Barnet Football Club



Ask Martin: Q&A Part 5

Marco Berni Art ‏(@MarcoBerni_Art): Do you envisage this spell with the club to be long term? What is your vision for the future at Barnet?

MA: Marco, in this business, you can never plan for long term, but I am just about to move into a house for the first time that I bought three years ago as I have been renting now on the road for five years. We have got some good youth team players coming through and by all accounts some very good U16s. I need some stability for my own wellbeing but we all know how this business works.

Simon Benham: Which is more rewarding as a manager, promotion or seeing a player you have brought up through the ranks breaking into the highest level of football?

MA: Without a shadow of a doubt, promotion. Winning the League Two championship and winning manager of the year was the highlight of my whole career. I was so proud, so proud. I want it again, I need it again. It’s the best. Ever.

Jake ‏(@BarnetFan): Do you think managing a non-league club is any different from managing a Football League club?

MA: No different at all.

Richard Boden: With the club signing top players from Scotland in recent times with the likes of Graham Stack, David Stephens and Jake Hyde, have you considered that here may be others who could be tempted to sign for Barnet?

MA: Yes, I have thought about it but I have no scouts up north and Stack’s job first and foremost is to look after himself, then, it is to help me with the rest of the first team squad, and also, to coach our youth and schoolboy players. I do not talk to Stack or Nurse about player recruitment as they need to stay focused on what we’ve got and not what we need.

Kyle Kelly ‏(@Kyle_J_Kelly): What do you do to really get the players motivated before a game?

MA: Nothing. You’ll be surprised how little I do on match days. Work is done on the training pitch and in the classroom.

Jack Tarling: Considering that most teams take a few seasons to rebuild after a relegation do you think we fans should be more realistic and not give up when the going gets tough like many did last year?

MA: Yes, it does always take time to rebuild. Changes were most definitely necessary. Far too many injuries, a very unhappy group of players who were unfit, had no focus, and had been neglected. They have embraced and welcomed help, support, and guidance. They will not give up, they will never give up, and neither should the supporters.

Gareth Coates: You once had all the players stop over your house for team bonding I believe. Would you ever do that sort of thing again?
MA: I will never forget that team bonding night. Grazioli lost all the games including rock paper scissors stone, the lowest roll of the dice, the lowest card pulled from the pack, the lowest number on the Frustration board game, the worst joke, the worst dance, and he ended up in a dirty old hammock in the trees at the bottom of my garden. At night the foxes used to come out for their stroll at 2.30 in the morning. Grazioli was banging the back door as a fox was sensing an Italian meal. We’ve not done team bonding this year, but I’ve just given them the weekend off which will be their last weekend off for ten months. The team bonding will come when we do something and get ourselves into a good position.

Nathan Molina: If you could bring back one player that you have managed previously at Barnet who would it be?
MA: I’ve been lucky to manage a lot of very, very good players but these players we’ve currently got are better and will get better than any of those players from yesteryear.

Mike Moate: You have managed the club a number of times. Why do you keep coming back? I don’t know why I do it other than my love for Barnet. What is your reason?

MA: For me it is a job. You are obviously Barnet mad and when you say you don’t know why you do it, I do know. You love your club, you have a passion for your club and nobody and nothing will ever change your love for your club. I see grown men wearing football shirts and singing their hearts out with club tattoos, taking their kids to football, hoping that they will follow in the line of the family. It is a religion. It is a belief and their ground is the cathedral of all their dreams. I once met a Barnet supporter who is absolutely multi-minted. I think he was the geezer who set up Friend Reunited. The bloke is worth millions and when he played in a game at Underhill in the Barnet kit he told me that it was the best day of his life.

@boredhitless: Do you get frustrated with League clubs offering under the odds for players who are worth a lot more?

MA: No, not really. The Chairman deals with all those sorts of things and there is no better person at getting a good deal than Mr Kleanthous.

Dave Carey ‏(@David__Carey): What do you order in Nando’s? 

MA: At the moment, a Nando’s salad. In the past, far too much. Ten lemon and herb wings, half a chicken, coleslaw, fries, rice, corn, coca cola. God I could eat that now!

Peter Williamson: We hear the FA going on about bringing through better quality home-grown players and talks of B teams to assist the national game, yet with Premiership teams all now departing to all corners of the globes during pre-season to aid brand awareness, lower league clubs are deprived on financially lucrative friendly that previously would have provided funds for better squads and youth academies. Your thoughts on the issue and longer term implications would be appreciated.
MA: Good question, Peter. There are not enough coaches in this country. It is far too expensive to get qualified. It is too difficult and too complicated to get access to courses and training for young people. In Germany the Pro License costs £450, in England it costs £4,500. To produce home-grown players, the coaching from a young age will need to improve, but it is getting better. It is so different to even three or four years ago with the global brand now imperative for funds. How more money can be distributed to the lower league and non-league clubs and into schoolboys and juniors I do not know, but I do think that there has been an improvement.

Howard Olivere: What do we have to do we become a League One side in five years’ time?

MA: Blimey, do you think I am Mystic Meg? We have good young players coming through and these players need to be developed physically to get ready for men’s football. The youth players are good and no doubt you will see them through this season. Good use of the loan market and good backing from the Barnet supporters will also be important. There is always going to be ups and downs but fundamentally right now the club is in the right place to kick on.

Daniel Chapman (‏@danchapman3299): Would you say that we need more youth or more experience in our current squad?

MA: We have got plenty of good youth and we have got plenty of good experience and I think that we have got a nice blend, Daniel. Only time will tell.

Joe Ferris (@Joeferris147): Which three qualities make a successful team?

MA: Organisation, spirit, fitness.

Matthew Cramp (@MatthewCramp1): If you were a long-term loyal supporter, what words of advice would you offer to the Barnet manager for the coming season?

MA: Enjoy yourself. Try and smile more. Lose some weight and start planning a promotion party.