Why McGhee is a suitable replacement for Eames at Barnet

Connect in the back of the net

In keeping with previous late night managerial appointments, Barnet added to that list earlier this week, welcoming Mark McGhee to The Hive to take over from Rossi Eames.

McGhee appears to be the experienced manager chairman Tony Kleanthous promised supporters would arrive in the summer, and his drive will certainly be needed to move the team out and away from the relegation zone.

Eames, meanwhile deserves some credit for staying with the club and moving to Head of Player Development to continue the work he started before stepping up with Henry Newman to take over when Martin Allen left for Eastleigh.

Eames was seen by some as the cheap option for Kleanthous to take, for others continuity after replacing Kevin Nugent following his ill-fated 2 month spell at The Hive. Eames was also the coach who was responsible for the breakthrough of many of the young players now bulking out the first team squad.

So, what went wrong for Eames?

Despite a bright start to the season, including a 4-1 thumping of pre-season favourites Swindon at the County Ground, the Bees have only one once since then in 11 league games and are without a win in 12 games in all competitions.

An early exit from the FA Cup and no progress in the EFL Trophy has done little to lift the gloom, and with Colchester taking the points back to Essex last weekend, Eames’ time was up.

You can point to a horrendous run of injuries that would’ve tested managers and coaches up and down the country with at times, half the starting XI on the treatment table.

Last season’s top scorer John Akinde has missed almost every game this year, returning for last weekends defeat, as did goalkeeper Jamie Stephens who saw action for the first time since early August, Curtis Weston hasn’t played since September while summer signing Richard Brindley who was due to solve the problem right back position hasn’t kicked a competitive ball yet.

In previous weeks, the side lacked balance and tactical nous, and bringing back Ryan Watson and Alex Nicholls who had been frozen out since pre-season, smacked of desperation and a loss of direction as all else wasn’t working. Possibly the only pluses in recent months is the form of Simeon Akinola after his failed move to Lincoln City back in August and goals from Akinola and Shaq Coulthirst.

But stats and results don’t lie. One clean sheet for keeper Craig Ross and his defence since August shows the side will concede at least one goal per game, and at any level, giving teams a goal head start makes it an uphill battle to get points. The plus is the Bees have rarely been well beaten which has kept the goal difference low compared to those around them.

And so to McGhee. A very experienced manager is what the Bees faithful have been crying out for since Allen resigned around this time last year.

With Eames (twice) and Nugent both failing to improve the club’s fortunes, Kleanthous has finally turned to a man who despite not having a good club record in the last few years, should the possess the skills and ethics to preserve the Bees Football League status and drive them up the table.

His first interview talks of ‘hard work needed to get out of the current situation’ and he does have a good 6 weeks to assess where his squad is at before the transfer window.

But with a large squad already, it might mean a few departures on loan this January as per the last to enable some movement.

Clubs around the Bees have changed managers in recent months, Chesterfield still unable to get going under Jack Lester while Port Vale have improved under Neil Aspin and they host the Bees this weekend, and whilst not a relegation six pointer at this time of the season, McGhee will be keen to get off the mark and begin the revival.

For the absolute optimist, this time last year Exeter City were bottom of the Football League, by April they had made the play offs without changing manager, can it be the turn of the Bees?

 

Written by Trevor Knell

Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37

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