In an exclusive interview with iFollow Barnsley, Chief Executive, Dane Murphy reflected on a ‘remarkable’ campaign that saw its fair share of challenges both on and off the pitch.
The Reds secured their Sky Bet Championship survival in the most improbable of circumstances with a dramatic final day win at promotion-chasing Brentford, which only tells a fraction of the tale since football returned following lockdown.
With Barnsley seven points from safety heading into the final nine games, many had written Gerhard Struber’s side off and already consigned the club to relegation from the second tier.
But the Reds staged an incredible recovery that will live long in the memory of fans, players, staff and onlooking neutrals alike to beat the drop.
“It’s kind of indescribable; you can’t put into words everything that’s gone into the season and everything everyone has put into it, and for it to culminate that way is just remarkable,” said Murphy.
“I had to see them after the game, I waited until they came out of the Red Zone at Brentford’s stadium and it was special. We couldn’t really wrap our heads around what had happened, but it was just pure elation and everyone deserves it. It was a special night.”
All this, of course, has been done with the youngest squad in the Championship. With an average age of just 23, Barnsley defied the odds and proved the doubters wrong, playing an exciting, high-tempo brand of football in the process.
Our fledgling players will have benefited from the hardships of a gruelling campaign, while some will also have learnt the demands of the English game after a relative baptism of fire.
“It’s pretty evident that the words of Gerhard, Adam [Murray], Max [Senft] and the entire staff that everyone when they came back needed to be engaged – they were going to count on every single player,” continued Murphy.
“I’ve looked back at moments this year and thought bad luck has gone our way; we’ve had a bad bounce, hit the crossbar or hadn’t finished chances that we could have. I was reflecting and thought about Jack Walton at Luton, saving our season. Jack Walton in the first half against Brentford, saving the game. Matty Wolfe coming on and making a difference against Nottingham Forest.
“These are all guys who were just waiting for a turn and played a pivotal part in us staying in the Championship. That’s a testament not only to the players and staff; it’s the academy and the work that everyone here puts into the club.”
You can watch the full interview with Dane for FREE on iFollow Barnsley.