Barnet FC’s Dale Gorman talked about the Bees’ season, his role as captain and the impact of the late John Motson in an interview.
The 26-year-old captain signed on in the summer and led a revival of a club lost in the wilderness in past seasons.
The late Motson, known as ‘Motty’, was regarded as one of football’s greatest commentators and a fond admirer of Barnet FC, from his early days working at the Barnet Press.
Gorman said: “First of all, may he rest in peace.
“From the moment I remember watching football, you can hear his voice in the background commentating on the biggest games in football and the biggest stages.
“You know his voice when it’s on TV and it’s going to be strange not hearing that.”
While he never got to speak with Motson, the iconic voice had an impact on Gorman just it did on so many others.
“I’m sure he’s lived the life he wanted to live and I’m sure he’s happy,” he added/
Barnet FC’s revival
At this moment, Barnet stand fifth in the National League, in the thick of the promotion play-off chase and on pace for their best season since winning the Conference back in 2014/15.
Gorman explained that he arrived with the ambition to be successful after being convinced by manager Dean Brennan of the club’s expectations.
“I think the way the team’s performed over the last few years hasn’t been up to standards of such a football club and I think that the players that have come in this year have stood up to the plate and delivered what they were saying to do.
“When I come in to a club, I have ambitions to do well and be successful because if you don’t then what’s the point in playing football.”
The current season came as a much-needed breath of fresh air for Barnet fans, as the club’s fortunes since returning from League 2 in 2018 could only be described as a roller-coaster.
From nearly being relegated two years ago to now, Gorman’s arrival was well-timed and needed.
“It’s everyone involved in the club, it’s no set individual that brought us here,” he said.
“We all work together to try and get what we want to achieve.”
A chance for Wembley
While winning the league looks near-impossible, Gorman sees a great chance in the FA Trophy where Barnet made the quarter-finals.
The Northern Irishman once made it to Wembley when playing for Leyton Orient in 2018/19 but missed out through injury.
Orient went on to lose the final to AFC Wylde 1-0, leaving Gorman without both silverware and the experience of playing at the fabled stadium.
“I remember thinking that day ‘I hope that this isn’t my last opportunity to get to Wembley’.
“To have it so close again and it’s in sight that, y’know, you’re dreaming about getting it over the line and hopefully getting to Wembley and winning the trophy.
“I’m sure the fans of Barnet are hoping we get there so they can have their day.”
They face a road tie against Maidstone United in March for a semi-final spot, so the captain is adamant that all efforts and focus are on the league until then.
Barnet have never won the FA Trophy in their history, coming closest in 1971/72 when losing the final to Stafford Rangers.
Like Gorman, Barnet also lost to AFC Wylde in the 2018/19 competition, failing on penalties at the quarter-final stage.
The role of Barnet captain
Being the captain of any football club is a position that Gorman views as an honour, as he was chosen by Brennan to wear the armband at the start of the season.
“It’s a proud achievement for me to be a captain of this football club,” Gorman said.
He described it as a role that you learn to handle over time. To learn the role, Gorman looked to the examples he has seen during his career, pointing to Ronnie Henry and Jobi McAnuff as role models to learn from.
He also talked about his relationship with former Stevenage teammate and current Port Vale captain Tom Conlon, his best friend in and out of football.
“Me and him [Conlon] talk to each other every day and come to each for advice on how you should handle things,” he added.
Back on track
After a run of 11 games in the league unbeaten, the Bees did run into a blip of three straight losses recently.
With the play-off hunt intensifying as the season draws nearer to the end, Gorman insisted that the only thing on mind was getting three points in the weekend game against Aldershot Town.
“You can’t dwell on previous results because you can’t affect them, they’re gone,” he said.
“We’ve just got to get back on the train and try to win football matches as well as you can.”
With an eight point gap to third placed Woking and two games in hand, a vital playoff semi-final spot is for the taking.
Yet on the other side, it is only six points to Bromley in eighth place, with seventh being the cut-off point.
While pleased with everything so far, Gorman is clear: the job is nowhere near finished.