Gower Remembers His Barnet Experience

Tuesday, 10 August 2010, 6:25
1 min read

The Swansea City midfielder is likely to face one of his former clubs tonight as the Swans prepare to open their Carling Cup campaign against the Bees at the Liberty Stadium.

"I had been so sheltered playing reserve-team football at Spurs that I didn't really realise what I was getting into when I signed for Barnet," Gower told the Evening Post. "I remember being sat in the dressing room before the Torquay game and the captain, Greg Heald, bringing in a picture of his children which he put on his peg.

"I was thinking 'What's going on?'.

"I was a young lad who had been wrapped up in cotton wool at Tottenham and I didn't grasp what the game meant to these lads.

"I was sad afterwards, obviously, but I didn't really realise what the repercussions would be.

"I didn't realise people would be losing their jobs and I didn't know about the big cuts that would come in non-league.

"I learned pretty quickly.

"John Still had been the manager at Barnet the season before and he'd tried to get me a couple of times, but I didn't want to drop down that far," Gower adds.

"Then I pretty much got shoved out of the door by George Graham — that's another story — and I signed when Tony Cottee was player-manager.

"Barnet had been halfway up the table at Christmas, but I didn't realise they had lost something like nine of their last 10 games before I joined.

"They were 16th or 17th in the table when I got there and we only won a couple of games after that.

"It all came down to the final day against Torquay.

"They were bottom and we were second bottom, and whoever won stayed up.

"There were about 5,000 fans locked outside, it was pandemonium, and we ended up going 3-0 down inside half an hour. We got back it to 3-2 but that wasn't enough.

"Looking back it was probably the wrong move for me, but maybe the time I spent playing non-league football helped.

"The experience toughened me up and maybe it helped me in the long run, because I managed to climb back up to a good level.

"And I will always be grateful to Barnet. They gave me my league debut and, when things didn't go right, they let me go so I could get back into the league.

"I thought there were some really encouraging signs at Hull," he adds.

"But it's important we get that first win and it's also important to get a couple of goals after last season.

"That's going to get written about until we start scoring on a regular basis, and hopefully this is a chance to put in a good performance."

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