By John Mead
Annual Football League survivors Barnet buoyed by new Management and the prospect of finally moving to a landlord friendly Stadium will be taking the game very seriously. Newly appointed and highly respected Head Coach Mark Robson may not find it so easy finding his way around the Meadow Park facilities after a twelve year absence however!
Things have changed for the better behind the scenes since “Robbo” made thirty-two appearances for Wood back in the 1999/2000 Season, the year that Chairman Danny Hunter took to the helm. “Robbo” kept up his fitness after a professional Career that spanned thirteen years and included Exeter City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Notts. County, by turning out for Wood in what was sadly a relegation Season from the Ryman Football League Premier Division.
His very presence that year proved to be a lasting legacy before departing with badges intact to forge out a Coaching Career with Charlton Athletic, then enjoying similar roles at Gillingham and Peterborough United. It was already blatantly obvious back in 2000 that “Robbo” had an enormous amount to give to football. His very presence and enthusiasm coupled with a totally professional attitude rubbed off on those around him and it is no surprise that Barnet have given him the lead Coaching role.
Meadow Park is totally unrecognisable behind the scenes since “Robbo” made his way to and from the changing rooms. State of the art classrooms, gym facilities, full size Astroturf facilities and superb bar and Boardroom areas compliment one of the leading PASE learning Schemes in the Country, with 250 boys enrolled in the exciting project.
On the pitch “Robbo” will hopefully find the current Wood team embarking upon their third Season at Conference South level, a far cry from the transitional times at the turn of the century. Ian Allinson will be mindful of the 2 – 10 drubbing that The Bees recently handed out to St. Albans City. They also hit six past Burnham Ramblers, before losing 1 – 4 to Charlton Athletic last Thursday evening.
Mauro Vilhete, who showed Wood fans what a prospect he is whilst on Loan here last Season, has featured in all three Barnet Friendlies under Robson, after being ignored at the end of last Season by his parent Club. He scored in both the Burnham and St. Albans City games and will no doubt be a real handful again this weekend.
Wood will be without Luke Garrard who will be keeping Ian company on the bench as the Assistant Manager nurses a hamstring.