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|Full name||Barnet Football Club|
|Ground||Underhill Stadium, Barnet|
|2011–12||League Two, 22nd|
|Full name||Barnet Football Club|
|Ground||Underhill Stadium, Barnet|
|2011–12||League Two, 22nd|
Barnet Football Club ( //) is an English football club based in Barnet, London. The club participates in Football League Two, the fourth tier of English football. The ground is situated in the town of Barnet within the London Borough of Barnet.
In March 2004 they were in one of the play-off positions of the Football Conference but failed to gain promotion to League Two, the lowest flight of the Football League. In the 2004–05 season they won the Football Conference, to return to the Football League after an absence of four years. Before that they had been members of the Football League for ten years.
Barnet's most eventful season was the 1992–93 season. They were on the verge of expulsion for failing to pay their players' wages as well as failing to meet a deadline for a £50,000 fine. In spite of these problems Barnet won promotion to Division Two, but the Bees were unable to sustain themselves at this level and went down after one season with just five league wins in the campaign.
Barry Fry was the manager who secured Barnet's promotion successes in the early 1990s. Subsequent managers of the club include Ray Clemence, Terry Bullivant, John Still, Tony Cottee, John Still (again), Peter Shreeves, Martin Allen, Paul Fairclough, Ian Hendon, Mark Stimson, Lawrie Sanchez and Mark Robson.
A number of Barnet players have gone on to represent Premiership clubs. They include Dougie Freedman, Marlon King, Andy Clarke, Linvoy Primus, Maik Taylor, Mark Gower and Jason Puncheon. Jimmy Greaves also played for the club before retiring.
Barnet's home ground, Underhill Stadium, is also used by Arsenal F.C. Reserves. Barnet are also involved in an annual friendly fixture with Arsenal F.C. with the former benefiting from its gate receipts. It was thought that Barnet would move from Underhill at the end of the 2011–12 season to an unknown location due to a dispute about the contract lease on Underhill with Barnet Council, but it has now been confirmed that Barnet will stay until the end of the 2012–13 season.
For a complete list of seasons, see List of Barnet F.C. seasons
Barnet FC were formed in 1888, having formerly been known as New Barnet FC (1885–88) and Woodville FC (1882–85). The club's origins are from ex-scholars of Cowley College and Lyonsdown Collegiate School. They were known as "The Hillmen" and played in New Barnet before moving to Ravenscroft Park in Queens Road in 1889. Initially they played friendly games before becoming inaugural members of the North London League in 1892–93. They went on to have success in the North Middlesex League Division II (1894–95 runners-up), Division I (1895–96 runners-up) and the Premier Division (1896–97 champions). Promoted to the London League Division II, Barnet became champions in 1897–98 and spent the following seasons in London League Division I before ceasing to exist in the 1901–02 season.
Two local clubs, Barnet Avenue FC (formed 1890) and Alston Works AFC (formed 1901) continued to attract support. Barnet Avenue renamed themselves Barnet FC in 1904 and as staunch believers in the amateur game they shunned the London Football Authority in favour of the Amateur Football Association, which they joined in 1907 after winning the Chiswick League. Avenue played their home games initially at Hadley Green before moving to Queens Road.
Alston Works AFC, later Barnet Alston FC, were formed in 1901, and became champions of the London League in 1906–07. Formed from workers at Alston Works, a deltal manufacturers, they were known as "The Dentals". Their club strip of amber and black is the basis of the current Barnet team strip. In 1907 they moved to the club's current ground at Underhill, Barnet Lane. Their first match was a 1–0 win over Crystal Palace on 14 September 1907. After merging with the Avenue team in 1912 they spearheaded the new Athenian League as Barnet and Alston FC. After the First World War in 1919 they became the third instance of Barnet FC. This team continues today.
For over 50 years Barnet FC competed in the Athenian League. Inaugural members in 1912–13 they were league champions no fewer than seven times between 1919–65 before turning professional in 1965.
During the 1920s Barnet consolidated their amateur status in the Athenian League under team secretary Tom Goss. He arranged for junior players from Tottenham Hotspur to play for the club including Taffy O'Callaghan, Willie Evans and Bill Whatley, all of whom eventually became internationals, between them gaining 17 Welsh caps.
The 1930–31 season saw Barnet gain their first Athenian League Championship to be repeated again the following season. Included in the team at that time were George Hughes and Fred Garrett, full backs; Reg Wright (England), centre-half; and Arthur Morris, Jack Richardson and a Barnet and England legend Lester Finch in the forward line.
In the two seasons after World War II, Barnet won the FA Amateur Cup (beating Bishop Auckland 3–2), the Athenian League Championship twice, and the London Senior Cup. The side included five internationals in Ted Bunker, George Wheeler, Dennis Kelleher, Ron Phipps and Lester Finch. In the 1958–59 season, their young team coached by George Wheeler, reached the FA Amateur Cup final for the third time, but were beaten 3–2 by Crook Town.
In October 1946, the first live televised football match was broadcast by the BBC from Underhill. Twenty minutes of the game against Wealdstone were televised in the first half and thirty five minutes of the second half before it became too dark. In 1947, Barnet FC played Sing Tao Sports Club, winners of the Hong Kong Football League at Underhill. They were the first Chinese club to ever play in the United Kingdom. Barnet won 5–3.
Barnet reached the third round proper of the FA Cup for the first time on 9 January 1965, meeting the previous season's runner-up Preston North End at Underhill. 2–0 down inside the first 10 minutes, the second half saw Barnet, urged on by 10,500 spectators, level the score at 2–2, before a last minute own goal sent them out.
In 1965–66 Barnet turned semi-professional. Before the season commenced, manager Dexter Adams made two astute signings. He persuaded Les Eason, then 20 years of age, to join from Finchley and then acquired amateur international Barry King from Hitchin, who became the first player to sign professional forms for the club. The first game finished in Barnet’s favour, a 10–1 win over Hinckley Athletic. Les Eason went on to score 31 goals in his first season as the club became champions of the Southern League Division I.
Promoted to the Southern League Premier for 1966–67 the club ended up 5th but had reached the Southern League Cup final only to lose to Guildford City over two legs. In 1969–70 the FA Trophy was introduced and Barnet reached the semi-final before losing to Macclesfield Town 0–1 at Stoke City's Victoria Ground. The club reached the third round of the FA Cup the following season, but lost 1–0 to Colchester United, who went on to knock out Leeds United in the fifth round. That year's cup run included a 6–1 first round win over then Fourth Division Newport County, equalling the competition's all-time record for a win by a non-league side over league opponents.
The 1971–72 season proved one of the most successful. Using just 15 players for 80 competitive matches Barnet reached Wembley in the FA Trophy, losing 3–0 to Stafford Rangers and reached the final of the Southern League Cup, drawing 2–2 with Hereford on aggregate. The replay, played next season, was a 2–2 draw but Barnet went on to win 7–6 on penalties. In 1972–73 Barnet put up a tremendous fight against Queens Park Rangers in the third round of the FA Cup. The match at Loftus Road ended 0–0 and the replay at Underhill drew in excess of 11,000 spectators. Rangers eventually won 3–0.
In 1975 Barnet were relegated back to the Southern League Division One South but two years later they won the championship and returned to the Southern League Premier. It was during this period that many famous names played for the club including Jimmy Greaves, Marvin Hinton, Bob McNab, Terry Mancini and John Fairbrother. Jimmy Greaves, although playing in midfield, still ended the season leading goal scorer with 27 goals.
By virtue of their Premier Division positions in seasons 1977–78 and 1978–79 Barnet were given a place in the newly formed Alliance Premier League. In the first three Alliance seasons, Barnet just avoided relegation, but in 1982–3 they finished 15th and a year later 9th. Then in 1984–85, when it looked like Barnet would face relegation, manager Barry Fry left to take charge at Maidstone United. The season was resurrected under the guidance of ex-player Roger Thompson losing only one of their remaining thirteen league games.
In season 1985–86 they finished 14th but reached the final of the Bob Lord Trophy only to lose to old friends Stafford Rangers. Dom MacAllister replaced Roger Thompson and then in July 1986, Barry Fry returned, much to the delight of the supporters. He led Barnet to their best league position for many years finishing runners-up in the renamed Football Conference scoring 86 goals.
Despite turbulent times off the field, during season 1986–87 (the first season of automatic promotion to the Football League for Conference champions)the club maintained their scoring, again finishing runners-up, Scarborough taking the automatic position into the Fourth Division. Lincoln City came down but in 1987–88 they returned ahead of Barnet in the championship. 1988–89 was another indifferent season, at one time looking like relegation prospects the team secured 8th place, in the process using no fewer that 47 players! They did however win the Clubcall Cup (League Cup), the final being played at Telford United's Bucks Head Ground, by beating Hyde United on penalties after a 3-3 draw. Amazingly 1989–90 saw Barnet yet again finish runners-up in the Conference. This time it was Darlington that took the top spot.
A good run in the 1990–91 FA Cup culminated in a home defeat by Portsmouth in the 3rd round. A win in the last game of the season against Fisher Athletic finally saw Barnet promoted to the Fourth Division of the Football League.
Barnet F.C. joined the Fourth Division of the Football League on winning the Football Conference championship in 1991. Their early reputation was of playing fast, attacking football, a reputation only enhanced by their first ever league match (which they lost 4–7 to Crewe Alexandra), and a 5–5 draw to Brentford in the league cup in their next match. In their first season of league football the club reached the promotion playoffs but lost to Blackpool in the semi finals.
The 1992–93 season saw controversy at Underhill as Barnet chairman Stan Flashman regarding club accounts and players' wages, resulting in some nationwide back page headlines. Flashman also brought his son, Mark, to the club as a reserve goalkeeper. In spite of the financial problems, Barnet finished third in the new Division Three and secured the final automatic promotion spot. Manager Barry Fry, however, left Barnet with a handful of games remaining and was replaced by his assistant Edwin Stein, who himself then left to join Fry in the summer at Southend United. Goalkeeper Gary Phillips took over as manager during a difficult summer in which Barnet marginally survived a vote of expulsion by a Football League EGM, and lost the vast majority of their promotion winning side in a tribunal which nullified the players' contracts. Phillips cobbled together a squad from the few remaining player and free transfers. In January 1994 Phillips was assisted by former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence, but were still relegated from Division Two. In August 1994 Ray Clemence became sole manager for two seasons, finishing 9th and 11th in Division Three. Then at the start of the 1996/7 season Ray Clemence left to become England goalkeeping coach leaving Terry Bullivant in charge.
Barnet's first season in Division Two ended in relegation and Clemence left in 1996 to be replaced by Alan Mullery (after a brief caretaker stint by Terry Bullivant and Terry Gibson). During the years up to 2000 Barnet established themselves in the basement division reaching two playoff semi-finals under new manager John Still, losing to Colchester United and Peterborough United respectively. But the club lost its league status in 2001 after ten years following a season which had seen Still resign and briefly be replaced by Tony Cottee before Still was reinstated. Still resigned again shortly after Barnet's return to the Conference and was replaced by Peter Shreeves.
Shreeves left after one year to be replaced by Martin Allen, who in turn left the club in March 2004 (to take charge at Brentford). Former Stevenage Borough manager Paul Fairclough replaced Allen for the remainder of the 2003–04 season, including the play-off matches against Shrewsbury Town, which was taken to penalties after a 2–2 aggregate score (Barnet won 2–1 at Underhill, Shrewsbury Town winning 1–0 at Gay Meadow), with Shrewsbury Town winning 5–3 on penalties. The following season, 2004–05, with Fairclough at the helm, the Bees went one better than the previous season and were crowned Champions of the Conference National and regained their football league status, after amassing an impressive 86 points in the season, and scoring 90 goals with it. Barnet also finished 12 points ahead of their nearest rival, Hereford United. Giuliano Grazioli finished with 29 goals, and was also top scorer in the League.
The 2005–06 season started with Barnet leading League Two after four games, but this form did not continue and the club finished the season 5 places and 5 points above the relegation zone, yet only 12 points out of the playoffs, with only 1 win in the first 12 games of 2006. In the League Cup the Bees drew a lucrative away tie against Manchester United in October 2005. 5,000 fans made the trip to Old Trafford to see Barnet lose 4–1, goalkeeper Ross Flitney being sent-off in the second minute. The 2006–07 season started poorly for Barnet, but a mid-season rally saw them finish the season in 14th place. A good run in the FA Cup also saw them reach the fourth round of that competition for the first time in their history, beating Championship side Colchester United 2–1 in the third round and Northampton Town 4–1 in the second round before losing 2–0 to Plymouth Argyle at home. 2007–08 saw another mid-table finish for Barnet; 12th with 60 points, and a second run to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, where they lost 1–0 to Bristol Rovers, with Jason Puncheon missing a penalty for the Bees.
The 2008–09 season started poorly, and by late September only the three teams that had been docked points prior to the start of the season had lower league positions. After a run of thirteen games without a win in any competition Paul Fairclough announced his resignation to take up a role as director and leaving the first team duties to his assistant Ian Hendon. Fairclough would take over one last game which resulted in a 2–0 win against another relegation threatened side AFC Bournemouth. Results improved, and before the end of the season Hendon was made permanent boss on a 2 year contract. The Bees stayed in Football League Two for the following 2009–10 season, which started with four wins from their first six games. A poor run of form would follow, including a 13 game winless streak, and after five consecutive defeats left the Bees close to the relegation zone, Ian Hendon was sacked in April with two games of the season remaining. Paul Fairclough returned as caretaker manager for the last two games and guided the Bees to safety with a 1–0 win at home to Rochdale on the last day of the season.
On 1 June 2010 Mark Stimson was appointed as the new manager and after a poor start to the season was sacked on 1 January 2011. He was succeeded by the ever-present Paul Fairclough however he stepped down after only being able to secure 3 wins in 17 games. He was then succeeded by Martin Allen who was offered to manage Barnet on a non-contract basis until the end of the season, however after just 3 matches, he was offered a contract from Notts County and subsequently left for them. With just 5 games left of the season, assistant manager Giuliano Grazioli took over, having been appointed as Assistant manager by Martin Allen earlier. Grazioli was also able to bring Lawrie Sanchez as an adviser. Grazioli took Barnet to the last day of the season 2 points behind Lincoln City in the relegation zone. Barnet were up against Port Vale in their final match on 7 May 2011 at Underhill and were able to win 1-0 following a penalty scored by Izale Mcleod. Aldershot Town's 3-0 victory over Lincoln City meant Barnet finished a point above Lincoln City and the relegation zone. Pitch invasions followed as the club survived on the last day of the season again, as the day was regarded as the 'great escape'. Following the end of the season Lawrie Sanchez was appointed as manager.
In 2011–12 season Lawrie Sanchez steered the side to 3rd from bottom with 3 games to go. He was replaced on 16 April by Martin Allen who managed to keep Barnet up on the last day of the season following a 2-1 win over Burton Albion leaving Barnet 2 points above Hereford United and the relegation zone. This was the 3rd year in a row that Barnet had managed to secure their Football League survival on the last day.
The club's current crest was designed in the 1950s and contains the green hill of High Barnet and the red rose, white rose and crossed swords representing the 1471 Battle of Barnet, a pivotal battle in the Wars of the Roses. The badge was designed by Sidney Robert Price who was the chairman of the club at the time.
The club's nickname of "The Bees", reflected in their amber and black shirts, is likely to have come from the location of apiaries close to the Underhill ground in the early years of the 20th century.
Traditionally, the club's main local rivals were Enfield. The two clubs were amongst the biggest in Non-League during the 1980s and matches between them were fiercely contested. Enfield suffered numerous off-field problems and the original club has since ceased to exist after the formation of the breakaway club Enfield Town. As such, the last clash with the original club was in 1991, in the FA Cup, a match which Barnet won 4–1. The Bees have played the new club Enfield Town in a friendly in 2006, however.
With promotion to the league in the 1990s, rivalries developed with the likes of Leyton Orient and Fulham though neither reached anything like the mutual hatred felt with Enfield, especially with Fulham's meteoric rise to the Premiership.
More recently a rivalry developed with Hertfordshire outfit Stevenage Borough during the club's stay in the Conference between 2001 and 2005. The rivalry grew with home and away attendances increasing with every game played, but with Barnet's promotion in 2005 and Borough's continued failure to follow suit, the sides have only met in the Herts Senior Cup since. This changed in the 2010–11 season, after Stevenage's successful promotion to League Two, where Stevenage won 3–0 at Underhill Stadium and 4–2 at Broadhall Way. Against Stevenage in the Herts Cup Barnet won 2–1 to claim the cup.
Matches with Brentford have been dubbed "The Battle Of The Bees" owing to the two sides being nicknamed The Bees. The rivalry is good natured, with the two sets of supporters exchanging nickname-based taunts. In December 2011 Barnet beat Brentford on 5–3 on penalties to reach the regional Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy where they played Swindon Town and drew the first leg 1–1 on the 8th January 2012 at Underhill.
Despite success on the pitch, off it Barnet FC have struggled to improve their ground. A plan to move to Copthall Stadium in Mill Hill was blocked by a Government Planning Inspector and a proposed move to South Underhill has been quashed.
There have always been problems with the ground, Underhill, which is in need of modernisation. A controversial sale of the ground's freehold in 2002 to the Club by the London Borough of Barnet has failed to produce any changes to the stadium. Meanwhile, the council have publicly said they will do what they can to help the club but this help has never materialised; indeed, many Keep Barnet Alive (KBA) supporters consider the loss of the local council seat to the Conservative Party to have been detrimental to their cause. Attempts by the club to sort out the ground issue, either by making improvements to the current site or by finding a site elsewhere in the borough, have so far failed.
The Keep Barnet Alive (KBA) movement has been central to fighting Barnet FC's corner on this issue.
Recent negotiations with Barnet Council resulted in a new planning application to modernise the existing ground. This included rebuilding both the north and south stands to comply with the League requirement of 2,000 additional covered seats. After some modifications this application was passed by Barnet Council's planning committee in December 2007 and building work commenced on a new South Stand. The building work progressed at incredible speed and it took only a month for the new stand to be built. Work also took place on a new North Stand, this involves a small, temporary, covered structure, just to the right of the North Terrace. Away fans now use this seating.
On 1 August 2007, Barnet Chairman Tony Kleanthous announced that he had acquired a 44-acre (180,000 m2) site in Harrow. The deal would see Barnet contribute £6 million towards an £11 million development, which would include training facilities for Barnet's first, reserve and ladies teams, as well as a 5,000 stadium for nearby Wealdstone. The plan also provides for a second, smaller 'green' 1,000 capacity stadium, for ladies and youth football, as well as a centre of excellence and community use facilities.
After a quiet 10 months, an announcement was made on 23 May 2008, which confirmed the plans for the first phase of the development. Costing £3 million, the works included two full size FIFA approved 3rd Generation artificial pitches, senior and youth pitches, car and coach parking, changing facilities for 14 teams, as well as a reception and cafe area. The work would 'provide some of the best training and community use facilities in the country' ending Barnet's nomadic existence in search of areas in which to train. Work began in the Autumn of 2008, once the Football Foundation provided £1 million of funding. Harrow Borough Council also provided £750,000 towards the cost of the project.
Worryingly for Wealdstone supporters, the first phases of plans did not include any mention of providing the stadium initially proposed. Wealdstone made a statement after the first phase plans were announced, insisting that the intention still remains to play at PEPF, and that talks were ongoing, although any deal would have to be right for Wealdstone.
In April 2009, a delegation from the Barnet Football Club Supporters Association (BFCSA) visited the site and interviewed the man overseeing the construction and continued development, Paul Fairclough. A video made during the tour shows the work being carried out, throwing up some new, previously unknown information about the site, such as the construction of a swimming pool and jacuzzi, and the fact that Highbury's floodlights were currently being stored there! The interview was particularly revealing, indicating that the development is in the first of four planned stages (suggesting a stadium for Wealdstone is still a possibility), that there were hopes to have the England senior team hold training camps there, and that the proposed centre of excellence would cost £250,000 per year to run. There was also some indication of how Barnet could financially exploit the site, and attain a degree of self sufficiency, as they were in the process of doing a deal with an organisation to rent out the astro turf pitches for £30,000 for one year. In addition, up to £180,000 per year is available to Football League clubs to run their youth systems. In May 2009, it was reported that Harrow Borough and Wealdstone are in negotiation with Barnet to use the training facilities. The training ground is known as "The Hive" and was opened by Fabio Capello and Trevor Brooking on 15 December 2009. Since then, major teams visiting London, such as ex-Premiership club Hull City, Italian side Parma and the Egyptian, Bulgarian and Swedish National Squads, have made use of the training facilities.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For a complete list of former Barnet players with Wikipedia articles, see Category:Barnet F.C. players.