Unity is the key to the future of Barnsley Football Club.
So says manager David Flitcroft, busily examining the pros and cons of preparing for his first full season as Oakwell boss.
His main problem is having to work with one of the lowest budgets in the Championship, but he is attempting to overcome that handicap with a sales pitch which makes potential new players aware of all the good things on offer.
And top of the list is the unity within the squad which was so wonderfully apparent during the Reds’ thrillingly successful battle to avoid relegation last term.
Said Flitcroft: “Everyone can see that we have a great unity here and I want any new signings to buy into that.”
He is looking to build on that solid foundation.
“I can’t compete in terms of wages, so I’ve promised new players a good work environment, he said. “It’s about looking after the players and making them feel really welcome. If you look after players then they’ll stay at the club.
“I’m trying to sell new players a fantastic training programme and a great environment to play their football.
“What I’m offering is a fully inclusive package. It’s a hard sell, but we’ve got to offer something else that other clubs haven’t got.”
Among a raft of changes behind the scenes Flitcroft wants a new improved team bus to ensure that the players can relax on the road, as well as better training conditions, and for the players to use the main entrance to the Oakwell complex so that they feel more welcome when they turn up for training every morning.
The Barnsley boss explained that he was trying to improve all-round working conditions. The whole environment, he said, needed changing. And he was determined to change it.
“I have had lengthy talks with club owner Patrick Cryne and we have a shared vision. The changes will be very expressive.”
Flitcroft is also delighted with the new appointments of Maurice Watkins as chairman and Ben Mansford as chief executive.
“These are two major changes and I am certain that they will be of great benefit. Maurice brings a wealth of experience with him. It’s an incredible move for this football club.
“You could say that the Championship is a Premiership Two, and with all that is going off I just hope that there is going to be a real demand for season tickets next season.”
Flitcroft has yet to make any new signings, but he has made offerss for striker Chris O’Grady, who did so well on loan with the club last season; Motherwell forward Michael Higdon; and former Bristol City marksman Jon Stead.
Jason Scotland, Jimmy McNulty, Tom Kennedy and Kelvin Etuhu have all agreed new deals,but goalkeeper Luke Steele, defenders Bobby Hassell, and Martin Cranie, and winger Tomasz Cwyka have yet to sign.
The Reds Barnsley have arranged a pre-season training camp in Spain from 30 June – 7 July. Flitcroft is taking his squad to the La Cala Resort on the Costa del Sol.