Barnet Football Club



Ask Martin: Q&A Part 2

Jim Kavanagh (@Jimbokav1971): In hindsight, do you regret leaving Barnet on either of the first two occasions?

MA: Yes I do. But, Jim, when opportunities come in football management to move up, double your salary and give yourself a better chance of a life of financial security most people would do the same as I did. I wanted a new contract but I didn’t get one, and so I moved. The second time, the financial offer I received to save Notts County from relegation was just too good to turn down. I never made a shedload as a player and clubs are just as quick to sack managers if it doesn’t go well. It is very, very difficult and I just wish that things at times could have worked out differently. I do now feel stable, secure and ready to take on this task and get this place buzzing again.

Matthew McNulty ‏(@MatthewMcNulty5): Which players have set the tone during pre-season?

MA: Yiadom came back very fit. Johnson came back very fit. Saville came back very fit. Stack came back very fit. Nurse came back very fit. Weston came back very fit. Lowe came back very fit. Sykes came back very fit, Gambin, Vilhete. I ain’t kidding, they’ve all put a shift in through the summer and it is showing in their performances on the pitch. They are all at it and they are all focused and it makes me smile.

Farhad (@Faddiefayaz): Who is the best player that you have ever worked with?

MA: Michael Turner. He was a 19-year-old centre back signed for £20,000 from Charlton. He was a leggy, foal-like player who trained and worked his socks off who came to me at Brentford a boy and left to go to the Premier League a man.

Tunde ‏(@ItsFrostBite): What is your favourite food to eat?

MA: At the moment porridge, blueberries and bird food nuts for breakfast, a lot of water and as many salads as I can eat. I’m too porky and need to lose some weight.

George Fenech ‏(@GEORGEFENECH): Will Keanu Marsh-Brown be staying at the club this season?

MA: Yes, Marsh-Brown will be staying. Of course, a big offer may come in but I want him to stay, and he’s happy here.

Craig Clayton: How can we as fans make The Hive a place where our players play better than they believe they can play, and a place that opposing players fear coming to?

MA: Craig, it takes a bit of time to make the transition to a new ground or stadium at all clubs. And on top of that we have had a relegation. It is difficult for you all. First and foremost we need a team on the pitch that the paying public can enjoy watching, knowing that the players are giving everything that they’ve got for you and we are doing our best off the field to make it a good place for you to come and watch football. Without a shadow of a doubt things will get better.

Oliver Miller: What has been your lowest moment during your time with Barnet?

MA: The lowest moment was telling the players in the car park at The Hive that I was leaving to go to Notts County. We had built up an amazing spirit and camaraderie and I met them outside the dressing rooms, I shook each one by his hand, hugged them, and left Grazioli in charge. As I left, it hurt like mad and I must admit that there were a lot of tears knowing what I’d done would upset and hurt so many people.

Dan Flitney: How much do you think the Conference has changed since you were last managing us at this level?

MA: It has got better, without a doubt. To be honest, I’m not that bothered or interested in all the other teams and clubs in this division. We have to maximise the ability that we’ve got within our group and if we do that then we will do well.

Daniel Shackell: In your view, how different is the club now than when you were previously with us?

MA: Things in football clubs always move and always change with new players and new staff on a merry-go-round. It is different because we have very good young players coming through and I felt the need to add some experience. The young players are looking very good and I am very excited.

Swineth Paltrow ‏(@Swinter9): Which manager do you most idolise, and which of their teams would you have liked to have managed?

MA: I don’t idolise anyone. I have learnt from many, I visit many and chat with many, and you pick out the bits and pieces you like but ultimately you are who you are. Over the years I have had to get further training to help me develop and learn and improve. My dream is to manage West Ham.

Upminsterbee Boreham: We’ve struggled to score recently and have no out-and-out goalscorer. Will this be addressed?

MA: No. We’ve been playing good teams with good players and we’ve created chances and at times dominated games. The players are now fit and the pre-season is not about results, it is about getting the players ready.

Oliver Miller: What is the pre-match schedule like before a game?

MA: Everyone arrives at 1:30, we have a little team talk covering what we’ve done in training on Thursday and Friday and then we just chill out.

Sam Collins (@1SamC): Do you have any special plans for dealing with Margate’s midfield maestro Charlie Allen?

MA: Charlie has been outstanding recently and he needed to get away from me to have his own identity and now he is playing week in, week out and is captain and scored a lot of goals towards the end of last season. But I felt for him that he’s had me as his dad and manager and that will not happen again. He’s got a great worth ethic, he’s very fast, and without a shadow of a doubt Margate have got an outstanding midfield player. 

Michael Habben: Martin, taking into account your footballing budget for the season ahead do you envisage appointing an assistant manager or is the money better spent on players?

MA: I’ve got loads of assistant managers. Stack, Nurse, Jayde Cook, Andrew Adie, the Chairman, Tom Clee, Henry Newman, Weston, Stephens, MacDonald, Akinde, Yiadom. Believe it or not they all help me. They all support me and they all look after me. It is a very friendly, close group of people and they are all doing great.

Loic Hernandez ‏(@hernanezz1): Who is the best looking player in the squad?

MA: Best looking player? Do me a favour!

Nick Speroni (@PapaSperoni): What will it take for football to go back twenty years and be about passion instead of money? Should we recruit from grass roots?

MA: I love that idea but we can’t live in the past, we have to go forward and move with the times. I like the old grounds rather than the stadiums, I love the terraces and the singing, and I loved football on the telly once a week. I’m not happy with Sunday/Monday football and detest the prawn sandwiches sitting in the best seats, not bothered about who is playing.

Ryan Holt (‏@holtr35): I have £20 on Barnet to win the league at 20/1. If we don’t manage it, will you reimburse me?

MA: Will I reimburse you? Hopefully you’ll be popping round and buying me a salad and a bottle of chilled water to celebrate! Ryan, we will do our very best for you.