An Interview With: Peter Ramage

Last updated : 25 May 2015 By Alastair Limb (tykesmad)

Crystal Palace defender Peter Ramage signed on loan for Barnsley on September 2nd, 2013. The David Flitcroft factor was still in full swing after the Reds 'Great Escape' four months earlier. 

But a poor start to the 2013/14 season saw the mastermind of that great escape scrambling for reinforcements after the Reds shipped 18 goals in seven games, including fives away at Blackburn and at home to Southampton in the Capital One Cup.

And in Peter Ramage, Flitcroft had recruited an experienced head, with a half century of Newcastle United Premier League appearances under his belt, and fresh off the back of a promotion back to the promised land with Crystal Palace via the playoffs. 

Unfortunately, results didn't really improve and the Reds sat bottom of the Championship after a 3-0 home defeat to Birmingham City. A result which saw Flitcroft shown the exit door. He would be replaced by the returning Danny Wilson. 

Wilson was tasked with the job of keeping the Reds in the Championship, and after a slightly encouraging Spring, we did believe we could stay up. But it just wasn't to be, and the Reds were relegated on April 25th after a 3-1 defeat away at Middlesbrough. The end of the season brought the end to Ramage's loan spell and he returned to Selhurst Park.

League One wasn't proving to be much easier for Wilson and he moved in early October to bring the popular Ramage back to the club for his second loan spell, a move which was widely applauded by Reds fans. 

And the following day, he lined up for the Reds in the highly charged away game at Rochdale. After just ten minutes, Conor Hourihane's corner from the left was powerfully met by Ramage, heading into the net to send the large travelling contingent into pandemonium. 

He remained with the Reds until the end of the 2014/15 season, racking up another 27 appearances and adding two more goals, against Colchester United and Fleetwood Town. 

I caught up with 'Rambo' to chat about his time at Oakwell, and what the future might hold for the popular Geordie. 

AL: Who is the best player you came up against whilst playing for the Reds?

PR: Well theres two that springs to mind, Chris Martin of Derby and Jamie Vardy of Leicester. I've played with Chris at Palace and know what he's all about, he's such a strong lad which makes him brilliant at holding the ball up, bringing others into play, he's good in the air and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time when balls are coming into the box. Vardy is a defenders nightmare, he's quick, always on the move, not giving you a seconds rest. And both are lethal in the box given half a yard.

AL: Who was the best player you played alongside at Barnsley? You've got plenty to choose from!!

PR: We only saw it in glimpses unfortunately but Paddy McCourt. An enigma of a talent when on his day like against Brighton and Boro last season, he's unplayable. We just never saw it on a constant basis only too briefly unfortunately and thats such a shame cause technically he's up there with the best I've come across.

AL: How did it feel to come back for your second loan spell and bang that header in at Rochdale on your second debut?

PR: The Rochdale game and goal was highlight of my time at Barnsley. With everything surrounding the game we knew we had to win, full stop. For me it was my first game of the season and was so up for it. It felt great to be back, in front of 1.5k in the away end, I was buzzing for the game, so the way it went with me getting the winner was incredible. But everyone played their part, boys were magnificent and thought we deserved more than a 1-0, if only Conor had stuck that pen away... ha!

AL: That would have made it sweeter! Did you have any doubts about returning for your second spell, despite the drop in divisions?

PR: Ideally I was looking for another Championship club, you always do as a player look to play at the highest level you can, but when i knew Danny was interested in bringing me back i was hell bent on coming back. I spoke to him before and he outlined his ambition for the season and beyond and he sold me. It was a new group of players with potential of progressing the club to the next level and I wanted to be part of it.

AL: What do you think the difference was between Danny Wilson and Lee Johnson? And why the sudden change in fortunes after LJ took over?

PR: There isn't much difference in the way Danny and Lee manage in terms of both are hands on, doing most of the coaching and day to day stuff on the pitch themselves. They both have their own methods and coaching styles that have made them both successful and will continue to, that I have no doubt. Both encourage all players to try and express themselves and have given the young players at the football club a chance to play, which is magnificent for the club. And they're both really good men, proper football men who have that hunger and drive to succeed, which I love.

Why the sudden change in fortunes when LJ came in, i don't know, its just football i suppose. Danny was unfortunate in that we lost Ryan Williams back to Fulham and especially Sam Winnall to injury at a key time in the season, two massive players who were integral to the way we were playing. But the gaffer came in and thing clicked, confidence changed after that Crawley game and we were determined to prove everyone wrong.

AL: Which was the best/most enjoyable game you participated in during your two spells with the club?

PR: The Rochdale game where i was the hero (haha) and other one was the Notts Forest game at home when we won 1-0. The owner Mr Cryne, came in during that week to outline the meaning of the game as a whole to the town, what with the history behind the miners and was quite emotional about it, which stuck a chord with the boys. So to beat them was a good feeling afterwards.

AL: Which of the younger crop of players at Barnsley would you say has the biggest future?

PR: Without a doubt, Mason Holgate. The boy oozes class and up there with best I've come across. Going be an England international, alongside Stones hopefully, if he keeps progressing the way he is. Brilliant talent but he even nicer kid, can't speak more highly of him.

AL: So heading away from Barnsley for a moment, who was your hero when growing up in Newcastle?

PR: Hero growing up was Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer, two Geordie legends. I got the chance to work with Pedro when he was my youth team coach and play with Al in the NUFC first team, something that was just a dream.

AL: I think most Reds fans will be gutted you probably won't be returning to the club. How many more years do you think you've got left in the tank?

PR: Still got a few years left, feel i can play for at least another 4-5 years. I'm learning to look after myself more as I grow older, to try and maximise my playing time, some things happened this season which cost me time injured, which I'll learn from and try to make sure doesn't happen again, as some injuries weren't down to me which annoyed me.

AL: Can you see yourself going into coaching when you hang the boots up? Or do you fancy yourself as more of a pundit after a couple of appearances for Barnsley Player?

PR: Coaching is what i want to do and why I'm doing my badges. Loved working with Vinnie, Tom and Chris in the Barnsley academy, helped with the 15/16's which was great experience and hopefully see a long term career in that. But I loved the punditry work too which I'd love to carry on doing too.

AL: Looking more into the present though, would you be happy to carry on playing at League One level or are you hoping for Championship interest this summer?

PR: The present for me is I want to play, which league depends on my opportunities at game time. Both Championship and League 1 are tough competitive leagues so wherever I end up I'm determined to give my all Monday to Friday so I'm in that starting 11 come Saturday.

AL: What, in your opinion, went wrong in the relegation season?

PR: It was down to us as players just not being good enough. End of. We have nobody to blame but ourselves as a collective group, both players and staff. There was a lot of comings and goings etc, but end of the day the league doesn't lie and we didn't do enough to stay up. Which hurt, it really did!

AL: I know it's very early days just at the moment, but how can you see the Reds faring next season?

PR: I fully expect them to be up there challenging the playoffs if not higher. They've got a group that are a year more down the line, players that have more experience at this level coupled with a manager who can bring the best out of that talent, its a good receipt for me. A good summers recruitment and i can see Barnsley challenging and I truly hope they do. There's a lot of good people there who behind the scenes work their socks off and I would love them to go up for that!

AL: And finally Rambo, sum up your time at Oakwell. What is the fondest memory/memories you will take away from your time here?

PR: The Rochdale game and Sheff Utd game away are two absolute highlights, two games which played out like a dream. But on my kids life I've loved being at the club the last two seasons, even though we got relegated. I've met some wonderful people who I'll stay in contact with, played with some fantastic players who I see going on to bigger and better things and played in front of a passionate crowd who get behind their team even when the team haven't given them much to shout about. Its a proper football club who I've grown a fond affection with and wish nothing but success for the future. And in that future you just never know....

AL: Thank you for taking the time to do that mate, really appreciate it, thanks for giving your all for our club and hopefully see you back at Oakwell in some form one day!

PR: No worries bud! Actually reminisced with a smile for a bit there! Been good couple of years and like I said you never know what the future holds! Been a pleasure!