Andrew is trying to pull off the unlikely scenario of Barnsley staying in the Premier League with the default squad. It’s going quite well but now we’re into the business end of the season. Can he do it? Catch up with part two here.
Ey-up and welcome back to part three of our mission impossible as I attempt to keep the bad boys of Barnsley in the promised land. Previously we cruised through summer and autumn in the top half, but a winter of discontent has seen us slide down to 13th place only 8 points above the drop zone with 14 games remaining. As positives go, we’re above Man Utd in the league and we’re still in the FA Cup (for now, pending a trip to Leeds). The average ratings tell you a pretty good story and a reason why I haven’t diverted from a core number of players, even for the cups, despite the imperative of staying up;
Markstedt has been a revelation at left wing back since being introduced despite his absolutely shocking ratings. Meanwhile Liddell has forced his way in with 8 assists so far.
Next up it’s Arsenal and I just can’t get my head around this signing, I’ve never seen anything so bizarre…Lee peaked at Scunthorpe and by 2002 his career was spiralling towards ten transfers across the next ten years…
The man from Leek Town just keeps on keeping on. We had several chances to bury the game in the last 4 minutes, but I’ll take that!!!
Another Yorkshire derby, another red card and a game thrown away. We had them under pressure until the sending off. Gutted, but at least that’s us focusing on staying up.
A chance for revenge goes missing. Must remember dirty Leeds are top, but the ref doesn’t help us. Kewell fouls Redfearn when through on goal…not even a yellow. Wallace commits a cynical foul on Markstedt and again no card and he’s off injured. Nigel gets MoM and that just says it all about our derby day luck!
We lose a vital relegation six-pointer against Southampton. We are nothing without Fjortoft as Hristov continues to fire blanks following his lack of competitive action…
Things go from bad to worse as we lose to 20th placed Bolton. Shooting boots have gone awol in the last two games.
He’s only De Goey’n and let us score a sack full as the floodgates open. As you can see from his 9th MoM award, it could have been a 5-6 loss but for Tony.
I am delighted, but Fjortoft gets a 5 and the stats tell the tale of the game. Lucky!
Tony, Tony Tony, Tony Tony, Tony Tony Bullock! The man from Leek Town gets his 10th MoM of the season to date and we climb up to 9th place in the table, and reach the elusive 40 pts marker with plenty of games to go.
Reality Check: At this stage of the season the real Barnsley had won 9, drawn 4 and lost 18, but were putting up a similar late fight to ourselves. They had conceded 69 and scored 31 and were sat in 18th place with a shot at survival possible. We’re 9 points and 9 places better off.
Elsewhere this save just keeps getting stranger…
And then there’s this…Man Utd sit 4pts from safety with Sir Alex having plumped for this striker from Partick Thistle in pre-season.
5 minutes of madness and the Dons go crazy.
We can’t repeat that famous night at Anfield with our two attacking midfielders out we had to resort to 4 strikers…so close.
We are fading fast and that see’s us drop to within 7pts of the trap door with 4 games left to play.
We’ll be without Hendrie, Sheridan, Martin Bullock, and Fjortoft for the next game. Down to the bare bones up top.
Whatever possessed Danny Wilson to sign Hristov…I’d like to know who the scout was for that one, a lot to answer for.
Twitchy bum time…we are below Man Utd for the first time this season.
With two games to spare, victory in a South Yorkshire derby and we’re safe!!! The fans storm the pitch and hold the captain aloft.
You absolute beauties. Did not see that victory coming.
We’re now fighting for 11th place, top of the bottom half.
Disappointing 79th minute.
We tamely fizzle out with a whimper having secured our survival a few games ago.
Our rag-tag bunch of, what can loosely be termed, footballers have survived against all the odds and all the history. Here is the final table;
And at the top, Liverpool pip dirty Leeds to the title, justice!!!
So we closed the season out with 11 more points than Danny Wilson’s Barnsley back in 1998 and we’ve kept that goals against down by 20 odd goals too! I am grateful to the following few who enter the fake Barnsley hall of fame;
Tony Bullock and his 11 MoM’s plus a host of other great games, was our best rated player.
Fjortoft sure would have been handy from the start of the season in real life, he is no doubt the difference maker in my survival along with Tony.
The man, the myth, the legend. Captain of the relegation favourites and living up to his real life hype he reached double figures.
So there you have it. A Yorkshire vintage survival. I just can’t quite believe it. In 20+ years I’ve never seen them survive that season. I can attest to just how hard that was, and I think if I’d had a more punishing spell of injuries during the season I might have failed.
I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Barnsley, I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with another mildly interesting tedious tale to tell.
That’s T’goodbye from me.
My thanks to Andrew for a hugely enjoyable season. You can follow him on Twitter @KingOfTheRooks