Exclusive: New Barnsley Boss Darrell Clarke to Build a "Monster" for Promotion

New Barnsley man in charge Darrell Clarke talks of his ambitions plans to guide the football side to greatness as he shows his excitement in this exclusive interview.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-06-03

Naim Rosinski

3 minutes read

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke kisses the EFL Division 2 Trophy during the Sky Bet League

New Barnsley boss Darrell Clarke wants to build a “monster” to win League One promotion.

Ambitious New Leader at Oakwell

The former Cheltenham Town manager took over the managerial reigns at Oakwell earlier this month on a two-year deal, and the ambitious 46-year-old is firmly focused on guiding the club back to the Championship.

The Tykes finished lost out to Bolton Wanderers in the League One play-offs this season, beaten 5-4 on aggregate despite a stirring comeback in the second leg having trailed 3-1.

“Hopefully I can build a promotion-winning team for the fans,” Clarke told

“I’m delighted to be at a big League One club which has all the capabilities of getting out of the division.

“I managed to sneak a week in Lanzarote right at the end of the season, but the holidays are cancelled for me.

“We’ve got a lot of recruitment to do on the side and to try and build a monster that can get out of League One.

Excitement and Togetherness

 “There’s a really good feel around the club, the Barnsley fans seem really good people and it’s a really good football club.

“It’s a club that excites me. We train at the stadium, so for me it’s important to build that togetherness – and I felt that as soon as I came in the building.

“I’m just delighted and privileged to be at this club, it’s an honour.”

The Right Move at the Right Time

Clarke, 47, arrived at Oakwell after Barnsley agreed compensation with the Robins because he had a year remaining on his contract.

The Robins had offered Clarke improved terms to stay at Whaddon Road, but the lure of trying to win promotion in South Yorkshire was just too good to turn down.

“I’ve managed a lot of games at League One, but I’ve never been at a club that has had the facilities and resources to get out of the division,” stressed Clarke.

“Now I feel like I’m at ‘that’ club – and it’s the right time in my career.”

Past Successes and Future Dreams

Credit: Lee Parker - CameraSport via Getty Images

Credit: Lee Parker - CameraSport via Getty Images

Clarke is no stranger to promotion and won his first with Salisbury Town, who he guided to success in the 2011 play-offs.

And he has since gone on to achieve promotion with Bristol Rovers (2016) and then Port Vale in 2022.

“One of my dreams has been to get promoted out of all four divisions,” revealed Clarke.

“I’ve managed to build promotion squads wherever I’ve been – and I’m going to be giving it absolutely everything to try and do that here.

“It’s about getting the right answers for this football club – and you do that with getting your recruitment right.”

Ready for the Challenge

Clarke, a former midfielder, enjoyed a successful playing career with clubs including Mansfield Town, Hartlepool, Stockport, Port Vale, Rochdale and Salisbury. and it was with Hartlepool who he helped win promotion as a player in the 2002-03 season.

“I want to entertain and play football which is pleasing on the eye,” he added.

“This club have tasted Premier League football, so I’ve got an idea of what’s needed here.

“You get togetherness from winning and I understand the pressures of trying to get out of this division, but I love that pressure at this stage of my career.”

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.