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Any improvements, or just more of the same? By: Max Bygraves 26/10/2021
Wrexham H
23/10/2021   (Click date for match details)
League 2021-2022
L  0- 3
Attendance: 2237  (917 Away)

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On Saturday, I doubled my attendance figure for the season and indeed, made it as many matches watched at The Hive in the same season for a good five years. Given the other game I’ve been to so far was Notts County, fair to say I haven’t picked the best ones to go to.

Now I’m very aware of only ever coming at anything Harrow-based with negativity. So I will start with some positives.

I managed to get a good, free parking spot near the ground. The ticket on my phone worked at the scanner first time. The beer in the bar, draught Moretti, was as good as a plastic pint can be and the service was very efficient. It was also good to see a couple of old faces for a quick pre-match drink. The new club shop, whilst lacking a bit in character on the inside, is well decorated with pictures of John Akinde and Jack Taylor on the outside - a nice nod to the main men of the recent past.

I did cast my eye over the baby size shirts for my little one, but the practicality of when she would wear it, how much it would cost and the conversation that would follow when I brought it home put me off. That would have been really getting carried away.

Taking my seat in block C at 2:59pm, I did also consider how good the view was. All pretty rosy so far but sadly that’s where the positives end.

By this point, I was actually already a little irked by the ‘Legends of Underhill’ display in the bar and the seemingly photoshopped picture of Dougie Freedman’s head on completely the wrong Barnet kit. We have questioned this on twitter. No response as yet from the club. There was one theory this could be a real picture from Paul Wilson’s testimonial whilst a number of others believe it’s Freedman’s head on McGleish’s body.

For a website with all the stats, this is one we don’t have so any clarification on this, if anyone can confirm if Freedman played in Wilson’s game in 1999 or not would help this particular nerd sleep better at night. If he didn’t, then it’s all very odd.

Having only been to one other game two months ago, I wondered and hoped to see some changes perhaps to enhance the match day experience for the home fans along with the improvements in the beer situation. Particularly in light of the famous statement that followed the Notts game.

Still no scoreboard on the side opposite the stand filled with people who’ve paid £22 to be there; queues for the tea bar longer than an Exodus Geohaghon throw in; and (save a few souls in the little stand that’s part of the main building) a half empty ground again. I can’t say it felt a whole lot different.

Just open the terrace and give the youngsters somewhere to go and enjoy themselves. A big attraction of going to watch a club like Barnet for a 13-17 year old is being able to stand on a terrace using words you’re not allowed to at home and trying your best to start songs without your voice breaking. The ground, at present, really isn’t set up for that. Devoid of any life or atmosphere.

I saw the outcome of the BFCSA twitter vote about the drum was to bring it back. Where’s that going in the stand? Apart from a bit of feet stamping when we win a corner, it’s hard to generate much atmosphere otherwise in the big stand with the silly name. Whatever happened to ‘Bees bees bees bees bees’ to mark corners, by the way?

People can point to the BFCSA to help but why should they be so responsible for organising the running of a professional club’s match day operations? Why should people appreciate ‘small wins’ and ‘baby steps’ around this when they’re paying a premium to watch football there? This isn’t a new ground and set up anymore. There is simply no justification why everything is not in place.

For what it’s worth, I had a conversation with the chairman seven or eight weeks ago, having offered some support and suggestions around this, but this didn’t go anywhere.

As for the game itself, despite the obvious gulf between the two sides, Barnet did their best to make it as bad as it could be.

I’ve seen some dire Barnet performances in my time, but this one was pretty special in its nature. Never have I seen so many players put their team mates in dead end situations and for possession to be consistently surrendered so frequently and cheaply. Almost impressively disjointed for a group of players who train together all week. Some really howling individual displays. As my friend I watched the game alongside, a Barnet fan of fifty odd years put it when another pass went astray in the second half, “This lot aren’t a team, they’re a rabble.” Summed up nicely.

There have been improvements under Dean Brennan other than yesterday. An announcement about what’s happening next in terms of the management and shiny new structure that was presented in the summer would be good. Communication, as ever, not the forte of those in charge.

I really had hoped I’d be writing this on the back of a dramatic, unlikely victory where there was a buzz around the ground and that it felt like a better place to be than previously. More than wishful thinking, unfortunately.

Sterile, somber, soulless. Most of all - sad.

NB: This was written on Sunday night but our website editor has been swanning off on his jollies and is only uploading it now. A big well done to the club for the ticket offer they’ve announced for the Aldershot game on Saturday in the meantime. Hopefully this is the start of good habits on this front. Credit where it’s due - another positive!

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