Could Barnet emerge as the biggest winners from the National League’s drawn out coronavirus saga?

2 min

Following the longest and arguably quietest running saga of the interrupted coronavirus season, Barnet return to action this weekend aiming to be the biggest winners from the situation.

The Bees make the long trip to Yeovil for a Play-Off eliminator having jumped from mid-table to seventh when the National League decided to curtail the season and determine final placings by a Points-Per-Game system (PPG).

However, having seen steps 3 to7 declared null and void by the FA as early as April, National League clubs had to wait over two months before the final decision was made over their fortunes.

Eager to stay aligned with the EFL, the National League was initially reticent to make any major decisions lest that affect promotion/relegation between League 2 and the National League in the future.

Unable to find an easy or quick solution to end the season meant many Step 1 and 2 clubs were immediately placed in limbo and at potential financial risk. 

National League Play-Offs

Clubs such as Barnet took drastic action to protect the future of the club with Bees chairman Anthony Kleanthous initially put his entire non-playing staff on notice of redundancy before the introduction of the government furlough scheme meant only six people eventually lost their jobs.

And with Barnet set to lose their parachute payments this summer after dropping out of the Football League two years ago, the pandemic could not have come at a worse time for the club.

At the time of the lockdown Barnet were 11th with 55 points from 35 games and, despite having a number of games in hand over their rivals, few would have predicted they would make the Play-Offs.

However, once the decision for League Two clubs to formally end the season was made it paved the way for an unlikely opportunity for the club with the National League duly following suit.

READ MORE: From Dulwich Hamlet to Brentford: Ethan Pinnock’s meteoric rise through the leagues

It also resulted in Barrow’s promotion to League Two as champions with Chorley, AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet United confirmed as relegated with the National League North and South Play-Offs expected to play to conclusion.

Those games are also set to take place this weekend with Barnet’s players returning to full training, following Covid-19 tests, on June 25th ahead of their Somerset trip on Saturday.

Should the Bees overcome that hurdle they would then face Notts County away in a one-legged semi-final for a place at Wembley for a final showdown.

The odds may seem insurmountable on the surface but going into the Play-Offs as the most unfancied side may well play to Barnet’s strengths in a season where anything has become possible.

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