Former Barnet striker Jake Hyde feels the Bees had the ability to win promotion last term but lacked the ‘know how’ to return to League Two at the first time of asking.
Martin Allen’s side eventually finished eighth in the Conference, three places and seven points outside of the play-offs after a mid-season collapse which saw Edgar Davids resign as head coach.
And Hyde [pictured], who has completed a switch to York City, believes the Bees’ lack of experience cost them a proper shot at a return to the Football League at the first attempt.
“We were really gutted about it [not winning promotion] because we knew, as a side, we had underachieved,” admitted Hyde.
“We had all sorts of ability in that changing room and that’s what I mean when I say the discipline and the know-how to see out a game because we didn’t have that and it showed last season.
“We had one of, if not the strongest side ability-wise. But sometimes, being a young side means it’s not about ability, it’s about know-how,” continued Hyde.
“It was frustrating but we never stopped until we knew it was impossible to get promoted. We knew if we did perform, we could sneak five or six wins back-to-back and we did at one stage, so you can’t really give up when you are capable of things like that.”
The 2013/14 campaign was a frustrating one for Hyde in a personal capacity too, with the 23-year-old forced to spend a large period of the season on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
Having started the campaign in impressive form, scoring six in his first five, Hyde’s season was curtailed in the autumn, playing just once between mid-September and late December.
Rather than sulk whilst he was sidelined, Hyde worked hard and used the time effectively, assuring a quick return to sharpness when he resumed training.
“No one likes watching football, they want to be out there playing and we had a little patch in the middle where we lost a few games on the bounce and I was sat there watching it and feeling helpless in the stands; it was horrible,” admitted Hyde.
“I worked harder than I ever had in my life to get back fit and I think it showed after the injury, it didn’t take me too long to gain fitness because of how hard I’d worked.
“I try to take positives out of the bad things and what I did learn last year was how important it is to work hard off of the pitch to become a better player on the pitch,” Hyde mused.
“That is one thing that, as a young player, it might take a four month injury and watching from the stands to learn that.”
Reflecting on his time at the club as a whole, it comes as little surprise the final match at Underhill ranks as Hyde’s best moment in black and amber.
“It’s got to be Underhill. To score the last-ever goal at Underhill is something that will stay with me my whole career, my whole life,” said Hyde.
“It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Underhill and the drama; we thought we were going to stay up at the time and to score an 85th minute winner and for Graham Stack to pull off that save in the dying moments of the game, that feeling, I will never forget.
“I had cramp in my legs and was hobbling around, I could barely even move and I sprinted 60 yards. That’s something I can’t even explain; there was no better way to send off that stadium.”