Gauthier Ganaye has issued a statement and message to supporters after the Club appointed Daniel Stendel as Head Coach at the beginning of June.
Having been at the Club for a year, the Chief Executive has had plenty to oversee in his first season at Oakwell, most recently with the appointment of a new Head Coach. Gauthier now felt it was the right time for him to explain the decision-making process so fans were aware of the Club’s vision for the upcoming season.
The Club were relegated to Sky Bet League One on the final day with a defeat at Derby County, which wasn’t what Ganaye wanted to see but he states that the plans were in place should this happen.
“Last season was a big disappointment. We wanted to act quickly, turn the page and plan our project for next season,” stated Ganaye, following the departure of José Morais. “The second after we were relegated we turned our focus directly onto a season in League One, because that’s when we knew for a fact what division we would be in and we decided to move quickly.
“The last months of the season we had been working on the two different scenarios between League One and the Championship, we were all hoping we would use the Championship one but unfortunately it was League One. But, we were prepared for this and we had a list of different player targets for each division we may have been in, we were prepared.
“We [Board of Directors] really sat down and thought about how we wanted to begin the process of appointing a new manager and the first question was about the style of play, which would be the most successful and what style would match both the Club and the mentality of the town. We identified the style first which was a counter-pressing and high-intensity attacking model, so we then looked to identify candidates who would fit that and be able to implement that style and Daniel was one of the best at that. We met a lot of candidates, and some a few times, so we did take time to make our decision but we are now very happy to see Daniel wanted to join us on this exciting project.”
44-year-old Daniel Stendel was the man appointed Head Coach, with the German being ‘headhunted’ for the role after the vision and structure was set in stone for Barnsley Football Club to move forward.
“He didn’t apply for the role. We clearly identified him as the perfect candidate to play this style of football so we went and approached him. I understand fans wanting a decision to be sooner, but this process would always take time, we had a lot to talk through with each other and when you identify someone and then look to make contact with them, then interview them, this isn’t the ideal time of the season to do that. Some were away on holiday or still involved in some big matches, so a month didn’t seem a long time for us.
“We wanted the Head Coach to play an attack minded brand of football because that’s what fans want to see at Oakwell. We wanted someone who was committed to youth, that’s key because it is in the DNA of the Club. We want to work with and develop young players, bringing through our own into the starting XI as well and this is what Daniel has been doing. He has a proven track record of this at Hannover 96 so it was another reason why we went for him. This style is about entertainment, if you play an attacking style then you are always hoping you will outscore the opposition. You can of course end up with entertaining scenarios in this case with lots of goals.”
Upon being appointed Head Coach, Stendel gave his thoughts to barnsleyfc.co.uk and explained that he wanted to share his vision and style with the academy, so that the whole Club had a clear way of mirroring the first team, thus being ready to step up when needed. Ganaye felt this was an important factor for everyone to understand both inside and outside the Club.
Ganaye explained: “It was clear in our vision that we were going to find a Head Coach who would also help to implement a style of play that would be mirrored by the academy, so obviously this is something we want to help set up. However, Daniel has already stated that the only way the academy will mirror the first team is if the first team is successful so that needs to happen first. If everyone can see that this type of football is successful then it will follow below them.
“Under 18s and Under 23s isn’t about the results, it’s about how we are going to play in order for someone, hopefully more, to develop through the system and be ready to join the first team at the right time. We have a lot of our players playing up age divisions, so we see one of the youngest teams in the league at both U18s and U23s, but we have had success doing this without winning many matches. Success is monitored on players developing at that level.
“It shows our ambition and his ambition too, Daniel comes here on a two-year deal with a clear mission and targets we want to accomplish. There is a long-term project, yes, but there is also very much a short-term ambition to go alongside that and it shows that both parties are in agreement with this.”
Joining the new Head Coach will be fellow German coaches Andreas Winkler and Christopher Stern. Both come with the knowledge and previous experience of working alongside Stendel.
“We have some great members of staff who are open-minded, and I fully believe they will welcome this change and listen to what Daniel has to say, they will learn new techniques and tactics and they will be hungry to see how he implements his ideas. During the process we have met many times with Daniel and one more of the aspects we really liked with him was that he is really listening to everyone, he has his style and vision but he is really open to others adding their ideas into his, so he can listen and see what can benefit the team.
“Daniel is really humble, he’s been successful during his time with Hannover and knows what he wants to do, but he also stated this is a league he hasn’t played in. Because of that he wanted to get as much knowledge as possible off the coaches that are here and somebody alongside him from time to time such as Bobby [Hassell]. He has played in this league before and will help him understand the opposition and the league. He [Daniel] was insistent that this was important and we as a board were all really happy to hear this.”
The question on the lips of many fans is now one of recruitment. The Club are yet to see any under contract players leave, or bring anyone in as of yet. Ganaye has been clear in his communication about the goal for the Club, as well as the fact there isn’t a need for anyone to leave, despite relegation.
“We would be lying if we said we didn’t want to be going for promotion. Our fan base would not understand if we said the opposite, it wouldn’t be right for a Club of this size in this division to not be going for promotion. So the question is how do we do that? You have a clear vision, you have some players that know the division and some new players. Some will be joining us, some will be leaving us, that’s how it is every season.
“We’re not under any pressure to sell anybody. Obviously, we’ve been relegated so I am sure everyone can understand that some have expressed a desire to play above League One level. But, we are in a strong position because they are all under contract. I am sure some will go but we will also recruit, if anybody leaves it will be in our best interests and we’ll be in a position to replace them.
“As a Club, we do fully understand that it can be frustrating for fans when they see rumours about us being linked with players coming in, players going out, but that’s constant in football. Rumours are constant, we can’t control that. It is certainly within the best interests of Barnsley Football Club to do its business quietly as it is for most clubs, so that’s something we will have to continue to do."
As part of the pre-season schedule has now been announced and we edge ever closer to the new league fixtures being released, there will be a new buzz around Oakwell. Ganaye wanted to let the fans know how important they have been since his arrival in 2017, and just how much of a role they will play going forward.
“The fans will remain as important as ever to us throughout this journey. Last season their support was incredible in a time that didn’t end well, especially at Derby County away where they were excellent right up until the end and I have no doubt they will back us next season. We’ve already seen that in season ticket sales which are over 8,000 now, and without going into detail of every question asked, this was important for Daniel to learn this in the interview. He was impressed by this and realised he was coming to a Club with true ambition both on the pitch and in the stands. The fans have certainly played their part early on in this window.
“Pre-season was sorted a while ago but we wanted to wait for our Head Coach to be announced before we officially confirmed this. I do understand the fans wanted to hear about it and now they know we’re going to visit some places we haven’t been for a while which seems to be important for the fans as well so we are happy about this.
“We’ll see the fixtures announced on June 21st, we’re all happy to have a break once the season ends if it can be called that, but within two weeks you’re already wanting to know the fixtures and start to have something to look forward to again. We’re all waiting for the league to start, I’m not worried who it is against I just hope we start with three points whether that’s home or away!
“There will of course be further plans for fan engagement forums, I am keen to hear everyone’s views and thoughts as we look to have a productive season both on and off the pitch. Thank you to every single Red that will be with us on this journey and I hope we can put some smiles back on faces. COYR!”