Lumley’s Lament! – 3/3/16

I am always keen to give loyal readers of this column the right of reply and to publish articles that they submit to me either spontaneously or sometimes at my request. After all, we share one thing in common, we are all fervent, if not rabid Brentford supporters who only want the best for our beloved club and we all have our own opinion and take on everything that has been happening at Brentford FC.

I might not always succeed, but I always attempt to provide a calm, considered and objective view and opinion on the way that the club is run and what is happening both on and off the field.

Sometimes I feel that I am a bit too cold blooded, detached and rational and that occasionally it does no harm to vent a bit and let those emotions out and today is going to be one of those days, even if the words that you are about to read are not my own and perhaps they go too far!

Peter Lumley is quite evidently not a happy man and he appears to be feeling a combination of anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment at most of the events of the past year and he has just sent me the article that I enclose below which succinctly sums up exactly his current state of mind.

Some of you might well agree with every word of what he says, I certainly do not share his opinion on most of the matters that he criticises and have already rebutted them many times in previous articles, others might see it as an impassioned or maybe even ill founded rant or, more charitably, simply as a dedicated, loyal and long-suffering supporter offloading because of what he perceives as an opportunity lost and that we are now a club that is drifting and suffering from the mistakes made in our overall strategy over the past year.

Whilst I accept that you can generally only predict the future by examining the past and that there are certainly several things that I would certainly have done differently, I have made it clear over the course of well over half a million words that I have written since I started this blog in June 2014 that I am fundamentally massively supportive and appreciative of the way that Matthew Benham, Cliff Crown and the rest of the senior staff have constantly tried to innovate and think outside the box in order to catapult Brentford way up the pyramid so that we are competing on an almost even keel with clubs far richer and larger than us and teams that we would barely have dreamed that we would be playing against, let alone defeating.

That being said, nobody is above criticism as long as it is fair, constructive and carefully thought through.

I have given chapter and verse on countless occasions exactly why I feel that we have gone backwards this season, but only after we began from a ridiculously high base line that could never in reality have been sustained given our circumstances.

Mistakes have certainly been made and we are currently in a bad patch, but we have also been the victims of bad luck and poor fortune on a massive scale as well as, it has to be acknowledged, poor judgement and we have suffered grievously at the hand of rapacious and far better heeled teams with the power to divest us of our better players. Such is life and we have to get used to it and plan for the future.

As for the future, again, I have made it clear just how crucial this Summer will be and I await what transpires with interest as well as the expectation that the right moves will be made, not just from blind faith but also from my soundings regarding the way in which we intend to operate.

Perhaps I will be proved wrong but somehow I doubt it and I firmly believe that we will retrench and come again next season.

In the meantime, here is what Peter has to say and, as always, I look forward to receiving your feedback on his article, which is hard hitting in the extreme.

I decided to write this item in the hope that it represents the views of dozens or hundreds of other Brentford supporters like myself. From the outset I should state that I was just one of the ninety-eight percent of fans who, according to a social media poll at the time, were opposed to the announcement by the Board of Directors, on the eleventh of February last year, that the club intended to dispense with the services of Mark Warburton as Manager at the end of the season, come what may!

At the time I wrote at least four letters to the club chairman, Mr. Cliff Crown, expressing fears that this decision would, almost inevitably, lead to a destabilisation of the club with a consequent loss of morale among a very successful squad of talented players who had treated fans to a quality of football they had not seen at Griffin Park for years.

Not surprisingly, my fears fell on deaf ears. It took at least two to three months for the chairman to even acknowledge my letters. When his response did eventually arrive it was not worth the paper it was written on – quite apart from the fact that I was addressed as “Dear Mr. King” rather than by my correct name. Many may say that this was a trivial offence. But to me it was symptomatic of the club’s attitude towards its loyal fans.

Perhaps I should recap, briefly, on the events that led up to the controversial decision and the subsequent fallout from that fateful day last February.

That morning an exclusive leaked story appeared in The Times newspaper announcing that Mark Warburton’s rolling contract would not be renewed at the end of the season even if the club was promoted to the Premier League. In a panicky response the club issued an interim statement that was an utter disgrace and an insult to anyone with a scrap of intelligence. To the press and the UK football community, it made the club a laughing stock from which, in my opinion, it has never really recovered.

In an attempt to make amends, the club subsequently issued a more considered response, the gist of which read as follows (using my own words):

The club believes that if it is to sustain the progress achieved over the past three seasons and is to compete successfully against bigger and more wealthier clubs in the future, it must rid itself of the hazards of human judgement and experience and replace them with a greater use of statistical analyses. Particularly as an aid to the recruitment of better players and coaches. Then, and only then, will we be able to reach the Promised Land of Premier League football at the proposed new stadium at Lionel Road.

Again, briefly, I went through all the emotions of shock, anger, bemusement, but I eventually came to terms with the decision and decided, in the interests of sanity and loyalty, to give the new direction a chance to succeed. And although I rated Mark Warburton as a great and highly popular manager, there were those who took the view:

1) That he possibly overplayed Jonathan Douglas, when he was not getting any younger and his box-to-box style of play demanded an enormous amount of energy.

2) There was a reluctance to recruit a second striker to take the pressure off Andre Gray.

But to me he was the perfect manager and a great asset to the club.

Now I want to fast forward to the present day. There are a growing number of fans who believe they are owed an explanation for what appears to have gone wrong with the current approach and a prediction of of what they can expect in the immediate future. This should come from the club chairman or a representative of the senior management team and should take the form of a progress report.

If I were to be asked to ghost write a statement on his behalf it would probably read as follows (in my own words):

1) Hello, all you grateful and loyal Brentford fans. We very much regret that many of you are suffering from a severe bout of nostalgia at this very trying time. We are confident, however, that this problem will soon pass and you can look forward to some quality football again shortly!

Quite naturally, our esteemed club owner is very reluctant to admit that, possibly, he has made a ghastly mistake and that, as yet, his massive gamble does not seem to be paying off. By nature he is a very shy and private person who wishes to remain incognito for as long as it takes. He believes he has a right to remain silent and no one should criticise him for that. Fair enough.

He also believes that fans should understand that money talks (or doesn’t talk!) to the tune of ninety million pounds! He is confident that his much cherished one direction will soon seem like music to the ears of many of you – and he will come up smelling of red and white roses.

Finally, he would just like to point out that foresight is a wonderful thing and he hopes you will now be prepared to show a little more patience!

2) We also have to admit that we have lost far too many good players to our rivals in the Championship and have been unable to recruit adequate replacements except with two possible exceptions. We would like to point out, once again that foresight is a wonderful thing etc etc….

3) We also admit that we cannot claim that our recruitment of new and better coaches has been wholly successful but we would like to point out etc etc ….

4) Our club chairman has agreed that the fears expressed that he was putting the club’s stability at risk were, with the benefit of hindsight, possibly well-founded. But he asks us to point out etc etc ……

5) Yes, we are conceding far too many goals and missing far too many scoring chances but would like to point out etc etc ……

6) At least one of our Co-Directors of Football has other fish to fry (possibly Danish) and cannot possibly be expected to devote more time and energy to the interest of Brentford. But he does ask fans to show a little more patience and a lot more loyalty to the club!

7) We ask fans and potential fans (if there are any out there!) to show a lot more patience, loyalty and optimism in the future. Because that is the only way that we will achieve our common goal (strikers permitting) of a place in the Premier League.

8) We also admit that the recruitment of better coaches has not really improved the performances of our youth and development teams in recent weeks. Due to unforeseen circumstances we lost the services of, arguably, the best Development Squad coach in the land. We then appointed the ultra-loyal Kevin O’Connor as lead Development Squad coach but quickly replaced him in what some describe as undue haste. Patience has, however, never been one of our strong points. In fact there are some among us who hardly know the meaning of the word! Regretfully, Kevin’s replacement has not met with much success but we would like to point out etc etc …

9) Finally, we pledge to give our very loyal fans regular and forthright updates, based on our very latest statistical analyses of the progress being achieved, we will then not have to rely on that young upstart, Peter Lumley, to do the job for us.

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58 thoughts on “Lumley’s Lament! – 3/3/16

  1. To me this comes across as another Bees fan who was spoiled by the fleeting success of last season. Given the combination of problems BFC has encountered this season, we should be happy to be safely ensconced in midtable and optimistic for next season. This is the second most successful season most of us have experienced.

    It’s a complete myth that there was a sudden change in method last February, or when Mark Warburton (why not ask him directly if he knows who leaked the story?) left. The club has been using the statistical skills and information available to it for some time now and the only change was to remove the veto of the man who decided that we shouldn’t strengthen last January. If we’d strengthened, we might have won promotion – of course nothing in football is guaranteed and we might not have. But refusing to strengthen was madness.

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  2. edmundpw – your attempt to damage the character & judgement of arguably the finest manager that BFC has seen is disappointing. A major cause of the so called “refusal to strengthen last January” was MW’s rejection of Marco Djuricin – a minor detail I guess given that Warburton’s footballing opinion on him seems spot on!

    I keep hearing the little BFC, we can’t compete stuff trotted out – so going for broke last year by signing Djuricin and others seems highly risky for a “sustainable” football club. The contradiction is apparent to me.

    How many times does it have to be said that even the most critical fans that I know are delighted to be in the championship and would take mid table in this division for 10 more years . Constructive criticism is reasonable when reflecting on the changed structure, the summer recruitment, and frankly BFC’s communications with the thousands of us who simply want to see MB and BFC to to do well.

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  3. Zombies, zombies and more zombies, you keep hoping they are yesterday’s news but they keep popping up, giving another one a chance to be vocal about wanting Warbs back is another waste of our time, I was told to read the latest instalment of how being a Bee is so bad and it angered, made me laugh and left me wondering what is wrong with our own fans.

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  4. I can understand what Peter has said & agree with some of it .This is tempered with the fact that we are still enjoying the 2nd most successful season in 60odd years so in being critical we also need to be pragmatic.
    Nobody could say we have moved forward since the end of last season .Initially appointing the wrong coach,new signings that are of a lesser quality than those they replaced & a failure ( in my view) to use the loan market as effectively as last season have all played their part in seeing a downturn in performances & results
    With regards to Mark Warburton,like most supporters I was disapointed & dismayed by his & David Weirs departure.However I doubt we would have been lamenting this quite as much had we got the Coaching appointment & subsequent signings right.
    In this respect I do feel that responsibility for this lay with Messrs Ankersen & Giles & MB’s end of season review of their input should read “must do better”!
    It was always going to be difficult to emulate the wonderful season we enjoyed last year.Have we made life difficult for ourselves? Undoubtably .The hope is that the experience of these 2 seasons will ensure we adopt the right strategy next time around.

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  5. Warb’s legacy doesn’t need protecting, it speaks for itself, it’s just boring now, I will look forward to the future and let anyone who wants to turn last season’s fun into a negative as it has upset the present in their eyes, we have some proper greedy and gloomy fans and that’s my last word on here.

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    • Maybe you could read the 1st comment on this blog again – then you’ll see why it needs defending.

      Greedy and gloomy zombies – that’s your description of anyone who has concerns or criticisms & then off you go your final word. Why bother?

      Good post Paul btw. spot on again.

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  6. Why oh why do those that see everything as bright and lovely with not a cloud in sight insist on name calling those that can see the positives of our current position, but with some concerns. Yes we get it… Warbs has gone, but lets be honest. MB owns this club and he can do what he wants, whatever we say. He has been a great asset, I believe has the interests of the club at heart and we are certainly better off with him at the helm than if he were not. But ….. It’s not just Warbs, it was David Wier and the management team that had the contacts and ability to locate and sign the players that went. Generally since their departure the moves into the transfer market since have been abysmal. Add to that 7 points out of 30 since the new year and if things don’t change, that is relegation form and losing at home to two lower division teams in the cups without scoring a goal just adds to the poor season. The last three years have been great, fantastic and unless 1993 is repeated, this year, as we are being told is the second best, certainly since I have supported Brentford. That does not mean that where we see things clearly going awry that we should not comment. If you like we can wait until a crisis is looming or address the issues now, make the improvements and move ever upward. I know what I would rather do, what about everyone else. No name calling here, just discussion and alternative points of view. What about it?

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      • There is your answer as to why I can’t be bothered with you and Adrian, I never see things as “bright and lovely” but I can see the bigger picture, no name calling here but a dig about no clouds in the sky, I feel sorry for Greville as I know him well and how he deals with your rubbish is beyond me, thank I knew I couldn’t last long in this forum, Greville is a good guy but he houses a negative following, I hope you pick it all to death but can I ask how many better years you’ve witnessed at GP over the years. Don’t bother answering, I already know the answer.

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  7. If Warburton was still here would we have still sold the majority of players ?
    IMO with the exception of maybe Douglas we almost certainly would have lost Gray, Odubajo, Dallas & Tarkowski & probably Jota too as well as the loanee’s, so in reallity we could have been in the same or similar position as we currently find ourselves, so would Warburton still been held in such high regard, imo he would probably have moved on. Would our recruitment have been vastly different over the summer maybe but not significantly (once again imo) it would have been very interesting to have seen how he would have handled it & how he would have spun it.
    Undoubtabely the situation re him leaving was handled very badly by all parties & would no doubt in hindsight been handled better.
    But this is all in the past & will be confined to the annal’s of history so we just have to hope that lesson’s have been learn’t & the same mistakes arn’t allowed to happen again

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    • It’s interesting how I see the word “spin” negatively attributed to Warburton here and on other fan sites. If his open communicative and positive manner, which had the media eating out of our hands, is spin – let’s have some more of it now please.

      I agree that some / not all of the players would have left -and eventually MW too. The big question is would he have been able to replace them more successfully than the current DoF’s have? On this i’m convinced he would have, and that he was able to sell BFC in a way not replicated since. The ideal moment to introduce the new structure imho was when MW finally decided to move on.

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  8. I will see you at GP where Brentford FC play if you like, other than that I wouldn’t go as low to try and describe Benham as a Saint but there you go.

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    • I thought I read in your earlier post that you were not adding any more comments ,constructive or otherwise ? Labelling posters on here who ALL share a common interest in the wellbeing of Brentford FC in the way you have says more about you than any body else on this forum !

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  9. You didn’t want to discuss your thoughts openly on here did you Matt – just came on to have a pop at those who follow this blog and who see things a bit differently to you. When you get challenged for it you don’t want to play anymore.

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    • I came on here as Greville quite frequently asks me to and I always say I will but never/very rarely do, I’ll be honest as I normally am, I find it an interesting read at times but the comments normally leave me cold, all veiled digs at Warbs leaving and that we’re in some sort of semi-crisis, most fans can see that we’re off last season’s pace but that’s life, we support a side punching above it’s weight and have been served stuff we could only have dreamed of 4 or 5 years ago, I’ll take a little wobble and hope that we pull through, I’m ashamed to call it a wobble as I look at the fixture list to come. It may be unfair but it seems like the comments normally come from a disgruntled few who enjoy typing about last year and how this year isn’t as good, they seemed to have found like minded friends and I don’t fit in and really don’t want to try and fit in, this latest blog just set me off in thinking something along the lines of why the hell can’t you stop droning on like a fridge and here I am, I don’t want to hang about.

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      • Fine to state your case – but you are doing it laced with acrimony towards anyone who differs. We are only commenting remember – the blog and today’s topic belong to others.

        Plenty of different views on here as well as other bees forums and sites – maybe more people have questions and concerns than you thought – perhaps this is what really bothers you.

        We are all passionate about our club – be dull if we all just agreed wouldn’t it.

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  10. I am one of those who has been around long enough as a supporter (50 years) to recognize the good things. The style of passing football (a MW & DW legacy) is something I for one find enjoyable and entertaining. Yes we have lost good players (money talks) and as a result performances have fallen away but we are still in the division and a mid table finish is still possible and I don’t think any manager would have been able to reach last seasons heights with the current squad. And whilst we would all like to see better players they are hard to come by and we are competing on a very un level playing field. I am grateful for MBs commitment to the club, I don’t think you could ask for anything more from an owner. We have some good players and some long term injured who I think will make a difference. What we lack is an out and out striker and suffer when we play a 4-5-1 formation, which, whilst giving us plenty of possession and plenty of chances created does not result in goals. Judge has been outstanding and has proved himself to those who doubted his ability. For me the most successful teams employ 2 front men and I would be happy every week if we conceded three goals but scored four. I would like to think we can become an established championship side, if promotion comes along so be it, but I don’t think we are ready yet and we should wait till we are firmly established in the new stadium. Brentford forever …..

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  11. So…

    Guy comes on here criticising most of the contributors along the way, flinging a lot of insults around. Guy won’t get involved any more but does, flinging more insults. Other bloke comes on taking the piss. Guy wouldn’t go so low apparently and fails to see the irony given previous postings. Other bloke takes the piss again. Guy responds in similarly charmless fashion. Guy probably needs to get over himself, learn a bit of humility and take himself less seriously, I’d venture to say.

    Quite entertaining mind you…

    Anyway, back on the point. I realise I’m leaving myself open, but I haven’t enjoyed this season and in fact have enjoyed other seasons better in the lower leagues. Does this mean I want to be back there? Hell no. However, with pitchgate, dire recruitment over the summer, injuries, Marinus, awful transfer windows, the loss of key players without any attempt to replace them – cue yawning from the usual mob, but whether you like it or not ‘Eez fact’ as Rafa Benitez once said – it’s not been a bundle of laughs.

    If you look at the ‘little wobble’ referred to above, it’s actually been all season bar mid-October to mid-December. For two-thirds of this season we have been relegation standard. As I have said often before, Carsley deserves so much credit for what he achieved. Without him we would be in serious trouble, all this despite the bignewambitions#, aspirations of being in the Premier League in three years and constant strengthening during the transfer window (maybe he was referring to FCM, who I believe had a very good one). This is stuff coming out oft he club let’s remember.

    Matthew Benham is still way in credit for what he’s done at BFC, and let no one forget that. However, the last 12 months have seen more mistakes than in the previous years of his tenure put together, and fans have the right to make constructive criticism, which is exactly what happens on here since I’ve been reading this blog.

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  12. Actually, thinking about what I’ve just written, I should have said balanced, constructive criticism where appropriate, whilst also giving praise where appropriate too.

    All this while enduring insults about being zombies, bedwetters, disloyal, moaners, gloomy, negative, greedy etc.

    Nice to see the GPG mob spreading their wings a bit wider (only guessing, but I’d put a Benham sized wad on the fact I’m not too wide of the mark).

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  13. It seems to me that we are going round in circles here.
    Is absolutely every BFC supporter grateful to MB? – Yes
    Is this season a come down from last season? – Obviously
    Was the decision to change everything last season risky and difficult to understand? – Very
    Are the changes working? – Evidently not
    Given that the changes aren’t working is it surprising that people question what is going on – Hardly
    Is this our second best season since 1950 odd? – Totally irrelevant

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  14. Despite our differences in the past Abeja Española, por Dios we don’t half agree now.

    Well put, but brace yourself for the backlash from Bill Benn, NorthamptonBee (whoops) and the rest of the GPG heavy mob.

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    • Do you do irony and humour on here, as I have said my friend Greville has asked me to post on here and I try and keep up to date but I only see misery and matter of fact, thanks for educating me Gordy, heavy mob indeed, I didn’t mention bedwetters but if the cap fits mate…..are you as smug in real life?

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  15. Matt, since you said that the post was “and that’s my last word on here”, you have added three more. Is that ironic or just funny?

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    • I was having fun so it’s hard to give it up, I enjoyed taking you out of your safe and sad bubble for a short while, this blog was just pure rubbish and Greville knows it, it took Cliff Crown 3 months FFS to reply, he should have binned his bile, I’ve also had texts with Alan Bird tonight who is a good guy, he knows me well enough to realise that I mean what I say, absolute miserable horse shit comments need addressing from time to time and the fun is over now, you can all pick it all to pieces and be smug, clever and anal again and nobody will notice. Greville will come and say hello to me on Saturday, feel free to join him and you will realise that we’re all Bees and nice people but some bitch more than others.

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  16. For what it’s worth, I have amalgamated the insults chucked around over the last two weeks. Some belong to you, others don’t.

    Irony and humour? Over my head obviously, but I’m probably not alone.

    Smug? All I have done is comment on how badly your antagonistic comments towards many posters on here have come across. You might not like it, but it’s not been your finest moment. As for me being smug? Let others judge – and as it stands, the accusation is only coming from you. And when I get plaudits from Alan Bird, a guy who really did make a difference to BFC in times of crisis, then sorry, I’ll take him a lot more seriously than anything from you.

    Points I’ve raised (or indeed, those by my new mucker SpanishBee)? Not one reply apart from we’re so lucky, second best season in 60 years etc.etc.

    Does your friend Greville deserve this kind of nonsense on his blog? No.

    So if it’s not a problem, let’s get back to discussing the issues. Let’s start with the issue from our DOF’s website – if it ain’t broke, let’s break it. How successful has this been exactly?

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  17. Seeing as though I had one deleted, I will try again, I spoke to abee last night and to Greville as I consider them both Brentford friends, abee is in the same mind as me, he is struggling with Brentford but for different reasons, I can’t stand our negative fanbase and a small few have gathered on here, in important to you lot, much more important than you realise, Greville will often ring me 5 mins after an away game to get the gist if the day and his damning assessment of Rotherham was from my immediate and desperate frustration at what is just seen. I saw his blog and felt miffed that I had fed you lot a bone as I was over it an hour later, I think Greville had become addicted to his blog, IMO a natural occurrence but his “paying public” has dictated their needs and all he has done is fed you this week, I will tell him that and sort of have already, he doesn’t have your misery about the situation at BFC but as puppet master has to keep the traffic flowing, I sympathise with him and have read the blog again this week since my damning verdict of Rotherham gave you all a buzz, I won’t feed him again and you will go hungry in the future.

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  18. Matt, I too consider you a good football friend and always welcome your input as I do that of many others, supporters, journalists and club officials alike who I speak to on a regular basis.

    My assessment of the debacle at Rotherham certainly came from far more than one source as well as a forensic viewing of the highlights given that I was unable to attend the game.

    I am glad that you and others have visited this site and provided all your input and I will give some more considered views later.

    You are fully entitled to your opinions ad to a large degree I share them as well as a sense of frustration that others cannot see or understand the reality of the situation.

    That is why I published Peter’s article.

    We are a broad church which encompasses a wide spread of viewpoints and this is the forum to share them – logically and with consideration for the opinions of others who disagree with you.

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    • I wouldn’t call them a church that’s broad, it’s moany old gits having a therapy session, if they are not old then they have years of misery ahead of them Greville. Help them see the truth then Greville and stop feeding them, see you tomorrow.

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      • Now here Matt you have a point. I really am a moany old git. I shout at the TV during question time and talk to myself in the car listening to the radio. There is nothing on this earth on which I don’t have an opinion, probably from an ill advised stand point. And another thing………

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  19. The biggest disaster will occur at 3pm on Saturday if we don’t abandon our ‘discussions’ and get behind the team. 24 minutes later I hope everyone will join in the minutes applause and regain some perspective.

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  20. Matt – or both Matt’s as there are two of you now – you’re embarrassing yourself fella. We all want to support BFC and get behind the club, we had total harmony for 18 months, it was was lovely wasn’t it. It’s just that we are not all born again evangelists who faithfully believe without questioning or seeing. Here’s a little history lesson for you – were it not for bunch of “moany old gits” we’d have been absorbed by Queens Park Rangers by now – or playing conference football in Woking.

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    • Having sparked this somewhat controversial and lively debate,I would I would like to thank all those who have taken the time and trouble to post comments All have demonstrated passionate support for the team they love and pay to watch week after week. It is the sort of support that any club owner would want to attract. I would just like to make three more brief points(My “final” words I promise!): 1) I fully appreciate the massive financial investment made by MB. Without that support we could well not exist today.2) I am sure that if loyal supporters are expressing concerns about the future direction of the club he would want to know about them rather than bury his head in the sand. 3) no one should overlook the fact that if Greville were to dislike a “guest” contribution like mine he has the right and power to consign it to oblivion.But he is not in the business to stifle debate or censor reasoned opinions. COYB Please go out and win every possible game so that I can slink away and eat my red and white hat!!

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      • Maybe your blog was needed Peter – to all get some stuff off our chests. If we win a few games you won’t need to eat your hat – as I’ve said before there is no hierarchy for Brentford supporters and you want the best for BFC as we all do. We are a weird and wonderful bunch who rally around this beautiful football club. we are just like any other family right?

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    • See, you’re having a dig again, I’m not born again in the slightest, I see all the difficulties we face and have faced, thanks for the lesson, I didn’t realise any of that, what are the latest moaners trying to save us from, 15th place in the Championship, if so then please save us as that sounds awful, going on about Warburton on the 2/3/ 2016 when he left last summer is just crazy and helps nobody except people that want to moan, I wonder who really is embarrassing themselves here, I wish I was a rebel with out a cause too. It’s been a shameful season and thank God we have people who want to pull it all apart for us, the spoilers are winning at the moment, let the boys at the club have a pop at recruiting well in the summer and see where it goes, it that too much to ask, I hope we lose tomorrow and you all get your reason for existing next week too.

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  21. A personal word of gratitude from me. Travelling overseas every week for work, I miss too many Bees games but reading Greville’s blog and the comments has become something I value. In the past, I quietly attended games, read the programme / local papers / news sites and that was about it.

    It is good to read different comments about each game and there is always something I had not seen, or considered – I do not tire of reading the different perspectives of what happens on the pitch. Also it provides invaluable food for thought on off-field matters. Jim Levack’s piece was excellent. This is a great blog and so thanks to all.

    Having said that, I have been hesitant to post opinions, I am sure others are too. Greville can probably see how many visitors there are, according to the info in the side bar of the blog there are 1,040 people who have subscribed to receive updates by mail – but nowhere near that many ever comment. It has been well commented that differences in opinion are valued but personal digs are not.

    This really should not be the environment for that at all and it gives a bad feeling to see Bees fans become unpleasant over differences of opinion. Nobody here wants to see Brentford FC doing badly — but it can happen you know, we do have some experience of this! Emotions clearly run high at the moment though but we all want the same thing. It is an important part of our lives but the 24th minute tomorrow puts things into perspective.

    Our adventure in recent years has been thoroughly enjoyable and I remain positive about our prospects for next season, even for the rest of this season. Over-criticism of Dean Smith seems somewhat unfair, as he was dealt a tricky hand early in his tenure. Having said that, he does have the responsibility to set the team up and provide the leadership, motivation & development for our players. Lee C demonstrated the impact of leadership, whether that was sustainable though is something we can never know.

    We do still have decent players though, who can survive in this division. As one example, I felt somewhat encouraged by Jim Levack’s observations on KK; I too see snippets of something there but this season has of course been poor for him. Whether we will look back at this period as essential development experience for him, only time and patience will tell. Overall, recent form indicates any team putting us under pressure will find that we are beatable. It is not difficult to see what JD and TD provided for us last season and we really only seem to have Alan McCormack now who can provide this.

    Wolves was a great evening but it was astonishing just how easy they made it for us, perhaps to be disregarded in analysing where we are? Charlton are not in a good place and so tomorrow is obviously a critical event for the rest of our season.

    Is it inconceivable that we could go through the rest of the season and only pick up a few points, ultimately getting caught up in the relegation swamp? Maybe possible, although unlikely. To win the Championship in 1992, against all odds we won 6 on the spin and other results went our way – could we fall victim to an opposite set of circumstances now? 49 points was not enough in 1993, although it is tricky to see that happening this season. Seem to remember us being 8th after going to Roker Park that season and winning, around Christmas time? A great day out and never imagined relegation coming our way that day.

    So being positive, once we see this season out in the Championship, I too am cautiously confident of a good summer and better start to next season. But we must get in our minds that negative form can – and will – follow across the close season. Yes, the Leicester story is a remarkable one – bottom at Christmas 2014, top at Christmas 2015 (hope they do it)… but their form was already superb for a long run at the end of the previous season, only losing to the Champions in the last 10 games or so.

    This 12 game season gets running now – we have what we have for this period and Dean Smith will cement his place here by inspiring some determined performances in the coming weeks. Predictable point again though but Alan McCormack must urgently return and remain fit for the rest of the season.

    Sorry, got typing and realise I went on a bit here…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Matt Casey and I exchanged text messages last evening………we didn’t speak. Matt originated the exchanges.

    My first text to him was this :

    ‘I think that Greville’s blog is going the same way as the GPG to be frank. I know the expectations that were presented for this season and by their own ambitions MB, PG and RA have failed dismally.
    Some supporters judge them not by where BFC was five years ago but by what we were told to expect this season by CC and RA and frankly that is fair criticism in my book.
    To be frank Matt I’m sick of the whole thing.
    Hope you are well mate’.

    That just about sums up where I am. I know Matt Casey and Bill Benn pretty well and we share a love of Brentford Football Club. I do not believe that comparing where we are today with where we were back in 2007 a valid argument for stifling comment. To clarify I am not involved in any way with social media and have not seen the Facebook and Twitter personal comments about Matthew Benham but if they are as described on the GPG and I am not defending those feral idiots in any way…….they disgust me and if they are from genuine Bees fans then they should be ashamed.

    What I am talking about here are the unpleasant and personal criticisms which have become a feature of the GPG and which have now spilled over onto Greville’s blogs……criticism that becomes personal and aimed at the writers of what I certainly regard as balanced comments. We all know where we would be without Matthew Benham and when people have suggested the Conference I have invariably suggested rather the Conference South.

    However we are not where we are just because of brilliant management past or present by the BFC and BU boards…………we are exactly at this point because Matthew Benham has thrown £90million (is that the current number??) at the Club. Can I get my head around these numbers?………no I can’t and do I believe that we could have spent a little less and still been a mid- table Championship side then yes I do but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

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    • Indeed Alan, I do talk call talking “texting” as I text as I would talk, I think you are the same, you know I will always call a spade a erm spade and I actually feel for Greville, he writes well, with far more grace and degree than I ever could, that’s obvious, he’s often asked me to get involved and jokingly called me names for not reading his blog, my answer is that I can’t read it as the comments are usually IMO extreme and that they wear me down so I tend to keep away, Greville is a nice guy and we’re very different people but we get on well, he even rung me after the Derby game and asked me if he should slaughter the team on his blog or not, I raised my voice to him for the first and last time ever and said it would be what his people on here wanted but what use would it do, we can all see the issues on the pitch but go ahead if he thought that was the way forward. Greville and I have called one another every bad word you could imagine I would think but never with malice and always forgotten, I don’t regard calling people a moaner or a zombie as anything that scandalous, equally I don’t take being called born again or take Gordy’s little digs that personally, I do believe that Greville would get more traffic if he didn’t just cater for the gloom but there you go.

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  23. This is great Matt and I can sense that my life is about to change……..my wife has just said to me ‘We need to talk’ (the four most chilling words any woman can say to a man in my view) and I’ve told her to send me a text.

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  24. Greville is big boy and can look after himself and his blog, he is always very open and generous to the views of different strands of Bees support. Some on here like to summarise and pose the big questions, others prefer to give their opinions more directly – to my knowledge nobody with a more positive take on this season’s events has been slated or abused. One or two like Matt have dished out a little stick, fine but don’t cry when some comes back at ya.If anyone thinks that there is one person on here who wants Brentford to lose tomorrow, or to struggle, i’d reject this completely.

    Good of Alan to add comments, which are always interesting and taken seriously. I feel sad if he thinks we’re going the same way as the GPG – personally I’ve enjoyed commenting on here because it was very different to that forum.

    I’m no better or no worse than any other bees fans – we all love the club, it’s been my life and there has been a cost – same for many i know.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. First up, there is no place for personal criticism on any of these sites.
    That’s why I have taken myself off twitter, pretty much ditched the GPG and stopped writing stuff except maybe sporadically… and I have to say my wife thinks I am a lot happier and less angry for it.
    As in life, football is not black and white as some in this thread and elsewhere seem to think.
    My main problem is the pervading belief that anyone who is critical of the present system and recent goings-on at the club is an enemy of Matthew and all he has done for the club.
    That is a child-like view and couldn’t be further from the truth. It IS possible to be indebted to Matthew but still question him.
    Matt Casey has broadened his critique to take in Greville’s blog, which I happen to think generally makes some very salient and well thought out points that – on many occasions – chime with my own.
    He says Greville’s blog has taken a turn for the worse this week. Presumably that includes my post supporting Dean Smith which in all honesty I thought was fairly middle of the road.
    This blog is a place for people to find a slightly more in dependent take on things. I don’t happen to agree with a great deal of what Peter Lumley wrote, but that doesn’t mean I’ll slate him for his views.
    Far more intelligent people than I have posted on here – Spanish Bee’s brief March 3 post above probably says it all – but even the most extreme are surely allowed an opinion without fear of viification?
    That’s what has depressed me most about this season. That the goings on at the club and accompanying poor strategic PR have driven a wedge between supporters.
    Let’s focus on Saturday and three points, look forward to our holidays and come back refreshed… and most importantly together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greville’s blog took a turn for the worse IMO as on Saturday at 16.57, he rang me to ask how the game went, I was cold, peed off completely and had Yorkies around me laughing their nads off, I left with a minute to go to avoid the onslaught and thankfully missed the altercation that occurred which is always going to happen with goading Yorkies, it always does, he got it both barrels from me about how crap it was and I feel my frustration guided his blog, he says others were also involved so that takes the heat off me. People on here, on the GPG and especially on Twitter seem to take some sort of sadistic delight in a loss as it proves their point, I’ve been guilty of it in the past, I wish I hadn’t help nudge Greville into the direction it took but comments flowed about a wonderful piece when it was anything but, my biggest problem this season has been with fans who seem to think we are doing badly, Woking and QPR have been mentioned and we’re sitting comfortably mid-table in the Championship, is there any obvious link between them that I’m missing, I’m very pro BFC, very pro Benham, was very pro Warburton but he’s gone and just want to enjoy the BFC experience, next time I’m naffed off after a game I won’t take the call, he actually said to me that he thought I wouldn’t pick up on Saturday, I wish I hadn’t.

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  26. I left early on Saturday too… and had to suffer the ignominy of sitting with a mate in one of the Rovrum corporate boxes. He was staggered by how poor we were and, most worrying, how little fight we had.
    Fact is the jury is out on the DoFs and as a direct correlation on that doubt, the whole system we are meant to be deploying. It’s a doubt that is not assuaged by the signing – at the moment – of Konstantin for no small fee.

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  27. Sheff Wed a few weeks earlier wasn’t much better, sure there have been many darker day supporting BFC but I see little point in bench-marking against the lowest depths in time. We are better than that and £90M of MB’s hard earned says so. Completely agree with everything you’ve written Jim.

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  28. But poor signings have been going out in football for over 100 years, is KK worse than Marshall under Noades, Willock under MA, Westley under Holder etc etc, they probably were worse as their fees were pretty much all in for us at the time, do I feel that the DoFs did a good job in the summer, probably not but we are sitting above many teams who spent more and did an even worse job, Joe Mason cost Wolves 3 mill and I thought he was a disgrace at GP, have they learnt from last summer, we”ll see in a few months time, that’s not being born again or not having a cloud in the sky and all the other little digs that aren’t as abusive as calling someone a Zombie, it’s pretty realistic, isn’t it?
    Watch this pace as Greville has some interesting stuff on the way, fair play to him for the work he puts in, he’s a blog addict, I just feel he deserves a better crowd of followers, he’s happy so it works.

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  29. Of course poor signings were made in the past, and those who made them were criticised back then too. The stakes are higher now because we’ve sold our stars and spent decent money on replacements, many of which haven’t come off (yet). Prior to the structural changes we made a lot more good signings, so people are rightly asking questions about decisions made and those entrusted to make them. What is the problem with that?

    Greville writes well, puts his stuff out there and gets what he gets by way of readership and comments. Maybe you can give some hints as to what a “better” follower should think and write?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. What a bizarre world it is when this Matt sends insults far and wide yet gets rather wound up when he gets a little bit of flak in return, a fraction of what he has already dished out.

    Anyway, I still wait for an answer to my question about the “if it ain’t broke, then break it” philosophy, and now it seems he’s scarpered. I can only imagine he doesn’t want to answer the question.

    A very strange 36 hours on here all in all, and given the basket case of a club we’re playing tomorrow, everything suggests it could be a weird Saturday at GP tomorrow.

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