AS a plain-speaking Barnsley man who does not suffer fools gladly, and one who has an inherent suspicion of lavish displays of showmanship, manager Paul Heckingbottom could not have been more impressed by the events of this week.
The club’s new owners, led by new co-chairmen Chien Lee and Paul Conway, arrived at Oakwell in a whirlwind of publicity, but their clear, concise message that they are here to build something substantial – and will not just wantonly throw around cash for a short-term gain – has found favour with grounded Heckingbottom.
Offering his take on the new broom at Oakwell, the Reds’ head coach, seeking to crown a positive week for the club today by orchestrating their first victory in eight Championship matches since November 4, said: “The fans should be excited by it, and everyone who likes Barnsley Football Club.
“I may have been proved wrong lots of times, but I do not think I am wrong with this.
”I think everyone will see what I am talking about.
“It is going to be a slow-burner and not just someone coming in and showing off and throwing money about.
“But this is someone coming in and showing a really good understanding and desire to improve things and build something that is sustainable, which is important.”
Barnsley start their new era under new owners against Fulham at Craven Cottage this afternoon and it is also a milestone afternoon for another reason for Heckingbottom, who takes charge of his 100th match at the Reds’ helm.
The 40-year-old is the first to admit that he did not have sights set on achieving that feat when he initially took the reins on a caretaker basis following the exit of Lee Johnson in February 2016.
That had followed an earlier spell in charge with ex-youth coach Mark Burton after Danny Wilson’s departure just under 12 months earlier.
He added: “No, I didn’t. I had wanted to be Under-18s coach and that was my dream job and I turned things down to get that role at Barnsley and got it.
“But then I only had it for a few months and started doing different jobs.
“But all I can say about it is that it has flown by. Lots has gone off and the games are the easy bit. Working with players and the games are the best bit; I do not mind that.”