Volunteers from our Heritage Project, as well as our Heritage Officer, Sarah Hughes, were interviewed live on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning ahead of the celebration of Barnsley’s 130th anniversary.
Throughout 2017, the ‘Our Club, Our Ground, Our Past, Our Future’ project has been interviewing current and former players and getting their memories of Oakwell, as well as supporters of the Reds.
The project has been incredibly popular with fans and has allowed them to get the thoughts of former players who have stepped out onto the turf at Oakwell, as well as hear incredibly personal stories from supporters.
Sarah Hughes, our Heritage Officer, spoke to Radio Sheffield’s Andy Kershaw and explained how the Club have been able to make the project a reality.
She said: “The Our Club, Our Ground, Our Past, Our Future project is run by Reds in the Community, the charitable arm of Barnsley Football Club.
“We were fortunate to be awarded Heritage Lottery funding to enable us to involve local people and supporters in celebrating and sharing the heritage of Barnsley FC.
“We’ve been working over the last year to collect memories for the project that people have collected from their years of supporting the Club.
“We’ve been concentrating on talking to people about their memories and lots of people have come forward giving lots of stories, as well as those from former players.”
When quizzed by Toby Foster around what she felt had been gained by producing the project, there was only one thing that sprung to mind and that was the sense of a close-knit community at the Club.
“I think what’s come out of this project is the sense of community that people have talked about and the togetherness on the terraces.
“Paul Heckingbottom talked about that when he spoke to him as part of the project, how the Club is part of Barnsley’s heritage and how lots of people have contributed to the story of the Club.
“Whether that be Reverend Preedy or local people, Paul Heckingbottom or Patrick Cryne, how lots of people locally and the supporters have been a part of that story,” Sarah added.
Volunteers for the project, Phil Hall and Alan Smith, have both been helping to collect and archive memories of the Club.
They have also been interviewing former players and fans of the Reds and shared their favourite memories that have been collected over the year.
Hall added: “We’ve had all sorts of wonderful stories from the players and the fans, odd little stories. For instance, there was a tea lady called Lily in 1953 when Tommy Taylor was transferred to Manchester United for £30,000.
“He didn’t want that hanging over him so they made the fee £29,999 and gave Lily £1. Lily is still around and little things like that all make it.
“We’ve been archiving all the information, some people have come up with photos that people have never seen before, there’s been some amazing stuff.”
Sharing his memories of the Reds, Smith continued: “I first came as a fan with my father in the 1959/60 season, I walked up Belgrave Road and saw the ground, you just thought, wow, and that affects you all your life.
“The best thing we’ve seen is a fan in Australia has got a clay pipe depicting the 1912 FA Cup final win, we’ve seen some great things.
“When we went to Wigan a friend rung me and asked if we were doing the project and if his mum, Lily, could speak to her because she got the £1 off Sir Matt Busby for Tommy Taylor.”
To contribute to our Heritage Project, visit www.bfccommunity.co.uk/club-ground-past-future-project and follow the links on our website.
It’s not too late to send in your memories of the Reds in, visit www.barnsleyfccommunity.co.uk/sharing-memories to share yours!
To listen back to Sarah, Alan and Phil on the Toby Foster Breakfast show, head to the BBC iPlayer where it will be available for 28 days.