Monday, 23 January 2012

Barnsley - Oakwell

 
Barnsley FC
Oakwell
Grove Street
Barnsley
South Yorkshire
S71 1ET

01226 211211
Official Website


Matchday Number: 71
Saturday 26th October 2002
Barnsley 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2

My first visit to Barnsley was in October 2002. Wycombe had made a decent start to the season and were in the upper half of the table, while Barnsley were going through a bit of a crisis. They were around 15th in the League, were in administration and had recently parted company with their manager. Wycombe were actually favourites, a strange feeling when heading to a bigger team like Barnsley. I made my way up on the Independent Supporters Club coach, and as always we stopped at a decent pub that served food. I had a Chicken Tikka Massala and a few pints of Strongbow and was in a happy mood as I left. We got to Barnsley about half 2 and went straight in the ground. As you can tell from this website, I like getting photographs of grounds and didn't think this would be an issue until a steward approached me and told me that it wasn't. I though fair enough, and told him that I would put my camera away and not take any more. Bear in mind this was 20 minutes before kick off and so there was no danger of getting any match action as you can clearly tell from the first picture at the bottom. But this wasn't enough for Mr Wannabe Traffic Warden and he escorted me out of the ground and told me to put my camera back on the coach before coming back in. Nowadays I would have protested, but in those days I couldn't be arsed and so just complied with his request. Once I had gone back to the coach, I knocked on the metal gate as I had already paid the best part of £20 to get in and didn't want to pay again. Even then it took me at least 5 minutes to get in, whilst they tried to find the steward responsible for chucking me out. Luckily I got in with a few minutes to spare before kick off, so didn't miss any of the game.

Despite all their troubles, Barnsley had the best of the first half. Rory Fallon gave them a deserved lead on 33 minutes, but Keith Ryan equalised with a great volley just before half time.The second half again saw Barnsley play the better football, but there were no further goals and in the end it was a decent away point for Wycombe.

Against my better judgement I went to Barnsley again, mainly as I was aiming to do every game that season, a trend that carried on for 7 seasons without me missing a home or away game. This time it was a dull 0-0 draw that I saw, minus my camera of course. But again, it was a good away point. The wheels had started to come off Lawrie Sanchez's reign at Wycombe and we were struggling. As a result we were now managed by Tony Adams and eventually went down later that season.

OAKWELL has been rebuilt on 3 sides in recent times. Behind both goals are large all seated and covered, holding around 5000 fans each. Away fans get one of these from which the views are excellent, though saying that the stand is sometimes shared with home fans. To the left is a 2 tiered East Stand, which has a row of executive boxes in between. Finally the only old stand, the West Stand. This also has 2 tiers, but the front one is uncovered and looks like it used to be a terrace. As I mentioned above, the stewards are not the best, so I couldn't really recommend this for a day out on my personal experience. As for pubs and food places, I can't say, as I never really ventured out and about as I came on the coach.





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