It wasn't a huge surprise to learn that Simon Davey was recently voted as Barnsley's Worst Manager, in a poll conducted on Vital Barnsley.

Perhaps it isn't the most authoritative survey ever revealed, I don't think many fans participated in the exercise. In fact I hadn't either. But you kind of get a sense that most fans would probably agree with it's result. Well, wouldn't you?

As the good old idiom says, "the devil is always in the detail", so I chose to take a deeper look at the facts. And what I've found tells a radically different story...

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In order to get the lowdown on Keith Hill's latest recruits, we've trawled the 'Twitterverse' to talk to the key independent bloggers and vocal fans who probably know them best.

We're very grateful to the supporters of their respective parent clubs/former teams who were kind enough to contribute their views. For Barnsley FC fans, we're delighted to provide you with some insight on the qualities that Emile Sinclair, Jonathan Greening and Ákos Buzsáky could be bringing to Oakwell.

Supporters have been asked to join in a minutes applause on Saturday 24th November, during our match against Cardiff City on 70 minutes, out of respect for Arthur Wilson - a true lifelong Barnsley FC fan who has sadly passed away.

Arthur was born on 20 March 1942 in Kendray and was a committed Barnsley FC supporter since 1948. His favourite players were Johnny Kelly and Harry Hough, and recent players Neil Redfearn, Craig Hignett and Bobby Hassell.

He was also chairman of the Penistone Reds and had not missed a game at either home or away in last 5 years, up until his illness at the start of this current campaign.

His funeral will be held on 27th November 2012 at 11:30 at Ardsley Crematorium.

Arthur's son Andrew has been in contact to ask if if we could extend an invitation on his behalf to anyone who wishes to attend the service and pay their respects, but also adds, "can all guests wear red and white if possible or a football shirt".

On behalf of OnThePontyEnd, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to Arthur Wilson's family and close friends. We feel that a minutes applause is the least we can do as fans to acknowledge the passing of one of our own.
As a Barnsley fan of a few seasons now, I find it difficult to cast my mind back to a time when the club made so many signings in so little time.  Perhaps upon Keith Hill's arrival at the club, last summer, was one of the busiest periods in terms of transfers at the club, however never have such signings been met with such enthusiasm and excitement from the Oakwell faithful.

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The signings of Emile Sinclair and Marcus Tudgay present what Keith Hill describes as 'two elite Championship players', with both having fairly decent pedigree at this level. In the absence of Craig Davies, the Reds struggled for both goals and by extension, points, however the signing of Tudgay seemed to revitalise the Welshman, who'd experienced a slight dip in form since his 4 goal barnstormer at Birmingham - having carried an injury for a number of games.

Though the signings have both been met with excitement, I can't help but be surprised, given that in the past, Barnsley have seemed to stop their search for talent once they'd got their man. Above anything, the signings present a much needed relief in pressure on Craig Davies, who has had to carry his side for goals this season. Though Mido and Marlon Harewood both presented decent pedigree, it has to be said that both presented risk when joining The Reds, and, have provided little extra to our attacking options thus far.

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Fearing that his first eleven may have become transparent and predictable to Championship opposition, Keith Hill is delighted to have captured Emile Sinclair on loan from Peterborough United until 19 January.

"I just can't keep going with the same old, same old," Hillcroft revealed to BBC Sports Journalist and Broadcaster Rob Staton today. "there's time to shake it up psychologically, there's times to shake it up to show the opposition you've got a different strategy".

Sinclair was placed on the transfer list at London Road last week along with three of his teammates for an alleged breach of club discipline, following their recent defeat to Crystal Palace in the league.

Sky Sports revealed last week that Barnsley failed with a bid for both Barnett and Sinclair, but now they have returned to finalise his capture.

“With Emile you get pace - and that scares defences to death,” Reds’ boss Keith Hill told The Star. “He’s a really good signing for us.”

Listen Rob Staton's full interview with Keith Hill below.

Follow Rob on Twitter @robstaton. Fans of the NFL Draft might also wish to read Rob's dedicated blog - Seahawks Draft Blog

If you've arrived here expecting to find an exposé on the workings at Oakwell - you won't find it. Not today. I'm like you - an ordinary hyper-frustrated Barnsley FC fan in desperate need of a pick-me-up!

Barnsley were not on a level playing field with Saturday's opponents Huddersfield, according to boss Keith Hill in the media just 24 hours before!

"I'm not surprised by Huddersfield's start," Hill said. "Just look at who they have recruited and it will give some sort of indication to their budget. You don't have to be a mathematician when you consider the players they have brought in. "It's like putting a Mini and a Rolls Royce on a starting grid. The Mini might win over a sprint but the Championship isn't a sprint."

So maybe, the low expectations of fellow Reds fans, who feared the worst today was justified too. Especially when the comparisons being made were stark, despite the fact that this is 'Udders first season back in the Championship since the milleneum.

Okay, they've made some notable signings and The Terriers could count on the likes of Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch and Sean Scannell amongst their number in their starting eleven today, but Rolls Royce-esque they're not - NO WAY!

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If stability at Oakwell is paramount in your thinking at the moment, the average fan could be forgiven if they're totally stumped by some of the stories floating around in the media over the last week or so.

Some hacks have speculated on the possibility of Keith Hill falling on his sword, others tout him as an in-demand character, who's in the running for almost every Championship vacancy going.

As an online destination that was born to encourage debate amongst supporters, I'm guessing that there will probably be readers here who believe that "Hillcroft's" tenure at Barnsley FC has already gone way beyond its zenith. Whilst there will be others who are convinced that in time, this particular management double-act are the keys to the club's prosperity and a better league position.

Hands up. I'm part of the latter. And yes, it's a position that I find quite challenging at times, but I have a theory that might help others understand why I remain convinced I'm right. You see, it's all about "doubling"!

Have you ever wondered if the grass is truly greener for supporters of other clubs in the championship? What if by a strange quirk of fate your loyalties existed elsewhere, what would your experience of the last season feel like?  
We invited Pat from the obsessive-compulsive Nottingham Forest site Seat Pitch to give us an overview of their club's 'Annus Horribilis', spent up to their necks in the dark stuff. Or as Pat puts it so eloquently - "A Year In The Merde"!

Saturday 6 August 2011: Steve McClaren’s first game in charge of Nottingham Forest after being installed — by the bookies at least — as favourites for promotion. An uneventful 0-0 draw with Barnsley is played out in front of a home crowd against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute between the media and the Football League over terms of accreditation.

Just eight weeks into a reign, that would last only another eight, ‘Schteve’ must have realised by this stage he had unwittingly joined a club going through complete and utter turmoil. This was a season that would go from bad to worse to even worse, with just a glimpse of the silver lining to come.

The sacking of Billy Davies was inevitable to some, and a complete shock to others. The two-week silence from the City Ground — not long after the club’s second consecutive play-off semi-final defeat — resulted in the departure of the Scotsman, credited with reviving the ‘sleeping giant’ after returning from League One, and the arrival of the ex-England and Twente manager.

What happened next — a combination of factors — saw McClaren gone by early October, the resignation of the chairman Nigel Doughty and the appointment of Steve Cotterill, tasked with what had become a relegation battle.

Boss, Keith Hill, was clearly disappointed not to take all three points at home from Crystal Palace in midweek, but the manner of Barnsley’s comeback from a goal down suggests the squad have that willingness and resilience to muck it with the top half of the Championship.

Going a goal down after just 11 minutes, Hill should be commended for switching his side around quickly rather than wait for the half-time break, which could have been too late to save the game. Hill brought Chris Dagnall off just 17 minutes into the evening and, suddenly, the Reds looked a lot stronger, with Matt Done bolstering the midfield.

Image: Barnsley News & Sport

We created the better chances during the end of the first half and Marlon Harewood really should have done better with a decent opportunity, while Done tested Palace keeper, Julian Speroni, to his limit.

Palace may have been without a manager on Tuesday night but we should not understate just how good a point is against this playoff-chasing side. Unbeaten in eight heading into the tie, Palace looked keen to show their caretaker boss just what they can do but Hill’s quick tactical change stifled their progress.

Indeed, it was just reward that David Perkins squeezed in his shot just four minutes from time. Palace had defended well and it was clear a set piece was the only way we were going to break through that resilient side, as Hill admitted to BBC Sport afterwards:

“I’m slightly frustrated. We once again help the opposition’s tactics. They defend excellently and exploit the counter-attack but it was helped by our inadequacies. It took a marvellous piece of ability from David Perkins, because I couldn’t see us breaking down the block.”

1-1 is a decent result and the manner of our late equaliser should give fans who bet football home and away confidence heading into the Forest clash at the weekend. Hill will be hoping for more attacking flair but should be pleased with a point from Tuesday’s game
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It seems that every time Paul Jewell pitches up to Oakwell, he does so fearing that he could be unemployed by the time he leaves. After a thrilling performance at Birmingham, the Reds were keen to ensure that it wasn’t a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’, and grab the points against an Ipswich side without a win in 5.

Keith Hill appeared to abide by the philosophy of never changing a winning side, with minor tweaks into the personnel filling the bench. Ipswich welcomed debutant Danny Higginbotham, who arrived on loan from Stoke earlier this week - filling the centre half berth.

The away side were keen to stop the Reds from playing their football, and looked to hit the long balls into Jason Scotland early. Despite keeping a clean sheet last week, the Reds found themselves behind within 5 minutes when a free kick was awarded for an alleged fowl from Stephen Dawson. 3 stood over the ball, with some clever working on the free kick; though in reality Ben Alnwick would have been disappointed to see the ball slip through his fingers in the manner that it did.

Whilst most social commentators on happenings at Oakwell have observed, media coverage on Barnsley FC is generally limited, to being non-existent in most cases. Then we suddenly hit the national radar on three fronts!
  1. Talk of a takeover begins to circulate in the press on Sunday leading to a statement from Don Rowing on local radio.
  2. SkySports claim that Keith Hill is in talks with Patrick Cryne over his future.
  3. Whilst they also claim that Flitcroft will definitely NOT be the new boss at Bury.
Am I being too cynical to wonder who these stories and PR leaks actually serve? I'm sure that most can be easily explained away, but my guess is that there will be continued speculation on a number of fronts this week.

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Synergy - when the end product is greater than the sum of its’ parts, where 2+2=5

Fans listening to Keith Hill’s Radio Sheffield interview following the Blackburn defeat (listen again here) will have heard a well publicised rant regarding the parachute payments, but more importantly, a quote from Keith Hill that really stuck in my mind - “Look where we are, we’re little old Barnsley” with reference to the fact that John Stones had been taken off injured following what should have been a red card challenge from Dickson Etuhu, when Bobby Hassell had been given a 3 game suspension for much less, amongst the other circumstances which stack against us every time we grace the pitch.

Barnsley fans know the score, the stadium isn’t even half full, the pundits continually expect us to finish bottom, and we can’t afford the same quality of players that the likes of Blackburn (parachute payments in tow) can afford. This is why the Reds must achieve a result greater than the sum of the components, as our individual ‘components’ will not be able to match those of other clubs. So what is Keith Hill’s formula for synergy?

Playing style

It is well known that Keith Hill demands four things from every player that puts on a Barnsley shirt: Hard Work, Endeavour, Brainpower and Creativity - whilst wanting to play a ‘style of football that will bare dividends both on and off the pitch’. Keith Hill’s men played in what is becoming a familiar 4-1-3-2 narrow formation, where Martin Cranie stands guard ahead of the back four, allowing the likes of Jacob Mellis and Tomasz Cywka to do the type of damage they are capable of, whilst maintaining a fluid passing style of football, and a hard working pressing game without the ball.

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Has there ever been an uglier goalscorer against us than Blackburn’s Tuesday night hero, Nuno Gomes? After a battling performance where Barnsley proved a match for one of the Championship’s title chasers, the Portuguese pensioner popped up to net a winner just five minutes from time.

It may sound bitter to condemn this former international great of being nothing more than an ugly face, but that is what many Tykes will have been thinking, as Gomes ran away in celebration at Ewood Park.

The bitterness comes not in the 2-1 loss or the late timing of Gomes’ winner, but the fact that we played so well for much of the game. This was our fifth successive away defeat, yet the game played out as though we were top of the table, not Blackburn.

Rovers, a long-lost fixture of the Champions League betting, have a midfield that played full Premier League campaigns last season, yet we dominated the centre of the pitch.

Manager, Keith Hill, bemoaned our budget after the defeat and it is clear we were never meant to challenge mega-rich Rovers on Tuesday. Hill should be proud the lads dominated for long periods and only fell short when Blackburn brought on three fresh signings that we could never attract.

Our finishing was off all game, yet former Chelsea and Southampton man, Jacob Mellis, nicked his second of the season in clinical fashion, and we looked comfortable heading into the break before £8m new signing, Jordan Rhodes, levelled for the home side.

There is no way Barnsley could spend £8m on one player, nor could we afford the wages former internationals like Gomes no doubt demand. Instead, Hill is left to eke out a squad capable of sustaining itself in a cutthroat league and was desperately close to a major scalp on Tuesday.

There are reasons to be confident this season for Tykes fans, and although watching Gomes’ face crack with delight was a bitter pill to swallow, we can take solace in our ability to hold our own against one of the Championship’s strongest sides.
Well done Barnsley, a great point earned against Ollie's Tangerines.

For those of you who have read my posts over some time, you'll appreciate that I'm not one to sit down and write about a match from start to finish, unless it includes a Greggs carrier bag. And fortunately, against Blackpool, there was very little time to care about that sort of plastic happening.

With injuries galore, many of us must have been worried about how our Reds could possibly fare in this climate, but even the most cynical of fans must now be appreciating that there is a strong team ethic in force at Barnsley FC, and "HillCroft" are winning!

Staying true to form, I won't give you a blow-by-blow account of the 90 minutes, I can leave that to other reports, but I would like to spark some debate on a few points.
  1. IMHO Tom Ince was "flukey". Once the ball went through, he managed to get the momentum needed to run on goal through a very fortunate touch. Great finish, but jammy!!
  2. Fozzy was not my Man Of The Match. Although, he was also far from having the shocker that one pillock (near me) claims he always has. John Stones deserved the accolade!
  3. Do you have to suffer a bloke at Oakwell who constantly nudges you, expelling completely irrelevant trash throughout the game? Who, whilst completely disagreeing with you entirely - all of the time, then repeats your statements as their own, about 15 minutes later?
  4. John Stones will not be sold for a fortune in January. Why would he leave?
  5. Some of our injured numbers will struggle to walk-back-in to the first eleven.
Please comment below or give me a shout on Twitter @OnThePontyEnd
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Readers following my Twitter will be no strangers to the occasional rant about the club’s marketing machine, pricing our fans out of the market place and a lack of creativity from the club. In and amongst the financial doom and gloom, the club has failed to adapt to the marketplace, and saw one of its lowest attendances in years on Saturday for the win against Bristol City – with just 8088 fans coming through the gates, 900 down on last year’s lowest attendance – also against Bristol.

However our next game presents a fantastic opportunity for both the club and the fans to create a day to remember in order to celebrate our 125th anniversary. For just £12.50 for adults, fans can watch our Championship clash against Blackpool (who also turn 125 this year), with entertainment planned both outside and inside the stadium, and prizes for fancy dress (if that’s your thing). What’s more, families of 4 (2 adults, and 2 children 5-11) can watch the game for £30 – a great value day out.

Other than the obvious benefits of a cheap entry fee and a bit of entertainment; to me this gives the fans an excellent chance to prove a point. By telling your family and your friends and packing out the stadium, you can prove to the club that cheaper entry does work and that our supporters do want to watch this football club succeed.

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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned cup tie to get the new season underway, and Tykes fans travelling to Rochdale were in for a treat last weekend, with a 4-3 League Cup victory after extra time.

With no football since April, the Barnsley faithful have been forced to either watch England fail in Ukraine or an utterly dull Team GB crash out of the Olympics.

Our pre-season may have buffered the monotony of long summer evenings without a match to attend, but it is nothing compared to the return of competitive action.

And wasn’t the return competitive? Craig Davies’ shrugged off a defender before slotting home a low effort, handing the Tykes the lead after John Stones’ downward header levelled the scores.

Barnsley defence (Sir Bobby between the sticks): Image © Rob Nunns 2012 / @PitchsidePro 

Matt Done beats Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis: Image © Rob Nunns 2012 / @PitchsidePro

Kelvin Etuhu on the ball: Image © Rob Nunns 2012 / @PitchsidePro

The league cup is traditionally nobody’s favourite competition by the furthest stretch of the imagination. The cup has usually come around only days after the beginning of league campaigns, often becoming a nuisance to sides wishing to find their feet in their respective leagues. This year, the tides have turned slightly, as the Olympic and European programmes have caused a change to the fixtures, this time bringing the cup around a week before ‘the big kick off’.

Whilst this alone made the potential for a more fiery affair, the prospect of Hillcroft and numerous players making their return to Spotland certainly brought around more interest among the Red’s travelling support, with bumper numbers making the trip to Lancashire.

Rochdale Vs Barnsley FC Line Up 1
Onto the game, where the Reds lined up as they have throughout the pre-season just gone, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, giving competitive debuts to Ben Alnwick and Kelvin Etuhu, with Jacob Mellis making his first start since his permanent capture, and John Stones making his first competitive start at right back, having previously come on as a substitute.

The Rochdale fans were delighted to welcome back Scott Wiseman, David Perkins, Kelvin Etuhu and Matt Done, as well as Chris Dagnall who was on the bench, with a special mention going to Keith Hill and David Flitcroft, the duo who were responsible for the club’s most successful ever period.

OnThePontyEnd's Fantasy Football League is a Private League (open to new membership) and powered by Phones 4u Fantasy Football 2012/13.

The game is FREE to play, and there's some great prizes up for grabs throughout the season, including a massive £10,000 for the overall champion!

For full competition T&Cs, please see their Terms and Conditions page.

Enter Your Team in to OnThePontyEnd's Private League
  • First register at Phones 4u Fantasy Football 2012/13 and pick your squad.
  • Click "Private Leagues", scroll down to "Joining Private Leagues"
  • Enter Pin Number 6259 in to the box below and hit 'Find League'. If you are sure you have the right league, you must then click 'Join This League' to apply.
  • Once the League Chairman has accepted you in to the league, you will be able to view your table by clicking on the relevant Private League name on your team screen.
  • There are no formal prizes offered directly via OnThePontyEnd.com, this is operated just for fun.
Please note: There are no formal prizes offered directly via OnThePontyEnd.com, this is operated just for fun. Regular updates will appear on this site throughout the season.
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Barnsley boss, Keith Hill, has continued his shrewd transfer dealings with the signing of exciting Portuguese winger, Toni Silva, from Liverpool on a two-year contract. The 18-year old is the fifth player to arrive at Oakwell, this summer, as Hill looks to assemble a squad capable of challenging for a place in the play-offs.

While not as well-known as some of the other new arrivals at the club in recent weeks, Silva is a player that comes with a stellar footballing upbringing, with Benfica and Liverpool already on the youngster’s CV.

Hill has admitted there is still plenty of work for Silva to do before he is the finished article, but made it clear that he believes Barnsley have a real player on their hands with the teenager.

“He’s a very talented player, but he’s still raw. We’ve watched him a few times and we’ve really been impressed with we’ve seen.”

With chances at Liverpool scarce, Silva spent the back end of last season on loan at Northampton under former Watford and Coventry manager, Aidy Boothroyd, gaining rave reviews for his performances for the League Two side, especially from fans watching the Bet365 Youtube channel.

With a transfer budget that many League One sides could more than match, Hill has worked wonders with the players he has already brought into the club, this summer. As well as Silva, Hill has already added Jacob Mellis, Ben Alnwick, Kelvin Etuhu and Mido to his squad ahead of the new Championship campaign.

If another couple of signings are added to the squad before the season gets underway, then Barnsley fans will have every right to hold genuine belief that this could be one hell of a year at Oakwell.

Find all the latest live in-play betting odds in the Bet365 Ray Winstone video, shown during football matches.

Pre-season is always a strange type of match to write for. With various tactics being tried, an unknown quality of opposition and a search for fitness, it doesn’t seem like the traditional match report will do the trick here. Instead, here’s a run down of the teams, tactics and a bumper first look at the entire squad so far this season.

The first half saw the Reds line-up fielding 4 youngsters, with Matt Steade joining debutants from last season John Stones, Paul Digby and Jordan Clark. The Reds lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Hassell and Digby standing guard in front of defence, and a rotating attacking midfield operating behind Egyptian hitman Mido. Steele appeared to be unready to take up his number 1 spot between the sticks, leaving new signing Ben Alnwick to deputise. The squad took to the field sporting random numbers on last season’s white away strip, and were without a captain, though Jim McNulty was nominated to shake the hand of the referee and Alfreton skipper.

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One of the most eyebrow-raising signings of this summer has to be that of Egyptian striker, Mido, arriving at Barnsley from Zamalek on an initial one-year deal. The well-travelled forward returns to England following a brief spell back in North Africa.

The signing could well be a stroke of genius from the Tykes’ manager, Keith Hill, who has proven to have a real knack for working miracles with enigmatic and erratic strikers; Ricardo Vaz Te stands out as a recent example.

Reading Mido’s C.V. may take a healthy chunk of an hour, but it proves the Egyptian’s superb calibre.

Ajax, Roma, Marseilles, and Tottenham have all seen the best and worst of the talented forward, with live football fans rightly excited about seeing how well Mido takes to life in the wetter, cooler surroundings of Yorkshire.

Many think that Mido is edging towards the end of his colourful career, mainly due to the fact the striker has played for so many clubs, but the fact is that, at just 29-years old, the Egyptian still has plenty of years left in him, if he wants it enough.

It remains to be seen how long Mido will spend at Barnsley – he reportedly sees the move to Oakwell as a stepping stone - but if Hill can squeeze the performances out of the Egyptian, few will mind if the charismatic Mido is only at the club for a season, especially if it results in a place in the play-offs.

Barnsley are currently 66/1 to win the league, next season; Tykes fans placing a bet on the Championship will be eager to see if Mido can haul the club up the league in 2012/2013.

We all have our opinions. Right?

Every Barnsley FC fan, from every generation and age group might easily provide a list of their "Kings" and "Clowns" in every department at Oakwell. 

Through our network of followers on Twitter, we've collated a list of strikers from the annuls of recent and past history. From the players nominated, we want to find those that you consider to be the best and the worst.

Of course, we realise that the outcome can never be officially conclusive, but your support is especially appreciated. The survey will take just one minute to complete and will help us carry your voice in to an important national campaign which will be launched very soon, including contributions from the best bloggers from each of the 72 Football League Clubs.

Please visit & complete the survey here.

Follow @OnThePontyEnd on Twitter and feel free to add your views on this post by commenting below. Thanks in advance for your help!

(Please note the players listed are totally arbitrary choices and may not include players who statistically or otherwise should have been included - Ed)
If fans are anything like myself, they’ll have grown sick and tired of hearing the name Jacob Butterfield. Thankfully the uncertainty of his future is finally over, and all that remains is the formalities of Norwich’s compensation package.

What perhaps is a little less certain is whom Keith Hill sees as a suitable replacement for Jacob this season. The Reds boss has recently been quoted as touting 17 year old academy product Paul Digby to take the reigns, with Jacob Mellis also seeming a natural choice to replace the former skipper. However I don’t think that Butterfield’s replacement has to be a ‘who’, but it could be a ‘what’ in terms of new systems, as the article below explores the tactics of the Reds as a whole:

Last Season

Last season's 'typical line up' - taken from our game at home vs Coventry
After a slow start and a short space of time where the Reds found their feet, Keith Hill adapted his tactics to the German and Bayern Munich style 4-2-3-1 formation; with Butterfield sitting just behind the striker, looking to dictate the attacks by providing assists and attempting to get on the score sheet himself. The team was built around him, seemingly playing to his strengths and hiding his weaknesses, particularly in occasional lapses of fitness and tracking back. Of course Drinkwater and Vaz Te played into the tactics very well, with Matt Done also playing in various positions including both wings, aswell as behind the striker in games where injuries meant Butterfield was dropped back into the heart of the midfield.

Barnsley F.C. crest
Barnsley F.C. crest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whilst it won’t be news to many Reds fans, today saw the official departure of Jacob Butterfield from the club following a saga beginning over 6 months ago, when a tackle from Leeds’ Michael Brown delayed the impending departure of the Reds’ skipper to the Premier League in the January window. Since then it’s been a case of rumours and guesswork for the Reds fans and management – ‘Will he? Won’t he?’, ‘How much will it be worth?’, ‘Will it have to go to tribunal?’. Today brought all the answers to these questions, as it appears that Norwich City offered less than £500,000 in compensation for the player, which Barnsley duly rejected, leading to the need for a tribunal which will be set by the club in due course.

In Keith Hill’s recent interview with Radio Sheffield’s Paul Walker (link here), he indicated that Norwich’s valuation was an insult to the club, the fans, the player, his teammates and the coaching staff – which raises questions of our recent ‘big’ departures. Over the past few years, we’ve appeared to lose our talismanic players for no more than £500,000 – which must make fans question, what is wrong with our dealings?

English: Egyptian football (soccer) player Mido
English: Egyptian football (soccer) player Mido (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is my first post for a while for various reasons, however it felt right to post just a few days ahead of the start of preseason, and in light of our recent acquisitions. Already this summer seems very different to the last; whilst the Reds were without a manager and seemed to be clamoring to prepare a fit squad for the season ahead last term, the past few weeks have appeared to have been a much calmer affair, in some ways at least.

Having read through the forums and blog posts, news articles etc., it seems that opinion largely seems to point to a ‘different’ tact in terms of acquisitions from Keith Hill, although I can’t help but disagree, and here’s why:

Popular opinion of the season just passed appeared to point to Hill’s policy of signing from the lower leagues. Whilst I feel the argument has passed, I have to point to the statistic that there was in fact one more player from the Championship/Premiership than from the leagues below us, therefore whilst colloquial opinion appeared to dictate otherwise – we did have a team with plenty of Championship experience.

The Football Blogging Awards 2012

The awards ceremony, recognising and awarding the best of football blogging.

The FBAs are the only awards designed for football blogs and bloggers which are decided entirely by the public.

OnThePontyEnd.com has been running since 2008, entirely on a non-profit basis. Our content has grown from being simply a personal blog from the perspective of "Wilky", to a host of articles submitted by regular and one-off contributors.

(Ed: A special mention to Michael Roach @MichaelRoach55 for his regular input!)

This year, The FBAs offer us an opportunity in three categories and WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

- Male Football Blog #Male
- Veteran Football Blog (Running for at least 3 years) #Veteran
- Football Club Specific Blog #Club

There are two ways you can help and vote. Twitter and Facebook. For a vote to be counted it must follow the simple rules below.

Twitter: To vote for a blog using Twitter, tweet to @TheFBAs with the blogs username @OnThePontyEnd and the relevant #category hashtag

Example @TheFBAs @OnThePontyEnd #Veteran

Facebook: Find polls on the award's Facebook page and vote for the blog on the drop down list. If you cannot see this blog you can add it to the list.

It would be amazing to receive the recognition from our readers for such an auspicious occasion that The FBA's promise to be. It's a chance to look back on the positive material we have brought to fellow Barnsley FC fans, above and beyond that of the traditional or official sites.

Our own highlights have probably been the Podcast, especially our time with Red's Legend, Eric Winstanley, but we've loved to tackle the bizarre and funny inside track at Oakwell too. Do any of you remember the satirical "Remake of Sgt. Peppers"?

Your following, your backing and your votes (in instances like this) give everybody who donates their time to this site the energy to keep going. Please spare just a couple of minutes to lend your voice to the cause of OnThePontyEnd. We're grateful.

Best wishes,

Wilky (Editor)

Guardian Football League Blog

Continuing on from earlier this year, OnThePontyEnd was asked to provide our "End of Season report" on Barnsley FC for The Guardian's excellent Football League Blog.

Whilst the structure of the article and its content are brief, we would love to hear your reports, styled in a similar format, in the comments section to this post.

Read the Barnsley FC End of Season report here.

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Chris Kamara and Robbie Savage are promoting npower's new campaign "The Fanpower Stadium". To claim your seat and win cash prizes for yourself and your team go to Facebook/nPowerFootballLeague

Fanpower Stadium could help Barnsley to win up to £30,000. As you may already know, the app is available on Facebook and is already measuring the power of Tykes fans online.

Some basic info: to sign up and start using the app you just have to enter your name and email address, and whether you’re an existing npower customer. npower will not use this information for promotional offers unless you opt in. After that, any time you mention Barnsley, Keith Hill or the surname of any of Barnsley’s first eleven on Twitter or Facebook, it will count towards your team’s ranking in the Fanpower league table. The team whose fans shout loudest win! Barnsley are currently top of the Championship Fanpower rankings, so there’s a great chance of holding on to that position until the competition’s close on June 1st.

We might win something then!
With Barnsley supporters looking for a late assault on this season's play-offs, some of our younger fans may not realise that 15-years ago, the Tykes were playing Premier League football. Even though they finished second-bottom during the 1997-98 season, they earned a famous victory at Anfield, beating Liverpool 1-0 and also knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup with a 3-2 win at Oakwell.

Here is a reminder of the starting line-up from that glorious Saturday 22 November 1997 at Anfield and a look at what became of those players.

Scott Golbourne
New Tykes signing Scott Golbourne is looking forward to his future at Barnsley and is confident that he can blossom at Oakwell, as he looks to make the Championship Playoffs, which is perhaps a worthy vc bet.

Golbourne was a popular bwin free bet to score on his debut at Watford on Saturday, and he didn't disappoint. The 23-year-old left-back needed just 28 minutes to score his first goal for his new club. after coming on in the second half.

It was the former Exeter City recruits first goal for nearly a year having last scored for Exeter last April in a 2-0 home win over Oldham.

Regular readers of On The Ponty End may remember an article I wrote earlier in the season, praising Keith Hill’s defensive options (A Case for the Defence). However the tides have debatably turned since then, with the Reds failing to keep a clean sheet for 13 games. That stat is not the only one that might concern Reds fans, with perhaps an extremely alarming stat existing – the Reds have only gained a point all season from losing positions. We ask if the wheels have come off defensively, or if other factors are responsible for the worrying stats, and indeed whether we should be worried by these stats.

Many fans will agree that the recruitment of players by Keith Hill since taking over the reigns has largely been successful, with many examples of improved players, and the creation of saleable assets. Hill has shown that he has the ability to turn around players also, with Jim O’Brien being a glowing example of how a player can go from being potentially lauded out of the club, to being a fans’ favourite and key player.

Of course involved in the creation of his squad was the recruitment of defensive options in Rob Edwards, Jim McNulty, Scott Wiseman, plus new signing Scott Golbourne, who scored a debut goal against Watford on Saturday. However it has perhaps not been the recruited players who have disappointed fans in recent weeks, but the pre-existing options in McEvely, Foster, and even at times Hassell. Both of the former have received increased criticism from fans of late, with both players making mistakes that have cost us dearly.

Whilst I’m not in the business of criticising individuals, the players have caused dilemma recently for their manager, and not the ‘good dilemmas’ we so often hear about in successful regimes. For me, the problem lies not in their ability technically, but in their own perceptions of their ability. There is no doubt that both players are able on their day; Stephen Foster has been a captain and player of the year, whilst McEvely has experience at the highest level – despite what some may think, you DO have to have ability to earn such accolades, with any team. However, it appears both players have their demons, with nervy performances leading to mistakes from both the men. Of course there could be many answers as to why both players seem ‘nervy’ at times, however in my opinion, they don’t need to be, and should they shift their demons, they are both capable of becoming top players.

It was disappointing to see one of Barnsleys most in form players leave Oakwell on the final day of the transfer window, but Tykes manager Keith Hill believes that Ricardo Vaz Te has made a mistake by leaving the club to join West Ham and warned the striker he might become "a football ghost" once again. 

The stan james review shows that Vaz Te only joined the club in the summer after his career went stale after he was fazed out at Premier League Bolton. Hill gave the out of form striker an opportunity to resurrect his career but the Barnsley manager has unfortunately become a victim of his own good work as Vaz Te has turned his back on the club to link up with Sam Allardyce who brought Vaz Te to Bolton in the first place. He joins the league leaders who are the betvictor favourites for promotion.

Asked if the player's switch was inevitable, Hill said: "Not really. West Ham have got a very good player who was a football ghost at the start of the season, sometimes players take what they want rather than what they need and he needed to stay here."

At the time of writing the Reds are pushing through deals for Exeter left back Scott Golbourne and Leyton Orient captain Stephen Dawson – the latter commanding a 6-figure fee. Both will arrive in Barnsley from League 1, joining the likes of David Perkins, Jim McNulty, Scott Wiseman and Matt Done in the ‘League 1 crew’ of players currently at Oakwell. As these new personnel arrive, we ask if the lower leagues throw up lumps of coal, or rough diamonds?

Getting it right
What makes a good signing from a lower league? With League 1, not just the championship, now full of sleeping giants, Barnsley have often found themselves struggling to compete financially with opposition from even the top end of the lower division. In fact, all of the teams promoted from league 1 last season eventually finished higher than the Reds, just showing how competitive the game can be financially. This means that not only do Barnsley not always have access to the top players in our own division, but often have limited choice from the top end of League 1 also.

This of course means that Keith Hill has to search deeper within a division he has a lot of experience in, however, how can he guarantee that players from a struggling side in League 1 can make the step up to the championship? Of course the answer seems obvious - he can’t, but judging from the players brought in so far, Keith has a formula to polish players from the lower leagues and sell them on.

The Transfer Deadline Looms
The next 48 hours has the potential to be one of the most hectic but also one of the most important of Keith Hills first season in charge of Barnsley F.C. Not only will he have to deal with late incoming bids for the clubs better players, he will also have to try and strengthen an already depleated squad with only minimal funds at his disposal. Hill has already demonstrated his eye for a bargain with the early season captures of David Perkins, Ricardo Vaz Te and Jimmy McNulty.

All three of the aforementioned have shown that even in this current climate there are still players available who represent value for money. This transfer window has already seen the arrival of premiership midfielders Michael Tonge and Korey Smith, both will help fill the void left by Danny Drinkwater's recent departure and Jacob Butterfield's season ending injury. The midfield duo have something to prove to their respective parent clubs and this can only help Barnsley achieve there ambitions.

Despite the two new arrivals the squad is still lacking in numbers and Hill himself has recently spoke of his desire to bring in at least 2 more players, This will as always depend on the clubs ambition and there willingness to spend a little money.

Mightier than the sword?
Okay, maybe the headline's wrong - maybe I mean the Pen - but we are of course in the age of Social Media and the Web. When was the last time you hand wrote a letter to a friend?

An observation though from the last few weeks; noises from within and outside of the Barnsley Football Club seem to only espouse the negative effects of social media and its micro-bloggers. Perhaps the worst recent example was the temporary closure of Jacob Butterfield's account on Twitter - after an episode with the Oakwell Boo Boys.

But are supporters, when handling themselves correctly, wrong to voice their opinions?

Managers throughout the game always seem to slam the amateur writers and forum users for their activities. The old line of never having played the game is probably used too often.

Do you need to be a chef to see that your dinner is burnt?

If indeed those were the qualities for commentary and journalism, the good old British public would never have heard of the likes of Kenneth Wolstenholme's "They Think It's All Over", or ever have seen John Motson and his Sheepskin grace BBC TV for all these years.

Michael Tonge
Today has seen the acquisition of 2 more players through the loan market, with former Blade Michael Tonge joining from Stoke until the end of the season, and the imminent signing of Korey Smith from Norwich City, on a deal expected to last for around a month initially. This follows from the injury to Reds’ skipper Jacob Butterfield, and the departure of on loan Danny Drinkwater, who made the move to Leicester last week.

That wasn’t the only activity expected however, as the Reds had also enquired about the availability of Leyton Orient captain Stephen Dawson, with the Irish midfielder’s contract with the O’s set to expire at the season’s end. The Reds have since been pushed backed however, and will now look to conclude any possible deal in the summer window.

It's been quite a while since we last visited the stats, but RealMATrid, Matthew Williams' team is opening up an enviable lead with 341 points in On The Ponty End's Fantasy Football League.

Be sure to keep checking your squad's performance over the coming weeks and make any necessary transfers during the transfer window and to cover any long-term injuries. Maybe the next time we take a look at the league, the picture could have changed yet again?
Brian Howard
Brian Howard the former Barnsley captain has stated that wold love a return move to Oakwell as he looks to revive his career this month, and bwin betting are predicting a move back to Barnsley for the 27 year old.

The Bwin review shows that Howard scored 27 goals in 121 games for Barnsley between 2005 and 2008 left the club in controversial circumstances to join local rivals Sheffield United four years ago.

He might be most remembered for his FA cup heroics at Anfield where he scored a last minute winner, leading them to the semi final, as well as being instrumental in the clubs premotion to the Championship in 2006.

Since then though, moves to Sheffield United, Reading and a current loan spell at Millwall who won 3-1 at Oakwell on Saturday, have seen his career stall over the last couple of seasons.

Danny Drinkwater
It was a massive disappointment for Barnsley fans to learn that Manchester United accepted a £1 million bid for Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City which ended the midfielders loan spell at Oakwell.

Drinkwater has been speaking out about Barnsley's Bwin free Bet chances in the Championship since his departure, insisting that the club wont suffer because of his departure and the injury to fellow midfielder Jacob Butterfield, and bwin betting agrees.

“There are a lot of good players at Barnsley besides me and Jacob," said the 21-year-old.

"I think they can go on and have a great season. They are a good bunch of lads and I wish them all the best.

© On The Ponty End 2012
In reference to the likely transfer of Danny Drinkwater to Leicester City today,  one disgruntled Twitter user put it thus, "We're the small kid in playground having his dinner money pinched". And perhaps they've got a point, specifically in reference to the Foxes ability to flex their financial muscle over Barnsley FC off the field, despite being unable to overcome us during 180 minutes of Championship Football.

But also, perhaps we should also muse over the fantastic position that the partnership in which Keith Hill and David Flitcroft have now placed our beloved Barnsley FC. As one pop combo once put it, "It aint what you do, it's they way that you do it and that's what gets results".

Andy Gray
To say that Leicester City have spent money this season would be a massive understatement. The Foxes’ overseas owners have certainly aimed to make their mark on the Championship with big name signings, and previously with former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. Eriksson, however, was unable to deliver the minimum aim of a play-off spot, which has signalled the return of former boss Nigel Pearson in order to attempt to recover any chances of a promotion push.

On the flip side were Keith Hill and birthday boy David Flitcroft’s Barnsley side, who had been assembled for less than the prospective £1.8m deal that would have seen Billy Sharp join the Foxes from local rivals Doncaster Rovers, a deal that has since been turned down by the Sheffield born striker.

Tactically Speaking
The Reds welcomed new signing Chris Dagnall into the side and subsequently changed formation to accommodate the forward, who appeared to operate just behind Andy Gray and Ricardo Vaz Te on the Reds’ front line. The Reds appeared to go narrow in a formation that you might call ‘The 4-4-2 Dagnall Diamond’, with Perkins and Drinkwater operating in the heart of the midfield, and Miles Addison protecting the defensive line. The aim was to pressure the Leicester defence and midfield into long balls, with the likes of Dagnall and Perkins chomping at the bit to grab the ball at every opportunity.