When defender Bobby Hassell arrived at Oakwell on a free transfer from Mansfield Town in 2004, few would have anticipated he would go on to become a favourite and indeed a stalwart in a Red shirt.
Bobby joined the Mansfield as a trainee in 1996 and made his first-team debut for the Stags against Chester City in September 1997. An attacking, right-sided defender, Bobby made 181 appearances for Mansfield, netting three goals, and was a virtual ever-present for Keith Curle's side during the 2003/04 campaign. He played in the Division Three Play-Off Final at the Millennium Stadium in May 2004.
Bobby was a stalwart for the Reds throughout the 2004/2005 campaign and was a certain starter when fit. He made 43 appearances throughout the campaign and put in some notable displays both at right back and in the middle of defence. Although Bobby missed parts of the 2005/2006 campaign through injury, he was in fine form whether at right-back or in the middle of defence to help the Reds to promotion - he was virtually a passenger in the latter stages of Extra Time during the Reds' incredible League One Play-Off Final, battling on through injury like a true warrior to help secure promotion.
He enjoyed another fine campaign during 2006/2007 as he made the step up to the Championship look easy. Again in the running for all the end of season awards, Bobby clocked up 42 appearances - netting two goals.
Injury threatened to wreck Bobby's Oakwell career at the start of the 2007/2008 campaign as he found himself well down the pecking order when he returned to full fitness. However, an injury to Brazilian Anderson de Silva handed him a chance in midfield and Bobby took his opportunity with both hands, guiding the Reds to the Semi-Final of the FA Cup and Championship safety.
Bobby swept the board at the end-of-season awards in 2008/2009 after an outstanding campaign for the Reds. Although shifted around midfield and defence again, Bobby was magnificent wherever deployed and penned a new, long-term contract at the end of the season.
He endured a stop-start campaign throughout 2009/2010 as a succession of injuries hampered his progress. He missed a lot of football during the Autumn months but was back to his best whenever called upon to help the Reds' cause in any position he could.
The season of 2010/2011 saw Bobby edge himself even closer to earning legendary status at Oakwell. Once again he proved his multi-positional worth to the team, right-back, central defence, left-back or central midfield. He netted his only goal of the season against Swansea City when captain for the day in a 1-1 draw.
In 2011/12, Bobby’s eighth season with the Reds, was more stop-start than he would have liked with the second half of his season wrecked due to a training ground injury. He did manage to make a cameo appearance upon his return against Brighton & Hove Albion – the final match of the season - which brought a rapturous applause from the home faithful.
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