Having walked away with the Southern Division in 2009/10, Barnet were another team that left it until the last game to survive in the National last term. Winning the Premier League Cup will be a boost to them, though, and they will be looking at the top half of the table this season. After having their season delayed by a week, Vicky Boardman talks us through their aims for the season ahead.
INS: Lauren Bruton (Arsenal), Leah Jones (Gillingham), Rachel Watkins (Åland United).
GROUND: Underhill, Barnet Lane, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 2DN (Home of Barnet FC).
We didn't get off to the best of starts in the league, mainly because there were quite a few new signings (including myself) that needed time to settle in and the club was only promoted the season before so maybe we lacked a bit of experience in the first half of the season. We managed to turn things around and our form towards the end of the season was as good as a team challenging for the title. We were happy to avoid relegation but were disappointed with our final league position as we had a team more than capable of finishing in the top three. The highlight has to be winning the Premier League Cup, to play for an hour with only ten players on a massive pitch and to find the energy to win it on penalties was an unbelievable way to win a cup final and a night that I'm sure most of our players will never forget. Our FA Cup run to the semi finals should also get a mention, beating Birmingham, a Super League team, on the way which not many teams have managed to do yet was also a fantastic achievement, unfortunately Arsenal had too much quality on the day of the semi's but we were pleased to get as far as we did.
Main objective has to be challenging for the title this season, we beat the top two teams in the league last season so we really shouldn't fear anyone. We have players in our squad that have played at the highest level, won league titles and have the character and ambition to win this league. The main thing has to be consistency in our performances and getting off to a good start is vital. Secondly we want to defend our League Cup, we had to work so hard to win it and enjoyed the experience so much that we will be defending it with our lives.
KEY PLAYER: N/A
Every player in our squad will be key this season plus the manager and backroom staff because at some point every person will be called upon to play their part. We need everyone pulling in the same direction if we are to be successful.
BEST SIGNING: RACHEL WATKINS
We have made three great signings over the summer, Lauren Bruton, Rachel Watkins and Leah Jones. All three are very good players that have done well in pre season. Lauren an England youth international is a fantastic player with quick feet and is technically gifted, Leah an Irish International is a great crosser of the ball, she can strike from range and has chipped in with a few goals in pre season but for me the player that has impressed me the most so far has to be Rachel. Only 17 but has an effortless style to the way she plays the game, she makes things that are difficult to execute look easy and she is a good all rounder with lots of natural ability. All three will bring something extra to the table and are settling in well.
CAPTAIN: DANIELLE MURPHY
Dan has played at the highest level of the game and has won countless honours at international and domestic level. She has so many qualities as captain, a natural leader, good communicator with great work ethic, a born winner with a never say die attitude is just a few to mention. She has the respect from her players and is a great role model especially for the younger players to look up to.
MANAGER: TRACEY KEVINS
The first thing I think of when I think of Tracy is her love and passion for the game, Barnet football club and her drive and determination for success. The amount of time and effort she puts into running the team is evident for everyone to see. She is a fantastic coach with a wealth of experience and tactical knowledge, her attention to detail and preparation for games is second to none and was key to our success last season. I speak on behalf of all the girls when I say without her Barnet Ladies or should I say BRC [Barnet Running Club] wouldn't be where we are today.
Who do you think will be the biggest title threat? Sunderland, simply because they won the league last season and will be favourites again this time round.
Can you predict the WPL's round two scores?
Barnet 2-0 Leeds
Cardiff 1-2 Villa
Coventry 1-1 Charlton
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Reading
Watford 0-2 Sunderland
WSR's Verdict: 3rd. Winning the Premier League Cup and beating a side fighting for the FA WSL title showed they have the potential to challenge the best in this league. Possibly the most well-prepared and fittest team in the division and will be hard to beat.
Vicky was speaking to David Brenchley. Barnet belatedly start their Premier League season on Sunday 28 August at their new home, Underhill, against Leeds United, kicking off at 1300.
photos Janos Schmidt