You just worry about's basis of the story when it's also claimed that we have "beaten competition from Inter Milan, Newcastle United and Rochdale" - Wikipedia May 31st 2010

YouTube: Orlando Sá - El Matador - Season 08/09
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Before anyone thinks I have any delusions regarding the "pleasure" of playing Millwall either home or away, there may be a promise of alternative spoils tomorrow, should the Lines overcome Danny Wilson's Robins tomorrow at Wembley.

Rumour control central has it that MR will swoop for Swindon's Bully Paynter - next week!

Although still only 25 years old, this developing Liverpudlian striker has already played for numerous clubs including Port Vale, Hull City, Southend, Bradford City and his current club Swindon Town.

With 26 goals to his credit this season; Six footer Paynter is the second hottest, shooting property in League One and would be likely to pursue higher ambitions, should the Robin's fail at the final test.

Part of me wants success for Danny, but who would fail to welcome yet a further promising talent to the Oakwell ranks for next season's Championship surge.

Get this ... always sweet whoever scores against `em ...

Barnsley FC Fans, add your comments > HERE
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Through the noise of names being thrown around like confetti at the moment, there's one name that keeps cropping up time and time again.

Although some have claimed a fee of £600k involved, Charlie Mulgrew is currently available this summer on a free from Aberdeen, having rejected a new contract back in October.

Primarily a left back, he can also operate as a left winger. The ex-Celtic traineee has built a growing reputation north of the border as one of the best set-piece takers in the country by scoring five goals – all of them free kicks – for his current club.

Why a left back - if Dicko arrives at Oakwell this summer? But I suppose that's the guess work and spiral that arises from rumours.

Get some of this ...

Barnsley FC Fans, add your comments > HERE
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The press continue to stoke the Le Fondre rumour with the News of The World now calling it a two horse race between Preston North End and Barnsley. There's a hefty price tag too with bids in the range of £1m being demanded.

Another name being linked is Espanyol striker Ben Sahar. As a rumour, it could easily be mischief on behalf of an agent, making the early running to tout their player, however - if true, it would be a very ambitious move on the part of MR.

Just take a look at some of the young Isreali's exploits below.

Barnsley FC Fans, add your comments > HERE
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From time to time there is a debate about a new Scottish National Anthem. "Scots wha' hae'" and "Scotland the Brave" were early contenders for the honour.

Could the Ponty End be ringing to the tune next season, as other rumours begin to circulate about the potential capture of Rangers' forward Kris Boyd this summer?

He is presently the highest goalscorer in the history of the SPL, with 164 goals in total, probably making him the finest signing since ... er ... Glavin? and one which would be bound to grab the attention of those sitting on the fence perhaps making that decision on the purchase of a season ticket.

Let's see, but in the meantime, here is a snapshot of what you could dream to expect.

Barnsley FC Fans, add your comments > HERE
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According to the Inverness Reds Online Aberdeen FC boss, Mark McGhee, has admitted that he is “disappointed” Motherwell winger Jim O’Brien has rejected the chance to sign for Aberdeen FC in favour of a move to Barnsley.

Apparently, the 21-year-old, who McGhee had been chasing since last summer, has agreed a three year contract with the Reds.

Maybe a lesser known fact is that O'Brien fancies himself as a bit of a tunester; recording his self penned track "Sadie Burd" whilst at Fir Park. Could this troubadour pen something for the Ponty End too?

Other whispers have also included (Left Back) Charlie Mulgrew of Aberdeen who is also close to signing and Jamie Mackie of Plymouth is apparently undergoing a medical at the club.

From the rumour mill, I have also heard that there could be loan deals or signings too in the pipeline for some of the following, Corry Evans, brother of Jonny and trainee at Manchester United, Roy O'Donovan from Sunderland, who is curently on loan at Hartlepool, Lee Carsley from Birmingham or Nicky Butt via Newcastle, although retirement and/or coaching for Butt has been widely speculated.

On the goal keeping front, there is also speculation that Richard Wright could join Barnsley on a Free. With an option of one further year at Ipswich Town, the Reds could be challenged on this one, but would increase important competition for the Number One shirt.

Barnsley FC Fans, add your comments > HERE