Former Fulham and Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez targets success with Barnet
Lawrie Sanchez believes he can achieve extraordinary success with Barnet after taking charge of the League Two club.
The experienced manager has enjoyed some remarkable achievements during his career including guiding Northern Ireland to wins over England and Spain as well taking Wycombe Wanderers to an FA Cup semi final. He also kept Fulham in the Premiership and played a part in another great escape as a consultant with the Bees at the end of last season.
The 51-year-old, who has been out of management since he lost his job at Craven Cottage in 2007, said: “Things have happened at other teams I have managed which have been extraordinary and I would like to think I can do extraordinary things with Barnet.
“When I came back to help out it was great to be back in training and I forgot how much I missed it. It is only when you get back into football that you realise how much you have missed it. Barnet is a nice club with fantastic training facilities and I think they can do an awful lot better than they have done in the past. I just thought it was a good opportunity to get back in the game and get back on the horse.
“I’m looking forward to it but this is always the best time of year when everyone is full of optimism. It is a bit different if you are getting beaten 1-0 at Chesterfield on a cold December night. But at this moment in time I’m very pleased with my role and we want to do better than last season as a minimum requirement.
“If we can get the fans on board then we have lots of local derbies to look forward to and we want to make sure that Underhill is rocking next season.”
His first major target is to help ensure the Bees are not fighting a relegation battle after the club pulled off a miraculous escape on the last day of the season. Sanchez has been encouraged by the way his side avoided the drop but wants to know why they struggled so badly for most of the campaign.
Sanchez added: “The majority of the squad have not been very good for nine months but when I came in I was surprisingly pleased with the players. An awful lot of the squad did well when I came in and I only saw them do well. If we can maintain that form into next year then it will be positive for the club.
“I was taken in by their willingness to work and their ability in a lot of cases. I was going through the team and I ended up thinking ‘he’s not bad and he’s not bad.’ They had automatic promotion form towards the end of the season and you wonder why it took them so long to show it.
"You do wonder why they couldn’t have shown that form at the start of the season instead of when they were fighting relegation. Our first priority is we don’t want to be in that situation. Anything above that will be a positive but I hope we can do a lot more than that.”
Giuliano Grazioli steered Barnet to safety as caretaker manager and the former Stevenage striker will act as Sanchez’s assistant. The new manager was impressed with how he handled the pressure and is convinced their partnership will pay off.
“It was a big thing to ask someone with no experience to come in and and fight a relegation battle”, Sanchez said. “He was pleased when I came in to help and he will get the chance as my assistant to work closely with me. I am sure that in the future he will become a manager and it will be a great learning experience for him.”
Sanchez has already made his first signing after agreeing a deal with midfielder Sam Deering.
The 20-year-old was voted Barnet's young player of the year after a three-month spell on loan from Oxford United.
Deering will move on a free transfer and there will be a sell on clause if he leaves Underhill. He played 14 games on loan for the Bees last season scoring twice.
But the Bees have released captain Glen Southam and goalkeeper Jake Cole. Rossi Jarvis, Charlie Stimson, Danny Kelly and Reece Yorke are also leaving but new contracts have been offered to player of the year Joe Devera, Mark Hughes, Steve Kabba and Mauro Vilhete.
Sanchez has confirmed there is no money to buy players but is hoping to bring in free transfers to enhance their squad.
He said: “We have no money to buy but there are wages available for players. It is a matter of talking to people and trying to convince them to play for Barnet. We do have a good knowledge of the game and have decent contacts and it’s all about trying to give Barnet the team their supporters can be proud of.”
Sanchez has called for the supporters to get behind the club and buy their season tickets early to give him more money to strengthen the side.
He added: “The fans came out in force when I was here and we had more than 4,000 at the last game which was well above our average. What I would say is the players enjoyed playing in this atmosphere and if we can get more people buying season tickets it will loosen up money to improve the squad.
"With the new management team, fans are positive and it’s important that they get their season tickets early so I can get better players in and help put us in a stronger position.”