During a twenty-five-year managerial career, Danny’s teams have won trophies, promotions, and celebrated last-gasp relegation escapes. Danny managed over a thousand games for Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Milton Keynes, Hartlepool United, Swindon Town, Sheffield United, and Chesterfield. Prior to that he had an extensive playing career, pulling on the shirt for Wigan Athletic, Bury, Chesterfield, Nottingham Forest, Scunthorpe United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley, as well as representing Northern Ireland.

A popular character wherever he went, Danny’s journey is littered with hilarious stories of some of the game’s biggest names, including Brian Clough, Ron Atkinson, Viv Anderson, Chris Woods, Jimmy Case, Mick Harford, and Steve Foster.

I Get Knocked Down is a truly fascinating insight into the life of a true football man,

(Publisher: Morgan Lawrence Publishing Services. October 2022. Paperback: 256 pages)

Book Review: Allan Clarke – His Fulham Years by Martin Plumb and Ken Coton

Programme from Allan Clarke’s Fulham debut.

Let’s start with a question. What club did ex-England international Allan Clarke make his First Division debut with? Many people will automatically assume that it was with Leeds United. It was in fact Fulham, coincidentally against the Yorkshire club he would later join, as a second-half substitute on Good Friday, 08 April 1966 at Craven Cottage.

Clarke signed for Fulham from Third Division Walsall at the backend of the 1965/66 season and played for the London club until the end of the 1967/68 campaign, before moving to Leicester City. Allan Clarke – His Fulham Years by Martin Plumb and Ken Coton, details as the book title states his time playing down by the Thames.

This tribute to the striker who scored 57 goals in his 100 appearances for the club, (his strike rate of 0.57 goals per game remains the second highest in Fulham’s history), is recorded through the wonderfully evocative images of the former Fulham photographer, Ken Coton, and complimented by the words of Martin Plumb.

Programme from Allan Clarke’s final Fulham game.

Format wise the book is dominated by a review of the time Clarke spent at the club on a season by season basis, which is added to with a useful breakdown of the players statistics whilst at Fulham and his career in total. In addition there are brief sections on his time after leaving Craven Cottage and even a Postscript from Clarke himself. This final piece from the man himself makes for interesting reading, in that despite its brevity, readers get the sense that the Clarke is not fan of the Premier League, with his view that “players can’t defend anymore, they really haven’t got a clue”, and was so confident in his abilities adding that, “if I was playing today’s game and hadn’t scored 30 to 40 goals, I would consider that I’d had a bad season.” With such forthright opinions, it would have been interesting to have the book contain more of Clarke’s thoughts on his playing career and football today.

As it is the narrative of the book is as much about Fulham’s battle to avoid relegation from the First Division as it is about Clarke’s goalscoring exploits. Whilst this is interesting, the real beauty comes from the lens of Ken Coton. Here black and white images capture the game from a very different time, with some grounds such as Bradford Park Avenue long since gone and Craven Cottage itself seen before the development of the Riverside Stand, with the long terrace in the 1960s only adorned by the television gantry, score board and various flag poles. Not every image in the book is perfect, but overall are of an excellent quality, testament to the skill of Ken Coton without the wizardry that digital cameras afford today.

It is once again another great addition to the Fulham based series of publications from Ashwater Press and a wonderful reminder of one of the club’s most deadly strikers.


(Ashwater Press. November 2020. Hardback 163 pages)


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2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 2 – Saturday 03 August 2019: Barnsley v Fulham

Matchday programme cover

So Match Day 1 saw me get to see one of my ‘must watch teams’ this season, Stenhousemuir, ticked off the list and as fate would have it, the first game of the English season throws up Barnsley versus Fulham just down the road. So I get an immediate opportunity to tick another team off my list, that being the Cottagers, Fulham FC.

I’ve seen Fulham on a number of occasions, the last being the first game of the 2016/17 season versus Newcastle United. The most memorable by far though is the Boxing Day game (actually played on 27 December) at Stamford Bridge in 1976 in the old Second Division. I went with my Dad and cousin David, the crowd was 55,003 which I will always remember as I like to think we were the three! Anyway on the pitch that day for Fulham were Bobby Moore, George Best and Rodney Marsh and Chelsea had the last of the old guard, Peter Bonetti in goal, and the new generation with a 20 year old Ray Wilkins captaining the side. Chelsea won 2 – 0 and went on to be promoted that season.

View from Beckett Stand.

Back to Match Day 2, Oakwell, the home of Barnsley is a new ground for me, and I was really looking forward to the game and got a tingle as I walked down Belgrave Road with the stadium coming into view at the bottom of the hill. Walking to the ground has always been a highlight for me, it probably goes back to that first game. I get goose bumps as I approach the ground and the crowds begin to swell the closer to the stadium you get. I was in the front row of the Beckett Stand, which is slightly below pitch level which meant that the view was a good one from the corner of the ground.

It was a typical first game of the season with both teams testing each other out, but not creating too many clear cut chances. Barnsley scored early on and it didn’t look as if either team would add to the scoresheet.

Two games down, two new grounds and both teams on my list losing….The beginning of season didn’t bode well for ‘my teams’.

Saturday 03 August 2019

Sky Bet Championship

Barnsley 1 (Thomas 12’) Fulham 0

Venue: Oakwell Stadium

Attendance: 14,823

Barnsley: Sahin-Radinger, Sibbick, Diaby, Anderson, Cavare, McGeehan, Mowatt, Thomas (Chaplin 86’), Bahre, Wilks (Thiam 90’), Woodrow (Miller 90’)

Unused substitutes: Collins. Williams, Halme, Styles

Fulham: Bettinelli, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand (Christie 33’), Bryan, McDonald, Johansen (Knockhaert 65’), Cairney, Kamara, Mitrovic, Cavalero (Ayte 74’)

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Kebano, De La Torre, Rui Fonte


Steve Blighton

2010/11: Barnsley FC – Expectation and Reality

As Barnsley fans know, their club has spent more years in the second tier of English football than any other professional football club in this country. On the positive side therefore, it can be said that the Tykes have spend the majority of their football life in the top half of the English game, and by implication have been a steady and consistent team. The down side of that though, is the Reds time in the very top echelons of the game has only been one solitary season – the Premier League season of 1997-98.

However, these statistics don’t tell the full story. The history of the club has included moments of misfortune and of struggle. The Tykes early years in the Football League included periods of financial difficulty, which were overcome. Worse was to follow when the Reds were dealt a cruel blow in 1919-20, the first season after the First World War. A less than fair ballot (which saw the old First Division expand to 22 clubs), elected Arsenal, rather than Barnsley (who finished 3rd in the last season prior to the War) into the new set-up. The Tykes battled on and nearly made it to the top flight in 1921-22, but missed out on goal average. How different would the clubs history have been if the Reds had gained promotion in either of those seasons?

Have the years in the old Second Division and currently in the Championship dulled the fans expectations down the years? Do the fans themselves believe that the team are a top-flight side or do they accept that the second tier is where they belong? Could it be that the Directors and Chairman are satisfied with Barnsley continuing to survive in this division and that a decent Cup run or the occasional dalliance with a possible play-off play is enough?

The pure statistics of all those seasons playing in the second tier of the game don’t actually translate to stability in recent years. The financial troubles of the club including administration in 2002 were difficult years for the club – so should Tykes fans be grateful that they have a team at all to watch? Financial stability has not been the only hurdle in recent years, in terms of managers, since Danny Wilson left in 1998, the Tykes have had 13 different incumbents (including caretaker managers) in just 12 years – an unacceptable figure.

So where now for Barnsley? Unless results away from Oakwell drastically improve this sesaon, the team will be left to rely on their home form to accumulate enough points to keep them away from the relegation zone. The club is unlikely to be in a position in January to bring in any significant signings, so Mark Robins will have to manage the squad as it currently is, although there may be some loan signings. The reality is that come August 2011, Barnsley will once again be kicking off in the Championship.