Chief executive Dane Murphy confident Gerhard Struber will return to club after heroic survival

LITTLE known when he arrived on these shores in November, the name of Gerhard Struber is one which is now starting to resonate in the corridors of power at clubs in this country and further afield.

Barnsley's Patrick Schmidt (second left) celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game with Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber during the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell, Barnsley. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday July 19, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Barnsley. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The Austrian’s feats in inspiring a remarkable relegation escapology act at Barnsley have put him firmly on the football map.

Just as players attract interest for their sterling feats, so do managers and head coaches.

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The ex-Wolfsberger AC head coach is now back in his native Salzberg taking a well-deserved break, while also reflecting on his Reds future.

Away from friends and family, Struber made sacrifices for the Reds cause and admitted to being emotionally drained at the end of a tumultuous campaign on Wednesday evening.

With the new season beginning in just six-and-a-half weeks time, the 43-year-old has limited time to take stock.

Given his achievements at Oakwell with a young and emerging squad of players, the devout hope of everyone connected with the club is that his story has several chapters more to run.

On Struber, contracted until June 2022, Barnsley chief executive officer Dane Murphy told The Yorkshire Post: “Gerhard is on a multi-year contract and is the leader of our group. Our players rallied behind him and our staff are extremely close knit.

Dane Murphy - new chief executive of Barnsley Picture supplied by Barnsley FC

“He is obviously going to gain some traction with the way we played towards the end of the year and how he was able to help and develop our young players and never once complaining and continuing to believe.

“Of course, he is going to garner a ton of interest. But he is our manager and is on a multi-year contract and we look forward to what he can do with this group next year in the Championship.

“The guy came to a new country and it (English) was not his first language. In his first term in English football, he never once complained. The pandemic came and he rarely saw his family – he has two young kids.

“The fact that he was able to help our team persevere to stay in the Championship means he more than deserves a break for time to reflect and think. But we cannot wait to have him (back).”

Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber and his players celebrate at the final whistle as Brentford manager Thomas Frank looks on after the Sky Bet Championship match at Griffin Park, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 22, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Brentford. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Barnsley are understandably pausing for breath after those astonishing last-gasp events at Griffin Park which secured their Championship status in one of the greatest of all ‘Great Escape’ acts.

Wigan’s appeal against their 12-point deduction could yet throw a major spanner in the works, but Murphy remains confident that Barnsley will be second-tier by the time that football recommences on September 12.

He said: “The final table states we are a Championship club. I do not want to go into too much detail about an ongoing legal claim.

“But we are in a position where we stayed up and are preparing ourselves as a Championship club. We have every confidence on September 12 that we will be competing in the division.”

Survival in the Championship also has positive ramifications for Barnsley’s financial situation.

Amid challenging times which has seen the club grapple with new financial realities amid Covid-19, its significance cannot be down-played.

Barnsley’s last relegation in 2017-18 cost them between £6million and £7million and a return to third tier this time around would have represented an even harder blow, with jobs very much on the line.

Staying in this division provides a bit more security, even if these fiscal times remain unprecedented with the club having already lost between £600,000 to £700,000 in match-day revenue while having to fork out six-figures fees to pay for Covid-19 testing.

It will also facilitate the club in their bid to bring those furloughed members of staff back into the workplace in time.

On what staying up means from a financial perspective, Murphy continued: “It obviously has a serious impact on our financial outlook. Last time when we went down, it was between six and seven million in revenue that we lost.

“We are not out of the depths yet in terms of our finances because of Covid-19, but staying in the Championship goes a long way. The fact we were able to achieve this and keep the club above water in moving forward in the Championship is a testament to everyone.

“July was our trickiest month (financially), so staying in the Championship helps. The support of our fans in our community – in times when no-one knew what was next and what would be happening in their own personal lives – is tremendous.

“It is not a part of why we are in a better situation we are in July, but a massive part – because of the support of our fans and community around us.

“It was difficult at times because we had to put people on furlough and in positions which would have changed their normal daily life. I believe the club is firmly in the position where our staffing levels will remain the same. We will be able to maintain ourselves as a working group.”

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