Barnet Football Club



Ask Martin: Q&A Part 1

First and foremost I’d like to thank everybody for making the effort to ask me a question. I will answer all of these questions honestly and to the point without any grey areas, and there is no question that I will duck or avoid. The answers are in no particular order. 

Oliver Miller: What has been the highest moment in your career at Barnet?

MA: Good question, and that is difficult to answer as there have been so many. I think the away game at Burton has to be right up there. Zola smashing the scoreboard with the penalty, Holmes are brilliant in the second half, Hughes’ half-volley finish from the penalty spot, and Brill’s fingertip save from the header at the corner when the ball was going into the top corner and in slow motion like a cat he leapt to tip it over. It was magic.

Joe Ferris (@Joeferris147): What inspired you to become a football manager?

MA: Joe, I finished playing football at 32. I had two children, a mortgage and I needed to put food on the table, pay for clothes for the children and have a life. I’d done my coaching qualifications early and as my dad was a football manager it was always something I wanted to do. When you finish as a footballer life can be tough because doors close and the phone stops ringing, so the chance I got at Barnet as a 32-year-old man with only two GCSEs in English and Maths, well it was magic.

Lewis Goldwater (@LewisGoldwater): Do you think that English football should have a cap on the amount of foreign players allowed at clubs?

MA: Yes, definitely.

Jake ‏(@BarnetFan): Is having a small squad something that is your choice, or are the club’s budget restraints the main reason for this?

MA: Jake, we have got a certain amount of money to spend and we have to fit in a squad to compete and win as many games as possible. Players have to be adaptable and we have to cut our cloth accordingly. I am happy with the work that we have done and have thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of months.

Matthew Eldred ‏(@logic2win) : Will you be taking the FA Trophy seriously this season?

MA: Yes.

Andrew Taylor ‏(@ataylor1983): What have you learnt from Luton/Cambridge last year and sides that you have taken up before that you can put into this year’s team?

MA: You need characters, strong centre backs, good athletes, goal scorers and pace in your team. We need a group of men that are committed together to the cause. What Cambridge and Luton did is the same as what I did at Gillingham and yes, without a shadow of a doubt, we have got all these things in our squad. Now we just need the supporters.

Iain Dalziel: I have yet to attend a game at The Hive as to me it feels like the soul of the club has been somewhat taken away since leaving Underhill. Do you feel you can replicate the buzz your previous tenures have brought whilst we are playing in our new ground?

MA: I fully understand but life is too short Iain, we all have things in our lives that upset us and hurt us. There is no doubt that Underhill, and your pilgrimage to every match was very special. Try now and draw a line under it and move forward. Be proud to support your club wherever they play, at whatever level they play. Barnet is your team. Come back and meet me in my office for a chat and a cup of tea and we can both start together to bring all the fans back that feel naffed off that they have lost their love. Please contact Tom and he will arrange it. Yes, the buzz will be back, it will be back soon.

Kyle Kelly ‏(@Kyle_J_Kelly): Are we likely to see Luisma playing on the left rather than an out and out winger like Luke Gambin?

MA: I don’t see Luisma as a winger. He needs to do his damage through the middle.

Oliver Miller: Have you changed in any way since last managing Barnet?

MA: Yes, I think so. I’ve got a shorter haircut and have put on a few pounds but I am trying my best to lose weight and trim up.

Billo ‏(@Billo20Four7): Any plans for those multi-coloured cardigans to make an appearance in the dugout this season?

MA: Multi-coloured cardigans? No, it was bought it in the sale and it is never to be worn again.

Jim Kavanagh ‏(@Jimbokav1971): Which if any of the current Barnet squad do you see progressing to club management after their playing career ends?

MA: Stack will. Nurse will. MacDonald will. Weston maybe, Yiadom will and maybe quite a few others.

Scott Rutterford ‏(@RutterfordScott): How is your relationship with Milan Mandaric these days? Is he on your Christmas card list yet?

MA: I haven’t spoken to Milan for years.

Manuel (‏@Manuolivo79): At the World Cup we saw teams playing 3-5-2. With Saville, N’Gala and Stephens do you think we could do the same?

MA: Yes, that is a possibility and something we may do on Saturday against Wycombe.

Adam Hicks ‏(@AdamHicks91_ ): If you could pick any Barnet player from history in their prime and have them in your squad, who would it be and why?

MA: I don’t know enough players in Barnet’s history but I guess it would have to be Grazioli. Great lad, great character, great trainer, loves Barnet, is Barnet and scores goals.

Oliver Miller: Apart from the new ground, are there any other changes since you were last here?

MA: Yes, we’ve got a new physio called Jayde from the youth academy. She’s young, she’s inexperienced but she’s a sponge for information. Grazioli has gone which is a shame, and there’s a few new members of staff but I just get my head down and make the best of what we have available. I am delighted with Graham Stack and Jon Nurse with how they have helped me settle in and how they have settled into their new roles.

Martin Smith: What differences do you think the supporters will see this season that they didn’t see last season?

MA: Have you been watching the Commonwealth Games in Scotland? In all my years of watching the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, I have never seen so many Scottish athletes not only getting medals but winning gold!  When Underhill was rocking the buzz was often better with two and a half thousand people than some of the games I do to with 20,000 people bored stiff watching magnolia football. The energy and support and backing of people that pay to come and watch make a massive difference, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of that.