The 16th gave us the news we had all been waiting for, even though it was slightly overdue (!) – Lawrie Sanchez was relieved of his managerial duties. The man to replace him for the remainder of the season (the usual final three games) was of course Martin Allen in his third spell with the club. Having won a measly 15 of a potential 53 games, we knew it was coming eventually. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy about the decision. Meanwhile, with nine points up for grabs, there was a buzz again, one that had been lacking for the majority of the campaign. For anyone else, it would be a difficult task but we had faith in Mad Dog.
|Pre-match v AFC Wimbledon. The spirit of Mad Dog.|
His first game in charge wasn’t what he was expecting – a trip to Southend culminated in a 3-0 defeat with Bilel Mohsni scoring a hat-trick. With two games remaining and now only six points to play for, the final two games were vital. The penultimate game saw a 4-0 home win against AFC Wimbledon, setting up a potential grandstand finish on the final day. Either the Bees or Hereford would be relegated along with Macclesfield.
Izale McLeod was named in the PFA’s League Two team of the Year. As you’d expect, he was the only Barnet representative, with a number of players from league winners, Swindon.
League – 03.04.12 – Barnet 0-2 Swindon Town
League – 06.04.12 – Cheltenham Town 2-0 Barnet
League – 09.04.12 – Barnet 1-2 Crawley Town
League – 13.04.12 – Barnet 1-1 Hereford United
League – 20.04.12 – Southend United 3-0 Barnet
League – 27.04.12 – Barnet 4-0 AFC Wimbledon
Points – 4/18 ––– Goals scored – 6 ––– Goals conceded – 10 ––– League position – 22nd
|Lap of honour for the final home game of the season.|
And to the final game of the season and for the third year running it was going down to the wire. The Bees travelled to Burton Albion, while Hereford (also in the dogfight) were hosting Torquay. A Win for the Bulls and Barnet needed to match that – a draw wouldn’t be enough, with our inferior goal difference. Here’s all you need to know about the 5th May 2012 and this is my write-up from my day out. Oh, and I was in FourFourTwo.
|Final day of the season. Nerves at the Pirelli.|
Following that masterstroke, Allen made it clear that he’d like the job permanently. He believed he’d be able to guide the side to the playoffs. As it was, he wasn’t spoken to and the search for a new manager began...
After much speculation and confusion, it was announced that Mark Marshall would be given a two-year ban from football. It was with regards to the failed drugs test after the Boxing Day game at Dagenham & Redbridge. He hadn’t played since mid-January and after an FA hearing, it was revealed his ban from football would be from January 20th – the time in which he was suspended by the club.
With a number of ins and outs, the futures of three players remained in the balance – Mark Hughes, Sam Deering and Jack Saville.
A number of players departed the club; the biggest name being Izale McLeod. As a result of his ban, Mark Marshall left. There were also a couple of surprises in goalkeeper Dean Brill and Sam Cox who was a real credit to the club, outside of the game. Alassane N’Diaye was a fifth departee, but no real loss, with many saying he was one of the worst players to don the black and amber shirt. Jordan Parkes, who rarely played in the campaign and long-term injured Darren Dennehy also left the club.
Elliot Johnson – the young defender was offered his first professional contract and became the first summer signing.
League – 05.05.12 – Burton Albion 1-2 Barnet
Points – 3/3 ––– Goals scored – 2 ––– Goals conceded – 1 ––– League position – 22nd
The search for a manager came to an end, when the club announced Mark Robson to be Martin Allen’s successor. A former player with the likes of West Ham and Charlton, Robson arrived at Underhill leaving his post as Peterborough’s first team coach. He would also be aiding the development of the academy. Paul Fairclough described the appointment as “a new dawn”.
As part of the “new dawn”, all existing coaching staff were sacked. Assistant manager Giuliano Grazioli and coach Michael Stone were shown the door along with remaining medical and backroom staff.
The League Cup draw was announced, with the Bees travelling to Championship side Birmingham City in the first round.
Four days later and the 2012/13 fixtures were released. A trip to Port Vale on the opening day of the season would be followed by two home games – against Bristol Rovers and newly-promoted York City. The final match would mean a trip to Sixfields, with Northampton the hosts.
With the change in management, Mark Hughes and Sam Deering were the next players to be released. Skipper Hughesy was said to “not fit in the new manager’s plans”, while the club couldn’t agree with Deering’s agent. Just like the fans, Captain Fantastic was disappointed to leave, saying: “I have given my all for this football club since I joined. I think the fans have seen that and fully appreciate not only the level of commitment I gave shown in every game as captain but also what I have done”.
Robson raided his old club by landing 19-year-old goalkeeper Sam Cowler and then Jordan Brown (left back). Both players he described as “promising”.
Part one can be found here.