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Angry, Angry Man
Magic tricks By: Eric Hitchmo 29/02/2012
Bradford City H
28/02/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
L  0- 4
Attendance: 1507  (250 Away)
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Well, if you read what I had to say on Saturday you may believe I was teetering on the egde of Barnet related depression. For nearly the last 24 hours however, that has turned into seething anger after one of the most abject evenings I have ever experienced at Underhill. The cold light of day has done little to temper my anger.

Most of my vitriol has been spent in the direction of our esteemed manager, Lawrie 'The Magician' Sanchez. This game has sparked a furious amount of debate and a lot of anger towards both the team and The Magician. Whilst I will not disagree that the performance of the players last night was largely disgraceful, you have to question why they performed that way. For me, it lies with the manager. They look like a team of players who are thoroughly demoralised playing under this tutelage. It was foolish of me to hope that they may emerge from the dressing room at half time looking galvanised and ready to tackle the two goal deficit they had found themselves in. Instead, I saw a group of lonely individuals who each to a man cut forlorn figures and looked as if they would rather be anywhere else than at Underhill. Many of the paltry 1,500 in attendance were in the very same mindset as a distinctive hush set over the ground, as has become so familiar for years. I had left at the point of the handbags between Michael Hector and Izale McLeod, but many eyewitness accounts that I have heard since have intimated the belief that The Magician appears to have lost the dressing room. I would wonder whether he ever had it anyway.

Last night we were beaten by a decent side. Or were we? It was hard to tell if they were any good or not based on our showing. What they did do was do their homework and exploit our weaknesses to grave effect. It was more a case of us being good value for the 2-0 scoreline rather than them earning it. We can have no qualms over the penalty and the red card, the most frustrating thing was that it was the third time Darren Dennehy had to be called into last ditch action in little over a quarter of an hour.

Had we done any homework on how Bradford played? Evidently not, as we tried to apply our long ball game for the entireity of the time I spent watching this farce. I am not a tactical genius, nor will I ever be, but I cannot be alone in thinking that lumping long balls to Izale McLeod (NOT a ballwinner) is folly? Ricky Holmes is a short man, yet we applied the same tactic to him too. These ingredients, added to the fact they were up against four massive defenders simply add up to a recipe of nothingness. We posed no attacking threat, and we had no true winger on the field to offer a different outlet. Like so many times this season, McLeod became frustrated because he was getting absolutely nothing in the way of helpful service. The Bradford defenders won free header after free header, something that all but The Magician could see. A very talented winger sat on the bench and completed his loan spell while we continued to employ this alleged tactic. Appalling.

The line was crossed for me with the third goal. Defensively it was a horrendous goal to concede, but it was so clearly coming. We had refused to change our direct approach, despite going with two out and out strikers (yes, I am describing Charlie Taylor as a striker) and it was a carbon copy of the first half. Bradford were picking us apart as comfortably as they liked and if they'd really wanted to, could have racked up a cricket score. I have no regrets about leaving early, I was absolutely furious. From the moment they emerged from the tunnel I could see that there was no way back into the game. The Magician had clearly done absolutely nothing to inspire them and continued to stand statue-like on the touchline while his opposite number Phil Parkinson barked out orders for the entire evening. What a contrast.

The Magician has demonstrated little to no commitment to the cause in his time at the club. He started wearing a scarf in recent weeks, if that counts. For the second game running, he has refused point blank to speak to the press. What sort of attitude is this? It is petulant in the extreme. Many of the players have been quick to offer apologies on mediums such as Twitter and fair play to them for doing so, but The Magician has shirked such responsibility and taken it upon himself to allow his captain to cover the tracks in the Barnet Times. It is cowardly. Many fans have simply had enough, and while plenty of us were quite vocal at Wimbledon (still not a particularly nice memory), it would appear that more and more voices are adding to this vehement as each game passes. I am told there was a highly audible cry of 'Sanchez Out' from the East Terrace, and the flood of remarks on Twitter, Facebook and the message board appear to back up that the majority of Barnet fans are extremely unhappy with what is happening.

I'm tired of saying this club is stale now. Regular readers will be well aware of how often I say this. It's boring now. I don't want to keep writing about it. The woeful attempt as being a Football League club is again at risk, and if it doesn't happen this year then it only appears to be a matter of time until be plunge lamely back into the depths of Non League. It's pathetic. Unfortunately, the view is shared by people who have been attending for far longer than I have, and that is a loud statement that should be listened to very carefully by the powers that be at Barnet Football Club. Your fanbase are bored of this and will not tolerate it much longer.

I am fearful for the rest of this season, and relegation is a very real possibility. It's a shame, because I believe that this team is more than good enough to find themselves comfortably clear of danger. It's just that now they are completely drained of morale and are playing awful football for someone they don't want to play for. That's the way I see it anyway. Perhaps Wembley was a factor too. Everyone was getting so carried away with the prospect, myself included, that we allowed it to paper over the cracks. Now that the opportunity has been and gone, the decline has been swift and absolute. How do you pick these players up from here?

One name immediately springs to mind. You know the guy I mean? The one that was recently sacked from a League One club? Martin Allen? Remember him? I understand those of you who have washed your hands of him and don't want to see him set foot at Barnet FC again after what happened not once, but twice. It's fair, but let's look at the facts here. Where would we be if Martin Allen had not taken charge of the team at the back end of last season? He turned everything on its head and a huge reason of why we are still in this league is because of him. Absolutely undeniable. Could you also deny that you loved the time under him? For the first and only time in years I actually looked forward to and enjoyed Barnet matches. Burton away, one of the finest games in memory. He set the ball rolling amongst a similarly demoralised group of players believing in themselves once again. That momentum kept us up. No, it wasn't you Lawrie Sanchez, as you have tried to claim. It was the tide of belief that Martin Allen managed to whip up in just seventeen days.

It might not be the most realistic prospect, but I'd have the bloke back in a flash. Anything but this.

For now we carry on and it's hard to see where we go from here. Every game looks difficult in this form and do we really believe that The Magician is the man to get these players going and turn it round? Don't make me laugh. We must act fast otherwise we are going to be put through the mill once again. However, you and I both know that we're going to be there watching it unfold, we just can't help ourselves can we? When will we learn?




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...


Other Articles By Category


Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...

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