Chairman's Q&A: Part 1
A huge 'Thank You' to all Bees Fans who sent in their questions to Barnet FC Chairman, Tony Kleanthous. As expected, we received a high number of questions covering a range of topics and, as promised, The Chairman has answered each one openly and transparently.
Part 1 of 'Chairman's Q&A' can be found below, and we kindly request that no more questions be sent in. Don't worry if your question cannot be found below - we will be posting more of these features in the near future.
For now though, here are the answers you really wanted to know about from Barnet FC Chairman, Tony Kleanthous:
SUPPORTER 1 - Danny Quartermaine
What’s the idea behind deciding not to retain Izale McLeod?
I understand that he must have ambitions beyond playing football in League 2 for a club that fights relegation every year, but what was actually done to try to keep him with us?
Chairman - Unfortunately, despite the club’s best efforts, this was not our choice. Izale and his agent turned down three different offers from the club between November and February last season, the last of which was for over double his existing deal, but it was made clear to us in no uncertain terms that he was leaving at the end of the season. We wish Izale well throughout the rest of his career and I am very excited by much of the new talent that has joined our club over the summer.
SUPPORTER 2 - Anon
Do you ever see a day where Barnet FC will once again play it's football in the town of Barnet where it rightly belongs or is this '10 year' agreement simply a cover for a permanent move away?
I've been coming to Underhill for 40 odd years and my family has been supporting the club for close to 100 years.
I personally will never watch Barnet outside the town so I'm very interested to know how long I'm likely to have to wait before I can start supporting my club again.
Chairman - This is a very fair point but I’m sure you understand that I don’t need a cover story for my intentions. If I wanted the move to be permanent then that’s exactly what I would have requested from Harrow Council in the first place instead of asking for temporary permission. Despite the dreamt up conspiracy theories you may have heard from a couple of the more political members of the Trust or read on unofficial message boards, I am still looking for a permanent home and there is no plan to stay at The Hive beyond this initial 10 year period. Ultimately, whether we return to the Borough of Barnet depends on whether Barnet Council want to support the club, but I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath under the current administration. We don’t want to lose you as a supporter so I hope you will reconsider your position once we resolve the transport issues.
SUPPORTER 3 - Richard Thomas
My question is as follows:
Now we have secured the medium-term future of the club at the Hive, what is the plan for Underhill stadium?
Chairman - We need to maximize the value of the Underhill site but I haven’t given any consideration lately as to the best way of doing this. The last discussion I had in this regard was a few months ago when I had a request to use the site for a school, which the council opposed, so I don’t expect much change at Underhill for at least a year or two. In the meantime, we will continue to use the stadium, where appropriate, for secondary matches although I can foresee some difficulty with this as Barnet Council are not exactly easy to work with. I’m sure the usual rumor will do the rounds again so, for the record, I have never met or discussed the Underhill site with Tesco’s! But let me be crystal clear here, the site is owned by the Barnet FC group - so the more we can get for the site the better for our team!
SUPPORTER 4 - Martin Smith
Once the bees move what will happen to the underhill site ?
Is there any chance that during the next 10 years it could be turned into a brand new stadium for the bees ?
Or will it be sold and the funds ploughed back into Barnet fc ?
Chairman - The site is too small for the former so most likely it will be the latter. The change in emphasis at the Football League means investment needs to be used to create sustainability and not just to provide a big transfer budget with insufficient funds to meet future wages, this is effectively what happened to Portsmouth and we do not want to tread that path. This is why we are building our whole club infrastructure rather than aiming for short term unsustainable success like we had in the early 90s when our club almost went out of existence.
SUPPORTER 5 - Matthew Dean
What were the aims for the 2011-2012 Season?
Chairman - Our aim is the same at the start of every season – which is to at least reach the play offs.
SUPPORTER 6 - Michael Sharon
Before renewing my season ticket I would like to know your policy on switching Saturday home games to Friday night. There are already 5 or 6 games scheduled for Tuesdays and as work and family commitments make midweek games difficult for me to attend, I have to decide if it is worth paying for a whole season. I have also noted that crowd numbers and results are no different whenever we play. Night games also restrict the number of away supporters following their team.
I look forward to your reply
Michael Sharon – East terrace season ticket holder for many years.
Chairman - This is a very difficult question to answer satisfactorily as match fixtures involve the FL, Sky TV, both clubs and of course team managers have a big say too. Overall, the Friday games worked very well for us but I think if we are to do this then we should arrange changes as far in advance as possible so as not to inconvenience supporters. Last season was difficult in many ways and I don’t feel we handled this issue very well, so hopefully we can do better this season and drastically reduce the need for any significant changes once the season has started.
SUPPORTER 7 - Nicholas Mavroudis
What made you choose barnet over any other club?
Where do you aim to finish next season?
Chairman - I was asked to help my local club……….and I’m still helping! Over the years the club has become an enormous part of my life that I am very proud to be associated with but building the infrastructure from scratch has taken its toll on me. Barnet FC is now regularly competing with clubs that have a professional history stretching back over 100 years and the outside perception of our club is now so much more positive, particularly amongst visitors to The Hive which has transformed the way we are viewed by the new generation of footballers we need to attract. With regards your second question, our objective is always to at least reach the play offs although our “2 Star Academy” status means we are starting afresh this year and the young team will need support.
SUPPORTER 8 - Joe Clifford
Will Barnet FC have to change name to something like Harrow FC once moved to Harrow?
Chairman - I have often wondered what will happen to the name Barnet FC once the local Tories complete their exercise to replace our 125 year history in the borough with Rugby Union. I have much to say on this but for now we need to take one step at a time, we don’t have to do anything with the name we don’t want to do and although supporters may want to debate this we should not rush into any changes until we know the location of our final permanent home.
SUPPORTER 9 - Colan Ash
Can you reassure the loyal Barnet fans that following the relocation to the Hive next season there will be no change to the name or badge of the club.
Chairman - Let me be clear to those who do have concerns such as these, the move is temporary so there is no need to change anything. However as previously stated, when we find a new permanent home, fans may wish to reconsider this point depending on where we may end up! If we get to this stage then I would like to get our fans’ opinions as this is something that you should all have a say in.