Brown has sympathy with Cobblers after 'weirdest situation' he's ever experienced

‘At least we didn’t lie down like Scunthorpe.’

By James Heneghan
Sunday, 8th May 2022, 3:35 pm
Phil Brown.

Barrow manager Phil Brown had sympathy with the Cobblers and admitted ‘it didn’t feel right’ after Jon Brady’s side were denied promotion by Bristol Rovers’ 7-0 victory over Scunthorpe United.

Northampton beat Brown’s Bluebirds 3-1 at Holker Street in the final game of the season but, despite starting the day in third place, that wasn’t enough to keep them there due to the capitulation of a very young Scunthorpe team in Bristol.

A cheer went up from a section of Barrow supporters when news of Rovers’ seventh goal filtered through.

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Brown said: “I have just been talking to Colin Calderwood who’s a good friend of mine and the first thing you feel is that it doesn’t feel right that something like that has gone in.

"When the cheer went up from our fans, I was thinking ‘what could that be? Surely that’s something from our perspective?’ but that was the weirdest situation I’ve ever been involved in during 43 years of football.

"That shows you how strange it was. Northampton have the best defence in the league and now they will have to go into the play-offs. It beggars belief but that’s football – it never surprises you.

"Good luck to them in the play-offs. The coaching staff were not in a good frame of mind after full-time but they have a full week to prepare to get the team up and ready and they are a good side and have every chance of getting through the play-offs.”

On the game itself, Brown was not happy with his side’s first-half performance after they found themselves 3-0 down inside 22 minutes.

He added: "I have been really proud of the way we approached the last eight games and the application of the players, even in defeat, and we have been in every game.

"We have come away with enough points to stay up, which is all well and good, but in the first-half today I was so disappointed with our mentality.

"I looked at a couple of things and questioned a couple of things. I’m responsible for this club being successful next season – I haven’t come here to fail – and if I’m going to get success, I need buy-in from the players.

"But there wasn’t any buy-in during the first-half. I found out one or two things and I went after them at half-time. They said they were focused on the game and wanted to win the game but the way we laid down was very uncharacteristic.

"There was a lot of tactical changes between the managers and we played three or four different systems but it was the mentality of the group that let us down today and they know what I’m talking about.

"I will talk to every player and I need to know if they want to play for Barrow because if they do, I need commitment in every game and every training session, not just a signature on a piece of paper.

"At least we didn’t lie down like Scunthorpe and we had a bit of a go in the second-half but I want to be better than that. We looked like strangers in the first 20, 25 minutes.”