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Barnet boss Edgar Davids shows that, when it comes to clubs' relationship with the fans, League Two beats Premier League every time
Phil Parkinson was talking about the different mindset between League Two and the Premier League.
“It’s competitive at all levels but especially lower down,” he said. “The Premier League is a different focus because the players earn so much anyway. In the lower leagues people are playing for their livelihoods and their next contracts.”
At this time of the season more than ever, the minds will be very focused. The fear of ending up on the scrapheap – or the back of the lorry as Peter Taylor used to call it – is very real for those whose current deals expire in the summer.
These guys will not hang up their boots as multi-millionaires. Granted they earn a weekly wage that we would all gladly accept but it is peanuts compared with those pocketed by the baby Bentley brigade at the top end.
That uncertainty about what happens next provides an edge to the matches that you won’t experience watching in the Premier League.
There is a gritty, personal side to the football – and that, according to Parkinson, is the attraction for many fans.
He clearly also left his ego at the door when he took up the most unexpected managerial appointment of the seasonSimon Parker
This is not the PR-driven fantasy world of Rio Ferdinand’s will he, won’t he play for England again but the reality of honest pros doing a job to put food on the table. There is no safety net.
The quality may be questionable at times but you don’t get too many rolling round for no reason from a non-existent contact. No room for prima donnas at this level.
It won’t compute with those who stick to a diet of Manchester United, Chelsea and Premier League phone-ins and the player names hardly trip off the tongue.
But then you get genuine human interest stories like the one with the stranded Barnet fans in midweek.
Away followings in League Two can be counted not so much in thousands or even hundreds but often tens – 68 made the trip from Wycombe to Valley Parade on Tuesday, not forgetting the drum. That was still almost double the coach-load that followed Barnet up to Accrington on the same night.
To add insult to the injury of a 3-2 defeat, the travelling 36 were then stranded on the side of the M6 when the bus broke down.
But who should come to their rescue? None other than Edgar Davids, the Barnet boss of AC Milan, Inter, Ajax, Juventus and Holland fame.
With his dreadlocks and trademark dark glasses, Davids stands out from the crowd when he saunters along the Underhill touchline.
But he clearly also left his ego at the door when he took up the most unexpected managerial appointment of the season.
He proved that to those frozen band of hardy souls shivering beside the motorway when the team coach drove past.
Spotting their predicament, Davids ordered the players to get off at the next services before making the driver go back to pick up the supporters. When the fans were dropped off, they were treated to coffee courtesy of the Barnet boss while waiting for their replacement lift home.
And all this from a manager who had also been sent off during the game.
Edgar Davids may not be your archetypal League Two competitor but the heart-warming episode illustrated he has bought into the lower-division philosophy.
That’s why the football basement will always have its supporters.