Ground Guide: Oakwell - Barnsley
Barnsley away hasn't brought much joy to the travelling faithful over the years. In 1920 a Blackpool full back, received a blow to the head during the league game. He died at home eleven days later as a result of the injury.
I realise that I'm in a small select band of Pool fans in that I've seen the mighty win at Oakwell twice. Granted both of these have been cup games, and despite our hoodoo of the last couple of seasons both games were midweek matches, but I'd gladly swap both of those victories for a single Saturday win this weekend.
Our midweek heroics at one of the other South Yarkshire clubs only 4 days ago brought a point when many didn`t expect any. The upbeat in performances over the last 3 games needs to be carried on for the last 8 games. In this the week of the Cheltenham Festival, here's hoping we don't come a cropper at the final few hurdles.
How to get there
M55 M6 to J30 join the M61, on to the M60 sign posted Bury / Leeds then joi 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
Oakwell was almost fully redeveloped during the 90's when Barnsley were in the top flight. The ground has a capacity of over 23000. This includes the 6000+ North Stand behind one goal where we`ll be sat. The one remaining stand from before the redevelopment has been earmarked for demolition and reconstruction, however as the ground is rarely over half full it may take on a smaller size reincarnation. The ground has hosted rugby league and earlier this season played the part of the 'home' ground for Man Citeh as their Eastlands stadium was being returfed. It's a reasonable enough ground (compared to ours it`s out of this world). Half empty, half full?-you just can't help but think it's a tad too big for the club in their current situation. Wonder how Norwich are feeling right now??
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
Never saw anything of either on my last visit here. With no 'history' between the 2 clubs I'd expect much of the same again.
Fear Factor rating - 2
It's been a funny season for Barnsley, their cup exploits hangover from last season has seemed to carry on in to this. Who would have thought that they would have come so close to an FA Cup final after we outplayed them here last year for 70 minutes then fell asleep for a fatal 2.
A win would be fantastic but a defeat isn't the end of the world. Barnsley are below us in the league but have games in hand, points in the bag are always better; here's hoping come 5pm on Saturday we've managed to give Barnsley the chop.
Onwards + Upwards