Martin Smith column: The magic is back for Barnsley

Happy days for Barnsley
Happy days for Barnsley

After the Reds six straight wins fans are already asking if they can call their new manager ‘Magic Johnson’ yet.

Breaking 35-year-old records, playing winning football and challenging for a promotion play-off spot they seem to have found fresh inspiration and tenacity under Lee Johnson.

It seems a long time ago now since Barnsley swept into the Premiership playing exciting football, winning at Old Trafford, beating Chelsea and coining the song that eventually became a bit of an embarrassment: “It’s just like watching Brazil.”

I don’t know whether the fans have dusted that one off again but they were asking on one supporters website if ‘Magic Johnson’ should be their manager’s monicker.

Might be a bit soon - he’s won his first four games - but you can’t knock his start at the club that’s won six in a row for the first time since Norman Hunter was in charge. Many a manager has started like a whirlwind with new ideas and fresh momentum but not been able to sustain it.

You see it every season, then it’s gone quicker than it came and the new man in charge has to really show what he’s made of. It’s time the Barnsley fans had something positive to cheer about and some hope for the future. Sheffield United go to Oakwell in a couple of weeks in what will be a huge game for both clubs.

Wayne Rooney was told as a fifteen-year-old to forget boxing and concentrate on football.

Wise words.

You’d think his solid frame, co-ordination, power and aggression would make him someone who might actually be able to box.

But seeing the way he went down from a pretty innocuous-looking shot from fellow boxing lover Phil Bardsley in the video that swept the social media world he probably won’t be following former Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse into the ring on a full-time basis.

As Curtis tweeted yesterday; ‘Not everybody can do it!!! it’s not as easy as I made it look #RooneyRooneyRooney’

Quite how United manager Louis Van Gal can tetchily say his captain’s kitchen capers are not worth a comment when millions have seen his top player decked between worktops and stove is bluffing beyond belief.

To be fair to Rooney though, that knockout goal celebration was something else.

And he does make playing football at the highest level look easier than any boxer ever did.