Barnsley’s players should get more respect from the general public and the press, according to manager Keith Hill.
And the Reds chief also says it is wrong that out-of-favour stars such as Danny Haynes and Nathan Haynes are attracting more attention than the current Oakwell first-teamers.
Hill was in forthright mood at the club’s Thursday morning press conference, as his side prepare for a tough Championship test at big-spending Leicester City this weekend.
He said: “The memory of the general public and the media suggests players like Danny and Nathan, and not just them but others who have left the club in recent seasons, have been unbelievable players for this football club.
“Well, the win percentage at Barnsley Football Club over the last five years is 30.6. That tells it’s own story.
“The players I have here deserve a little more respect from people than they are getting. We are seemingly fighting all the time, against the press and the public.
“As a club we are often harshly treated, and criticised for being also-rans. Yet the most games Barnsley have won in any one season over the last few years is 15.
“Now I want to better that. I have said that from the first day I arrived here. I want to do well, but people have to give credit where it’s due. The players have been fantastic this season and deserve credit, not brickbats. We are not in the bottom three and we are determined to stay well clear. We want to get to 50 points as quickly as we can and then push on from there, to see where we can finish.
“The remit for Flicker [assistant Dave Flitcroft] and me is to keep Barnsley Football Club in the Championship. That is the bottom line, the be-all and end-all if you like. That would be a success in itself.
“But I don’t want to stop there. I want to over-achieve. I want to bring an exciting brand of football to Barnsley that produces results, wins football matches, and gets us going on the path that Flicker and I envisage and plan for.
“Financially we cannot compete with the majority of clubs in the Championship. People have to accept that. It’s a fact of life. The media have to realise that too, and write and comment on us accordingly.
“We are up against Leicester City on Saturday, who have spent vast amounts of money but are not running away with the division. They want to recruit Billy Sharp from Doncaster Rovers for £1.8 [with the striker reportedly offered £28,000 per week in wages].
“Well that amount of money alone outstrips my whole budget at this football club.
“Nigel Pearson has gone back to Leicester and he will have been told by the owners that promotion has to be the aim.
“Will it be this season? I’m not too sure. Next season? Probably.
“The money, the finance, it gets you promoted eventually. Because it can buy you quality – quality in terms of the manager, quality in terms of new signings, and quality in terms of the strength of squad that you can afford to have.
“Nigel is a great manager and he was doing a great job at Hull City. But he chose to go back to Leicester and I believe he will get them promoted to the Premier League. But on Saturday I will be doing my utmost to try and ensure he doesnt get the better of my team.”
Asked how his team can avoid being beaten at Leicester on Saturday, Hill replied: “By being 100% at our best and nothing less. We have to be energised, be at the top of our game and go and enjoy the day. Plus we have to hope that Leicester are slightly off their best.
“It is 90-odd minutes of football. One Championship team against another. Leicester are big, big favourites, but we played them at Oakwell earlier in the season and we should have won that match. So I am sure Nigel and his side will respect what we can do.”
Hill went on: “I am happy with my situation at Barnsley. I have never had money to work with, or throw around. My recruitment is all about attracting the right sort of player that I can develop further.
“I signed Chris Dagnall from Scunthorpe United. To do so I had to meet the financial package put to him by a League Two club. That’s telling no lies.
“Now that’s no disrespect to Barnsley Football Club, that’s just the way it is.
“It is difficult, recruitment. So long as we are not falling behind in our attempts to bring players in then I am not too worried.
“We are trying to open doors but some of those doors are slammed shut in our face because we cannt compete financially.
“There are a lot of players we have been keeping tabs on. But for most of them can we meet their financial demands? Probably not.
“We can only recruit what we can afford. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in quality. And we will recruit players as and when we can.
“We want to bring wannabe winners, wannabe improvers, to the club. Players with a winning ethos. Players who are hungry for more. We did well to net Dagnall, and he certainly falls into that bracket.
“He is a ruthless operator, a silent assassin. He hets on with his work and has settled in well on the training pitch this week. He will be a success for Barnsley Football Club, now and in the future.
“Ricardo Vaz Te, Craig Davies, David Perkins, Jimmy McNulty. They are all players we have managed to sign who have done very, very well for the football club so far this season. So our transfer policy is working. Chris Dagnall I am sure will join that group in being a success.
“And they join players who were already here, players who have stepped up to the plate and taken everything we have asked of them on board. Players like Stephen Foster and Luke Steele, Jim O’Brien, and Bobby Hassell to a slightly lesser extent.”