Mark Robson: 'Barnet appointment was a long time coming'

Times Series: Mark Robson spoke to the Times Series for the first time this week. Picture: Action Images Mark Robson spoke to the Times Series for the first time this week. Picture: Action Images

Barnet’s new boss hopes to bring excitement to the long-suffering supporters at Underhill and feels the partnership between himself and the club “fits like a glove".

The name Mark Robson may not have been recognised by the majority of Bees supporters before his appointment on Sunday but he is a highly respected coach who has earned his stripes since his playing career ended prematurely at the age of 29 due to a knee injury.

The 43-year-old took his first coaching badge at the age of 18, when he “caught the bug and was hooked”, and was fully qualified by the age of 26. He has gone on to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence following the overhaul of the system.

His coaching career began at Charlton Athletic, where he worked with the youth team for six years before progressing to the reserve side and then first team.

He decided he wanted to move into management and joined Mark Stimson at Gillingham in 2008, on the understanding he would be allowed to leave if a position became available.

A move to Peterborough United followed, where he worked under Gary Johnson and Darren Ferguson, before he swapped London Road for Underhill.

Robson had been interviewed for four manager’s positions in the past, one of which was the vacant slot at his former club Gillingham, but after a phone call from the Bees, he spoke to director of football Paul Fairclough and then chairman Tony Kleanthous and decided The Hive was where he wanted to start his managerial career.

In an exclusive interview with the Times Series, Robson said: “I am very excited. It has been a long time coming to be honest as it is something I have wanted for a while now. I feel like I have done plenty of time in terms of building up to it and I am ready and raring to go.”

Barnet have described the appointment as “a comprehensive transformation of the club’s footballing strategy” and naming him head coach rather than manager emphasises the change – with the Bees hoping to establish “a pure footballing brand”.

As well as overseeing first-team matters, Robson will be tasked with helping to develop the Academy system at The Hive Training Centre.

“The club’s plans were right up my street in terms of how I would like to do things and I felt it fitted like a glove to be honest,” he added.

“When I came to the training ground, straight away I was like ‘wow, this place is amazing’, and it is a lovely set-up. The passion I felt straight away was great but when I spoke to Paul and the chairman, they asked my philosophy on how I do things and they were on the same wavelength and it sat well with me.”

Robson, who lives in Upminster with his wife Julie and children Sophie and Jack, started his playing career at Exeter City before moving “home” to London to play for Tottenham Hotspur.

Shortly after breaking into the Spurs side though, he suffered a knee injury and subsequently joined West Ham United, where he spent a year-and-a-half before moving to Charlton. After four years at The Valley, he joined Notts County, where his playing career ended prematurely at 29.

There will be more from Robson on the Times Series website tomorrow morning.

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