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Former Arsenal goalkeeper gunning for Football League return

Barnet goalkeeper Graham Stack has vowed to help the club make an immediate return to the Football League following their relegation to the Conference at the weekend.

A 2-0 defeat at Northampton coupled with AFC Wimbledon’s victory over Fleetwood Town, finally condemned the Bees to relegation after they managed last-day escapes in each of the past four seasons.

An emotional Stack said: “With open wounds and a broken heart, I will take responsibility and show determination to bounce straight back.”

And the former Arsenal stopper, who made his Gunners debut alongside Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy in 2003, has no qualms over helping Barnet achieve instant promotion back to League Two.

He said: “I'm a player who will always give 100% and show commitment and passion to be successful. I don't have an ego and I'm not ashamed to accept playing in the Conference. I'm someone who enjoys a challenge and a scrap and will meet it head on.”

Barnet’s relegation seemed a foregone conclusion after a poor start to the season, but the appointment of Dutch legend Edgar Davids as manager in December saw the Bees mount a remarkable comeback.

Their 51-point haul was a League Two record for a relegated club, and Stack praised the unity in the Barnet camp which almost kept them up. He said:

“After an emotional season of so many ups and downs, after being written off after 12 games - only having 3 points out of a possible 36 - we battled valiantly as players and supporters till the end showing commitment and courage to overcome an almost impossible task.

“Having kept 15 clean sheets in our last 34 games shows the improvement and effort we made as a group. No one individual is to blame and no single game would have determined our destiny. Over 46 games we came up short,” he added.

Stack etched his name into Barnet folklore after saving an injury-time penalty in a 1-0 victory over Wycombe in the last match at Underhill, their home of 106 years.

His heroics have earned Stack cult-like status amongst the Barnet faithful, and the Bees keeper paid tribute to the supporters who stayed behind the team till the very end.

“I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported us this season and stuck with us when we needed you most.”

image: © olivern5

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