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Attempted Rationale
The bigger picture By: Eric Hitchmo 08/03/2012




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I think it has been sensible to let things die down a touch after a very emotional couple of days, weeks and months. My Barnet related mood this week has swung this way and that, from absolute rage on Tuesday night to contemplative mulling over the last 24 or so hours. This article may well be an amalgamation of the last three articles I have written, the gloomy outlook post Oxford, the drunken depression of Aldershot and the furious backlash after Bradford, but I'm going to attempt to think rationally about this entire situation right now.

A favourite line of the club is "We're all in this together."

Do you know what? I'd love for that to be the case. I really would love for us to go all 2004 again where everyone was singing off the same hymnsheet in joyous appreciation of a great team, hence the links our Twitter followers and Facebook likers would have seen on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. I have never seen unity be such a myth as it is now at Barnet Football Club. Everyone bickers between eachother about this, that, and every other topic that comes up in conversation between Barnet supporters online. There was always been healthy debate, but now it is resorting to petty playground name-calling and abuse, just over a difference of opinion. Everyone's emotions are running high because the thing that we all love is hurting us by being so bad. When this spills out into matchdays, we encounter horrible scenes like we did at Wimbledon where no-one came out with any credit and we were all left with a sour taste in our mouths. I don't ever want to be part of something like that again, but with the way things are at the moment, it seems almost inevitable that it will.

You know that I have my views and every so often I put keys to pixels on this very website. Sometimes, when I am troubled by what I am seeing in front of me, I will also vent my views on a matchday. We are all perfectly capable of being positive and getting behind the team also, however that is becoming harder with every game. If my being negative during a football match offends you, then I apologise, but I reserve my right to offer my opinion where I see fit. I do draw the line at being downright abusive, as that achieves nothing, however I have paid my money and if I don't like what I am seeing then I will say so. Equally, and perhaps even more so, I will offer praise and support where necessary. I would much prefer to be getting behind the team 100% with like minded individuals, like we used to, but these opportunities are few and far between when we are subjected to this football every week. Perhaps then, this is why like many others, I can't bring myself to go to as many games as I used to. I mean, just 84 people went to Gillingham. It's an embarrassing number of supporters for such a journey, but it just about sums up what a quandary this club has found itself in. No-one can bring themselves to watch a team that struggles so frequently, and they cannot justify the associated cost. It is sad.

Everyone has an opinion on what it is that has caused us to be in such a place. Some blame Tony Kleanthous. Some blame Lawrie Sanchez. Some blame Charlie Taylor (careful!). The truth is that it is a whole number of elements that have led to this. We are all very quick to point the finger of blame at anyone who has any interest in the club. This is another thing that is causing endless, tiresome arguments all over the place. What it has left us with is a highly unfulfilling matchday experience where those that remain sit and wonder just what they are doing with themselves. Of course there are some who remain enthusiastic and good luck to them, but unfortunately, apathy has set in and taken over a good percentage of the supporter base. There doesn't seem to be much collective motivation around the place and you can almost always hear a pin drop, such is the decline in atmosphere over recent years. A bit of good football could remedy this, that much is obvious, but finding the right formula to create that good football seems to be something that continually eludes the men that matter at Underhill.

Just look at The Chavs, enjoying another monumental cup run and a potential playoff place a league above. Look at the teams that have come up from the Conference since we did. All of them have enjoyed varying levels of success in their time here that shadow our own. Hereford and Dagenham have been to League One and back, Exeter and Carlisle remain there. Accrington, Aldershot, Torquay and Morecambe have made the Playoffs, Oxford and Crawley look set to emulate that this year and Burton are adapting well too. What do we have? A highest finish of 12th and three years of staying up on the last day? Add to that this year's form and there's no wonder that we're so morbid. Yes OK we got to the FA Cup 4th Round twice, but even that seems an age ago. I'll admit that some of the clubs mentioned above are bigger than us and should probably expect a bit more success but many of them don't have the pedigree that we do, so it makes you wonder what they've done so well that we haven't.

People feel let down by the club. We have heard before that we would not be allowed to suffer this sort of season again. This is the third straight year that we are staring a relegation battle square in the face, and it's not as if we haven't been close in the other four seasons we've been here. Why is it such a struggle? Fans are slowly but surely drifting away from the club they once felt so strongly about, and they have been doing so for seven seasons. What we are now down to is the very bare bones of our core support. It is our will and desperation to see our club do better that is causing emotions to raise themselves from time to time. Emotion can often get the better of rational thought, and things that are said in the heat of the moment are more down to pure frustration than they are mindless idiocy.

What would be nice is if we could just get this season over and done with, having survived and stayed up once again. Of course that'll be a nice little celebration at the end, but what does the future hold? We are drifting into an endless cycle of relegation battles and optimistic pre-seasons. Everyone is optimistic in pre-season. There isn't a team in the division who doesn't hope that they can finish in the playoffs or better, except maybe us. Such cynicism is engrained into me sadly. We all get our hopes up during the summer, as you do, and by the end of September we have been firmly struck into the reality that once again, we're on a hiding to nothing. That appears to be the Barnet way.

The most worrying thing is that no-one knows what it's going to take to change that. Do you want to take the risk of a fresh approach at the very top? We could easily go the way of Chester, Rushden, Scarborough, clubs who have been mis-managed and gone to the wall. Personally, I like having the stability, but even I am questioning that now. I just want something good to happen, as obvious as that sounds.

We are reaching a crossroads in terms of what our long-term future holds. It seems that sometime soon, a significant decision will be made on where we will call our home. Whilst I won't go into the ins and outs of that again, as we still await news, I can't help but think that whatever happens, it will be a catalyst for huge change at the football club.

Whether that change brings us the success and entertainment that we so desperately desire or plunges us further into a mire remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, we all have one thing in common which is a passion for this football club. Whilst we all have differing opinions on what we think is best for it, we all still care about it. It would be worth considering that the next time emotion threatens to take over sensible thought. No-one can promise that because we all care so much, and with care comes emotion, but the way it's going certainly isn't fun, for anyone.




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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...

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