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Get Your Splits Out
Divide By: Ed Fitzpatrick 10/11/2011

Well, what a difference six months can make.

Half a year almost to the day last Saturday, Barnet FC were somehow celebrating survival in the Football League, yet again, after a remarkable, almost impossible escape. Personally, it was my happiest day as a supporter of the club, even more so than winning the Conference in 05. The scenes on the pitch after the full time whistle and the constant thought of how the fuck did we manage that!? throughout the summer. What a contrast of events in the packed shed that was the away end of AFC Wimbledon last Saturday.

An obvious split of opinions on you-know-who caused one of the worst atmospheres I have witnessed in 9 years of following Barnet. I will quite happily admit that I was one of those yobs giving Lawrie Sanchez a little bit of stick from behind the dugout for reasons I believe are more than justified. When Lawrie Sanchez was hired back in May I was absolutely over the moon. A big name in football, a well-known past as a player and a manager, TK has pulled one out of the bag here! And even though we started the season pretty well, it wasnt long before we were getting that feeling of here we go again. The only difference from the past two seasons when the same thing happened with Hendon and Stimson in charge was instead I was, and still am, looking over at the dugout and staring at a man who does not look in the least bit interested in changing things.

I think its fair to say that Lawrie Sanchez has not exactly conducted himself that well since taking charge. There was the Northern Ireland saga, backing his team then changing his mind, criticising his players and saying he will dip into the loan market and on top of all that taking credit for our survival last season without a word going out to Graz or Martin Allen, who did start it all off after all. I havent been impressed by any of these comments, but Im not really concerned about that aspect of things, at the end of the day a managers job is to get results and that is something up until now, at least in the league we havent managed to do.

His points tally before last weekend was also worse than Stimsons last season so Im told. His tactics have also got to be questioned. There has been a lot of long ball being applied in what is overall quite a small side. But what summed it up for me was the 6-3 drubbing at home to Burton Albion two weeks ago, he just got it all wrong. Izale McLeod, the joint top goalscorer in League 2, starting on the left at home to a mid-table team, relatively early in the season. I mean come on! It cost us as McLeod failed to track back for Burtons first goal, naturally as hes not a midfielder! It was all downhill from there as we know. Against a team we beat 4-1 away from home last time out as well. Id hardly say were making progress!

So far I think Sanchez has got it all wrong. Hes been arrogant, showed no passion whatsoever and failed to get results. So yeah, too right that some fans, including myself, got on his back on Saturday afternoon, a perfect opportunity with the dugout being right in front of travelling fans. It could be argued it wasnt the right time to do so, during a game, a local derby at that, but if that wasnt then when is a good time? The scenes in the terrace after those opposing Sanchez made their feelings clear were horrible to be involved in. Full-blown arguments amongst fans, stewards and police in the thick of things to try and break it all up, a few ejections from the ground, a lot of anger being shown by everyone in that stand, the intensity not at all helped with it being touch-tight, absolutely packed! Those were moments no Barnet fan really wants to see. But everyone should surely be entitled to their opinion without getting grief surely? And as for suggestions that those hurling theirs at Sanchez were not getting behind the team I dont believe thats the case.

I personally think we have some brilliant individual players in the moment. The likes of McLeod, Kabba, Deering, Marshall and the newly transformed Ricky Holmes have clearly all got talent and showed that at the end of last season. There are questions over the defence, but when has there ever not been at Barnet! I am fully behind this team. So chants of support your team or fuck off home arent really necessary. We could be doing a whole lot better and the only thing that has changed from our great escape, bar one or two additions, is the manager.

In terms of the game, weve come away from Wimbledon with a decent point and on reflection of Saturday, apart from the ugly scenes, there could be positives from all of this. Mr Sanchez has had it relatively easy up until now. After Saturday he will be a little more concerned with fans turning on him. It will be no stroll in the park for him from now on. Maybe its the nudge he needs to show a little more character and passion, start to mould a relationship between himself and the fans, and above all knuckle down and put in the hard work to get this club out of the situation that we seem to constantly find ourselves in.

Im still anti-Sanchez. I believe its impossible for the club to build stability when he will clearly jump ship as soon as a bigger club/country come sniffing. But if things are to change, he shows what hes capable of, results improve and theres a better feel around the club and more ambition then Ill be the first one to say Alright, fine, you were right., because the only thing I want is for Barnet FC to achieve, but we cannot continue to push our luck. This is a key period for the club, especially with all the uncertainty of where our home will be after next year. I will continue to support my TEAM but the manager still has lot to do if he wants to win me over and if that change doesnt happen now then Id like him gone. For the sake of the club I hope Im wrong, I really do.

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10/11/2011 Get Your Splits Out
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