Ground Guide: Oakwell
Oakwell - Barnsley
The international break's over and it's back to watching the Mighty.
We're still sat top of the league, despite a disputed penalty continuing Holloway's Lesturd jinx and this Saturday sees us taking the hop across t'Pennines to Barnsley.
Fair play to them as they are celebrating their 125th anniversary they are charging us £12.50. They've had a good start at home and Saturday's game should be a cracker. A big squad means opportunity for Holloway to tinker, win 3 out of 4 over a season and we'll go up automatically.
He's had the golden touch for 3 years, who knows by Saturday's kick off we may even have a couple of new faces to throw in the mixer.
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. 2000+ 'Pool should make the trek.
Where to Drink
On previous visits we've always parked at t'top of t'hill and drunk in the leisure centre. Hassle free whilst it's a 5 minute downhill stumble into the ground, it took us an hr to travel the 100 or odd yards on to the main road at the end of the game. Recommended pubs for away fans are The Outpost on Sheffield Rd (10mins) or The Holleywell Inn on Oakwell Rd near the old Barnsley Brewery.
Usually if we get the whole of the North Stand then ale will be available inside the ground, unsure for Saturday.
Plod & Stewards
Been a pretty hassle free couple of last visits to Oakwell, Saturday should be no different
Fear Factor rating - 1
Barnsley are hoping their reduced price brings in a bumper crowd and have promised a fun day.
Here's hoping that come 5pm on Saturday that all the smiles are on the faces of the travelling faithful making our way back to the right side of the country.
Onwards + Upwards