Cup fever for Tykes?
Today`s defeat to Norwich means that Barnsley have now only won two league games out of their last thirteen, leaving the reds hovering only six points above the drop zone. However the romance of the FA Cup is difficult to resist…
Although it might seem too early to reach for the panic button, maybe the euphoria of beating Liverpool and the prospect of facing Chelsea is costing performances in the league. Yet it must be said that the FA Cup is perhaps the only chance for smaller clubs such as Barnsley to make their mark in today`s world of football. With billionaires pumping millions into their respective clubs, it would be fair to say that Barnsley have had their own glory against Liverpool and have been rewarded with their own cup final against Chelsea at Oakwell.
It breaks my heart to say, but I just cannot see Barnsley reaching Wembley for a cup final, although with sides like Arsenal fielding a weakened team as they are concentrating on the league, exactly the opposite happens to smaller clubs up and down the country. Managers field their strongest side possible in search of getting to the third round, in which all big fish are thrown into the pond, hoping for a television appearance and maybe causing an upset.
With Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger`s comments about how Man Utd`s Nani disrespected his side after he performed a number of kick-ups during the FA Cup clash at Old Trafford, the Frenchman appeared to be throwing stones in his glass house, as doesn`t fielding a weakened side show disrespect to the world`s oldest football cup competition? In that case, fair play to Nani…
The day after Barnsley`s victory over Liverpool made me realise just how big of a result it was, the Tykes were literally all over the Sunday papers, dominating Man Utd`s hammering of Arsenal. If you look at the teams on paper, Liverpool`s goal scorer, Dirk Kuyt, is most likely earning more per week than the entire Barnsley squad. It just shows you how much football has progressed in the ten years since we last played Liverpool.
If Dirk Kuyt is earning more than the Barnsley squad, I dread to think what comparison I will be making nearer the Chelsea game, with the London club seemingly having a bottomless pit of cash. The sad truth remains that football is now a business, and an immense one at that and Barnsley are a billion miles (and quid) away from the likes of Chelsea.
Although you may be able to slap a price tag on a player, and putting revenue aside, you simply can`t put a price on scoring a last-minute winner at Anfield, something all Barnsley fans will be talking about in years to come, and who can blame them? The two clubs are worlds apart, so the reds are allowed to bask in what will be remembered as their 'Kop cup glory`, but the heads of both the players and supporters need to be well below the clouds if we are to stay clear of a relegation dogfight.