ANOTHER sunny day, another trip to Wembley and another celebration in Barnsley town centre.
The town’s football club is getting used to the high life and its fans are finding the national stadium to be a pretty good second home.
Some 20,000 of them made a pilgrimage to London for Sunday’s play-off battle with Millwall. Sadly, the battling was not confined to the pitch as Millwall supporters lived up to their image from the 1970s and attacked Barnsley supporters in the stands.
But many - if not all - of the 20,000 Tykes joined in today’s celebration.
The players, delighted but exhausted after a long season which swung from relegation danger to promotion joy, could not hide their feelings.
Ashley Fletcher said it was better than the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, when they beat Oxford United just 57 days earlier. “It is incredioble,” he said.
Lloyd Isgrove, 23, West Country born and a Wales intermnational but now a Tyke through and through, said: “Barnsley were 19th when I joined and to get where we afre today is an amazing feeling.”
The players enjoyed an open top bus parade around the town followed by a civic reception at the town hall.
Paul Heckingbottom, Barnsley’s caretaker head coach, said he was ‘proud’ of what the team had achieved.
Meanwhile, the Millwall fans who forced Barnsley supporters to flee to safety as they tried to break into the opposing team’s end at Wembley could face life bans.
The south-east London club made the threat after the ugly scenes which marred Barnsley’s victory. A club spokesman said: “Millwall Football Club deplores the actions of a small minority of its fans during the second half of Sunday’s League One play-off final.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and anyone found guilty of disorder will face life bans from the football club.”
Fans had charged around the top tier attempting to force their way into the opposing end while others appeared to lob coins at Tykes players.
The FA, English football’s governing body, said it “condemns the disorder caused by a small number of fans” at the match.
A spokesman said: “We will work closely with the clubs, the Football League and the Met Police to identify those involved and take appropriate action.
“We would like to take this opportunity to praise the actions of our stewards and the police, who responded responsibly under provocation.”
Metropolitan Police said 15 arrests had been made outside the ground. Enquiries are continuing into matters inside the stadium but no arrests have been made so far. A Met statement said: “The Metropolitan Police Service will conduct a review and will liaise with the Football Association and the two clubs involved to identify those responsible and take appropriate action. Fifteen people were arrested outside the ground, before and after the game, largely for public order offences. We are not aware of any serious injuries.”
Millwall fans had previously fought amongst themselves during the 2013 FA Cup semi-final against Wigan at Wembley.
A COMPANY came to to the rescue when 35 passengers became stranded when their coach broke down at Leicester Forest service station.
They feared not getting to Wembley because there was a shortage of replacement coaches.
But staff at Naylor Group building supplies company from Cawthorne, Barnsley, came to the rescue. Their coach for 27 staff was bigger than they required and they had spare places.
Naylor Marketing Manager Liz Hudston, who managed to squeeze all 35 on and all arrived comfortably in time for kick-off, said: “We were happy to help. The coach driver said it was up to us if we wanted to help and, of course, we were happy to do so.”