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‘I have my reservations’ – Barnsley set to appoint 45-year-old: The verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Barnsley are closing in on the appointment of Valerien Ismael as Gerhard Struber’s replacement.

It’s been revealed by Football Insider that the 45-year-old Frenchman has agreed to take the job at Oakwell and an announcement is imminent.

Our writers discuss his seemingly inevitable appointment…

Jake Sanders

The appointment of Ismael appears a slightly risky one for Barnsley. Whilst his playing career speaks for itself, he’s been relatively untested and is unknown as a first-team manager in England.

Having said that, the Tykes took a punt on Gerhard Struber around this time 12 months ago, and he ended up working wonders to keep Barnsley in the Championship, so it would be foolish to rule Ismael out.

Ismael’s only previous long-term job as a manager was his last job at LASK – leading the Austrian club to the Champions League for the first time – and you’re only as good as your recent job, so it could turn out to be a shrewd appointment.

Only time will tell.

Ned Holmes

It’s certainly on-brand with the left-field appointments that the Tykes have made in recent years, fans will be hoping that he can be as effective as Daniel Stendel and Gerhard Struber were.

You’ve got to say there is an element of risk to the move, given his lack of experience in the Championship and his previous record.

The length of time Ismael has spent at many of his clubs is a red flag, there’s no doubt about that.

Other clubs likely would have played it safer but we’ve seen in recent years that’s not Barnsley’s approach and you’ve got to give them credit for that.

I’m excited to see how the Tykes set up under Ismael and how he fares at Oakwell but I’m not sure I’d feel that way if I was a Barnsley fan.

Jacob Potter

I’m not too sure about this one.

Ismael doesn’t have any experience of managing in English football, which will obviously be a slight concern for the Oakwell faithful, as they look to retain their status as a Championship club for this season.

However, not many would have heard of Gerhard Struber when he was appointed as Barnsley’s manager, and he did a fine job with the Yorkshire-based side before moving to New York Red Bulls.

It could prove to be a very smart appointment by the Tykes if he can get the best out of a relatively young squad this season.

He didn’t have the worst of records with Austrian side LASK either, having won 31 out of his 50 matches in charge of them, so he’ll be eager to pick up where he left off.

I have my reservations due to his lack of experience in English football, but I’m not going to write him off without giving him a fair chance.


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Leeds United fan and proud to have reported on their promotion-winning 2019/20 campaign.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: ‘I have my reservations’ – Barnsley set to appoint 45-year-old: The verdict

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