Ground Number 127
My first trip to Barnet, having missed my chance to visit their old Underhill base. What is immediately obvious on arrival at the Hive is that Barnet have far more than just a stadium here; there are several 3G pitches, with numerous grass adult and junior pitches also in use. What is different from similar facilities, is that the changing facilities for all these other pitches are contained within the stadium, so that anyone using any of the complex has to interact with the ground itself.
The club shop and bar area and well fitted out and work has clearly gone in to merchandising, both were well populated before and after the game, a vital source of income for all clubs in the lower leagues. They also have extensive parking on-site. Certainly this is an area where the newer grounds have a clear advantage on some of the relics out there.
The ground sharing agreement with London Broncos also allows resources to be pooled into producing an excellent playing surface, which certainly aids the style of football played under Martin Allen’s leadership. There is also a clear degree of forward planning, with the terraces behind each goal able to be moved or extended should the current capacity prove insufficient.
Despite all these enviable facilities and concepts, it seems to be another ground where the money ran out before completion. The stand on the same side as the dugouts is about 7 rows of seats deep, with no cover. The pitch also has a ludicrously small run off area, with barriers a matter of 3 yards off behind the goals.
Not the worst of the new grounds I have visited by any means, but it still seemed to lack character and energy, with a poor crowd despite being comfortable league leaders not helping the atmosphere.
First visit = 29-11-14 Barnet 3-1 Macclesfield (Vanarama Premier Division) 6/10