TT OPPOSITION Q&A
Iain Botterill discusses his team, Barnet
Hi Iain, so after getting to the play-offs last season what’s gone wrong at Barnet since then?
What’s gone right?! Concerned about COVID implications, the chairman cut the playing budget and dismantled a talented squad. Popular manager Darren Currie foresaw an almost-impossible task and left, leaving the Bees leaderless and with a handful of first-team players going into the new season. Peter Beadle, out of the game for several seasons and with no experience of National League football, was appointed. Given a small budget, recruitment was predictably poor and leaves the clubs in its worst shape for several decades. The appointment of Tim Flowers have given some grounds for optimism, but the results since his appointment have only seemed to highlight the gap in quality between the Bees and every other side in the league.
What do you make of the current situation in regards to the NL funding and whether the league continues?
The season shouldn’t have started unless there was a clear plan of action and financial pathway to finish it. Barnet fans have a natural incentive to end / void the season but the arguments for continuing a season which could have severe long-term financial implications for clubs at the level are patchy. Why risk club’s futures for the sake a few months in a global pandemic?
Who are your owners and how have they dealt with the difficulties of the past year?
Tony Kleanthous has increasingly become a polarising figure at the Hive. Once hailed as the club’s saviour, the move to the Hive divided the fanbase. Poor communication hasn’t helped his cause, with a growing number of fans laying the blame for the club’s recent demise squarely at his door. A typical flurry of activity, signings and panic decisions have followed an awful start to the season; TK knows that relegation would be a huge set-back on and off the field. While not the villain as portrayed by some fans, the lack of coherent footballing strategy is catching up the Bees and one can only hope for a root and branch review – however the season ends.
The team have been on a poor run, but is that a fair appraisal of how they are playing?
Yes! If anything, results have flattered us in recent weeks. A poor side desperately lacking in confidence, the Bees deserve to be bottom.
Who are your key players and why?
Scott Loach, our goalkeeper, deserves far better. A seasoned pro at this level, Loach is often the difference between a heavy defeat and a cricket score.
Who is the gaffer and what tactics does he like to use?
Flowers has previous at this level. Direct, aggressive, front-foot football brought him success at Solihull. Recent weeks have seen him try a 3-5-2 with limited success. A switch to a back 4 would be a welcome change for Saturday.
Can the Bees escape relegation?
There’s a lot of football left to be played, but it will be difficult to find any worse sides at this level, let alone three. A season’s curtailment or a couple of clubs going insolvent seem the only viable ways out.
What should the Yellow Army expect from Saturday’s stream?
After a mixed start, the Bees’ media streaming has really upped its game. High quality, multiple-angles and a decent commentary team. One of the better offerings at this level.
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
We have the ability to make any team look like world-beaters. That being said, Matty Kosylo was the standout from an impressive Altrincham side. Unsurprisingly, the league seems weaker than in previous years – the title race far more open than I expected.
And finally, whats your match prediction for the game against the Gulls?
If we go to a back 4, sit deep and counter, I’d hope for a narrow defeat and maybe scraping a draw. If we keep a back 3 and play anywhere like we have in the past few games, I’d expect to lose by 4 or 5.