Barnsley FC are ready for fans to return says Dane Murphy

BARNSLEY are ready for the green light to allow some fans to return to Oakwell - should the club secure play-off participation by the end of the regular season in the Championship.

From May 17, stadiums could be permitted to host as many as 10,000 supporters – or 25 per cent of capacity - under the Government’s roadmap lifting Covid-19 restrictions

For Barnsley, currently sixth in the second tier and occupying the final play-off place, that could mean a section of fans being present, should the club qualify for the end-of-season lottery.

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The English Football League confirmed this week that the first legs of the Championship play-off semi-finals will take place on Monday, May 17, with the return on the Saturday.

Oakwell.
Oakwell.

The first legs kick off at 6pm and 8.15pm, with the return games at 12.30pm and 5.30pm. Teams finishing fifth and sixth will be at home first against the sides in fourth and third respectively.

Sides will have nine days to prepare for their semi-finals, with the final round of Championship games taking place at 12.30pm on May 8.

While not being complacent regarding the Reds clinching a top-six finish, Reds chief executive officer Dane Murphy said the club would love to welcome back supporters if their season is extended and feel they could provide a safe environment.

Murphy told The Yorkshire Post: “We have been ready for quite a while now. We have cleared many hurdles and are just waiting for the word go. There’s preparation to take place, but we would be ready.

“We have already planned for anything that comes up and with the shift in (play-offs) dates being what they are, anybody can read into it in terms of why they picked the 17th and 22nd.

“We have not heard anything from up above and no decision has been passed down to us in terms of what it will look like, but I know people are working towards that end (some fans being admitted). No matter what

“Whatever circumstances we are in at the end of the season, we are hoping fans are back in stadiums and it is the best thing for sport.”

Meanwhile, Murphy has paid tribute to the unstinting support of many Barnsley followers who are again committing the club in terms of season ticket sales - despite not yet knowing what the situation will be regarding fans being attended to stadiums next season.

He commented: “Season tickets have been quite good. Every time we put tickets on sale and they sell the way they do, I am inspired.

"We have pushed through the 5,000 ticket mark and to do that when we are not through the pandemic and the world and UK economy is still feeling the effects very strongly, people are still willing to put in their hard-earned money on the line to support this club.

“You can write and say things, but you can never put a testament to what it takes from a community and support base - to keep the club and badge at the forefront of their minds - and sometimes put it before. If you are willing to put money on the line when it is so tight, it just shows what the club means and what their support means to us.

“We are still in the midst of our Early Bird Pricing and expect numbers to climb further. I cannot thank the supporters enough.”