One thing is for sure, if the Reds are relegated to League One on Saturday they have gone down fighting and their efforts will not be forgotten.
In a previous blog I wrote about the fact that Flicker had seemed to install a team spirit into the players that was definitely missing under the stewardship of Keith Hill – and what we all saw on Saturday against Hull City just goes to re-affirm my point.
With a win needed to take our battle to beat the drop to the final day and with our opponents requiring a win to confirm a place in the Premier League it would have been easy for the Super Reds to let nerves get the better of them and buckle under pressure, and in seasons gone by I know Barnsley teams that would have. But Flickers’ revolution looked hungry from the first minute and after Mellis hit that wonder strike in the fourth minute we never gave our East Yorkshire counterparts a look in.
If the effort of each and every one of them wasn’t enough to get fans upbeat the dedication, pride and willingness to win the match certainly was. The Man of the Match award was given to Chris O’Grady but in all honesty anyone of the starting xi could have taken the accolade.
The most pleasing thing to me as a spectator was to see every player run to the management team and celebrate following the second goal, it’s clearly not on the player’s agendas to be relegated and I am convinced after that show of togetherness that each one of the players will be devastated if we get sent down next week.
As supporters all we ask from our players is to wear the club badge with pride and to have the desire to feature for us evident; yes results are obviously what makes or breaks a season but if a player or indeed a manager shows to the fans that they really do care about the club and not just their bank balance then they will be forever in the hearts of the following faithful.
Chris O’Grady came out recently claiming that he was frustrated at being left on the bench at Sheffield Wednesday and was thankful of the chance to play regularly for the Reds. He has claimed that if we do survive to see another year in the second tier he would welcome a permanent move.
However as good as he has been for the Reds with his goal contribution and work ethic, the irony behind it is that it could ultimately be his goal AGAINST us which could play a massive part in sending us down.
With the league table so close there are a number of scenarios which could take place during the next game and it could turn out that had his disputed goal in the 1-0 defeat at Oakwell in December not been given then the one point we would have claimed could be the difference in the end.
Although that is one possible outcome it is not worth dwelling over because you can look at events all throughout the season as a contributing factor to what will be the difference between survival or relegation such as the late equaliser conceded recently against Derby County or the even later goal scored at Cardiff City to give us a draw. Even the six goals shipped to Charlton severely denting our goal difference could be a defining moment.
Whatever happens against our near neighbours Huddersfield Town on Saturday all we ask for is one more big effort from the lads and I’m sure that considering where we were at the start of the calendar year the group of players will be heroes despite the end result.
Welcome to the empty seats
On Saturday the sun was shining, the town was buzzing and the whole day had a ‘last game of the season feel’ for a grudge match between two teams with everything to play for; then I arrived at Oakwell and to be perfectly honest was disgusted with what I witnessed.
Barnsley fans will no doubt be aggrieved at this, if that comment was indeed related to the Reds performance, I however am referring to events before kick-off.
As I approached the ground I saw a crowd assembled outside the box office. On arrival there was a steward stood at the main door and a sign on the window saying that the club stopped selling match tickets at 11am that morning. I witnessed a woman with her young son being turned away at the gate and not being allowed entry. At first I thought the club were to blame but on reflection this was all an act on police recommendation.
It was reported in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday that as Hull City had only to win in order to achieve promotion, they had already sold their near 6,000 allocation for the North Stand and had asked us for more tickets so they could use the redundant end of our West Stand. We as a club agreed to the request but were knocked back by South Yorkshire Police, who claimed it unsafe to do so. As a result of this fears emerged that a large number of the Tigers contingent would attempt to arrive at Oakwell on the day of the game and sit in the home end, thus leading to Reds director Don Rowing claiming procedures would be put in place to prevent this from happening.
I cannot understand why not allowing any tickets to be purchased on the day of the game was the only way seen fit to stop any trouble from arousing, in my opinion it did the exact opposite. As the match begun it clearly became evident that there were lots of empty seats and as well as losing the club valuable money in gate receipts I am sure it will have caused a lot of anger and bemusement amongst several supporters who will air their frustrations like myself in some way or another.
The most maddening thing about the situation is that fans have been following the team for years, they turn up in their Reds jerseys with their hard-earned cash. It would be a bad enough and frustrating enough thing if this had taken place in the middle of a campaign but for it to be on the final home game of a season and potentially final game in the Championship, I think is completely unacceptable and the footballing intelligence needs to be improved in some way to accommodate everybody involved in the games, that includes, staff, players, stewards and not at least the supporters.