On Saturday, we welcomed two very special guests to our Legends Suite for our Sky Bet Championship fixture with Queens Park Rangers.
Lifelong Barnsley supporters Ben Cox, 89, and Gordon Renshaw, 92, were invited to spend the afternoon in our hospitality suite as guests of Pukka Pies and Eric Twigg Foods.
They were treated to a delicious meal and watched their beloved Reds claim a priceless 1-0 victory to cap a wonderful afternoon.
With lots of fascinating stories to tell from his years of watching Barnsley, Mr Cox began by telling us how his father, who brought him to his first game in 1943 – during the Second World War – drank out of the FA Cup in 1912.
“My father brought me; I was 11-years-old,” he recalled. “We were playing York City – that’s all I remember about it. They had a goalkeeper called Bristow, who was a Charlton Athletic player. You see, because all the players were called up as well, wherever they finished up, that’s where they ended up playing.
“That’s how it happened in the war. And I never saw it again until the end of the war, and my father then started taking me to the matches.
“There was a section in the stand that held children. You can’t imagine it now. But I remember queuing to get in through the turnstiles.”
Having followed the Reds for 79 years, Mr Cox has seen many memorable moments and some wonderful players grace the famous Oakwell turf.
One who stands out in particular is a Chilean forward, who arrived in Yorkshire in 1932 and previously worked as a coal miner before signing for Barnsley in 1946.
“George Robledo is one of the best I’ve seen!” exclaimed Mr Cox. “I can remember him coming into the side and he couldn’t kick with his left foot. But before he went to Newcastle, he could – and he could score with that left foot. I was disappointed to see him go to Newcastle; that’d be just after the war.
“He’s certainly one of the best players I’ve seen. I saw Danny Blanchflower, and he played against Rotherham in the Sheffield County Cup – they’d signed him from Glentoran in Northern Ireland, and he couldn’t play in the league.
“We were amazed at how he played because he didn’t go in and tackle players – he just waited and would go and take the ball off them.
“I saw Barry Murphy come and go with Allan Clarke – I’ve seen a lot come and go. A heck of a lot!”
A season ticket holder in the East Stand, Mr Cox sits very close to his friend Mr Renshaw, who is only a few seats away.
Given the weather conditions at Oakwell on Saturday, the pair – two of our oldest supporters – were glad to be in the warmth
“I’ve been up here a couple of times before, but never for a meal, so I’m really looking forward to it,” smiled Mr Cox. “In fact, it’s been that cold, you’re just glad to get inside!”
Special thanks to Pukka Pies and Eric Twigg Foods for their generosity. We’re delighted both gentlemen and their guests were able to enjoy this experience.