Following much speculation and anticipation Barnet FC would like to bring supporters up to speed with the latest developments on the future of the Underhill site and the ongoing campaign for a return to the Borough of Barnet, the club’s traditional home.
For legal reasons we have previously been prohibited from making a public statement, and also felt it better to allow the recent local elections to pass rather than enter into the political debate given the long-standing affiliation and affection that many voters in the local area have for the football club.
However, we are now able to announce that Underhill has been sold to the government Education Funding Agency, who will shortly submit a planning application to build a new school bringing to a close the debate surrounding the future of this historical site, which served as Barnet FCs home for a hundred and six years.
Chairman Anthony Kleanthous says:
“Barnet will of course always be our true and traditional home, and it goes without saying that everybody connected with the club will always hold dear the countless memories that we have from the unforgettable years at Underhill.
“To meet the fast changing need of modern football we were wholly reliant on the support of Barnet Council to help find us somewhere to build a new stadium and before moving to The Hive I spent twenty long years trying to win that support.
“Political control of The London Borough of Barnet has always been on a knife edge, and our problems stem from the continual changing politics at the helm. Due to the length of my tenure I have outlived most of the politicians and executives so have witnessed the changes first hand but the final straw for me was Barnet Councils decision to give the Copthall site to another club for free, leaving us with no hope for a future stadium in the Borough.
“Its disappointing that local councillors were unable or unwilling to fight to keep the greatest sporting community asset this borough could have hoped for but that’s history now and we have moved on to pastures new starting a new chapter at The Hive.
“Although I have always fully supported the ‘Back to Barnet’ campaign, following over two years of fundraising and campaigning I think it would be fair to say that its probably time to move on.
“There can be no doubt that Barnet FC currently find themselves in a much better place than when we left Underhill in April 2013 and hope one day we will return but cannot see this in either the short or medium term.
“I have never allowed myself to be diverted in my devotion and duty to the Club, and as a result feel that it is best that we all now focus on making our new home here at The Hive as comfortable as possible. We need to build on the positive momentum and focus on the future not the past.
“We are coming off the back off a hugely positive season that will live long in the memory, and now find ourselves in a strong position to capitalise on that recent success and push even higher up the Football League.
“Plans for the new season are already well underway with the manager being provided with funds to make the signings that he feels can help the team push for another promotion.
“What we need now is for all of our fantastic supporters to get behind Martin, the players and the Club as we enter into what I have no doubt will be a hugely exciting future for Barnet FC.”