Sure, Boro’ had been to South Yorkshire before we went into the 2023-4 season. Barnsley, however, would be a new destination. Up until that point, we’d done a good job of avoiding the Tykes. Or is that the other way round? In the years after we made it into the Football League, their record kept them well clear of the basement division; most of that time instead being spent in the second tier. That also explains why we didn’t bump into them in our first experience of League One. But you can’t keep hiding from Boro’ for long…
In 1887, the Tykes came to life under the name Barnsley St Peter’s; dropping the saintly addendum to their name in 1897. By the time we reach this point, they’d been in the Sheffield and District League (1890) and the Midland League. But 1898 was the club’s first major milestone; the Tykes entering the Football League for the first time. And 1912 delivered another with their maiden FA Cup success, which – as it goes – was a couple of years after they’d reached the final and lost to Newcastle United.
In the years after World War One, the Tykes spent a lot of time in the second tier. Not that it was without a few spells in the third, you understand. It was more or less the case until the late 1950s, at which point the club then shifted to spending its time between Divisions Three and Four. Much of their 1970s were played out in the Football League’s basement division. But things started to improve and the club made a steady move upwards through the 1980s and 1990s; striking back to the second tier.
The 1997-8 season was a landmark one for the Tykes. For the first time ever, they gained promotion to the top flight; securing a place in the Premier League. Alas, they couldn’t make it stick and instantly came back down. And the 2020-1 season is perhaps the one exception in recent times where they were close to going back to such heady heights. Apart from that, however, it’s been a series of struggles in the Championship; broken up intermittently with some thinking time in League One.
How to get to Barnsley – Travel Information – Distance: 146 miles
The bulk of this journey by road will be nice and simple for Boro’ fans. Go north on the A1(M)/A1 for around two hours and 20 minutes – or 133ish miles. The exit you want will be Junction 35, which is for the A635 in the Doncaster area.
As you come off the A1(M), take the first exit at the roundabout. This takes you onto the A635 and you’ll be following it all the way into Barnsley. Stay with it for more than 11 miles over various roundabouts as you get to the town. You’ll also be sticking with the A635 at its junction with the A6133 by Barnsley’s cemetery; the note here being that you’ll be bearing slightly right to go almost straight on (rather than a roundabout).
After 0.2 miles more, you’ll pass The Dove Inn on your right. Shortly after is a right turn into Oakwell Lane. It bends and twists over a railway line, before bringing you out onto Pontefract Road (A628). Turn left (it looks like a sharp turn) and then go right almost immediately into Grove Street. The Tykes’ stadium is up this road – though you probably will have noticed that already.
Based on information from the Tykes’ official site, the two car parks closest to Oakwell are limited to permit holders only. One given option for travelling supporters, however, can be located between the stadium and Metrodome Leisure Centre. It’s called the Old Queens Ground and will cost you a fiver. To get here, you can follow the road directions as above, heading up alongside the left side of the ground (it being on your right).
Go past Grasmere Road and Belgrave Road. The Old Queens Ground is found on the left before you get to the training facility at the end of Grove Street. If you must approach it from the other side, however, take a left down Belgrave Road and turn right into Windemere Road. It’s then another right so that you’re now on approach to the Metrodome Leisure Centre.
Services to: LEEDS (for STEVENAGE)
It’s a short walk from the station to the ground. As you leave the station, do so on its right-hand side as you look north. This is not the side on which Barnsley Interchange’s main building is. Turn right out onto what is called Schwäbisch Gmünd Way; following the road around to the left as it becomes Kendray Street and then Pontefract Road. You’ll know you’ll be going in the right direction if you pass under a flyover.
Just after this flyover, turn left into Bala Street. This will become Belgrave Road without you realising. And it will take you right up to Oakwell Stadium without much more effort needed at all.
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