December 2010
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, 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.