Graham Stack spoke to the club’s official website for the first time since returning for pre-season on Saturday, and the Barnet goalkeeper feels that the first fortnight back could hardly have gone any better:
“It’s probably been the hardest pre-season that I’ve ever done but it’s been brilliant. The new lads have settled in really well, the games have gone well and we won our local derby against Stevenage which was a great result.
“There’s a great spirit amongst the lads and everything seems to be coming along nicely. Our fitness is improving and the boys are getting stronger by the day so it’s all good so far.”
Stack, newly installed as player-coach along with Jon Nurse to assist Martin Allen this season, also admits that he is thriving in his new role:
“It’s been good, it’s been enjoyable. I didn’t know how it would be at first because it’s a massive change for me being on the other side of it, and you probably don’t appreciate just how much work the role involves in terms of organisation and setting up sessions before you actually do it.
“But I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and although it’s maybe come slightly earlier than I expected I feel I’ve really taken to. I’m not there to rant and rave, I’m there to encourage and get the best out of everybody.”
The 32-year-old is now looking forward to building on the squad’s early form by putting in a performance against Luton Town on Sunday:
“We’re all raring to go. Luton were obviously brilliant last season and ran away with the league but I think this time around they’ll come up against a completely different Barnet team. The transition that we have made from then to now, in terms of the way the gaffer wants us to play and the way we go about our business, is massive.
“We’re now much more equipped, we’re more organised, physically stronger and harder to beat. The younger boys have now got another year under their belt and we’ve got more experience with the likes of Charlie [MacDonald] and John [Akinde], and we’ll hopefully be signing one or two more as well so I think we’ll be in a far better position this time around than we were last year.”
And Stack admits that with so many reasons to be optimistic, it would be nice to share in this season with as many supporters as possible:
“It’s up to us at the end of the day as players and staff to get more supporters through the turnstiles on match days and the only way that we can do that is through our performances on the pitch.
“Over the last couple of years that I’ve been here we haven’t given the supporters enough to sing and scream about. But I genuinely believe that this year is going to be a cracking year for the club, and that we are going to give them something to shout about.
“It would be nice to see a few more supporters coming through the door. If we can get the support here and get the fans behind us then we’ll have a real chance this year and we can make this a really special season.”