Barnsley FC faced with head coach dilemma after Markus Schopp’s Oakwell exit

BARNSLEY are facing a crunch decision whether to break with their policy of recruiting foreign-based head coaches following the departure of Markus Schopp.

The Reds hierarchy officially called time on the Austrian’s ill-fated stint at Oakwell on Monday morning with the 47-year-old paying the price for a wretched run of form which saw the club win just once in his 15 league matches in charge.

Read More

Read More
Markus Schopp: Why Barnsley FC and their manager had to go their separate ways –...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The tenure of Schopp, appointed on a three-year contract following Valerien Ismael’s exit to West Brom in June, lasted just 125 days with the former TSV Hartsberg head coach latterly presiding over seven successive defeats which has seen the club slump to second-from-bottom in the Championship table.

FALLING DOWN: Barnsley fell to a seventh straight defeat at Bristol City on Saturday, prompting the exit of manager Markus Schopp Picture: Simon Galloway/PA

Assistant head coach Joe Laumann will take caretaker charge for tomorrow night’s home game with Derby County, with the Reds having another huge relegation six-pointer with Yorkshire rivals Hull City on Saturday.

Schopp’s undistinguished spell at the helm represents a significant blemish in the club’s previously successful strategy of employing continental coaches with Ismael and Daniel Stendel – and to a lesser extent, Gerhard Struber – all making their mark in a positive sense at Oakwell.

Alongside Schopp, the only other ‘failure’ during the era of the Pacific Media Group came when Jose Morais was appointed in February, 2018. Like Schopp, the Portuguese took charge of just 15 Championship games in a season which ended unceremoniously in relegation.

Barnsley are assessing their options and while the most likely route would appear to be another overseas appointment, the success of two former Under-23 coaches at Championship level this season in Huddersfield Town’s Carlos Corberan and Blackpool’s Neil Critchley at two comparable clubs could well provide some food for thought.

GONE: Markus Schopp, pictured during his last Championship match in charge of Barnsley at Ashton Gate. Picture: Simon Galloway/PA

Corberan and Critchley arrived at their respective clubs from Leeds United and Liverpool and handing a chance to another up-and-coming domestic coach keen on securing their maiden opportunity at first-team level would fit in with the club’s desire of developing young players.

Post-Brexit work rules which came into force in the UK on January 1 are also an added consideration, with European coaches having to fulfil certain criteria.

Head coaches must have worked for two consecutive years in what is designated as a top league or in three of the last five to qualify. Any coaching staff potentially brought in must also meet rules regarding management experience at the top level.

Barnsley head coach Markus Schopp signs autographs before his final game in charge at Bristol City. Picture: PA.

Red tape issues related to Brexit ensured that the club were unable to bring in one specific assistant to work alongside Schopp during his brief spell at Oakwell.

Chief executive officer Khaled El-Ahmad recently confirmed that the Reds also could not sanction the release of a candidate from another club to assist Schopp either.

Morocco-born Laumann, 38, will take the team against Derby and with Barnsley facing another game less than 72 hours later, logistics suggest that there is a good chance that he will take charge on Saturday and potentially earn himself a longer spell at the helm if things go well.

Additionally, the forthcoming international break will afford the club time to decide upon Schopp’s full-time successor before returning to Championship business at Fulham on November 20.

El-Ahmad, who has previously worked in a number of senior football and business positions across the continent – including at Stockholm-based side Djurgårdens and Danish outfit AaB Aalborg – said: “On behalf of everyone at Oakwell, I would like to thank Markus for the last few months and wish him well for the next step in his career.

“I would like supporters to know that the process for finding a suitable replacement is underway and we will announce a new appointment in due course.”

On his exit from Barnsley, Schopp commented: “I would like to thank all those who have accompanied me in this short but very intense time.

“It is a pity that our hard work was not reflected in the results. I wish the club all the best for the future and that they will achieve all their goals.”

A number of names have been linked with the vacant post at Oakwell already including former Reds midfielder Alex Neil, ex-Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall, Sturm Graz manager Christian Ilzer and one-time Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf, who has been previously linked with the position at Barnsley.

Meanwhile, Barnsley’s home game with West Brom – which sees former head coach Ismael and ex-captain Alex Mowatt return to Oakwell for the first time – has been brought forward to Friday, December 17.

The match, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The club’s Boxing Day game against Stoke City, also at Oakwell, has additionally been selected for live coverage with the game kicking off at 3pm.