February 2012
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."