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Pride of Barnet
Barnet FC and Barnet Council celebrated the team's promotion to the Football League at a civic reception at the town hall, and put all talk of a new stadium on the back burner for the evening, at least.
The players, management and directors of the newly-crowned Conference champions arrived at Tuesday evening's reception in Hendon in style on an open-top bus decked out in black and orange, with a banner proudly proclaiming Champions!' The party at the town hall, hosted by Mayor of Barnet Wendy Prentice, was the last stop on their triumphant tour around Barnet. Mrs Prentice, who presented club chairman Tony Kleanthous with a glass vase with the borough's crest engraved on it, said: "Barnet is my second team and I'm delighted that, during my mayoral year, I'm able to celebrate at least one championship her team Arsenal surrendered their Premier League crown to Chelsea on Saturday.
"I think the club makes a major contribution to the local community and we are here tonight to celebrate a remarkable achievement."
Accepting the gift, Mr Tony Kleanthous said: "We are a community club and proudly carry Barnet's name the length and breadth of the country. This reception is about Paul Fairclough the manager and the players. They went top of the league in August and stayed there."
According to council tradition, one of the Barnet players was invited to take part in a robes show', which saw striker Liam Hatch temporarily don mayoral robes (not those worn by Mrs Prentice she kept hers on).
A proud Mr Fairclough said he was overcome by the response of people who had lined the bus route up Barnet Hill and High Street, Barnet.
Regarding the reception, he added: "This was a big moment for us. The longer it goes on, the more of an impact it's having on me and the more profound it is. It's beginning to sink in now."
Fans will be hoping the club and council can meet at the town hall again in the near future this time to thrash out the terms of a new stadium which will satisfy Football League standards.