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Back again By: Eric Hitchmo 21/12/2012

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For many months, perhaps years I have spoken of a tide of apathy sweeping its way over Underhill. That tide has now settled and has been ingrained into the psyche of the remaining Barnet faithful. It is something that very few of us have been able to avoid. The club is, for want of a better phrase, on its arse.

We know all too well that the atmosphere has gone. Not a recognisable positive chant can be regularly heard from the home supporters. Very few can bring themselves to travel any longer. But of course I have covered this ground before. This endless monotony and cycle that spirals us to depths that we didn't think were particularly imagineable, let alone realistic. No one relishes going to watch Barnet. The buzz has fizzled away.

We all know what the cause is too. It's staring us point-blank in the face. The football is atrocious. I am penning this article before I set off to see us play Burton Albion on a bleak, dreary winter's evening. I'm not quite sure why I'm doing it. I know a lot of people who aren't doing it. Believe it or not, there are better things to do. Barnet is not the priority that it once was, when we were moderately successful. Fickle? Oh goodness yes, but as I have said before, loyalty is not limitless. Human beings cannot be expected to continually subject themselves to something that is not enjoyable, especially when they are paying hard earned cash to do it. It doesn't matter if it's football and how loyal you are expected, or supposed to be. Barnet just doesn't do what it is supposed to do: entertain people.

After several years of struggle, after promises that it would improve, we have this year managed to outdo ourselves once again. We have assembled an absolute abomination of a footballing squad, the likes of which I have never seen at Barnet. I am not the only person to believe this. I have no doubt that this squad would struggle to make its mark a level below, perhaps even two levels below. We, the supporters, were told by the football club that the mistakes of the past would not be repeated, and that we would make strides to become a power in the basement of the Football League. Yet again, we have been let down. We face another year of struggle. People don't want to watch that. I struggle to justify attending when I obtain such little enjoyment or pleasure from doing so. I attend out of a force of habit, not out of loyalty or an expectation to be entertained. Will I be overly disappointed if we lose? Will I be overjoyed if we win? The answer to either question is highly unlikely to be in the affirmative.

We're not stupid. We understand the limitations of where we are and as such, we don't expect to be climbing the table each year and winning the league at a canter. On the other hand, we do not understand why we have to put up with what we are currently doing, which is surely no better than just making up the numbers and relying on some form of miracle (Martin Allen) or pantomime distraction (Edgar Davids) in order to prolong our rather pathetic existence as a Football League club.

With the mood and tension amongst the supporters being so fraught at this time, perhaps the proposed move away from Barnet into another London Borough that isn't our own is not the sort of thing that is going to unite people and steady the ship. United is most certainly something we are not over this issue. If you'll scour back amongst the articles over the last year you'll find that I myself was largely positive about this move, but perhaps also you'll observe that I have also been developing a growing unease with it. Fast forward a few more weeks, after all we have penned an article since early November, and you'll find that the unease has transformed itself into full blown doubt.

There are endless views on this matter, that is the one thing that is clear. Everyone has a different idea on what is right and what is wrong. It all melds into something that is as clear as mud. What are Barnet supporters views on the move? Are we vehemently against it? Are we completely and utterly for it? Has the aforementioned football created apathy meant that people just don't care enough any more? Probably a bit of all three, to add to the limitless other caveats that make up a very thorny issue.

From what I can see, an awful lot of people are dead against it and say that they will no longer attend. Why have those people thrown in the towel so easily? If they care that much, wouldn't they try to stop it, or at least make their voices heard a little louder than writing on a message board? A valid question on top of that would be to wonder whether people have had the will to protest slowly and painfully drained away by the football on offer. They have been so very bored of Barnet for so long that it doesn't seem worth it any more?

Of course there are those that are all for it. It's a positive step in the right direction. New facilities that will bring in more money outside of match days which in turn will fund the team on to better things. Well what a lovely idealistic sentiment to believe. In our heart of hearts, can we really bring ourselves to buy that based on the evidence we have seen of late? Continual on-field failure with what appears to be a complete lack of investment in the playing personnel, hanging by a thread to a precarious Football League place.

You'll notice that I'm asking a lot of questions without particularly offering any conclusions. That's because you might say that I am sat firmly on the fence. I believe that Barnet Football Club should take a very long, hard look in the mirror. There are an awful lot of things we need to get right before attempting a bold move like we are doing. Keeping the supporters informed of progression in what is a huge landmark in the history of Barnet FC might be a good starting point. From what we have been told, we are supposed to moving to this new home in what, seven months? Do we see an iota of information that tells us what we are planning? Not a chance. It is an appalling level of communication that we had to accustom ourselves to. How do the club expect to keep fans on side when they are not being told one jot of detail?

I'm afraid that a potentially groundbreaking and beneficial project is being severely blighted. This could be great for Barnet FC, it really could be, but the circumstances are all wrong. People are alienated and they don't want to know. It is hard to put a figure on how many might continue to follow, I wouldn't even want to hazard a guess. The choice at the moment appears to be between uprooting a whole tradition of what people have been doing with their lives for many years to watch a faltering Football League club or worse still, a Non-League club, or simply not bothering at all.

At this moment in time, that choice for plenty of us is being made all too easy.

As sad as it is to contemplate, this club may be heading for oblivion.

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