Barnsley: ‘Fresh start’ was the catalyst for promotion

Barnsley assistant manager Christopher Stern says a desire for a fresh start was the catalyst for promotion from League One.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 10:30 pm
Christopher Stern

Stern was part of the backroom staff of unknown German manager Daniel Stendel that was charged with rebuilding the Reds last summer following their relegation from the Championship.

It had been a tough year as, although they were the subject of an exciting takeover, they lost Paul Heckingbottom to Leeds and then sacked Jose Morais after only a few months.

Part of Stendel's mandate was to wipe the slate clean and start again and Stern says once they did that there was no looking back.

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“The very first team meeting, the speech from the gaffer was, 'It's a new manager, a new league, a new season, we have to draw a line under it' and we did draw the line,” Stern told the Star.

“From that point we headed forward, we left everything behind. We had a goal in mind and we achieved it.

“It is just massive, it is hard to describe, it is unbelievable.

“You saw what it meant to the players and also to the supporters. We just gave back what the supporters gave us all season.

“It is unreal, it is just massive.”

While some third-tier leagues in Europe, including Germany, are part-time and of a very poor standard, League One is one of the most competitive.

Whether it was Sunderland spending almost £5million on a striker or a small club like AFC Wimbledon battling for every point, it was never easy for the Reds.

And Stern has been struck by how tough it was.

“The professionalism all over League One is unbelievable.

“You have small clubs, but big clubs as well and everywhere the professionalism is the same, it is just a big credit to all of the teams we faced.

“Away or at home, the grounds were amazing, the teams we played made it a hard challenge, but we made it and we deserved to be in second spot.”

Meanwhile Adam Davies, Ben Williams and Kieffer Moore have all made it to the full squad for Wales' Euro 2020 qualifiers with Croatia and Hungary next month.

The trio were part of a training camp in Portugal over the last week, along with Ryan Hedges, who did not make the cut.