Following the club’s recent statement on the sale of the site of Underhill, Chairman Anthony Kleanthous received a letter from supporter Gary Cooper regarding the future of the Back to Barnet campaign.
The Chairman would like to make public his response to Gary – who took on the challenge of walking from Underhill to The Hive to watch every one of the Bees’ home fixtures last season in order to raise money for the campaign – in the hope that it will help to clarify the club’s position with regards to a possible return to the Borough of Barnet at some point in the future whilst we focus on achieving as much success as possible at The Hive:
I do not mind you writing at all as I recognise your enthusiasm and respect the hard work you have put in to try and secure a future for the club back in Barnet. I also would like to personally thank you for your efforts and, with your agreement, share your note and my reply amongst supporters to help clear up any misunderstanding.
The simple truth is that to achieve your aim you need to put pressure on the Council and to do that you need substantial support and finance.
Regardless of whether you or I believe that the goal is worthy, very little progress has been made in over two years of campaigning and the whole thing was starting to become a bit embarrassing within political circles. You will be aware that some Barnet councillors, in private, are not very complimentary about our supporters’ efforts and are quite pleased to see us divided like this. Over the years I have tried but I’m afraid I just have not been able to change the political will in the borough and therefore need to be realistic about our approach.
I have become increasingly concerned that the actions of a few of our supporters, although well meaning, had become slightly misguided and was starting to cause damage to the clubs reputation. This has become more acute over the last few months and I felt it best to draw a line under the current campaign as I believe we need to regroup, join together, grow support and then move forward again as one. This will take time but I know that it is best for our club right now. We have a strong brand, a strong sense of comradeship and are viewed as a small committed band who stand our corner. I have heard us described as "The Club that wouldn’t die," but to me we are "The Club that will never die.”
Let me be absolutely clear, I am not closing the door or ruling out any return to Barnet. This will always remain an ambition and aspiration but at the moment we need to be realistic and recognise that it is no more than just that. Time will need to pass, wounds will need to heal and circumstances will need to change but the door will always be wide open.
On and off the pitch we have recently made fantastic strides and I feel we are on the cusp of an exciting new era for the club, so for once, I just want us to focus and enjoy the good times. It could be a fleeting moment, who knows, but regardless, I have felt two foot taller through this summer and I am enjoying the positivity. We are back in the league, we are signing good players and have you seen the opening fixtures…..wow!!
I am certain that if we all support the team, the manager, the club and the staff, who all work so hard behind the scene, then we can go a lot further so let’s make this happen…TOGETHER.