The Bees’ goalkeeper departs...
Goalkeeper Graham Stack has left Barnet FC.
The Bees’ player-coach made 129 appearances during four seasons at the club, helping Barnet to the Conference title in 2014-15.
Discussing Graham’s departure, manager Martin Allen said:
“Graham has proved his fitness over the past couple of weeks and has done extremely well.
“The Chairman and I would have liked Graham to have been our probable number two goalkeeper and to have continued coaching Jamie Stephens, Kai McKenzie-Lyle & the younger goalkeepers at our club.
“He’d also have been playing games when he needed to.
“But going forward, the future is going to be Jamie after he had such an outstanding season.
“Behind the scenes Graham has been a tremendous help to me personally – not only in the championship season, but last year when he was injured as well.
“He was a model professional who was very helpful on the coaching and training side of things.
“He was also great at maintaining and galvanising the spirit in the dressing room.
“Graham is an outstanding character who was very popular with all of the players – if I ever needed anything doing within the dressing room, I knew that he would sort it out for me and make sure that everything was done the right way.
“I think the word ‘legend’ is used too often in football.
“I can’t make that judgement, but I’m sure that he would have to be moving up towards that bracket.
“That’s for the Barnet supporters to decide, not me.
“I’m sure that there will also be a lot of debate about his best save and his best moment.
“I’ve got one myself - a save that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
“It was when we were all enduring that game away at Kidderminster Harriers.
“The other lot – you know the lot I mean – were winning and the pressure was on us.
“I was getting fed their score from behind me in the dugout and I knew that we had to find a goal.
“At 1-0 down, one of their players hit a low, deflected shot at the Barnet supporters’ end.
“It was going into the bottom corner, but Stack tipped it round the post at full stretch.
“If that had gone in, we wouldn’t have been promoted.
“Luisma scored soon after and we nearly scored again – but the magical moment, the moment that I thought changed it all for us, was that brilliant save.
“It wasn’t one of those saves when you dive up to the top right corner.
“It was a low change of direction – the most difficult save for a goalkeeper to make.
“Talking about it now on the coach down to Eastleigh, it might not quite bring tears to my eyes, but it was certainly one of the most magical moments in my footballing career.
“I’ll always be grateful for the role that Graham Stack played on and off the field that season.
“But in particular I’m grateful for that save at Kidderminster, which took us on to become champions.
“He will be sadly missed, but in football we need to move on very quickly as you all know.
“We’ve got a new goalkeeper ready to come in on loan, because Jamie Stephens isn’t going to be ready for at least a month.
“I’ll let everyone know about that as soon as possible.
“We’re now also trying to get a goalkeeping coach in to replace Graham Stack.
“You’ve got to remember that I only took a call from Graham at tea-time on Friday afternoon, when he said that he was seriously considering leaving.
“I was sat in his house on Friday night from nine o’clock until quarter to twelve, trying to persuade him to stay and to play against Gillingham.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to do it, but I tried everything that I could.
“I’m sure that he will go on to be a success wherever he goes, because he really is a top bloke.”