18 years ago today, Barnsley beat Manchester United in the FA Cup 5th round (replay) at Oakwell. It was a sell-out and I couldn’t get a ticket so had to settle for watching the match at home with my mate Radders. Remember this was 1998 and the internet was in its infancy and it was us fans that ran the only Barnsley FC Bulletin Board (BBS) back then. Pasted in it’s entirety is my match report from that evening (I didn’t have a blog in those days).
Apologies for the language, I was young and uncouth back then, not cultured like what I am now.
At 4pm I pressed the refresh button to see the Bulletin Board for the last
time. I must have pressed it 100 times, every time thinking there would be
someone, somewhere, offering tickets – someone must have to work or would be
ill, but there was nothing and I resigned myself to watching the match on SKY.
I called Radders and invited him round to ours for the evening. I called in at
Tesco’s on the way home to pick up a few beers and some nibbles, after all it’s not
every night that HRH comes round! At 19:16pm Radders arrived with a bagful of
Taiwanese beers and we settled down in front of the telly.
Our thoughts were with the crew in the Outpost, we both wanted to be there but we were determined to enjoy the evening. Sky coverage was excellent and we saw the boys lining up alongside the Man Utd team in the dressing room (now you don’t see that very often from Oakwell!).
The cameras scanned the stadium and as we saw the nutters in the Ora Stand and we both laughed out loud, as we imagined the camera panning across to Mr Tuffers who
would be baring his arse with ‘Ar luv mi tarn’ written across his bum cheeks … hehehe!
However, when the fanfare began and Neil Redfearn led the team out onto the pitch, the smile suddenly fell from Radders face, and I thought he was going to cry.
AIRTyke : ‘What’s up mate?‘
Radders (bottom lip all a quiver) : ‘Don’t take this the wrong way but I wish I was there and not here with you!‘
It was at this point, feeling slightly paranoid (you know how sensitive I am), I fetched the Tortilla Chips and a large jar of Salsa dip from the kitchen to cheer him up. It did the trick, we cranked open our second can of Taiwanese beer and sat back to watch the match.
As expected, end-to-end stuff – not the best Barnsley line-up in the world, methinks. Appleby at right wing-back and Scott ‘midget’ Jones at centre back were probably the two dodgiest selections in my opinion, but given the injuries, Danny could do little else. The Man Utd team wasn’t full strength but it certainly was not the team of youths everyone was predicting – was it 8 internationals?
Anyway, nine minutes into the game and Hendrie picks up a through ball and skillfully beats Schmeichel to give Barnsley the lead. Hendrie didn’t believe it was a goal, I thought it was offside but Radders didn’t and everything seemed to stop for a few seconds – surely the ref would blow, Barnsley had scored against the mighty Man U for heaven’s sake!! But no, the goal stood, I shook Mr Radders firmly by the hand and finished off my Taiwanese beer. It was now time to move up to the heavy duty German Weiss beer, a throw back to my teutonic past-life in Munich. Radders, who was driving, decided to make it his mission to finish off the jar of salsa dip – he was smiling again, maybe my house isn’t that bad, methinks… hehehe!
We all knew Man U would level before half-time and I was just saying to Radders how great it would be if we kept the lead, when Hendrie earned a free-kick. The kick cleared Pallister and May and lo and behold up popped Scott Jones to tap the ball with the bottom of his foot past an amazed Schmeichel. No more hand shakes, this was cuddles time, although we swiftly returned to our respective settees before wifey saw us!!
I was just thinking of phoning Mr Addio when, spookily, he phoned me! I could hear the singing and wished I was there, but it was great to hear Mr Addio’s croaky voice saying
“We are f*cking tonking ’em! Wot woz Hendrie’s goal like? It looked f*cking stonking from here!“
Moments later the phone rang again and this time it was Mr London Tyke:
“Eyup AIRTyke, we’re missing you, I thought of you when the 2nd goal went in“.
It brought a lump to my throat to think of you lot at the game and taking time out to call l’il ole me and Radders at half-time.
Second half, the TV was now playing through the hi-fi speakers, I opened another wheat beer and filled Radders now empty bowl of Tortilla chips.
What a 2nd half! Wave after wave of United attacks and 11 minutes into the half, Sheringham scored with a deflection off Adie Moses (who could not be blamed and had another blinder of a game).
Now what odds would you have got on Hendrie and then Sheringham scoring first in both games? It was all gut wrenching stuff, Hendrie was off, Liddell was on, Markstedt went off, Sheridan came on (What!!! Why does Danny do that?). Barnsley earned a corner:
AIRTyke: ‘Don’t let Redfearn take it, he’s crap at corners, give it to Bullock!!‘
Redfearn crossed a perfectly weighted ball, midget Jones ran from Monk Bretton into the box and headed the ball into the roof of the net.
AIRTyke: ‘Aaaaaaaagh!! Aaaaaaagh!!!!! 3-1!!! Against Man U!!! Aaaaaagh!!! Redfearn corner!!!‘
Radders: ‘This salsa is really very tasty, my arse is gonna be on fire tomorrow!!‘
Big cuddles ensued, this time from the floor in front of the TV from where we watched the rest of the game (Radders had a little table for his dips!). More beers, a tactical wee, a few more dips, Cole scores (10 goals, 6 games against Barnsley) – oh shit, this was surely going to extra time:
10 IF 90 minutes AND Man U losing THEN continue playing.
20 IF no goal after 5 minutes GOTO 100
100 Continue playing all night if necessary until the rich club score (I never was very good at programming, but you get my drift!).
My fears were unfounded, Barnsley had done it. Even wifey joined the post match celebrations, more phone calls followed but not until Radders and I had a final big cuddle – HRH now smelling like a flame grilled Fajita, but I wasn’t gonna say anything.
In depth post-match analysis ensued :
AIRTyke : ‘We were f*cking brilliant!!’
Mrs AIRTyke : ‘Andy, stop being so vulgar, you don’t normally swear and we have guests!’
Radders : ‘Magic….. best Salsa I have ever tasted, any more Tortilla chips AIRY?!!’
Mrs AIRTyke : ‘.. and what’s all this AIRy stuff?’
AIRTyke: ‘ Nothing, he said Andy, – is that the baby crying?’
Sometime later I called Mr London Tyke who was now in the EI ADDIO passion wagon winging it’s way South, they were at Leicester and still had a long journey ahead. At 22:15, the Salsa jar was empty and Radders left to get home in time to watch the match highlights on ITV.
I opened another beer, watched the match again myself and just smiled, all night long. Scott Jones was interviewed, his eyes are very close together, he looks like Beavis but he’s cool!
I awoke with a hangover the size of a small African country but it was all worth it. Newcastle next, now how do I get a ticket……?
This is what Phil Neville (Man Utd) and Dave Watson (Barnsley) said 18 years later: