It has been almost three weeks since Edgar Davids joined Barnet as joint head-coach alongside Mark Robson, as well as resuming his playing career. Many people would have thought of this as a publicity stunt, but this is nowhere near the truth. His arrival has seen Barnet a major upturn in fortunes at the club, and has seen a feel-good factor return to Underhill.
Davids first game in joint charge came against Plymouth Argyle, which took place two days after his arrival. The game was one of our worst performances of the season, as the pre-match hype resounded in a 4-1 home defeat. I walked away from Underhill dejected, both angry and disappointment at the result. This had left us bottom of the pile, with no wins in twelve league games.
Cue the Edgar Davids effect taking place. The Friday of that week saw us take on Northampton Town, whose manager Aidy Boothroyd was very sceptical of Davids arrival. How wrong was he proved! Throughout my time supporting Barnet, this is probably the best game I have ever seen. We were lucky to be going into half-time drawing, but we looked like a different team in the second half. Goals from Krystian Pearce, Andy Yiadom, John Oster and Anthony Edgar gave us a triumphant 4-0 win. Underhill was rocking. Davids ran the show: you would never have guessed he was 39 and had been out of professional football for two years by the way he played. Most importantly was his influence on the pitch; this was something we had been sorely lacking. What most impressed me about Davids was when at the end of the game, three or four journalists and cameramen ran onto the pitch to interview him, but he shunned them for a bit to celebrate with the fans and the players.
The next game saw us face 22nd placed Wycombe Wanderers in arguably what you could call a six-pointer, with this being because we would have gone eight points behind them. It was an insipid encounter, with the game producing a 0-0 draw. A point was the fair result, and our style of play was coming together; if we had had a finisher, we could have won the game.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Chesterfield game. A 90th minute penalty winner by Mark Byrne gave The Bees a second win in three and a third consecutive clean sheet. Listening to the commentary, it appeared that Chesterfield failed to make the most of their opportunities, but it was an equal game on balance. The win has still left us bottom of the pile, but a win against Torquay United Tuesday week will take us out of the relegation zone.
The run was extended with a 1-0 win over Torquay United at Underhill on a cold Tuesday night. A goal from Clovis Kamdjo, the most improved player since Davids’ arrival, scored a brilliant goal with some interchanging moves between other players after a run from the halfway line.
A win away to Morecambe would have lifted us out of the relegation zone, and with the Shrimpers having a notoriously poor home record, spirits were high of this being achieved. Ambitions were quashed within ten minutes though, as Morecambe raced two goals ahead. They doubled their lead in the second-half through a couple of penalties, but both of them arguably should not have been awarded. Hopefully this was just a minor blip in our run, and with a bunch of winnable games coming up, order should be restored.
Edgar Davids has already won himself a place in the hearts of Barnet fans. When his name is read out on the team-sheet, he gets a massive reaction, while his name is chanted throughout the game.
What has impressed me most about him is his humble nature and desire to help the club. Davids is doing the job for free, and there have also been rumours that he is looking to get some Dutch businessman to invest in the club.
His arrival has seen Mark Robson's ideology of productive passing football come to fruition. Not only is a leader on the pitch, but his influence is also noticeable off the pitch. Davids nickname The Pitbull is most relevant, with his tenacious and passionate nature having seen him pick up a yellow card in each of the three league games he has played, although two of them have been undeserved.
While Davids will deservedly take a lot of the credit, others at the club deserve a mention as well. Mark Robson has seemed to grow into the role, and his popularity with the players is evident, as seen when the players ran over to celebrate with him after Yiadom scored the second vs Northampton. This could be the start of a great partnership, and Robson will only get better with experience. The only downer for him in the last few games is his lack of substitutes.
Then there is chairman Tony Kleanthos. He deserves the credit for brining Edgar Davids to the club, but it is his faith in Robson and the ideology that should see him praised. The majority of the fans, including myself, wanted Robson out. He stood by him, and is now reaping the benefits of his patience.
Edgar Davids could not have wished for a better start to his Barnet career. Four games and seven points has seen us make up ground on the rest of the teams. To put this into context, we only had three points in twelve games before The Pitbull’s arrival. If we keep up this form, we should avoid relegation. The future's bright. The future's Orange.
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