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A Turn Up For The Books
Or is it? By: Eric Hitchmo 17/04/2012




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The dust has settled on yet another ridiculous day in the world of Barnet Football Club. Who said that supporting this club is dull? Not bloody me, that's for sure!!!

The news that The Magician has been relieved of his duties were met with almost unanimous approval, though the timing of it, and the name of his replacement has most certainly not been greeted with the same glee across the board. I can sympathise with those who have their doubts or have been angered by this latest turn of events, however like many others, I am firmly in the approval camp. Please permit me to tell you why.

Martin Allen is a master of the PR game. He knows exactly what to do to generate a bit of publicity, a bit of excitement and a real buzz wherever he goes. Who can deny that they have enjoyed themselves almost entirely while he has been in charge? What he does is make you want to go to games, and makes you enjoy them. That is something I have been clamouring for all season, as we have once again gone through this cycle of nothingness which has left us all questioning this dear passion of ours. Whether that disillusionment has come from the manager, or whether it has come from the boardroom differs from person to person, but either way, people are getting very very tired of all this. Those who have their gripes with the boardroom will most likely be swayed little, or even alienated further by this latest sequence of events. Again, understandable.

To some, I imagine, this latest move smacks of desperation. After all, this isn't the first time we have had to employ such measures in order to get ourselves out of a terrible mess. We sacked Ian Hendon with two games to go, we brought Allen in last season with six weeks to go, and this year we have waited until there were three games left to sack The Magician. The question in each instance (perhaps less so last year as Stimson was sacked in the New Year) would be, why was this not done sooner? There have been numerous opportunities to rid ourselves of The Magician, yet we have stuck by him when nobody wanted him here. If we'd have got rid sooner, who's to say that it would have been Martin Allen who came in? It could have been someone else and this whole debate would have been avoided. It was getting to the stage where even I was wondering what the merits would be of replacing him.

I don't think that anyone believes that this is a long-term fix. We know what Martin Allen does, he has left us twice after all. What will most likely occur is that he will keep us up and be on his way, leaving us to rebuild for the summer and try once again to find the man who is going to get us out of this horrible cycle we are in. I was as gutted as everyone was when Allen left the first time, and I was staggered when he left the second time, but time makes you realise that on two occasions he has turned this club round from oblivion into something with a bit of momentum to go on to good things. He laid the foundations of a winning team in 2003/2004, and he turned a demotivated club into a rejuvenated one in less than three weeks last year. Not to mention the invaluable seven points in three games that he gained us. It took seventeen days for him to turn us from a club going nowhere but down to one that had a weight of belief behind it, and who can deny how much fun the end of last season was? I've no reason to believe that this time will be any different.

Where do we start with the man he replaces? A disaster of a reign, almost from the start. His attitude beggared belief at times. He refused to speak to the press on more than one occasion after poor results and it was clear he had lost the dressing room. His tactical prowess was severely questionable. He made no effort whatsoever to endear himself to the fans. I'm not convinced that any supporter was really behind him either. Truly, it was a horrendous relationship. With this in mind, and having to got to understand him over the last year, it is perhaps unsurprising that the nature of his press release on the subject of being removed from the helm is one that is laced with arrogance and self-promotion. As you may suspect then, I have several bones of contention with his this statement

"I'd like to express me extreme disappointment at the lack of loyalty shown in me by the club."

Well, I'll refer that back to my earlier comment about the numerous opportunities there have been to remove him from his position. A 6-3 defeat by Burton? 4-0 at home to Bradford? 4-1 at Aldershot? Failure to beat Dagenham and Macclesfield. I could go on. He was given more than enough chances to turn this around, and if anything, the club has been too loyal to him.

"Thanks to a fantastic effort from the players, staff and myself, Barnet took seven points from those last four games and avoided relegation.

A smidgen of credit for someone that isn't himself there, however he again seems to be taking credit for our survival, despite the greater contributions of others. No acknowledgement of Grazioli, and certainly no acknowledgement of Martin Allen's accomplishment of seven points in three games. I won't contend that The Magician's presence was most likely highly beneficial for the fledgling Graz, but once again, in a glorious piece of self-celebration, he attempts to take the bulk of the credit for our survival last year. Nonsense.

"I certainly felt that recent performances would see the club remain clear of the threat of relegation."

Are these the same performances that have seen us collect three points in eight matches? Three draws against teams in and around us that we should have been beating? When you are in this situation, points are the most important thing, over performances. In fact, that most likely applies to any team in any situation. The results are not good enough, and have left us in severe danger of getting relegated. This is unquestionable. We have had more than enough chances to get clear and we have not taken them. Yes, the recent performances have been largely good, but we have not been winning any games. Before Friday, one goal in five games (two in six now). If he believes that this form instills "confidence in the boardroom" then he is wrong. It certainly doesn't breed confidence on the terraces, something that he has once again failed to acknowledge. Not once does he mention the supporters, as he has barely done all season. I wouldn't expect anything different. What a dreadfully predictable statement.

Moving on now, we need to put all of that behind us. I believe that Martin Allen will get this team playing to their capabilities and we will achieve safety. It is up to us now to back them in numbers and in voice, which I'm sure we will do beginning on Friday. Come on, Southend isn't that far. We can get a very good following down there to really have a good old sing song. I love a sing song. This season has not been so conducive to them, but I certainly feel galvanised to do so now, don't you? We've got three games to preserve our league status, let's enjoy them as best possible.

Where we go at the end of the season remains to be seen. Can we trust the club to make the right call in terms of the manager? We don't want our door to continue revolving like this. We need to get the right man in who can stick around and progress with this club, and he needs to be backed with a sustainable budget that doesn't just keep us in this league by the skin of our teeth, but actually makes us a realistic challenging force at the right end of the table. Too long have we been fodder in this league, waiting to drop back into the Conference. Too long have we suffered struggle after struggle. People have and will continue to lose interest if it carries on like this. We have been promised that the mistakes of old will not be repeated, yet they have. Four serious relegation battles in seven years, why can't we get it right? These are reasonable questions that people like myself are asking. We're tired of this. It isn't fun. Many have just walked away. We can't afford to continue losing what little we have in terms of backing.

People are emotional and saying very strong things. This is what love for a football club can do. When it boils down to it, we're always going to love it whatever happens, but it just seems over the last few years that we're not getting much in return. There's only so much longer that patience can be offered, some have already lost it, and more and more will continue to do so unless this spiral is stopped. Indeed, if you read back over my articles this season and even last season, you'll see that I have been at my wit's end with the club too. This summer is immeasurably important for the football club. If we find ourselves back in this position next year, how many people will have been able to endure it once again? Would you bet against it?

We can cross those bridges when we come to them, what is most important now is that we be positive and back the team, back Martin Allen, achieve safety and close the book on yet another painful season.




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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
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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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