Late on Monday evening, Barnet announced Mark McGhee as their new first team manager. McGhee appears at first impressions to have the experience chairman Tony Kleanthous promised over the summer he would be bringing in.
17 league games down the line the stats and current league position suggests the move is long overdue given the club’s downward decent into the relegation zone with no league win since 9th September. Kleanthous knows only too well a drop back down into the National League will put a huge dent into everything he is trying to achieve at The Hive given how difficult it is to gain promotion back to the Football League, just ask Wrexham and Tranmere fans.
Rossi Eames was seen by many as the cheap option available to Kleanthous and for all intents and purposes looked to be a wise choice early on with results showing he was the right pick, including a 4-1 demolishing of Swindon at the County Ground, one of the pre-season favourites. From almost that point forward, Eames and the Bees have lost their way, it is fair to say that Rossi suffered terribly with injuries to key players such as Curtis Weston, John Akinde and Jamie Stephens whilst summer signing Richard Brindley, who was set to solve the problem right back position, hasn’t yet kicked a competitive ball.
But all managers can point to areas that cost them their jobs and some outside of their jurisdiction or control, the buck ultimately stops at the manager’s feet. Not many remain at clubs in another capacity, credit must go to Eames for stepping back and returning to developing players through the Academy and Under 23’s once again, priming them ready for first team involvement.
And so to McGhee. The task is simple, 29 games to preserve Barnet’s Football League status, but with the side on a run of 13 games without a win in all competitions, it will take all of his experience and nous to get the Bees buzzing again, he does have the almost luxury of fit again John Akinde and Jamie Stephens, the pair having just returned in Eames’ final match in charge last weekend.
Clubs around Barnet have also changed managers in recent months to a mixed response, Port Vale have responded, but Chesterfield remain the only side below the Bees, Jack Lester having a tough time trying to galvanise the Spirites.
His recent club record is rather mixed and this is his first visit to this tier of football since 2012, but he has won promotions with previous clubs and having managed 950 games so far in his touchline career, McGhee has more than enough about himself to steer the Bees to safety, starting with a positive performance and result this coming Saturday at fellow strugglers Port Vale, not quite a relegation six-pointer at this stage of the season but nonetheless important enough to get the supporters onside early and install some much needed confidence among the players.