Football is nothing without fans

I wanted an early night on Tuesday but that went straight out the window soon after 10pm, why though you might ask? When you follow Barnet FC timing goes out of the window, more inadvertently in my opinion to bury a statement or an announcement, Edgar Davids aside the rest have not been too promising.

My phone hadn’t quite started to go off, I made a quick check as you do through Twitter and a new message from a fellow fan of a statement released by the club so off I went in search.

What I found was well, how do you describe it, amateur? A blame game? As a writer I found its wording was poor, offensive in places and then hidden within the context the news of a restructure of the coaching team, almost buried like it didn’t need talking about.

It was something the late great Dennis Signy OBE would be shaking his head at the very least, I don’t think this one would have made it out the door without a rewrite.

Let’s start with that statement then. An opinion is something I believe everyone is entitled to along with a healthy debate about those opinions. If things don’t go as planned then criticism is expected surely?

To openly attack the people you want to be viewing your product namely the football on the pitch I thought was a bad move.

I don’t understand why we were caught off guard? We completed the play-off game on 25th July, we waited until 12th August until mutually agreeing to part ways with Darren Currie and appointed Peter Beadle on 23rd August. Did it really take 18 days to work out Currie wasn’t to be the way forward? Was it not thought that giving Beadle such a short window would result in the fact the best players already were gone? There can’t have been many clubs where a full rebuild was needed as players were not going to accept lower terms but were given the smallest amount of time possible to make it work?

Blaming this season’s problems on Covid is poor, nearly all of the 23 clubs in the National League have suffered from covid outbreaks and others like ourselves more than once, but I’ve not seen any using it as an excuse that’s a diversion.

Managerial appointments that haven’t worked out are down to just one person, the chairman. They didn’t work out so why not just hold your hand up and admit that? We can all see that and would accept that; mistakes happen as part of human nature and last time I checked we’re all likely to be guilty of one or two in a lifetime.

The furloughing situation is bizarre, it’s being carried out by a lot of clubs within the league and is common knowledge whose players are not involved because of this. Some of us are aware which players we have placed on it, others we can guess at from not being seen for weeks. Some players seem quite happy for it to be known, so why do the club shroud it in some kind of mystery? I’d love to hear why Scott Loach, our one consistent performer all season who is now fit to play, is unlikely to pull on a Bees shirt again, is that really about different styles?

There’s a reason why people question the chairman’s passion for the club and I think it’s easy to see why. It’s not keyboard moaning nor twittering idiots, it goes back to that opinion we’re all allowed.

Both the men’s and ladies’ teams are sitting the relegation zone of their respective division, the club jumped the gun at the beginning of covid which smacked of panic instead of rational thinking and waiting a couple of days longer to see what transpired.

Other clubs looked to make sensible decisions, other clubs have less revenue streams than we enjoy at The Hive and forget the fact it’s been unoperational this year if it’s being run at a profit that should have seen us through this season comfortably surely? Other clubs have managed their way through this period with less income so why have we stripped back to the bare bones? A ‘gamble’ that’s paid off in the end but left us embarrassed and lacking in pride.

I don’t see a lot of people abusing the club’s name and if they do it’s out of frustration for what they see in front of them. We have a history prior to The Hive move, why can’t we be reminded of it from time to time? When times are tough people revert back to when things were good it’s their happy place, only today I referred back to 2004 and 2015 to someone, little in between those times to get excited about.

And as supporters we don’t expect glory every year, we’d support Manchester City for that! What we do want is pride in our club, pride from those who wear the shirt and to be appreciated putting time and effort into the club, these past twelve months has taught everyone at every level of the game that football is NOTHING without fans.

This is no disrespect to either of the club’s communication guys, Adam Rowe and Ciaran McLoughlin. These two put some hours in and it’s been one of the bright lights this season along with Aarron Pullen on the live streaming.

Anyway, onto the new appointments of Simon Bassey and Dave Anderson. A lot of people will be underwhelmed I’m sure that we’ve plucked another name that wasn’t in the reckoning or on supporter’s lips but there is a little more to it than this and something I believe is just the beginning with more to happen.

I’ve actually gotten to know Dave over the past few months, long before Tim Flowers was to be gone and is a well respected manager and figure within the non-league game, in fact the last game he managed saw him a Wembley winner in the FA Vase with Chertsey Town.

As I read it these two are here for the long haul but to see us through the final 13 games and this mess of a season out of the way ready for a manager or head coach to come in over the summer and join them.

As far as I am aware we should have a Director of Football in the shape of Jamie Fullerton although strangely no mention has been made in either announcement, a second statement having arrived this morning to introduce the new pair.

I could be miles off the mark but it makes sense to me especially as Bassey has been introduced as First Team Coach. Whether there is some restriction stopping the new manager coming in until then I’m unsure of but it would rule out quite a few names most of us believed were in the running in the last two weeks.

To finally have what looks like a little bit of stability and a structure to start to build upon is what we’ve been asking for all season and while better late than never, the building for next season described by the new man as starting yesterday.

I fear though a lot of damage has been caused by the wording of that late night statement and even if some pride is restored by the players before the end of May some bridges have now been firmly burnt to the point of not being retrieved I feel, if we get back into The Hive before the end of the season things might be a tad interesting.

Summer news and player recruitment is going to be key to keep what is left of the fanbase onside, only time will tell if people are willing to forgive and forget but for many that ship has now sailed…………

Bees slump to a new low

A local derby is normally the first highlight as a fan you look for when the fixtures come out, before my time it was Enfield for Barnet fans and more recently Stevenage. Now it’s the turn of Wealdstone just a few miles down the road from The Hive and Boreham Wood in the opposite direction, clubs with smaller infrastructures and smaller fan bases although Barnet might be matching support size next season.

Just three days after the Bees notched up defeat number 21 of the season at home to Solihull the short trip up the road was made without Michael Petrasso through injury and Themis Kefalas suspended which meant Harry Taylor dropping into a back three, Xander McBurnie and Antonis Vasiliou coming into midfield while Courtney Baker-Richardson replaced JJ Hooper up front with the former Wrexham man on the bench.

In the bright sunshine, the Bees began quite sharply but as is very much the norm this season Barnet failed to make it to ten minutes without conceding a goal, a free header for Jermome Okimo from a corner put the home side in front, the Bees as per usual unable to deal with a ball into their own box.

The visitors did respond well, Vasiliou at the heart of most things going forward setting up a good chance for wing back Lee Vaughan who cut across the ball to send it the wrong side of the post.

The Bees then put themselves at fault on the half hour mark, a poor pass from McBurnie saw Matt Preston struggle to keep the ball in play, the Stones broke and Dennon Lewis’ deflected shot was past Aymen Azaze and into the net.

Barnet did have two fantastic chances to equalise, the debut making Jake Askew saving brilliantly from Vasiliou while a minute later McBurnie was just wide from 25 yards out.

Vasiliou should have hit the net just before half time latching onto Baker-Richardson’s cutback but inches wide of the target.

The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged to the Bees, Vasiliou yet again at the heart of things with a strong run into the Stones box and squaring for Baker-Richardson to score just his second goal in Barnet colours two minutes after the re-start.

Just a minute later Vaughan’s cross just evaded the goal-scoring striker as for the first time in the game the Stones looked rattled.

Six minutes later and the game turned on its head, a 21 man melee missed by the video camera saw Baker-Richardson show a straight red card and Barnet down to ten men for the second game in a row and for the fifth time in just eight games.

The Bees didn’t actually let that faze them and carried on looking for a second goal and their first change of the afternoon saw Muhammadu Faal replace Alexander McQueen and a minute later breaking through one on one with Askew, but the striker’s finish was very poor and straight at the keeper as he advanced off his line.

From that point onwards Barnet capitulated as has been the case most of the season. With no extra midfielder on the bench striker Tomi Adeloye replaced the injured McBurnie and altered the shape, Wealdstone went further in front.

Lewis was played inside the Bees back line to square the ball to Craig Fasanmade to slot home unmarked on 70 minutes. Two minutes later the home side were awarded a penalty after Taylor dangled out a leg and brought down Jacob Mendy Mendy who stepped up to fire the ball home past Azaze’s dive.

Worse was to come just three minutes from time as Lewis fired home giving Azaze no chance with Barnet defenders nowhere to be seen.

The Bees finished with nine men after Antony Wordsworth limped off injured in the final ten minutes with Barnet done as an attacking outfit despite having three strikers on the pitch for the final part of the game.

Only a couple of plusses out there were Vasiliou and Vaughan, if anything was going to materialise it was coming from either of those two players. Today should have been the day for ‘having a go’. The hosts form has been patchy and why not give a bash in these games instead of going conservative, we find it impossible to keep the score down in games, might as well try and remember where the other net is.

The lack of protection afforded for Azaze is staggering, a young keeper who is highly rated but still only 19 years of age. Surely we can do a bit better than this before we shoot his confidence down the pan and we see mistakes creeping in everywhere?

The lack of conviction from Faal in front of goal has no excuse, he’s paid as a professional footballer to score goals and hasn’t looked likely to find the net since arriving on loan from Bolton earlier in the season, why haven’t we said thanks very much but back you go up north, it’s not working out and has never looked like it would.

We’re on manager number four, someone who clearly doesn’t want to be doing it and the fourth one not being able to get enough out of the players. If they really are that limited then surely we put in place a basic strategy not outside the limits of this bunch, they can’t deliver what is being asked for, keep it simple!

I mentioned on Friday about the indiscipline that has been evident throughout, it’s pretty appalling that nine times we’ve been giving teams a man advantage. It’s about time the players as a group took some responsibility once they cross that white line, we all know football is a sometimes passionate affair but the stupid decisions made for some of these red cards is on the individual, some respect maybe for your team-mates?

The club on the outside looks an utter shambles, no pride, no performance. There might be no danger of the club sliding down one division but on the basis of what has been seen this season not many if any should be anywhere near this team next year, the quality is not good enough.

As a prospective manager incoming that’s going to be an easy decision to make and it would seem a clean slate to work from providing you are given an appropriate budget to make a go of it, but that has to happen if the club want to be competing and not bumbling along, many state it’s more akin to a circus than a football club.

This week we would expect to see a new manager getting appointed, I’m almost at the point where I’m really not that bothered, it’s dragging on so long and when you see other clubs sack a manager and then appoint within a few days you have to ask why they have their shit together and we don’t?

Just wake me up when we finally get there, do we really have to sit through 13 more games though…………..

Back to work

When it comes to managers and players being appointed or moving clubs nothing should ever surprise or shock you when the news comes out. Barnet’s appointment of former striker Peter Beadle as the club’s new manager certainly comes way out of left field, much further left than I imagined but maybe not so if the financial picture is how it is or appears to be portrayed.

Before we begin this is my opinion, I don’t expect everyone to agree, thats the beauty of the game and life we’re all entitled to think how we want in lots of respects. I remember Beadle as the striker above in 2003, arriving into Martin Allen’s squad playing for nothing and giving the Bees that extra striking option that Paul McCallum gave when he finally arrived at The Hive last season.

Whilst never a prolific striker throughout his career spending the majority of his time in Bristol playing for both City and Rovers, his time early on at Gillingham earnt him a move to Tottenham although not enough to gain a single first team appearance. My last memory I can remember was a goal in a 5-1 FA Cup defeat to Yeovil Town one December before a move closer to home and Team Bath at the time.

Now it’s Beadle the manager. He has managed at this level before as caretaker manager with the previous incarnation of Hereford Utd who went to the wall one year later despite his best efforts at the time to galvanise a club that in all respects were living on borrowed time. Under his management he did keep the club in the division but was never offered job full time He was the supporters choice to manage the newly formed team in 2015 in the Midland League where he stayed for just over three years.

His record there can really speak for itself, three consecutive promotions up to the National League North and Beadle gaining a good reputation for developing young players and playing attractive football and also getting the club to Wembley in the FA Vase in 2016. I felt at the time of his sacking it was unjust after what he had previously achieved, the club were mid-table after eight games which looked alright to me but the owners must’ve been expecting top two? To be honest it was surprising to see him not get another job in the last two years, but sometimes out of sight out of mind for managers works against them.

And so to Barnet. This wasn’t the appointment me nor many others were even close to expecting, I am lucky I am privy to more information than most, I know what I can share and what I can’t when it comes to knowing what goes on. Two decent National League managers interviewed, didn’t get offered the role, another who I expected to be in running I don’t think was even close. I’m sure Ian Hendon won’t mind me saying he was very keen to get the job, but had no contact whatsoever with the club. He was also mentioned and talked about a lot across the club messageboard and Twitter.

If I’m completely honest and this is my opinion remember, the appointment is uninspiring in a lot of ways. I’m not asking for Darren Currie mark two nor do I expect Peter to interact in the same way DC did, if he does great! No disrespect to the new man either, but I’d be very surprised if he’s on the same wages to DC, it’s a cheaper option for the chairman to take given the calibre of the two I know could have been given the job. Maybe his ability to develop youth is what gave him the edge although with no good academy for us he’s going to have to find these players and quickly too before the season begins.

What he does have is a relatively clean slate to bring in his own players to suppliment those still at the club and there is a good base there. I do feel he needs a fast start to get the fans onside, DC did some fantastic work to build bridges there and somehow Beadle needs to continue that, will the budget allow him to bring in players and the right players to get results? Jury out for now on that until we get going.

I know plenty will go into this season with no expectations of what we will achieve, but not much point bothering to turn up if we’re not aiming for promotion, if the aim is to be there to make up the numbers then little point to this season.

I fully understand the financial implications across the footballing world, The Hive was meant to be the game changer for the club and whilst that was shut like everywhere else, surely there should be some profit put away from it or is it simply just sustaining itself and not providing the increase into the football club as we were led to believe as things improve off the field all the time around the complex?

I’m backing Beadle as I would anyone who manages my football club if they prove to be the right person for the job and results are the only measure, if there are a few gems up his sleeve and things look as if they are going to move in the right direction, the fans will respond. I don’t expect to win every game unless he manages to attract a PF or MA title winning side, thats naïve thinking, but we have a very thin line at our club when it comes to supporters being onside, this is either going to go one way or the other! Now I wonder if he’s up for inviting me into his office……………….