Paul Heckingbottom has FINALLY been confirmed as the permanent head coach of Barnsley Football Club today.
The 38 year old initially took over on a caretaker basis in February following the departure of Lee Johnson to Bristol City. He then went on to mastermind a magnificent final three months of the season, winning 14 of his 22 games in charge to lead The Reds to a Johnstones’ Paint Trophy and Play-Off promotion double.
It was always highly likely that the Royston born former Barnsley player would become permanently entrenched in the hot seat but he had claimed he wished to finish the season first before opening talks.
But now Barnsley are safely into the Championship for 2016-2017 “Hecky” has penned a 12 month rolling contract and this good news comes just 24 hours after Adam Hammill committed his future to the club on a two year deal.
Heckingbottom made 49 appearances for his hometown team between 2006-2008 and scored one of the penalties 10 years ago when Barnsley last won promotion from League One via the play-offs.
However there has been some surprising exit news from Oakwell today after both George Williams and Smith saw new contract offers revoked and they were both released on free transfers.
The departure of Smith was more understandable as even though the Academy graduate started 2015-2016 as Barnsley’s first choice left-back he was shipped out to Crawley on loan in January and his last appearance for Barnsley was in one of only three defeats in 2016- the 2-0 home reverse to Southend in March.
Williams however had the opposite season to Smith, the 23 year old who was signed from Worcester in 2014 came on as a sub in the 3-1 opening day defeat to Chesterfield and was then loaned out to Barrow and did not appear for Barnsley again until the 6-1 hammering of Rochdale in January. Following that game however he became a virtual ever-present for Barnsley and played the full 90 minutes in both games at Wembley whilst his only goal for the club was arguably one of the most pivotal moments in getting them into the play-offs- the 90th minute winner against Peterborough in April.
Both Smith and Williams were offered new contracts by the club at the end of the season but a statement has been released today which states “Barnsley Football Club can today confirm that George Smith and George Williams have departed Oakwell after the Club decided against offering them new contracts.
Both players’ current deals are due to expire at the end of June and new contracts were initially offered to both players at the end of the 2015/16 Season. However after careful consideration and further discussions between the board and coaching staff, the Club has now decided to withdraw the contract offers to allow both players the opportunity to progress their careers and play regular first team football next Season.”
In total George Smith made 44 appearances for Barnsley and Williams 27.