Barnet FC would like to thank the Bees fans who have sent in their questions to Chairman Tony Kleanthous.
We received a high number of questions across a variety of topics and the Chairman is currently going through the process of answering each one openly and transparently.
The first batch of questions can be found below, and we kindly request that no more questions are sent in. Please note that some questions submitted were duplicated. Don't worry if your question is not below - we will be posting more of answers in the near future.
1) Do you have any proposals on how to attract the casual supporter to matches as I am concerned that the price of tickets is keeping such fans away? I have a number of friends who have attended games in the past who now refuse to pay £25 a game to watch league two football. I watched a premier league match for £18 and a La Liga game for £13 last season. These were not special offers but their normal prices which makes Barnet prices very expensive in comparison particularly considering the standard of football played.
This is a BIG question but we think it’s too simplistic to put attracting supporters just down to pricing so this is a big challenge for all clubs in the EFL.
There are many things that influence our pricing structure including Tax which plays a big part in the UK as on average £4 of every ticket sold goes to HMRC, the costs of London which are much higher than elsewhere in the country and of course Premiership clubs receive over £100m per season to subsidise prices for example.
EFL Clubs have been very successful at attracting young kids with great offers such as our £1 per month membership but as kids grow into adulthood they pursue other interests which means we are losing many 16 to 30 year olds and the success of broadcasting matches in the Premier League has meant that we now have a whole generation of fans who consume sport on various viewing devices rather than attending live matches. We therefore need to offer more than just a match but an experience.
We have considered the whole issue at length and our approach at Barnet FC has been to focus on the whole day experience so that it becomes pleasant to just be here. I was recently in Leverkusen, where they heat up the stands, and Barcelona, where they have 4,000 club players in various sports, studying examples of how they encourage supporters to come to the stadium earlier and stay much later. Its early days for us but we want supporters, both home and away, to feel more part of the overall experience and the new Legends bar and Bar 66 improvements once completed will hopefully bring us a step nearer to our goal.
We have much to do but seeing the site buzzing from 7am with soccer schools, kids clubs, academy matches, 3G bookings, girls training and also a busy coffee shop, restaurant and bars is quite remarkable and a real positive for The Hive.
2) The membership scheme does not suit everyone so will there be any special offers during the coming season to get more people through the turnstiles and reward those fans who regularly pay £25?
We do special offers from time to time but these have limited success. Our focus going forward will be to grow the membership hence the Members 2017 promotion to get more people here to support the team and more often. This great deal means that if every current member encouraged a friend to join then this extra membership would effectively be for free!!! So next time bring a friend, help the club grow and take advantage of a great incentive.
3) Why do think our crowds have not increased following our Conference winning season, most other that have won the Conference saw an increase the following season?
Personally I felt our style of football and results in League 2 were poor.
4) Could it be arrange that the home fans will be able to use the new North Stand at some points during the season when away fan attendances are low?
I’m honestly not sure about this, there are a lot of rules about segregation and safety and of course this is of paramount importance. However, we have made improvements to the ground with the opening of Legends Bar and hope to soon have a new stand on the South to mirror the new North Stand.
5) Are there any plans to get away days coaches back up and running? Most other teams do, especially for midweek night matches.
I don’t think it’s a big ask to get forty people on a coach but we just couldn’t manage it. Whether it was stop offs, type of coach, timings etc. someone always had an issue so after ten years of trying I threw in the towel.
6) Where do you see Barnet in 5 years time?
Simply we just need to get to League 1 ASAP!!!!
7) You appointed Rossi Eames despite inconsistent form/performances in the latter end of last season (only 4 wins from last 21). Why didn’t you go for someone with a proven track record in the Football League. Was it a financially motivated decision?
Our sole focus was to appoint the best man for the job. Rossi was the outstanding candidate and with the appointment of Alex Armstrong as Rossi’s assistant I feel that the team are in very good hands.
8) Fans would like some clarity re: signings in January ‘17 window – who made them? Rossi or Henry?
The technical staff at the Club give me targets and I try my best to land them and on the whole we have reasonable success. Off the field we have made some changes in both strategy and approach in reference to player recruitment of which the Head Coach will continue to be an integral part. We hope this will help to maximise our success in the transfer market in future although we are in a people business and sometimes some things just don’t work out the way we envisage with players.
9) Why did you feel Kevin Nugent was the right man ahead of Rossi in February?
It was always my intention to bring Kevin in until the end of the season with a view to assess the makeup of the first team during the closed season. In Rossi I knew I had the right man but was happy to wait for the right time in order to give him the maximum opportunity to be successful and fully implement his methods.
10) Last season was a very indifferent season, how would you asses last season and do you believe Kevin Nugent was unfairly blamed for the downfall. Was it simply a case of right man wrong time?
I probably saw it differently to most supporters. I felt we made some poor signings in the summer which meant our performances suffered. However, Martin managed a couple of good results that got us into a position to challenge before departing. The change was necessary and the initial signs were encouraging. We had a couple of good results and I wanted promotion but knew the squad needed strengthening so tried to improve things in the window.
Overall I felt Kevin was very, very unlucky and if he had got the couple of wins the early performances deserved then I think we would have looked back on his tenure in a different light. I have to say though, it really pains me to see our fans sometimes abusing our staff and players here, that’s not the way I was brought up to support and never helps when we are up against it.