Over 20 years of writing about my club in Barnet matchday programmes, which sold to about 500 souls on a good day, now with this Blog Site everyone can read my ramblings, memories, interviews, experiences, features, guides to away grounds and pure love of everything Barnet Football Club. Enjoy and digest and tell your friends.
Reckless - Potters Bar March 2014.
Oh Yes, thank you to"Al" without whom.......that is all
John Still, a three times Conference winning manager joining a three time Conference winning club - what's not to like?
the relegation of Barnet Football Club and its return to the
Conference/National League, John Still has returned as Manager for
the second time.
Leonard Still was born in West Ham in April 1950, he joined Leyton
Orient as a youth at centre half in May 1967. A knee injury plagued
his playing days and he moved to Bishop Stortford in 1970 onto
Leytonstone in 1972 and then Dagenham in 1974. Surgery unfortunately
didn't save his career and he retired from playing aged just 26 to
concentrate on part time coaching while holding down a job as a
became manager of Leytonstone shortly afterwards and as Leytonstone &
Ilford took them to the Isthmian League title in 1982. A later move
to Dartford saw him oversee a Southern League Premier championship
United came calling in 1986. Three years later he had guided them to
the Conference title and promotion to the Football League.
wishing to become full time he resigned and linked up with a newly
formed Redbridge Forest in 1989. More success followed with another
Isthmian League title and promotion into the Football Conference. The
club then merged with Dagenham to become Dagenham & Redbridge in
August 1994 John accepted a full time position at 2nd
Division Peterborough United. After a unsuccessful stay at London
Road he took a short term coaching role at Lincoln City but Tony
Kleanthous appointed John as manager at Underhill in June 1997.
for players was allocated for the first time in a number of years and
his first major signings for the Bees came in August when “King”
Kenny Charlery signed from Stockport for £80,00 and then Greg Heald
from Peterborough, for what is still a club record fee of £130,000.
By September Scott McGleish had joined the club for another £70,000
club finished 7th in the 3rd Division to make
the play-offs where Barnet lost out to Colchester 3-2 on aggregate.
The 2nd leg at Layer Road will always be etched in the
memory of John and indeed the supporters as it was a frankly very
poor refereeing performance from Terry Helibron. A definite penalty
should have been awarded for a foul on Dean Samuels in the dying
minutes for Barnet. Had we scored from it it would have won the tie
on away goals. Did Terry lose his cool as the atmosphere at the
ground that evening was to say the least “heated”?
16th league finish in 1998-99 was followed in 1999-2000 by
another play-off appearance. The Bees loosing out 5-1 on aggregate to
Still's former club Peterborough United.
November 2000 Still moved “upstairs” to a Director of Football
role with the high profile signing of a player-manager in ex West Ham
and England international Tony Cottee. The club were sitting a pretty
10th in the league at that point but a disastrous loss of
form soon saw us in relegation danger. Cottee was sacked in March but
even with all his resolve and skills John could not stop that
eventual fateful day in May as the Bees lost 3-2 to Torquay United in
a winner take all game at Underhill.
offered to stay on in his manager/director role allowing 1st
team coach Ian Culverhouse to develop and in time take the reins but
that never materialised as Ian left the club in January 2001. John
resigned as manger a month later but continued his directorship until
the end on the season.
next stop was Bristol Rovers as assistant to Ray Graydon. Financial
difficulties within the club led to contact termination in December
April 2004 Still returned to the club that has honestly meant more to
him than any other, Dagenham and Redbridge. In 2006-7 with still five
games left to play The Daggers won the Conference and were promoted
to the Football League – the second time John had achieved this
2010, the club reached the play-off final at Wembley and beat
Rotherham United 3-2 to gain promotion to the third tier of the
League, an amazing achievement bearing in mind the resources
available to him. John was awarded London Sports Personality of the
Year to boot!
limited budget didn't make things easy for the club in League 1 and
they were relegated at the end of the season.
February 2013 he joined Luton Town with ex bee Haken Hayrettin as his
right hand man. By April 2014 Luton had won the Conference title and
gained promotion back to the Football League. John had now done it
John was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Luton.
December John was sacked by Luton and rejoined a struggling Dagenham
& Redbridge. A further three seasons then followed at Victoria
Road, and the guard of honour for Barnet after we had won the
Conference title in 2015 did not go unnoticed as the work of John.
The phone call from Tony Kleanthous came once again. John became
Barnet manager for the second time on 17th May 2018.
to summarise John's first stint at Underhill is quite complicated as
success in reaching two play offs in hindsight was an excellent
achievement, bearing in mind the turmoil the club were going through
with the ground and the budget resources. We certainly witnessed some
very good players through John's connections. Darren Currie
especially along with Heald, McGleish and John Doolan. Yet
still the discussion will go on, and will do within more senior supporter
circles as how on earth did that team of 1998-99 nearly get relegated
and how that side of 2000-1 actually did? John favoured the long ball
game, that didn't feel right at Barnet. Although in fairness did we
have the calibre of players to play a passing game from the back
has always been approachable and was always happy to listen to
criticism from supporters, the Durham Bar was like a courthouse some
afternoons after the final whistle. However he is a man that is
genuinely liked and respected throughout football and is a fantastic
the Q & A at the Hive recently he said that his favourite player
from his previous time at Underhill was the aforementioned Darren
Currie - and of course “Ruby” is his current second in command -
he has vowed to play his strongest team in every competition.
the first Q and A session when he joined the club in 1997 - one has
to remember we had been witnessing/enduring the style of Alan Mullery
which with respect was never going to appease Bees fans – we were
all sceptical to say the least. I remember asking him if he was a
manager who is on the touch line in a track suit barking out orders
and getting involved or someone who is happy to sit in the stand in a
three piece suit or in the dug out with a cigar? I was wearing a
favourite bright amber casual shirt (which over the years had faded
and got a little worn) with black jeans. “I see you are suitably
attired to have the cheek ask someone about what they like to wear!
Are you the fashion Guru here?”.
that moment on on I liked him, even though he would frustrate me
bringing every player back for a corner, a tactic that I will always
disagree with unless its the last minute of a game.
Lee Harrison's testimonial dinner was arranged in the Durham Suite
John was one of the first to accept my invitation and he spent the
evening talking to literally everyone and especially to Guest Speaker
Barry and John at Lee Harrison Testimonial
manager of Luton, I had lunch in the corporate with a Luton
supporting friend who did not believe that I sort of knew John. His
coach and my old friend Haken Hayrettin came into the bar and invited
us into the managers office after the game where Martin had never
been before even after having a season ticket for 20 odd years. “Now
I believe you know John Still” he said as the beers came out of the
fridge, “look who's here?” said Stilly.
back John – it goes without saying that I hope by the end of the
season (or maybe next) The Hive will feel more like home and you will
be making it a fourth time overseeing a return to the Football
three times Conference winning manager joining a three times
Conference winning club. What's not to like?
Thank you to John Paul Patrick Hunt for his contribution to the piece. Tidy.