This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Rewind’ series, this content strand is where we rewind back to a particular moment at a club, assess the initial reaction from the fans, and then proceed to evaluate and reflect on whether fans were right to react in that way…
A new German speaking manager took charge at Barnsley in an attempt to revitalise their season as they appeared to be heading straight back down to League One.
Former manager Daniel Stendel had been a popular figure with the Barnsley supporters during his short tenure at Oakwell with some supporters even hosting a leaving party for the German. Stendel had arrived at Oakwell when the club were on their knees, they had been relegated in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 2017/2018 Championship season.
That relegation was soon put to the back of the minds of the club’s supporters as Stendel fired them straight back into the second tier. His aggressive style of football was perfectly executed during his only full season in South Yorkshire as they finished in second place, only behind title winners Luton Town by just three points.
The Tykes believed that stood a real chance heading into the new Championship season, they were a club with a new philosophy that had seen them blow League One out of the water. Old problems would rear their head once again though, as Barnsley were able to collect just nine points from their first 16 games back in the Championship. The Barnsley board grew impatient and acted swiftly to give Stendel the sack.
Meanwhile in Austria, a certain Gerhard Struber was making a name for himself in the world of football. His side, Wolfsberg, had risen to third place in the Austrian Bundesliga as well as making progress in the continental circuit with the club in the UEFA Europa League. This caught the eye of the Tykes as they moved to appoint the Austrian back in November.
QUIZ: The Barnsley FC Quiz- Can you get 16 out of 16?
The club’s supporters had a bit of a mixed reaction to his appointment with some delirious that Struber would guide the club to the top of the English game, whereas others were sceptical of the appointment following the sacking of their beloved former manager.
Here is how they reacted on Twitter..
🤝 We are delighted to announce that Gerhard Struber is the new Head Coach at Barnsley Football Club.
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) November 20, 2019
Europa league campaign 22/23 confirmed.
— Luke Robinson (@lukerobbo123) November 20, 2019
Is it too late for a playoff push…?
— Adam Knowles (@AdamKBFC) November 20, 2019
very very happy with our new manager now on with the job of saving our season and hope we can stay up in the championship looking forward to see just what he brings to the table and hopefully a good transfer window in january
— u mighty reds (@delboy2929) November 20, 2019
🎶Gérard Struber's red and white army🎵welcome👏👏👏🔴⚪️🔴
— Mark (@kippa_mark) November 20, 2019
Missed a trick with Poch there lads
— Dean (@stickypixie) November 20, 2019
Not impressed by the board at all 👎
— Doug Hanwell (@barnsdoug6019) November 20, 2019
Quote from board…. ‘Believes in our project’. Would rather had someone who said ‘the project stinks and isn’t working’ and ‘you need to spend money on experience in January’…
I fear we have a ‘yes’ man at the helm.
Very happy to be proved wrong of course.
— S (@grumpycyclist72) November 20, 2019
The stats would suggest that Struber has done an excellent job at Barnsley since arriving in South Yorkshire. The Austrian has accumulated 25 points from his 21 games in charge of the Tykes which would see Barnsley 17th in the table if the season started when Struber took over back in November.
However, all the good work could be in vain as the Tykes are still at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship with a seven-point gap between themselves and safety. With nine games left to play, the Tykes has shown a real inconsistency under the new manager with some both excellent and poor performances on numerous occasions this campaign.
Those supporters who were slightly sceptical of the Austrian appear to be being proved right with a return to League One a distinct possibility for the South Yorkshire side. Competing in the Europa League must feel like a lifetime ago to Struber as he tries to rally his troops ahead of some crucial games between now and the season’s conclusion.