A champagne-soaked Martin Allen reflected on leading Barnet to the Vanarama Conference title on Saturday, having seen his side defeat Gateshead in front of a first ever sell-out at The Hive to finish as champions of the Football Conference for the third time in their history.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the game, the manager reflected on a job well done as two Mauro Vilhete goals helped to ensure that the Bees finished at the summit of a division that they have led virtually from start to finish:
"I thought the players were outstanding. It was always going to be a difficult game. After last week at Kidderminster, we got out of jail and the players took full advantage.
"The keeper had one save to make. We kept a clean sheet and could have had a couple more goals. It’s a great day for the club, the players and myself."
The victory meant that Barnet finished one point clear at the top of the table ahead of Bristol Rovers who briefly overtook the Bees in February – as Martin paid tribute to his players for the character that they showed in bouncing back to finish at the summit of a league that they had led since August before that point:
“The Chairman Mr Kleanthous offered me money to get players in and I thought about it long and hard – for about a minute.
“I brought all of the players in and sat them down and said that I have total belief in them.
“It makes today special for me as I could have binned them and moved others in. But I believe that I’d have lost the dressing room if I’d changed it and we’ve become champions.”
Martin ended by insisting that deep down he always knew that his side had what it takes to win the league, and that having guided them to the title he felt that he had finally paid back an outstanding debt to supporters:
“I knew a week before the season started we were going to be champions. Nobody could stop us.
“We had too much power, pace; we had too much of everything. I knew we were going to get 90+ points. I was never concerned. I knew what we had was special.
“I think I owed the supporters something as well, to be honest. Walking out of the relationship and ditching them and going for money – which is what I have done, I have never made any secret of that.
“I think today, for the first time all season, I have paid it back and given them something back.”