Former Barnsley winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce has claimed that he probably played the best football career at Oakwell and revealed that Simon Davey trusting him in a central role was a key factor, speaking exclusively to Football League World.
The 37-year-old made 100 appearances during a two and a half year spell with the Tykes before he was snapped up by Bristol City in January 2010.
Having joined from Southend United in August 2007, Campbell-Ryce was an integral figure in the Barnsley side as they battled relegation in 2007/08 and 2008/09 – helping them to secure Championship survival on both occasions.
He was also a mainstay during the Yorkshire club’s FA Cup run in 2007/08, which saw Davey’s men beat both Chelsea and Liverpool on their way to the semi-finals.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Football League World, the former Jamaica international indicated that he felt he likely played the best football of his career with the Tykes.
He said: “Yeah, probably (he played his best football there). The first year and a half at Barnsley. Particularly because Barnsley was a club in the Championship as well.
“Simon Davey signed me and I have very fond memories. The club were brilliant.”
Campbell-Ryce was utilised as a winger for much of his career but at Oakwell, Davey recognised the influence he could have in a more central role.
He explains: “Simon Davey was the first manager to play me in the centre of the park and allowed me to dictate games.
“I probably dictated games completely different from the way that other midfielders dictated games. I was a winger playing infield, I was driving at players through the middle of the park which not many players were doing back then.
“I had a great period there. It was fantastic and I loved it there.”
After keeping the club in the Championship for three years in a row, Davey left Barnsley in September 2009 and Campbell-Ryce’s exit followed in the winter transfer window a few months later.