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Sheffield Wednesday
Championship League
Saturday, January 16th, 2010, 3pm
Dan Brennan
(Sheffield Wednesday fan)

The home game with Sheffield Wednesday is one of the first fixtures that Barnsley fans look for at the start of the season, and, with Wednesday having a new manager Alan Irvine at the helm for his first game in charge, we made the short hop across to Barnsley.

Finding Barnsley’s ground is pretty easy – we had a sat-nav, but with Barnsley only being a 20 minute drive from my house it was just in my knowledge! Oakwell is directly next to Barnsley Metrodome Leisure Complex and the ground is quite well sign-posted. Parking was simple, we got in the Metrodome car-park (it was free for home and away fans – bonus!).

We decided as this was a fiery local derby, and as I was daft enough to wear my colours, I went straight into the ground. Barnsley fans can be intimidating to some, though the ones I passed simply walked by, no trouble. I had a pie in the ground (£2.60) and it was nice and warm. Unfortunately, you’re served behind metal mesh, which gives the area as prison-like feel.

The ground only comes into site when you are very close to it, though it was larger than I’d anticipated. The older stand can't be seen from a distance as it is completely covered by the line of houses and shops, though the large two-tiered stand is clearly visible from a far. Once inside the ground, it’s a tidy stadium of the right size for a club of Barnsley’s fan-base. The old stand to our right, the East Stand I think, is a grotty affair and it slightly resembled the Main Stand at Edgeley Park, Stockport. The other two stands were good sized, tidy fixtures with the two-tiered stand especially impressive.

The game was a typical blood and thunder affair, with Wednesday getting a very well deserved 2-1 victory. Tommy Spurr and Jermaine Johnson scored, with an amazing fluke from Halfreddsson for Barnsley slotted in-between, and a good atmosphere. The one downside to the game was that I didn’t see much encouragement from the majority of the Barnsley fans, and the 4,800 Wednesday fans (in an attendance of nearly 18,000) completely out-sang the home side for most of the game! All Wednesday fans stood up all game, the stewards either weren’t fussed or simply thought that they’d be wasting their breath trying to get us to sit down!

Getting away was a bit of a charade – it took us 30 minutes to get out of the car park. They allow club coaches to leave first, so it was unavoidable. Once away, we had no hassle and got home in decent time.

I was pleasantly surprised by Oakwell and would have no worries recommending it to another fan or going myself again. With it being a derby for Wednesday, winning was especially sweet, but the overall day was good and I found Oakwell to be a nice, relaxed place to visit. Barnsley fans play there part in fairness, and possibly warrant a bit more credit for turning out in decent numbers most weeks. I found Oakwell to be a nice enough ground, average compared to places like the Ricoh and St. James Park, but it was good for Barnsley and the day was amazing for Wednesday. Definitely go again.

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