Shadow Scholarship | Mark Tinker Interview

Lead Player Development Coach Mark Tinker says that the incoming Reds in the Community Shadow Scholarship Scheme will provide students with the ‘ultimate playing experience.’

Tinker, who recently re-joined the club for the exciting initiative, will lead the programme alongside his duties with the Barnsley FC Academy and existing commitment to the education department.

Players will be able to compete against other professional football clubs in the U19’s National Youth League whilst studying with the existing Reds in the Community education setup.

Tinker said: “I think the major thing would be the link with high level education, combined with the ultimate playing experience. The education programme link with football has been existing for the last seven years. But what we’ve done now is introduced an elite aspect to the programme, in which we’ll be playing teams of similar ability. The players coming in, we would say, are of a high level, whether that be from local representative sides or ex-academy scholars that would be released and given a second chance.

“Players will be challenged and all players will develop, should their attitude be right. The standards will always be of a professional level. They’ll be getting coached the exact same way. We believe that the players need to be good people as well in terms of politeness and developing as a human – when they go out into the real world that needs to be something we look at as well, developing the player as a whole.”

Tinker has over 14 years of coaching experience and is now in his second spell with Barnsley, having also worked in California, USA with FC Blades – a team linked to MLS side LA Galaxy.

Having begun his career at Leeds United, he has coached at Bradford City and helped run an education programme at a sports college in Leeds.

Most recently before returning to Oakwell, Tinker was at Huddersfield Town and managed international trips for his players, something he wishes to repeat with the Reds.

“We organised trips to Barcelona two years on the bounce which were very successful. That’s something I’m going to replicate here because there are a number of factors I feel players can get from playing on foreign soil and maybe playing foreign opposition. I came back to Barnsley to develop the best football development programme, in a shadow squad capacity, in the country.”

For more information on the Shadow Scholarship programme, please click here: