Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Thursday February 25 2010
Oakwell - Barnsley
Barnsleh - been in the Premiership, almost made it to an FA Cup Final and after a bad start have made their way up the table to be considered outside play off contenders.
I've been to Oakwell a few times and we've never seemed to have it easy. A couple of years ago we out played them for 70 minutes then blew it in 2.
Saturday certainly won't be an easy game but as ex-Prem Newcastle & Boro and current occupants Wigan and Stoke found out this Pool team have a belief about them. Another Saturday = another exciting Pool game to watch.
How to get there
M55 M6 to J30 join the M61, on to the M60 sign posted Bury / Leeds then join the M62. Leave the M62 and take the M1 South. Leave the M1 at J37 and take the A628 towards Barnsley. The directions to the ground are signposted from here, however - at the roundabout, take the fourth exit onto West Way (A628). At the next roundabout, take the second exit onto Harborough Hill Road (A61) turn right on to Pontefract Rd and you should be able to see the ground.
For the Virgin Lovers amongst us Barnsley railway station is a ten minute walk. From the train station, turn left away from the town centre and head towards the bridge that the dual-carriageway runs over. Go under the bridge and turn left up the slip road and then take the first road on the right and head towards the Metro Dome leisure complex at the top of the hill. The ground is now at the bottom of this hill.
For the sat navvers - S71 1ET
The name 'Oakwell' generally refers to the main stadium, it also includes several neighbouring venues which form the facilities of the Barnsley F.C. academy - an indoor training pitch, a smaller stadium with seating on the South and West sides for around 2,200 spectators, and several training pitches used by the different Barnsley FC squads.
Until 2003 the stadium and the vast amount of land that surrounds it was owned by Barnsley Football Club themselves, however after falling into administration in 2002 the council purchased the main Oakwell Stadium to allow the club to pay its creditors and remain participants in The Football League.
Opened in 1888, Oakwell was almost fully redeveloped during the 90's when Barnsley were in the top flight. The West Stand is the only original part of the stadium left. There`s an odd 'corner` stand. Built in the summer of 1998 and originally known as 'The Welcome Windows Stand', this unusual three level structure provides further executive areas and disabled facilities, access to this area was also incorporated into the neighbouring East Stand on several levels, the spectator capacity of the structure is 202.
The ground has a capacity of just over 23000. This includes the 6000+ North Stand behind one goal where we'll be sat.
Where to Drink
On previous visits we've always parked at t'top of t'hill and drunk in the leisure centre. Hassle free it's a 5 minute downhill stumble into the ground.
Recommended pubs for away fans are The Outpost on Sheffield Rd (10mins) or The Holleywell Inn on Oakwell Rd near the old Barnsley Brewery.
If we get the whole of the North Stand then ale will be available inside the ground.
Plod & Stewards
Been a pretty hassle free couple of last visits to Oakwell, mind you I said that about Doncaster & Coventry earlier this season and both sets of stewards turned out to be right ****s on our visits this season.
Fear Factor rating - 2
The blip, what blip? 3 decent results in 7 days and we`re right back in the mixer.
Last season we needed a result at Oakwell to take away some pressure at the Knobber end of the table and we got it with a fantastic Wade Small goal.
Here's hoping that come 5pm on Saturday we're driving back across the 62 with another smile on our faces.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Thursday February 25 2010
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