Part 5 of our open Question and Answer session with BFC Chairman Tony Kleanthous is now here.
41 - Seems very obvious that it’s going to happen now, so what’s your plan of getting us out of the conference this time round?
No plan for this, our focus is on trying to improve our current League position.
42 - There doesn't appear to have been a meeting with the Supporters Liason Group since 2015, and of course the club does not currently have a Supporters Trust or Association. This is not apportioning blame with anyone, but is this something the club would like to remedy and to see a structured relationship between supporters and the Club? I cannot think of any other football league club that doesn't have a degree of representation within the club, so is this something that can be strived towards?
We meet with the Supporters Liaison Group whenever they request to do so and usually at a weeks’ notice with the last meeting just a few short months ago. I very much welcome their input and personally attend to get a first-hand view of the issues, we have certainly had some very good structured debates on all matters concerning Barnet FC. The last couple of meetings had about a dozen different member so they are very representative of our fan base and my understanding is they are also very open to new members so if you wish to get involved then please contact their Chairman, Eddie Thompson, for more details.
43 - More and more clubs have announced they will pay everyone in their club a 'Living Wage' - not just Premier League mega-rich club, but teams like FC United and AFC Wimbledon. Is this something Barnet FC can and should aspire to?
I’m not aware of anyone here who is paid below the legal minimum and we even strive to keep wages at a higher level than this. We employ nearly 500 people across our group including part time and match day staff so if you are aware of any particular incident then please advise us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
44 - It would be great to hear from James Thorne about his role at the club. Seems to have taken a back seat.
He has a very large team under him and his role is very involved so I will have him explain this in more detail when we do the piece on the staff structure he is putting in place.
45 - Why have we not signed anyone in the January Transfer Window when our nearest rivals are strengthening?
Fuad Sule has joined from Bohemians and we have also looked at a couple of other options so we will see if anything comes of them.
46 - Why did you feel Rossi was right for the job in the Summer but not January? Can we not attract the calibre of manager for a Football League club?
I have always held Rossi in high regard and believed that, given time, he would be a great Head Coach for this club. However, I was worried about throwing him into the first team environment without some more experience but he convinced me he was ready for the role in the summer, you all know the rest. The second part of your question is interesting and a reflection of our failure to find a way to communicate with supporters in a way that allows them to know what’s going on in the background but without breaching trust and confidence. Of course, many names get bandied about and the Bookies make a lot of money out of speculation but a manager will always be considering how an opportunity may further there career and of course the market flexes continually. I know this is not a good answer and am not trying to avoid your question but need to think about the solution to this issue.
47 - You have on a number of occasions talked about playoff pushes which always coincide with season tickets going on sales and price rises. I'm not aware of a Barnet side in the past 20 years with the ability to push for the football league playoffs. How can the fans trust & believe you when it comes to footballing matters?
The timing is purely because it’s the usual optimism at the start of a season but I think we have made the FL play offs on two occasions during my tenure.
48 - I would like to know if the chairman would be open to sit down face to face quarterly with a proper fan based panel in an open forum to talk about concerns/developments they may have?
This is exactly what we do with the Supporter Liaison Group, please see my previous answer on getting involved with them.
49 - Mr Kleanthous, you have been chairman of this great club for over 20 years now. In that time we have seen the likes of Fulham F.C., A.F.C. Bournemouth and Swansea City A.F.C. all make it to the premiership and even clubs with smaller or same budget as Barnet like Burton Albion F.C., Fleetwood Town F.C. and even Bristol Rovers F.C. who have all gone on to do a lot better than us in recent years. So my point that I'm trying to make is have you taken us as far as you can as chairman of this club? You say at the start of every season that you want promotion but we always fall well below that.
Burton have done fantastically well, the others are owned by seriously wealthy people with much larger fan bases. I could offer contrary statistics but ultimately, although we have gone further in every other competition, I have never managed to get us promoted to League One or higher so this is my burning ambition.
50 - Serving times in the Hive bars can be quite long during peak periods and the beer selection is somewhat limited. How about having bottles/cans of craft beer and other more interesting types? That would speed up serving and give greater choice.
I must confess that I am not an expert in this field but the ales we sell in the bars were selected with the guidance of Heineken who are our Beer Partner. We are currently in discussions with them for next season so let’s see what they have in mind and please do let us know if the choice is not a fair range that one would expect.