Markus Schopp Paid The Price For Barnsley’s Slump

There was so much optimism around Oakwell at the end of last season. Barnsley had come from nowhere to storm into the Championship play-offs, and under inspiring coach Valérien Ismaël it looked as though the Yorkshire side were ready to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the second tier. They just fell short in the play-off semi-finals, but there was still plenty to be excited about for Barnsley’s passionate supporters.

A lot can change in a very short time in football, and following the sudden departure of Ismaël to West Bromwich Albion in the summer, the Tykes now find themselves second bottom of the Championship, with only points-deducted Derby County beneath them in the table. The inspired run of form last season now feels a long time ago — with the club now one of the favorites for relegation in the odds on the English Football League Championship.

Markus Schopp was the man tasked with continuing Ismaël’s good work, but the Austrian arrived as an unknown quantity as far as English football was concerned. Already, Schopp has paid the price for the team’s poor form, as the powers that be at Barnsley came to the conclusion that things just weren’t working out. A run of one win in 15 matches suggested that their decision was probably justified. 

It’s a shame that things didn’t work out. Schopp is a likeable coach, and he said all the right things when he was given the job in the summer, vowing that he would “help Barnsley get to where they have been in the last year.”

Sadly, it didn’t work out, and now the club find themselves in a perilous position. Having been Premier League promotion hopefuls last season, the task facing the new manager will be to ensure Barnsley don’t slip down into League One.

At the time of writing, no appointment has been made yet, and it’s clear that the club’s hierarchy are taking their time to try and find the right candidate. Interim boss Joseph Laumann did oversee a victory in his first game in charge, but that was to be expected against a struggling Derby side, and the challenge ahead is to make sure Barnsley are nabbing victories on a more regular basis.

Schopp can count himself unlucky in some aspects. There were a lot of draws recorded early in the season, which on other days could easily have been victories. With the Championship table so tight, those fine margins make a huge difference, and the Austrian is the latest to experience the cutthroat nature of English football’s second tier. 

There must be a lot of pain among Barnsley’s supporters at the moment. You can imagine how excited fans must have been as they prepared to return to Oakwell for this season. Suddenly, their team had emerged as one of the strongest in the Championship, and you could’ve forgiven them for thinking that another season of good results and high-quality football was on the way. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, and instead the Oakwell faithful have witnessed something all too familiar — their side in a relegation dogfight. 

With Schopp’s departure there is a chance for a fresh start under a new head coach, but whoever the club appoint will have a massive task on their hands to get this team pulling in the right direction.

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