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Crossley delighted to be back at hometown club

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Friday 4th April 2014
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Mark Crossley says Barnsley's win at Yeovil on Saturday gave him 'one of the biggest buzzes' of a career which includes an FA Cup final and international caps for Wales.


The 44-year-old, who is from Hoyland and lives in Elsecar, returned to the club as goalkeeping coach last week almost 30 years after being rejected at 15. He then played for several Sunday League sides in Barnsley before joining Nottingham Forest where he made more than 300 appearances.


Crossley, nicknamed 'Big Norm', told the Chronicle: "Saturday was phenomenal. "For a team that was struggling a little bit, I was amazed by the togetherness of the staff and players. The fans behind the goal showed how passionate they are and I have known that since I was ten years old.


"I saw a few familiar faces as I was warming the goalkeepers up.  I went over and shook a few hands of people from my local village.  I am absolutely delighted to be back. Everyone wants to be at their hometown club and coaching is the next best thing to playing.


"I played in a few trial games for Barnsley when I was 15 then picked up an injury and they ended up taking someone else on. It was obviously very disappointing but 29 years later I am back.


"I have been coaching at Chesterfield, Sheffield Wednesday academy and now Barnsley so I have been moving closer and closer. I have always been a Reds fan. I used to watch the likes of Ronnie Glavin, Ian Banks, and Trevor Aylott in the 80s.


"I always kept an eye out for Barnsley's results during my career and, when I won 3-0 at Oakwell with Sheffield Wednesday (in 2006), I felt gutted afterwards."


When Crossley heard that Ian Willcock had been sacked as goalkeeper coach, he contacted Wilson – who he calls a 'classy guy' – and moved from Wednesday the next day.


He said: "Luke Steele is a lad who wants to learn and hopefully I can pass on my experience. Iain Turner is very experienced and Christian Dibble is a good talent."