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10th Anniversary celebration – details confirmed

We’re very pleased to finally confirm details of our biggest event to date – a 3 course dinner & Q&A with the majority of the 2005/2006 League One Play Off winning squad. Details are below:

Date – 25th June
Time – 7pm until 1am (afterparty still TBC)
Tickets – £40 or £300 for table of 8
Dress code – no trainers/football shirts. Smart casual.

There’ll be a DJ on the night along with raffles, auctions, chances to meet the lads & a Q&A. All profits will be split 50/50 between Barnsley Hospice & the Barnsley Hospital Tiny Hearts Appeal.

We’re limited to only 250 tickets for the evening so be sure to get yours asap here. All tickets will be posted out nearer to the time.

We also have corporate sponsorship available – please get in touch at to discuss more.


STARS – your very, very last chance…

Now then

First of all, thanks to all who have sent kind words about the Stars shirt. We’re more than chuffed with the quality & the amount flogging so many has made for our charities – thanks again.

However, we’d be lying if we were entirely happy. Afraid we fucked up – we advised plenty of you to order a size up as we believed the sizing to be a little smaller than normal. Now we’ve got them, we’ve realised that’s bollocks.

So – this is the Stars amnesty – we’re going to order some smaller sizes over the next couple of weeks. If you want to return yours then do so & we’ll get your name down for the size of your choice. If we can swap immediately, we will. If we can’t, you’ll have to wait until we get them back probably late November.

If you do want to return one, email us at

What this also means is that we are now opening up the chance to order a shirt, even if you missed out first time. All orders, be it new or swaps, will be put in on 1st November so you’ll have to wait until the end of that month to get yours – just think though, perfect Christmas present…

Nice one as always

Yours in shite football & these shirts being the only good thing in your Barnsley FC supporting life.



In defence of the Individual Brilliance Zone – Dr Joseph Handsaker

Over the weekend after our disappointing loss to Shrewsbury, we got hold of a presentation document that Lee Johnson, our Head Coach, and Nathan Winder, our Head of Club Sport Science, gave at a recent Science & Football Conference. So, now we’ve all seen the philosophy documents, took the piss out of them and they’ve left some of us in the corridor of confusion. However, Dr Joe Handsaker attended the presentation and below he explains that there is more to it than meets the eye.

Earlier this year I was one of thousands of delegates who attended the Science and Football conference at St Georges Park. Whilst I attended the conference with the intention to focus mainly on the science based presentations, several of the keynote lectures were given by coaches, managers and scouts; including the Barnsley head coach, Lee Johnson.

At the time, I had no knowledge of Lee Johnson, or how well Barnsley were doing that season, so sat down with no expectations or assumptions of the man. The presenter at the conference, David Jones from Saturday Night Football, introduced Lee and explained how he had rejuvenated a struggling Barnsley FC that season, consequently earning himself a nomination for manager of the month the following month. He began by outlining his philosophy, the philosophy by which he expected all of his players to play the game. A style that appeared more Champions League than League One, but aspirational none the less. He explained the importance of this statement, in getting all the players on the same page, all knowing how football is expected to be played at Barnsley FC. Whilst this philosophy has appeared on Twitter, the slides that followed these, have not. He then went on to break this philosophy into more distinct areas, turning what may appear to be an abstract, idealistic philosophy, into distinct, achievable patterns of play that his players could look to create. Expecting players to ‘use speed down the flanks and forward areas to exploit space and create 2v1’s’ in possession (amongst 16 other points), and ‘squeeze and suffocate opposition by hunting in packs’ when not (amongst a further 16). I personally found his attention to detail impressive, and, as previously mentioned, his ambition to play attractive, attacking football really caught my attention.

He continued on to show the slide which has caught the eye of many Barnsley fans, his zonal diagram of the pitch. With zones such as the corridor of confusion and bomb alley, it may appear to be unprofessional, and quite Sunday league, but for me, this is obviously the way that he talks to his players. Football isn’t like other businesses where a certain level of professionalism must be upheld at all times, this is an industry in which a group of around twenty men in their twenties and thirties spend their days kicking a ball around. The fact that terms such as ‘spin and slide zone’ are used, I therefore don’t think should be too surprising. We’ve all heard ex-footballers use slang terms to describe certain technical and tactical facets of the game; including my pet-hate of recent years, in which footballers are said to have put ‘swazz’ on the ball (which apparently means spin, or ‘whip ‘n’ dip’ as I’d call it). So, for managers to use these slang terms was fully expected, for me at least. Similarly to the philosophy, he went on to explain what he meant by each of these zones, and how they translated into actual play, with videos of the tactics in action from the previous weeks. These videos really demonstrated how these potentially meaningless words could actually be translated into positive play, and ultimately three points.

After his tactical description of his expectations of a Barnsley team, he then handed over to his head of sport science, Nathan Winder. Whilst Nathan presented how sport science had, amongst other things, helped Barnsley to reduce injury rates by 46% from the following year, Lee (or ‘the gaffer’, as Nathan referred to him as) interjected occasionally to back up the work being done; really showing himself to be a knowledgeable manager who was open to try new things for the good of the team.

I left the talk very impressed with Lee as a manager, as did the rest of the delegates at the conference, as far as I could tell from others there that I spoke to. I felt that as a young manager with grandiose expectations and ambitions for the team, Barnsley would improve further this term. Whilst it may not be going so well this season, I saw a bright young manager that day, who I expect will have a good career ahead of him. I expect that if Barnsley fans had seen his presentation that day, they would’ve been excited and fully supportive of Lee and his plans for the team. Fingers crossed that he can turn it around and start putting into practice everything that he had meticulously planned.

Dr Joseph Handsaker
Research Associate in Sports Biomechanics, Loughborough University

WSB 15/16 – advertising rates

Now then

We’re starting to plan and get ready for the new season at WSB towers and as always, we want to do more to help the fantastic local causes we support. However, we couldn’t do it without the help we’ve received up to now from the local & national business community.

Attached below are the advertising rates available for our mag & soon to launch Podcast. If you can help or have any questions, details are on the form.


West Stand Bogs – Advertising Rates 1516

Walk to Bradford – in association with BFCST

Barnsley Football Club Supporters’ Trust and the West Stand Bogs Fanzine are working together to walk 23.9 miles to Bradford City Football Club in memory of the 56 football fans who tragically never made it home on 11th May 1985.

When Bradford City host Barnsley on Saturday 25th April, it will be 30 years since a fire engulfed the main stand at Bradford, and this charity walk aims to raise money for the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit, alongside local Barnsley charity Jaxon’s Gift. Jaxon’s Gift supports families in the region impacted by the death of a young child.

BFCST have had a long affiliation with Bradford City Football Club, both on and off the pitch, working in the past to organise a commemorative game between the clubs to celebrate Barnsley’s promotion to the Premier League. Paul Gallagher, Chairman of BFCST, commented ‘The Bradford City Fire will always go down as one of the saddest days in football history. Nobody should fail to make it home from a football match, and we’re honoured that ourselves and our fanzine are working together to make a difference for this anniversary. We’ve started the ball rolling on donations by contributing £400 from the proceeds of Redfearn’s Bar to the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research unit, and we encourage as many supporters as possible to get involved or make a donation to this great cause’.

West Stand Bogs is a relatively new, non profit making, fanzine only 18 months old, but thriving issue after issue and soaring in popularity with fans. Liam Dyson, co-founder of the fanzine, said ‘After organising a similar walk to Chesterfield earlier in the season and raising £8,500 for the Barnsley Churches Drop In charity, we’re delighted to be working with the Supporters’ Trust on this charity walk to not only support the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit, but Jaxon’s Gift as well, a local charity, chosen by our readers as the charity they would like us to get behind. Hopefully we’ll get a good turn out. There’s likely to be some stiff legs at 3pm but it’s all worth it!’

All fans are invited to take part in the walk which will leave Oakwell at approximately 4am on Saturday 25th with donations gratefully accepted at:

The route can also be found here

Gorlovka by John Moyes

A friend of WSBs, John Moyes (Merde Tete on the BBS) recently sent us this wonderful piece discussing the impact the current Ukranian conflict is having on our twinned Town, Gorlovka.

He’s under real pressure now.

Surely to god we can’t put up with any more of this?

That was an absolute disaster.

I can’t put my feelings into words.

They’ve pulled one back, the next five minutes are going to be unbearable!

My weekend has just been ruined. Again.

These are words and phrases that we often hear bandied about by fans and pundits alike when the team is struggling. But let’s take a step back for a minute. What does it really mean to have your weekend “ruined”? What is it like to be “under pressure”? How bad does a certain event in your life have to get in order to be considered a “disaster”?

Tuesday 10 February was spent in front of a computer, in a large apartment in a green and leafy district of St Petersburg, with my family beside me, and the snow falling peacefully outside. Despite the considerable chill on the street, we were warm and snug, primarily because we have very efficient central heating in Russia. We all felt nice and full as well, as we’d had a hearty dinner after I’d returned from work. I can’t remember what it was, but what I can say with complete certainty is that whatever we ate will have been not just something to fill our bellies, but will have actually been comprised of whatever ingredients we chose to buy on that particular day. It will certainly have consisted of a lot of fresh, out of season vegetables. Expensive of course, but readily available if you’re willing to pay, even after Putin’s notorious “anti sanctions” which banned the import of various foodstuffs into Russia from the EU. My little girl had just gone to bed, having had a bath. The water that came out of the taps was hot and clean. I was about to start following the Barnsley v Fleetwood game from afar, with the benefit of course of a high speed internet connection.

You may be wondering where this is going, and why I have painted a picture of my very comfortable, yet very typical modern existence. Well, all of the things that I mentioned that make my life – and I would hazard a guess at yours – so comfortable: hot water, heating, high speed internet, the choice of what to eat no matter what the season, and most crucially of all, a feeling of personal safety and security – these are all things that in our modern, peacetime lives, we absolutely take for granted.

So, back to Tuesday night. Tuesday night was spent, shall we say, multi-tasking. As not only was I following the “disaster” unfolding at Oakwell, but my wife and I were also making frantic arrangements to evacuate her relatives from their small farm in the Donbass area of Ukraine. Now, many of you will have heard about the conflict in Ukraine, presumably without really taking very much on board other than the statistics. 5,500 killed and 13,000 wounded. Five million people living in a combat zone, and nearly a million already displaced. Taking a cursory glance at some numbers on a computer screen before getting back to our sheltered, everyday lives is something that I am sure we have all done. I certainly have. But what does it actually mean if you are one of those affected? Once you are more than just a statistic? For our family, a couple in their mid 50s who live just outside Donetsk, it has meant prolonged periods without water, gas and electricity. Sporadic pension payments, if they are even paid at all at all. Unreliable internet and telephone signals which is especially alarming for all of us wishing to keep in touch with them, for obvious reasons. For a while, it seemed like they were some of the luckier ones. Indeed, with their lives and property still intact, and their utilities restored to a more or less functioning level, their lives are better than many people’s. However, the run-up to last week’s ceasefire agreement led to a renewed push for territory on both sides. They are located on Ukrainian controlled territory, but only just. Currently the Ukrainian army are lined up around a mile behind their farm, leaving them in the direct line of fire if open hostilities should resume. Their choice is a stark one. Leave their home in the beautiful Ukrainian countryside, along with their land and animals, the place which they purchased only two years ago to retire to – knowing that if they do it will almost certainly have been looted or occupied by the time they return. Or, stay there and run the risk of waking up one morning with a hole in their garden, or roof, or worse.

If you think all of this sounds grim, then you’d be quite right. However, compared with the residents of a nearby town located in rebel-held territory, they have got off lightly, so far. The town in question had quite a lot written about it in the British press last year, when it was being pounded by artillery fire, but you would be forgiven for giving it a cursory glance as just another war-torn town in Eastern Ukraine. It is almost always referred to in the British media by its Ukrainian name of “Horlivka”. Ring any bells? Well, unless you are proficient in the subtleties of Russian and Ukrainian transliteration, probably not. However, in the Donbass region itself, you will never hear it called by its Ukrainian name, as nobody actually speaks Ukrainian there. The locals all use the Russian name – Gorlovka. Starting to sound familiar? Yes, one of the key flashpoints in the Ukrainian war is Barnsley’s twin town. The fighting in Gorlovka was particularly intense from July 2014, until September of last year when the first shaky ceasefire was agreed. Many residential areas came under artillery fire during the “Battle of Horlivka” as it is now known, with the civilian dead running into the hundreds, and the numbers wounded and made homeless running into the thousands. The rebels accused the Ukrainian government forces of indiscriminate shelling of populated areas, whereas the Ukrainian government line is that the rebels were shooting directly out of residential areas, thus using local civilians as a human shield. Whichever version of events contains more truth hardly matters in practical terms. The dead are still dead, and the displaced are still displaced. Since the September truce, things have been calmer, but Gorlovka’s position right on the edge of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ leaves it particularly vulnerable as a key strategic point. As recently as February 2nd, one of the rebel commanders in the New York Times was quoted as saying “if we lose Gorlovka, we lose the war”.

As the conflict has developed and moved away from Gorlovka to other towns, they have become the focus of the media – as I write, Debaltseve, the railway junction between the two main cities in the rebel held territory, Donetsk and Lugansk, is the scene of a violent battle, despite yet another ‘ceasefire’ agreement in Minsk last week. Gorlovka has already been forgotten. Just another bombed out town in a war zone far from home. But Gorlovka is home to real people, a lot of them. Nearly 300,000 in fact, which makes it as populous as Cardiff, and considerably bigger than Newcastle, Nottingham, Leicester and Brighton. A sobering thought, as the people there are left to rebuild their lives. A difficult enough task in any circumstances, but made immensely more complicated by the fact that Gorlovka is currently located in a state – the Donetsk People’s Republic – that does not officially exist. It doesn’t take much to work out the detrimental effect that this has on even the most basic of public services.

Although I personally have not visited Gorlovka, I spent a lot of time in the Donbass region and particularly Donetsk during the summer of 2012 when the European Championships were taking place in Ukraine. What struck me immediately was how similar the area is to South Yorkshire in so many ways. Flying in, the landscape reminded me of the area as I remember it from being a child – rolling countryside punctuated by coal mines and slag heaps, and the air has a red tinge in the morning. Gorlovka, the old mining town is twinned with Barnsley, and Donetsk, the regional capital famed for its coal and metal industries is twinned with Sheffield.


‘John & his wife Sasha at the 2012 Euro Championships’

Many twin town arrangements begin and end on paper, but that is clearly not the case with Donbass and South Yorkshire. The local people here are really proud of their links with their industrial brethren in Great Britain. Donetsk itself was founded by a Welsh industrialist, John Hughes, who is credited with bringing both the mining industry and football to the area. He is still a celebrated figure in the area today. Shakhtar Donetsk, roughly translated actually means ‘The Donetsk Miners’ in English. The Colliers, if you will. Gorlovka has a restaurant called Barnsley, and the Russian speaking branch of the Barnsley Supporters Club (yes, it does exist) appears to be run by somebody from Gorlovka. The page on the Russian version of Facebook ( is still active and regularly updated – . As far as I am aware from scanning the news sites for the town, cultural exchanges between Barnsley and Gorlovka have taken place at a council level, although what the level of connection is now I’m not sure. I would hazard a guess at not very high, considering it is currently under the control of pro-Russian separatists, who are not recognised by central government in Kiev. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the current political situation in Eastern Ukraine, it is without doubt a humanitarian catastrophe of the highest order. If something of a similar magnitude were to happen in South Yorkshire, whether it was a war in Wakefield, a tsunami in Barnsley, or Sheffield turned out to have been built on an active volcano, I am absolutely sure that the people of Donbass would be doing every little thing they could to help the people of their twin towns. It’s just how they are. I’m also quite sure that many people in the South Yorkshire area would really like to be able to lend their help to the ordinary people of Donbass, caught up in an atrocious civil war. However, it seems that actually very few people are aware of the full extent of what has been happening there. How to help is another matter entirely, especially given the fractious nature of the political situation in the region. Whilst it would be nice to think that money, clothes and canned food could be sent there and would help improve people’s lives, their reality is that the chances of any aid being misappropriated are extremely high. That, unfortunately, is the reality of war. It is also the reality of life in Ukraine in general, on both sides of the political divide.


‘The Barnsley Cafe – Gorlovka’

Donbass is an area of Europe, not so very different from our own home in England. An area that people are proud to call their home, just like we are forever proud to say that we are from Yorkshire, no matter where we find ourselves in the world. Without wishing to generalise or stereotype, I found the people of Donbass endearingly similar to South Yorkshire folk, right down to the fact that they speak in a rather peculiar dialect of their native language (Russian, not Ukrainian). They’re unpretentious, incredibly warm and welcoming, and have a love of the simple pleasures in life – fishing, football, delicious foods from their local farms, and a beer in the summer sun. They’re people just like you and me. Except these are people who live in fear of a bomb dropping on their house at any moment. It’s enough to ruin anyone’s weekend.

The Votes are in…and the winner is…

We are very pleased to announce that our upcoming walk to Bradford will benefit the fantastic Jaxon’s Gift. All details on the walk including a route etc will be available soon.

In the meantime, you can get more info on the wonderful work they do here:

Thanks to all who nominated & voted. We’ll be looking to support some of the nominated charities with future events.


The morning after…

First off – thanks must go to Patrick & Ben for offering to join us last night. Whilst I’ve seen that many weren’t happy with some of their responses (and to seemingly the vast majority of my questions) you can’t knock the men for standing up to give their point of view.

Last night was the start of something. In the 13 years that Mr Cryne has been our ‘custodian’ as he put it, I’ve never once heard him speak. 13 years. Yet last night he stood up in front of 50 blokes with us in a lowly league position and just sacking a manager and gave his point of view, his reasons & some insight into his thinking.

I disagreed with much of what was said. I disagree that it’s almost impossible for my club to be successful without additional cash investment & I disagree that we were looking at a relegation battle to name but two. But I can’t fault a man for standing up and explaining why he made a decision.

I made a conscious decision last night not to ask questions such as ‘who’s the next manager going to be?’ because, really, what’s the point? We had a limited amount of time with the man in charge and I wanted context and insight into what goes on in his head to drive his decision making process. Whilst I could sit and talk to him all day, we had to focus on something and I think for that, last night was a success.

I won’t pour over the transcript or the questions that were or weren’t asked – you can do that yourself when we release the audio. I won’t get into a slanging match with folk who think I didn’t press hard enough on certain issues. What I will say is that I hope this gives us a chance to at least start communicating with the man that is really in charge and brings about an opportunity for us all to work towards something in the future.

You reds.

PS – buy WSB7