By Lee Dover
Barnet is an area that many people will struggle to pinpoint on a map with the football team just as undetectable to the untrained eye.
Sitting at the foot of League Two with a grand total of three points in 12 games, the only time this team makes national coverage is when they draw a Premier League big boy in one of those ‘will there be a giant slaying?’ moments that makes the FA Cup so magical.
Until now. The worst team right now in the English Football League have signed Edgar Davids as their new player/coach.
Why did Davids switch from a lifestyle of the rich and famous for a stint in League Two? Only the man himself has all the answers but he has said:
To learn your trade you need to start at a certain level and see if you first of all like it as well. If you have an opportunity to learn from somebody that also had Premier League experience, that’s also a thing that you have to take into account, as well as talented players.
But Davids has also seen life in football’s pressure cooker taken its toll on some big names and is happy enough to start at the bottom and work his way up.
For me now it’s time to develop players and to develop as a coach. We will see if I have the capabilities of reaching the highest level. Do I want that? I saw Pep Guardiola and Frank Rijkaard when they started and saw them age with grey hair. I’m too good-looking for that so I want to stay here.
The former Dutch ace is one of the most successful footballers of his generation and is sure to teach the Barnet youngsters a thing or two.
His finest hours arguably came when he donned an Ajax shirt. Davids led the club to three Eredivisie titles, a Dutch Cup, a Dutch Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup, a Champions League trophy and a UEFA Cup.
That’s more silverware at one club than many players achieve in their careers – and that’s before we take into account his three Serie A titles – two at Juventus, one at AC Milan – or the fact that he played at three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup with Holland.
The jury’s still out as to whether Davids’ move away from the glitz and glamour is a wise one. The Mail on Sunday’s Ian Ridley called it “a curious appointment”.
Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous is also aware of the gates at Barnet, they are traditionally one of the lowest in the Football League and he’s always looking for ways [to boost them], and Edgar Davids is a name that might bring a few in.
The Sunday Mirror’s David Walker looked to burst the bubble of optimism though, pointing out: “Volatility and Edgar Davids do go hand-in-hand”.
He was a superb footballer, and the Dutch have got some very talented coaches, but putting it all together at the foot of League Two does give me grave concerns.
Only time will tell if the relationship between Edgar Davids and Barnet ends in triumph or heartbreak. Until then, sit back and enjoy the ride.