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The Times Series takes a look over the good, the bad and the ugly of Edgar Davids' 15 months in charge at Barnet
After Edgar Davids’ departure from Barnet we look back over the Dutchman’s best and worst moments with the Bees.
Top four best moments
1) Edgar Davids’ debut will be remembered by Barnet fans for years to come. The club had only taken three points from their first 12 matches last season and were cut adrift at the bottom of League Two.
The Dutchman started against Northampton Town at Underhill. He was, of course, booked but produced a man of the match display to help the Bees to a 4-0 victory and their first win of the campaign.
2) Saturday, January 12, 2012. Barnet travelled to Rotherham United in League Two. The Bees were looking to edge away from the relegation zone while the Millers were in the hunt for promotion.
What followed at the New York Stadium was arguably Barnet’s best display during Davids’ time at the club.
The Bees passing game overwhelmed Rotherham and goals from Jake Hyde and Andy Yiadom secured a deserved 2-0 win. Davids relived his glory days with a tireless performance and was applauded by the home supporters when substituted.
3) Barnet versus Wycombe Wanderers at Underhill on April 20 is a day that will go down in the club’s history.
It was the final match at the Bees’ home of 106 years and they needed to win to remain outside of the relegation zone with one game to play.
They won 1-0. It was dramatic. Jake Hyde scored and Graham Stack saved a last minute penalty. It was the perfect ending.
After the match, Davids said his players “defended Underhill with pride” and felt a better finale couldn’t have been scripted.
4) Arguably Davids’ best moment with the Bees came off the field.
After watching their side lose 3-2 against relegation rival Accrington Stanley - a game in which Davids was sent off – Barnet supporters began to make the long journey home only for their coach to break down on the M6.
Davids was told before he left Accrington about the plight of the travelling Bees fans and decided to come to the rescue.
The players and staff were dropped off at a service station and the first team coach was sent back to pick up the supporters.
The fans were then brought to the same service station and were able to speak with the players and Davids as they waited for a replacement coach.
Top four worst moments
1) You could argue the damage had been done prior to his arrival but it was Davids who was in charge when the Bees were relegated from the Football League.
Barnet’s good form had enabled them to escape the relegation zone but questionable tactical decisions, including Davids playing as a left winger for a number of matches, meant the Bees went into the final game of last season without safety assured.
Barnet were beaten 2-0 by Northampton Town. AFC Wimbledon overcame Fleetwood Town 2-1. The two clubs swapped positions on the final day and it was the Bees who were relegated from League Two. It was a heart-breaking moment (below) for the Barnet players and fans.
2) One of Davids’ stranger decisions was to claim the number one shirt - a squad number traditionally given to goalkeepers. So a change of position? Or some early season ego flexing?
Davids said he wanted to start a trend. It didn’t catch on.
And why did he insist on being referred to as ‘Mister’ by his players during matches?
It led to a number of opponents poking fun at him after games and the former Juventus star even ended up in a Twitter spat with Macclesfield Town defender Andy Halls after the Silkman player described Davids as a “bad Muppet”.
Then there is not going to certain away matches that required an overnight stay. Something no other player or coach would get away with.
3) Davids was once described as ‘the pitbull’ by former Holland manager Louis van Gaal. His stylishly tenacious approach led to 13 yellow cards and five reds in just 38 games – tenacious, foolhardy but perhaps unfairly treated on occasions.
One dismissal was seen by tens of thousands of people across the UK. Against Wrexham Davids caught Stephen Wright with a vicious right elbow only feet from the referee.
It was symptomatic of his cavalier approach to the game; full of passion but sometimes lacking in self-restraint.
Wright required a skin graft to treat the injury. Davids held his hands up and accepted he was in the wrong.
But later in the season, after being sent off at Salisbury City, he wasn’t so apologetic and accused referees of targeting him and Barnet.
4) As manager or head coach it’s pretty much a given that you will attend your side’s matches. Unfortunately for Barnet that wasn’t the case with Davids.
He was excused for missing pre-season matches but supporters were disappointed when the Bees took on Gateshead without Davids in attendance.
Another absence at Halifax brought further questions but Davids said “I don’t have to explain anything to anybody” when asked why he missed games.
Ironically, his last match in charge against Chester was missed by Davids. He was in Italy watching Juventus while the Bees succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.
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