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Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous believes The Hive Football Centre has helped change the club's image
Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous remains adamant the club's move to The Hive Football Centre in Edgware is a temporary one but he feels the facility has helped change the Bees' image.
The club currently train at The Hive but it was confirmed on Monday that the Football League had granted formal permission for Barnet to play their professional matches at the site from the beginning on next season.
It means this campaign will be the final one at Underhill - the Bees home since 1907.
Kleanthous admits everyone at the club is disappointed to be leaving Underhill, and the Borough of Barnet, but insists the Bees had no choice but to move on.
"We need to have facilities that are in the 21st century," he explained. "Underhill is an old stadium and it needs a lot of work. We are constantly spending money to patch it up and to keep it safe. But we need to modernise.
"The lease (which allows access to the south side of Underhill) expired at the end of December and there is nothing more we can do on that.
"The council have given planning permission to us to build a new entrance to the stadium on that side but you can’t access it without the lease.
"So nobody is going to spend several more millions of pounds building a new stadium that you can’t then access. So we have no choice but to move on."
Barnet have again struggled in League Two this season and currently sit just one place above the relegation zone. However, Kleanthous believes that there has been a big change in the image of the club.
He said: "This season we turned a corner. We went from being the club that nobody wanted to play for, to the club that everybody wants to play for.
"We are in a relegation battle but you only have to look at the performances in the past few months and the form is that of a top half of the table side.
"All of a sudden the way the football world looks at the club has changed. That is because we have got away from the old crumbling image of a club in an old facility in a borough that didn’t want us to advance."
A statement released by Barnet on Monday confirmed the new stadium would have an approximate capacity of 5,100 - with 3,500 seated.
The Bees chairman added: "There is no intention to build a big permanent stadium at The Hive.
"What we are building is a small permanent stadium here but the move is intended to be temporary because it will be too small for our use going forward."
Kleanthous remains focused on building a 10,000 seater stadium - which is a minimum Football League requirement for a Championship side - in the future and preferably in Barnet.
The Bees chairman stated that the Hive had 200,000 visitors in the last year and he has welcomed Barnet fans to visit the facility ahead of the move.
"Everybody has easy access here, everything is open to the public and I welcome Barnet fans to come down and have a look," Kleanthous said.
"We are only 500 yards over the border from Barnet but it has been completely different in the London Borough of Harrow - it is very much community based.
"These are the things that we wanted to do at Barnet Copthall and it is just a shame that we were unable to do so."
Councillor Richard Cornelius stated the news that Barnet would be leaving their home of 106 is "very disappointing".
He added: "The council has been trying to work for some time with the football club but I think it has been clear Mr Kleanthous' heart has not been at retaining football at Underhill.”
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