Opponents in focus - Barnsley FC
We start for pure alphabetical reasons, with Barnsley, a team we share a few parallels with.
Barnsley were formed back in 1887 as Barnsley St.Peter`s, after a season spent establishing themselves, they found a home at Oakwell, here they remain to this day.
Founder members of the then powerful Sheffield league in 1892, they then progressed to the new Midland league 4 years later, dropping the St.Peter`s tag in the meantime.
The football league came calling in 1898 just as Pompey themselves were being "born" on the South coast. They entered the league in the second division, and there they stayed, in fact to this day they are the club that has spent most seasons in the second tier of English football, a record which will obviously get extended further while this season runs it`s course!
Barnsley did make the F.A cup final in 1910, losing a replay to Newcastle at Goodison park 2-0 after a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Not to be denied though, they did win the pot for the one and only time in their history 2 years later, this time defeating Bolton 1-0 in another re-played final.
In the 1914-15 season the top flight beckoned after a third place finish in Division two, but the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand put paid to football for a few years and they had to wait for football to be reinstated on the sporting map. Fate was however to prove cruel to the Tykes, Arsenal who had recently relocated from South to North of the Thames got elected in ahead of them, Chelsea also got re-elected after finishing second bottom of the first division, the footballing Gods then decided to keep Barnsley yo-yoing amongst the lower leagues for the best part of the next 80 years!
In 1996-97 they finally arrived in the top flight, a full 82 years after they had first earned it! Their season in the Premiership was spent mainly in the bottom 3, as the season played out they were to be relegated along with the other two teams who had been promoted with them, Crystal palace and Bolton, they did win 10 games however, but the 23 defeats did for them.
Since then it has been back to type, a flirtation with league one for a while, then back to the familiar surroundings of the Championship and the second tier, all this accompanied with a few gritty cup displays including a Wembley semi-final in Pompey`s triumphant year.
Barnsley of course have worn red and white since their birth last century, Oakwell has been their home for all but one year of their lifespan and it holds a gnats chuff more than 23,000.
Barnsley by numbers
9 Goals by which they defeated Loughborough back in 1899 to record their greatest win and also greatest defeat in 1927 to Notts County
15. the age of Reuben Noble -Lazarus , complete with 45 days and the youngest player to ever play league football just last season.
123. Goals by Ernie Hine to be all time top scorer between 1921-38
514 appearances by Barry Murphy between 1962-78
Barnsley v Pompey
Pompey last played Barnsley in 2002 in a 4-4 draw, the game was memorable for Robert Prosinecki`s "wasted hat-trick" for anyone there it was like watching a grown man toy with a 3 year old boy, so sublime was the Croatian on the day.
Pompey`s record reads Played 40, won 18, drawn 12 and lost 10, our last defeat coming on my sisters birthday 25th November 2000!
Our worst defeat came early in the season of 1999, Pompey finished with 9 men after Awford and Simpson saw red, Barnsley rattling in 6 goals along the way.
Pompey have twice hit 4 against Barnsley, but only twice did we win! See the "wasted hat-trick" for why.
Notable players to have featured for both
John Beresford is highest achiever, he started with Barnsley before joining Pompey`s "almost" men under Jim Smith and the going on to Newcastle and some other stripy team where he burnt out and retired.
Steve Agnew I remember on loan during the same period while Deon Burton featured for both teams.
Pompey`s cup final hero of 1939 started out at Barnsley while the likes of Bobby Doyle, Sasa Ilic, Brendan O`Connell, Malcolm Shotton, Ian Hendon and the legend that is none other than Arjen De Zeeuw wore the colours of both.
This season`s Barnsley
Darren Moore will be a face familiar to many, he featured for Pompey 63 times in 3 years from 1999, he is a big friend of Linvoy to this day, he is an immense presence, if a little immobile!
Men to watch this season could well be the young Reuben Noble-Lazurus as he bids to set the World alight at the tender age of 16, while Jon Macken has been around long enough to test Pompey`s defence.
Andy Gray will be a name familiar to Pompey after been linked with a proposed move to Fratton as recently as last week.
Jason Shackell will captain this seasons Barnsley after arriving from Wolves this summer, he has obviously impressed manager Robins with his attitude.
Mark Robins will be familiar enough to Premiership watchers, he was Manchester Utd`s super sub for a few years until Solskjaer took that mantle, he then went on to enjoy European success with Norwich when their star soared a few years back, he has cut his managerial teeth at Rotherham, turning them around after making the move from player, he then took over from Simon Davey in 2009 with Barnsley rooted to the bottom of the Championship, he worked wonders however and that is why we meet Barnsley this term, another of Fergie`s fledglings to make the grade as manager!