Barnsley boss Keith Hill has ruffled a few feathers again this week as he railed against what he perceives as unwarranted negativity towards the Reds and the job he and assistant Davd Flitcroft are doing at Oakwell under considerable financial constraints.
Tuesday night’s 2-0 reverse at Derby as the Reds’ third consective defeat – and left them in 21st position in the Championship, three points and one spot above the bottom three.
But a lot of Barnsley supporters remain firm believers in ‘Hillcroft’ – while claiming that other more disgruntled fans should be ‘realistic’ about what can be achieved at Oakwell.
The club have one of the lowest financial budgets in the division – and appear to be punching above their weight.
Season ticket holder Jack Shepherd said: “I will be there on Saturday, cheering my team on, hoping we can get three points against our friendly neighbours from Huddersfield!
“But I can’t stick the ball in the back of the net. Only those wearing the Red shirts can do that. Keith Hill has to put belief in the team he selects, in order to rouse the supporters so that they become the extra man. Only by playing to their very best, and for 90 minutes ,will they achieve that. Excuses won’t wash anymore. It’s win or bust!
“You could tell in Hill’s post-match interview against Derby that he’s frustrated. They have a list of 24 potential loan strikers. Flicker went to watch one the other evening. But finances are so, so tight down at Oakwell.
“As for the current team, we are badly missing Craig Davies, and we are vulnerable on set-pieces.
“The problem is the quality of the players our budget allows us to acquire. It’s a major concern in a division like the Championship. I think this season will be as big a test as last.”
Fellow fan Simon Cooper responded: “When you look at some of the results and how we have played, Birmingham and Charlton away ect…, the team have shown they can play but when Hill seems to have too many choices it falls apart.
“To my mind Hill doesn’t seem to be worried that these points and matches are slipping away.”
“I do think Keith’s worried,” came back Jack. “It’s just that whatever combination he selects, once they are out on the field it is up to them. His next opportunity is at half -time. In the Derby game they were drawing 0-0 at the break. Only when they make mistakes or, as on Tuesday, they concede a goal and haven’t the wherewithall, guile, craft or ingenuity to recover, do we end up losing after playing reasonably well.
“We need a stopper at centre-half. We need a striker who is consistent at scoring goals, and doesn’t get injured easily. We need midfielders who can slice a packed defence wide open and forwards who can be in the right place to receive these passes and crack them in. But what does all that lot cost?!
“With no financial support and dwindling crowds, no wonder Hill’s worried!”
Another Reds fan, Alan Fletcher, said: “We are relegation candidates every season and look at previous campaigns, we survive by the skin of our teeth, no matter who the manager has been.
“Even Jose Mourinho couldn’t do anything with a club with no budget. Fans have to be realistic. This roller coaster is called ‘Barnsley FC’. We are supporters of BFC, so let’s do what our name suggests, SUPPort!”
Wayne David Hammerton added: “Negativity in the stands leads to negativity on the pitch, then losing becomes an habit and so hard to get out of . Try and keep the faith and cheer the lads on, not berate them and the manager.”
Christopher Brown pointed out: “You have to take into account the injuries that we’ve suffered already this season when asking whether Hill has found his first choice XI.
“Perkins has been injured twice and Silva has only played a matter of minutes since signing from Liverpool.
“We’ve lost Davies to a serious injury and Mido is yet to play in the league. Our captain, McNulty has just worked his way back into the starting XI and Steele has just completed his second game between the sticks.
“How can you expect Hill to have found his first XI when he hasn’t had the majority of the squad at his disposal?”
“Keith Hill was the right man to lead Barnsley forward before Tuesday’s game at Derby and he’s still the right man for the job. Everyone calling for his head needs to take a step back and consider the ramifications of such drastic action.
“Any change in management wouldn’t result in a change in financial circumstances. The budget wouldn’t increase, nor would players of proven quality suddenly become available and more importantly affordable for a club in our position. Stability breeds success. In Hill we trust!”
Alison Richardson said: “Who would want to come and be manager of BFC?! Of course Hill wants to finish higher in the table but the club is stable and we have to cut our cloth. If we go down we go down, I’ll watch ’em no matter where they are, my team, my tarn my passion, end of. I enjoyed the Premier League when we were in and we gave it a go, but the rest is history. Get behind Reds on Saturday. U Reds!”
“We knew before a ball was kicked that we were in a relegation scrap,” said Darren Brownson. “No other manager could do a better job at the moment. Stop going on about ifs ,buts and maybes. If a player doesn’t want to sign for Barnsley either on a contract or loan then we have to look elsewhere.
“These last games have shown what a good striker Davies is – and how he’s been missed. I fear he’ll be gone in January. Rose is not ready, Dagnall is a grafter with no end product, Harewood is well past his best and Mido is not fit. So it’s a struggle to see where the goals are coming from.”
George Lewis blasted: “There are far too many armchair tacticians in Barnsley! It’s unfortunate that there are so many uneducated fans, I suppose though that every club has them and Hill should ignore them and focus on those fans that do appreciate what he is and is continually trying to do.
“Just look at the job he’s doing/done on the whole, look at the academy and the quality of players he’s trying to develop. The club is setting up to develop and sell players for the long-term financial gain of the club.
“The season is still young. I would settle for just staying up again but if we went down then at least we’d be set up to compete, or should we could throw money at it (that we haven’t got) and still go down and go out of business? I know what I’d rather do….”
Bob Ownsworth said: “My Sheffield team supporting mates can’t believe all the flack Hill’s received from the ‘whinge minority’ at Oakwell lately. Even they recognise what a talent we’ve got in ‘Hillcroft’. It’s time for the fans to make a stand against the dangerous fools who are regularly allowed to complain on local radio, potentially undermining what their trying to do. Get behind the management and the players!”
But Stefan Matthews responded: “I’m sick and tired of people telling me they believe in Keith Hill! Hill out I say!”
Daz Wilkie came back with: “Fickle or what? Six weeks ago Hill was the next Messiah after we demolished Birmingham, now listen to your sorry selves, you should be ashamed.
“We’ve no money, had an injury list a mile long and still you blame the manager. Why not blame the people in charge of the purse strings – and the club’s pricing policy that in my opinion has driven fans away in their droves.
“Who if anybody could take us forward under these restrictions? Time to man up guys and get behind our beloved Reds, not constantly moan and criticise.”
Richard Nicholson reflected: “Keith Hill is obviously frustrated by the situation at Oakwell. He’s been working in a financial straightjacket, had chronic luck with injuries this season and sales of his best players and injuries last term. He’s proved to us that he can sign lower league players and turn them into Championship players. He’s got a great crop of youngsters coming through.
“But he’s battling with one arm tied behind his back and the fans of this club are the ones throwing the punches now. Why wouldn’t you want to leave a club like that? If he’s not successful with us I believe he will be successful elsewhere.
“This is one of those cases where the fans of other clubs will be scratching their heads at the idea that our fans don’t want him. People need to wake up and smell the coffee.”
“I hope to God Keith Hill won’t listen to the negative few and walk,” said Paul Batty. “If it was put to a vote I bet there would be more want him at Barnsley then want him out. I for one will back Hill to the hilt.”
Yet Paul Robinson said: “Having watched Barnsley since the 1980s I’d like to think I have a fairly valid opinion. I want Hill to succeed. I sing his name at every match. But with a win percentage under 20% in 2012, something needs to change.” And Graham Doherty added: “I feel he’s no longer the man for the job.”
Mark Naylor said: “I’ve been going since 1976 and basically this squad is simply not good enough. As much as I love my team I fear the worst, with average home fans peaking under 8,000 it’s going to be hard to attract fresh blood in depth.”
Neil Wilson pointed out: “His brief was just just to keep us up – and if he does, he will have done a cracking job in my opinion.”
- What do other fans think? Let us know here at Barnsley News and Sport. Email firstname.lastname@example.org