‘Meeting the opposition’ – Barnsley F.C
Tranmere’s first game of the new year will follow a long journey to Barnsley. The fixture will be a FA Cup tie and it will be played at the Tykes’ Oakwell Stadium. This game will be a real test of the Whites’ quality and character as the hosts sit 9th in the Championship table, is a miraculous cup knock-out possible?. I thought it would be essential to speak to a Barnsley fan to get their views on the club’s on and off the pitch matters; amongst other subjects. I placed questions towards @mattdogbfc to do so.
How long has @mattdogbfc been supporting the Tykes’?
- ‘I’ve been a supporter of the club since 2010, ever since my Grandad started to take me to the games. It made me fall in love with football.’
Why are the hosts called the ‘Tykes’?
- ‘The name comes from a traditional and hard working Yorkshire character I do believe. Our mascot is also nicknamed ‘Toby Tyke’.
Barnsley’s last season:
- ‘ We finished 21st last season, a 91st minute winning goal away at Brentford meant that we escaped relegation on the final day of the season. It was a very dramatic moment but you experience plenty of them as a Reds’ fan’
Thoughts on manager Valerien Ismael:
- ‘Our current manager Valerien Ismael has been a breath of fresh air ever since his appointment in the October of last year. He has helped us to find a formula that makes the team win games. We have struggled badly under previous managers hence why we are high in the table with a new manager. You could argue that we are surprising everyone’.
Expectations for this campaign:
- ‘We have been absolutely exceptional this season. I expected us to sit in a comfortable mid table position or even just avoid a relegation battle in an attempt to better ourselves from the last campaign. However, we have gone further and sit 9th three points away from the playoffs. So if we get this January transfer window spot on then who knows where this young, fearless side could go’.
The hosts’ ‘One to watch’:
- ‘In terms of a danger man, if he starts, I would 100% have to say Callum Styles. He is dangerous running up and down in the left wing back position and has even managed to contribute three goals of his own. I have never been as confident about a Barnsley player going to the Premier League than I have about Styles. I feel as though he will run your right back ragged, should he start’
- ‘I’m not expecting an easy game whatsoever. Tranmere will come to Oakwell with a game plan and it could be very hard to break them down and of course Keith Hill will be looking to get one over on his former side so we have that to consider too. I wouldn’t exactly put it past us to lose this type of game but I feel as though realistically we should have enough to win the cup tie. My prediction is a 2-0 win for Barnsley.’.
Random fact about the hosts:
- ‘It’s difficult to think about a random fact considering we are a relatively small club. However, the first that springs to mind is that the cricket umpire Dickie Bird supports Barnsley. He is in hot water with the fans after saying on camera he wanted Sheffield United to beat us in 2017 (laughs)’.
Proudest moment as a supporter of Barnsley F.C:
- ‘Erm, my proudest moment has to be last season I think. When lockdown hit , we were 7 points adrift of safety with 9 games left to play. Myself and so many other Tykes’ fans had just accepted that we would be relegated once football returned. However, the players didn’t accept this. We picked up 15 points from them in 9 games and we won the final two games with injury time winners. The club managed to somehow escape relegation and remain a Championship side. The players cared about it as much as the supporters did. Never have I ever been as proud of a set of lads.’.
An opposition fan’s view on the Whites:
- ‘I don’t know too much about Tranmere but it seems that the Whites have been a bit inconsistent this season. The club currently sits in 13th which does seem to be a position of underachievement, I thought you might be up near the top seven at the very least. However, in fairness Rovers were very hard done by as I felt they could have survived relegation as the team hit a good patch of form before the campaign was stopped by the COVID outbreak and the league table was decided by PPG. I feel like if a good run of form is put together then it is a team that should be challenging for promotion. You should give us a run for our money on the weekend’.
I would like to thank @mattdogbfc for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This FA cup tie should be an interesting occasion between two clubs who have a good contrast of quality and form. I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.
Thank you very much for reading,
All the very best for the new year,