Date: 14th March 2013 at 8:51am
Written by:

Following a blistering start to his career as Barnsley manager, David Flitcroft has come in for some criticism in recent weeks.

A fantastic run of results was followed by a few defeats that saw goals leaked left, right and centre and the fans began to turn.

Only a few weeks ago the fans and media were talking of Flitcroft as some sort of messiah who had transformed Barnsley FC and looked destined to lead Barnsley to Championship survival, a task which seemed impossible at the beginning of January.

After a run of three defeats in four games (one of those at Manchester City) the fans began to turn. Comments were posted all around the forums with lines such as ‘He`s turning into his mate Keith`, ‘He was never up to the task anyway. The first few results were the impact of a new manager.`

Flitcroft himself admitted to errors in selection in games against Bristol City, Bolton, Burnley and Manchester City.

The fans were beginning to turn. Hero to zero in the space of two weeks, it shows what a fickle outlook a lot of modern day football fans have now.

I however remained confident that he would get it right. From the moment he came in to the job I have liked almost everything he has done. The change of system was a master stroke and the way he speaks is a pleasure to hear.

Upon taking over Flitcroft immediately set the team up to play 3-5-2 with wing backs. This was a success for Barnsley as the super reds went on a long unbeaten run.

The problems began to arise with the loss of key players. The main ingredient in the Barnsley revolution was the system and suddenly Barnsley lost both wing backs.

Flitcroft tried to persevere with the 3-5-2 formation but just didn`t have the players to fit the system anymore. He tried many varieties with four at the back but the defence never looked comfortable.

The manager admitted he needed to find a new winning formula but the fans were beginning to lose confidence.

Last night against Brighton the reds recorded a 2 – 1 victory and Flitcroft rediscovered the winning formula and got his team selection right with the right personnel in the right places in a 4-4-2.

The fans were far from sure when the team was announced before kick-off. Kelvin Etuhu kept his place in the and the fans were not happy. Etuhu had been poor at Man City out on the right but was back in his preferred central midfield position and gave a man of the match performance full of the energy and commitment needed when in a relegation dog fight.

Luke Steele has come in for some criticism lately following a rare error that gifted Bolton a winning goal. A few early goal kicks drifted out of play were greeted by moans and groans from the Ponty end.

The atmosphere was flatter than it had been recently with crowd nervous and the early signs that they were beginning to turn on the manager and the team were there.

Jason Scotland put Barnsley 1 – 0 up and the atmosphere became more upbeat but the tensions were still there from the Oakwell faithful.

Barnsley battled as only they can and threw everything they could at Brighton but they themselves always looked a threat and the game always looked as though it good go either way.

Brighton equalised as the reds conceded from another cross but the teams weren`t level for long as Chris Dagnall smashed home a penalty.

Seven minutes remaining and Brighton themselves were given a debateable penalty. Enter Luke Steele and his penalty save securing all three points and the reds to move out of the relegation zone.

The Ponty end then began to chant ‘Steele, Steele` and he was again a hero in the eyes of the Barnsley fans.

Have faith in this manager and this team Barnsley fans. One thing for sure is that the team will give their all in this battle to stay up.

As for Flitcroft, for me has been a great appointment. Tactically he is good, he comes across well in the press and I strongly believe he is the man to take this club forward.

I don`t agree with every team selection he makes just like most fans don`t. He himself has admitted mistakes and I like the fact that he`s willing to speak out about his mistakes.

He is a new manager and he is learning all the time. His results for Barnsley so far are well above expectations and he has given us a chance of achieving the impossible dream of Championship survival. Many fans thought that would be beyond the likes of Ferguson and the special one at the time of Flicker`s appointment.