There’s no doubt, that no one associated with the Bees will be happy with the league position heading into the new year and Loach is no different. However, he brings a sense of calmness as he sits down with us to discuss our current predicament.
We start off by asking our number one to assess the season so far, as the Bee Army have come to love about Scott, he gives a very honest view on things.
“I think if we’re being brutally honest it hasn’t been good enough. We can put our finger on many different points that have gone on but the bottom line is that it comes down to us as players. Forget what has gone on with COVID and change of management, we just haven’t been good enough consistently.
“There have been patches in games where we’ve played really well but other times where we have just been so sloppy in both boxes. It’s been frustrating, we know with the squad and the players we have, we should be doing much better, but we haven’t got a right to be doing better. This league is very tough and demanding, we have got to make sure we turn around quickly.
“The only plus side is that there are 31 games left, by this time you are normally going towards the single figures in terms of games left. We have plenty of games on our side, plenty of time on our side, there lots of time to go to turn this season around.”
The Bees, of course, didn’t play over the Christmas period, due to an enforced lockdown of the First Team following a COVID case amongst the squad. 2021 is going to be hectic in the extreme, with the sheer number of games to be played before the currently scheduled end of the season in May.
Whilst Loach admits the opening 13 matches haven’t been good enough, he hails the importance of how momentum can play a big part in the second part of the season.
“There are 93 points to play for! We have to be realistic, I don’t think you can call it a relegation battle just yet, because there are so many teams down there and there’s still so many games to play. But we can’t be getting dragged into it, we don’t want to be losing games and looking over our shoulders, so we need to get results on the board and push on up the table.
“Then come February time who knows, because anything can happen in this league. If you get on a run of results, you are suddenly looking what’s above you rather than behind you. The way that football is going, there’s going to be more stoppages in the season, it can break the momentum.
“From a personal point of view, we know we have to stabilise things this year, we are under a new manager now, so we all have to get ourselves in his plans going forward, even as far as going into next summer. I think with the set up now, with all the backroom staff coming, the Club is in the right place to kick on.”
The appointment of Tim Flowers has changed the entire culture of the Club, the new boss has brought in a whole host of backroom staff to ensure the Bees players can prepare in the best possible way for each and every match.
Loach was quick to praise the appointment of Flowers and echoes the sentiments that his appointment will have a positive impact on the long term future of the Club.
“The guy has played for England and won a Premier League title, he knows exactly what a football club needs. I think he wants to do everything right, it’s all about professionalism and that has to filter right the way down. That is no excuse for some of the performances we’ve had this season, but he’s putting the foundations in place now.
“We’re all on trial in my book, we’re all playing for the shirt and for some of us, we’re now playing for our career’s. At the end of the season, if you want to still be here going into next season, you have got to be playing well to do that. It’s a fresh start for everyone, but he’s making sure we’re in the right environment.
“It feels like my days back at Watford, where everything was done with how you’d expect it should be done. This set up with the Sports Science and the analysis should be giving us that extra one or two per cent if you add that across the whole team, it should really benefit us.”
The new boss had a formidable home record at his former Club, Solihull Moors. The physical nature of Flowers’ teams never made the trip to the Midlands a pleasant one, you knew you were always in for a difficult match.
Loach wants the Bees to recreate that atmosphere at The Hive London and feels that we have to use home advantage to better effect as we head into the new year.
“I used to take body armour when I used to play against his Solihull side! If we can get that fear factor in place, it’s a massive thing in this league, there are teams in this league that when you look at their physical nature, you know it’s going to be a tough afternoon. If we can get that fear factor in place, especially at home, then it will drive us on.
“We’ve got to start going out there and proving to ourselves, the staff and the fans that we’re going to live up to the name of this football club. When you drive in and look around us, there’ll be teams in League One who would envy our set up, so we need to start showing we’re a proper football club, not just off it with the set up in place, but on the pitch as well.
“Last year we went through a similarly bad spell and then at the turn of the year, we went on that brilliant run that ultimately saw us get into the play-offs. We have to got to win sooner or later, we can’t panic, we have to control our actions. It’s about going out there, knowing we can win and feeling like we have the edge.
“I’ll be perfectly honest, I feel like there are times where we haven’t had enough belief going into matches, as brutal as that sounds, it’s the truth and we need to start showing some belief or we won’t be going anywhere.”
Our chat with the Bees goalkeeper finishes on the fans, with the situation there hasn’t been many opportunities for the Bee Army to cheer their side on this season. It has created an eery atmosphere at matches, one that doesn’t culminate to an enjoyable experience for anyone.
Loach reflects on the challenges that behind closed doors matches bring for the players and hopes that 2021 is a brighter year for everyone connected with the Club.
“This is my 15th season as a player and having the fans in is just everything I have ever known. Even in the warm-up, you can hear people coming into the stadium and you have someone shout your name, that’s what it’s all about. Then in the game, when there’s a goal or a big save, you can hear the crowd. To me, that is football and that’s what the game is all about.
“The fact of the matter is, that fans are football and football is fans. Football needs fans and fans need football, so hopefully it changes sooner for the better.”