Shambles – 11/8/15

Despite the unexpected and remarkable fillip of two goals on Saturday against Ipswich so late that they arrived almost at the end of the classified results on Sports Report, there was still an almost perceptible sense of foreboding before tonight’s Capital One cup tie against Oxford United.

Head Coach Marinus Duikhuizen had announced that he would make extensive team changes and give valuable match practice to his previously unused squad members as well as some deserving members of the Development Squad.

Supporters with only a short memory could recall recent matches in the same competition when a similar course was followed without much success.

Two seasons ago a young team, naive and wet behind the ears was massacred by a full strength Derby County who thankfully and mercifully declared at five after a mixed squad had barely squeaked through in the previous round against Dagenham.

Last season another weakened side played out that remarkable 6-6 draw against a plucky Dagenham team who were almost allowed to win a game in which we had threatened at times to run riot.

The Griffin Park pitch, so lush and true last season was another massive concern as despite extensive close season attention, it now resembled nothing more than a sandy beach painted green and the uneven, lumpy and bumpy surface was a ticking time bomb which threatened ankles and cruciates alike and had defied Brentford’s best efforts to play our customary brand of incisive one touch football on Saturday, and stymied by the vagaries and inconsistencies of the surface, the Bees had resorted to an inelegant and untypical long ball game.

There had also been an ominous silence regarding Andre Gray. Perhaps no news was good news but we remained in total ignorance about his future and whether he would be in the right frame of mind to be included in the starting eleven.

The injury list was also growing on a seemingly daily basis with Alan Judge, Jota and Harlee Dean, Josh McEachran and of course, Scott Hogan all unavailable and, as for Lewis MacLeod, mention of his name brought about a bemused shrug as the current whereabouts and state of fitness of this elusive young man remained a closely guarded secret.

Well, however concerned we were at the prospect of the match, the reality was far worse than even the greatest pessimist could have envisaged as a ludicrously weak Brentford team which treated the competition, the opposition and, indeed, our supporters with utter disrespect was hammered by an experienced and commited and crucially, unchanged Oxford United team who barely had to go through the motions or break sweat to stroll to an easy four goal victory. And we were lucky that it was only four.

Oxford were a team who played as a cohesive unit, Brentford were a disparate rabble, a cobbled together collection of strangers and callow kids who lacked leadership and frankly were a disgrace to the shirt.

In the club’s defence the Head Coach had stated that he would rest players but nobody could have expected the eleven players who actually started to have rested to the extent that they did throughout a first half which saw them lethargically chasing shadows and falling three goals behind within ten minutes.

All three were the result of staggering and almost laughable defensive howlers by Bjelland and Bonham which were ruthlessly punished by Sercombe, Hylton and, spectacularly with a forty yard lob into a empty net by Roofe after the hapless Bonham went walkabout.

There were eleven, yes, eleven team changes from Saturday with none of the starters against Ipswich being named in the team. There were seven debutants in Bjelland, Barbet, O’Connell, Williams, Udemaga, Laurent and Senior and the team was completed by Bonham, Clarke, Vibe and the most experienced player on view in Yennaris.

Indeed the entire team had played less than ten first team matches between them. No wonder the performance was shambolic as such a scratch eleven who had never played together before and surely never will again could not be expected to succeed against a team of hardened opponents who played to win.

Just to make things even worse Bjelland limped off before the interval and then your correspondent was hit flush on the head by an errant Brentford shot during the half time break and knocked over, thus ending his active participation as a spectator.

A suitable ending to a terrible evening and thanks to the club’s paramedics who were helpful, kind and solicitous to me as I felt extremely dazed and shocked.

I am told that the second half was another non-event for Brentford who finally lost by four clear goals.

Squad rotation is one thing, what Brentford did tonight is quite another. We have lots of promising players with massive potential and tonight will have done them no good whatsoever as they were hung out to dry and perhaps some budding careers have even taken a backward step.

Play a couple of them certainly, but surround, protect and encourage them with a coterie of first teamers. To make eleven changes and field a team with so little experience was a disaster waiting to happen and a catastrophic decision by the new Head Coach who fully deserves the criticism he is sure to face.

This was a night of shame and embarrassment for the club coming at the worst possible time just when a new regime is seeking to establish itself with the fans.

Dijkhuizen has inherited a tough enough job with all the raised expectations after last season’s achievements and the massive success of Mark Warburton, without making it even harder for himself, something that he has now done after the disappointing events of tonight.

I am going to bed now feeling a bit dazed and sick and the blow on the head, nasty as it was, is not the sole cause of my discomfort.

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20 thoughts on “Shambles – 11/8/15

  1. I walked out after the fourth goal went in – only the second time I’ve ever left a Brentford match before the final whistle.
    To charge £10 for that was a disgrace.
    I hope you’re feeling better soon.

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  2. Couldn’t agree with you more Grenville. The team played like they had never played together before, which indeed is the case. Bonham’s mistake were for call to see, but what it must have done for his confidence, if he had any, heaven knows. Any football which we tried to play, was well and truly cancelled out by a pitch which beggars belief orcstifled by a well organized Oxford team, who I think deserve some credit – they were committed, harassed us, dominated the midfield, so goodvlucknto them.

    And am I alone in being sick to death with the Gray saga. Is there some kind of official secrets act which forbids us being told what is going on.

    I know it’s clearly days, but on Saturday we looked more like how I thought we would be last season, and this evening, well Head Coach, explain yourself please.

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    • well greville not to knock the new HEAD COACH but this is just a example in all our football teams with foreign mangers they do not take our different cups seriously here in France this is so common which for me is not right.Yes i understand to see the fringe players in a competition match but and i sure they tried there best but when i pulled a BFC shirt on be it a friendly or whatever i tried my best to win even in training. as know winning instills confidence and as a championship side even with injuries ect BFC should be able to put out a team competitive whatever the match and tonight i think this was not the case.We still got much to learn but its now straight away last year was a dream and this is the time if we want to establish ourselves as a championship side or more not next week or later but from Saturday

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  3. I was quite excited when I saw the starting eleven. Two full internationals to give experience to the youngsters seemed to be a good idea. Yes, there were maybe too many changes (in hindsight), but the youngsters have all played together before and should know where and when they are making runs and play accordingly.
    Jack Bonham obviously has some pedigree, Richard Lee recommended him to us, was he to blame for the first, third or fourth goals?
    I felt we needed a central midfielder to control the game, Williams showed some decent touches but we lacked a leader.
    The main lesson r learned is that most of the youngsters will not be pushing the first teamers, and need to go out on loan to gain some much needed experience.
    Hope you feel better soon!

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  4. Strong words but good on you for saying what needs to be said after that! Due to other pressures I really shouldn’t have gone last night, instead I persuaded all the crew to turn out, along with a couple of neutrals. Despite the reduced entrance my evening cost about £40, money and time i’ll not get back – to see a team weaker than any selected during the pre season games!

    Some will say that’s the price of following BFC and to stop moaning & get behind the club, I disagree and think we are entitled to describe what we see and give our opinions. As a minimum requirement I expect BFC, and in particular this current BFC regime to put a competitive side on the pitch and to endeavour to win every competitive game in which we take part. Then I expect the coach & players to fight and work hard for the shirt. On both counts we were badly let down, in the end it s not the defeat that I can’t take, it is the casual way that a serious game was thrown away.

    Marinus took a few positive steps in my eyes at the weekend, these were totally reversed last night, his selections, demeanour and inability to react to events reminiscent of the days of Terry Butcher & Leroy Rosenoir. He has problems getting his squad and team together, also with the pitch, I have some sympathy but let’s just say that bar 2 lucky late goals on Saturday it hasn’t been a great start for him.

    I’m not going to say much about the game – we barely got out of our half, nobody got anything useful out of it & fair play to Oxford for showing us what happens if you disrespect a cup competition in this way. 5200 people deserved better and I never want to hear BFC complain about a poor cup attendance again..

    Early days but I’m concerned, Marinus rightly has to front up after performances like this, but i’d be pleased to see some support around him from the long line of people that he reports to, owner, DoF’s, Chairman etc etc. We need a leader to rally behind, MB can’t do everything but the silence from within the club is troubling, give us something to keep us going whilst all this change settles down. Oh hang on, at least our chairman seems busy, arranging a trip for Bees fans to go and support FCM at Southampton – how wide of the mark is that?

    Huge pressure on MD already – a beating at Brizzle and it’ll take some turning around.

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  5. This is all rather predictable. After the best season in my lifetime, we sacked the best manager we have had in decades, and have sold some of our best (and most committed) players with more on the way out…and what do we expect? We lack a cutting edge and some of the flair/pace of last year. We have lost ‘the team’. This is going to be a season of re-building and hopefully not relegation. Pre-season flattered – we should have lost heavily to Norwich but were ‘saved’ by Button. And we have an inexperienced (in British) management team, all beholden to Benham. Not healthy.

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      • Hope you’re right Greville. What the statistics fans forget is that it’s a people business, managing a large group of people on and off the pitch to deliver more than their best. That’s what Warburton did very well (and seemingly now at Rangers). Benham doesn’t seem to have the same people skills.

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    • Dead right Stephen. I keep saying this but other than MD who speaks for bfc publicly & promotes the strategy positively? MD looks isolated & awkward, whilst players are traded around him. Worrying!

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  6. I just feel last night was symptomatic of our season. All the positives from last year seem to have temporarily been forgotten.

    The pitch, lack of upgrades promised to the PA, the lack of big screen, the transfers at the worst time for planning, the lack of communication of anything meaningful. Yes the performances have been poor but that has been magnified by the general malaise. You do wonder if maybe there are too many cooks and not enough chefs. We need someone to support marines, he has been left very exposed.

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