New Boys – Jason Shackell – Part 2
Herewith a further, more comprehensive, Shackell piece from WILKY from the “Barnsley FC Blog | On The Ponty End”
So, Shack ‘ell (as pronounced on FIFA 11) departs Barnsley FC after just one season at Oakwell in a deal (whilst reported as undisclosed) rumoured to be in the region of £1m. Is this a good deal for both parties under the circumstances and what do the Rams have to look forward to?
Well, the facts are probably well known by now. Shackell initially penned a three-year contract with the Reds in a deal with Wolves, after a periods spent on loan at Norwich City (2008/2009) and our neighbours Doncaster Rovers (2009/2010) with 23 appearances, which no doubt alerted the Oakwell heirarchy to the prospect on our doorstep.
In 2010/2011, Shackell went on to make 46 a career record number of appearances in one season for Barnsley, during a turbulent season of injuries in the back-line. Perhaps the ever present nature of Shackell has owed in some part to the perception of his stability and reliability, qualities that were ultimately courted by Nigel Clough in front of one or two others.
From our perspective a common tale has prevailed yet again. Following on from previous seasons, another Barnsley FC Player of The Season makes his exit, leaving very few surprised really.
I have read with interest, the Derby County fan’s comments about the frailties of the Rams in defence last season. With plenty of comments to suggest that as a result players would play too deep. And that also, there may have been a lack of leadership and vision from that stand point. Will Jason Shackell resolve (in part) some of these problems?
Well, despite the injuries and changing back-line of Barnsley last season our defensive performance was more fitting of a side in mid table with only 13 other teams conceeding less than the Reds. Maybe that fact alone should demonstrate Shackell’s qualities in terms of marshalling a defensive unit, plus he also carried responsibilities as the team captain too.
But although it would be very easy to accuse me of “sour grapes” in this instance, Barnsley spent many minutes on the back foot equally, in a frustrating position of defending too deep. Remember, Shackell was almost ever-present last season.
As a captain, he’s not the tub-thumping “let’s give them war” type character we’ve grown to love in the past at Oakwell. We tend to make our recent comparisons with the likes of Neil Redfearn and Chris Morgan who wore their hearts on their sleeves in a red shirt and expected those around them to do the same. But is Shackell to blame? Probably not. The apathy surrounding the squad last year was amplified by a number of ineffective loan signings and some down right duds and maybe that has led to the conclusion that Shackell feels the time is right to move on.
Is this a good deal for both parties then? Although Barnsley FC would have loved to have retained Jason Shackell for the full term of his contract with the club, a fee of circa £1m is probably about right for a player who seemingly saw his future away from South Yorkshire before the new manager Keith Hill had signed.
Under Mark Robins, Shackell gained games and stability, but his career to date (with that exception) indicates there could be some remaining issues there. At 27 (28 in September) he’s definitely at the right age to take the mantle of one of the better defenders currently in the Championship, but I doubt that he will take any further major steps in his career. Given a regular role, Rams fans can expect plenty of assured performances from Shackell in the months and seasons ahead.
In my opinion, despite the accolades he received last season, Shackell was a steady player amongst an average Championship outfit. Unless Barnsley are forced in to using inexperienced cover or slow journey men this time out, there are other gems that can fill his position and Keith Hill may not have to rue his loss.
£1m is not a bad kitty to play with, especially if (as reports have suggested) Miles Addison could have also been part of a make weight deal on loan, to facilitate the exit of the former Barnsley FC Captain.
Best wishes for the season ahead,
WILKY from the “Barnsley FC Blog | On The Ponty End”