First, there was the unsurprising defeat on New Years Day at home to Aldershot Town.
Then, almost immediately after the match, news had filtered through that Mark Stimson had had his contract terminated and that Paul Fairclough would be put into caretaker charge of the Bees yet again. Two days later, Fairclough took his new side a few miles up the road to face Stevenage, where Barnet were duly humiliated.
This coming Saturday, they face another very tough trip to the curry land that is Bradford. It’s all going on at Underhill, that’s for sure!
Barnet have been playing poorly throughout the season and the first half of the Aldershot match summed up the season so far. They were so lacklustre and lethargic it was pathetic. The second half performance was significantly better, but games aren’t won by how a team plays. The important is that you put the ball over the opponent’s goal line more times than the ball goes over your goal line. Unfortunately for Barnet, they haven’t been playing well or scoring goals. The Aldershot game was the last straw for Mark Stimson, and a majority of Barnet supporters were glad to see the back of him and his long ball antics. Apparently, he had a reputation for getting his former sides to play some nice football. If trying to get your players to hoof the ball out of play as far as possible when you get the ball falls under that category, I have misinterpreted that aspect of the game.
Barnet took a relatively large support to Stevenage, also the home of the most uncomfortable seats in the history of football stadiums,and you’d have thought all the players would have been well up to the challenge of trying to get the first away win of the season with a new, albeit temporary, manager at the helm. But you know when it’s not your day when your defender lobs his own keeper from the edge of the penalty area after just 7 minutes to double your opponents lead.
The whole day went from bad to worse; the Bees were 4-0 after 46 minutes. A small consolation is that they won the second half 1-2. I would have absolutely loved to be in Barnet’s dressing room at half time, hearing Fairclough get stuck in to some of the pathetic men that call themselves professional footballers. Only Izale McLeod, Mark Marshall, and substitute Mauro Vilhete did themselves any justice at the Lamex Stadium. Every other player can count themselves lucky that they’re not juggling their football life with a full-time job, which is what the players will probably have to do when Barnet eventually do get relegated at the end of the season. Not that most of the current squad will give a damn. They will always find other clubs to play for, whilst supporters have to stick with the same team through the good times and the bad times, or as I see it, throughout the Guliano Grazioli times, and the Charlie Taylor times.
I don’t think anyone will be blaming Paul Fairclough for the Stevenage result. He has had the role thrust upon him for the second time in just nine months. The current squad is not good enough in my opinion, so it must all be down to Mark Stimson. Barnet had to play Tom Coulton in goal as Jake Cole had to sit out a game in the first time in one and a half seasons. I know finances are probably very tight, but was there really any point what so ever in buying Craig Dobson? Why not have used the available money to fund a new, experienced goal keeper to provide back up for Cole? It must have been evident that his mammoth run of playing matches was soon going to take its toll on the bloke. Coulton had a nightmare. From the stands, he only looked five feet tall! It seemed like he was incredibly nervous, proved by the fact that he got nowhere near the four goals as well as the shot that crashed his woodwork. He looked scared to dive. His throwing and all-round distribution of the ball in his hands was so poor; I’ve never seen anything like it in a professional football match before. In the second half especially, he had to let Anwar Uddin take free kicks when most keepers would have taken them himself, and when he took goal kicks, they were weak and hardly reached the half way line, never mind the fact that they all went to an opposition player. Apart from that, he was alright.
So, who will be Barnet’s next manager? I wouldn’t be surprised if Fairclough remained in charge until the end of the season. In my ideal world, George Burley would be the next manager of Barnet. I can’t see that happening at all though. Paul Simpson has been sacked by fellow strugglers Stockport; who knows what can happen in football?
I won't be at Valley Parade on Saturday afternoon, but here's to a better result than the ones we have been used to. The only thing for certain with the Bees, is that avoiding relegation is a must.