It wasn’t that bad……was it. Last nights performance against league 2 opposition was at best shambolic and at worst heartless. There is a multitude of factors to consider when examining why it went so horribly wrong but rather than write a blog reviewing the game I think I’ll leave that to the experts. A little over 12 hours since the game finished and already there has been chapter and verse written about what was possibly the worst home performance in a decade.
What I wanted to write about though is a number of things including some absolutely ridiculous sections of our so called support. Maybe it is because those kind of people preferred the days when we were slugging it out down the bottom of leagues 1 and 2 when they had a genuine reason to complain about the quality of player on show. Or maybe, just maybe it is because they aren’t used to seeing such a poor performance because they have only just started supporting the side. If that’s the case then fair enough, I will never belittle support that has only recently joined. You might call them glory hunters but I call it expanding our fan base, something which will have to happen if we wish to compete with the bigger teams.
The first 15 minutes of the game yesterday was an absolute shambles, no one seemed to know what they were doing, the younger players were nervous and our so called first team regulars or new signings were having a shocker. That being said, after one league game and a quarter of an hour into a cup game, some of the comments vociferously directed towards our new manager was disgusting and that was before our fans started on the players.
If you were one of those joining in the jeering or ironic cheering of Bonham whenever he caught the ball, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Let’s not beat around the bush, he was terrible and alongside other players was responsible for the goals we conceded last night. In fact the first two goals were so utterly poor that you’d struggle to see worse keeping and defending in a Sunday league game. I do not believe that players can not be criticised. You pay your money you are entitled to your opinion but what we heard last night was ridiculous. I really felt for Bonham. That will probably be one of the toughest 90 minutes he will experience in his career. And he has his home support to partly thank for that.
As the game went on last night, you could see just how affected the younger players were by it all. None of them really wanted the ball and when they did get it, they got rid of it as quickly as they could. It was such a shame that what should have been a great experience for them, turned so sour. The pitch didn’t help either but it absolutely can not be blamed for the result. The injuries maybe but not the result. Oxford coped just fine.
I took to Twitter to vent my frustrations with our own crowd last night and there was a real mixture of messages. But as usual, it is those that love nothing better than to criticise the club that make the most noise. I do love it how some people are able to pass judgement on new signings with less than a half under the belts. Bjelland was called a terrible footballer (this despite it being his first minutes of the new season and ignoring the fact that he is a full Danish international) I can understand people thinking he was poor, he was, but he has already been labelled a terrible footballer! Dijkhuizen was called a useless foreigner after less than two games but the majority of abuse was reserved for the young Jack Bonham and Nico Yennaris. Neither will likely go on to play regularly for our side because the ability just isn’t there in my opinion, but I will stop short of trying to destroy their confidence thanks.
Another player to receive a lot of criticism last night was Harlee Dean. The Twitter trolls were out in force last night when Harlee dared to defend his team mates. As usual, as those in the stands and from their armchairs hurled criticism at the team, a player wishing to protect his team mates became vilified for daring to react. Once again, I too have been critical of Dean and his performances. He can be a mixture of excellent and awful all in the same game and there are justifiably questions on whether he is good enough for the championship but what I do like about him is that he is prepared to stick his head above water and stand up for himself and his teammates. Because he had the audacity to do so last night, I have again read some unbelievable stuff directed towards him. Some fans have openly stated how much they hate him and that he is not entitled to an opinion because his a footballer and gets paid to play rather than paying to watch his team. If you want a bunch of robots that just churn out the usual party line and repeat whatever the manager says then fine, but personally I like our players to have a bit of character and actually be able to engage with the fans. Someone else has also proclaimed that it was the last sraw with Harlee because he has now dared to have a dig at Warburton about set pieces. This means he has to be sold according to one fan. I’m very sorry to tell you this but Warbs is gone, history, departed, he is, to steal a phrase from Monty Python an ex-manager.
Warbs has gone and we need to get over it. He will go down as an excellent manager for this club, just like Douglas will go down as a fantastic player for us. But it’s all in the past. Our new manager has been asked to come in and do a job. He is having to try and exert his influence over a new squad, integrate new players, cope with injuries to key players and to top it off, is having his best players nicked by bigger clubs. So all in all I think he is doing okay. I can 100% say as fact that the performance on Saturday was no worse than the one we put in agonist Ipswich last year, probably better and we got a point, which is more than we managed then. We then followed that up by conceding six at Dagenham.
I accept that not everyone will have the same opinion and that when you pay your money you are entitled to criticise as much as you like but we will achieve much more when we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. Vilifying players and trolling them on social media will do nothing to help. Our club is in the best position it has ever been. There have been changes, that will always cause a bit of unrest but I firmly believe that we will continue to go from strength to strength.
Hopefully Saturday will seen us get the first win of the season and a few of the moaners will be quiet for a week.
Up up the bees.
The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.