Barnet Football Club



Ask Martin: Q&A Part 3

Charlie Cassen ‏(@CharlieCassen): Why did you not come over and applaud the fans when we stayed up at Burton? You should have taken a lot of credit too.

MA: Charlie, this is a good question and it is a really difficult one. It is not easy knowing that I’ve hurt and upset so many people and understandably people will be naffed off that I’m here now. So, I thought it was better to stay out of the way, enjoy the moment from the dugout and let the players fully take all of the credit that they most definitely deserved. I was not in any way, shape or form being disrespectful to the supporters, I just thought that it was best as I’m well aware a lot of fans were hurt by my leaving. I hope the supporters that are negative towards me overcome those thoughts and feelings and move on to support the team and the players and all of us work together to make it a special place for the paying public to enjoy watching their team and their club with pride. As far as taking the credit goes, it is the players that go over the white line and they deserved the credit. When it doesn’t go right, have a go at me, not them.

Dave Carey (@David__Carey): A leaky defence and a lack of goals ultimately cost us a play-off place last season. What has been done to address this?

MA: We have signed another centre back and another centre forward. That is what has been done to address this.

Simon Finkelstein (‏@Finksi): What colour would be your ideal knitted cardigan?

MA: Black and amber, without a shadow of a doubt.

Lewis Goldwater (‏@LewisGoldwater): Do you think that the inflation in transfer fees has limited the progress of smaller clubs and should it be allowed to continue?

MA: It is not a question of allowing it to continue, with the influx of television money and the desire for Premier League football all over the world, the money will continue to grow and grow. I still remember Trevor Francis being the first £1m footballer and now every Tom, Dick and Harry costs £10m and some of them wouldn’t get in our team.

JimboCFC ‏(@JamesOgbourne): Are you happy with our current squad or are there any areas that you would still like to strengthen?

MA: Yes, I am very happy with our current squad but yes, I am trying to improve a couple of little bits.

‏Sam Collins (@1SamC): I have also just finished Breaking Bad and have a void to fill, but I don’t get to manage Barnet FC, any suggestions?

MA: Watch Prison Break, that’s pretty good. It’s pretty sad though near the end when he dies in a car crash.

Joe Ferris (@Joeferris147): What qualities do you look for when signing a player?

MA: Personality, character, speed, power. Technical ability and fitting into the culture of the club. You can’t get all of them right but I do my homework.

Jack Larsson: What is with your recent hairdo?

MA: I went to Thailand and asked the little woman in a back-street barbers for a trim. She smiled, she bowed and proceeded with her first swish of the razor through the middle of my head to give me a Grade 1. She nodded and bowed once again and said “OK?” I said, “I asked for a Grade 3!” and she just said, “Good!” There was no turning back as the shaven road through the middle of my head was irreplaceable and a tidy haircut was now impossible. I smiled and bowed, said thank you and left her shack of a shop bald and it was a happy ending after all.

Oliver Miller: Do you prefer Underhill or The Hive?

MA: At this moment in time, of course, I prefer Underhill. The history, the magic moments, the unforgettable times, the great days and nights which will never be forgotten. However, now we have a chance to make our mark on the history of this famous football club. The club has to move with the times and be cost-effective and not end up like Hereford, Salisbury and several other clubs. It takes time to move to a new stadium for the supporters to adjust from their pilgrimage to pay homage to their club. Watching football for supporters of all ages, wearing their team’s shirt, singing songs, mixing with people on the terraces that they’ve known for years, and then all of a sudden it is gone. It is not easy but together I honestly believe that we can regenerate the atmosphere, we can get the people back, and we can all work together to achieve our common goal of getting back into the Football League.

Keith Gray: How will the style of football change from last season?

MA: The style of football? I don’t know if it is going to change as I didn’t see enough Barnet games last season. But we will play the same way. In a way that won the Championship at the division above with the last team that I managed. You could say it was a bit of this and a bit of that combined.

Upminsterbee Boreham: Where do you see us finishing realistically?

MA: Higher than last year.

Oliver Miller: Who is the best player that you’ve ever managed at Barnet?

MA: Without a shadow of a doubt, Giuliano Grazioli. His smile, the work ethic, the spirit, his desire, and I love him. I wanted him back again but he’s now got a good job which he needs to support his family but Grazioli is a diamond. He’s like a son.

Oliver Kasmir: How does the Barnet scouting system work and what have you done to improve the operation?

MA: It works like this: I drive to Chester to watch them play Tranmere on Wednesday and then on Friday I drive to Bristol Rovers to watch them play Coventry. It works something like that. We ain’t got no scouts!

David Hamper ‏(@dhamperBeeArmy):Will there be any more signings at the squad seems a bit thin and there have not been many trialists used in the recent pre-season friendlies?

MA: Well, we can only have five subs and if we need extras we’ve got a very good youth team coming through and we can loan players if we need to. I know how to manage players and am strict with work before training starts such as exercises to help injury prevention, and then after training with stretching, ice baths and players constantly being fed water and not training for too long. Away at Kidderminster last year Barnet only had four subs because all of the rest of them were injured. That will not happen again. When I got here last year there were 28 players and we played 11 vs 11 and there were six players on the side of the pitch that couldn’t even play in the game. Absolutely ridiculous. What a waste of money. In terms of trialists we have gradually whittled this down and now we only have one or two with us.

Emmanuel (@emanae99): Have you considered bringing Valentin Gjokaj back to the club now that he is a free agent?

MA: No, we are sorted in that position.

Jack Reynolds: Will you utilise the loan market this season to supplement our existing squad?’

MA: Maybe, maybe, maybe, I’m not sure yet.

Martin Smith: Have we got a bigger, more physical team this season as we seemed to be outmuscled in a few games last season?

MA: Yes, we have had to bring in some more powerful, stronger players. The Halifax game at home was surely one of the worst that I’ve ever seen as a manager. We cannot allow that dominance and bullying of our players at our club ever again.

Gareth Coates: As more and more money is introduced players don’t seem to be having as much fun on the pitch as they did before. Can you bring the fun back into the game?

MA: Yes, a lot of fun has gone out of the game with the intensity and scrutiny from the media and social media networking. If you lose a game everybody wants you sacked, and the criticism at times can be difficult for players. Of course it is my job to take the pressure off of them and for me to take the flak as criticising players can only knock their confidence and hurt them. You have given me something to think about and I will try to address it.