DEAN WELCOMES DEFENDER CARL PEARCE TO NORTHWOOD FOR THE 2018/19 CAMPAIGN
Northwood Football Club, who for the 2018/19 season will play in the Bostik League South/Central Division, have appointed Dean Barker as their manager.
Barker spent last season in charge of Wingate and Finchley under 23s and was very successful in winning the Isthmian League Development North Division as well as reaching two cup finals. Previous to his time with The Blues he was in charge of Cockfosters taking them to their highest ever finish in their history when they finished third in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division in 2016/17.
He will be assisted by Frank Piazza (following Barker from W&F), Steve Rolfe (was with Welwyn Garden City who were SSMFL champions last season), Scott Dash (was boss at Leverstock Green last season) , Ben Andreos and Chris Stead (goalkeeping coach). Both Ben and Chris were with Barker during his time at Cockfosters. TheColdEnd spoke to Dean about his footballing career and the forthcoming season with Northwood.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOTBALLING HISTORY?
I played many years of semi-professional football scoring over 300 goals in the process. I was the record goalscorer for Cockfosters scoring 48 goals in one season and I'm really proud that record still stands with the club to date.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS IN YOUR COACHING/MANAGERIAL CAREER TO DATE?
Losing finals is not great but as someone told me this season it's better to reach them and experience the occasion than not at all. I'm very happy with reaching six finals in three years of managing so far.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE MOMENT IN YOUR COACHING/MANAGERIAL CAREER TO DATE?
Managing Cockfosters was a great experience and beating Hampton & Richmond Borough (who went on to be Isthmian Premier Champions) in a world record penalty shoot out at their place was up there, along with winning the Charity Cup against then step four Potters Bar Town. It was also lovely to break so many records at a club I hold close to my heart and make the people at the club so happy and see their enjoyment during the two years.
Winning the league at Wingate & Finchley FC last season with the U23 side and in the process becoming the first team in Wingate's history to win a senior league will be something I look back on in years to come with fond memories.
SUM UP LAST SEASON WITH WINGATE AND FINCHLEY u23S?
A brilliant experience all round meeting fantastic people along the way from within the club and elsewhere. The first team had their second best league finish in the club's history. The U18s reached the furthest the club had in the FA Youth Cup for 20 years and played against league two side Barnet at The Hive. To learn from Keith Rowland was fantastic along with being successful in winning the league and reaching two cup finals with the U23 group was brilliant. Also seeing our young players making their first team debuts was a joy to watch. Seventeen year old Luke Alfano playing at Conference South Hemel Hempstead Town FC in the FA Cup, Seventeen year old Isaac Ebelebe and 18 year old Ned Clarke scoring against Dorking Wanderers FC was great for our set up. Not forgetting seventeen year old Ruben Rabstein making his debut in goal away at Harrow Borough FC.
I managed the first team away at Margate (while Keith was away) who had only lost once all season at home and were second at the time in front of 700 to 800 people and winning a crazy game 4-3 after being down to nine men is something I will also remember. Only negative was losing the cup finals but the young group will have benefited so much from the experience.
WHO WERE THE BEST TEAM YOUR TEAM COME UP AGAINST AND WHO WAS THE BEST PLAYER YOUR TEAM COME UP AGAINST?
At U23 level probably East Grinstead Town FC - they were a very good side packed with first team players on the night. First team wise it was nice to come up against a star studded Billericay Town FC four times during the season.
There were some really good young players in the U23 league especially at Brentwood Town and in the two finals against Margate and Hastings United.
First team wise it was good to see our own Spencer McCall, Joe Kizzi and Nathan Mavila progress during the season even though it affected our team. Opposition wise I thought Byron Lawrence at Leiston FC was outstanding and Jake Reed was the best striker I saw during the season. He played for Lowestoft Town FC and Leiston FC last season.
YOUR AIMS FOR NORTHWOOD FOR THIS FORTHCOMING SEASON?
Firstly I'm delighted to have be given an opportunity to manage at Step four with a club who have a solid and proud non league history. Obviously they have struggled during the last few seasons so this season will be about getting the community together as one to support the club, giving the youngsters at the club an opportunity to shine and if we can finish in the top ten I think it would of been an hugely successful season. Everyone at the club is looking forward to facing a team from Premier League Chelsea in a pre season friendly on Saturday 14th July 2018.
WHICH TEAM ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO FACING IN YOUR NEW LEAGUE?
I'm have followed non-league football all my life with my dad so I like going to new grounds/stadiums I haven't been to before and coming up against experienced managers who have been in the game along time. I see every game as an opportunity to learn, gain an experience so I can't wait for pre-season to start on Tuesday 26th June 2018 at Northwood.
HOW CAN THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION IMPROVE FOOTBALL AT GRASS ROOTS AND NON-LEAGUE LEVEL?
Many people would say pumping money into non league football will help. Clubs are seeing the benefits of astro surfaces now and the income it brings in. I'm still old school and believe football should be played on grass but I can understand why clubs are going down that route. In non league football in particular you meet some great people who love their clubs and give up so much of their free time and for those people all we can say is thank you and you're support is greatly appreciated.
WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT FOOTBALL AT YOUR LEVEL?
Winning and seeing smiles on people faces.
AND THE WORST THING ABOUT FOOTBALL AT YOUR LEVEL?
It's hard to find loyal people these days like years gone by and players seem to be more interested in money rather than how they can develop, become a better player/person and I'm all for my players progressing up the ladder rather than getting a pay day at the same level. But from a players point of view if clubs are going to give you silly money you're going to take it and I understand that but I would always say enjoy your football first and let the rest take care of itself.
WHAT STYLE OF FOOTBALL CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM NORTHWOOD NEXT SEASON?
As a former striker I like to see my team play attacking football and enjoy scoring goals. At Cockfosters and Wingate & Finchley I wanted my players to express themselves, play with freedom and not fear making a mistake so that will be the same this season. If your paying to watch a game you want to leave the ground thinking I'm glad I came to this one.
WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD PLAYER LOOKING TO MAKE IT IN THE GAME?
Play games! People will notice you if your playing not sitting on a bench somewhere. If you have to drop down a level so be it you will find your level eventually. It's a long 50/60 game season.
FINALLY - YOU ARE WELL KNOWN AS A FAN OF QUEENS PARK RANGERS - HOW DO YOU THINK THEY'LL DO UNDER STEVE McCLAREN THIS SEASON?
Yes - I am a season ticket holder unfortunately haha! Steve won't have much money to spend but similar to Northwood I hope both teams can surprise a few along the way let's see what happens!
Northwood have a really exciting pre-season friendly game coming up on Saturday 14th July when Premier League Chelsea send a side to play them. Tickets for the game are now on sale via the club's website.
The club are also offering an incredible season ticket deal which enables holders to watch all home league games for just £40.00 for the whole season! The ticket also covers social membership to the newly refurbished clubhouse and promotional discounts along with reductions on booking the clubhouse for events. It will also get you entrance to all under 18 games in the Isthmian Youth League. Contact the club via the website or on social media @NorthwoodFC. You can't beat that for value for money!
Thank you to Dean for talking to TheColdEnd - I wish him the very best of luck for the forthcoming campaign with Northwood.