Barnet Football Club are rarely out of the news. Since first joining the Football League in the early 90’s, you can almost guarantee a news story coming out of firstly Underhill and now The Hive sometime during the season. From the days of Stan Flashman constantly sacking Barry Fry to almost being expelled from the league, from Ray Clemence being appointed as manager to Edgar Davids spell in the hot-seat, but one name keeps cropping up constantly and this morning it was back in the headlines.
Martin Allen, Mad-dog, was back at Barnet FC this morning for a FIFTH spell as boss of the Bees. Yes, fifth, you’ve read it right! After being offered the job back in mid January by chairman Tony Kleanthous and turning it down, why has Allen decided now is the time to return?
There must be a huge financial carrot dangled in front of him to make him change his mind in the space of eight weeks. Eight weeks that have seen little improvement in the team’s fortunes resulting in Graham Westley being sacked on Saturday evening following one point from two poor home performances, with Mark McGhee also being shown the door following his ill-fated spell in charge and subsequently appointing Westley to follow his footsteps.
On the other side of it, should Allen save Barnet once again from relegation then the CV adds another impressive notch given the Bees are currently seven points from safety having played more games than the six sides directly above them apart from Grimsby. Allen’s side will face five of the sides directly above them in the coming weeks after a trip to high-flying Luton live on SKY this coming Saturday and despite the motivator that Allen is, chances are slim but still enough points on offer to get Barnet out of the mess.
But as it’s been plain to see since Westley took over, confidence is less than fragile with the team having not scored more than once in a game since 16th December and unable to defend a one goal lead in numerous games since Christmas. Striker John Akinde looks a pale shadow of the striker he can be and Allen certainly needs to get him firing for the final eight games to give his side a chance.
Once again, the appointment has split the fan base but not as drastically as Westley’s appointment. Some blame Allen for the demise the club finds itself in after once again chasing the money to Eastleigh and setting the Bees on the downward spiral. Some see the appointment making the club a laughing stock, a fourth manager of the current campaign and a return to a man who has walked away from Barnet FC too many times and could well be in last chance saloon this time around.
To be appointing his fourth manager of the season, chairman Kleanthous must also take share of the blame. 20 years plus running the club should mean he knows his stuff a bit more than the average chairman, but the season hasn’t been anything more than a disaster and this is very much his last throw of the dice. That throw may come too late to save Barnet from a return to the National League, but you know Martin Allen will give it the best push over these eight games, it’s what he’s famed for in North London, and while he is not the long-term answer, it could be the lift Barnet FC need.
What price May 5th Barnet vs Chesterfield, game 46, winners retain Football League status, Martin’s already got a fiver on it I’m sure………………………………………..COYB!