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(South) Underhill
We are the famous Barnet FC and we come from Underhill. By: Eric Hitchmo & Max Bygraves 20/02/2024




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Something remarkable happened yesterday. Like many, I thought the opportunity and hope of this occasion had passed. It looks like Barnet FC will be returning to Barnet. Not only that, but it’s South Underhill, the very site we were so close to developing over 20 years ago.

When I clicked on “Chairman’s Statement” around midday yesterday, I wasn’t expecting much beyond an update on facilities and arrangements at The Hive. Maybe it was going to be something to encourage us to back the team as we chase an FA Trophy final or Playoff push. No, it was something far bigger than that. I had to pinch myself when I read that first paragraph. I was absolutely stunned. Emotional.

Listeners of the podcast and regular readers will know that the three of us here at DSH have been vocal critics of The Hive and indeed the chairman since we moved. We had, in varying degrees, turned away from the club that we loved so much because of it. Whilst we have largely managed to ignore the issues that plague the everyday match going experience while the on-field product remains very good, there is still an underlying dissatisfaction about how the club has been run in recent years.

Today is not the day for that. Today is a reason to celebrate. Today is a reason to believe that maybe all will be well with our little football club once again.

I don’t want to get too carried away as we have been here before. First Copthall, then South Underhill, followed by a seemingly endless saga with Underhill that dogged us for years before we finally cut ties and moved into The Hive. I will only believe it when the final brick is laid, and the first ball is kicked. There will be many steps and hurdles to overcome no doubt.

What harm in a little bit of visualisation though, eh? I’m sure you’ve all pictured your hypothetical matchday for that first game at South Underhill since reading the statement. The idea these previously far-fetched fantasies could become a reality is truly mind-blowing.

Anyway, it goes a lot deeper for me. It’s the statement of intent from the chairman. It’s the fact that he’s recognised a need for us to return home. It’s the idea that he’s actually serious about this and has put time, money and effort into the project. How did he keep this under wraps for so long? I am gobsmacked.

If Tony Kleanthous manages to pull this off, then it would go a long way to repairing the trust that has been lost over the years. I have been a vocal critic of the chairman, but you can believe me when I say that if this happens, almost all will be forgiven. Almost!

I think most if not all of us were resigned to the fact that The Hive was our future, but the unanimous support for this announcement speaks volumes. I have not seen one negative comment. Never has there been a more united opinion on a Barnet FC matter. Everyone knows this is the right thing to do and my god, what a shot it in the arm to galvanise our support in the coming weeks and months. You can imagine the positive air that will fill the terraces at Aldershot and then back The Hive vs. York City on Saturday.

What’s vital now is that as this develops and hopefully progresses over the coming weeks, months and even years, this venture gets the full backing of Barnet fans past and present. Whatever support is needed, we all have a duty to throw everything at it. Write to the council? Pass me the pen. March up Barnet Hill or wherever needed? Shoes already on. Hold up a placard before a televised game? Give me three, mate.

We did all this at the turn of the century and into the 2000s, to no avail, but I don’t imagine anyone involved then regrets those efforts and it feels like now we’re coming at this from a different position. The unsuccessful campaigning and eventual exit from Underhill was mired in apathy and turgid football. Morale was low and many just walked off shaking their heads. We now have an opportunity to build lots of positive momentum on a journey that for so many years has felt near impossible. It’s often said you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone – well now is the chance to get it back!

The fact it’s South Underhill as well is the icing on the cake. The thought that we could be once again walking down Barnet Hill to a game and seeing the floodlights on the horizon fills me with so much joy that I can barely put it into words. The idea that we could be drinking in local Barnet pubs before strolling down to South Underhill, under the railway bridge, into Westcombe Drive. I can scarcely believe it. RE-OPEN THE PAVILION!

Listen closely and you will hear me chanting from over the Irish Sea. “UNDERHILL, UNDERHILL, WE’RE THE FAMOUS BARNET FC AND WE COME FROM UNDERHILL!”




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20/02/2024 (South) Underhill


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