THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Division Three

Barnet v Lincoln 40022 January ~ There are three trains of thought (if that's not too strong a word) in any given manager's column at the start of the match programme. Either he is disappointed to have lost the last game, obviously, but hoping for an improved showing today. Or, he's delighted to have won it, and is now expecting the lads to go on a run and show what they're really made of. Finally, we lost to or drew with a bigger side, but we deserved to win. That would be Barnet's John Still after losing to Reading (a team one division above them "who have spent millions on their squad") in the Auto Windscreen Shield the previous Tuesday. "It gave me a great deal of pleasure," Still sensuously proclaims, "to see my team competing against so-called better players and showing their true capabilities."

You can imagine Still (or any other manager) at a Jackson Pollock exhibition loudly telling other visitors that, given a canvas and a tin of paint, his five-year-old could have done better than that. Or sitting in Heston Blumenthal's restaurant loudly and proudly telling the waiter that he'd rather eat his wife's shepherd's pie than any bloody jambonneau of duck, thank you very much. Or so-called jambonneau of duck.

Barnet were equal top of the fourth tier at the time of this game, and there's an air of hubris throughout the programme. Still looks forward to playing the likes of Reading in the next campaign ("We will not settle for being also-rans"). A match report on the win against Southend loftily notes that it's "unlikely that these two sides will lock horns again next season". But despite dominating mid-table Lincoln in this encounter, Barnet finished sixth and went out to Peterborough in the first round of the play-offs. Back on the bus to Roots Hall, lads.

Targeting the fan demographic "Strike Now. Boot out bank charges. If you could tackle an account..." etc. Nationwide goes on to mention "cash machines home and away" and giving your current bank "the red card". Because this ad appears in a football programme, you see.

Ooh, the programme editor's got a crush on... Lee Gledhill, with no less than six colour pictures, including the front cover and the “come hither” centre spread. Barnet's shirt sponsor – Loaded. Phwooargh, look at the boots on that!

Result Barnet 5 Lincoln 3

Crowd 2,504

Barnet Harrison, Stockley, Sawyers, Arber, Doolan, Charelry, Currie, Basham, Hackett, McGliesh, Brown

Lincoln Richardson, Bimson, Brown, Finnigan, Fleming (Philpott), Gordon, Miller, Battersby, Smith, Henry, Welsh

Ian Plenderleith

Ian Plenderleith's "Rock n Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League" is out now, published by Icon Books

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