COCKFOSTERS have announced that record-breaking manager Dean Barker has decided to leave the club at the end of the season.
Barker arrived at Cockfosters in the summer of 2015, taking charge of a side who had only just avoided relegation from the Spartan Premier Division the previous season.
And Barker had an immediate impact as he helped to transform the fortunes of the club, securing a top-half finish in his first year in charge before guiding Cockfosters to the best season in their history this time around.
The club are assured of a top-three finish in Step Five of non-league football for the first time, while they have also secured a record points total and enjoyed a 14-game unbeaten run in the league between October and February to beat the previous club-record at this level set more than 20 years ago.
Cockfosters have also enjoyed their best ever runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase during Barker’s time in charge, while they have enjoyed several cup victories over sides who play at higher levels and claimed some silverware earlier this month when they won the Potters Bar Charity Cup.
A club statement said: “After two record-breaking seasons, Dean has decided he has taken the club as far as he can and will be leaving at the end of the season.
“We would like to thank Dean, Gary [assistant manager Simmonds] and all his staff for the great work they have done since taking over when the club had just avoided relegation.
“Dean and Gary have been offered roles at other clubs at Step Four and Step Five next season and will be considering their options when the season finishes.
“Dean has asked that we thank all the players, his staff our supporters and the directors for giving him great support.
“Details will follow regarding applications for a new manager for season 2017/18.”
However, Cockfosters’ slim hopes of pipping Hertford Town to second place in the final table are over after they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Edgware Town on Tuesday, with Jay Rolfe scoring their goal.
“It was a typical end of season game and we went through the motions a bit,” Barker said. “Jay’s goal was a superb strike, but a defensive error cost us the three points in the end.
“We didn’t really do enough to win the game and I think that a draw was a fair result on a very hard and dry pitch. We’ve got a young team and the boys have played 60 games this season. Some of them are looking a bit leggy.
“We would have loved to push for second, but we’re still really happy to have got third place.”
Cockfosters go to basement side Broxbourne Borough in their penultimate match of the season on Saturday (3pm).