Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the media at Oakwell on Thursday morning, with the main topic of conversation being the memories of he had of times spent with Patrick Cryne.
He said: “It has been a difficult week, a little bit surreal really. I woke up Monday morning with missed calls from Jean and I did worry to be honest, it was the news we had all been fearing. It’s not been nice, but I know what Patrick would want and that’s for us to work even harder and keep trying to do the right things, but at the minute we are all thinking a lot about Jean and James.”
“I spoke to the players on Monday and told them. To be honest, not a lot of the players knew him as we have changed a lot of them in the summer but every one of them understands that it was Patrick who got them here and none of them would be here without him. Although a lot of them personally didn’t meet him, they understand how bigger role he’s played at this Club in getting them here.”
Looking back on his favourite memories, Hecky remembers his first proper conversation with Patrick, as well smiling to himself when speaking about the times they may not have seen eye-to-eye!
“There are lots of good stories, I could have wrote a lot down. A lot of the time we could have come out of a meeting or something had happened and we would both go with a totally different impression. One of us would think it’s an argument and one would think we’re getting somewhere! That started really when I was doing the U21s, I remember the first ever time. I came away having had direct contact with the owner, direct influence and asking opinions in an exchange, I came out really happy. How many coaches get that sort of direct contact with an owner, the main decision maker? I came out thinking I can make a difference here, but the next time I spoke to Patrick he went away with a totally different impression thinking who does he think he is, what’s he talking about? That was a long time ago now.
“Obviously over the last couple of years we’ve been working really closely to help to try and improve things, that’s when you really get to know a person because you’re making big decisions together, really trying to push each other and support each other.”
Many times during public appearances and in written communication, Patrick would declare himself as a ‘reluctant custodian’ of the Club. Hecky gave his view on those comments, stating that people could sometime take them the wrong way.
“What he really meant by that, or what my opinion of it is, is that he didn’t really want the attention that came with it. He wasn’t reluctant in running the Club as he took a massive sense of pride in that and felt a big responsibility of it. The fact it wasn’t just him, it was his family as well made it a big part of his life. I don’t think he was reluctant as in he didn’t want it, there was just lots of things that come with that position that Patrick could have done without, I wouldn’t want people to think he was reluctant and trapped here so he didn’t want to be here, he took a lot of pride and enjoyed that responsibility.”
Looking back over many years at Oakwell as a fan, player, coach and now Head Coach, Heckingbottom treasures all the time he spent with Patrick Cryne, but there are of course a couple of recent moments that stand out above all.
“My standout memories are after both Wembley wins, really. When the afterparty started I was sitting with Patrick on his table, you could still sense a slight difference in us then! Pride was definitely there, Patrick was savouring it and feeling really proud when we spoke about some things, talking about what we had achieved to get to this bit and I was like what’s next? His message to me was to just enjoy tonight. Most of your conversations are usually about big decisions, so he made me relax and enjoy it, they were good moments.”
View the full interview with Paul Heckingbottom on iFollow Barnsley now! The full video has been posted as a free to view for all fans.