June 2011
The countdown to yet another season at Oakwell starts today with the players back in to meet and greet the new manager and his staff,  but my focus is on the Academy.

The foundation for clubs looking to save on expenditure starts at Academy level , but in order for us to go forward we have to go back.

A stand out player for me at the time was Jacob Butterfield, a good footballing background learning his trade at Manchester United before his arrival at Oakwell. Watching Jacob you could see he was very comfortable in control of the football not a great tackler but excellent passer of the ball left/right peg being aware of space always looking to link up play essential for any midfielder. As time progressed, it became apparent he would be destined for a 1st team place in 2010/2011, with some outstanding performances from the young Academy graduate.

Especially now with pre-season about to kick in to gear, On The Ponty End has been speaking to some of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to Peterborough United fan Aaron Gratton who is presently studying journalism and is hoping to make it as a sport journalist. This coming season will be his fifth year as a season ticket holder at "The Posh" and is also a regular writer for the football site It’s Round and It’s White.

You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @azygratton24

On The Ponty End introduces Matt Boothman, former writer for the Rochdale AFC website "There's Always Next Year" ... in this piece he offers a stark warning to supporters of Barnsley FC.

First of all, being asked to assess your ex-manager’s abilities by fans of the club he now manages is akin to being asked to assess your ex-girlfriend by the bloke she ran off with. No matter how fondly she may be remembered, the bitterness of her betrayal obviously affects all attempts at objectivity. We - defined as Hillcroft, gestalt football management entity, and the Rochdale fans whose views I now represent - did not depart on the greatest of terms. To put it simply; they ran off with the bloke with the Audi down the road. Barnsley fans, who will no doubt be impressed by Hillcroft’s successes in the seasons to come, will do well to remember their departure from Rochdale; and wonder whether or not their club can sustain the ambitions of that conjoined manager. But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

Managers will get sacked!

Okay, I admit it. It's a negative theme to cover before a ball has even been kicked. In fact, it probably divides opinion amongst football supporters of all clubs more than the merits of their club's transfer acquisitions.

Should he stay? Should he go? And, did we really get the right man to match our ambitions for the season ahead? Are probably questions being debated right around the country - even this early!

But let me set the record straight now. If I had a penny for every Barnsley fan who has asked me what I thought of the appointment of Hill and Flitcroft at Oakwell, let's say I would be a millionaire (well, have at least enough cash for a good old oiling at The Full House Pub).

One of the many advantages I have gained from writing for and editing an established blog is the opportunity it has opened up to connect with other sites. Overall, I've found a very generous community of individuals out there, regardless of which team they support, who have been happy to add to the content of this site and have hosted articles that I have also provided as a guest.

What started as an initial message, requesting if we could exchange links between our sites created an opportunity to introduce both a new writer and website to the readers of On The Ponty End.

This week, it is my pleasure to to be able to introduce Craig Wescott from the relatively new site "Jumpers For Goalposts"; a site that he describes as a blog built for football fans everywhere, who wish to express their views without fear of being ridiculed. So without further ado, here's Craig.

During a busy week of transfer activity at Oakwell, the spotlight most certainly fell on the departure of the Red's Player of the Season and Captain, Jason Shackell.

Whilst opinions may be mixed on the merits of the deal, I began speaking with @CSpaceram (on Twitter) from the Derby County Blog Ramspace about the movement occurring between our clubs and the confirmed loan agreement which has secured the services of Miles Addision for Barnsley FC until January 1st 2012.

Providing his insight, CSpaceram tells us what Barnsley fans can expect from the Derby County midfielder.

OnThePontyEnd.com has just been upgraded to allow readers to automatically view the site on a compatible mobile device (iPhone and Android) by default.

Readers can also access a demo version of the site from a PC or Mac.

What began as a brief delay became a period of being busy "doing other things" and eventually led to a spell of total apathy towards writing about our Reds. Simply the words wouldn't come, let alone spill over in to a blog post or two.

That said, I was at Oakwell throughout the games which led to the season's close; but even the shock departure of Mark Robins couldn't shake me from my inertia.

So what's changed?

Probably very little yet. Will the new man at the helm bring any improvement? It's probably very hard to speculate on that right now.

So, it's another new start. And yes, there may be a sense of excitement growing inside again.

The Reds will shortly be sporting their smart new Nike kits and we can begin to dream again. What if we can over-achieve against others expectations, just how far will we go?

Before then, I'll spruce up the site for another tilt at observing the season progress.

Maybe this time out we will get a decent cup run? We could even see a few "Premiership Dreamers" humbled ... And those are the days we flock to the 'well to see.

I'm going to park any feelings I have about 2010/11. That line has been well and truly drawn. Another new start feels better.