It’s been a while since I’ve felt this strongly to vent my frustrations after a game, in fact the last time was back in March when Sanchez was in charge (if you can even call it that) and we lost at home to Bradford, who at the time were a fairly woeful side. After watching us get absolutely turned over by Plymouth (who according to their fans have been pretty bad of late), I feel the need to rant.
Starting on a positive note, mind, the attendance was excellent – double the average. That was largely down to the Plymouth fans who always travel well and as I’ve said before they are a real credit to their club and League Two in general. Last season during their times of financial turmoil and other off-the-field issues, they still brought near enough to the 1,000 mark and were vocal for the whole 90 minutes. This afternoon was the same. On a part, a lot of people were obviously dying for a glimpse of Edgar Davids, although he did keep a fairly low profile (I was expecting to see him introduced to the crowd, but no such luck). The overall attendance was 3,229 with 1,053 of that being Argyle fans – I wonder how many will return for Friday night’s encounter against Northampton…
To Davids – and boy, has he got a challenge on his hands! Lord knows what he thought of that display, as he sat at the back of the Main Stand and watched on like the rest of us; he must have been embarrassed. And it was an embarrassing display – what must the players have thought playing that badly in front of someone of his stature: a footballing legend. I just hope he has a lot of patience, as he will need it. There was no passion, no creativity, no-one really wanting the ball, no-one knowing what to do with it when we got it, no closing down or pressurising the opposition and no-one getting stuck in. Just nothing.
Onto Collins John – and what a debut (!) He lasted just over 10 minutes, by which point we were already two goals down and in that time he had done nothing, although I think that’s more to do with the fact we were penned in our own half. I’m not sure to what extent his injury is, but he seemed to be walking fine as he left the pitch. A couple of people told me he played in Monday’s friendly against Borehamwood, but only lasted 45 minutes – and looked abysmal! He clearly wasn’t match fit, so other than sheer desperation, why did he start?
Now this is going to be me complaining a lot more. Not just negatives from today but things I have realised for a while. A performance like today just brings it all out of me.
Three words: not good enough. It’s bad enough the defence looks fragile and nervous, so what we really need is someone between the sticks to motivate and encourage them. A goalkeeper that’s communicative and demanding – and likes to come off his line. Preferably one that can also kick in a straight line and not knock it out from a throw when in a dead-ball situation, but that’s a different story. A goalkeeper like Cole was, one that could save the defence’s behinds when they got themselves into trouble. Admittedly, he wasn’t at fault for either of Plymouth’s opening two goals and he did pull off a couple of good saves, it says a lot about the standard of the Scottish Leagues that he’s hailed as some kind of hero. Just not seeing it.
Defence, er what defence?
Every week it seems the defence look like they’ve either just met the day before in training, or rolled out of bed 15 minutes before the game’s supposed to kick off. They play it around nervously amongst themselves, inviting pressure, and sometimes go all adventurous (!) and pass it back to the keeper, only to have it launched out of play (or the ground). Our defence has been the weakest part of the squad for I don’t know how long, but this season especially, it’s just absolutely awful. The less said about Jordan Brown the better, to start. Fuller is not captain material. We need someone who will communicate and isn’t quick to blame everyone else except themselves. As far as captains are concerned, we’re certainly missing our Captain Fantastic in Mark Hughes. The middle of the park just isn’t the same, either.
We seem to have loads of options:
John – even though his debut was short-lived, I don’t think he’s up to it at all, and I will be surprised if he even plays or sticks around.
Lowe – looks a decent enough prospect, but why oh why was he left on the bench when John was taken off? He deserves an opportunity to show what he can do, but how demoralising to be second choice to a midfield player; surely it’s just a straight swap, especially at two goals down – we needed a bit of pace and another outlet.
Holmes – he’s such a creative player, I’d rather class him as an attacking midfielder that’s turned forward. Although he gets goals, he just loves to run with the ball, turn-over defenders and whip the ball in. Unfortunately for him, there’s never anyone on the end of it. I’d be very surprised if he stays past January.
Hyde – three in three was impressive, but today he looked anonymous and was often standing near the touchline waiting for service.
Nurse – no offence but it speaks volumes if you can’t even get into Dagenham and Redbridge’s side…
It seemed at times today we were playing 4-6-0 or not even playing a formation at all, everyone was just bunched up and jogging around like headless chickens. It’s times like that we should have signed Ben May – someone with a great first touch and that can hold the ball up well for a strike partner who specialises in poaching goals.
Anyone else frustrated with this ‘total football’ nonsense. You play to your strengths and within your means. We do not have a squad of world class players that can pass around in triangles or play ‘tiki-taka’ – we can barely string more than three passes together. It’s all well and good playing the beautiful game the way it’s supposed to be played if it’s successful – but let’s face it; this has not proved successful for Barnet!
Even worse than that is the glossing over of our current situation with excuse after excuse: “we were unlucky” and “we deserved more” are fair enough on the odd occasion but after 12 games? And after every game as well? We seriously can’t have been that unlucky? Football is a results business and we just aren’t getting the results; the table doesn’t lie: played 12, won 0, drawn 3, lost 9, points 3. Three points from a possible 36. Embarrassing. That’s worse than relegation form.