July 2012
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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?