It’s been a very long while since the last Barnet blog, indeed when Peter Beadle was appointed as manager the last time the keyboard was tapped and opinions formed.
That was 23rd August to be precise but like most Bees fans my eyes haven’t been away from the page to keep tabs on what has been going on and who’s going to be wearing the black and amber this season.
Whilst I write there is currently no chance of getting into The Hive this weekend to watch us take on Eastleigh which is a massive shame, I had plans for a little meeting afterwards with Strevs, who I’ve kept in contact with throughout the last few months along with Neil Smith and Darren Currie, but alas no plans to be made and that will have to wait for better times.
It’s fair to say that it’s taken a little bit of time to realise that we aren’t expecting to see the kind of performances we were getting prior to lockdown, the calibre of players are not at the same level coming in, they may change my opinion of that in games to come, I hope they do in all honesty.
Games without fans at this level is going to look very odd for weeks, while we might be used to it at Premier League level with pumped in crowd sounds, it’s going to be like watching training matches in your own stadium. I am hopeful we won’t see this for too long at our level, our grounds can cope perfectly well with social distancing of say 1000 people as a starting point, its outside and public transport is not going to get overwhelmed, most people drive themselves and friends to a game!
So far then six signings and a really mixed bag in total, not sure it’s quite enough to make the squad look at least reasonably full and there might be a couple more to come before we kick off this weekend.
When Ben Nugent was announced as the first signing I thought it was a good measure of the calibre player we might expect for others. 222 senior appearances, a promotion to the Premier League on his CV from seven years ago, looks decent enough at first glance, 6ft 5in for a centre back is commanding.
The next two signings are ones I hope prove me wrong, Eliot Richards and Tyrone Duffus. Both well known to Beadle having played for him at Hereford, Richards does have 150 EFL appearances which like Nugent gives him some experience, but last played under Beadle in 2017 and more recently spent time at Merthyr. Duffus is also one well known to the manager also having been at Hereford, recently at Warrington Town and like Richards stepping up two levels to join the Bees, whether either or both bridge the gap will show over the next few weeks.
The other three signings do all come with some National League experience, J J Hooper had a 14 goals in 22 games record at Bromley which prompted a move to Wrexham, unable to settle there saw him net just six times last season and a move closer to home again will hopefully re-ignite his career.
Alex McQueen and Jerome Binnom-Williams, both full backs, have turned out for Dagenham & Redbridge and Halifax respectively last season with some 80 games between them and should be solid if not spectacular.
In the light of the on-going restrictions it would seem sensible to not fill the budget for now and keep things tight, the loan market has to be used effectively to supplement the players that are already there and I would guess there is little panic around The Hive compared to say Notts County or Dagenham where wages are that much higher and no income from supporters inside stadiums the money has to come from somewhere.
I’m not expecting to set the world alight, competitive is all I ask for this season and the odd surprise result. Having not been able to see much from pre-season as you normally would it’s hard to put down a decent prediction. Nowhere near the relegation zone will suit me, but if you get on a run and momentum builds then who knows, we’ll find out in a few weeks……..