Darren Currie: Barnet boss eyes another FA Cup upset as his non-league side face Brentford

Barnet caretaker manager Darren Currie and his players celebrate after beating Sheffield United in the FA Cup
Barnet have beaten National League rivals Braintree, League One Bristol Rovers, National League North Stockport County and Championship Sheffield United in this season's FA Cup
FA Cup fourth round on the BBC
Date: 25-28 January
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World Cup winners Sergio Busquets, Thomas Muller and Ronaldinho have all trained there - as well as Neymar.

Their turnover of managers in the past five years is one of the highest in English football and the current boss was described as one of the most tattooed players in Britain.

Welcome to non-league Barnet - the lowest ranked club remaining in this season's FA Cup.

Having stunned Sheffield United - 84 places above them on the league ladder - in the third round on 6 January, the National League side are looking for a second Championship scalp when Brentford visit The Hive on Monday (19:45 GMT).

Some members of Barnet's team joined fans at the club to watch the fourth round draw on television on 7 January.

When Brentford's name came out, one player "threw himself to the floor in disappointment" while others had "heads in hands".

"There was only a twinge of disappointment because of how the draw was working out," said Darren Currie, a former Barnet player who was appointed head coach on Wednesday after a stint as caretaker.

"We were one of the last in the hat along with the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

"You started to think 'this is our time'.

"Brentford will probably be a harder game than Sheffield United because they will be very mindful of what we did at Bramall Lane."

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FA Cup: Barnet captain's pre-planned celebration pays off as they shock Sheffield Utd

'From QPR mascot to tattoo addict'

Currie grew up watching his uncle Tony Currie, the former England midfielder, play for QPR and was even a mascot at Loftus Road.

His playing career took him to 16 different clubs and he earned himself a reputation for being an exciting winger - as well as a fan of tattoos.

In 2005, while at Ipswich Town, he told football magazine FourFourTwo: "People tell me I'm the most tattooed footballer in Britain."

Is he now Britain's most tattooed boss?

"I've got about 14 but my last one was over 10 years ago," Currie, who was brought up in the shadow of the old Wembley Stadium, added: "I have one on my arm in tribute to my wife, Emma, and children, Charlie and Bella.

"Another one is a cross on my back with my brother's name, Lee, in Chinese. He's been my biggest fan and has followed me at all the clubs I've been.

"I've made a couple of mistakes along the way. I had a Chinese symbol which was pretty pathetic and is now covered up.

"Someone asked me if we beat Brentford would I get the FA Cup tattooed on me? I don't think my wife would appreciate that."

In his early years growing up in Wembley, 44-year-old Currie added: "I used to play football in a park around the corner from the old Twin Towers.

"My uncle won't be happy with this, but I used to pretend to be Glenn Hoddle.

"I remember being mascot at Loftus Road and walking out holding Gary Waddock's hand."

Darren Currie is the nephew of former Leeds United, Sheffield United and England midfielder Tony Currie
Darren Currie watched his uncle Tony (left) play in the 1982 FA Cup final for QPR against Tottenham at Wembley

Large turnover of managers

Having been relegated from the Football League for the third time in their history last season, Barnet are 16th in the National League after 11 defeats in 26 games.

This tie will be Currie's first as permanent head coach after six matches in temporary charge of the north London club following John Still's retirement from management last month.

In the past 12 months alone, Graham Westley, Martin Allen, Still and Currie have picked the team.

Barnet Football Club
A tube train passes the Hive with a poppy on the front carriage on 11 November 2018 during Barnet's 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup first round. Barnet won the replay 2-1

Allen has been in charge of Barnet five times in total while other past managers include former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence (1994-96) and ex-West Ham forward Tony Cottee (2000-01).

"The lifespan of a manager is getting shorter and shorter and if I want to carve out a 20-year career then I need to be good at my job," said Currie.

"I want to break the trend that has maybe been set at this club recently. I want to see if I can stay in charge for as long as possible."

A training ground to the stars

Based in the London Borough of Harrow, Barnet's ground is a four-mile drive from Wembley Stadium.

The close proximity of their facilities to the national stadium has helped generate income for the club.

Brazil, Spain and Germany are among the international teams who have used Barnet's base before games against England at Wembley.

However, the training ground, which is situated next door to the football ground, has a public footpath running through it.

Temporary fencing is erected to keep out prying eyes when some international teams come to Barnet.

Brazil's squad used Barnet's training facilities to prepare for an international friendly against England at Wembley in February 2013
Brazil's squad, including Neymar, used Barnet's training facilities to prepare for an international friendly against England at Wembley in February 2013

Meanwhile, Barcelona's chief medical officer Dr Ramon Canal visited the non-league club in September to view their medical equipment, which is considered state of the art.

Barnet left Underhill, their home since 1907, in 2013 because of lease issues with Barnet Council.

The Hive, also home to FA Women's Championship team London Bees, is a seven day a week facility with all-weather and grass pitch hire, conference and banqueting facilities, a fitness centre, bar and cafe. It is also a wedding venue.

Barnet hope Monday's tie will attract a ground record crowd - which currently stands at 5,539 - as they attempt to reach the fifth round for the first time.

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