Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous says he is “very unhappy” with Barnet’s failure to reach the Conference play-offs, accusing the players of lacking a “winning mentality”.
The Bees started their first campaign back in the Conference in eight years in promising fashion, winning four of their first six and even topping the table after a 3-0 win at Braintree in August.
But Edgar Davids’ side could not maintain that positive start and began to fall away through September and October, with just one victory from their next nine league fixtures seeing the Bees fall out of the play-off picture and into a seasonal low of 12th place.
Inconsistency eventually saw Davids relinquish his role as head coach by mutual consent in January, with first former boss turned director of football Paul Fairclough and then assistants Dick Schreuder and Uli Landvreugd stepping up on a short-term basis without cementing the Bees’ top-five spot.
Schreuder and Landvreugd oversaw a total of nine league fixtures, putting together a run of five consecutive victories in January to re-claim a top-five berth. However four straight defeats saw the Bees come back down to earth with a bump and tumble out of the top five.
Answering questions put forward by supporters on the club’s website, Kleanthous revealed his displeasure at the side’s failure to secure a play-off spot at the first attempt.
“On the field, I do not feel we have been successful at all and am very unhappy at the way we allowed the opportunity to at least qualify for the play-offs slip away,” he explained.
“This is the worst finish in my 20 years as chairman and those involved need to take a long look at themselves and ask if they could have done more over the season.”
The Dutch duo of Schreuder and Landvreugd were both demoted to their original roles of assistant head coaches to make room for Martin Allen, who returned to the club for his fourth stint as manager in mid-March, but was ultimately unable to provide the Bees with the boost required to make the cut.
Three wins from eight games under Allen’s stewardship was not enough to crowbar the Bees into the play-off places as they eventually finished eighth – three places and seven points shy of a season extension.
Kleanthous continued by criticising the players’ mentality: “On the pitch, we need a winning mentality because too many times we have lacked the instinct to get the job done and finish teams off.
“We have made considerable progress off the pitch but need to keep improving which means a smoother and more efficient operation at The Hive and a better match-day experience.”
Landvreugd left the club in April as Allen re-structured his coaching staff and on Tuesday, Schreuder also left in order to became manager at Dutch side VV Katwijk.
The 42-year-old joined the Bees at the beginning of the season from amateur club SDV Barneveld as head of coaching having guided the side to promotion prior to his departure.
As a result of their failure to win promotion, Barnet will have to cut their cloth accordingly ahead of their second season out of the Football League, with the financial realities already biting, leading to the transfer-listing of Keanu Marsh-Brown and the out-of-contract Jake Hyde.
However Kleanthous believes there is no reason why the Bees shouldn’t be aiming for promotion again next term and said: “We are now faced with a further cut in funding but despite this should have enough resources to mount a competitive challenge. I really can’t wait for next season to start.”