Date:Thursday February 26 2009
Vital QPR takes a look at this weekends opponents Barnsley as the R`s travel to Oakwell.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Founded: 1887 (As Barnsley St Peter`s)
Nickname: The Tykes
Ground: Oakwell - 23,009
Manager: Simon Davey
FA Cup Winners 1912
Division One Runners Up - 1997
League One Playoff Winners - 2006
Division Three North Champions - 1934, 1939, 1955
Record Attendance: 40,225 v Stoke City (FA Cup 5th Round, 1936)
Record victory: 9-0 v Loughborough Town (Second Division, 1899)
Record defeat 0-9 v Notts County (Second Division 1927)
Record Buy: Georgi Hristov - £1,500,000 from Partizan Belgrade
Record Sale: Ashley Ward - £4,500,000 to Blackburn Rovers
Record Appearances: Barry Murphy - 514
Record Goals: Ernest Hine - 123
After the disappointment of their lack of urgency following relegation, Barnsley appeared to be getting back on track after the turn of the Millennium. Their first season in the Premier League was their only one as they were swiftly dispatched, but after that they finished 13th in Division One.
The departure of Danny Wilson following relegation saw Tykes legend John Hendrie take the hot-seat but he was soon displaced in favour of Dave Bassett. Bassett`s Barnsley very quickly asserted themselves on Division One.
They were bolstered by the £700,000 signing of Neil Shipperley from Nottingham Forest and his 13 goals combined with Craig Hignett`s 19 helped Barnsley attain a playoff place. They ran riot over Birmingham in the semi-final, winning 4-0 at St Andrews before falling to Ipswich in the final.
Craig Hignett was Premier League bound however when he moved to Blackburn Rovers for £2.25m who saw great potential in the Whiston born forward`s goalscoring prowess.
By December Bassett was gone Nigel Spackman taking the reigns, his first action was to sign Isiah Rankin from Bradford City for £350,000. The patience of the Barnsley board with the former QPR and Chelsea midfielder was impeccable as Barnsley lost their final four games of a disappointing season to finish 16th - well below initial expectations.
However the expectation were beginning to be reshaped as it became clear that Barnsley had lived beyond their means in the Premier League. Shipperley was sold to Wimbledon and a multitude of free transfers came in, including Kevin Gallen from Huddersfield Town.
Spackman bit the bullet only a handful on months into the season with his parting line: "I wish Barnsley all the best" - a line that has grown on a number of QPR message boards and wheeled out to fabulous comedy effect. Steve Parkin was his replacement as Barnsley were looking to salvage their season.
They couldn`t do anything about the declining trend at Oakwell and the club were relegated into the Second Division, just a few years after being a top flight side. They finished off only a point away form third bottom Rotherham but their final day win away to Wimbledon mattered for nothing as results were out of their hands.
A year after Spackman went, Parkin was also sacked after a poor start to their Division Two campaign. Left back Chris Barker went to Cardiff City, the only man brought in was Keith Curle on a free transfer from Sheffield United as money was tight at Oakwell. This was epitomised by caretaker boss Glyn Hodges being given the job until the end of the season.
Barnsley finished off a dismal campaign only four points off relegated Cheltenham Town, when in truth the season was a write off from the moment they had sacked Parkin.
It was at last felt that Barnsley had bottomed out and were moving forward under new boss, former Stoke City man Gudjon Thordarson. The new man helped steer the Tykes to a 12th placed finish in 2004. For some reason that wasn`t enough for everyone concerned as he was replaced by former Forest boss Paul Hart.
Hart had fallen foul of the Forest owners after one bad season in charge of the Tricky Trees following years of consistent success, and he was charged as the man to draw Barnsley out of the division. He brought in Paul Reid and Stephen McPhail with a view to challenging in the higher reaches of League One as it was now called.
Another strange decision saw Hart leave Barnsley after exactly a year in charge, being given no time to stamp his authority on the team, and first team duties were left to Andy Ritchie - Barnsley`s seventh manager in five years - with two caretakers to add to the list. The Tykes finished 13th in League One that season.
The summer addition of Brian Howard gave great cause for celebration, with Daniel Nardiello and Martin Devaney also brought in from Manchester United and Watford respectively. The Tykes under the guidance of Ritchie then soared towards the higher echelons of the division.
It was summer signing Marc Richards that helped propel them into a playoff spot with 12 goals, helped along by Chris Shuker`s contribution of 10. Barnsley dispatched of Huddersfield in the playoff semi-final before Alan Tate`s miss from the spot secured the Tykes a place in the Championship - and condemned Kenny Jackett`s Swansea to another year in League One.
Stunningly enough Andy Ritchie was sacked before Christmas after failing to bring in the right calibre of player, Simon Davey was installed as caretaker boss. Brian Howard and Daniel Nardiello scored the necessary goals to keep them in the Championship as they began the season as perennial strugglers in the second tier and Davey was given the job full time.
It was just as well that Barnsley didn`t leave their safety until the final day as they were hammered 7-0 by playoff bound West Bromwich Albion. They finished two places and eight points clear of relegated Southend United - Leeds having taken a ten point hit after the final whistle for going into administration.
While Barnsley league form was abject last season - their cup form was nothing short of incredible. Being knocked out by fellow Championship outfit doesn`t tell the full story as goals from Foster and Howard saw off Liverpool at Anfield, before comfortably dispatching of Chelsea in the following round.
They finished three points and four places off the relegation zone, but it didn`t matter a jot as Barnsley had written their name into the history books. Indeed Brian Howard earned himself a move to Sheffield United on the basis of several performances during that glorious cup run.
So far this season, Barnsley are struggling once more but there is a mini-revival in the offing after some useful recent additions. Michael Mifsud in particular was a smart move in the January transfer window as the Tykes look to surge the right way up the Championship table.
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Date:Thursday February 26 2009
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