Talking About The Bees...
 
Skip Navigation Links
Skip Navigation Links
Quick Links

Search


















ARTICLE OTHER ARTICLES

All This Movement Is Ever So Fun
When do we play Tottenham? By: Eric Hitchmo 25/05/2010






RELATED
LINKS
<<<
Football's really weird when you think about it. A funny old game, if you will. As I sat mesmerised by a pulsating Championship playoff final on Saturday past, I was already safe in the knowledge that whoever won, it would be another club to add to the list of teams that we have played, and beaten, in the last 10/15 years. We beat Blackpool 7-0 in 2000. In 2010 they're in the Premiership. Does that say more about us, or them as a club? Or is that just football doing its mysterious thing?

Obviously Blackpool are a bigger club than us, and their 'natural' level is above where we found ourselves clashing in 2000, but they're not THAT big. Look at Hull City. Look at Fulham. Wigan Athletic, Burnley. Historically, they are bigger clubs, but they have all forced their way up the leagues and into the top flight, leaving more fashionable clubs like Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday (for example) in their wake. Who would have wagered some twenty years ago that Leeds would be below Wigan in the Football League pyramid for a significant number of seasons? When was Sheffield Wednesday v. Dagenham & Redbridge considered a feasible league fixture? One win for the Daggers and that will be a reality. Such situations make you wonder about what could potentially be in ten years time. Could Everton soon be playing Southport in a derby match? What about Dover Athletic v. West Ham United in the Championship? That's why I love this game, despite what you may have ready over the last season, you just never know what could happen.

It doesn't just happen one way though. Some clubs plunge depressingly away from the target of the so called Promised Land of the Premier League. Some clubs go so far that the Promised Land becomes the Football League. Look at some of the names that have lined up in the Conference in the last few years. Oxford United have spent four seasons trying to get out of there. Fifteen years ago they were a decent Championship club. Are they a bigger club than Wigan Athletic, for example? Quite possibly. Luton Town have suffered an even quicker, even more unbelievable descent. They won the League One title five years ago, and were even troubling the top of the Championship into 2006. Three years and three consecutive relegations later, Luton somehow fell out of the Football League in a quite incredible turn of events. Just three years passed between playing the likes of Sunderland, Birmingham, Wolves and Leeds to then hosting Histon, Hayes & Yeading and Salisbury. Three years. Not even the finest storywriters could have written such a perilous script. What a rollercoaster ride it must have been. I can't even begin to imagine it. And I'm not sure I want to, either. I'll take the five years of League Two's warming embrace of mid-table nothingness, thanks.

Oh but hang on. I've just twigged it. There seems to be one key element which is common throughout the teams mentioned above. Money, and the management, or mis-management of it. Have you noticed that all the teams I mentioned that went down have had some serious financial difficulties during this period? Luton's freefall can be attributed to dreadful financial prudence which had led to a jaw-dropping number of penalties and point deductions over this short period of time. Oxford and Leeds, amongst others, were in some trouble as well. Similarly, did you notice how most of the upward moving clubs have had a seemingly bottomless pit of money to work with? Fulham, Wigan and to an extent Hull City were bankrolled into success. Hull have now found out the cost of such activities and could well make a swift return in our direction over the next few years. But it's not all down to money. Burnley got to the Premiership through steady development and hard-graft. They didn't make a great fist of their season in the sun, but they have built a solid base that doesn't look like crumbling any time soon. Blackpool may well be the same.

Those Seasiders have built steadily, have not lived beyond their means and will now reap the rewards that such investment deserves. The ground has been almost entirely redeveloped, but slowly, only when the club really needed it and would be able to sustain it financially. Serious investment will be required to keep them in the Premiership, of that there is no doubt, but I also have little doubt that they will spend sensibly and not throw all of their eggs into one basket. This is a lesson that should have been learnt by many clubs. The so-called £70-95m game (the value depends on which newspaper you read) will provide a significant windfall for them. They've done it the right way, and good luck to them.

Blackpool are a case in point therefore which proves that it can be done the right way. Having seen such an achievement, it is hard to sympathise with those who have tried to spend their way up the leagues and failed miserably. Bradford are another example of how it can go wrong. Ten years ago they survived in the Premier League but they will now attempt to get out of League Two for the fourth time after a whole wad of money was thrown at big, extravagant signings and a stadium which, even though it attracts the largest League Two crowds by some distance, is still only half full on a matchday. The list continues to grow on and on, and it seems like it will still do so. Grimsby have toppled from the Championship into Non-League oblivion. Darlington threw a vast sum at building a 27,000 seater stadium and got approximately nowhere.

Perhaps this is why the smaller clubs are prospering. Just look at the League Two playoffs this year. Three out of the four clubs have been promoted in the last four years, leaving the more established League clubs in their wake in the process. Spent Football League forces are being replaced by new, up and coming Non-Leaguers like Burton and Stevenage. These achievements make it somewhat frustrating for us Barnet supporters though. It makes us wonder why we aren't progressing like Morecambe and Dagenham have. That said, we are mirroring the sensible, patient approach shown by prospering clubs above in our development. We have invested slowly but surely in a training base which has huge potential. The only problem is that the focus has seemingly been way too high on this side of the club and too little on the eleven men on the football pitch. So much so that we almost put the entire future of the club at risk by flirting horribly close to relegation this year. If we can just strike a balance, perhaps we can begin to look up.

With all of this taken into consideration, I hope there continues to be more of the same. It would just get boring if the same clubs took up the same positions every year. No-one would have a dream of one day playing in the big time. I will continue to consider that one day we could travel to Arsenal in a league match on a Saturday afternoon, following that up with a Tuesday night journey to somewhere like Barrow. Though Barrow midweek is not a particular ambition of mine, it just shows what is in the realms of possibility in this beautiful game of ours. It's one of the many facets of football that make it what it is. I love it, don't you?




Back To Article List

Got something to say? Agree or disagree? Maybe you can write your own? Head to The Mailbox post haste!


All Articles By This Author:

Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...


Other Articles By Category


Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...

  All materials on this site copyright Downhill Second Half and its individual authors. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Special thanks to Chris Holland for use of photography and John Snow for statistical compilation.