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Celebrating Barnsley’s 130 Year History Day 1

Being commissioned to produce six paintings to celebrate the 130th Anniversary of Barnsley Football club is something I feel immense pride about as an artist and most importantly as a person, with the family history we have with the club. I first started watching Barnsley in 1988, in the days of Alan Clarke and the iconic Lyon Cakes Zig Zag strip aged 7. Oakwell was a much different stadium back then with no seating and for me to be able to see over the wall, I would have to stand on a beer crate that my dad bought to every game until I was old enough to see.

The first game I ever went to was against Hull City at home. Sadly we lost 2-0 to Hull, but it didn’t matter. That day made me a fan for life and I was really in love with the ground and the atmosphere and Barnsley. I have always tried to have an association with the football club and have been really fortunate since a young boy that the club have always responded when they could, which goes to show what a great family club Barnsley really is. At the age of 8, after choosing to do a history of Barnsley Football Club as my school project, I wrote to Mel Machin asking if I was able to come to the club and interview him. He kindly responded by letting me know that during Easter he was very busy, but Eric Winstanley would be able to spend some time with me. This was tremendous. Eric was an absolute gentleman, he spent hours with me showing me the ground, the changing rooms, I can’t speak highly enough of him. He even introduced me to Gerry Taggart who was my favourite Barnsley player of that time. Gerry was also great and I can remember it as if it was yesterday. In the holidays, we would travel up to Cudworth to see my Grandma, and we’d always go and watch the Super reds train and Eric would always remember me and say hello after every training session. He even invited me to become mascot which I did in 1991 versus Charlton Athletic in a game we drew 1-1. Brendon O Connell got the equaliser with a diving header.

1o years ago, at the age of 25, I approached Barnsley to see if they would be interested in working with me as their artist in residence. Darren Hayes and Rachel Hearne were super with me back then and displayed my paintings in the Legends suite, during the 2006/7 season which was terrific.

There are some fantastic people involved in the Reds in the Community and I will mention every name in my last post when completing the project, as I owe them all a massive thanks for believing in my art and for supporting my career. I really am ecstatic and truly humbled to be involved in the heritage project celebrating Our Club, Our Ground, Our past, Our Future. Today saw me paint the Barnsley’s 1912 FA Cup win, at Oakwell in Box 16 of the East Stand, and had we not lost in 1910 to Newcastle I think it was, we’d have been 2 time winners… Not bad for that club…:-) It was great being there today and I hope the painting I produced does the team of 1912 justice. I wish we could transport them all here today to give them the applause and accolades they so richly deserve. I have uploaded some images of my first day painting at Oakwell. I hope you enjoy them.

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