This week as seen a deluge of activity and debate on social network sites concerning Barnsley FC. And yes, there's a real mix of opinions out there. This week, OnThePontyEnd was messaged by one supporter, Andy White, with his views on the supposed troubles at Oakwell. We simply had to share this with readers. Follow Andy on Twitter @apwhite13.
Anyone who follows me on Twiiter, or either of the 2 most popular fans forum boards (The BBS and Tykesmad), will know that I called for the appointment of 'Hillcroft' this summer. I'll be honest, I had a wishlist of three. Wilson, Tisdale and Hillcroft. So of course, I was happy when on the 1st of June, Keith Hill and Dave Flitcroft were announced as our new management team.

I had noticed their great work at Rochdale over the last few years, and always thought they'd be ideal at Oakwell. So after the many Keith Hill soundbites, promises of a quick attacking game, with lower-league diamonds etc, I renewed my season ticket for an 18th straight year. I even moved seats to get away from the "Negative Nellies" that were sat to the side of me. I was full of hope, optimism, and drooling at the football served up in pre-season ... and so, the first 10 days of the new campaign have brought me back down to the real world. And boy what a bump! The polar opposite of what we were told to expect, has hit hard. 
And despite my positive outlook, I was absolutely appalled this last 7 days, at both the disheartening performances, and the words of Keith Hill. Ive put my opinions forward on all 3 internet forums mentioned previously, and so im not going to use this vehicle to reiterate them now. What i want to do is forget the pessimism. I want to issue a rallying cry to the eight or so thousand Tarn fans, who I'm pretty sure deep down, would like nothing more than to see our dynamic duo defy the odds, the boo-boys, and turn around our fortunes this season. 
So, just stop and think for a moment. Keith, and the players are saying the awful atmosphere at Oakwell (it's got worse every year since we came back up) is affecting the team. Of course it is. Just imagine you're playing football. And every time you are on the ball the crowd is silent, and waiting for you to slip-up. And when you do make a mistake, they're shouting, sighing, booing, screaming. Its hardly going to inspire you is it?! I bet its real inspiration for the opposition though ... So, imagine now you're playing, and as soon as the match starts the crowd are jovial, they're singing, cheering and offering encouragement. You lose the ball and they're still continuing their support. They haven't gone silent, they're bouyant, they're defiant. Think what that would do for your confidence. Think what that would do for the oppositions confidence. And imagine how good you would feel as a fan, if after supporting all game (its only 90 mins, dont be embarrassed, watch the German league, they do it fantastically) the lads have played out of their skin. You would know that it was your effort that helped them deliver that standard. You would at last be a 'supporter'. 
There's also the small comfort in knowing, that if the displays were still gash, that the players and management would have nothing to blame us for. The excuse wouldn't wash, forcing them to look within.. 
Im probably wasting my time here with all this. There are too many at the 'well who are quite happy to just sit quietly waiting for something to happen. The East Stand is positively comatose. Its a running joke, but one I don't find particularly funny. Its not the blummin' theatre! Why be embarrassed or scared to sing and get behind the team? Surely we are all the same.. 
Well, it doesnt appear true anymore im afraid. When Boro equalised on Tuesday, I sprung out my seat and sang, "BARNS-ER-LEY BARNS-ER-LEY BARNS-ER-LEY" and looked around for support. A handful of lads joined in but the amount of faces sneering at me with such anger and disdain was frightening and I soon sat back down, saddened more by their reaction than the fact we had conceded a goal. And so the few of us who tried to re-energise the team, were drowned out by foul-mouths and silence. Deafening silence. 2 mins later and it was 2-1 Boro and I didn't stand. Many around me did. Booing, screaming and some walking out! My head was in my hands. I didn't feel like i wanted to be there anymore. 
When the 3rd comical goal went in i ashamedly shouted in anger, "You're rubbish!" or words to that effect. I think the negative atmosphere had got to me too, and I also felt the team had let me down too at that point. 
I then went online and posted my thoughts on what went wrong. I slagged off the managements tactics, team selection and post match comments. I slated the players. I chose though, not to attack the fans etc. As I would have been strung up. 
It seems the minority/majority of supporters WANT to be negative, WANT to boo, WANT the team to lose, and WANT Hillcroft to fail.. and that is breaking my heart. I have no idea how to change the Oakwell atmosphere. 
I posted this in the vain hope that people will listen. So what if the teams gash? They're still OUR team! GET BEHIND EM!

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Ian Wilkinson

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4 comments so far,add yours

bugboy114 said...

that hissing sound you can hear is my well and truly punctured pre season balloon, but we have to be realistic and recognise that staying in the Championship is a fantastic achievement for a club of our size. Comments posted on this site by Rochdale fans suggest that Hill's umbrage at the Oakwell crowd is not unusual behaviour for him. I can understand the desire for success, particularly as the cost of going to a game is no longer a casual decision for the sverage fan but there can only ever be one winner. Give the squad half a season and then let's see where we are.

As for getting behind the team, I have been going to Oakwell for nearly forty years and it has always been pretty quiet. I remember one game where we had kicked off and I had not even noticed. If you want a passionate Barnsley crowd, go to an away game

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree there about the away games being passionate. Sometimes I wonder if I'd do better saving my money for the away games. Oakwell is like a LIBRARY! Me and my mate sit in the Ponty End and in the first 10 minutes or so we sing and try and get behind the team. But after that it just gets boring, almost depressing, because the atmosphere is so negative! You might as well spend 2 hours at a lonely, cold, wet, Hoyle Mill pond on a Tuesday night with the depressing atmosphere at Oakwell! It's not the team it's the boo boys and the idiots that look down at you for singing that need to look at themselves. Let's get behind em! UTR!!

Anonymous said...

If the crowd stop being negative, will Hill stop with his negative tactics and start picking players in the correct positions. Fans don't want to see 1 up front at home with two holding midfield players. We have seen 2 managers set out the team at home not to lose a game rather than go out and win it for the past 4 years. I really thought this season was going to be different. Hill as come to Oakwell like a dodgy sales man at our doors. He's talked us into parting with our money, but so far the product is crap and and not what it said on the tin. I know we have no money and I don't care that we have bought lower league players. Neither is any excuse for playing poor tactics, out of position players and giving opponents far too much respect at home.

Looking at all the critisism, I think that the fairest view is on the poor tactics displayed. Particularly against Southampton, there were none. I dare say, Robin's Reds would have destroyed the league leaders. Stick together fans, it will get better. The lads without our support could be even worse. COYR!