Clint did it back in 1996 but who will be Barnsley's opening day hero 14 years on? (©PAphotos)
by Paul Hoggins
, read by 667 people.
So here we go again. The first Saturday of the season and a chance for Football League clubs to grab the headlines as the Premier League doesn’t kick-off for another week.
No matter what has gone on last season or indeed during the pre-season friendlies, we as fans are full of expectation whenever a new season comes along. Anticipation, excitement, hopes and dreams are usually more prominent that reality and logic in the opening few games.
Opening days of the season haven’t been too kind to the Reds in recent years. Their record since 2001/02 is as follows:
2001/02 Bradford City A 0-4 Lost
2002/03 Swindon Town A 1-3 Lost
2003/04 Colchester United H 1-0 Won
2004/05 MK Dons A 1-1 Draw
2005/06 Swindon Town H 2-0 Won
2006/07 Cardiff City H 1-2 Lost
2007/08 Coventry City H 1-4 Lost
2008/09 QPR A 1-2 Lost
2009/10 Sheffield Wednesday A 2-2 Draw
Hardly an encouraging set of results which shows an opening day defeat to QPR just two years ago. Last season QPR took all six points in both League fixtures.
At Loftus Road in September, a shell-shocked Tykes outfit found themselves three down at half-time. Stephen Foster and Andy Gray scored two in five minutes to give the Reds a way back into the game and despite chances to equalise, got caught on the break and finished the game on the end of a 5-2 beating.
QPR then came to Oakwell for the Reds final home game of 2009/10 and, despite Barnsley creating more than enough chances, the visitors were the ones that left with the three points after a 1-0 win.
Unfortunately Loftus Road is a bit of a bogey ground for the Reds. The last time a win was secured in South West London was 21 January 1950 when, incredibly, Barnsley won 5-0 in the old League Division Two.
60 years since a win – it’s about time that particular sequence is broken! For the last away Barnsley opening day victory, Reds fans have to cast their mind back to 1996/97 season and a 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns over West Brom. Clint Marcelle and Andy Liddell got those all important goals.
But all that is just history and statistics. 2010/11 is a new start for Mark Robins and the lads. Barnsley start the season on top of the league before a game is played thanks to the alphabet. Wouldn’t it be great if they were still there on Saturday night. C’mon you Reds!
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.