Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 round-up (part two)

Players out
·         Ross Jenkins (Watford)
After a month with the Bees, Jenkins returned to his parent club. During his spell at Underhill, the defender featured five times, scoring once.
·         Anthony Edgar
The former West Ham youth player (another Robson signing!) left my mutual consent. Having made 11 appearances early on in the season, he hadn’t actually played since November!
·         Steve Kabba
It was with no real surprise that the striker finally left the club. He hadn’t played all season due to a long-term knee injury – although the club said he was returning to fitness. Everyone will always remember his four goals in the 4-1 demolition of Burton Albion in April 2011.
·         Barry Fuller saw his two match ban extended by a further two games. He was sent off following an altercation with the referee after the final whistle in the game against Dagenham & Redbridge. He returned to the bench for the final match versus Northampton.
·         The game with Torquay was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Heavy flooding in Devon meant the Plainmoor pitch was unplayable. The game was eventually played the following Tuesday.
·         We said goodbye to Underhill as April saw the final home game of the campaign – against Wycombe. A single goal from Jake Hyde (and fantastic penalty save by Stacky) meant the threat of relegation would go down to the final game – again! You can read my piece from the commemorative programme, here. And these two links are worth checking out: ‘Barnet prepare to say goodbye to Underhill’ & ‘Farewell to Underhill’.
·         Meanwhile construction at The Hive was well underway. The pitch had already been laid, with an automatic irrigation system installed. The main stand was next on the agenda...
·         Three players made the team of the week: Graham Stack, Jake Hyde and Elliot Johnson. Hydey netted three goals in two games (against Torquay and Wycombe), while Stacky made that save and Johnson proved his worth as a first team regular.
01.04.13 – AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Barnet (League Two)
06.04.13 – Barnet 0-2 Chesterfield (League Two)
16.04.13 – Torquay United 3-2 Barnet (League Two)
20.04.13 – Barnet 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers (League Two)
27.04.13 – Northampton Town 2-0 Barnet (League Two)
Played 5 – won 2 – lost 3 – goals for 4 – goals against 7 – points 6
Players in
·         The club released its retained list for 2013//14
Retained                    Contracted
Mark Byrne               Jordan Brown
Andy Yiadom            Jack Saville
Jake Hyde                 Jon Nurse
Edgar Davids            Luke Gambin
Curtis Weston           Elliot Johnson
                                  Graham Stack
                                  David Stephens
                                  Ahmed Abdulla
                                  Freddie Warren
                                  Sam Cowler
                                  George Sykes
                                  Iffy Allen
                                  Jamal Lowe
                                  Mauro Vilhete
                                  Harry Crawford
·         Meanwhile negotiations were still being made with Keanu Marsh-Brown and Ricky Holmes
Players out
The players released were:
Barry Fuller (joined AFC Wimbledon)
John Oster (joined Gateshead)
Craig Beattie (joined Dundee)
Michael Kuipers
Liam O’Brien (joined Brentford)
Clovis Kamdjo (joined Salisbury)
Chiro N’Toko (joined FC Eindhoven)
Ismail Kamara
·         After trials and a loan spell at Birminham, Olly Lee finally joined the Championship club on a free transfer.
·         It was also revealed this month that Edgar Davids would retain his position as head coach for the 2013/14 season. Speaking to the Official Site, Kleanthous said he was “thrilled” and believed that “Edgar is the right man to take us forward”.
Players in
·         Anthony Acheampong (Welling United)
The central defender joined from the Conference South champions. He was named in the 2012/13 team of the year.
·         There was good news ahead of the upcoming campaign, with KMB putting pen to paper on a new contract.
·         Jon Nurse was placed on the transfer list, while Jake Hyde submitted a request. Hydey was Bees’ top scorer for 2012/13, netting 14 goals.
·         Dick Schreuder joined the club as head of coaching. The Dutchman was formerly head coach of SDV Barneveld, while his brother Alfred was interim manager of FC Twente after Steve McClaren departed.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Two Minutes With... Luton Town

This year’s Boxing Day clash at The Hive saw us take on John Still’s Luton Town side. Hatters fan Dave (@DaveLTFC88) gives his thoughts in this instalment of Two Minutes With.

Thursday 26th December 2013
Barnet v Luton Town
5th           2nd

Previous weekend:
Hyde 0-1 Barnet
Luton Town 4-2 Gateshead

How did you get to the game?
Initially I had planned to take the train to West Hampstead and then go on the Underground to one of the stations surrounding The Hive; however, no trains on Boxing Day meant I went on the supporters coach for the short journey. 
What did you make of The Hive?
I was pretty impressed, I was under the conception it was a glorified training ground. The terrace that Luton fans were situated on was excellent for acoustics and making lots of noise.
What did you make of the game?
Very happy with the game. With Cambridge and Grimsby both winning in early kick offs, the pressure was well and truly on us to respond, and we did that.  The first half performance from us was brilliant with Andre Gray's pace causing the home defence all sorts of problems. The tackle and the debate from it has spoiled what was otherwise a good advert for Non-League Football. Barnet came at us a lot more in the second half, and pulled one back but I think we just about deserved the three points. 
Who (from either side) impressed you?
For Luton, Paul Benson was once again a key performer. We've been yearning for a decent target man ever since we sold Steve Howard to Derby in our Championship Days and his partnership with Andre Gray is arguably the best in the League.  Alex Lawless continued his impressive scoring form making it 5 in 5 from an out-of-position role in left midfield. Jake Hyde was very impressive for Barnet too, won more than his fair share of headers against McNulty and deservedly got a goal in the second half.
Who (from either side) could have done better?
I don't think I could single out an individual who could have performed better, but I don't think it'd be unfair to say Barnet looked a lot more threatening with 10 men than they did with 11 - although I think some of our players were mentally affected by the injury to Smith which played a part.
Was the score line a fair reflection on the game?
I think most away fans would say yes, although most Barnet would argue they deserved a point. In my opinion it was a classic away day performance, and whilst they dominated play in the second half, Barnet didn't really force Mark Tyler into that many saves.  At the other end, Luke Guttridge wasted a three-on-one attempt in the second half at 2-0 which would probably have killed the game off. 
Who do you play next and how do you think you’ll do?
We play Kidderminster at home in less than 48 hours time. They've slipped off the pace a bit and we're in good form so hopefully we'll pick up three points to keep up the pressure on Cambridge at the top of the table.  After that it's the return game vs Barnet, again our home form is very good this season, and without wanting to sound arrogant, I'd be a little disappointed if we didn't take at least four points from the two games. 
Price of match day ticket
8/10 – I paid £16 for a terrace ticket, which is probably around the stock price for a 'bigger' club at this level. 
Purchases made at the ground
2/10 – I tried to buy a burger pre-match but was told there was no hot food available.  A friend of mine also brought a hot chocolate which was very watery to say the least. Disappointing.
9/10 – Couldn't complain about the view, nice little terrace with no pillars in the way allowed for an excellent view 
Quality of football
7/10 – Both sides tried to play the 'right' kind of football and even going into the latter stages, the game never got scrappy. As mentioned earlier, it was a good advert for Non-League Football.
Overall experience
8/10 – Obviously three points is always a good start for an away day.  A very tough obstacle on paper overcome as we look to get back into the Football League. Refreshing to see a side try and play good football as well, although was slightly disappointing not to see Edgar Davids in action.
Total = 34/50

Post Match
Table – Barnet 7th / Luton 2nd
Following game
Salisbury City v Barnet
Luton Town v Kidderminster Harriers

Thanks Dave!

If you’ve been to The Hive this season, give me a shout and you can be your club’s voice. Additionally, if you know you’re heading down for your game, let me know - @Luuuce_x

Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 round-up (part one)

v Aldershot (01.01.13)
Players in
·         Adam Thompson (Watford)
The 20-year-old arrived on a month’s loan, having made only two appearances for Watford and previously had a spell on loan at Wycombe. The young defender made one appearance for the Bees before returning to Vicarage Road, having dislocated his shoulder in training.
·         Ibra Sekajja (Crystal Palace)
Another signing on a month’s loan in January, Sekajja previously played under Mr Davids at Selhurst Park. The 20-year-old scored the goal that secured the Eagles Championship survival back in 2011, but he didn’t manage to net in any of his four appearances in black and amber.
·         Harry Crawford (Dartford)
Arriving on a three-year deal, Crawford came from Dartford, the club he joined at the beginning of the season. Averaging at a goal every other game while with the Darts, he was apparently on our radar for a while and scored his first for the Bees within a month.
Players out
·         Liam O’Brien (Hastings)
The 21-year-old keeper left on loan for a month, in favour of first team football. Making his debut that weekend in their televised FA Cup game against Middlesbrough, he saved a penalty before conceding four...
·         George Barker (Brighton & Hove Albion)
The striker returned to his parent club having made just one solitary appearance for the Bees – the 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon
·         Jon Fortune
He may have been made captain at the beginning of the season by Mark Robson, but Fortune soon fell out of favour with the management. He only made a handful of appearances and joined Chatham Town the following month.
·         Melvin Holwijn
The Dutch winger made only one appearance and left the Bees as his contract expired. Rejoining the club he left: Blau Wit, does anyone remember him?
·         Collins John
Epitomising ‘flop’ – the former Fulham and Holland striker left after a string of poor performances and injuries. A nightmare from start to finish. Upon leaving, the sack of spuds claimed a two-year deal with a Polish side, when he was in fact, only training to regain fitness – say no more!
·         Andy Iro extended his loan spell by an extra month. The Stevenage defender made a handful of appearances as well as bagging a 97th minute equaliser against Exeter City.
·         The typically bad weather of January saw the home game against Fleetwood Town postponed. Despite efforts to ensure the game could go ahead, the frozen pitch meant game off!
01.01.13 – Barnet 0-1 Aldershot Town (League Two)
05.01.13 – Barnet 2-0 Bradford City (League Two)
12.01.13 – Rotherham United 0-2 Barnet (League Two)
26.01.13 – Burton Albion 1-0 Barnet (League Two)
Played 4 – won 2 – lost 2 – goals for 4 – goals against 2 – points 6
Players in
·         Craig Beattie
The 29-year-old left St. Johnstone in January and joined the Bees following International clearance. Arriving on a free, the former ‘million pound’ man joined in order to “bolster attacking options”.
·         Dani Lopez (Stevenage)
The Spanish striker joined on loan from our local rivals, Stevenage. No stranger to League Two, as he previously had a spell with Aldershot. Unable to make the first team at Broadhall Way, Lopez arrived on an inital month’s loan and soon became a hit with fans.
·         Bondz N’Gala (Stevenage)
Part of a trio of signings, N’Gala joined his Stevenage teammate on a month’s loan in February. The defender hadn’t played for Boro for over a month and was hoping to get the minutes in as he returned to match fitness.
·         Chiro N’Toko
Another signing from Holland, N’Toko hadn’t played for a while due to a knee injury – his last club was Den Haag. The deal saw the defender on the club’s books until the end of the season and he made his debut a day after signing.
Players out
v Southend (26.02.13)
·         Harry Crawford (Dartford)
Returning to his former club – where he also made his name – on a month’s loan. After the signings of Beattie and Lopez, he found himself down the pecking order.
·         Taiwo Atieno
The 27-year-old only made four appearances and has been without a club since his departure from Underhill. Coincidence?
·         Andy Iro (Stevenage)
The centre half returned to the League One club after his spell with the Bees was up – and we signed a couple of his teammates. Making 10 appearances in two months, he certainly did the job.
·         Jamal Lowe (Boreham Wood)
Looking for first team football in order to continue his progression, and after a spell with Hayes & Yeading earlier in the season, Lowe joined the local non-league side for a month.
·         Ricky Holmes – a foot injury saw him sidelined for the rest of the campaign, meaning he never got to make it to the milestone of 100 league appearances for Barnet.
·         Liam O’Brien – the goalkeeper returned prematurely from Hastings, after suffering a groin injury which saw him out of the season.
·         The Football League granted the club permission to relocate to The Hive ahead of the 2013/14 season.
01.02.13 – Bristol Rovers 2-1 Barnet (League Two)
09.02.13 – Barnet 0-0 Port Vale (League Two)
16.02.13 – York City 1-2 Barnet (League Two)
23.02.13 – Barnet 0-0 Rochdale (League Two)
26.02.13 – Barnet 2-0 Southend United (League Two)
Played 5 – won 2 – lost 1 – drawn 2 – goals for 5 – goals against 3 – points 8
Snowing before the Cheltenham game
Players in
·         Jamal Lowe
The youngster returned to Underhill after his month’s spell with Boreham Wood was up – he only made one appearance
·         Ross Jenkins (Watford)
Previously playing in League Two for Plymouth, where his spell was cut short by injury, the 22-year-old made the switch from Hornets to Bees for a month.
·         Tom Flanagan (MK Dons)
The defender joined for the rest of the season. Earlier in the season Flanagan played for eventual champions Gillingham, those performances also saw him rewarded with a call-up to the Northern Ireland Under 18s.
·         Kyle de Silva (Crystal Palace)
Product of the Eagles youth academy, the teenager was brought in on loan until end of the campaign. He made his debut that weekend from the bench but in the following game against Dagenham & Redbridge lasted 10 minutes before seeing red for a kick.
Players out
Last game under the floodlights at Underhill
·         Dani Lopez & Bondz N’Gala (Stevenage)
The duo returned to their parent club following Boro’s long list of injuries and suspensions. Lopez netted a hattrick against Morecambe, while N’Gala made six appearances in the Bees’ back line.
·         Tanashe Abrahams (Mamelodi Sundowns)
The academy was shipped out on loan to the South African Premier League side.
·         Olly Lee (Birmingham)
Lee Clark described him as “Barnet’s stand-out player” when the Bees faced Birmingham in the League Cup earlier in the campaign, and the midfielder joined the Blues after two months on trial. A regular under Robson, the 21-year-old former West Ham youth player soon became out of favour.
·         The club and Edgar Davids made national (Mail / Telegraph) news when, after the defeat to Accrington Stanley, the supporters’ coach broke down on the M6. The players’ coach dropped staff and the lads at the nearest service station before going back to pick up the stranded fans.
02.03.13 – Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Barnet (League Two)
09.03.13 – Barnet 4-1 Morecambe (League Two)
12.03.13 – Oxford United 1-0 Barnet (League Two)
16.03.13 – Accrington Stanley 3-2 Barnet (League Two)
19.03.13 – Barnet 2-0 Fleetwood Town (League Two)
23.03.13 – Barnet 0-0 Cheltenham Town (League Two)
29.03.13 – Barnet 0-0 Dagenham & Redbridge (League Two)
Played 7 – won 2 – lost 3 – drawn 2 – goals for 9 – goals against 7 – points 8

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My trip to Parc des Princes

I’ve really struggled with this post as I don’t really have much to say. But when I went to Paris last month for a few days, I took a trip to Parc des Princes, home to Paris Saint-Germain and watched them play Nice in Ligue1.
It had been a while since I’d been to a game with a crowd bigger than 3,000 and it was the first I’d been to in France (although I’ve been to a couple in Spain).
The Metro was certainly an experience – and not a good one. I imagine it was a lot worse than travelling across London on the tube – swarms of people who were generally rude, but nothing in comparison to what followed. The number of police around the stadium and neighbouring streets was astounding – roads blocked off by row of police armed with shields and other weapons. I’m only used to a handful of inept stewards, so it was certainly an experience. This was a lot worse when we left the ground after the game, too.
For the second time ever, I was searched before entering the stadium. After queuing for ages (I was the only female for miles around!) I was ushered straight through. In fact, there were probably no more than five women in the area we sat, I really thought there’d be more.
The one thing that fascinated me the most was the chanting from the PSG fans and how many of those chants I was familiar with – ones that had been translated, or tunes that had been adapted. I must admit I did feel a bit special when someone started the ‘give me a...’ chant and I could join in because I know the French alphabet. For those asking: pé – a – erre – i – esse. When the teams came out, thje fans responded to the man on the tannoy by shouting out the players’ surnames, something that is also done at home; funny how the simple things amused me most.
The crowd were much more intimidating than I was expecting, booing every time a Nice player had the ball, or when their players’ names were called out and on the big screens dotted around. The away section at Parc des Princes is pretty amazing though – the fans are sheltered by Perspex to stop any potential missiles. The only thing I saw thrown was paper, as each seat had a card to hold up before the game – not that anyone did and the majority were turned into paper aeroplanes or confetti. It was also funny seeing how angry the people around us got, while I stood in silence, laughing at them. Although I didn’t understand word-for-word, their abusive tirades, it doesn’t take a genius to work out the chanting of ‘jaune’ and ‘rouge’ when a few rash challenges flew in.
PSG won 3-1, with a hat-trick from Ibrahimovich. Now I’m firmly in the ‘dislike’ camp when it comes to the Swedish striker and despite his goals, he wasn’t that much of a threat. I don’t follow French football at all, so had no idea about the Nice side, but they were dreadful – it was like Barnet trying to play Barcelona! The football played wasn’t all that great, either. There were far too many players bunched up in the middle of the pitch and nobody seemed keen to get wide, and when plan a didn’t work, plan b was to hoof it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t wowed at all – and it was freezing! Definitely not blazer and pumps weather!
Give me Non-League any day!
Saturday 9th November 2013
PSG                3 – 1              Nice
Ibrahimovic                           Pejcinovic
39’, 57’ (pen), 75’                 70’

Monday, 28 October 2013

Two minutes with... Concord Rangers

Last weekend saw the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, with the winners going into the hat for the first round proper. Concord Rangers, of the Conference South were the visitors to The Hive and Beachboys fan, Alan (@Bulljet) gives his thoughts in this instalment.
Saturday 26th September 2013
Barnet (8th in Conference) v Concord Rangers (14th in Conference South)
Previous weekend:
Hereford 0-1 Barnet
Weston-Super-Mare 5-0 Concord Rangers
How did you get to the game?
I was on the team coach, leaving Concord Island just after 11am.
What did you make of The Hive?
The facilities looked fantastic, however the away bar seemed very new with nothing really in there, almost as if it wasn’t finished. The stands were quality, bit disappointed we weren’t allowed to stand behind the goal though. The Hive was impressive for a non-league ground (although I know until last summer you were not a non-league side!) and the pitch looked like a carpet out there!
What did you make of the game?
I was disappointed with the result, but it was a good game and made for a quality day out.
Who (from either side) impressed you?
Your lad Lopez, thought he played exceptionally well. The whole Barnet side moved the ball around very well – crisp and sharp play. Was impressed with the determination of our lads too, was a big occasion for them and they did themselves proud.
Who (from either side) could have done better?
The referee! Think he missed some key decisions, like our centre back being elbowed in the face quite clearly!
Was the score line a fair reflection on the game?
The better side won that’s for sure. At half time I think the score didn’t really give us the credit we deserved, certainly hadn’t been the sort of half to see us 2-0 down in my eyes. But as I mentioned, Barnet were the better side, quite clearly a full time, professional side and were in the end worthy of the winning margin.
Who do you play next and how do you think you’ll do?
Next up for us is Ebbsfleet, big spenders over the summer and have proven to be a decent side in the Skrill South this season. However we’ve already shown ourselves to be able to hang with the big guys this season (see our 1-0 over Dover) and a decent result is not out of the question.
Price of match day ticket
10/10 – I think it was a great price for 4th Qualifying Round FA Cup tickets (£10.50), I know league prices in the Skrill Premier are a lot more, so credit to the clubs for organising the rate.
Purchases made at the ground
6/10 – I think the drinks were overpriced in the away bar, especially given the shed-like feel of it. The food in the home bar was equally expensive however it was worth it, a decent cheeseburger!
7/10 – the seated views were very good, no doubt about that. But I wanted to be able to stand behind the goal, it’s one of the things I’ve come to love about non-league football.
Quality of football
9/10 – both teams showed desire, attempted to play the ball along the ground and attack, couldn’t fault it.
Overall experience
7/10 – average overall in my eyes. I think the attitude of the stewards in general was poor when asked about standing behind the goal, and standing in general. I know Barnet were a league club last season, but need to realise that they are not right now, and things are different for small clubs like ours that play in front of a couple of hundred people each week. But the football was very good, the experience of being in the 4th Qualifying Round made up for the bar prices and stewards!
Total = 39/50

 Post Match
Round One
Preston North End v Barnet
Following game
Barnet v Kidderminster Harriers
Ebbsfleet v Concord Rangers

Thanks Alan!
If you’ve been to The Hive this season, give me a shout and you can be your club’s voice. Additionally, if you know you’re heading down for your game, let me know - @Luuuce_x