FOR THE second time in just under two months, a refrain of ‘Adam Hammill is a red’ was the sweet accompaniment to a magical Wembley moment for Barnsley.
Not content with one virtuoso strike fit to grace any occasion following his picture-book goal against Oxford United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, the silky-skilled winger provided an encore every bit as wondrous, if not more so.
Having etched his name into Reds folklore, the 28-year-old added some gold lettering by way of a magnificent second goal in the club’s 3-1 League One final triumph over Millwall, which will be fondly recalled by those in the near 21,000-strong Barnsley contingent in many years to come.
It was a marquee moment to guild one of the most enthralling Football League stories of recent years, with Barnsley’s supporters’ thoughts turning to summer with the broadest of smiles.
If anything could top things off, it would be the news that Hammill has committed his future to Oakwell, which will be addressed after the re-born wingman returns from a well-deserved break.
Hammill, who turned 28 in January, admits that – in an ideal world – he would love to stay a Red. But he has also stressed that his decision will be not be based on sentiment alone, with his young family to consider.
Hammill, whose current deal is due to expire, said: “It is time to recharge the batteries and go and enjoy a bit of sun and have some relaxation and family time with the missus and my daughter, and we are expecting a son in August and want to be settled by then and plan for next season.
“I will be sitting down and talking to Barnsley first. There’s a bond from the first time I was here and I get on very good with the fans.
“It’s a club close to my heart and Liverpool and Barnsley are my two teams. Ideally, the perfect scenario is signing here next season.
“But it is a family decision and I have to sit down with my people and speak to the owner of the club and see what is right for the club.
“Most definitely, it is one I will make knowing I am a strong person and I will make the right decision and have no regrets about it.
“Ideally, I would love to play at Barnsley next year. But everything has got to fit.”
The catalyst for the Reds’ staggering post-Christmas upturn, Hammill admits he is relishing life back in the Championship –which supporters naturally hope will be with Barnsley.
Fittingly, he said goodbye to League One in sublime fashion courtesy of his stunning Wembley effort, with the Reds’ victory ranking as the highlight of his career to date – while he believes his weekend Sunday best surpassed his strike against Oxford.
He added: “Getting promotion now is the biggest achievement of my career personally and for the lads there. On the whole, I think we deserved victory.
“With the season we had, we took a bit of stick in November but showed a bit of character and dug in and rolled our sleeves up.
“We didn’t settle for nothing less than kicking up the table and we got our just rewards.
“It (his goal) put us 2-0 up and we expected the onslaught and we knew they were going to get physical and they got the goal which, on the run of play, they might have deserved.
“But we knew in the second half, they were going to come out and get amongst us.
“We initially dealt with it well and then we started countering them and space opened up and we got that third important goal and it sealed victory for us.”
On which special strike topped his list, Hammill said: “It has got to be this one for the fact it went into the top corner and not only that, it was the reward at the end.
“There’s people at the club who work tirelessly behind the scenes and it’s not just for the players, but the staff, management and everyone – the people of Barnsley, the fans.
“It was just a great occasion and we are relishing going to the big teams next season; the Newcastles and Aston Villas and we won’t be overawed and will embrace the challenge.”
Another winger who Oakwell supporters are keen to see in the red of Barnsley next term again is Lloyd Isgrove, whose final game of his loan spell from Southampton proved an extra special one.
It yielded not only his maiden strike for Barnsley – a rare header too – but also his first senior goal since netting for Peterborough United during a loan spell there over two years ago in April 2014.
The ecstatic celebrations that followed, with Isgrove’s glee being something to behold, were not just borne of relief at Isgrove sealing victory either.
It also had plenty to do with the fact that many of his team-mates suggested it was written in the stars that he would break his duck for the club at Wembley after seeing a ‘goal’ wrongly ruled out for offside in the semi-final first leg with Walsall.
Isgrove said: “All the players were getting into me saying, ‘you are going to score at Wembley’, and I just laughed and said, ‘yeah, yeah’. For it to actually happen in the way it did, I am absolutely delighted.
“The boys are buzzing because I scored and to score with a header from a corner is a bit mad. But I will take it.
“I was just waiting to get clattered by the goalkeeper. But I flicked it and it went straight in.
“I was really gutted about the strike against Walsall getting ruled out as it would have put me on my way. But I’d rather score at Wembley, definitely.”
On the prospects of returning to Oakwell for an encore in 2016-17, he added: “I have got another year at Southampton, so we will have to see what happens in the summer. I will assess my options definitely.
“If they come in for me and the offer is right, I will have to speak to Southampton first and I don’t see why not.”