R's On The Road to Barnsley...
Lee Brown brings you some info, hints and tips for those R's fans making the weekend trip Oakwell.
On Saturday we embark on another challenging away trip, this time Barnsley host the superhoops.
Current Capacity - 23,009 (all seated)
Oakwell was heavily invested on in the 90's with 3 of the 4 stands being redeveloped and the remaining stand, The West Stand, keeping its classic look from when it was originally built in 1904. The only changes made to it have been converting it into an all seater stand to comply with regulations in the mid 90's.
Away fans are usually housed in the North Stand which was the last of the 3 to be developed in 1999. It also provided a state-of-the-art home for the Academy Complex, changing rooms, class rooms and physio facilities. It has a capacity of 6000. Away allocations usually start at 2000 but can be extended to 6000 upon request.If there are only away fans in the North Stand then alcohol will be available on the day, however if home fans are mixed in with us then the bar will be available to the away supporters as the bar is located on the far side of the stand.
An unusual feature of the ground, is a purpose built stand for disabled supporters. This is a three floor structure that sits at the corner between the East & South Stands. There is also a new electric scoreboard at one corner of the North Stand, on top of a newly constructed security control room.
In the future the West Stand will be re-developed but no plans or timescales have been put in place as yet so we will await further news there, if and when we have to travel back up to Oakwell.
The History between the teams at Oakwell.
In recent years Rangers haven’t enjoyed much, if any success up at Oakwell but Mon 12th April 2004 saw one of the most memorable clashes between the sides to date. Rangers were 5 games away from clinching the remaining automatic promotion spot in League 1, Bristol City were 1 point behind (I think) and will be playing the day after so it was vital to get a positive result to maintain momentum.
Things started off fantastically when a Tony Kay own “goal” gave Rangers the lead as Rangers pressure finally got the better of the home team. However after seeing a photo of whether the ball had actually gone fully over the line at was evident that it was nowhere near crossing the line, the ball had hardly even touched the line let alone gone over it!
With Rangers 2-1 up, Ian Holloway sacrificed a striker and Marcus Bean entered the fray to solidify the midfield and bring home the points for the visitors. Disaster stuck in the final 10minutes when Barnsley, looking buried, shocked the Superhoops and went 3-2 up, an unstoppable 25-30 drive into the top corner looked to of broken the hearts of the travelling faithful.
Yet there was still life in the travelling side and Paul Furlong grabbed which proved to be a vital vital goal for Rangers, a soft shot dribbling into the bottom left corner in injury time to send the away fans into what was an absolutely mental celebration, it was almost as if we had won the league with it. That point proved to be a telling one as Rangers went on and got promotion by a single point from Bristol City. A fantastic day of entertainment!!
How to get there.
If you are travelling by car the journey couldn’t be any easier, apart from the time and distance of course. Travel up the M1 and leave at junction 37. Head for Barnsley and the ground is clearly signposted all the way in. The signs will lead you to the visiting car park which is also extremely handy.
By train, again it couldn’t be any simpler. Once u get off at the station, the town is on the right, do avoid it as it can get uncomfortable when you are in colours, if you go left and start walking up a hill it will lead you to the Metro leisure centre (which I shall mention in a sec) just before you get to the leisure centre if you look to the left the ground will be staring you in the face and is a mere 2-5 minute walk from there via the car park.
Pubs n Grub.
Drinking in the town centre is generally not recommended, especially near the Bus & Train Stations, if you are not in colours you may have a hassle free time getting a drink but I highly recommend the Metro Dome leisure centre to be the choice of boozer for the match day experience.
There is a mixture of home and away fans in here but it is predominantly there for away fans. You can either just enjoy a pre match beverage there or if you are feeling peckish then a full menu is there for your choosing. A large area behind the bar for you to enjoy your drinks awaits, there is even a balcony there for you to go outside and enjoy the surroundings, fresh air or even crafty fag if you choose.
There is a McDonalds and KFC in town, but it is a bit of a walk from the ground. A burger van or 2 await to feed your hungry souls, or maybe u would take the risk to enjoy the food inside the ground (it is generally quite good). A few prices to list are - 'Football's Famous Chicken Balti Pie' (£2.30) is available inside the ground, along with cheeseburgers (£2.80), hot dogs (£2.70), sausage rolls (£2) and chips (£1.70).
After the disappointing defeat to Ipswich the previous Saturday and the tough away trip to Cardiff on weds, this will be a far from easy game for Rangers.
Barnsley themselves are in a bit of bad form having won only 1 of the last 7 league games and that was against Sheffield Weds 2weeks ago. Barnsley have also won just 6 of their 16 home league games , so maybe this could be the day where Rangers can sneak a very much needed victory, especially as we look more likely to win away than we do at home currently.
Barnsley are currently 19th in the table and 3 points above the relegation zone, so Simon Davey's side will be out fighting for a vital win. Jamal Campbell-Ryce will be the danger man to look out for, he is the current top scorer on 8 goals. He has always looked a promising player when playing against us and totally outshines those around him.
The opportunity is there to put ourselves right back in the play off hunt and a battling away performance will be needed to bring the points back to West London.