Barnsley FC sporting director on the specific reasons why Neill Collins was sacked by League One club

BARNSLEY sporting director Mladen Sormaz has elaborated as to why the club parted company with Neill Collins – and says that the decision was two-fold.

Less than a season into his time at Oakwell, Collins was dramatically axed on April 22 following a poor run of form.

The Reds, who were automatic promotion candidates in League One at the start of the spring, had won just twice in their past 11 matches and taken just nine points to put their play-off place in serious jeopardy.

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Martin Devaney took interim charge and after clinching play-off participation in their final game of the regular season against Northampton Town, he led the club in the play-off semi-finals against Bolton Wanderers, which saw the Reds edged out 5-4 on aggregate.

Barnsley sporting director Mladen Sormaz. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.Barnsley sporting director Mladen Sormaz. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.
Barnsley sporting director Mladen Sormaz. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.

Collins’ permanent replacement in the shape of Darrell Clarke was announced late last week, with the former Bristol Rovers and Port Vale chief signing a three-year deal.

On the decision to axe Collins, Sormaz said: “Barnsley’s aim in League One will always be promotion and we will be (always) aiming to compete at the top end of the league.

"We believed internally with the way we needed to attack further in games and felt that we would be playing Peterborough and Bolton in the play-offs and that the only way to be successful against those teams is to press and attack consistently throughout the games.

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"I think you saw especially in the second leg against Bolton when we did dominate then, especially in the second half.

"Obviously, it didn’t come off and we take any criticism of that.

"The thoughts behind it (Collins sacking) were just the style of play and the way it needed to be for the next three games (hopefully).

"We know we sacrificed the long term for that, but at some point, we thought Neill can’t do that for us long term, as much as we respected Neill and enjoyed working with him.

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"But we felt the style of play was not going to provide that (success). So why wait and let the season die off and then try again next year, that was the easy thing. We wanted to maximise the chances in the strong term.”

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