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Barnsley appoint ex-Salisbury, Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Port Vale, Cheltenham boss

Barnsley confirm they have chosen to appoint ex-Salisbury, Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Port Vale, Cheltenham boss Darrell Clarke.

Journalist @JonPalmerSport tweeted on Thursday (23 May) morning: “Now fully expecting Darrell Clarke to leave Cheltenham Town this summer #ctfc”

He added in an article for Gloucestershire Live, that negotiations for a long-term agreement have come to a halt, and as a result, he will be leaving to embrace a fresh opportunity. Cheltenham are looking now appoint a new head coach as well as a director of football.

This had fans venting frustration, questioning the board’s ambition, and are now looking to cancel their 2024/25 season ticket, of which Cheltenham have sold around 800 (as it stands at the time of writing).

A few hours after Jon Palmer’s tweet, the Telegraph’s John Percy then said: “Manager movement all over the leagues – #BarnsleyFC are in talks to appoint Darrell Clarke as their new head coach after agreeing compensation with Cheltenham.”

Doug O’Kane backed this up, saying: “BREAKING: Darrell Clarke is set to Barnsley FC as head coach. He has left Cheltenham Town. Clarke was part of the process all along and has now been selected as the new head coach.”


Cheltenham Town can today confirm that first team manager Darrell Clarke has left the club to pursue a new opportunity with League One outfit Barnsley.

Clarke had another year remaining on his existing contract but compensation has been agreed between the two clubs to allow him to move to Oakwell.

The club had offered Darrell a new extended contract with improved terms but an agreement could not be reached. The 46-year-old has now opted to depart, ending his eight month tenure at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

We would like to thank Darrell for his contribution since arriving at the club back in September and wish him well in his future endeavours.

A further update from the Chairman surrounding Darrell’s departure and the next steps will be issued later today.


Barnsley FC is delighted to announce the arrival of Darrell Clarke as our new Head Coach, the former Cheltenham Town boss signing a two-year contract at Oakwell with a club option of a third.

The 47-year-old is known for an attacking style of football and an intense approach to training which has seen him gain three promotions in his managerial career to date.

Boasting ten years management experience within the EFL and a track record of getting teams promoted, Clarke will link up with Martin Devaney, who has recently signed a new deal as Assistant Head Coach.

Last season he took over at Cheltenham Town in League One, with the Robins having failed to win or even score during the opening 10 games. Despite a difficult start to the campaign, Clarke led Cheltenham to pick up 42 points across the next 36 games.

On arriving to take charge at Oakwell, Clarke spoke of his pride in taking the role: “I’m absolutely delighted, cant wait to get started. Im proud to be managing this football club, Im really looking forward to it. I didnt need to be sold on the club, its got huge potential and Im excited to get myself going and get the squad rebuilt and try to push on for a promotion challenge.

Sporting Director, Mladen Sormaz, said: We are pleased to bring Darrell to Barnsley, his style of play is attacking and aggressive and he has shown that he can quickly get strong performances and results at his previous clubs. Darrell has a strong track record in the EFL and is an ambitious head coach who has consistently been able to get teams promoted and has spent a significant period of time at each club – we believe hes the right man to help us achieve our aim of promotion to the Championship.

After a thorough search including meeting with a number of candidates in person in recent weeks, I had the most immediate connection with Darrell and appreciated how open and direct he was when we spoke. I believe for Barnsley to be successful in the coming seasons, clear and open communication and alignment between us both will be key. I felt that Darrell deserved the opportunity come and test himself at a Club which wants to push for promotion from League One. Darrells personality, vision for the project and excitement for the challenge have set him apart from other candidates and I am sure our supporters will join me in welcoming him to the Club.

Barnsley FC CEO, Jon Flatman, added: “The appointment of Darrell Clarke is key element in our attempts to modernise the structure of the Club. Darrell will benefit from working with Mladen Sormaz and Ann Hough who have both joined us in the past few months. The process of finding a new Head Coach was impressive with Mladen presenting several candidates from across Europe for consideration with Darrells name included from very early on in the discussion. We knew that he was keen to test himself at this level and we felt that this was the right move for us. Work is already underway to recruit some exciting players for next year and we are all looking forward to a positive future. I want to take this opportunity to thank supporters for their patience, we did not want to rush into making an appointment, we had to make sure we found someone who shared our vision for how we can get Barnsley to reach the next level. We now need to come together, support Darrell and his staff in every area including recruitment and look forward to the 2024/25 season.

Clarke is the permanent replacement for Neill Collins, who left before the final game of the League One season, worried they’d fall out of the playoff places.

They ended up clinching a spot, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the semi-finals. Although Martin Devaney served as caretaker manager last season, he won’t be given the full-time role.

One potential candidate that Barnsley has considered had been Daniel Stendel, a former promotion winner with the club, but it was then revealed that Stendel has signed a new contract with Hannover 96, where he currently manages the reserves team.

Despite being approached for the vacancy at Barnsley, Stendel had reservations about the move, leading the club to explore other options instead.

Barnsley also looked at Michael Duff again, as mentioned by Alan Nixon on his Patreon page, but he has since opted for fellow League One club Huddersfield Town instead.

Duff left Barnsley for Swansea City in 2023 after guiding the Tykes to the playoff final in his only campaign at the helm. However, his team were beaten at Wembley by Sheffield Wednesday.

This is what fans are saying as Barnsley appoint ex-Salisbury, Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Port Vale, Cheltenham boss Darrell Clarke…

@RaviSinghKRO: They love appointing Cheltenham managers

@OJFell: Well, there we go

@180_Gas: What a move for Darrell 👏👏

@matijakrajnik92: Is this a new thing? get relegated with a club and get a better gig?

@OB_14: So pleased for DC and richly deserved 💙👏

@Hayden_PFC: Good appointment that

@AjayBFC: Not against this tbh. Very duff like appointment in terms of someone who knows the league. Seen their fans gutted about him leaving but not sure about his playstyle. Looks like another 352 based on FotMob but could be wrong. #barnsleyfc #ctfc

@tarnchick: Seems a decent appointment to me after all the shambles that has happened this week. Cheltenham fans gutted he is leaving which says a lot too. There wont be some pleasing folk though #barnsleyfc

@jackfb46: Of course we are another manager who play 3 5 2 boring football

@Ethan_SHDWSML: I’d check out his style before you call it boring

@TheakerScott: Embarrassing

@upthejunction28: Well at least he knows the league ..

@MatthewTiffany1: Fuckinell 😂😂

@3lijah29: Think I might be the only one happy with this 😂

@DICKO25BFC: Get it. I called it lads

@CWReds87: Of course he was.

@Jayblair1996: We love a Cheltenham manager

@GarnerZ_: You’re fucking kidding

@DICKO25BFC: It was between him and Collins in summer and makes sense. Can work in our budget and policy. Way better than Williamson 👏👏👏

@TobyHowley: Don’t mind that at all

@MegzBFC: We love a Cheltenham manager

@Abi_ctfc: Better than last season makes him out to be. Gutted he’s going, so honest and likeable

@BarnsleyGoody: Part of the process 😂 Come on mate grow a pair. We all know he’s 5th choice.

@BarnsleyChop68: Experienced English manager that knows the lower league’s. Sensible appointment for where we are now as a club.

@jakehepworth88: cheltenham didn’t score in first 10 games before he came in

@tykes1967: Deffo a better option than Williamson !

@mylesmcaleese: April fools was last month! How many managers rejected us? Jesus

@scousejay814950: Haven’t they just been relegated embarrassing appointment that if happens

@hall_robert: 4th or 5th choice and hardly inspiring . Good luck to the bloke he’ll need it with those above .

@GeorgeElek: This will hurt for Cheltenham fans, but delighted for DC. Did a remarkable job last season and has a track record of delivering promotion at L2 level. Deserves this chance.

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