The Tykes were the surprise package in 2020-21, defying the odds that made them one of the relegation favourites to make it all the way to the play-offs under Valerien Ismael, where they fell short in the semi-finals against Swansea City.
A summer followed where their head coach, captain and CEO – all vital parts of the team – were taken by other Championship outfits, and both Ismael and Alex Mowatt’s replacements failed to live up to the billing.
Quiz: Which club did Barnsley sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
Poya Asbaghi came in midway through the season but was unable to arrest the slide as the Yorkshire side succumbed to the dreaded drop.
Despite a poor season, there are still individuals in Barnsley’s side that are good enough to play in the Championship right now.
Callum Styles sticks out as an obvious one with the newly-capped Hungary international destined for bigger and better things, and striking pair Carlton Morris and Cauley Woodrow are probably second tier players as well.
The one individual though that perhaps doesn’t deserve to be playing in League One more than anyone though is Michal Helik, who won the Players’ Player of the Season for the campaign just gone after being named the overall Player of the Year last year.
Little was known about Helik by Barnsley fans when he arrived at Oakwell in September 2020 from Cracovia, but he formed part of a back three under Ismael that was so solid that it helped the club into the play-offs – he scored five goals as well in the process.
Even though Barnsley struggled this season, Helik still stood out even though he had a lot more to do.
The Polish international, who received his first cap in 2021 when he was a Barnsley player, averaged 2.5 interceptions per match according to WhoScored, and a Squawka stat shows him as having the most overall in the Championship with 96 in his 38 appearances.
Helik also averaged 1.5 tackles per match, 0.9 blocks and 5.4 clearances, showing that he was tough to get past the majority of the time – but perhaps others in the back-line were letting him down.
Wyscout also shows him to have won 77.4 per cent of his defensive duels throughout the Championship season, which means it’s no surprise to see him winning the plaudits of his own team-mates.
If Helik wants to further his international career though at the age of 26, playing in England’s third tier just might not cut it.
In a summer that Barnsley may need to consider cashing in on some of their prized assets, it would be zero surprise to see Helik attract interest from Championship clubs but also in Europe as well – they’d be right though to hold out for a significant seven-figure fee.