Out of the Box Barnsley – Part 13: Identity Crisis

Ah ah ah ah Season 5, Season 5. Welcome back to Barnsley where we continue to strive for success in this pre-patch world. So far, we’ve reached a ceiling of second place. There always seems to be a team who are just that bit better than everybody else, as you can see here Kenny Dalglish has made Newcastle some sort of defensive powerhouse. As ever though, optimism is high that this could be our year.

Here’s the squad that we have as the dust settles on Season 4. We have one out and out centre half plus Purse and Dublin, so let’s sort that out.

Marlon Broomes arrives. Insert sweeper joke here. His stats should be good enough and I’m sure he’s usually quite highly rated in terms of potential. At £600k too, you can’t be too vexed.

This is a lot nicer tie than some we have faced previously. We saw off Milan last year so this should be a relative doddle by comparison.

Although we are well stocked up front, it’s fair to say a lot of them aren’t that good. The regens will likely be loaned out, Bodin (Rush) showed some promise at the end of last season but Keane, Tomlinson and Digby will hopefully all find temporary homes. Hristov is not as good as he once was, Signori is 33 and Barrera 31. With Bakayoko out for a year, here’s Erik Nevland to help us out.

Ararat are blown away in a simple 20 minute spell. That’s one foot in the group stages.

This though is a disaster. Despite playing against 10 men for 82 minutes, Blackburn outplay us and even our consolation with the last kick of the game feels undeserved. Hopefully a blip.

We edge past Sunderland. It’s not pretty but it’s a win. Nevland up and running.

He scores against the champions but Dion is sent off and things look ropey when we’re behind to a Steve Watson header. Luckily our new captain TSL equalises and we secure a point.

What is going on here? The tie was won last week but we shouldn’t be shipping three goals to these. Barrera also misses a penalty as I start to wonder if he’s as reliable as he once was.

That’s not a bad group. Hopefully Betis’ good players already left.

Disappointingly poor at Old Trafford and we’re punished by their future manager.

Hmm this isn’t good either. 0-0 with Millwall.

I’m sensing Dave Watson has gone off a bit. Steve Simonsen will put pressure on him.

Another penalty miss, this time from Nevland, contributes to a poor loss at Tottenham. Lads, howay.

We’re awful against the Bulgarians but they miss a penalty and the arrival of Signori from the bench seems to spark us into life. Trevor Sinclair, so far down the pecking order, also takes his opportunity.

Tommy has been trusted with penalties now too. He is our everything.

I think I’d like to go back to 4-2-3-1 to try and steady things but I need fullbacks. Here’s one.

A comfortable defeat of Coventry is helpful.

Likewise this win at Middlesbrough. There isn’t a striker scoring with regularity as Barrera did last season though.

Lovely Beppe is our European king, he again inspires us to a vital away win.

We host league leaders Leeds with a little bit of form behind us for the first time in a while but they keep us at arms length and then strike the sucker punch blow. Urgh.

Back to business at the City Ground as Bullock shows up for the first time in a while. That’s an important win.

We head to Betis and I’m amazed to see Alfonso, Oli and Finidi are still here but have also been joined by Neset and Sousa amongst others. It’s a ridiculous team and we blow a 2-0 lead to lose FIVE TWO. For goodness sake.

What a squad…and Billy Renwick.

We can only draw at home to Villa. Something has gone off, for sure.

I’ll sign David Batty. It’s what Kevin Keegan would do.

His debut is at Norwich in the League Cup. We recover from going behind in the 2nd minute but after equalising we just can’t find a winner. Neil Finn makes many a save and then saves three in the shootout. Why do we bother?

After all I’ve done for this lot it’s down from Delighted to pleased for me. Hmph.

We’re only 7 points off the top. This time last season it was something like 14 points. So really, things aren’t that bad. The goals for column is considerably lower than I would like.

We’ve got a big job on in the Champions League group. We’ve been like Goldberg in the group stages really but this loss to Betis has left us third. We already won away to Dinamo Kiev so at least we have to play them both at home and it seems everybody beats Sofia.

Work to be done then and for the first time we’re really going through a tricky patch. I think I’ll find a left back and go back to 4-2-3-1 for a bit but who the 1 will be, I’m not sure. Part of the thinking for getting Batty in was to look at the 2-3-3-2 we played with the Retirement Academy, a Nikolai special that cleaned up. Could it do it on the original? Where will we play Tommy? Find out next week…

Were they always this good?

Seeing As Real Betis have kept hold of most of their stars, let’s see how they compare from original to patch.


We’ll just look at the headliners I think.

Alfonso 180
Oli 160
Jarni 170
Finidi 168
Fernando 166
Prats 166
Bjelica 146


In summary, they are no different whatsoever! I’ve even checked Alfonso’s specifics and he’s identical in the two versions.

So absolutely no mystery today. Betis have always been great, it seems.

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