Barnsley: The friendship behind Reds’ promotion back to the Championship

Daniel Stendel was sitting with an old, and familiar, friend when he found out Barnsley had won promotion to the Championship.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 10:42 am
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 7:19 pm
Barnsley's manager Daniel Stendel

The German was watching the Champions League on Tuesday night with Andreas Winkler when he checked his phone to see that Portsmouth's defeat and Sunderland's draw meant that the Reds had sealed automatic promotion from League One.

Winkler, of course, played his part in that great achievement as he came over with Stendel in the summer as his assistant, a position he held until January when he moved to Huddersfield.

The Reds were preparing to look after their own business in Saturday's final game at Bristol Rovers, so the success brought an unprompted midweek night out in Barnsley.

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“It was a great night, we celebrated, it's normal,” Stendel said.

“I did not excpect this. I thought we would need to win on Saturday, but that both teams (Portsmouth and Sunderland) struggled, I did not expect it.

“It's a nice feeling, I watched it on my phone and saw we were promoted. A lot of text messages and calls came in.

“I was watching the Champions League game with Andreas, and I watched the score at Portsmouth and Fleetwood. For me it was easy to go out, it was a great night.”

The German pairing of Stendel and Winkler were little-known coaches, whose appointment raised several eyebrows in the summer.

But they introduced a fine style of play, that was easy on the eye and revolutionised the club's fortunes after relegation last year.

“It's a big success for me, to do it in one year at Barnsley,” Stendel added.

“We changed the opinion, we changed the style, we improved every time and we deserved automatic promotion.

“We have gone back to the Championship, and that was the goal and I am very happy.

“I hoped so, but we changed so much, so fast.

“The players made it very easy to do it, also I can feel the trust from the club in my work. I am very happy, I enjoy it.”

The Reds can seal the League One title if they better Luton's result, as both teams are on 91 points and the Hatters have a better goal difference.

Stendel said: “It's not really in our hands, (Luton are) four goals in front. But we want to be champions, we give it our all. We will see. It would be icing on top of the cake.”