Our Chief Executive Officer gives supporters the latest information on a number of topics following the end of the 20/21 season.
ON THE PLAY-OFFS
“Being perfectly honest it still feels bittersweet, the end of the season. It stings a tiny bit because I feel like we could have come out of that tie with more, against Swansea, both home and away.
“They matched up well with us, Steve Cooper is a great coach and they kind of had our number most of the year, but we still had chances to win the games and some might say decisions didn’t go our way with the referees, but you have to be good enough in the play-offs so that you can take decisions out of the referee’s hands.
“So it still stings, because we put so much into it and we were so good for such a long period, and we’d have loved to have gone to Wembley, but it wasn’t meant to be this time.”
ON LAST SEASON
“Upon reflection, when we get the time to do so and take a step back, if you look at the season as a whole and the achievement, of course, it was an unbelievable season that was beyond all expectation.
“And hopefully, this is a marker and a springboard to continue in this way and grow off that season and go again. To push again for the top six and hopefully challenge for promotion again.
“I think we’ve maybe skipped a couple of steps in the plan, or the idea of us building as we do, periodically, year over year. We’ve just finished fifth. We reached the play-offs. And we believe that if we can keep this group together, keep the staff together, and keep performing as a club like we have done, both on the financial side and in the modelling of our philosophy, then why not, why can’t we go again?”
ON NEXT SEASON
“I think there will be a bit of a bullseye on our backs. We were the gate-crashers, the party-crashers last season. So we know it’ll be more difficult as others adjust to the way we play. Trying to contain our high-pressing, in-your-face, all-out-attack formula in which we’ve implemented.
“But we have to make ourselves better, adjust our own game and add new pieces so that we can continue to compete at the level we’ve done this past season.”
ON VALÉRIEN ISMAËL
“We’ve heard the rumours, we’ve seen the headlines, but we haven’t had any direct approach for Valérien.
“Of course there is going to be rumour and interest after the season we’ve just had. What Valérien put together with our club was incredible. It’s been an incredible achievement and an outstanding year for him.
“But I am extremely confident, the club is extremely confident that he will return and he’s going to continue to be the leader of our team.
“He is thoroughly engaged on all aspects when I communicate with him. He’s currently away with his family enjoying some time on holiday, but we are in constant communication, whether his wife likes it or not! We are talking about our plans, the formula of the team for next season, he’s involved in all those decisions. So I don’t envisage a situation where we aren’t looking at season 21/22 without Valérien Ismaël as our Head Coach.”
ON DARYL DIKE
“I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to to see Daryl back here.
“Daryl played to a level - especially in his first three-and-a-half months - that took the league by storm. It took a lot of people over here by surprise and I think his profile is now at a level where it makes the whole package of getting him back into Oakwell really difficult.
“Just because of the personal terms that I think others are floating his way and then that coupled with the transfer fee to his parent club, Orlando, it’s just something that is outside of Barnsley FC’s means right now, in its current iteration.
“Getting promoted would have made it easier for us to find some common ground on personal terms. But this is the sport and how it goes sometimes. His star rose really quickly and we just have to look back at his time here as positive, and I’m sure the contribution he made will live long in the memories of all of our supporters.”
“With the addition of Daryl and also Carlton Morris in the winter window, it showed that with some more attacking elements added to the group we could really push forward.
“We didn’t give up a lot of goals this season, especially on the back-end. So the more strength that we can provide up front and the more offensive options we have to use, is a big part of what gave us our success and so that’s an area we will definitely be looking at again over this summer.
“The changes to the rules regarding Brexit may have closed certain windows for us in Europe, but they’ve also opened more doors for us in other markets, like the US, and even in Mexico and areas of South America. That and the success we’ve had last season has really put us on the map and we are a much more interesting club now for potential players.”
ON ALEX MOWATT
“We are confident that we can get something done with Alex.
“He’s currently on holiday but I believe when Alex gets back we’ll sit down with him and his representatives again and the club believes, I believe, Valérien believes that this is the best place for Alex Mowatt.
“He’s our captain, our leader, he provides us goals and assists, he puts in the defensive shift. I don’t see a better place for him and I hope we can get something done there.
“We know other clubs are interested, but we’ve been speaking to Alex about an extension for the better part of 18 to 20 months. He knows where we stand. We continue to put forward offers that should attract any player.
“So hopefully, when he sits down and looks at his offers, sees the full scope, he’ll realise this is where he should be and we’ll see him lead out the team again next season.”
ON PLAYER RETAINMENT
“We are in a position where right now, we feel that with this group, this core group, that if we can build upon it we can go again next season.
“We are not in a situation right now where we need to sell.
“But of course, if a massive opportunity avails itself to a player, where it’s also a huge financial opportunity for the club and all involved, then we’ll look at it.
“But right now we are wanting to keep this group together and we certainly aren’t looking to sell. And there are a few factors in our favour right now that need to be considered too.
“One - we had such a successful year that the valuation on our players is higher than Barnsley have had in the past on their players. We should be only losing players if there are some monumental offers.
“And that coupled with the fact that the market is really slow, and not many clubs have a lot of cash to spend, we think we won’t have much of an issue in trying to retain our best players.”
ON CLUB STAFF
“I have pride in the entire operation. All the people who put the effort in, day in, day out. Not just the players and coaching staff, but everyone working behind-the-scenes, each arm of the club that makes sure that in a sustainable way, we are running so well and coming together for the greater good.
“As much credit as the players and the staff get, the people in the back-room and the front office staff deserve just as much credit for what we’ve achieved together in the last 18 months.”
ON RETURN OF FANS
“That night was electric, and I hope that is a sign of things to come in terms of the backing given to Valérien and the team again next season.
“And we have over 10,000 season ticket holders, which is just testament to the community we have here, who through such difficult times have shown real loyalty to their club, and we at the club cannot thank them enough for that.
“We are fully prepared and working to the fact that we’ll have full crowds and full away ends from the start of next season. We haven’t been told otherwise, and frankly, I feel that’s the way it needs to be. Football has shown in the recent test events and in the play-offs that it has supporters safety at the forefront of all that we do.
“We can’t wait to have everyone back here with us.”