Edgar Davids is fast approaching his one-year anniversary as manager of Barnet and although the North London club were relegated there has been significant progress made on and off the pitch.
Davids joined Barnet in a player-co-manager role last October, sharing team responsibilities with Mark Robson. The Bees were rock bottom of League Two on three-points without a win. Despite losing his first game, Barnet went on to win three of the next five and the Bees started to climb up the table.
However, Barnet, now solely managed by Davids, could not pull away from the drop zone and they were unfortunately relegated on the last day of the season after defeat to Northampton Town.
Barnet have made a good start to the new season in the Conference National and currently sit in the play-off positions. The big challenge for Davids now is to bring some of that continental pizazz to Barnet’s new multi-million pound stadium and training complex The Hive.
Davids played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Ajax and Juventus and won 74-caps for the Netherlands. The 40-year-old midfielder is certainly the star performer in the Conference which can only be a good thing for the league.
Every team in the Conference will host one the best midfielders in world football from the past 20-years at some point this season. Davids star-wattage could play no small part in helping some of these clubs have a more financially solvent year than if he was not gracing the Conference National stadia. How often will a team such as Hyde FC have an opportunity for a player of Davids stature in the game grace their Ewen Fields?
Braintree and Tamworth can already boast a better attendance for their games against Barnet than other teams they have hosted. Braintree can boast a 65% increased attendance for the game against Barnet than their previous games this season.
Barnet obviously hope that Davids will be able to enhance the club in every way as they fight for their own financial stability.
Previously clubs like Barnet relied heavily on a big pre-season fixture to pull in the crowds and reward the financial coffers with a big gate. Barnet, indeed, had a regular fixture arrangement with Premier League Arsenal but that recently came to an end.
The Bees pre-season instead featured home friendlies against Ipswich Town and MK Dons with a fixture against another Premier League club falling through at the last minute.
It is a situation that chairman Anthony Kleanthous expressed his disappointment about to SportsDirect News back in May, but with Davids as manager, you would hope that next year’s pre-season will be garnished with at least one of Europe’s elite.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil, now of Arsenal, recently graced Bournemouth’s Dean Court as the South Coast club hosted Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly, surely Davids could attract one of his previous teams for next season and give the club’s finances a much needed shot in the arm.