I’m Not Criticising… But – 16/1/15

I hurt my back a couple of days ago overdoing it with a kettle bell in the gym, and I am hobbling around, dosed up on anti-inflamatories waiting for nature to take its course and for the all-pervading spasm to lift. Until then I am doing a passable Quasimodo impression and I will need a late fitness test tomorrow morning before I decide whether I can risk the journey to Brighton without fear of having to travel home recumbent on the back seat of my car. Frankly as things stand – or not, as the case might be, I doubt if I am going to make it.

As you can imagine, writing a new blog through a Voltarol induced haze has been the last thing on my mind over the past twenty-four hours so I was absolutely delighted when I was saved by the bell by an email winging its way into my inbox a few minutes ago from a regular correspondent, Andre Rettelet, giving his viewpoint on how he feels things are going with the team at the moment and what he believes we need to do in order to maintain our progress.

Please have a read of what he has to say as it touched a chord with me as I am sure it will do with many of you too, and I would very much welcome your views on his comments:

I’m not criticising but…..which is usually the preface to a criticism.

Seriously, though, just how many midfielders do we need?

What do you reckon?

I love the football that’s being played at the moment. I never imagined a Brentford side playing this way. Or rather I did, but it was the stuff of my dreams.

But the hard fact is that football is also rather prosaic, and you should never lose sight of the fact that games are won by scoring more goals than the opposition. Brentford are dominating possession and creating more chances, with slick passing and lots of movement. However, they could be tighter at the back.

All of the players on the book are comfortable with the ball, have good vision and try to play ‘the Brentford (new) way’.

But, when I look at the current squad, there seems to be an imbalance. Including the development squad, with the signing of Josh Laurent, a back of a fag packet calculation shows we have twenty-one midfielders and wingers, plus two in on loan (Toral and Pritchard) and two out on loan. Odubajo and (when fit) McCormack can do a job at the back, but that’s still a hell of a lot. I’m sure Josh Laurent is a great prospect, etc, etc… and may even in time prove to be a Brentford legend. Who knows? But surely not our number one priority?

Contrast this with our diminishing stock of  forwards, who number a mere five.

Andre Gray

Nick Proschwitz (definitely not the solution, or we’re asking the wrong question)

Betinho (the incredible invisible man)

Scott Hogan (injured for the remainder of the season)

Will Grigg (on loan, and hopefully on his way out of the club on a permanent basis)

Montell Moore (about to leave on loan and with other distractions at present)

Let’s just say that barring any new signing in the window, I’m praying for Andre Gray to stay fit. The way things stand, he’s going to have to play even at 75% fitness. Perhaps Stuart Dallas is the only current alternative?

The cupboard is just as bare at the back. Apart from Moses/McCormack able to do a job at right back, there’s Jake Bidwell, the three centre backs, all of whom have shown a certain amount of vulnerability, plus Nico Yennaris, Alfie Mawson (doing a job at Wycombe) and the youngsters. For Jake, there’s no alternative. Oh, for a Hermann Hreidarsson! (we would need to change to a back three however).

I’m just getting greedy I guess. Forty-five years of hoping my team would play slick football, and when they eventually do, I still manage to discover a way to find fault! Some people are never satisfied I suppose… but having got this far, I feel we should do just a little bit more.

A little while ago, I had a little problem. Since I live on the seventh floor of my apartment block, I decided that as part of my rehab I should try and walk up rather than take the lift. It was hard at first. I took the lift halfway, then walked. Then I did it. Then I did it twice (lift down, then back up again). Then, since the weather was crap outside, three times, four times, five times and so on. The point is, each time you’ve reached a target, there’s another one to aim for. That’s why, brilliant though the Bees have been, they can get even better,

Incidentally, on the stairs front, I gave up after six or forty-two floors. There’s proving a point and then there’s being silly… plus there’s only so many times you can walk past the same welcome mats, and the weather got better anyway.

Thanks Andre and I will have a lot more to say about our transfer policy as soon as I have fully recovered – sitting at a computer is pretty painful at the moment, I am afraid!

I will simply say that I empathise with much of what Andre has written. To stand still is to atrophy. But…. spending for the sake of spending is also totally pointless. The bar has been raised drastically. Just look back three short years ago when our stars were Myles Weston, Gary Alexander, Craig Woodman and Charlie MacDonald. Good honest journeymen pro’s who all served us well. Just how close would they get to our squad now? I really do not need to answer that question do I? We have left them and others of that ilk far, far behind us, trailing in our wake.

We are shopping at Harrods now rather than Aldi and we need to take care, do our due diligence (Andy Delort anyone), fight off the ever increasing competition from richer and more heralded rivals, and then, and only then will our efforts be successful. The next couple of weeks will be interesting in the extreme and I am sure that if push comes to shove, then we will spend Matthew Benham’s cash wisely.


One thought on “I’m Not Criticising… But – 16/1/15

  1. Great stuff and analogies. I think there is a glaring gap in our arsenal re an aerial threat,many of us do this year and last,and it is a bit mystifying. Maybe out of midfield players of the quality we have,other positions are filled,its a squad game after all. But there is no denying that we are desk up front from set pieces.
    I do think some clarification on Bethino is now due.


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