Dean Barker ready for Welwyn Garden City challenge after whirlwind appointment

Dean Barker was announced as the new manager of Welwyn Garden City Football Club on Friday evening.

Dean Barker was announced as the new manager of Welwyn Garden City Football Club on Friday evening. Picture: WGC FC - Credit: Archant

Dean Barker admitted day one of his tenure at Welwyn Garden City will be a busy one as he hastily checks on the status of his squad but he is ready and excited for the challenge ahead.

A frantic 24 hours at the Herns Lane-based football club, which began with the resignation of Adam Fisher on Thursday night, ended when former Cockfosters and Northwood manager Barker was offered and accepted the job as his replacement.

The intervening hours had seen the first-team squad decimated as the vast majority seemed to follow Fisher out of the door, the uncertainty of available players forcing the postponement of today’s Southern League Division One Central contest with Peterborough Sports.

However, Barker has little time to relax with the Citizens scheduled to play Sutton Coldfield Town at home on Tuesday night.

And that means a busy day on the phone for the new boss as he attempts to find out what he has to work with.

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Speaking to WHTSport at the club’s base on Saturday morning he said: “I’ve spoken to a few last night (Friday) but I’ll speak to them all today (Saturday). I know most of them to be honest and there are four or five who have played for me before.

“I’ll be asking for an honest answer about what they are going to do and what their plans are.

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“Then I will know what I need for Tuesday night.

“I’ve got good contacts at National League level and in the professional game as well so I’ll be ringing for one or two favours no doubt but it will depend on what the players say.

“We’ll definitely get a team together. We’ll definitely have 11 players so that won’t be a problem.

“Who stays and who goes only time will tell.

“We need a bit of patience obviously as there is a lot going on but hopefully people will understand that and respect that.

“But given time we will be able to establish the club, calm things down and hopefully pick up some wins.”

If it was a whirlwind 24 hours for the club, it was even more intense for the former Potters Bar and District Schools team manager, who left Bostik League Northwood in October.

He said “The chairman Ollie [Croft] rang me on Friday, might have been lunchtime, and asked if I would be interested in having a meeting about the job.

“I was teaching at the time so I popped down after school and he offered me the job once we’d had the meeting.

“I wanted to get back into management. I’ve been watching games and keeping in the loop, doing a bit of scouting for clubs.

“I live not far away and I’ve been down to Welwyn before and it is a good club.

“It’s their first year at step four and it sounded like a good opportunity.”

Fisher said his departure was due to “budgeting issues” as well as “completely different ambitions” between himself and the club while the club said he was asked to resign after “concerns over his management of the club’s football budget”.

But regardless of what actually happened, Barker is simply looking to the future, which for him is to the end of the season at the very least.

He said: “I don’t know what has happened previously and to be honest, that’s none of my business.

“From my point of view I’m here to do well.

“All Ollie told me yesterday is we need to get enough points to stay in the league. Going forward we’ll have a chat at the end of the season.

“We need to steady the ship and establish the club as a step four club. Are they happy with me? Am I happy with them? We’ll have that conversation after the last game of the season.

“There’s a lot to do but I’ll bring in my own backroom staff that have been with me at Cockfosters and Northwood.

“Between us we’ll all chip in and given a bit of time we’ll be able to put a team out that the club is proud of.”

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