Barnet Football Club



Ask Martin: Q&A Part 4

Oliver Miller: What did you say to the boys at half-time team against Burton in the last game of the season of 2011/12?

MA: In the first half they froze and never played. The occasion had gotten to them. My jacket came off. My jumper came off. My shirt came off. People not in the team were kicked out of the dressing room and harsh words were said in no uncertain terms. My shirt was soaked through with sweat but each player got delivered a message and thankfully they responded in a positive fashion. It was not a team talk that you could do every week!

Daniel Fox: How is your working relationship with Paul Fairclough since your return to Barnet FC and how does his role work alongside yours?

MA: I speak to Paul on a regular basis about players. He has great knowledge, but he lets me get on with preparing the team for training and lets me do things my way. The contributions for what I do come from Nurse, Stack, Weston, MacDonald, Stephens, Mahon, Akinde, and of course, the younger ones.

Colan Ash: In your opinion do you have the squad of players to be able to adapt playing styles and formations to cope with variations throughout the season?

MA: We can adapt to any style, any pitch , any day, any night, any weather. We will deal with whatever comes out way. We can change to do it this way or we can change to do it that way. We are adaptable and ready.

Peter Williamson: Without giving away all of your secrets, what do you do to motivate the players to give 100% every time that they enter the field?

MA: Motivation, what is motivation? It is making the best of the ability that you have got, both individually and collectively. I look at what points totals have won the league and got into the play-offs over the last three or four years and give the players a game plan. It is about bringing in good players, getting them fit and well organised and mentally strong and then those goals and targets soon become realistic. By improving physically in the gym individually and technically on the training pitch together then a dressing room can become a very powerful unit of men. We do set targets, we have got goals and they are realistic.

David Reynolds: Who is your mentor in football who do you ring up for advice and guidance?

MA: I met a man who I trust who gives me guidance, advice, and has helped me adapt and change my ways. He knows a little bit about football, but he mainly looks after people at the very top end of business. His name is Rob and without him discreetly hiding in the background I would not have won the title at Gillingham. He has helped me, supported me, guided me, and I have had to read books, listen to CDs, watch DVDs, go to seminars, conferences and training groups and it has been wonderful learning.

Jack Bennett: What is your favourite thing about the club that most swayed your decision to return home?

MA: Jack, when you are unemployed as a football manager, or, I guess in any walk of life, it gets demoralising, depressing and boring. You question what you are going to do in the future and you wonder if you are ever going to get another job. Being sacked in any job is bad enough, but being sacked in public is also humiliating. When I first took the call it made me smile and I knew that I could go in and make a difference. I seriously thought that we could get to Wembley and get promoted but it just was not to be. For me personally, I have been living in rented accommodation for five years, and I am soon to move into my own house and I cannot wait. I not only want but I think I need some stability in my own life without moving left, right and centre trying to earn a living. So to move to Barnet has worked out perfectly.

Jack Franklin: Do you think that a bigger attendance at home will make a difference to the players’ performances and if so how could Barnet improve the attendances?

MA: Yes, it would make a significant difference, Have you ever known so many Scottish people win medals as what they are doing at the moment at the Commonwealth Games? The players love it when they are winning and showing their appreciation to the supporters in the middle of the pitch. It is a magical feeling, but the players have got to do it on the pitch first. How can we improve attendances? Good performances on the pitch, good communication with the supporters through the club website and social media, regular interviews with the players and staff and building a family that can work together to support each other and look after each other.

Tom Rose ‏(@_tomrose ): Which fixture are you looking forward to the most this season?

MA: I am most looking forward to the first game against Chester. We are travelling up on the Saturday morning and it is just the start of a ten-month competition.

Jim Kavanagh ‏(@Jimbokav1971):  Which youngster is most likely to have an impact on the senior squad this season?

MA: There are several that have the potential but I would never name them. They have ability and they are being very well looked after. Several have been training with the first team already but how they live away from training and how they conduct themselves to get better and develop will be key.

Flygerian ‏(@_Dami98): Can you sum up your spells at Barnet in five words?

MA: Tense. Exciting. Magic. Sad. Mad.

Jack Reynolds: How will you instil the team spirit and togetherness that I believe was lacking last season?

MA: Respect each other. Respect the shirt. Respect the staff. Support each other. Help each other. Trust each other. That’s how you build up team spirit and togetherness. They needed to lose weight, they needed to be fitter, and like all of us, they like to be liked. We have brought some colour to the dressing rooms, we have music every day and although they call me gaffer, I hope they can talk to me, chat with me and I can help them become better players and a better team. I’ve got to say, so far all of our players have been an absolute pleasure to work with. Sadly it was not like this at the end of last season. Far too many pizzas, far too many pies, people refusing or unable to do their top button up, no records of weights, body mass index, fitness levels, nothing. By doing all of these things, the spirit comes from a happy manager, the spirit comes from a manager who can give them a vision, give them a challenge and work with them to make them happy each day they come to work. Trust me, we have team spirit, we have togetherness and we have belief.

Gary Blissett: I can’t help noticing how rubbish Barnet have been recently anywhere north of Watford!Is this down to poor travel arrangements, poor formations or poor attitude? Discuss.

MA: I’ve no idea what you mean as I didn’t watch that many matches up north. We were superb at Lincoln and should have won, and we beat Nuneaton with all our young players playing so it is nothing to do with the travel arrangements, formations or poor attitude. So nothing to discuss. 

Emmanuel (‏@emanae99):  How would you describe Barnet’s football philosophy for this coming season?

MA: To win as many games as possible.

Dan Flitney: How does the youth set-up here at Barnet compare with other professional clubs that you’ve managed?

MA: The youth set-up is very exciting. James Thorn looks like he has done an excellent job and good luck to him in going to Arsenal. There are some very good young players coming through and the future, if we are able to keep them, it is very exciting. Ross Eames is an excellent coach and Henry Newman is a good bloke and we are all working very closely together and trying to bring the young lads up to training with the first team each week. Next Tuesday at Beaconsfield we will see a mixture of players that have not played enough minutes for the first team and youth players that Ross and Henry feel deserve to step up.

Only Barnet ‏(@OnlyBarnet): As you have quit Twitter, do you pay attention to what fans say about you or your teams online and on fans forums anymore?

MA: No.

Oliver Kasmir: Do you think that the atmosphere at The Hive is better than the atmosphere at Underhill or vice versa?

MA: No, The Hive is not yet rocking. The Hive is not yet buzzing. It takes years and years to build up the camaraderie on the terraces or stands to get the place buzzing. We have the players and staff to do it and we want to make it a good place to watch football and I want to make sure that every player in every game is well-prepared and ready to give his best for the football club.