Barnet FC could see former Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour at Underhill next season.
The club will be discussing the possibility of Parlour making the switch to League Two when he returns from his holiday next week, despite numerous Championship sides also wanting Parlour’s signature.
Paul Fairclough, who previously worked at Arsenal and has good connections with the club, sees Parlour as the Bees’ next skipper following Ian Hendon‘s move from captain to assisstant manager. And Parlour hasn’t ruled out a move to Barnet, with a club official: ‘Parlour has made it clear that he has options in the Championship for next season but has not ruled out Barnet.’
Having made 339 appearances in the centre of the park at Highbury, he has hit the net 22 times for the Gunners, including two hat-tricks, one of which came against European opposition in the Uefa Cup away from home. Leaving the fans in 2002 with the nickname ‘The Romford Pelé’ because of his solid, unglamorous performances, many pundits agree he was Arsenal’s unsung hero. His next club was Middlesborough before he helped Hull City this year in avoiding relegation to League One but was not offered a new contract.
Signing Parlour would be a major coup for the Bees if they manage it, and I’m sure would raise the much-needed attendance levels and bring in some extra commerical revenue through shirt sales. Furthermore, it would certainly answer critics that Fairclough can’t get experienced players from higher leagues in a Barnet shirt since all his signing this season have come from lower leagues so far.
However many obstacles lie in Barnet’s way if they want to sign the 34 year old, including whether they can match Parlour’s wage demands and the obvious stubbling block of the league he will be playing it.