Barnsley fans are delighted that the Oakwell Club has appointed David Flitcroft as permanent first team manager.
They have had nothing but the highest praise for the way Flitcroft rescued the Reds from what seemed certain relegation at Christmas to complete the great escape on the last nerve-shredding day of the season with a draw at Huddersfield.
Some have expressed surprise that it is only a one-year rolling contract, which has also been extended to assistant Micky Mellon and technical coach Martin Scott, but Flitcroft seemed happy enough with that when the news was officially announced at a press conference.
He said: “We’ve signed because things are looking right at the club. The way we run and manage this club is key now. It’s a new era.
“Micky Mellon and Martin Scott played a massive part in our upturn. The management team brought success. We beat some of the best teams in the Championship.
“But we’ve got to keep evolving. We’ve already been working hard behind the scenes.The first part of our recruitment strategy is to retain certain players, then we’ll know where we’re going.
“We know we’ve got to bring players in. We’ve been successful in bringing in Scott Golbourne, David Perkins, Scott Wiseman and Stephen Dawson. They’re going to be very good Championship players for the future.”
Flitcroft said it was important to find talent and value for money and they had proved that they could do that. He pointed to the example of Jacob Mellis, whose contribution, he said, had ‘excited’ him in the past season.
He stressed that the recruitment had to be right, and he promised: “We’ll make sure that we attract the right type of footballers to this club.We know where we’re going. We’ve had lengthy discussions over the last two weeks – planning and preparing.”
He also said that it was important not to despair if players suddenly became unavailable. He pointed out that last season they had lost John Stones, transferred to Everton, and Scott Golbourne, through injury, but they had recovered because they had people around who could come in and do a job when needed – and they had to make sure that remained the case.
Flitcroft told reporters that he and his management team would be looking at different ways to atrract more fans.
He said: “It was the fans’ passion that got us the job. The unity between the players and fans was key. We’re good communicators and good with people.”
Mellon added: “I’ve known the boss for quite a few years now. We trust each other and each of us knows how the other works. Flicker is always thinking of what will make us better as a football club. He challenges us every day.
“We’re not going to set any massive targets. The Championship is a very tough league and we’ve got to be realistic. It must always be a case of trying to win the next game and see where that takes us.”
Scott said it had been an exciting time since his arrival at Oawkell, and the key to the success they had enjoyed was the fact that the whole club was working together. That, he said, was a ‘massive positive for the future.’
He was full of praise for the players. “We can’t take away what the players have done for us. They’ve been absolutely outstanding.”
Flitcroft also announced that striker Marlon Harewood would be leaving the club when his contract expired at the end of June.
The Barnsley boss explained: “I spoke to Marlon after the Huddersfield game about his future. He deserves to be the number one striker, but we can’t offer him that here.”
The 33-year-old scored just three goals in his 37 appearances after joining the Reds last summer.
Ex-Barnsley defender Stephen Foster is on the brink of joining Tranmere on a two-year deal.
Meanwhile, four Academy second-year scholars have signed professional terms. Striker Rhys Oates and midfielders McCauley Shillito, Brad Abbott and Erico Sousa have all signed a one-year deal with the Reds.
Also, after a successful trial period, left-sided defender Antonie Boland has signed a one-year professional contract.