C’mon Barnsley!

I’ll fully admit that I don’t know much about Barnsley, but I started paying attention when they knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup, and thoroughly enjoyed watching them thwart Chelsea for the last twenty minutes of that game as well.

This profile in the Guardian only increases my enthusiasm for them. Their manager’s genuinely trying to bring something new to the game, and the players’ cultural hazing goes in more directions than one:

Kozluk has delighted in initiating Barnsley’s foreign contingent into idiosyncratic English ways. “I do things like taking people’s keys and hiding their cars and messing up their hotel rooms,” he said, outlining a once commonplace modus operandi now rapidly on the wane in Premier League circles.

“The foreign lads generally find it very funny and you make them feel welcome by including them in the jokes; they feel at home,” he added while rather unconvincingly denying that he was responsible for scrawling “toilets out of order” on Chelsea’s dressing-room door at Oakwell last month.

“My pranks can backfire, though,” he admitted. “I’ve definitely learnt to leave Kayode [Odejayi, Barnsley’s Nigerian centre-forward] well alone. There was one joke – I can’t tell you what it was – that he took particular exception to and got revenge for by shooting me with a pellet gun as I stepped out of the shower.”

Is that even allowed anymore? Now that Premiership teams are required to put on the dull face of corporate conformity in public while fucking their fans in private – rather like management, in that regard – it’s a little odd to read about a group of people who entertain themselves by something other than running over widows and orphans in their Bentleys.

So in any case, when Barnsley takes the field today against Cardiff, I’m willing to bet that they’re going to have nostalgists, purists, the bolshie, and anyone else who likes a bit of local colour on their side. Count me in.

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