What a weekend. Have we ever experienced such feelings of joy and relief together, amongst a tide of abounding emotions, at extremities like that before? Will we ever again? Did you cry?

The Championship roller-coaster that was 2012/13 has slammed on its brakes and Barnsley can celebrate that we're still on the passenger list for next season. As the dust begins to settle during the summer, maybe I'll be able to get my head around the season properly and reflect on the journey we had in more detail. Right now, I remain utterly amazed.

Before the season began, we were already everybody's strugglers, in the perennial prediction game that had Barnsley set for relegation certainties, often from the same people who had Wolves and Bolton down for an instant return to the Premiership. It's a funny old game!

We were reminded constantly by Mr Hill that our expectations to differ and remain in the 2nd tier were highly unrealistic and built his relationship with supporters on that basis from very early on in his tenure. A change at the top was protracted. By late November the writing was on the wall.

In the end, the decision was made on 29th December, leaving Flicker in temporary charge whilst the board started the search for the club's 10th manager since Dave Bassett led us to the Championship play-off final in 2000.

Talk about jumping from the frying pan and in to the fire then! The utter indignation I felt as our progress (or lack of it) was aired in public, with candidates publishing entire press releases explaining their reasons for rejecting Barnsley's advances. Including League 1 bound Bristol City Manager, Sean O'Driscoll and ex-England Captain, Terry Butcher.

Certainly by accident, rather than by design, Flicker stood up to the challenge, took control of the situation, waded in to and resolved a significant amount of negativity that was being felt, picked us up and carried the whole club forward - to fight on.

Table from Barnsley FC Fixtures with David Flitcroft in charge 2012/13
Table generated from fixtures played 1st January (Peterborough 2 - 1 Barnsley)
through to Saturday 4th May (Huddersfield Town 2 - 2 Barnsley)

What he has achieved in just 21 league games (which include the fixtures he was in temporary charge) is nothing less than miraculous. If you then include the FA Cup run he masterminded, surely you have to consider him already as deserving legendary status at our beloved club. Would anyone disagree?

Speculation will be rife. Could the achievements of this team act as a catalyst for much bigger changes ahead? Will the club court interest from new owners, keen to be involved in Championship football now our status is fully confirmed? Will Flicker get the opportunity to roll-out a blueprint for long term success at Barnsley Football Club, which includes player development at its core?

In just 4 short months, David Flitcroft has transformed opinions and built a new stature for Barnsley FC in the football world. What could be achieved in four years?

Thanks for visiting and reading this latest blog entry. It's been a whirlwind of a season, it would be great to hear about some of your experiences and hopes for the Reds next season, please comment below. Join the debate on Twitter by following @OnThePontyEnd.

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Ian Wilkinson

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Anonymous said...

The key to success with Barnsley FC is without a doubt the retaining of that team spirit involving each and everyone of those individuals from within Barnsley FC and from the outside-in of the amazing fan base (the 12th man). It's difficult for me to get to watch the games on the terraces as I live in Canada but when the opportunity arrises (at least twice a year) I will got to each and every game - away and at home(even to the point of missing my flight back) but hey that's a different story! My gut feeling tells me that Barnsley FC will be a premiership side at the end of next season.