Not many people outside North London will have heard of Rossi Eames, unless they happen to be a fan of gymnastics. That is where Eames first tried to make his name in the world of sport, training alongside five-time Olympic medallist Max Whitlock, and even moved to Slovenia for two years at the age of 19 to pursue the gymnastics dream. Unfortunately he did not make it at the highest level, claiming that he was Conference standard while Whitlock was Champions League. Some people would suggest he is in a similar position at Barnet in the overall scale of things.
At the age of just 32, critics may suggest that Eames has insufficient experience of the game to make a successful manager, especially in the Football League. It is true that he never appeared in the League as a player, spending his time at Amersham and Chesham, but the same can be said of Danny Cowley. What Eames does have is a degree in sports science, which he completed after deciding to give up playing the game in favour of coaching. Having graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University, he took a job coaching at Leeds United’s Academy before moving back south to join Barnet in 2010 as an academy coach. He worked his way through the coaching structure, culminating in the Youth Alliance League (South East Conference) championship in 2015. He then took the post of development team coach (U21) before becoming an assistant first team coach the following year.
When Martin Allen left for an ill-fated spell at Eastleigh in December 2016, Eames was asked to take over as caretaker manager with fellow-coach Henry Newman assisting until Barnet could appoint a permanent replacement. He did a reasonable job, and was rewarded by promotion to assistant manager when Kevin Nugent was appointed to the hot seat in February. Nugent was to last just two months, and Eames was again placed in charge when he departed in April. On 19 May, Barnet decided they could do far worse than offer the job to Eames on a permanent basis, and he was named head coach on an undisclosed contract.
Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous admits his appointment of Eames is a bold choice, but believes that he is the best man to build on the foundations that Eames himself has helped to create. As the youngest manager in the top five divisions of English football, and with only 16 matches under his belt, he will be up against some wily old heads next season. But Eames appears to belong to that new class of manager – the new breed of sports scientist and master tactician which is suddenly in vogue at all levels of the game. They are still in relatively short supply, and much in demand if they are successful. Next season should give an indication of whether Rossi Eames will be one of those, and he will certainly be trying to ensure that Martin Allen does not have the opportunity to return to Barnet for the fifth time.
P = Promoted; R = Relegated; SF = Lost in play-off semi-final; F = Lost in play-off final; PO = Won play-off final; D = Demoted.
Figures are league games only; cup matches and play-offs are not included.
League position shown is either the position at the end of the season or the position at the time of departure.
** First spell at Barnet as joint-caretaker manager with Henry Newman for 11 of the 12 games.
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? Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) May 27, 2017