NORMALLY an optimist, even Keith Hill has been down in the dumps of late.
Four successive Championship defeats contributed to the Barnsley manager’s mood - and no wonder having seen his team slip down the table.
Persistent injuries, constraints of working with a tight budget and missing out on new signings have all frustrated Hill.
But Hill’s mood quickly changed when his eldest daughter, 22-year-old Harvey, gave her dad a scrapbook celebrating his football career and family life. It was just the wake-up call Hill needed to come out fighting.
And the added boost of funds to bolster his squad with three new signings has also given Hill plenty to smile about. Speaking to The Star, Hill revealed: “I had an epiphany this week - and it’s all thanks to my daughter.
“She did a really lovely thing and made me a family scrapbook, it has everything in there from when I started playing football to the birth of my kids. It reminded me of who I’m protecting.
“It (the scrapbook) helped me get out of a little bit of depression. It was really sweet of her to make me it, she went out of her way to give me it as a special present.
“My family is very special to me and as well as protecting the players at this football club I realised that I’ve got to start protecting my family, which means protecting myself. In a nutshell it reminded me of my core values, something I’ve never forgotten from the way I was brought up. I was brought up on values and I’ve always tried to retain those values in my family now.
“I’ve done a hell of a lot of shielding over the last couple of months, defending the players for their mistakes when things haven’t been going right.
“I’ll continue to do that if the players keep working hard for me and giving everything they’ve got, but I’m not about to throw away everything I’ve worked for to become a Championship manager.
“I’ve been at the club for 18 months and we’ve made good progress, but the job’s not finished yet.
“However, I’ve decided that I won’t be Mother Teresa to Barnsley Football Club anymore, there’s only so much I’m prepared to tolerate. It’s time we manned up now and stop making excuses when things go wrong. I’ve worked hard to become a Championship manager and I want to stay here for a long time.”
As exclusively revealed by The Star on Tuesday, former Manchester United, Fulham and West Brom midfielder Jonathan Greening signed for the club on loan from Nottingham Forest yesterday.
Greening, who has a Champions League final medal, said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m absolutely buzzing. I’m just eager to play football and get some minutes under my belt.”