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Hope unravelled - Interview
Friday, 13th Dec 2019 23:30 by Clive Whittingham

The lads at The Red Report podcast offered insight into how Barnsley's superb League One promotion campaign has disintegrated into two wins from 22 Championship games.

Barnsley bounced back from League One at the first time of asking, and in fine style too, how did they do it?

An enthusiastic coach, settled team and talented League 1 players. We were solid at the back with 17 clean sheets across the season – including a run of seven without conceding through March - and undefeated at home all season – 15 wins, eight draws. All the stars aligned and the Reds enjoyed one of their best seasons ever.

The summer transfer business didn’t look great, with the middle of your defence and goalkeeper nicked, how did you assess the business done and did you fear the worst then?

Club policy is that players in the last year of the contract that don’t want to renew their contract will be sold. Goalkeeper Adam Davies made it clear he wanted to leave and went to Stoke. Ethan Pinnock (Brentford) and Liam Lindsay (Stoke again) were surprises. The back four and keeper were a huge part of our success last season. In fairness, neither three are regular starters for the Championship clubs they’ve joined. Kieffer Moore was a class League 1 striker, but so far he's scored two for Wigan, one of which was a penalty, so all in all £4m wasn’t a bad price for him. It did rip the heart out of a settled starting XI though.

Ins: Luke Thomas, 20, RW, Derby, £1.2m >>> Patrick Schmidt, 21, CF, Admira Wacker, £1m >>> Malik Wilks, 20, LW, Leeds, £900k >>> Mads Juel Anderson, 21, CB, Horsens (Denmark), £900k >>> Aapo Halme, 21, CB, Leeds, £200k >>> Toby Sibbick, 20, RB, Wimbledon, £200k >>> Mike Bahre, 23, AM, Hannover, £135k >>> Brad Collins, 22, GK, Chelsea, Free >>> Samuel Sahin-Radlinger, 26, GK, Hannover, Free >>> Conor Chaplin, 22, CF, Coventry, Undisclosed >>> Bambo Diaby, 21, CB, Lokeren (Belgium), Undisclosed >>> Clarke Oduor, 20, LB, Leeds, Undisclosed

Outs: Ethan Pinnock, 26, CB, Brentford, £3m >>> Kieffer Moore, 26, CF, Wigan, £2.6m >>> Liam Lindsay, 23, CB, Stoke, £2m >>> Adam Davies, 26, GK, Stoke, Free >>> Victor Adeboyego, 21, CF, Bristol Rovers, Loan >>> Ryan Hedges 23, RW, Aberdeen, Free >>> Adam Jackson, 25, CB, Hibs, Free >>> Zeki Fryers, 26, LB, Swindon, Free >>> Lloyd Isgrove, 26, LW, Released >>> George Miller, 21, CF, Scunthorpe, Loan

How would you assess the season so far?

We're plagued by individual errors that are costing us goals. Looking back, at least 12 points have been "given away" by silly errors. At times the football is superb and it would be fair to say that results have not always mirrored performance.

Daniel Stendel did a great job last season, and maintained popularity with the fans it seemed, what did you make of the decision to sack him?

We're still trying to find out why we "separated" from Stendel. In the last 24 hours both club and Stendel have put out statements but they are somewhat contradictory. Time will tell. In fairness, results were woeful with four points from 11 matches.

Stendel this week joined Hearts in the SPL which promoted a statement from Barnsley saying he’d been openly courting other clubs after promotion last season and they were still owed compensation, which brought merry laughter from Edinburgh and then a statement on the Facepaint from Stendel himself which read…

“During my entire time at Barnsley I gave my full commitment, energy and passion for the club and their supporters. I always put the sporting results of Barnsley first and always tried to achieve the very best results that were possible. We had a fantastic last season in League 1, securing promotion to the Championship, playing some very entertaining football.

“The start to this season was very difficult though, with the club being unable to retain several key players from the promotion team and couldn’t replace these experienced players. I always remained committed and accepted all the decisions of the Board during my entire time - including the decision to terminate my contract with immediate effect. At the day of my dismissal I wasn't informed about any detailed reasons.

“The week before my dismissal I asked for an open discussion about the sporting situation with a Board Member, during which none of the reasons that apparently led to my dismissal were raised as complaints. I was always honest and documented strongly that I wanted to continue to work with the team in order to achieve the goals of the club. I was then dismissed after the disappointing defeat to Preston.

“After the termination of my contract, I have made it clear that even then I was open to finding an amicable resolution in order to keep noise away from the team.”

Has this week’s statement from the club changed your mind?

There’s more to it than we know, for now. I still think that there could be legal processes in the background. As fans we just need to get behind the team

What do you know about his replacement, Gerhard Struber (an Austrian previously with FC Liefering, Wolfsberger AC, and various jobs at Red Bull Salzberg) what’s he done and changed so far?

Tinkered with the formation. We know he has lots of experience working with younger players. Much like Stendel he likes the high pressing high tempo football. Some players though seemed to flourish under Struber, Conor Chaplin being one of them

Stand out players and weak link in the side?

Alex Mowatt who was previously with Leeds in the centre of midfield; former Fulham man Cauley Woodrow who already has eight goals in 18 appearances; Conor Chaplin(FW) and another old Leeds lad Aapo Halme (DM) are playing like Championship players. Some young starlets like Ben Williams are growing in confidence and making the position theirs.

Are you already preparing for a return to League One or is there some hope yet?

Our performances indicate that we can compete. The Stendel situation , changes in formation and personnel have taken their toll. Struber /the board/most of the fans seem to agree that we can survive this.

Links >>> Barnsley Official Website >>> Yorkshire Post – Local Press >>> Sheffield Star – Local Press >>> BBS Fan Forum – Message Board >>> Reds Report – Podcast
The Twitter @RedsReport_, @loftforwords

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