The Reds hope to build a £4-5million facility, which would be the first in the UK dedicated to women’s and girls’ football, on the Broadway site. A plan for a 900-pupil school on that site was approved by the council on Wednesday. But the football club remain in negotiations with the council and other parties to build on the same site.
Owner Steve Maddock said: “Nothing has changed from our perspective. We still have exactly the same plans as we submitted to the council initially and we are confident that they can still be achieved.”
Critics of the planned new school say it would add to the congestion on the Dodworth Road. Maddock said: “Our facility would be in use on weeknights and weekends so would not increase traffic in any significant way. It would add to the area by providing a community centre that would be open to many different groups.”
Barnsley are currently top of the National Women’s League Division One North, which is the fourth tier of English women’s football, with eight games to play. The league has now been suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus as have the club’s training sessions at Oakwell. Maddock said: “We hope to finish the season, whenever that may be. We would be ready to do so even if that means playing in June or July. We have nowhere to train so we have sent out individual training programmes to all the girls so they can stay fresh.
“If we don’t finish the season, then I think it will all depend on what happens with the Premier League. If they give Liverpool the title, they surely then have to do the same for all the other clubs at the top of their leagues like us.
"I have spoken to the manager and some of the players and they feel physically sick at the thought of the season being null and void with us top and eight games left. They have put so much work into this season and they have done fantastically well. That would be a massive blow but, if it happens, then we have to take it on the chin and come back and win it next season. There are more important things than football.”