Paul Grimes was not entirely convinced by what both Matthew Benham and Phil Giles said in their recent interviews with Beesotted and myself and given that he remains angry and frustrated about the current situation he has given vent to his feelings and sent me a long and emotive article which clearly sets out his concerns and what he feels must be done in order to improve matters and get us back on track.
I would just like to remind everybody of the immortal comment of Evelyn Beatrice Hall:
I do not agree with what you have to say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.
Here is what Paul wrote:
My old drama teacher used to say to me that comedy was all about timing! I then had to take his comments on board and present them and one week as I enacted the role of the drama teacher talking to a pupil I chose my lines carefully;
” Comedy young man is all about t-t-t-t-t-timing”. A little stutter added and then, hey presto, laughter.
As I observed last week’s jousting between BIAS and this blog to get interviews with Matthew Benham and Phil Giles out to the public before the big derby I felt an uplifting chuckle amongst my pre-match nerves. Having read both articles and other social media feedback I found myself thinking about my drama teacher again.
Pause, take a deep breath and hit your mark!
So that’s what I did and to be fair I needed to because the outpouring of love from the rose tinted brigade and those that can’t bear to read any negative opinions about the club almost had me reaching for the sick bucket.
Let’s break it down a bit.
It was a fantastic article from Besotted first and a great coup for Billy and Dave to get an interview with the usually publicity shy Matthew Benham.
Good set of questions and forthright answers from the owner. But was I happy with what the owner replied? Not really.
Firstly there seems to be this yes men mentality around the club this season and none of the questions really challenged Matthew in my opinion.
One wonders if there was a remit before the interview such to only ask the type of questions that he was prepared to answer?
There are no follow up questions to the crucial answers Matthew gives.
On Smith for example, Matthew is very happy with Dean. That’s it? What about the long term plan and Dean’s understanding of it?
What about asking him to elaborate o his win record and underachievement as a lot of the supporters are now doubting him.
Then there is this clamour that Smith has to be given the chance to build his own team. I am not so sure about that!
Isn’t Dean in the Head Coach role? Wasn’t one of the reasons for having a Head Coach to prevent any Manager using the players at his disposal as an excuse for poor performance?
Lee Carsley coached this same set of players to better performances than Smith has done.
Which brings me on to timing.
Why was this interview given BEFORE the game on Saturday?
The result of the four local derbies and bragging rights amongst friends is all we are clinging onto this season so Saturday’s performance and result was always going to have great significance.
I can’t comment on the performance as my leg is in plaster so I wasn’t there but I was glued to the live text commentary and the all important stats and my blood was boiling as Smith pondered his next move after the second goal. That had come soon after sending on Vibe and dispensing with the false nine set up. Then it hit him, Saunders and Kerschbaumer!
Not Djuricin? Not two up top? After all we are two down. Now we are three down and no surprise because we had gone from playing a false nine to playing with only nine because Vibe is knackered according to Smith and Kerschbaumer is contributing absolutely nothing.
Anyway I digress, but that is what this match in particular does to Bees fans of a certain age.
Back to the article, and in particular the public backing of Smith. It made me wonder if Matthew has decided enough is enough and by hook or by crook we are sticking with this because there is no more money being thrown at it this season.
I have had my Eureka moment and I have just realised This is not a Comedy and nobody is laughing!
Let’s now consider the Phil Giles interview.
Before I do that I wanted to start by reminding the readers that Greville came in for a bit of personal stick from one fan who likened his style of questioning to perhaps that of a blunt instrument and as unfair as that was I have to say that my first thoughts on that matter was to sympathise with the fan’s comment. I think that as Greville is a well respected Bees United Director I think its fair to say that he would not be seen by many fans as a boat rocker and thus I guess the fear was that the questions would not represent the animosity that is felt by many to the job being done by Giles and Ankersen.
So maybe on behalf of some of those fans that perhaps have a different and in this writer’s case certainly, a less informed opinion to that which Greville has of the club and how this season is panning out here is my thoughts on them both.
To start with I was disappointed that the Beesotted lads gave Matthew just one short question about the supposed alienation of his Co-Directors of Football from fans like me and his answer to me smacks of a pre-interview agreement not to press him on this subject.
So Let me take it apart. and maybe ask some probing questions that maybe the Beesotted boys might have done.
It’s a team effort. So that is Giles, Ankersen and yourself Matthew? Was Marinus appointed by this team? The mistake that was made by not following up on the poor reference, whose decision was that Matthew?
Was Marinus involved in signing Kerschbaumer, Gogia, Vibe, Bjelland, Barbet, Colin? What did he know about any of them except Bjelland ? What stats were compiled about these players and were these stats put to Marinus to consider or did one of the team take a more proactive lead in this area?
So are we laying the failure of any of these to make any kind of first season impact at the feet of Marinus or are the Directors of Football to blame? Or is it a collective failure?
When were concerns first raised about Marinus and Roy and their training sessions and the ability of the new players within the management team or squad? Was it in Portugal? How were the comments made and to whom? Were those comments passed onto the rest of the team?
Was the whistleblower encouraged to communicate with the executive management team or was he singled out as a troublemaker? Any regrets over that part of this new transition period, Matthew?
I think I have tried to show how the interview could have expanded and I don’t think Billy or Dave who both know me will say I have done them a disservice by making the points I have because they speak to fans every week and they know that some of us want the same thing they do but we have the luxury of not having to take such a soft stance with the questions we would like answered.
So onto the Giles interview and his opening gambit is and I quote
” I understand the current frustration among our fans”. Well without being too disrespectful Phil I don’t think you do.
So let me put it to you straight, The Co-Directors of Football along with the owner selected Marinus and he turned out be a mistake.
Not a great start.
Then there was your colleague’s comments about our short term ambitions. Naïve but once it was out there expectation levels amongst our fans went haywire and on the back of last season’s success we all looked forward to seeing the new look team. A new look squad signed by the executive team based on the same identification process that had been available to Warburton. So here is a question Phil, were those first seven signings the same seven players that were offered to Warburton that he turned down in January?
If so, on whose expert opinion was that decision made?
Add in Pitchgate, losing to Oxford, losing Bjelland none of which that you can be blamed for and then we lose Jota as well and things are not going well at all.
Then the ineffectiveness of Kerschbaumer, Gogia, Vibe, Djuricin, Hofmann, Barbet and to a lesser extent Colin, and the poor start, and now Phil you might finally be getting an understanding of the frustrations of the fans.
In comes Lee Carsley who starts by contradicting the statement given by the club regarding his appointment and then with the help of an International Break gets the team behind him and the recovery begins. But due to his unwillingness to do the job the executive team are looking for a new man to come in. Paul Williams comes in and Carsley talks him up but he also leaves and is now in caretaker charge at Forest and the executive team settle on Dean Smith as the new man to take us forward.
A centre half in lower league football with a win percentage of thirty-two percent in his managerial career who if he maintains only that form would give us between fifty-eight and sixty-two points in a season with draws thrown in. Inspired choice or just the most cost effective?
Are you getting a sense of the frustration Phil? I hope so and maybe now that you may understand the concerns of Brentford fans perhaps you might want to revisit your answers because had you have been interviewed by me and not Greville you would not be getting off so lightly.
Then to set the tone properly I want to mention George Evans. Smith gave the lad a platform at Walsall and he had been mentioned way back in December as being our first Smith signing so why was he not tied up Macleod style on the first of January before the FA Cup game where he demonstrated clearly what a good player he is going to be? Quite frankly Phil, who bodged this signing, You or Rasmus?
When you are done and you have answered the questions then do I think you are in position to make your opening statement and then you can answer the softly put questions that Greville has compiled and then and only then will I want the chance to re-read your answers.
Ok, so what next? Well I believe Smith is a short term, cost-effective appointment with poor tactical awareness as was demonstrated on Saturday, not for the first time. The improvement required by him alone in his ability to affect positively his win percentage just does not seem to me to be forthcoming nor likely.
So now or in May he has to go. Sorry if you disagree but the stats don’t lie. He is another mistake by the Co-Directors of Football and (if you like) by the owner if he wants to be seen as in that executive team.
Benham is not shy to address mistakes as proven with Marinus and I expected that decision to be made in the fullness of time right upto that interview last week. Sadly I think results will continue to go against Smith and Matthew Benham will have to take his medicine once more.
Giles makes a point of stating how young our team is and right now this team needs a Darron Gibson type or perhaps come the end of the season we could highjack Tom Adeyemi who will be available from Cardiff, is the right age, ability and who seems to have lost his place at Leeds to Toumani.
Then there is the forward line which can only be described as a complete failure. Short term we need a striker with either pace and/or strength who can play up top alone so Glenn Murray springs to mind short term with maybe Hogan adding the pace very soon off the bench at least. Hofmann needs to learn how to play as a back post striker so I would call up Crawley or Oldham and find a way to tempt them to take him on loan as he might find an ex-Bee or a youth team coach at those clubs who might just be able to bring out the player that lots of fans think could be in there.
Vibe needs a rest so he would be on the bench at best from now until end of season. Djuricin then has a ten match trial to ensure the option is taken up in May albeit for me off the bench.
At the back I think it’s time to add a loanee centre half, yes that’s right five at the back. Macca at Right back. Woods in front.
On the other side Bidwell and McEachran with Judge a loanee midfielder and possibly a loanee centre forward. Quite simply a new spine that in old money has a spine.
Hogan and Djuricin off the bench if we get a Murray in along with Yennaris, Swift, Canos, O’Connell and Bonham.
If I never see Kerschbaumer in a Brentford shirt again it will be too soon.
So what do we need?
Well I think we need three loan signings, yes three, and the reason is not to avoid relegation, it’s to ensure this club remains attractive to the players who the owner wants to target in the Summer and thus the message to Giles and Ankersen would be if you two want another stab at this in the summer right now before the loan window closes, show us you have the ability to get the right short term players in as after a week of interviews and following eight defeats in eleven games right now, actions speak louder than words!
I could go though Paul’s words line by line and try and rebut much of what he says but as I stated the other week I feel that it is important for me from time to time to allow Brentford supporters to have their say whatever their views, as long as they are expressed decently and without abuse. That being said, there are certainly points that Paul makes that will have many supporters nodding in agreement as well as others reeling in horror.
So I have published it pretty much as it was submitted and now it is up to you to comment, agree or disagree according to your own opinion.