Date: 6th July 2013 at 7:00pm
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I found the piece on Brian O’Callaghan in the Barnsley Chronicle to be a very interesting read so decided to expand on what a lot of us well have seen.

O’Callaghan played for the reds between 2000 and 2004 and made 90 appearances scoring one goal.

He played centre back, right back and even a bit in midfield during his time at Oakwell.

After leaving Barnsley he went on to play for Worksop Town, Notts County, Cork City, Halifax Town, Gainsborough Trinity and he is now playing for Limerick in Ireland alongside another former red Robbie Williams.

O’Callaghan was part of the worst Barnsley squad in my memory. One which was relegated to the third tier and then almost relegated to the fourth tier.

The fact that it was the worst squad I can remember was not necessarily down to the ability of the players at the club but more down to the culture at the time, something which O’Callaghan admits in his interview.

‘The Barnsley nightlife was too good’ O’Callaghan told the Chronicle. This comment came as no surprise to me as I am of a similar age to the former reds defender and I too was partial to the Barnsley nightlife back then and whether you went out on a Monday (Wakefield), Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday you would see several of the Barnsley players out on the town.

It was different to if you saw any of the current squad out on Saturday night after a match having a beer or two.

The youngsters of the team that O’Callaghan played in were hammered four to five times a week making the most of the student nights and weekends in Barnsley and Wakefield back when it was worth going out.

I should know, me and my friends were just as drunk as them and in the same places. We would speak to most of them and got on quite well with them despite being unhappy that our beloved club were doing so badly whilst they were out on the lash all the time.

Me and my friends were young and at college at the time and no responsibilities but most of us felt the Barnsley players had a responsibility to the team and town and shouldn’t be out as much given the position we were in.

One of my friends who saw them out on a Christmas eve before a boxing day fixture took it upon himself to call the club and report them, such was his frustration at the time.

One player said to me ‘We’re young lads, would you be able to stop going out if you were a footballer?’

In my late teens and early twenties I was unable to answer that question and for that reason I didn’t think it fair to report them for being out as my friend did.

As I sit here writing this in my early thirties and on a Saturday night I do think sacrificing a few nights out to better your career would be worth it if you were lucky enough to have the talent.

I don’t so much blame the players for doing what young lads do but maybe the club at the time should have been more strict.

You can see from the clubs O’Callaghan has been at since Barnsley that his career was seriously affected by it and so were many more of his drinking pals from that squad.

I did appreciate the honesty of O’Callaghan’s interview and now as a man in his early thirties, you can see he knows where it went wrong for him and some of the others.

For me it is something that will always happen in football. Some will have the dedication and others will want the lifestyle as well. Most fans would give anything to be in their position but can you really blame players who get caught up in the drinking culture like most other people their age?