The first club to have an openly adverse financial reaction to the current coronavirus situation placed staff on notice yesterday and although they’re not a Football League club right now, they are still a part of what we regard as the ‘Real EFL’.
We set this site up to offer coverage to smaller clubs who were dwarfed by the Premier League and even the Championship, to deliver content on those local clubs who formed part of a community in a way only the lower league does. Just because we’ve chosen to restrict that to League One and League Two (for now) doesn’t mean that we don’t consider clubs like Barnet, Stockport and York worthy. They’re ‘real’ clubs in the sense we intend to get across, clubs with a rich history of being followed fervently by predominately local fans.
Perhaps we’ll extend our remit to the former Football League clubs in the non-league set up soon because in truth we’re all as one; Notts County and Lincoln City may have swapped divisions over the last five or six years, but it doesn’t make either one any less of a club. They’re still the sorts of teams we want to shine a light on, the sort of clubs we intend to give good coverage of.
That’s why yesterday’s announcement from Barnet was tough to take. Many of you reading this will have been to Underhill or the Hive in recent years as a league club, they’re no different to Morecambe, Stevenage or a host of other similar-sized clubs. Sadly, they’re the first to outwardly express a negative impact from the current virus sweeping the country.
“In order to meet the challenges ahead of us, we will have to dismantle our existing cost structure and look to rebuild for next season with a much leaner cost base,” they said in a statement yesterday.
“We have therefore taken the difficult decision to put all Barnet FC staff on notice. This is to include all first-team coaching and backroom staff, the Barnet FC Academy and many of the operational staff across all areas of the Club.
“Having previously announced that all Academy funding the Club receives from the EFL comes to an end at the end of this season, Academy staff had already been made aware of the situation.”
Barnet are currently 11th in the National League, but the situation has now plunged their immediate future into doubt. They might be the first to deliver bad news to their supporters, but they won’t be the last and very soon it is likely we’ll see the same in the EFL too.
That said, perhaps this national pandemic isn’t purely to blame, which seems to be the feeling of some of the Bees’ supporters on Twitter.
Fans, this is the same man who made all Academy staff "Redundant" during the summer off-season, made them all apply for their jobs again and re-appointed. All so he didnt have to pay them over the Summer break. A real people person. ?
— Dean Selvey (@DeanSelvey) March 17, 2020
So the club as we know it is finished…the Academy coaching staff and even the only man who had faith in this team is getting his cards…can’t express what I want to say to TK or would probably get a summons dropping on my door mat but just to say I’m done, gone, finished…
— Dragonfly29 (@Dragonfly293) March 17, 2020
Lost half our fan base due to relegation?! More like when TK sold off underhill and moved us out of barnet all to line his own pocket! Underhill was always full, even when in the conference. Can't even fill half the hive during a local derby!
— David gray 'Grizzle' (@DeeGrizzle) March 17, 2020
Come on mate we might not even be a club in a month. Show some respect for the local non league teams.
— Charlie Sears ? (@CharcharSears) March 17, 2020
I miss that stadium so many memories and now this horrendous situation we find ourselves in
— Bill Haynes (@bhaynes190) March 18, 2020
This is where the media organisations that fleece us to pay pundits millions to talk bollox ( Jamie Redknapp, Michael Owen Steve mcmanaman etc) and should redirect a bit of dough to this sort of thing. Might not help a lot but a bit.
— RSpurs1980(“Don’t get your hopes up.”Levy 2020) (@RSpurs1980) March 17, 2020
A lot of people are in for a tough time. We are all gonna need to do our bit to help. Let’s hope that everyone can pull in the same direction
— Michael O'Sullivan (@Michael87977383) March 17, 2020