Monday 23 January 2012

Barnsley - Oakwell

Barnsley FC
Grove Street
South Yorkshire
S71 1ET

01226 211211
Official Website

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


1:  The club was established in 1887 as Barnsley St Peters. In their early years, they played in the Sheffield & District, Yorkshire & Midland leagues.

2:  They joined the Football League in 1898 and have been there ever since. Their best-ever finish came in 1998 when they spent their only season in the top flight, finishing second-bottom in the Premiership. Their worst season was in 1866 and 1967 when they finished 16th in the bottom tier (Division 4) two seasons in a row. They've spent more seasons than any other in the second tier, 2019/20 being their 77th.

3:  Barnsley won the FA Cup in 1912, though they would need twelve games to do so. They beat Birmingham (3-0 in a replay), Leicester Fosse (1-0), Bolton Wanderers (2-1), Bradford City (3-2 after three replays) & Swindon Town (1-0 after a replay). They even needed a replay to beat West Bromwich Albion winning 1-0 in a game played at Sheffield United. Two years earlier they'd been finalists, losing 2-0 to Everton in a replay. Barnsley were the victim of an FA Cup giant-killing in 2015, losing 1-0 at non-league Altrincham.

4:  The club reached the League Cup Quarter-Final in 1982, losing 3-1 in a replay to Liverpool. 

5:  Other cup successes include winning the Football League Trophy in 2016, beating Oxford United 3-2 at Wembley.

6:  The club has played at Oakwell since 1888. The record attendance of 40,255 came for an FA Cup game against Stoke City in 1936.

7:  Record transfer income came from defender John Stones to Everton and then to Manchester City with a sell on, netting them a combined £12.8m. Record transfer expenditure was £1.5m for Georgi Hristov from Partizan Belgrade in 1997. The Macedonian did not have the best of times at Barnsley, suffering lots of injuries and getting homesick, branding Barnsley women ugly and claiming that they drank too much beer.

8:  Local rivals include Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and to a lesser degree Huddersfield Town & Rotherham United.

9:  There are a few connections between Barnsley and my own team Wycombe are numerous. The best, at least on our part is Andy Rammell who had successful spells at both clubs. Others include Trevor Aylott, Tony Cunningham, Mark Stallard & David Tuttle.

10: The town of Barnsley has a population of just over 91,000. It has a history in mining, glassmaking and textiles. Famous people from the town include cricketers Darren Gough 7 Dickie Bird,  footballers David Hirst, Mick McCarthy, Jon Parkin and John Stones and actress Katherine Kelly.



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, at least by their standards. 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 two 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 thought 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.  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 twice more, mainly as I was aiming to do every game that season, a trend that carried on for seven 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, although I did sneak a couple of pictures on my Nokia at a glorious 0.3 megapixels. But again, it was a good away point. The wheels had 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. There was another visit, this time it was for an afternoon game in the reserves. I was able to get some nice photos this time and Barnsley ran out 3-2 winners against Coventry City in an entertaining game, prior to going to an evening kick-off at New Mills.



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 two-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. The Jolly Tap does look a nice micropub though and that's around a ten-minute walk.

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