Our Club will put supporters at the heart of displays within the ground at Oakwell, and explore the club’s 130-year history through the eyes of the fans.
Supporters of all ages are encouraged to share their memories with us. Whether of a win in the 1960s or at last weekend’s match; at Oakwell in the ’80s or watching the Reds on the road—we want to hear your stories of those special memories. Where it was, who you were with, how you got there, and maybe even what you ate; we’re looking for whatever it is that made these moments unforgettable for you.
Reds in the Community will feature some of the memories shared in displays at Oakwell. We hope that supporters and the wider community continue to share their memories and experiences of supporting Barnsley, through which fans continue to write the club’s history, into the future.
Paul Heckingbottom and Bruce Dyer have already given us their stories, now send us yours using the dedicated form below.
All the team actually came to our school at Royston, Gordon Owen's era, and did a training session on the school pitch and then gave a lot of tickets away and we all came, parents and school kids, and I think I'd have been about six or seven, something like that, and then I think...from around '84-'85 was when I started coming regular, and probably '87 was when I became a season ticket holder and then never missed, like reserve games or first team games, sitting in the West Stand as it was then where we couldn't see every part of the pitch because of the posts!
Fans sometimes used to watch at the gate and I remember this Barnsley guy came up to me and he says, ‘Are you laikin Dyer?’ And I was thinking ‘What does that mean?’ So I said to Nicky [Eaden], I said, ‘Nick, what does that mean?’ He said ‘Are you playing?’ And I was like, ‘I’ve got to get with all this Barnsley talk!’ Barnsley has a special place in my heart...I love Barnsley people, they say it as it is, they’re with you 100%, they’re very loyal people and loyalty’s a big thing to me...I think I’m here for life.
My first match was the opening home fixture of the 1969/70 season, a Division three game against Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic on 10th August 1969. The Reds won 1 – 0. It was my first ever football match, and I well remember my Dad taking me in the car. We parked in what was then the Yorkshire Traction car park next to the Queen’s ground, and walked down to Grove street. It cost 5 shillings (25p) behind the goals, or 6 shillings (30p) on the West stand and Brewery terraces, half price for children. My Dad decided he wanted a seat, which in those days meant going through the West stand terrace turnstiles and then paying another 1 shilling (5p) to go through a further turnstile to transfer to the wing stand. We took our places on the wooden benches (calling them seats was stretching it somewhat) and I was hooked for life.
My first Barnsley match was against Derby County in 1992. My dad told me he was taking me when he got home from work at half 5. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten my tea so fast. My mum made me wrap up warm with gloves and a woolly hat on. We parked behind the Ponty end; I remember the gravel car park crunching under my feet. Then into Oakwell we went; the smell of the grass pitch and the pies and the cigarette smoke. I remember looking at the floodlights and not being able to see anything then for the next 5 minutes because they were so bright. We lost the match 2-1 but that didn’t really matter much to me because it had been so exciting. I couldn’t wait to tell my mates the next day at school.
I’ll never forget the moment on 26th April 1997 when Clint Marcelle scored our second goal against Bradford City and I finally believed that we were going up to the Premiership! I can still remember the look on my dad’s face at that exact moment as we looked at each other in complete amazement at Barnsley FC’s achievement. What a day! I also remember the unique scenes around town that evening when strains of ‘Cheer up Mark McGhee’ could be heard in every pub!
Every match day is special. For a few hours you meet friends with a shared passion and you hope the two hours in the ground in-between the pub visits are also memorable. You cannot beat a midweek, long-haul away-day.
My favourite moment is always going to be the final scenes of the Bradford City match of April 26th 1997. The rivers of emotion that ran around the ground and later into the Town centre following that afternoon was immense, torrential, overwhelming and ultimately overpowering. For the longest time, it was drummed into me that I would never see my Barnsley team play in top flight football (nobody ever had). I freely admit that there were tears in my eyes at the final whistle…Tears for all the loyal Barnsley fans who down the years had followed the club through thick and thin and passed on without seeing First Division football, tears for the forgotten Town of Barnsley ignored and neglected for far too long by all and finally tears of joy and relief that the long wait was finally over.
I can remember on 23rd January 1962 standing in the street at Measborough Dyke [just off Doncaster Road], with the rest of the street, watching the floodlights come on for the very first time at Oakwell. This seemed magical and must in some way have impacted on me following the Reds. I come from a time when all fans followed their home town, good or bad. That has continued to this day.
“It was 1995 and a cold, wintery Tuesday at Oakwell, hosting Tranmere. At 10-year old my sister’s boyfriend siezed the opportunity to instill his beloved Barnsley FC as my team, and took me along. Sat in the lower East Stand, I remember feeling there was something special about football under the floodlights. Sadly, even the bright lights didn’t help me see much of the game. A dense fog had settled over the pitch and the best I could follow at my eye level were the 22 bright-red socks running around the pitch. It took us all a while to even realise we’d scored! But I’ve watched them as intensely since.”