Terry Pierce - League Two strugglers set for very different futures
Published: 29 Mar 2011 - 09:49:03
As the season enters its final throes, the promotion battles and survival struggles are heating up across the three divisions in the Football League.
Possibly the most pertinent and important of these battles is at the foot of League Two. And for the two sides who currently find themselves staring down the barrel of relegation from the Football League, there seems very little light at the end of the tunnel.
Both Stockport County and Barnet are two points off safety but Burton, who currently occupy 22nd position, have four games in hand over both clubs.The gap then quickly extends by another five points, and the bottom two are beginning to look cut off at the foot of the Football League.
Despite their current plights, there are few similarities between the two sides. Barnet were a well-established non-league club for the vast majority of their existence before bouncing between the bottom rung of the professional ladder and the pinnacle of the non-league game for the past two decades.
They're a well-run club who get by on small gates while continually striving to be self-sufficient, particularly with the development of The Hive. The Hive is a 44-acre site that Barnet, alongside local councils, are in the processing of developing into a top-class centre of excellence and training area for the community, Barnet FC and clubs further down the pyramid.
The facilities are second-to-none, and have played host to a number of international sides, and it is refreshing to see a small community club invest so heavily in its future and the local community. Survival is the aim for Barnet and new boss Martin Allen, but relegation would not be the end of the Bees. Further development of the Hive may be impacted, but the club has a secure future and, under Paul Fairclough and chairman Tony Kleanthous, they are being guided by two experienced men with the club in their hearts.
Barnet's Football League future may be in doubt, but their future as a club isn't. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for County.
Less than ten years ago they were playing in the second tier, taking on their near neighbours Manchester City. But after a torrid decade of financial trouble, they've plummeted through the leagues and very nearly out of business. They are also now tenants in their own home, with rugby club Sale Sharks owning Edgeley Park.
New owners, the 2015 consortium, took over last summer, and employed Paul Simpson as manager. But the club have again struggled, resulting in Simpson leaving his post and now the experienced Ray Mathias is in charge. There does not, unfortunately, seem to any light at the end of the tunnel for the Hatters. Relegation will come at a huge cost for a club already feeling the strain.
Both Barnet and County look unlikely to survive the drop now, but while Bees fans can be confident of bouncing back, County fans may well just be hoping for a club to watch next season.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
- Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.
Previous Blog Posts
- A busy Easter in the Football League
- Momentum the key for Reading, Rochdale and Stevenage
- Why Martin Allen was right to dump Barnet for Notts County
- Swindon set to complete unthinkable fall from grace
- League Two strugglers set for very different futures
- Gradi achievements rightfully recognised
- Millwall crowd trouble highlights FA incompetence
- Stadium move inspires Chesterfield success
- High-flying Swansea destined for the Premier League
- Scunthorpe and Sheffield United set for six-pointer
- 5 Football League volleys to rival Rooney's
- Plymouth on the brink of extinction
- Transfer window winners and losers
- Boothroyd's honeymoon period comes to an end
- Championship new-comers find their feet with ease
- Macclesfield mourn yet again
- New year, new start for Championship strugglers
- Football League managers' Christmas wish-lists
- Unconvincing Keane on the brink at Ipswich
- To boo or not to boo - that is the question
- Milan Mandaric: Hero or villain?
- Ferguson Junior calm under pressure
- Bothroyd England call-up confirms Capello's madness
- AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons: The real story
- Seagulls flying towards promotion
- Clinical Cardiff ooze Premier League class
- Boro meltdown started with the sacking of Southgate
- League One made the most of the limelight
- Leicester may regret welcoming Cirque du Sven
- Malky Mackay's youthful Watford are buzzing
- Marlon King returns to the last-chance saloon
- Sensible Burnley show others how it's done
- Hope: Lifeblood of the tortured football fan
- Southampton will regret Pardew sacking
- Warnock fits the bill for QPR
- There's more to life than football
- Portsmouth deserve to be punished
- Championship season preview
- League One Season Preview
- League Two season preview
- World Cup 2010 never caught fire
- European challenge on the ropes
- Groundhog day for England
- Gerrard must play central role for England
- No fear for Millwall in the Championship
- Cardiff fans have reason for optimism
- The beauty of the play-offs
- Leeds hold their nerve to get over the line
- Wednesday are in far better shape than Palace