In our time, we’ve come up against teams who couldn’t imagine we’d catch ’em – let alone overtake ’em. Barnet are one example. For a long time, we probably weren’t even on their radar. Our lowly starting point down in the United Counties League meant there was some daylight between our standings in the pyramid. As the Bees set their sights on overhauling Watford as the county’s number one side, up Boro’ came; putting Hitchin and Stalebuns in their place on the way. Could we do the same to the Bees? You betcha…
You can also argue that Barnet are Hertfordshire when it suits; North London otherwise. If they want to have that existential question mark hanging over them, so be it.
The tale of the Bees dates back a long way; the original club founded in 1888. But it’s not as simple as that. In the 1901-2 season, they quit the London League; their record wiped from the slate as ‘Barnet Football Club’ ceased to exist. It gets a little bit complicated now because the current side are either the second or third incarnation. It depends how you’re looking at it. And we’ll explain why.
Basically, another side called ‘Barnet Avenue’ took on the old club’s name in 1904. But, in 1912, this club merged with Barnet Alston (formerly Alston Works); the origins of the Bees’ amber and black colours. Going under the name ‘Barnet & Alston’, this lot were one of the Athenian League’s founder members that same year. World War One then got in the way; the club returning in 1919 as plain old Barnet – the team that we know today.
Two paragraphs just to set the scene. Ouch. We’ll have to zip through the decades now.
Thankfully, it’s pretty straightforward after that; the Bees staying in the Athenian League until 1965. In that time, they won seven championships and one FA Amateur Cup. League titles six and seven came in successive seasons and probably convinced them it was time to move on. So – they did; joining the Southern League. After racing up through Division One, they became a strong force in the Premier Division – but for two terms in the mid-1970s.
Why do we know Barnet?
The 1975-6 season was one of those two campaigns and saw the Bees take on Stevenage Athletic in Division One North. But what about Boro’? By the time we formed and took the leap into senior football, the Underhill side were now in the Alliance Premier League; the forerunner of the GM Vauxhall Conference. It was quite a gap we’d have to close if we were to ever meet as equals. To start with, however, we wouldn’t have to.
Enter the Herts Senior Cup.
Our first-ever encounter came thanks to the 1985-6 Herts Senior Cup final. As the newly-crowned Vauxhall Opel League Division Two North champions, we’d be just two divisions apart. Would we be able to land a blow on them in the county cup final?
And, of course, we’d come to know them much more closely when they fell into the Nationwide Conference; starting a longer association that’d ultimately see us get the better of them and leave them trailing in our dust.
How to get to Barnet – Travel Information – Distance: 23 miles
Go straight down the A1(M) and A1 until you reach Apex Corner. Take the second exit at the roundabout for the A5109 and go through two roundabouts for a mile. Then, take the third exit at the next roundabout; keeping with the A5109 onto Deansbrook Road.
Head across the A5 and onto Camrose Avenue, before turning right for The Hive.
The “ample” on-site parking at The Hive can squeeze in 500 cars on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re one of the, it’ll cost you £6 for the pleasure. Otherwise, you might find street parking or Canons Park station (£2) better options.
Station: CANONS PARK
Services to: STANMORE
You can park up at Stanmore as an extension of the options to parking above, with a one-stop Jubilee Line jaunt to Canons Park. Otherwise, you probably have to change at Baker Street for King’s Cross.
Turn left out of the station onto Whitchurch Lane and, hopefully, you’ll be able to turn right for The Hive there. If not, turn right out of the station and go down to Honeypot Lane. Turn left next, cutting through to Taunton Way before reaching the roundabout.
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