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FAN ZONE: Introducing Jon, Liam and Leo!

30 July 2016

Ahead of the 2016/17 Championship season we spoke to our longest distance Season Ticket Holders, who travel to Oakwell all the way from West Lothian, Scotland!

Jon Evans and his two children - Liam and Leo - are the Club’s furthest travelling Season Ticket holders. Travelling to Oakwell every week from West Lothian, Scotland, Jon and his two son’s complete a mammoth round trip of over 500 miles every home match to watch the Reds! 

With Paul Heckingbottom’s side on the verge of beginning their Championship campaign, Jon spoke exclusively to www.barnsleyfc.co.uk to give an insight into being a life-long Reds fan, from such a long distance away! 

Be part of the Reds 2016/17 Championship campaign and buy your Season Ticket by clicking HERE! 

What is the reasoning behind you having a season ticket and living so far away?

I was born in Barnsley. My dad and Grandad took me to my first game when I was 2 years old. (In 1970) So by the time I left Barnsley to go to college in Newcastle (around 1987) I was well and truly hooked on supporting the Reds. I continued to get to as many games as I could through those 3 years at college and then I moved from Newcastle up to Edinburgh for my first job after graduating. 

Only when Barnsley got promoted to the Premier league did I start to buy a season ticket. And despite living so far away I have continued to buy a season ticket with the exception of a couple of seasons. There have been seasons where I have only managed to get to 10 home games but I have always enjoyed doing my bit for the club. It's strange but when you live so far away, having a season ticket brings you closer to home. I have also bought a season ticket in the past to ensure that I could then get tickets for away games. It was the fear of missing out. I think my longest trip to a BFC game would have to be my trip from Edinburgh to Plymouth to see a 2-2 draw!

Were your children 'born' Reds, or was there some persuading to do?

I have three children. My daughter Amy is 18 and although she had BFC baby grows, bibs and strips, she has never been to Oakwell. However once my second child Liam came along he was destined to attend Oakwell. His first game was a 0-0 draw against Bradford the season we clinched promotion to the Championship, by beating Swansea in the Play-Off final in Cardiff. He quickly got the bug! I can remember him joining a football club in Edinburgh, the coaches asked all the boys who they supported. It was a case of Hibernian, Hearts, Rangers, Celtic or Manchester United and my little boy proudly said "Barnsley". After a period of stunned silence and a few questions it became a talking point amongst parents and coaches. It made him stand out from the crowd and he enjoyed being different to the other boys. 

When my third child Leo, was born there was never any doubt which team he would support. He just wanted to follow his brother and dad. In addition to this, a trip to Barnsley became a weekend event. Seeing family and friends in Barnsley, going to the pubs in the town centre before the game and quite often afterwards too was exciting for them. I suppose they started to feel part of a much bigger family, the BFC family. 

All three of us made the trip to Wembley for the victory over Millwall. A flight to Heathrow from Edinburgh made for a memorable, albeit very long day. 

What are your best memories of following Barnsley?

Too many to mention really, but I suppose the stand-outs are as follows, in no particular order: 

The Allan Clarke, Norman Hunter period. Travelling to Anfield only to see the second half of the fantastic 0-0 draw against the then European Champions Liverpool. Ronnie Glavin was my hero in those days. But we had many fantastic players. 

Promotion to the Premier league. I never really thought it would happen and I will never forget the build up to that home game against Bradford when we achieved the impossible dream. I was an emotional wreck that day. 

The local derbies always stick in the memory. Winning at Sheffield United thanks to a John Hendrie goal to go top for Christmas. Craig Hignet tormenting Sheff United, Vaz Te destroying Leeds, Banks, Barrowclough and Glavin running rings round Rotherham, the 7-1 demolition of Huddersfield and then beating Hudds in the Play-Off semis. I can still remember my first trip to Hillsborough as we beat them 2-0, after they had beaten us 3-0 at Oakwell earlier the same season. That was sweet. 

The Play-Off final victories - The JPT final - Beating Liverpool and Chelsea in that famous FA Cup run - Winning 4-0 at St Andrews versus Birmingham, the atmosphere that day was just incredible and without doubt one of the best Barnsley performances of all time - Going to Old Trafford in the FA Cup during the premier league season and drawing 0-0. That was a special moment. 

I have been lucky to see so many great players over the years. Evans, McCarthy, Banks, Futcher, Currie, Hendrie, Ward. But my stand out players would be Glavin, Hignett and Redfearn. 

What would be your message to other people wondering if they should get a season ticket or not?

I think Barnsley FC have made some real strides forward in recent seasons. 

The academy is producing some great players and the club are signing players with that winning mentality. Premier League clubs are happy to let their exciting prospects come to Oakwell which is a fantastic endorsement of the set up. 

We have a local lad in charge who obviously has the best interests of the club at heart. He's a fan at the end of the day. Add to this the quality of teams coming to Oakwell next season, and finally buying a season ticket is clearly the most cost effective way of watching Championship football at Oakwell. The club is doing things the right way and I personally want to be part of it. Buying a season ticket is the best way a fan can show his or her support. 

Do you have an exceptional story about supporting the Reds? Email fans@barnsleyfc.co.uk!

Be part of the Reds 2016/17 Championship campaign and buy your Season Ticket by clicking HERE! 









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