Saturday, 23 June 2012

A bit of much needed excitement...

Earlier this week saw (possibly) the most exciting day of the close season - fixture release. If you were to say you weren't looking forward to it or don't really care, you'd be lying. "You play both teams twice, once home and once away" is probably the worst thing I've heard someone say - it's a lot more exciting than that! It's the opportunity to get your calendar out and start marking when you'll be busy, looking at train websites in advance to see how much it's going to set you back, seeing where you'll start and end the campaign and the first chance to see when you'll be facing your rivals. Amidst all the excitement comes the "oh no, we've got to travel x miles on a Tuesday night", as well as knowing those fixtures aren't set in stone, and the chances are at least half of your games will get re-arranged for whatever reason! But of course, there are always those certain dates and grounds you look out for, and always check first, for whatever reason.
After finding out we play Birmingham City away in the first round of the League Cup, I don't think the League fixtures have really disappointed - with two of our three matches in August at Underhill. Barnet begin and finish the season like this:
Opening three games:
18.08.12 Port Vale (a)
 21.08.12 Bristol Rovers (h)
 25.08.12 York City (h)
 Closing three games:
13.04.13 Torquay United (a)
20.04.13 Wycombe Wanderers (h)
27.04.13 Northampton Town (a)

The next fixtures I always look out for are Boxing Day and New Years Day. The last few years we've struck it lucky with the former with local matches against Dagenham + Redbridge and games at Underhill. This coming season we play Gillingham away on Boxing Day (hardly appealing!) and Aldershot at home on New Years.
Like most fans, the final date I look out for is the weekend of my birthday - largely in the hope it'll be a decent away trip somewhere an enjoyable couple of days can take place. With my next birthday being slap bang in the middle of the week, I had two potential matches to look forward to. Saturday 12th January sees us travel to Rotherham and their new ground, whilst the 19th is a home game against new boys, Fleetwood Town. Although I will, most likely, attend both games, neither really excite!

Then there's the matter of those local games and grounds you look forward to visiting. Living in Brentwood, I look out for Southend (6th October) and Dagenham + Redbridge (15th December). The only disappointment for me is the season-long wait for our visit to Northampton and Sixfields - possibly my favourite away ground/day of all time. Although, I guess it means it gives me the good part of a year to get some funds together and absolutely rinse TGI's of cocktails!
Every year I always make a list of 'new grounds', mainly from those promoted and relegated and the season doesn't disappoint. This coming season I have all six to visit; although, in fairness, I'll probably make half, if that!

To visit:
Rochdale - September 1st

Fleetwood Town - September 29th
Wycombe Wanderers - October 23rd

Chesterfield - October 27th
Exeter City - December 29th

York City - February 16th

Roll on August!

Oh, and you can check out the seasons fixtures here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Life = made

As an avid reader of Four Four Two, I was pleasantly surprised when one of their team tweeted me asking if they could speak to me about our final game (and survival in the Football League) away at Burton at the end of last season. Of course, my answer was “yes”. Apparently, they had been following my tweets from the day and had staff at the Hereford/Torquay match – and were looking to speak with a Barnet fan to get their side of events. I jumped at the chance and after a number of emails were exchanged, I was told to look out for the July edition. For those of you that haven’t seen it:
 “I was worried about the game all week. The more I thought about it, the worse I pictured the outcome. I felt sick first thing, but on the journey up to Burton, everyone seemed pretty upbeat. Most of them believed we’d stay up. We’ve done it on the last day of the last two seasons – we’re survival specialists!
When we scored early, I thought: “this is our day”. But we were in shock when we heard that Hereford were three up. Then Burton got one back and a draw wasn’t enough for us. As Zola stepped up to that penalty, I thought we were doomed. My heart was in my mouth. But he skied it. That shot saved our season.
At half time, someone said to me “Hereford could win 27-0 – but we could get a late winner and stay up”. Everyone was still strangely confident. It got a bit mental: at one point, a rumour spread that it was 3-3 at Edgar Street. But then we scored the second. The celebrations were crazy. Everyone was chanting Mark Hughes’ name and bundling.
We held on well and Dean Brill made a blinding save in the final seconds. Our 992 fans – a huge following by our standards – went mad at the end. Who’d have predicted both teams winning their game? We chanted ‘we are Barnet, we’ll never go down’ for about 20 minutes. The players came to celebrate with us, and everyone was elated. I didn’t celebrate that much afterwards – just a couple of drinks. I felt relief more than anything. Every year, so many people write us off, and every year we somehow manage to survive.
I just hope it doesn’t happen for a fourth season running. I don’t think we could go through it all again.”

Saturday, 2 June 2012


So in my entry yesterday, I mentioned I was one of those geeks collecting the stickers. I thought I’d better join the ‘doubles club’. I’ll try and keep this updated as much as possible!



PSS        1        2        3        5

Venues and Stadiums
7        13        14        15        16        19        22        24        26        29
31        33        34        35        36        37        38        41        42        45
49        51        53        56        58        61        62        63        64        65        66        67        68        69        71        74        76        77
79        80        81        82        84        87        90        93        98        101     102     104     105
107     108     109     116     118     120     121     123     124     127     128     129     132     134     135
Czech Republic
137     140     142     143     144    151     152     155     156     163
165     168     174     175     178     179     180     182     185     186     193
195     197     198     200     201     204     205     206     207     208     210     214     216     219     221     222
224     225     228     229     231     232     233     237     238     241     242     244     246     250
254     255     259     261     262     263     265     269     272     274     276     278     279
281     282     284     287     288     291     293     294     297     298     301     306     307     308
312     313     314     316     318     320     321     322     323     324     330     332     335     338
339     340     341     342     344     345     348     350     352     353     357     360     364     365     366     367
373     375     376     379     380     381     384     385     386     388     394     395
397     399     400     402     403     407     408     412     414     415     418     419     422     423     425
426     428     430     431     432     437     440     447     452     453     454
456     457     458     459     461     465     471     473     477
486     488     490     491     492     495     496     499     500     503     505     509     512
514     515     517     519     520     522     524     526     527     528    529     530     532     533     537     538

10        28        94        95        97        115     119     125     130     130     131     138     139     146     188     209     209     260     270     285     304     325     326     334     334     354     356     359     362     370     393     401     444     460     466     467     469     480     482     498     506     507     510     534     535

Friday, 1 June 2012

Something to look forward to…

With the Football League season well and truly over after last weekend’s League One and League Two playoff finals at Wembley, it seems like such a long time until football returns. It is in fact only a week away, with the Euro 2012 competition commencing next Friday. The most exciting part of that for me is this:

Yes, I am one of those sad geeks over the age of 21 collecting.
I am also a part of that minority that cannot get excited over the national side and England’s chances. I don’t think I can even explain why, I’ve always felt that way. I will never understand why people get so overly optimistic, they must know themselves they sound stupid saying really out-there statements like “England will win the Euros”. Let’s all be honest, they won’t.
I’m not a pessimist, I’m just a realist.
I mean, I support Barnet. I know they aren’t very good; I’ve never for one moment pretended they are. Every year we scrape relegation on the final day. Every year I predict a lower half finish. It’s just how we are. I’d be kidding myself if I said we’d get promotion, make the playoffs, even finish top 10. It just wouldn’t happen – although would be a lovely surprise (and somewhat, a miracle) if we were. So why is supporting England the same? You get those people who get outrageously ahead of themselves, like the national side is some kind of super team, it’s just average. I know my opinions on the matter are unpopular, but it’s true.
I can’t even get excited over England games the way I do about Barnet either. I watched that friendly last weekend in silence – I didn’t really have anything to say on the matter. I didn’t cheer when the goal went in, I didn’t moan about substitutions or anything. But then again, watching England in a friendly, is like watching your club team pre-season. I can’t get excited about pre-season friendlies either; even if it’s against the likes of Arsenal ‘reserves’ and even more so, when you’re playing a team at least five divisions below you.
I sometimes think maybe this lack of enthusiasm is down to not watching an international match live. But on the other hand, I really don’t think it’d appeal to me. I think watching an international game at a stadium would have the same impact as that poor girl who knows nothing about football who gets dragged to football by her obsessed boyfriend! And don’t even get me started on the people who take time off work to watch England matches, or phone in sick the next day when they’ve had too much to drink. I’d much rather be earning money!
Now don’t get me wrong, I watch the tournaments and enjoy watching them – but that isn’t because of England, it’s to be entertained by some of the best footballers in the world, and to see who can cause the biggest shock. That underdog country that springs a surprise on the rest of the competition makes it all that more watchable; like Greece in 2004, defying the odds.
Group B, tipped this year’s ‘group of death’ looks the most interesting. Denmark, Germany, Holland and Portugal. Trying to vie for the two quarter final places will be interesting. If you look back to qualifying, Germany won all 10 of their games and only conceded seven goals. Denmark finished top of their group, ahead of Portugal who had to go into playoff against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Holland also finished top of their group, scoring more goals than Germany, but losing a match.
And of course, midway through the competition, the Football League fixtures are announced – June 18th at 9am. The League Cup draw is often the day before. At least then we can start to plan our first away trips, and who we will be travelling to on that dreaded Tuesday night.
I shouldn’t really complain, all in all, it’s a pretty good summer of football, right?