COMMENT BY DOUG O’KANE AFTER the disappointment of the Euros and the excitement of the Olympics, the domestic football season is suddenly upon us. I have spoken to Barnsley manager Keith Hill regularly over the summer and he has said several times recently that he plans to take a positive approach to the campaign. I hope the fans do too. A lot has been made of the slump towards the end of last season but this is a new term. I was at the club’s awards night at the end of last season and when I watched a video review of the campaign I was struck by just how much excellent football was played before that difficult run. A few of the players who starred in that video have left but Hill has packed his squad with pacy, attacking youngsters. Mido’s injury is a huge blow for the Reds but his off-the-pitch influence should not be underestimated. He has helped to build the confidence of the younger players and has been brilliant with the fans, even joining in a penalty shoot-out between youngsters at half-time in the friendly at Stocksbridge with hilarious consequences. It has become a well-worn, if accurate, cliche that Barnsley don’t have as much money as other Championship clubs. But they have one of the best goalkeepers in the league, promising defenders like Lee Collins and Scott Golbourne and some very exciting attackers. Having spoken to many of the players during the compilation of this supplement, I have heard that they are one of the fittest and well-bonded groups ever to fill the Oakwell dressing room. Time will tell on whether that translates into results when the season starts. Supplement words: Doug O’Kane and Matthew Murray. Page layout: Doug O’Kane. Pictures: Keith Turner, Brett Carr, Wes Hobson and Scott Bairstow. thereds pagetwo
‘No hard luck stories’ in the forthcoming campaign BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill says there will be ‘no hard luck stories’ coming out of Oakwell in his second season in the Championship. Hill became increasingly frustrated last season as Barnsley competed against far wealthier clubs on their way to 21st place. He still believes the Reds face a ‘massive task’ to improve on last season’s final placing but insists he will adopt a positive approach to the campaign. “There can’t be any hard luck stories in our approach to the season,” said Hill. “I am going to be positive and we are looking to over achieve and finish as high as possible in the table. “It is going to be difficult. If you look at the Championship there are us, Peterborough and Millwall who are the only teams that are not benefiting from parachute payments from the Premier League or foreign investment – like Nottingham Forest and Watford who have been bought this summer – or from personal investment like at Huddersfield. “Football is upside down. Why clubs get financially rewarded for being relegated I will never know. “But there is no point talking about it because it won’t change. “I have heard that the Championship is the third best league in Europe in terms of TV coverage and support base, so of course it will be a hard league. “We are very excited to be competing in such a high quality league against some big clubs.” All of the players Hill has brought in this summer had been released from their previous clubs. He made a well-publicised bid of £400,000 for Manchester United youngster Oliver Norwood, who joined local rivals Huddersfield instead, and that money could still be spent ‘on the right player.’ Hill says snatching up out of contract players with potential and promoting youngsters from the academy are the two avenues
Time to b
Main picture: Keith Hill with assistant David Flitcroft and, right, Hill during the ups and downs of last season. of recruitment that Barnsley must pursue. He said: “The big word we are going to use this season is development. “Development of the young players from the academy and development of players we recruit from other clubs who have maybe lost their way or never been fully developed. “We can’t spend as much money as the other clubs so we have to
find another way. “We are dealing with players who are trying to resurrect their career or start their career. “It is just important that those players have the right attitude and application. “When we sign a player we expect them to commit to working hard with our coaching team on the training pitch to get the best out of their ability.
to be positive Keith Hill on... Recruitment ‘We are dealing with players who are trying to resurrect their career or start their career’
Squad depth ‘I want every player to be integral to the squad but there may be one or two that fall by the wayside’
Football finances ‘Barnsley Football Club making a profit last season was like Paul Daniels at his best’ “At the moment all the signs from the players are positive and everyone wants the same thing.” Hill has strength in depth in certain areas such as defence, where he has nine players including youngster John Stones, and attacking midfield after bringing in Jacob Mellis, Kelvin Etuhu and Toni Silva to join Matt Done, Jim O’Brien and several promising youngsters. The manager admits he will have to work hard to keep
everyone happy. “When it comes to the competitive games I will have to select what I think is the best team but I have got to manage all of the players. It is a squad sport and I won’t just be thinking about game one but also about game 21 and game 46. I want every player to be integral to the squad but there may be one or two that will fall by the wayside and move on.”
Hill is confident his squad can impose a ‘fear factor’ on the opposition and says he deliberately targeted young, attacking players with pace. “We need to create a cutting edge which we were devoid of after January last season. “It was an incredible ask for my team to play in the Championship without that for the last 15 games of last season but we did enough
to stay up despite being constantly six players short of where I would have liked to have been due to players leaving and injuries. “I want to create a fear factor for the opposition with several fast and creative players. “I want to get the Barnsley fans on their feet with some attractive, attacking football that fits my own philosophy.” thereds pagethree
Flicker the father figure not a fair weather friend THERE is a story about David Flitcroft that is popular among football reporters in South Yorkshire. When Rotherham played Rochdale in 2007, snow had been cleared to the sides of the pitch. Rochdale scored a late goal to go 3-2 up and Flitcroft ran along the touchline then dived into the snow to celebrate. He did it again when they made it 4-2. This is an example of the Barnsley assistant manager’s personality which makes him so popular with his players. He can often be seen patrolling the Oakwell training ground – in winter months with a woolly hat at a jaunty angle or in flipflops during summer – laughing and joking with the players and lifting the mood of the camp. But he is also there behind the scenes whenever a player has a personal problem or needs some advice. “I see myself as a father figure and I have a parental attitude in my job,” said Flitcroft. “I have two sons called Billy and Bobby and I am trying to develop them into well-rounded people. “I have realised that coaching is like being a parent. “Having fun at work is all part of that. It is important that you enjoy your work but enjoy working hard. I like to think that I am friends with the lads and they can come to me for anything. “I have been on the phone at two, three, four o’clock in the morning to players about personal problems. That is what I am there for. I genuinely love the players and I love what they are trying to do in football. If you get the bond right in the team then the training pitch can be the best place to be in the world. “Myself and the other coaches really get to know the players and find out everything about their lives. If you know the players then thereds pagefour
you know how to deal with them. “Nine times out of ten when a player seems off then it will be something in their personal lives but if you don’t know them well then you can’t help them.” Flitcroft works alongside fitness coaches Jon Lucas and Guy Proctor, goalkeeping coach Ian Wilcock and phsyiotherapist Craig Sedgwick to support the players. The assistant says that Keith Hill also offers the parental role even though he is the boss. “Hilly’s word goes at the training ground and if someone steps out of line it is him that pulls them back but that doesn’t mean he can’t be friends with the players as well. At Rochdale he used to have players round to his house on week nights to watch football matches on TV. But Championship players don’t seem to want to get as close for some reason. “Having said that, we have got a great bunch of lads at Barnsley.” Flitcroft looks back at his first season at Oakwell with fondness and believes the work done then will benefit the club in the forthcoming campaign. “Myself and Hilly were very quick to turn the page on last season and move forward to this season but we learned a lot in our first year at Barnsley. It was the biggest challenge we have ever faced and will continue to be so but we enjoy it. “We performed miracles in keeping the club in the league and that was appreciated by the owner. We laid a lot of groundwork with the work we did on the likes of Jacob Butterfield and Danny Drinkwater. I think Jacob was the best player in the Championship last season and Ricardo was one of the best performers. I am sure our success with those players is why we have been able to recruit players like Toni Silva this year.
Parental: David Flitcroft and Jimmy McNulty.
‘I have been on the phone at two, three, four o’clock in the morning to players about personal problems. That is what I am there for’ “We just need to keep getting the word out about the players we have improved. That is our unique selling point.” The staff and players at Barnsley will be hoping for a better start than last season which saw them booed off after losing their first three home games. Flitcroft said the criticism did not bother him but he insists it is crucial that the fans support the players. “I have taken a lot of stick throughout my career from opposition fans and my own fans so I have grown rhino skin and it doesn’t get to me. “I think that if you can put your head on the pillow at night and know that you tried all day long to improve as a person and in your job then surely that’s all that matters. “But some players do get affected by criticism from their fans and it is frustrating when you have worked all week with someone and they look good on the train-
ing pitch but they can’t perform in a game because they are scared of disappointing the fans. “Craig Dawson, who was in the Great Britain squad for the Olympics, made six or seven crucial mistakes for us when Rochdale were promoted from League Two but we kept playing him and he eventually earned a transfer to West Brom in the Premier League. “It is important that the fans work with us as we develop players but if they don’t want to support us then there is nothing we can do about that. “I think we have a good relationship with the majority of Barnsley fans. A group of ten or 11 came up to me on the pitch after the last game of the season against Brighton and congratulated us on running the club the way they thought it should be run as opposed to the likes of Portsmouth. I really appreciated that.”
‘I’m not a Premier player but I’d love to get Reds there’ BARNSLEY captain Jim McNulty believes he has not got what it takes to play Premier League football but hopes he can help the club move closer to the top flight. The 27-year-old centre-back’s topsy-turvy career reached a high point this summer when manager Keith Hill gave him the captain’s armband. McNulty was delighted by the appointment and says that skippering a Championship club is the best honour he could have hoped for in his career. “This is what I have dreamt of all my life,” said McNulty. “The Championship has always been my Premier League. “Now I am here my aim is to stay here. I respect the league so much and there are some outstanding teams in it. “The odds are stacked against us financially but it would be amazing if I could help Barnsley get to the Premier League. “Personally, I can’t see myself as a Premier League player. “I never thought I would play in that league and I still don’t.” Such honesty is rare among
footballers but it is typical of the attitude of a player who has been through more than most. After failing to break into the first team at Everton and Wrexham, Liverpudlian McNulty dropped into the League of Wales and worked for his dad on building sites. He was given a second chance in professional football when he was spotted by Macclesfield then made his way to Brighton via Stockport. His time on the south coast was plagued by injuries including a ruptured kidney which had to be removed. He played just a handful of games over three seasons and when he was given a lifeline by Hill last summer his aim was to play as much as possible. “After the first three games, I played every match last season and I want to play every single minute this season. “The gaffer here has done a lot for my career and really believes in me. To be captain of a Championship team is a dream come true and it feels great after
Realistic: Jim McNulty some of the things I have been through. I just want to stay fit and keep playing as well as I can. “I don’t want to be giving the armband away to anyone else.” McNulty believes his ball-playing style helped him to adapt to life in his beloved Championship. “I think the higher quality in this
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league suits me as a player. I am a footballing defender and I like to play the game the right way. “That is more difficult in League One because you can be on a pitch with 21 other players who are not necessarily thinking the same way and the ball spends a lot of time in the air.” McNulty is hopeful that under his leadership Barnsley can finish higher than they have done since their return to the Championship in 2006. “I think we have brought in some very good players. Mido is obviously a class act. “We struggled towards the end of last season because we didn’t have someone like Kelvin Etuhu or Toni Silva who can get the fans on their feet. We need to give them the licence to lose the ball sometimes because they take risks. “Jacob Mellis could be the new Jacob Butterfield if he wants to. “But those are the key words: if he wants to. “Survival is our aim first and foremost but I would like us to break into the top half.”
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Mido gets kick out of Reds WHEN Keith Hill announced that he’d captured the signing of Egyptian superstar Mido, there were mixed reactions. Few doubt the striker’s talents. In a glittering career he has commanded almost £20m in transfer fees and donned the famous shirts of Roma, Marseille, Ajax and Tottenham, playing alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimoviç. Back home in Cairo, Mido is a national hero. He has notched 20 goals for his country and helped them to Africa Cup of Nations glory on home soil in 2006. But despite his incredible footballing CV, Mido comes to South Yorkshire with a fair bit of baggage. Despite being only 29, he has played for 11 clubs and his career has been dogged by controversy and disciplinary issues. He famously had a bust-up with his Ajax boss, Dutch legend Ronald Koeman, after he was demoted to the substitutes’ bench, while Zlatan Ibrahimoviç, who partnered Mido up front at Ajax, claimed the Egyptian threw a pair of scissors at him during a dressing room brawl. Later on, his Tottenham manager Martin Jol branded Mido ‘irresponsible’ after he made comments about former Spurs defender Sol Campbell. He was suspended for three games for kicking Arsenal’s Gael Clichy in the face during his difficult spell at Middlesbrough. Following Boro’s relegation from the Premier League, Mido failed to turn up to training and had loan spells at Wigan, West Ham and Ajax before he joined Egyptain side Zamalek in 2011. He scored two goals in three games but left following a pay thereds pagesix
dispute and was without a club for a year before joining Barnsley. It soon became clear that Mido faced a hard fitness battle and his quest to lose around 30lbs before the start of the season was dealt a huge on August 4.
The striker badly injured his hamstring in the 2-2 friendly draw at Doncaster and will miss the opening day clash against former club Middlesbrough and possibly the next few months. It was terrible news for the Reds and left Hill searching for other options up front. Mido still believes he will repay the faith the club and fans have shown in him.
“The Barnsley fans have been great to me and I can’t wait to make an impact for their club. “They cheered me at Oakwell against West Brom and it showed me how much they care and how much they want me to do well. “That motivates me to get fit and not let them down. “It puts good responsibility on me and hopefully I can play lots of games and score lots of goals – that’s my simple aim for my Barnsley career. “It’s not about losing weight because anybody can lose weight. It’s about getting fit and losing weight in the right way. “You have to keep your energy levels right and keep your strength.” This will be Mido’s first season in the Championship and he
believes the Reds can make an impact on the league. “It’s hard to say how well we will do this season but I know we have quality. “Jacob Mellis impresses me on the training ground, as does Toni Silva. “Our back four is strong also and I know we have enough in our team to do well. We have to start the season strongly and then you never know what is possible. The immediate aim needs to be to finish higher
‘It’s not about losing weight because anybody can lose weight. It’s about getting fit and losing weight in the right way’ than last season.” Mido claims to have had interest from a variety of clubs throughout Europe for his signature, so why Barnsley? “I met the manager and he said the right things.
First game: Mido at Alfreton.
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“I like his philosophy and his attitude about the game. “We can do great things together I know it. “I like Barnsley, the people here and the town. “It’s a proper English place and I love the community. “Out of all the places I have ever lived, England is my favourite. “Even when I’ve finished playing, I’d like to settle here. “But now I have a job to do and I can’t wait to get going for Barnsley.”
All smiles: Mido with a fan and, main picture, warming up/.
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‘I don’t consider myself a youngster any more in football terms. People keep saying that I have promise but it is up to me to fulfill it’ Jacob Mellis
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WHEN Keith Hill made Mido his third signing of the summer he said that the Egyptian’s mixed reputation could have put other clubs off and helped Barnsley sign him. The same could surely be said of the first two new arrivals. The first player Hill brought in was Kelvin Etuhu who was jailed in March last year following a drunken street brawl outside a Manchester casino which left a man with a broken jaw. The former Manchester City winger pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to eight months in prison. The second signing was another midfielder in Jacob Mellis who was sacked by Chelsea in March after letting off a smoke bomb at their training ground. Hill has insisted that none of his signings are ‘damaged goods’ and if they show the right attitude and get fit then they can be top Championship players. Etuhu and Mellis certainly seem to be in agreement with their manager. Etuhu, 24, twice came close to signing for Barnsley after his release from prison and spent the second half of last season at Portsmouth where he impressed but the cash-strapped club went down. League One Pompey and Bradford City, who play in League Two, were reported to be Etuhu’s other possible destinations before he joined the Reds. Other clubs appear to be put off by Etuhu’s persistent knee problems that
have caused him to fail medicals in the past. He is delighted that Hill has given him another chance after he spent time on loan at Rochdale in 2007. “I worked with the gaffer and with David Flitcroft when I was much younger,” he said. “They know me and trust me and I know and trust them. I really enjoyed my time with them at Rochdale and am looking forward to seeing things progress at Barnsley. “There’s a good work ethic here and we have some really talented players. “There's no reason why we can’t hit the play-offs this season, it’s all about mental strength. “In terms of ability I see no reason why this team can’t challenge for the playoffs but it’s about getting our attitude right in games and making sure we pick up valuable wins. “I already knew Craig Davies and Scott Wiseman but all of the other lads have made me feel very welcome too.” Etuhu says a stint in prison has improved him as a person and he vows to let his football do the talking. “Prison made me a better man. I have made mistakes, just like lots of people have made mistakes, but I don’t want to dwell on the past and make a big thing out of it. “I’m here now to focus on football and I'm going to let my football do the talk-
‘Being in prison taught me not to take anything for granted and it has made me appreciate how privileged I am to be a footballer’ Kelvin Etuhu
ing and people can judge me on that, not on what happened in the past. “Being in prison taught me not to take anything for granted and it has made me appreciate how privileged I am to be a footballer. “I'm grateful for the opportunity of playing in the Championship for Barnsley and I don’t want to let the fans down.” While Mellis’ indiscretion did not result in jail time, it stunted a career that had looked very promising. The Nottinghamborn 21-year-old joined Barnsley’s local rivals Sheffield United as a boy but left for Chelsea at the age of 16. He played for England at under 16, under 17 and under 19 level and impressed in loan spells at Southampton and at Barnsley under Mark Robins. But the smokebomb incident saw him without and a club and with a reputation as a troublemaker. He said: “Last season was tough. I didn’t go out on loan so I was just playing reserve football then the stuff happened with the smoke bomb and I left. “I am just looking to put that behind me now. The manager at Barnsley has told me what he expects of me and I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I could meet those standards. “I am still only 21 but I don’t consider myself a youngster any more in football terms. People keep saying that I have
promise but it is up to me to fulfil it. “You only get so many chances and I have got another one at Barnsley so I have to take it.” Mellis made just one appearance for Chelsea, as a substitute in a Champions League match against MSK Zilina. He says he will never regret joining the Blues but says it is difficult for young reserve team players to break into the first team squad at Stamford Bridge as billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is constantly recruiting overseas superstars. “It is a crazy situation at Chelsea with the players they can sign and it is really frustrating to be a youth player there. “You can be training really well and feel that you’re so close to the first team but really you are a million miles away. “It is hard to keep your mind on football and not to make mistakes.” Despite not starting a first team game for any club since his last spell at Oakwell, Mellis insists he is a better player than he was last year. “Last season I did a lot of work with the reserve coaches at Chelsea on keeping the team’s shape and working hard off the ball for the team. I know that is what the Barnsley manager wants. “When I was at Barnsley last I probably didn’t take my defensive responsibilities and responsibilities to my teammates as seriously as I do now.”
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Cywka is keen to catch up “I took to the gaffer and I signed a deal. This team likes to pass it around and keep the ball on the ground. “I was really pleased after the first couple of training sessions because it’s clear that I’ll fit in well. “It suits my style of football as I like to play as a midfielder on the wing or behind the striker. “I’m an offensive player and like to have a shot or pass the ball through to our strikers. “That’s my target this season – to play as many games as I can, get some goals and get some assists for the strikers." Cywka started his career in Poland before being snapped up by Wigan as an 18-year-old following an impressive trial. He struggled to make an impact at the JJB Stadium and was sent
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POLISH star Tomasz Cywka admits he’s playing catch-up with his Barnsley team-mates but is excited about getting his Oakwell career underway. The 24-year-old was released by Reading at the end of last season and has spent the summer training on his own as he looked for a new club. But the former Derby and Wigan ace believes he is ready to take the Championship by storm. He said: “It has been a difficult pre-season for me. I have been getting ready on my own during the holidays but it’s not the same as training with the lads and playing in games. I can’t wait to start in the league now and get the season going. “I was really pleased when I got the call from Barnsley. It’s an established club in the league.
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Cywka is now looking forward to finding consistency for his new club. He said: “I just want to play games. I’ve had a good chat with the manager and I was pleased. “He wants me in the team and he wants to give me a chance so I want to repay him.”
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Silva wants to emulate Ricardo NO OTHER English football club can have benefited from Portugal’s colonisation of Guinea Bissau as much as Barnsley have in the last year. The West African nation was owned by Portugal during the slave trade and there are thousands of people of Guinean descent living in the Iberian nation. Ricardo Vaz Te was born in Portugal but moved back to his family’s homeland of Guinea Bissau the next year. He returned to Portugal a decade later and represented them as a youth international. Vaz Te starred for Barnsley last season before joining West Ham in January and guiding them to the Premier League. The Reds now have high hopes for Portugal under 18s star Toni Silva who was born in Guinea Bissau. The similarities don’t stop there. Both players are wingers who began their careers at Real
Massama , the club that also helped Manchester United’s Nani on his way. Silva will miss the first four weeks of the season with a knee injury but hopes that his form for Barnsley also compares to Vaz Te’s. “I have heard about him and seen him play but I have never met him,” he said. “All the lads talk about him here and say that he did well for Barnsley. He is a good footballer and he has a massive chance now to play in the Premier League. “He did very well at Barnsley and things went well for him. “I hope it goes the same way for me.” Silva moved from Massama to Benfica when he was 14 and spent two years at the Portuguese giants before coming to England. He spent a couple of months training with Chelsea then signed with Liverpool. He joined the Reds from Anfield last month and says he has made the right choice.
Prodigy: Toni Silva.
“At Benfica I was in the youth teams then at Liverpool I just played in the reserves and the under 18s. Now I am at Barnsley I have a very good chance to play in the first team. I know I need to work hard in training and play well for the manager. “There were a few clubs interested in me including one in Austria but I thought Barnsley
was the best place for me to come. “I don’t like to talk too much about myself but people can see that I like to run fast with the ball. “There are a lot of things that I need to do better and I will be working with the manager on those things.”
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Alnwick: I will be strong competition for Steele NEW stopper Ben Alnwick says he hasn’t come to Oakwell to be a back-up ‘keeper. The 25-year-old joined the Reds on a two-year deal from Tottenham where he endured a tough time following a £900,000 move after breaking into the Sunderland team as an 18year-old. He made just one appearance for Spurs and was loaned out seven times. He told the Chronicle: “Coming to Barnsley is a chance to kick-start my career and I have come here to play games and show everyone what I am capable of. It’s not going to be easy because Luke Steele is such a good goalkeeper but I am hoping to provide strong competition and get as many games under my belt as I can. “Being sent out on loan
was good to get experience but I’m now at a stage where I want to play games and make myself a regular somewhere. “I am from Newcastle and it’s great to be back up north – that’s one of the main reasons I chose Barnsley.” Alnwick, who has had loan spells at Doncaster Rovers and Leeds, is settling well into the dressing room and was pleased to see some familiar faces on his arrival at Oakwell. “I played with Stephen Dawson at Leyton Orient and I had six months with Mido at Spurs,” he added. “Mido’s working hard and getting his weight down. Once he’s fit he’ll be a real handful in this league. We have some great players here and all the lads are making me feel really welcome.”
Ben Alnwick and goalkeeping coach Ian Wilcock.
Player of the year Luke on his plans for ‘Steeley’s restaurant’, an England call-up and a top half league finish this season
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REDS fans may be relieved to hear that Barnsley is on the list of possible locations for ‘Steeley’s restaurant’. There is much speculation about what goalkeeper Luke Steele will do when his current contract runs out next summer. The Reds are yet to offer last season’s player of the year a new deal but the 27year-old says the restaurant he is planning to open after he retires could be in Barnsley, London or his hometown Peterborough. “That is what I am thinking at the moment but they are just examples,” said Steele, who has made 157 appearances for the Reds. “Being a footballer, I have a bit of money saved away and I have my fingers in a few pies in terms of business ventures. So Barnsley fans should look out because Steeley’s restaurant could be coming to a place near them. “It will serve traditional English-style food like steaks. The meat will be really good quality. It is just a little dream I have for when I am retired.”
Steele is not deterred when told that his Barnsley team-mate Scott Golbourne also plans to go into catering once he retires and hopes to open a clothes shop combined with a cafe like Pollyanna in Barnsley town centre (see page 18). “I think Scott should stick to fashion and leave the cooking to me,” jokes Steele. But the former England youth player is not planning to swap goalie gloves for oven gloves just yet as he attempts to maintain his excellent form between the sticks. He looks back fondly on a campaign littered with exceptional performances, especially in the first half of the season, that earned the Reds crucial points to keep them up despite their late slump. He said: “When I look back on last season all I think about is the positives. The negatives just don’t come to mind. “There are some great memories from last season and I am very proud of some of my performances. “Obviously saving two penalties at Reading was an amazing feeling and
Between the sticks: Luke Steele, centre, Lukas Lidakevicius, right, and Ben Alnwick at the Reds’ training camp in Spain.
more importantly it was our first win of the season. The 4-3 win at Peterborough was the best game I have ever played in and it was such a mental rollercoaster for me against my hometown club. “The Hull game when I saved a penalty from Matty Fryatt was good and obviously the two wins over Leeds stand out.” Steele believes he can still improve on his performance last season and is hoping for a national call-up. “I would like to concede fewer goals and stay fit for the whole season. It would be good to get recognition from the FA and maybe get into the England squad. “I just have to keep putting in good performances and see what happens. “As for the club, we need to get away from the bottom three mentality and stop being happy with just staying up. “Finishing in the top 12 at least is what we should want to achieve.” Steele missed the end of last season with a groin injury that eventually proved to be bone bruising and had a frustrating summer of rehabilitation. He is likely to miss at least the first few games of the season but says he will soon catch up. “I had all of the pre-season trip to Spain to get my base fitness up and I have been
Lithuanians look up to Barnsley’s Lidakevicius BARNSLEY’S teenage goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevicius is something of a novelty when he meets up with his fellow Lithuanians for youth internationals. The 19-year-old was one of just four foreign-based players in the East European nation’s under 21 squad this summer. “There were two who play in Italy and one who plays in Israel and then me,” he says. “It was my first time in the under 21s squad but everyone knew who I was because it is very rare for a Lithuanian player to join a club in another country, especially England.” Lukas came to Barnsley in 2010 and spent two years in the academy before signing a professional deal this year which he says was the highlight of his fledgling career.
“It was a dream come true to sign a pro deal. That is the reason that I left my home country and my friends and family so I was very pleased. “I have a great opportunity to be at a club like Barnsley and my next aim is to get into the first team. “It is very hard to become a number one or two goalkeeper at my age and at this level. I can’t see it happening this season but I will train hard and maybe I will get my chance in the next few seasons. “I am good mates with all the young outfield players who have been given a chance to play for Barnsley but it is different for ‘keepers so I am happy to wait.” Lukas played in the preseason friendly at Alfreton and is expected to be involved with the development squad this season.
‘We need to get away from the bottom three mentality and stop being happy with just staying up’ doing a lot of physio work. “With goalkeepers it is a different scenario to outfield players because we don’t need to do as much running as them. “We just need to make sure we aren’t rusty in our positional sense but I would like to think that after more than 200 professional games I know how to play.” Steele knows he will have to be on top form in training to get back in the team when he returns from injury but says football is not about individuals. “The manager has a good attitude and I know I am not always necessarily going to be the number one pick. “I have always worked well with whoever the other ‘keeper has been at Barnsley be it Heinz Muller, Kyle Letheran or David Preece. “It is not like a group of triple jumpers or sprinters who are going to be competing against each other. We are all working towards the same thing.” thereds page13
Loved up O’Brien is ready to go HE MIGHT have found love in South Yorkshire, but Jim O'Brien insists his Barnsley-born girlfriend Danielle Williams isn’t the only reason he has stayed in the town. O’Brien has been dating the singer, known for her appearance on ITV dating show Take Me Out, for the last few months. But it took more than the persuasive powers of his girlfriend to convince O’Brien to pen a new two-year deal at Oakwell. The Scottish winger said: "The Mrs would have been happy wherever I ended up. “The main reason I’m staying is because the gaffer wanted me and he said I’m in his plans. “That means a lot to me and it’s important to find a manager who really believes in you as a footballer. I also have a great rapport with the fans, it’s encouraging to know that they want you here.
“When I’m out and about town I get people coming up to me all the time and telling me that they want me to stay at Barnsley. “You don’t get that at every club and I really want to work hard for the fans and give them something to cheer about over the next two seasons.” The fans’ favourite has made 66 appearances for Barnsley and hopes to improve this season. “I've had injuries in each of my first two seasons here and I really want to try and avoid that this time round. “Injuries slow you down and can get you out of the flow, so I really want to stay fit and get as many games as possible. “Last year the target for the team was to avoid relegation and we did that. We had a great first half of the season but the second half spoilt it a bit. But if you look at the season overall I think
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Staying: Jim O’Brien
you’ve got to understand that we didn’t do that badly.” O’Brien, 24, was disappointed when close pal Jay McEveley left Oakwell at the end of last season – as he now has to find a new room-mate. “Jay’s a top boy and he’ll be missed, but you get used to it
happening in football as players come and go all the time. We are quite a tight unit at Barnsley and all the lads are real close, especially now we’ve had a full year together. I’ll need a new roommate, but I’ve heard Mido’s good for some banter so maybe I can room with him!”
Rob wants enjoyment again ROB EDWARDS is determined to enjoy this season, something he struggled with during the last campaign. The centre-back, who will be 30 on Christmas Day, joined the Reds from Blackpool last summer and was given the captain’s armband after impressing in pre-season. But Edwards lost the captaincy early on after picking up one of several injuries that plagued his season and restricted him to just 18 appearances. He found himself on the substitute’s bench regularly as the likes of Jimmy McNulty and Stephen Foster were preferred in the centre of defence. “I didn’t enjoy last season because of the injuries and not playing anywhere near as much as I wanted to when I joined the club,” said Edwards. “But this time I am fit and looking forward to hopefully getting a run of games. “You need to be playing games when you get to my age. “But you also need to be patient and realise that you have got a really good job and you need
to enjoy it as it won’t last for ever.” Barnsley manager Keith Hill has been searching for a new centre-back this summer to be a ‘leader on the pitch’. Edwards said: “It was a problem for us last season and we need someone who can spot the things that are going wrong on the pitch and make sure everyone is aware of what they need to be doing. “But we do have some big voices and big characters out there already like Stephen Foster. “Players can be leaders in different ways. Patrick Vieira led by how he played and was not as vocal as someone like Tony Adams. The more experienced you are, the more confident you are to be vocal and be a leader. “But if you are not a naturally loud person then it is something that can be very hard to learn. “I like to think that I talk quite a bit during games and that my communication skills are one of my main attributes but maybe I can keep working on them and improve.”
Davies aiming to score for his nan CRAIG Davies aims to be Barnsley’s top scorer this season – in tribute to his grandmother. The star striker, who bagged 11 goals for the Reds in his first season in the Championship, recently posted on Twitter: “I love my nan in a way no words can describe.” He later revealed that his 85year-old grandma had been in hospital after a bout of sickness. He said: “Nan was ill recently and I just wanted to give her a shout out on Twitter while she was getting better. “She is one of the most important people in my life. “She’s too ill to come to games but she follows me on the radio and always shows a great interest in my career. “She’s very special to me, along with my granddad, my mum and my step-dad. They are all the reason that I am where I am today. “My nan lives in Birmingham and, although I am in Sheffield, I get down to see the family as much as I can. “When I’m playing well it’s always nice to know that they are with me and cheering me on and I want to do as well as I can for them as well as for myself and Barnsley Football Club.” Davies, 26, recently became the latest Reds player to join Twitter. His posts are often deep and reflective although he insists fans shouldn’t read too much into them.
Davies’ Tweets You gotta keep your mates close, they’re the ones that will turn around an hate most #RealTalk This handball game is decent I know I didn't play but can never sleep after night games... Will never understand why England never took Micah Richards to the euros but took the likes of Phil jones an Henderson lol
“Most of the things I put on Twitter are music lyrics,” he said. “I will have been driving in the car listening to something so I’ll just put it on Twitter. I’m quite a private person so won’t be putting too much information about my life on there. “I don’t know how long I’ll be on Twitter. Sometimes I’m known for having a bit of a rant so I need to watch myself. “But I’m quite enjoying it at the moment. I get some great comments from fans although there have been one or two idiots.” Davies refuses to set himself goal targets for the upcoming season but says he wants to improve on last year’s total. “I obviously want the team to do well and on an individual note it’s all about goals for me. I won’t give a number but I want to bang as many in as I can and help the team up the table. “We started last season so well and we need to make sure we get off to a good start again. “But the difference this season has to be that we keep up the form and continue to win games so we don’t get sucked into a relegation battle like we did last season. “It’s much different to last year because fans now know what I’m capable of and they know what to expect. “Having had a year in the Championship I know I can play at this level and it’s my job to keep going and maintain my form.”
Dagnall: Last season was a ‘write off’
Who wears short shorts? Craig Davies rolls up his sleeves during a rare hot day in Barnsley this summer.
CHRIS Dagnall hopes to recover from the disappointment of last season and prove his critics wrong. The striker struggled to make an impact after signing from Scunthorpe in January and made nine goalless appearances before being sent out on loan to League Two side Bradford City. But the 26year-old is raring to go for the new campaign. “Last season was a writeoff for me. I’m just trying to put it behind me,” Dagnall said. “This is the season for me and I know I’ve got to produce. “But I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my entire career and I’m looking forward to showing the Barnsley fans what I can do. “Like any job, you have ups and downs when you're a footballer but you have to get on with it and knuckle down. “I always knew that I’d be back at Barnsley and going out to Bradford was just about getting games and improving my fitness. “Leaving Barnsley was never an option to me nor was it ever in my thinking. I am determined to do well here and have been working hard all summer to get myself ready for the new season. “I haven’t played much football at all over the last two years and I can’t wait to be back on the field. “My aim is to play more games and get as many goals as I can. “I don’t set myself goal targets because I don’t know what position the manager will play me in, but I do know that I’ll give 100 per cent wherever I am playing and that’s the main thing for me to focus on.”
Point to prove: Chris Dagnall. thereds page15
Barnsley’s players and staff for 2012/13
Tomasz Cywka, above, and Toni Silva, below.
The Reds: (Back row, left to right): John Lucas, David Flitcroft, Lee Collins, Bobby Hassell, Kelvin Etuhu, Mido, Jacob Mellis, Paul Digby, Keith Hill, Guy Proctor, Jim McNulty, Stephen Foster, Scott Wiseman, Luke Steele, Rob Edwards, Stephen Dawson, Chris Dagnall, John Stones, Craig Davies, Lukas Lidakevicius, Matt Done, Ben Alnwick and Ian Wilcock. (Front row, left to right): Sam Patterson, Jim O’Brien, Jake Scott, Brad Kilburn, Matty Steade, Danny Rose, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, David Perkins, Jordan Clark and Scott Golbourne.
Barnsley’s players and staff for 2012/13
Tomasz Cywka, above, and Toni Silva, below.
The Reds: (Back row, left to right): John Lucas, David Flitcroft, Lee Collins, Bobby Hassell, Kelvin Etuhu, Mido, Jacob Mellis, Paul Digby, Keith Hill, Guy Proctor, Jim McNulty, Stephen Foster, Scott Wiseman, Luke Steele, Rob Edwards, Stephen Dawson, Chris Dagnall, John Stones, Craig Davies, Lukas Lidakevicius, Matt Done, Ben Alnwick and Ian Wilcock. (Front row, left to right): Sam Patterson, Jim O’Brien, Jake Scott, Brad Kilburn, Matty Steade, Danny Rose, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, David Perkins, Jordan Clark and Scott Golbourne.
Dawson happy to give the orders STEPHEN Dawson has told his team-mates he will carry on barking out orders on the pitch – even if they can’t understand him. The midfielder is one of the more vocal members of the Barnsley team and has been known to give his colleagues a dressing down when they aren’t performing well. But with his strong Irish accent, Dawson, 26, admits he isn’t always easy to understand and could do with an interpreter. He said: “I am known as someone who likes to have a bit of a moan on the pitch but the lads probably don’t even know what I’m saying. “It’s become normal for people to ask me to repeat myself because they think my accent is too strong. “I could do with an interpreter to help the other lads out! “It’s funny because when I go
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back to Ireland my family tell me that I’ve lost my Irish accent after being in England for ten years but some people round here obviously don’t agree.” Although Dawson, who captained Leyton Orient before signing for the Reds in January, might have the odd cross word with his team-mates on the field, he says the banter in the Oakwell dressing room ensures the lads remain a tight unit. “Footballers can say things to each other in the heat of the moment on a football field but off the pitch they can be best mates. “It’s like that here, like it is at most clubs. “We have great banter at Barnsley and the trip to Spain really helped us to gel and become a tight unit. Steeley likes to mess about and play a few jokes but the worst two are David Perkins and Jim McNulty.
Loud: Stephen Dawson.
“They are inseparable and are a real nightmare when you get them together. I think they were separated at birth because they are so close and bounce off each other with their jokes.” Dawson, who also had spells at Mansfield and Bury, made 12 appearances for Barnsley last season and was happy with his contribution. “It’s not going to be easy in this league and we are well aware of the quality of the opposition.
“We start the season with games against Middlesbrough, Wolves and Brighton and you don’t get much harder than that. “All three of them will hope to be in the top half by the end of the season so it’s going to be a really hard start for us. “We all know that we ended last season poorly but at the end of the day we have made it into the Championship for another year so it’s time to kick on and get to work.”
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Perks going ‘nuts’ for new season MIDFIELDER David Perkins says the dressing room banter at Oakwell has helped him mentally recover from his nut allergy scare last month. The 30-year-old was rushed to Barnsley Hospital after suffering an allergic reaction when he accidentally ate food that contained nuts in the club’s canteen. And although the incident scared him, his team-mates have ensured he doesn’t take it too seriously. “The lads are hilarious with it,” Perkins said. “They have been saying that I’ve ‘gone nuts’ and are telling me that I need to be careful what I’m eating. “It’s quite funny really and, although it was a bit of a scary moment, it’s become something we joke about in the dressing room and it’s just one of those things you have to laugh at.
“I guess it’s the lads’ way of being supportive. Taking the mickey is the only way some of them know how to be friendly! “I’ve had the nut allergy all my life and have always had to monitor what I eat. “We had a new chef in at the club that day but no one told him about my allergy so that’s why I had such a bad reaction. “I ended up at Barnsley Hospital so would like to give a shout out to all the staff there. “They got me sorted and I was back training within a few days so it’s all good now.” Perkins, who played 33 league games in his debut Championship season, is hoping to push on even further this season and believes the Reds are capable of a top half finish. “We will certainly surprise some teams, just like we did with Leicester away” he said.
Allergic: David Perkins.
“There are some big names in this division and clubs are spending a lot of money. “We did OK last season but we were all disappointed with how we tailed off towards the end. “I am enjoying my life at Barnsley and if the manager keeps picking me then I’ll keep doing my best and will keep contributing in the way that I do. “When I came into the
Championship last season I knew that it would be hard and it’ll probably be even tougher this year looking at the fixtures. “But we know we have some talented players in our squad. “The manager has brought in some good players and the youngsters at this club are great too. We just have to keep working hard and I know we are capable of getting in the top half.”
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Scott’s fashion fix Barnsley left-back and clothes blogger Golbourne on the Reds’ new kit, the best and worst dressers at Oakwell and his ambition to emulate Pollyanna WHILE most footballers dream of pulling on an England shirt or the colours of one of the world’s top clubs, Scott Golbourne is interested in more refined garments. Barnsley’s left-back is currently focusing on his footballing career and hopes to reach the Premier League again after experiencing it briefly with Reading as a teenager. But he is also pursuing his blossoming sideline as a fashion designer. Last autumn, the 24-year-old set up a fashion blog called We Fly 2 Gether with his model girlfriend Keshia Hart which features pictures of them in their favourite outfits. Their posts were noticed by Shrewsbury Town striker Marvin Morgan – who runs a successful clothing label called Fresh Ego Kid – and he hired the couple to help with design and styling. The clothes have been modelled by the boyband JLS. “It’s been unbelievable how things have taken off,” said Golbourne. “I didn't expect it to escalate so quickly. We have always loved fashion and wanted to blog about it. We want to start bringing out our own range of clothes soon. “I am also really into food and some of the lads at Barnsley have told me about Pollyanna in the town centre. It’s a clothes shop with a cafe in it which would be a perfect business for me.” Golbourne says it is difficult juggling his business and football career. “We may have to travel down to Brighton or somewhere for a photoshoot or
business meeting then back up to Barnsley straight away for my training. But we love it. “Football is my main priority and I have to fit everything else around it. “I am having an amazing journey in football but once I retire I will probably try my hand at something else. “I can’t see myself staying in football as a coach or a manager. “I don’t think I would have much to offer in those roles.” As a fashion fanatic, Golbourne admits he has cringed at some of the clothes he has seen footballers wearing in the past. But the Bristol-born defender believes the current Barnsley side are less sartorially challenged than most in their profession. “The lads at Barnsley are not too bad at dressing. I have seen a lot worse. “A lot of footballers are very expansive with their clothing choices but not very effective and that can be a bit frustrating. “Last season Jay McEveley was the main culprit but he has gone now so there aren’t many left that fall into that category. “A lot of the lads are not loving Bobby Hassell’s gear. He gets a lot of banter about his clothes. “Jim O'Brien is one of the best dressers. He has a similar style to myself but he is maybe a bit more influenced by the indie and rock music that he is into.” Golbourne’s love of clothes does not extend to football kits but he does like Barnsley’s new strip. “I am not that interested in the design of football kits. I just want them to be comfortable and breathable. “I hate baggy shirts – they remind me of being an under ten wearing a massive under 14s’ shirt. I do like our kit this year and I think it will be one of
‘Some players go into a mini depression when things aren’t going well and sometimes they drink a lot more than they should. I am lucky that I have my business to keep me busy’ the nicest in the league.” He happily admits that rushing home to try on the latest shirts or jeans then posting the pictures on the internet is not the usual behaviour of a professional footballer. But he says that his sideline helps him deal with the potential pitfalls of the job. “When you are a footballer you have a lot of time off so it is good to have something to fill that gap in your life.
“It helps to have other interests so you can switch off from football when you have a big game coming up or if things aren’t going very well. You could get injured for a couple of months and have nothing to do. “Some players go into a minidepression when things aren’t going well and sometimes they drink a lot more than they should. I am lucky that
Lee thankful to Steele for decent start at Oakwell
Anybody there? One of the pictures on We Fly 2 Gether.
LEE COLLINS is looking forward to his first full season as a Championship player but his Barnsley career was almost over before it had begun. The defender joined Barnsley on loan from Port Vale in March and made his debut against Reading at Oakwell a few days later. Within the first minute he allowed Noel Hunt to latch onto a Jason Roberts pass but Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele made a fine save. Collins said: “It was horrible. I had my heart in my mouth when Hunt went through but I was buzzing when Steeley saved it. “I am very grateful to him because that would have been a terrible start to my Barnsley career. I was on loan and a big mistake could have cost me. “I think I would have got over it but it would not have
Grateful: Lee Collins. been easy. I wasn’t quite ready for the pace and movement of Reading but I recovered and had a good game even though we lost 4-0. The manager and the players seemed really happy with me and I think I carried that on for the rest of the season. “Next season is a big one for me. I really want to prove myself as a Championship player.”
Golbourne with girlfriend and business partner Keshia Hart.
Scott with a cap desgined by Shrewsbury Town stiker Marvin Morgan.
I have my business to keep me busy. “It is also nice to have control over something because as a footballer you are under a dictatorship. “The manager tells you when to train and when to play and rightly so because he is in charge. “It is funny when people meet me because they don't expect me to be a footballer. “I suppose I don't fit the stereotype. A lot of lads like to do other sports like golf in their spare time
but I don’t like the idea of walking around for hours on a golf course. “I am quite different to a lot of the footballers I know but I still get on with them. “The lads at Barnsley laugh at some of the outfits I wear to training but I don’t mind. “I am my own man and I can take a bit of banter. “They have accepted me really well at Barnsley.”
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Veterans Bobby and Fo WITH almost 500 Reds games and 13 years of service to the club between them, Bobby Hassell and Stephen Foster are treated with respect by their younger teammates. And younger teammates are the only type that Hassell will have this season as he is the oldest member of the squad at 32. Foster will join him at that age on Tuesday, September 18 when Barnsley play Blackburn at Ewood Park. It is unusual for the oldest players at a football club to be in their early thirties. But the departures of veterans Andy Gray and David Preece have made Hassell and Foster the senior citizens of the Oakwell playing staff. “Usually there are a couple of 33 or 34-year-olds in the squad but this year we have a very young squad,” said Hassell who is in the top 20 of the club’s alltime appearance makers with
‘I want youngsters to come in and take my place if they are good enough’ Bobby Hassell 274 games under his belt. “Your career just flies by. It seems like yesterday when I arrived at the club as a 23-yearold but nine years have gone by and I am the oldest player. “I don’t think any of my eight seasons have been bad seasons. “People say we have gone stale in the last three or four years but we have stayed in the Championship which is good for us against some much richer clubs. We have had some good cup runs and a lot of good players have come to Oakwell.” Barnsley manager Keith Hill has praised the attitude of Hassell and Foster during the transitional period the club went through
last year. Foster, who has played 210 times for the Reds, says the manager has told the duo that they can have days off training. “The gaffer knows what it is like when you are getting into your early thirties and it takes longer to recover than when you were 22,” said Foster. “We will still give 100 per cent anytime we are on the pitch but it may just be that we miss the odd session now and then. “We can’t train like Jordan Clark or John Stones can. “I talk to those lads quite a lot and I have mentioned that your career goes so quickly that you need to appreciate memories and achievements when they happen. “I have had some great times at Barnsley. I came here when my career had gone a bit flat after I went to Burnley from Crewe but didn’t play as many games as I would have liked. “Barnsley gave me the chance to play a lot of games in the
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REUBEN Noble-Lazarus believes this season is ‘a massive one’ as he aims to resurrect his promising career. The tricky winger, who turned 19 yesterday, burst onto the scene as a 15-yearold when Simon Davey gave him his debut against Ipswich in 2008. Four years on, Noble-Lazarus has made just 20 appearances for Barnsley and has struggled to become a regular in the first team. Last season, boss Keith Hill warned Noble-Lazarus that he could end up in non-league football if he didn’t find more consistency and the teenager from Huddersfield knows that he has a big year ahead. He told the Chronicle: “People were expecting a lot from me because I broke into the team so young but I’ve been hampered with a lot of injuries and probably haven’t developed like I should have done. “This season is the one for me, it’s a massive one. I want to push for my place, break through into the first team and get a run of games. “The gaffer knows that I’m talented and have the ability but he’s trying to get me to push on with my work-rate and selfbelief.”
Noble-Lazarus isn’t against going out on loan to gain experience but said he would prefer to stay at Oakwell to fight for his place. “Barnsley is my club and I want to be playing games here,” he said. “I know I have it in me to play at this level and I just want to stay focused and see what happens. “We have a good set of lads here and the atmosphere around the club is better than it has been in a long time so I know we have it in us as a squad to push up the table and have a good season.” Manager Keith Hill hopes Reuben will fulfil his potential this season. Hill said: “It is a big season for Reuben and I hope he does well. “He is a gifted young player and the opportunity to break into our first team is there for him. “He has to remember that it is a living that he is trying to earn and you can’t survive just on brilliant ability. You have to work hard as well. “But we have to remember that Reuben is still only young. “He has a lot to learn but I am willing to give him the chance to do that.”
nd Fozzie going strong Five oldest players Bobby Hassell Stephen Foster David Perkins Rob Edwards Mido
June 4, 1980 September 18, 1980 June 21, 1982 December 25, 1982 February 23, 1983
Championship and I will always be grateful for that.” Hassell says the pair have not been the targets of any agebased jokes on the training pitch. “Everyone is very respectful. The youngsters are all good lads and are always asking questions and trying to learn. “When I was a youngster at Mansfield the captain was 34 and he was really good to the young lads and he told us to do the same when we got to the end of our careers. “I don’t want to stand in the way of a good young player. “I want youngsters to come in and take my place if they are
good enough because that is what the club needs.” Both players have just one year remaining on their current contracts and still have aims they would like to achieve. Foster wants to continue to be a first team regular while Hassell has some statistical milestones in sight. The right-back said: “I would like to get to 300 games and I would also love to play for a tenth season if I get a new contract. In terms of my aims for the team, I think we just need to keep doing what we have been doing. “It will be very difficult for us to go up unless the club’s finances change or we have a phenomenal season where everything just clicks which is not impossible and we’ve seen it before.” Manager Keith Hill has been looking for a ‘leader’ in defence this summer, but can’t the two oldest players in the squad with nearly 500 Barnsley matches
between them perform that role? “The type of player that goes around shouting and screaming at everyone is few and far between,” said Hassell. “We haven’t had a really loud voice on the pitch since Darren Moore left. “Me and Fozzie are quiet lads and while we try to bring our experience onto the pitch and help the others, we are not the loudest voices on the pitch.” Foster believes Hill is not after a bawler and thinks someone from within the current squad can step up. He said: “I have spoken to the gaffer and I am not sure he wants someone who will scream and shout. “He may want a bit more leadership on the pitch but maybe that can come from within the players who are already here if no one else comes in.”
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‘People were expecting a lot from me because I broke into the team so young but I’ve been hampered with a lot of injuries and probably haven’t developed like I should have done’
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Scott: ‘I’m still the fastest at the club’ SPEEDY Scott Wiseman has told team-mates Kelvin Etuhu and Toni Silva: “I’m still the quickest player at Barnsley.” Etuhu and Silva have impressed in pre-season with their blistering pace. But full-back Wiseman, known for his fast darts down the right flank, insists he’s the team’s best sprinter. “I’m still the quickest,” he jokes. “Kelvin and Toni are fast but they’re not challenging me just yet! On a serious note, it’s great that the gaffer is bringing in more quick players. “He loves pace and that’s my main attribute so it’s something I need to look after and monitor. “I know it’s my greatest strength and it gets me out of trouble when I need it. It comes naturally to me and always has done. I do lots of sprint work, as do all the lads, to keep on top of it and to stay at full fitness.” Wiseman, 26, admits his first
season at Barnsley was ‘inconsistent’ and he knows he has a lot to work on if he is to keep his place in the starting 11. “We have such good competition in the team now that you can’t rest on your laurels,” he said. “If you play poorly then the manager will put someone else in. “There’s two or three other lads who can play in my position so I have got to stay on top of my game. I was inconsistent last season and had too many bad games but I’ve learned a lot and it was a good year for me to gain experience at this level. “I am massively looking forward to the season and as a team we know we need to improve on last year and not tail off like we did last season. We all know how hard the Championship is now and with teams like Sheffield Wednesday coming up, it’s going to be even harder. “But we are all raring to go.
Pace: Scott Wiseman says he is quicker than new signings Kelvin Etuhu and Toni Silva. “The manager expects us to progress which is an exciting challenge. The new lads look good and we also have some impressive youth talent at this club so it
promises to be a great season. “There’s a great sense of team spirit here at Barnsley which is as good as anything I’ve ever been with before.”
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Matt glad he chose football over golf MATTY Done is getting into the swing of things as he looks forward to his second season in the Championship. The winger has spent most of his summer holidays on the golf course ahead of what he knows will be a tough season for the Reds. And while golf is just a hobby these days for the 24-yearold, there was a time in his life when he thought it could have been his full-time career. “I was playing golf for my county team in the West Midlands when I was 13 and 14 and I was told I could have made it as a professional,” says Done, who plays off a handicap of three. “Some of the lads I played with are now pros but in my mind I was always going to go down the football route and I’m so glad that I did that now.” Done was on the leader board in a Sky Sports golf competition to find the longest drive among football league players, and was only pipped by Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith towards the end of last season.
He said: “I play with Jimmy McNulty and Perks and would also have a game with Jay McEveley and Andy Gray when they were here. A lot of the lads are golfers but none of them probably take it as seriously as me. I went on a golfing trip to Portugal in the summer and get out on the course as often as I can. “I’m not one of these who goes around in the flash gear and the expensive bag – I just use the same gear I was using when I was a kid.” Done, who had spells at Wrexham, Hereford and Rochdale before signing for Barnsley, is relishing the new football season. He says his main target is to stay fit
Multi-talented: Matt Done.
‘Everyone will think they can beat us home and away. We are well ahead of other teams in terms of fitness’ having picked up several hamstrings injuries last season. “Last season was a big learning curve for me,” he said. “I have 12 months’ experience now and have learned a lot. “I’ve been working with the physio in the summer to look at ways of avoiding picking up the same injuries.
“It’s frustrating when you’re on the sidelines because all you want to do as a footballer is play
games. “I hope to score more goals than I did last season and create more chances. It’s going to be a hard season but we know we can compete. “When I go down the fixture list I see some tough games. “The Leeds games will be massive matches and we want to beat them twice again but then there’s the likes of Bolton and Blackburn. “Everyone will think they can beat us home and away but we will surprise them. “We are well ahead of other teams in terms of fitness as we've been working on it so hard through the summer.”
Diggers getting tips on his sk Ready to bloom: Danny Rose.
Striker Rose sets one-goal target MANY strikers set themselves targets of 20 goals per season but young forward Danny Rose has much more humble ambitions – he just wants one. The 18-year-old has made five appearances for the Reds and hit the post in the 2-0 loss at Southampton. This season, the Barnsley-born striker hopes to make more of an impact. “To be honest, I just want one goal,” he said. “I’m not going to say anything more than that because I simply want that first one and then we can go from there. “If I get one, you never know what will come after that. “I’m grateful that the manager has given me opportunities so hopefully more chances will come my way this season and I can prove to everyone that I am more than capable of playing at this level.
BARNSLEY midfielder Paul Digby believes the club’s new signings have improved his game. The 17-year-old says he has picked up tips on the training pitch from Jacob Mellis, Kelvin Etuhu and Mido. “Hanging around the new players has been brilliant and has been a real education,” Digby said. “They have all come from big clubs and have played with top players and worked with some of the world’s best coaches so there’s obviously been things that they’ve been able to teach me. “Technically, they are brilliant with the ball. “Jacob is from Chelsea and Kelvin played at Manchester City so they have a wealth of experience to pass on. “Mido is great to have around the place too. “His feet are incredible and his first touch is so good. “Some of the things he does in training are a bit wild and I’ve never seen them before. “He’s also great to talk to about non-football issues and has even given me advice on cars and car insurance!” Digby, 17, impressed during four appearances last season. The Sheffield-born midfielder recently signed a new two-year deal at Oakwell and is tipped to be a future star at the club.
Highly-rated: Midfielder Paul Digby.
He hopes to feature frequently in the first team this season but says a lot of work is needed if he is to become a regular in the Championship. “The gaffer hasn’t indicated whether or not I will start the first game but that doesn’t concern me.
“I want to keep playing as often as I can and make sure the manager knows that if he wants me to play then I am more than ready to step up. “The main thing is to keep enjoying my football.” Digby made his debut as a substitute for David Perkins in a 1-1
Left-back Matty is going steady after exciting trip to Spain MATTY Steade was like a kid at Christmas when he got the call to join Barnsley's pre-season trip to Spain. The young left-back was calledup to the squad after Mido was forced to stay in Britain due to visa issues. Steade, 17, said: “I couldn’t sleep the night before, it was crazy. “I was so excited and it was my first real time of training with the players. “I did well and really enjoyed my time there, even though it was really hot.” Steade, from Sheffield, has been at Oakwell since he was 14 and is looking forward to progressing through the ranks even further thereds page26
this season. He said: “I just want to get a squad number and hopefully get a start, that’d be a big achievement for me and then I’ll just take it from there. “The manager likes to give younger players the chance and I’m looking forward to having that kind of opportunity this season. “I’ve been happy with my form in pre-season and I just want to crack on and keep working hard.” Steade played at left-back in the Tuesday night pre-season friendlies against non-league sides Alfreton Town and Stocksbridge Park Steels. He produced fine performances in both matches.
Hoping to start: Matty Steade.
his skills – and car insurance draw with Derby at Pride Park in September when he was just 16 years old. He made a further appearance from the bench and started twice before earning his professional deal. Another new experience came when he joined the Barnsley team on their pre-season tour of Spain. He was keen to stay on the Costa Del Sol when his older team-mates were starting to get homesick. “I absolutely loved being in Spain for pre-season,” he said. “Towards the end everyone was wanting to get home but I loved it and wanted to stay. “The weather was amazing and it was nice not coming back to the rain all the time.”
First team plans: John Stones.
Highly-rated Stones says: ‘We’ll grow together’
‘I want to keep playing as often as I can and make sure the manager knows that if he wants me to play then I am more than ready to step up’ Paul Digby
Clark: ‘I am better than I played against Brighton’ BEFORE Barnsley’s final game of last season at home to Brighton, a team from Hoyland Town Magpies Junior Football Club went onto the pitch as mascots. If they wanted any inspiration for their future careers they needed to look no further than one of their own in 18-year-old Hoyland boy Jordan Clark who made his first Reds start in that game. The former Kirk Balk school pupil said: “The gaffer said he was pleased with the way I played but I thought I could have done a bit better. “I am better than my performance against Brighton. “But it was great to have the experience and Barnsley is one of
Ambitious: Jordan Clark. only one or two clubs in the Championship that plays youngsters like me in the first team. “The manager has told us that in training we can show the senior
pros the way rather than the other way round. “We don’t want to drop down to the development squad, we want to play in the Championship.”
HIGHLY-RATED defender John Stones hopes that he and his friends from the academy will form the backbone of the Barnsley team for years to come. The Penistone lad turned 18 on May 28 and has impressed in preseason. He has been tipped to start the season in the first team and hopes his mates do too. “We know each other like the back of our hands and we will develop together,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the player I am without the academy coaches and the other lads who I have played with. “I hope we all make it but it will take time and we need to make sure we have professional attitudes with the things we do and the things we eat as well.” Stones played twice last season and missed a fine headed chance on the last day against Brighton. “I was a bit gutted and I should have scored which would have been amazing for me and my family. “It was playing on my mind for a while but I am over it now. “The important thing is that I was picked and I got myself in that position.” thereds page27
First year professionals
Taking the plunge into th Jake Scott THE YOUNG defender hopes to emulate stalwart Bobby Hassell. He said: “I have a lot of respect for Bobby and hope I can have a career like his. He interacts with all the young lads and he’s taught me a lot. I don’t think you can class yourself as a professional until you've played 25 or 30 games and I hope I get a chance to show everyone what I can do.”
Sam Patterson THE MIDFIELDER from Wakefield believes the signing of Mido has taken him one step closer to fulfiling his football dreams. He said: “Mido is great. He has played with the likes of Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I dream about playing alongside those kind of players so to play alongside Mido means I’m one step closer. He always says ‘hello’ to us young lads and encourages us in training.”
Next generation: Barnsley’s teenage players, and Chris Dagnall, with a young fan at the open day.
THE WORSBROUGH lad was told he was too short to sign for Newcastle after a trial last season but wants to play for Barnsley. Kilburn, who is just under six foot, said: “Barcelona have centre halves who aren’t the tallest so it’s not put me off. I’m looking forward to focusing on my career at Barnsley. I have been a Barnsley fan all my life so it’d be a big deal for me and my family if I got a chance to play in the first team at Oakwell.”
Goal: Brad Kilburn scores for the under 18s in a pre-season friendly against Burnley.
BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill is delighted with the quality of players being produced by the club’s academy but insists that would not be significant if it wasn’t for his willingness to play them in the first team. Hill played teenagers such as Paul Digby, John Stones, Danny Rose and Jordan Clark last season. He had pinpointed the academy as a crucial part of the club’s development but says that might not be the case if someone else was in his job. Hill said: “Academies can become white elephants. “There is no point in a club having an academy and spending money on it if they don’t have a manager who is prepared to take the time to develop those young players by using them in the first team squad. “Ronnie (Branson, academy head coach) and Bunny (Mark Burton, head of coaching) and their staff are doing excellent work and they have produced four or five players recently that I believe could have very good careers. But all their work would be for nothing if I ignored those players and decided to fill their spaces in the squad with new
to the first team
Bathtime: Some of Barnsley’s under 18 scholars with coach Nathan Winder in a plunge pool – a substitute for ice baths which help cool the muscles quickly – during their pre-season tour of Malta.
‘There is no point in a club having an academy if they don’t have a manager who is prepared to take the time to develop those young players’ Keith Hill recruits.” Branson says the attitude of the club’s young players is as important as their ability. He said: “Most of them have been with us since they were eight or nine years old. “We work alongside their parents to make sure they are good people as well as good players. “We tell them to be exceptional on the grass but ordinary off it. “It is not a boot camp but we do try to keep standards of behaviour as high as possible. We like to think that, even if scholars don’t get professional contracts, then they have had positive experiences at the club.” The academy has been officially accepted into the category two league under the Football League’s new Elite Player Performance Plan. This means they will have to hire
three new coaches and alter their coaching schedule. They will also field an under 21 team in the newly-formed development league. They are in the northern section of the league and will play 22 matches. Most games will be on Monday afternoons but they can also be played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Mondays. The under 18s will play the same opposition at the opposite venue on Saturdays. As well as Stones, Clark, Rose and Digby – who were all given professional contracts by Mark Robins or Hill – five players were signed up until next summer to be part of the development squad. Goalkeeper Lukas Lidakevicius and left-back Matty Steade went on the pre-season trip to Spain and have featured in friendlies. Branson says that the other first year scholars – Brad Kilburn, Sam Patterson and Jake Scott – still have a good chance of breaking into the first team. He said: “Players develop at different rates and the ones that no one is talking about at the start of the season might be making a big impact by Christmas time.”
Bunny thinks club can produce new coaches as well as players FORMER Red Mark ‘Bunny’ Burton believes the club can start producing its own coaches as well as players. The Dodworth man played seven times for Barnsley in the early 1990s then went into coaching when a knee injury forced him to retire. He says former players can start out coaching in the academy and go as far as the first team. Burton said: “Barcelona do it, so why shouldn’t we? “There are plenty of former players who come back and coach at the academy and they have real talent. For example Paul Heckingbottom is currently coaching some youth teams. I see no reason why the manager of the under 11s or under 12 shouldn’t have the ambition to become first team manager. I have an ambition to work in the first team set-up at Barnsley in the future but I am happy where I am for now.” Burton was a ‘heart on my sleeve’ midfielder during his playing days but now advocates a thoughtful approach to the game after more than 15 years as a coach. He says: “I have changed completely as a coach because I think the game is changing. “I was very brash as a young coach. It was a difficult transition and I made a lot of mistakes but I have learned. “Some players who become coaches are still completely set in their ways and want to play long balls and chase the second balls. “I think that is a dinosaur way of
Head of coaching: Mark Burton.
Academy coach: Paul Heckingbottom. thinking. It is quite embarrassing. “We need to play a possessionbased game that uses speed, technique and agility. “The physical strength and power will come in later years. “That is what we need to be telling our kids to do, not lump it forward to the big centre forward and feed off the scraps. “It shouldn’t be results-based. When I walk around our kids’ matches on a Saturday, I don't ask the score I just watch the quality of football and see who the good players are.”
Back in the day: A teenage Mark Burton, left, helps to clear snow off the Oakwell pitch. thereds page29
Keith Hill on Blackburn
Lee Collins on Wolves IT WILL be their first home league game after going down so there will be a lot of pressure on them that we can hopefully use to our advantage. I supported them when I was a young lad and I came through the academy there. It will be good to go back to Molineux. I will treat it as the same as any other match but if we win it probably will mean slightly more to me.
I BEGAN my career at Ewood Park. It was an excellent football education and a great place to start off. I was lucky enough to work under great managers like Don Mckay and Kenny Dalglish and play with top players like Kevin Moran and Colin Hendry. Blackburn just finished a difficult season and there is a lot of discontent among the fans but I am glad that Steve Keen has been given the chance to put things right. It’s a big match just after Christmas.
Season’s meetings Barnsley’s 2012/13 fixtures Middlesbrough H A Wolves A Brighton H Bristol City H Blackpool A Blackburn A Birmingham H Ipswich Peterborough H Leeds United A Charlton Ath A H C Palace Nottm Forest H A Hull City Derby County A Huddersfield H A Bolton H Cardiff City H Burnley A Watford A Leicester H Sheff Weds A Millwall
Flitcroft on Bolton thereds page30
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I STARTED watching football at Burnden Park when I was a kid so Bolton has a special place in my heart. I will look forward to the game against a Premier League outfit with a lot of very talented players. We will be well into the season by then but I expect them to be doing well.
Birmingham H H Blackburn Peterborough A Leeds United H A Ipswich H Millwall A Blackpool Middlesbrough A H Brighton H Wolves A Bristol City H Bolton A Burnley Cardiff City A H Watford Sheff Weds A Leicester City H Crystal Palace A Charlton Ath H Derby County H Nottm Forest A H Hull City Huddersfield A
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I PLAYED more than 100 games for Barnsley and now I’m a player/coach at Huddersfield so it was the first fixture I looked for. I hope that both teams are pushing for the play-offs by the last day. But even if they have nothing to play for, it won’t be a typical end of season game because it is a big derby and the first at Oakwell for a while.
Colgan on Terriers
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