A Night To Forget! – 6/2/16

I am really not quite sure what upset me more, watching our listless and inept display at Brighton last night or listening to the so called experts on Sky Sports line up to put the boot in on Brentford and how the club has been run over the last year.

Let’s start with the performance which highlighted all our weaknesses and exemplified everything bad about us and the way that we play when things do not work out as planned:

  • Tons of possession, sixty-five percent, to be accurate but with absolutely no end result
  • Barely a shot on target in the whole match
  • Nearly six hundred passes of which less than a third were forward in direction
  • No real tempo or pace on and off the ball
  • Being careless in possession and turning the ball over with monotonous regularity as soon as we got into Brighton territory
  • No incision in the final third of the pitch
  • The lone striker, firstly Vibe and then Djuricin, being totally starved of possession and support
  • Neither striker showing any real appetite for the fray and Vibe showing a lack of anticipation when an excellent chance eventually came his way
  • A total reluctance to shoot when the opportunity arose
  • Never getting sufficient players into the penalty areas to threaten a tough and organised home defence
  • A distinct lack of bite in the tackle as we stood off and admired our opponents as they ran through us unchallenged
  • No pressing or defending from the front or committed effort made to win back possession
  • Dean and Barbet being left totally exposed when the two fullbacks were far too often left marooned upfield when our attacking moves broke down and the home team taking full advantage of Dean’s lack of pace
  • John Swift looking like a little boy lost as the game totally passed him by
  • Sam Saunders having one of those nights when nothing went right for him
  • Alan Judge reduced to impotence by the incompetence around him
  • Josh McEachran hardly putting himself forward for an Ironman Award as he gave in and succumbed to a hip injury after an evening punctuated by a series of sideways and backwards passes and an inability to get stuck in
  • Our players being shrugged off the ball with embarrassing ease as we were outplayed, outmuscled and outfought
  • We were too soft, small and lightweight, the heads went down as we ran up the white flag, and there was no evidence of leadership either on or off the pitch

I am trying very hard to find anything positive to say about any of our players but I am really struggling to come up with anything beyond the fact that Ryan Woods never gave up or let his head go down and performed excellently both on and off the ball and Lewis Macleod finally made his debut for the club as a late substitute and hopefully there is much to look forward to from him.

Brighton knew exactly how to manage the game. They allowed us to keep possession for seemingly minutes at a time and funnelled back happy and content in the knowledge that we did not have the wit, imagination, guile, strength or numbers in support to break them down.

They waited for our moves to break down, mainly through our own over elaboration or careless errors and then picked us off on the break with fast, incisive attacks that tore massive holes in our defence which had the consistency and solidity of a sieve.

What was most noticeable was how quickly they got forward and how many players they got in and around our penalty area to support their attacks.

There was danger every time they attacked and their strikers, with the exception of the lumbering Zamora, were far too quick and strong for us and we could never match their movement off the ball.

All three goals were well taken but giveaways from our point of view. We started the game quicker than Brighton but after Judge forced an excellent save from Stockdale with what turned out to be our only serious effort of the match, Brighton grew into the game but their first goal should easily have been prevented.

Saunders gave the ball away and was brushed off like an irritating fly when he attempted to win it back. Colin was slow to anticipate a long diagonal pass that looked as if it was drifting out of play before the excellent Murphy chased a seemingly lost cause and set up Anthony Knockaert, the best player on the pitch, who brought the ball instantly under control and left our defenders with twisted blood before he finished emphatically.

The second goal, coming as it did just before halftime, ended the game as a contest. A quick free kick was played to Kayal who was waved past by McEachran whose abysmal apology for a challenge was a total embarrassment and his perfect centre was headed in by an unmarked Hemed.

Amateur hour at the back by the Bees.

The third goal came just before the final whistle at a time when the long suffering Brentford supporters were almost past caring and we were caught by yet another breakaway with vast swathes of space on our right flank and Murphy was left to run in totally unmarked and unchallenged to score easily and set the seal on a night of misery for the club.

What highlights our lack of bite even more clearly is that we never gave Keith Stroud any reason or excuse to put his own indelible and inimitable stamp upon proceedings.

What made matters even worse and poured salt on an already gaping wound was the seemingly biased, inept and ignorant coverage on Sky Sports which amounted to a total Brighton love in.

We were a mere afterthought, the lambs to the slaughter, apart from a brief Alan Judge puff piece before kick off. That would have been bad enough but worse was to come as the commentators and analysts alike, Ian Holloway, Peter Beagrie and Don Goodman, took potshots at us in turn and lost no opportunity to sneer and jeer at our apparent decline and fall from the heights of the Mark Warburton-led regime of last season.

Every transfer out of the club was forensically examined with a metaphorical shake of the head and remarked upon with the overwhelming and unanimous verdict that we had weakened the squad for no apparent reason and had no strategy, plan or ambition for the future and were a headless chicken club and a laughing stock surely destined to fall further from grace.

Not for one minute was there an ounce of introspection or analysis of why we had in many cases been forced to take the action that we did and sell players who we could not afford to keep once their head had been turned by clubs with far greater resources than ours.

So where do we go from here? That is the million dollar question that needs careful consideration. The other day I wrote a long list of everything that we had to look forward to for the remainder of the season.

Overwhelmingly the most important consideration was that we kept our focus and concentrated on winning football matches, something that we seemed totally to forget last night.

There was a chasm between the two teams both on and off the pitch last night. Brighton’s well appointed new stadium is a cash cow and their off field income and an attendance last night two and a half times higher than that of Brentford means that we are totally unable to compete with them in terms of income, and that was reflected on the field where an experienced and expensively assembled squad boasting players we can only dream about, was totally superior to ours.

Let’s also try and keep some sense of perspective as we had taken four points from our last two matches and good players do not necessarily become bad overnight. But it has to be said that the blend did not work last night and we were far below our best and fell far short of what is required to compete at this level.

I will not resort to a knee jerk reaction and pull everything and everybody apart but I am sure that last night was a wake up call that will not be ignored by the powers that be at the club.

Our strategy for the remainder of the season seems to be quite simply to hunker down, retreat into our bunker, make do with what we are left with and simply count off the days and get through the season before readdressing matters in the Summer and hopefully coming again next season.

Maybe the shortcomings that were highlighted last night will bring about some rethinking?

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44 thoughts on “A Night To Forget! – 6/2/16

  1. Why take notice of TV pundits slagging off our club and owner?just ask yourself why aren’t they managing a football team.Same people who slated Ranieri at the start of the season.Lets be fair it’s a dead easy job as Garry Neville is finding lol.We are a club very much in transition as you know,I think it’s times like this fans should just get behind the side and support what the club are trying to achieve.Players don’t want to play for little clubs with little crowds when big clubs with big wages come calling we can’t control that all we can do is get the correct money for them something we have never done in the many years I’ve been around until now.We lost a game 3 0 so what we were great last away game at Preston now we are crap.

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    • Bill I am more concerned about outsiders getting the wrong impression as well as those supporters new to the club who have, understandably, no sense of our history and the rollercoaster ride we have been on. I know there is not a lot else we could have done but others do not get it.

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  2. Excellent article as usual Greville. If what you say in your penultimate paragraph is true, then the club’s hierarchy shouldn’t be surprised if a number of newer fans retreat into their own bunkers rather than wasting money watching some of the impotent performances that have been served up recently. I hope they think seriously about how the playing side is being run at the moment. It’s all very well saying we are safe (we aren’t yet) but a run of poor performances to the end of the season will just encourage our few remaining talented players to leave thinking that the club has no real ambition. Cutting your cloth according to your budget is one thing. Showing a lack of direction or momentum is quite another. Up the Bees!

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    • I usually derive some pleasure from posting comments. Not on this occasion. But I want to get a “silly” thought out of my head and I sincerely hope ,Greville, that you will tell me I am completely miss-reading the situation.After our two most recent performances I was unusually optimistic about our chances of winning at Brighton and kick-start a push for a top six place. Then I watched the game and could hardly believe my eyes,particularly in the first half.Where was the team that performed so well against Preston and Leeds?(Some of the defending reminded me of the days when I watched Sunday Morning football in a local park!) Then a horrible thought came into my head. Could that reliance on those magical “statistical analyses” be just a myth?How have they assisted the club in recruiting the right players and coaches based on our performances this season compared with the last?It would be nice to hear from the club owner on his assessment of the work in progress – or lack of it!

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  3. Great article – My thoughts on the performance – neither Vibe, Duracin or Hoffman suit the lone striker role. The 5 man midfield is fine with attacking flair but not with Sam, Woods, Josh and Swift (non existant at times) its just never going to work. Judge is dropping deeper and deeper to get in the game let alone our striker ever getting a touch..

    We need to play to our strengths Barbet, woods are great passers use their ability to play longer passes to create different openings. vibe or Duracin need a partner up front I would play Hoff and Vibe, sit Judge behind and use Canos, Swift/ Gogia down wings with a holding player, woods or Josh. Back 4 as they are but concentrate on defending!
    It was far to easy for Brighton, I worry Smith is a bit out of his depth….

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  4. A very bad night and unfortunate that it was live on TV, when it really needed burying amidst a busy midweek schedule. You’ve covered the on pitch issues properly so I’ll not add much other than to comment on the failure of the useless Stroud to see a nailed on bees penalty early on – not that it mattered. Yes it’s open season on us with the media at present, much of the criticism is unjust but we aren’t helping ourselves are we.

    Do we have problems in the camp again, do we have enough to get through to the end of the season, and is Dean Smith going to be up to this job? I’m asking myself these questions today. I’m also concerned by the now seemingly huge task of putting a new side together in the summer.

    Whilst I totally get that our resources are not at the level of many other clubs in the division, please let’s not use this “little Brentford, we can’t compete” stuff as a comfort blanket for some of the things that patently aren’t working as hoped. I’ve just watched Leicester win big at Man City, they top the premier league and are real contenders – if we blindly follow the resources argument then this just shouldn’t be happening. So why is it? I’d say they have a great coach, excellent recruitment here and abroad, and a real team ethic. Leicester have a strong spine, tight defence and a real outlet up front – and he came from Fleetwood! This is totally relevant to BFC and where the real real debate should be right now.

    Worryingly most of our divisional rivals have strengthened whilst we haven’t, some of the sides below us will now fancy their games to come against us.

    The season has been a mess and without Lee Carsley we’d be in real trouble.

    Sorry to those that don’t like my views, I Iove our club deeply the same as you all do. I’ll be at Hillsborough next week, but I go both in hope and fear in equal measure.

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  5. I’m at a loss about what I think and feel is going on a BFC at the moment. I was at Preston the other week and we did play well and it was an enjoyable day out. Watched pretty much the same players last night and they were completely out of sorts and not far off humiliated.

    Tempo, drive and positivity seems to be the difference in the 2 performances. I think perhaps we should fine the players if they pass backwards or sideways, at least when quick forward movement is on. Everything was so slow and laboured – Tentative would be the word I’d use. The players seemed to be intimidated. Maybe we just don’t like playing on Friday nights.

    Off the field, I have some sympathy with the view that its not particularly healthy that our DoFs are involved with running 2 clubs at the same time. It makes me feel a bit uneasy. How much do they really care about BFC or at least sympathise with the club’s supporters when they complain about watching that sort of insipid performance. At least we can support FCM at Man United to make up for it.

    I fully appreciate the rational arguments about our relative size; MB’s dedication and huge sums of money he’s invested; and the amount of work going on off-field in all sorts of areas. But supporters are generally not rational when it comes to football and we seem to be losing the emotional argument – the ‘feelgood factor’. The Bees are not an easy sell at the moment. My son and his friend are 13 and I must admit I struggle to put into words for them what’s happening (in a positive sense), though intellectually I know things are far better than they were only a few years ago.

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      • I have no great desire to defend Sky but in recent times I have heard Ian Holloway,in particular,make some very complimentary remarks about the progress of Brentford and the quality of their football. We have to take the rough with the smooth.

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  6. Another great article Greville, but being a pessimist by nature, I still look to see how far we off relegation rather than looking up the table before we reach 51 points! As someone who’s been watching the Bees all my life (can’t even remember 1st game as my parents went to every home game and obviously dragged me along) since the early sixties that’s what I’m used to!

    I believe some people need to get a reality check on our current position in the league. Yes, last season was brilliant and I couldn’t believe some of the football we were playing, but since winning promotion I’d certainly take our current position any day.

    I’m afraid I do worry about Dean Smith being the right man but he needs to be given time to get his style across and then we’ll see.

    The pundits last night were doing my head in as well, especially as they were trying to portray that we were willingly selling all our best players, just because somebody bid for them rather than the players wanting away as happened! So what sort of ambition have we got! Well, with crowds of 10,000 what do they expect us to do, I’m sure Rotherham & Bristol City fans would give their right arm to swap with us!

    Once we get into Lionel Road and hopefully get bigger crowds, then I will start to dream, that one day we might reach the giddy heights of the premiership, but it’s going to be a massive struggle, just look at Notts Forest & Leeds etc how many years they’ve been trying and that’s with bigger crows than we’re going to get!

    So, come on everybody, lets smell the roses and enjoy the current ride rather than expect overnight success! COYB

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      • Greville, I am afraid I am becoming very confused about the tone and content of this debate.As a true but independently-minded supporter you quite rightly pulled no punches in denouncing the Bees performance “on and off the field”last night.In one particular response,concerning the merits of Dean Smith,you stated “but he does look like a bystander rather than someone who influences matters on the pitch” This is an opinion you have every right to express. But what baffles me is that you,and others, are at the same time so indignant about criticisms levelled against the club by pundits on Sky. I am sure there is an explanation but it eludes me at the moment!

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      • Perhaps we hate outsiders to make judgements about ourselves when they are not as well informed as we are.

        As for Smith, I so want to like him but he does not appear to be influencing matters as much as I’d like yet.

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  7. Excellent well written article. I would hope the 2 Directors of Football realise that the latest exodus of experienced Championship proven players cannot be re balanced by the signing of 2 inexperienced kids & an extended contract given to a 32 yr old who is anything but a Championship regular.I honestly feel sorry for Dean Smith & sincerely hope he is given the opportunity to show us what he can do . I am less enamoured by the performance of Messrs Ankersen & Giles however who having failed with the recruitment of Marinus as Head Coach have not inspired with the majority of players they have brought to the club.Certainly only Woods & Colin have been close to the quality of signing we made prior to their appointment.
    We are at a bit of a crossroads I believe & decisions need to be made that convince players we value & supporters alike that we are building a better squad in the long term .

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  8. Putting on tin hat now and hoping I won’t be smoked out by Mr Benn…

    Club in transition? No problem with transition – just depends on whether it’s rough or smooth, and I’d suggest the last 12 months have been pretty rough (after three years when we pretty much got everything right).

    “Head Coach” – it was very important for MB that the appointment after Warbo was right, and sadly he got it wrong. It didn’t look good. Do we have a better gaffer than Warbo now? I’d say not.

    Do I have faith in Directors of Football? Didn’t like Giles to start with (comments about Dallas wound me up the wrong way), but in fairness he has become the mouthpiece and has been open and forthright. As for Rasmus? Sorry, but no. We need someone working with Giles who has deep knowledge of and significant contacts within English football. Motivational speaker and management guru? I’d say get a football man in there instead.

    The team? Very poor recruitment in the summer, especially up front. But not just up front. We are a lot weaker now in all areas other than goalkeeper. I understand how those ridiculous parachute payments have buggered us, but not all the departures were forced.

    The Danish effect? I’m really not sure it’s helped us, and in fact I’d argue things have gone downhill since attention was divided. Half and half scarves? Burn the bloody things.

    Matthew Benham? Still a legend without whom we would be in deep poo, brilliant owner for BFC but someone who needs to learn from a number of mistakes over the last year. I guess we were extremely lucky to have such a fantastic last few years when he was literally beyond reproach, but this doesn’t mean he is beyond criticism now. We are so lucky to have a fan as owner, but the whole hierarchy will need to look at this season and think about how they could have done things better.

    Lee Carsley? Thanks a million mate. The form either side of your tenure has been relegation standard. With you it was promotion standard.

    I hear the season is over already. Sorry, but until we have 52 points on the board it isn’t. I remember 1993. On current form over the last ten games suggests we will only hit this in games 41 or 42.

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  9. Totally agree Greville with everything you say, it was the lack of passion and leadership that upset me most last night, we seemed to have reverted to the same indifference we demonstrated at the beginning of the season before Carsley stepped in.based on some of the comments I have been reading on FB recently where any sort of criticism is frowned on your comments/post will be seen as “disloyal ” which is laughable but a worrying trend amongst some bees fans!!!!

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  10. Greville – I’ve been following your blog for many months now and really appreciate your articles and the discussions they provoke. They allow long-range fans like me to stay connected to all of the ins and outs of following the Bees, so thanks for your tireless efforts!

    I did want to weigh on the current topic of where the club is headed as, being an exiled Bees supporter (in the US for 20+ years) it seems that from a distance the current season is proving be much more of a roller coaster than last year (wonderfully documented in your book). Other than a couple of weeks in February last year when Warburton’s exit was made public, it seemed there was generally a good vibe around the club. After all, most of us long-suffering fans expected last year to be a battle for survival in the second tier. Once the first few victories were achieved it felt like mostly a positive continuation of the promotion season with an unimaginable appearance in the play-offs.

    This term by contrast started with the pre-season excitement of all the new signings, followed by rapid the exit of four key players, ridiculous injuries, pitchgate, the Marinus debacle etc. Then it was up again on the back of the Carsley revival, combined with confusion over the head coach position. And most recently, the hit-and-miss start to the Smith era and the loss of even more first-teamers (if you include Pritchard’s loan ending, we have now lost seven of last season’s first XI). With the Tarky strike added for good measure, it’s been a pretty draining campaign this year.
    So, as many have previously stated, being a long-term Bees supporter, I’ll take mid-table in our second season in the Championship in a heartbeat. Keep in mind of the six clubs promoted in the last two seasons – Brentford are the highest placed (albeit now tied with Wolves) and Rotherham, MK and Bristol City are all in a dogfight at the bottom. And look at how Doncaster and Yeovil have fared since they “stole” promotion from us in 2013. Establishing a multi-season presence in this league would be a great achievement and a platform from where to push on once the new ground is built.

    That all said, we definitely need those three extra wins to put any concerns to bed. Then we can enjoy the rest of the season and play the role of spoiler – defeating Fulham in the penultimate game of the season to send them down! We can always dream, right?

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    • Great to hear from you Graham and I am pleased that you enjoy what I do, it makes all the effort to try and find fresh inspiration (sadly lacking at the moment!) worthwhile.

      I will have to write an article about the impact of losing so many regulars. I think it is truly amazing that we are still doing as well as we are.

      Would you like to write something about following the Bees from afar?

      Please think about it as we would all love to hear from you.

      Thank you.

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      • Greville,Congratulations on writing about a topic that has generated more comments than any other that I can recall in recent times.Having paid that compliment will you excuse me for going slightly ‘ off track’ although there is a direct relevance to the performance(?) at Brighton. Both on and off the pitch. You,more than anyone will know that we are fast approaching the First Anniversary of one of the most controversial days in the club’s long history(11 Feb 2015). It was the day we were told that if Brentford were to successfully compete in future with bigger and wealthier clubs it would have to replace the weaknesses of human judgement and experience with the virtues of statistical analyses. Unsurprisingly,the consequences of that fateful decision are still with us today.One is that a large segment of the UK’s football community is under the impression that Brentford is a club that is at war with itself!Please can someone at GP put a hand on his heart and tell me that I have got it all wrong?Also that supporters have a good chance of seeing their team reach the Promised Land of premiership football at Lionel Road South by the end of this decade.PS would it be too much to ask the club’s owner to give a considered response to the thrust of the comments made by so many loyal and passionate fans?

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      • Greville – happy to send you more musings on following the Bees from afar. Just let me know the best way to send you something.

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  11. Well greville i saw some of the match on tv here in France well i was very unhappy how we LET those goals in and reading all these comments on here I think like rebel said we got to stop THINKING ANd SAYING we are little old Brentford Everyone from the supporters to the owner we are in the championship and thou we have limited resources etcwe got to stop serving this as a excuse.Either we accept where we are now and push on with what we got or not.

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  12. Pretty much agree with an excellent blog and the comments but want to add two thoughts.

    Being criticised by pundits on Sky TV should be seen as a badge of honour. If you don’t believe me ask any fan of Valencia, I can’t print what my mates there would say. We should adopt a Millwall attitude, ‘nobody loves us and we don’t care’.

    The manager is very limited in his options because we don’t have a variety of ingredients, as people here have clearly identified, nobody capable of the lone striker role, no ball winning midfielders and no pace. This would suggest to me that we have a recruitment problem, ironic no? If MB planned major changes this time last year, how much more important this year. If we don’t get the summer signings right, next season could be very difficult. So who is responsible for recruitment?

    Perhaps we could have a new terrace song “There ain’t nothing like a Dane”. I will leave folks more talented than me to write the rest.

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  13. My wife and I have been married for 53 years, She knows nothing about football, has been to Griffin Park just once in her life but always wants to know that Brentford are doing well because it means that I’m in a good mood.

    She didn’t watch the Brighton match of course but came up just as the final whistle went and said ‘Dare I ask?’

    I told her we had lost 0-3 to a pretty ordinary Brighton side, that frankly it could have been five or six and that it wasn’t a particularly good advert for Brentford Football Club as far as any neutrals were concerned.

    She looked at the screen for a minute or so as the camera scanned on the players leaving the field and said ‘Why don’t the Brentford players look more pissed off?’.

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  14. May I just had that assuming we have had Brighton watched before Friday then the pre-match team talk would surely have been as the #1 topic:-

    ‘Right lads I want Knockaert dumped on his ass preferably in the centre circle as soon as he makes his first run then his second and then his third. Take it in turns and assume the first one free and a finger waving by the ref and then take a yellow for the team. Once you’ve got the yellow then stay away from him and someone else steps up’.

    Ffs we were allowing Knockaert to run across from right to left with our players just running alongside him and watching in admiration from the opening minutes and we didn’t lay a glove (boot) on him. That’s what the bloody captain is supposed to be organising on the pitch.

    I’m sure that if he was watching then Joey Barton would have known where his next yellow was coming from if Burnley still have to play Brighton.

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  15. Everything now hinges on how well we recruit next summer. Get it right and we will be comfortable, get it wrong and who knows….

    We are too nice and naive. We do not seem to think that everything stems from a good and well organised defence.

    Teams sit back and take what we throw at them – which is not too much at the moment given our lack of a decent striker and then pick us off on the break as we over reach and leave massive gaps at the back.

    I would love us to get a nil-nil somewhere where it is the Alamo and we defend with our lives and hold on – it will never happen under this regime, rightly or wrongly.

    We are football purists and I love us for that but we do not have the horses at the moment so need to adapt – but we won’t.

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  16. The huge response to this blog is telling, and whilst there are differing viewpoints there is a lot of consensus too. Nobody has a bad word to say about MB, nobody is unhappy at our mid table position. Where we all seem to find consensus is exactly where fair questions and debate are needed.

    Agreed a hard fought 0-0 next week would be great for many reasons, hard to imagine though.

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    • Quite by chance I have just come across a social media profile of Matthew Benham. One of its more memorable quotes reads as follows: “Benham also hates the idea of a result driving narrative. Three points are not the only thing that matters. How many goals a striker scores is not the only thing Brentford’s scouts analyse. For Benham and his staff,hitting key performance indicators rather than results are more important” What a relief ! Now I understand why Brentford’s quality of football has dipped so far this season compared with the glory days of 2012-2015 ! But I want to heed the advice of RebelBee and not “bad mouth” MB. It just means that I should be prepared to show a lot more patience and that the promised improvements will become obvious in due course. Silly me !!

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  17. I’ve stayed out of this until now because pretty much everything’s been said. Also, like Gordon, I don’t want to get battered for daring to seem in any way negative (mainly from the kind of person who thinks that if you don’t go to every single game your opinion doesn’t actually count for anything). But I guess I’ll add my twopennyworth because it’s either that or help my daughter with her home learning…

    Rather boringly, I think I’m probably something of a fence-sitter. I, like all of us, was blown away by what happened last season. Having said that, I was not such a Warburton fan that I wasn’t occasionally left frustrated by his apparent lack of a plan B (i.e. what do we do when the likes of Middlesbrough work out how to nullify our 4-1-4-1). This season promised much and I was quite excited when Marinus was appointed, along with the summer signings (Kerschbaumer, Barbet, Vibe, etc.).

    Marinus went, Carsley came in, things looked good. Then Carsley went (then came back, then went again), then Smith came in. 13 games later, we’ve won 4, drawn 3 and lost 6. Admittedly not a great return, but some slack does need to be cut, as we were extremely unlucky not to beat Fulham, lost to a last minuter at Cardiff, were again unlucky to lose to Birmingham, played great against lucky Boro, and probably should have beaten a lacklustre Leeds. Had those results worked out as a win, a draw, another draw, a win and another win, then Smith’s record would read, won 7, drawn 4, lost 2. Which would have given us all considerably more heart and reasons to be cheerful.

    Whilst I fully understand the frustration felt by many Bees supporters at the moment, I am rather uncharacteristically erring on the side of optimism (maybe because I didn’t fork out 30 odd quid for a Brighton ticket, plus petrol / train fare on top of that on Friday night).

    I think it is understandable to feel somewhat dejected and perhaps even disillusioned by much of what has transpired this season – particularly when compared to the miracle of 2014/15. But I do think we still have to put it all into some kind of context. Yes, this season hasn’t worked out the way we hoped it would. But surely when we achieved promotion to the promised land when we beat Preston two years ago, most of us would have been extremely delighted were we to then consolidate and become a recognised, established Championship team for three or four seasons, before making a serious and sustained push for the Premiership – ideally in our new stadium.

    Of course last season raised expectations – including my own. But memories of 1992-93 remain pretty vivid, and surviving in this massively competitive division for several seasons should not be seen as failure!

    Yes, it’s been a disappointing season in terms of players that have left, and maybe we as fans should have been better prepared for the exodus in the wake of Warburton parting company with the club. To lose the outstanding quality of the likes of Odubajo, Gray, Dallas and Tarkowski has been tough to take – but footballers are a fickle bunch and none of the above love the club as we do. Pritchard was always only going to be with us for one season and Douglas was never going to keep his mouth shut once the writing was on the wall for Warburton. Losing Jota has been a particular blow, but shit happens as they say and who knows, perhaps once his partner has given birth all will be better and our Spanish maestro will become a Bee once again.

    As for players that have come in, Colin looks excellent, Barbet has great potential and Woods is outstanding. Yes, the likes of Gogia, Kerschbaumer, Hofmann, Djuricin and Vibe have question marks hanging over them, but they continue to gain more Championship experience with every game they play and (Djuricin aside, assuming the club don’t decide to stump up £800,000 for him in the summer) who knows how much better they could all be next season.

    It’s deeply depressing when we get dismantled the way we did on Friday and even more so when compared to what we did last season. But the fact is, that was then and this is now. We are in a state of massive transition and we need to be realistic about our goals for this campaign. Will we get into the playoffs? No. Will we get relegated? Probably not. Do we have to stick together as a club and support the team for these final, vital 16 games? Yes – because we certainly aren’t safe yet and we need to carve out four or five more wins to make sure. Are we allowed to voice our frustration and disapproval about what has happened over the last 12 months? Absolutely. But let’s not lose sight of everything we’ve achieved – and where we all hope we’ll be by 2021 – in a fantastic new stadium in the Premiership. If we achieve that, the disappointments of this season will suddenly seem less disappointing.

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  18. I remember seeing the first few league matches under Marinus and thinking,” why are we moving so ponderously, where is the speed and movement we had last season?” Then Lee Carsley took over and it was all back. Now we are slowing down again. Our movement off the ball last season and under LC threw other teams into confusion, it undermined their tactical plans. Often they ended up not knowing quite what to do or where we were. Now our every pass is to a player accompanied by a marker, no one is in clear space, stronger players can just edge us off the ball. Everything is too static. I really hope at some point Dean Smith catches on to this or with the type of players we have, we are going to start sliding,

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  19. I have heard rumours from someone “ITK” on the GPG that Lasse Vibe is a “loan striker”.

    Does that mean there is a recall option and we can get someone decent in his place?

    Just asking…

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  20. Greville,I have just spotted that this topic has now attracted 40 comments. Is this some sort of a record? You deserve to derive much satisfaction from generating such an interesting debate.There are those who sneer at “sad” supporters like us who appear to spend so much time reading and contributing to a social media outlet like yours. My response to them is that I see it as just another way for us to demonstrate our passionate support for a club that we desperately want to succeed.

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  21. Well said Peter – agreed. There is a wide area of sensible consensus in these replies too, which may annoy some of our fans who feel that even debating our performances and the challenges we face is heresy.

    As for Lasse, that’s interesting if true Gordon – I was sure he was signed for a considerable fee. Game changer if not and on what I’ve seen so far I can’t see how he can fit into our system. I wish it were different and really want to see him do well.

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  22. Apologies for building up hope that Vibe is only on loan. Unfortunately the gentleman who wrote this doesn’t know the difference between ‘loan striker’ and ‘lone striker’.

    Very funny but true.

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