Not Good Enough & Where Do We Go from Here? – 20/3/16

It would be all too easy and also perhaps satisfying and even cathartic to have a real go at the Brentford team which was unable to beat ten men and fell to a potentially disastrous defeat to a Blackburn Rovers team that on the day was never more than big, tough, well-organised and hard to break down.

But what’s the point of doing so as all fourteen players patently gave everything that they had and were unflagging in all their efforts to end Brentford’s appalling run which has seen them nosedive from a position of midfield serenity to the throes of a relegation dogfight that they seem totally ill equipped to cope with and which appears to have taken them completely by surprise.

I am also not going to criticise hapless manager Dean Smith as he can only use the tools that he has been provided with and once the players cross the white lines what happens then is totally down to them.

The plain truth of the matter as we thankfully go into an International Break which will allow us some respite and the time to take stock and fully prepare for a massive nine match mini-season which will decide our season and immediate future, is that the current squad is playing far below its potential and at some point the question has to be asked if they are good enough to compete in the Championship and if not, why not.

That again is not going to be a productive, beneficial or helpful conversation at the present time given the severity of the situation that we face.

Yesterday was both deflating and demoralising as the Bees totally dominated proceedings and had sixty-six percent possession but did absolutely nothing with it as the ball was shuffled backwards and sideways with monotonous regularity with nobody able or prepared to take responsibility, try something ambitious or attempt an incisive pass.

Dean Smith admitted afterwards that the team had been set up to ensure that we were more solid with the intention of avoiding more of the giveaway goals that have been a frustrating feature of our recent matches. To a degree he achieved these objectives as our visitors barely threatened apart from at set pieces where as expected they dominated given their height and strength. What he patently failed to address was our lack of attacking potency.

Button was forced to save comfortably from Gomez and brilliantly from Akpan’s close range header when he was left criminally unmarked from a free kick. Our soft underbelly was left exposed and the longer we went on without scoring the more the nagging thought remained that we would fall to yet another sucker punch, and our worst nightmare finally came true when close to the end of an eminentally forgettable match our defensive fallibility came back to haunt us and poor defending from a simple free kick which arrowed into the box from out wide saw a misplaced header from McCormack fall to the feet of Watt who cleverly set up Duffy for a fulminating close range finish which raged into the roof of the net.

For all our possession it is hard to recall more than a handful of times when we actually looked like scoring. Steele dived to paw away Barbet’s curling free kick which circumnavigated Brentford’s two walls as well as our visitors’ but in truth the save was fairly routine.

Even when a rugged and agricultural Blackburn team was reduced to ten men on the hour when Hanley walked for his second yellow card after a deliberate handball, unforgivably we never managed to trouble the keeper who was well protected by a massive wall of blue and white which funnelled together in the centre and comfortably smothered what little danger we provided.

Brentford were allowed to keep unchallenged possession out wide and positively encouraged to swing in any number of crosses which were meat and drink to the phalanx of huge defenders waiting eagerly to deal with them. Leandro Rodríguez, making his full league debut must have wondered what he had let himself in for as he was left totally isolated in the area and rarely had the benefit of players running beyond him in support. He was treated as a punchbag and given no protection by yet another weak referee who also ignored a blatant handball in the area. There is real hope for the future as Leonardo looked energetic, keen and clever on the ball but he was never given a clear sight of goal.

Scott Hogan also made his long awaited return from his injury nightmare and will provide a boost to our striking resources.

Alan Judge tried too hard to impress against his former club and had a game to forget. The responsibility of being both our only real goal threat as well as the architect of most of our chances now seems to be weighing down heavily upon him and he will welcome the respite and boost to his confidence which will come from some time away from the club with the Eire squad.

Judge selfishly and myopically squandered the opportunity to set Canos clear away on goal when deciding instead to shoot and had a succession of wasteful efforts which went nowhere near before he finally got his bearings correct deep into injury time when his curling effort extended the keeper who was forced to concede a corner from which Harlee Dean’s last gasp effort threatened the departing supporters already outside the ground on Ealing Road rather than the Blackburn goal.

That really sums up our goalscoring efforts for the entire match and highlights the extent that nerves and loss of confidence have rendered our team impotent.

In the glory days of last season we played a vibrant and positive brand of attacking football where five midfielders were encouraged to rotate positions and all get forward in turn to support a strong, pacy forward who ran the channels, and they all got into the area and never gave the opposition a moment of peace.

Jota, Pritchard, Douglas, Dallas and Toral all provided a real goal threat and scored over forty times between them, and Judge, who only managed to score three times, helped pull all the strings. We played through the opposition and were able to create space and a seemingly nonstop series of openings through our sheer ability and ingenuity as well as the relentlessness of our attacking approach.

I make these points not in anger or sadness but to highlight how greatly the situation has changed from those halcyon days when we had the players that suited the 4-2-3-1 formation that we employed. Now we have lost the pace, positivity and I am afraid to say, talent, that made us so effective.

Now we are slow, ponderous and predictable and only Judge, Swift (absent yesterday after his Instagram indiscretion) and Canos have any clue in front of goal whilst the likes of Woods, McCormack, McEachran and Kerschbaumer have scored only once between them all season.

Our lone striker remains isolated and without support and we never seem to get players in and around him on the edge of, and inside the penalty area. No wonder Blackburn were happy for us to send cross after cross into the box where we never threatened any danger.

McEachran should have come into his own after the sending off as the stage was set for him to take control of the match and make something happen for us. It was an ideal situation for him as he was able to pick the ball up unchallenged deep in our half from Button or a defender and move menacingly into the Blackburn half. This he did on countless occasions but absolutely nothing came of his efforts as he never attempted a pass that threatened to cut the opposition open. He always took the easy and safe option and we literally went around in circles and got nowhere – very, very slowly.

So where do we go from here? The situation now looks extremely serious and increasingly dire as Rotherham continue to come up with an unlikely series of results, winning yesterday at Ipswich. We are now playing only to avoid the last relegation place and all our efforts now need to be totally focused on that objective. Our whole short term future depends upon us remaining in the Championship as I cannot begin to imagine the consequences for the club should we get relegated.

My suggestion is for us all to have a day or so of mourning, anger and offloading and allow all the frustration to come out and then we have to regird our loins, put our disappointments behind us and work in unison to try and get ourselves out of this mess, which in my view is entirely of our own making.

The time for inquests and recriminations is for later and definitely not now. Hopefully we will be able to breathe a deep sigh of relief in early May and then, and only then, dissect this shambles of a season and do whatever it takes to ensure that the multitude of mistakes that have been made by all parties are learned from and never repeated. It might well mean that our structure needs to be examined extremely closely and that individuals are forced to take responsibility for their actions. We might also need to change the fundamentals of how we operate. Who knows? But all that is for later and not for now.

Hard though it will be to do so, we quite simply need to keep calm and the fans more than ever have to get behind the team, as indeed they did yesterday.

Most crucially we need to throw away our current default formation and adopt a system that suits the players we have. 4-4-2  with two strikers playing up top would be my choice given the current and obvious lack of incision and support from midfield. We need to score some goals and win at least a couple of matches and currently we barely look like scoring and are creating little. Scott Hogan made a more than welcome return yesterday and he and Rodríguez must be allowed to develop a partnership and attempt to provide some goal threat.

The easy option for Dean Smith will be to try and make us even more defensive but this must be avoided at all costs. I do not mean that we become naively open and attack at will, simply that we defend properly, something that we have not done all year, but also concentrate on asking some questions of the opposition and getting a couple of players into the penalty area would be a good start.

As we have seen, our lack of confidence has drained our energy and imagination away and helped make our legs leaden and apart from Judge nobody will take any responsibility. Yesterday the players appeared to be paralysed by nerves and indecision. McCormack is now doing his best to offer some leadership and fill this void but we desperately need width and pace down the wings. Money is tight and I doubt if there are many options out there available at a price that we can afford but I would hope that one more fresh face comes in this week, either a winger or a midfielder with bite and presence.

The next two weeks require a mixture of rest, recuperation, self-examination and hard work. We have eight matches to play in April, a month that will decide our future and a combination of fresh legs and fresh minds and a fresh approach are needed from management, squad and supporters alike.

We have to start again after the International Break with a clean slate. Let’s look on the bright side, there is still a long way to go and we aren’t in the bottom three and our fate lies entirely in our own hands.

The season starts now!

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23 thoughts on “Not Good Enough & Where Do We Go from Here? – 20/3/16

  1. ‘Money is tight and I doubt if there are many options out there available at a price that we can afford…….’

    Is this the case Greville?

    I understood that monies were available in January but that the decision was taken that the market did not offer good value and the better choice was to leave it in place as a war chest for the summer. I think that most of us got that and believed that we had enough points already in the locker to if not charge across then at least limp over the say 48 point line with some games to spare.

    Then the story seemed to become FFP constraints so are we now talking about :

    1) Cash flow issues
    2) Monies available but better left unspent until the summer
    3) Monies available but FFP constraints

    If it is #3 then the board was happy to substantially over spend last summer on the basis that we’d gamble on getting well by player summer sales which was done spectacularly well. The overspend was such that MB said in his recent interview that even selling Andre Gray didn’t get us entirely well. The board still has Alan Judge who will surely be sold in the summer and for a decent price to restore us to within FFP for 2015/16.

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  2. Who knows Alan if there is money available now or whether it has been ring fenced for the Summer. I am led to believe, perhaps erroneously of course that cash is tight at the moment. We obviously need to be praying for Burnley to go up as we are then due around £3.5million in add-ons

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    • Re yesterday’s team performance the least said the better.My naive hope that we could draw a line under the events of the last 13 months or so and start afresh from yesterday has been rapidly thrown out of the window!How has the club been allowed to go into free fall so dramatically? I hope that the Club Chairman and his fellow directors on the Board will now carry out a soul-searching investigation into why the club finds itself in such a dire position as it does today? It is the very least they can do on behalf of thousands of loyal fee-paying fans.The results of such an investigation,if undertaken, should be published before the start of next season. Then,and only then,will we be able to start afresh i

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    • Fair enough Greville but we would have signed George Evans in January for presumably a decent transfer fee, signing on fee, agents fees etc plus of course his wages and then only weeks later there are stories of a cash crunch.

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  3. Wasn’t it Giles and/or Ankersen (“we speak for each other”) who said in August that the monies raised from the sale of players would be re-invested in the squad in January? I’m afraid that the only good thing that might come out of relegation is that these two, if still in post, can learn their trade at a lower level where their activities, and their public comments, might be a little less scrutinised.

    As for yesterday, the older supporters amongst us who have witnessed the runaway train scenario on more than one occasion got a vivid reminder of how painful it is to have to witness it all over again. For 45+ years I’ve written a summary of each season at its conclusion and there have been years when it’s been difficult to fill an A4 sheet with the goings-on. I suspect this season’s summary might be a book in itself.

    We’ve got Sporting Directors, Heads of Football Operations, Heads of Philosophy, Lifestyle Coaches, Specialist Coaches, a Medical team sufficient to man a small hospital and Commercial Staff falling over each other despite not having a facility bigger than a cupboard to host guests. Even the kit-man has got an assistant and according to yesterday’s matchday programme, there are even two editors for that now!! I’d love to know how the club has allowed the off-field operation to grow to such obscene proportions when a club that can’t compete with the financial bulk of others in the Championship (as we keep getting reminded by the Head Coach every week) is at greater risk of dropping back to the lower leagues than moving upwards.

    Anyone who doubts my comments should pop down to the training ground to watch an under-21 game. You can count the number of supporters in a few seconds but try totting up the numbers of club officials/employees in Brentford track suits. It’s a eye-opening, and terrifying, experience.

    Sadly, this season will end in disappointment for many people – but a re-evaluation of where the club tried to go and how it allowed the two sides of the operation (on and off the field) to become so badly mis-matched, will be a challenging piece of work.

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  4. Maybe the forensic analysis can wait as to why this season had gone so badly wrong. But the stark reality is that we are in very real danger of losing our championship status, or in my view throwing it away. Can we save ourselves? I don’t know, but smarter people than me will tell you that any struggling organisation simply continuing to do the same things, with the same outcomes is doomed. We need to try to take measures now to stop this slide into the abyss, and sad though it may be I feel that we’ve gone as far as we can with Dean Smith. I would hope that efforts are being made right now to tempt a coach to step in a short term incentivised bonus deal to attempt to get us to safety. Personally I’d be on the phone to Lee Carsley today, if not there have to be other possibilities. We will also need to use the final days of the loan window to search for a couple of more experienced and physically stronger signings. The squad is weak and thin, but should be capable of better than we are seeing. If the players rate Smith as claimed, they aren’t showing it and there appears to be a lack of leadership and discipline.

    Yesterday was the final straw, doing nothing and just getting behind the club won’t cut it – do this alone and we will be lucky to gain another point let alone a win. As to our finances, I wonder what Alan Judge’s valuation may be to suitors once we are relegated, my guess 50% lower that in the last window.

    Sorry if this seems blunt and harsh, but I see things in clear and stark terms today – we need to act fast.

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  5. If we’re in a relegation “dogfight”, then our side of chihuahuas really are done for.

    That was as grim as anything I’ve seen at BFC for a number of years and given the ugliness of Blackburn’s approach, the whole thing would not have looked out of place at the wrong end of the Conference.

    Dean Smith, Ankersen, Phil ‘Safe Hands’ Giles and Matthew Benham should all be seriously worried this morning.

    To cap it all, I see that the boy Crofts, who we were being linked with recently, has decided to move on loan to Gillingham. So that’s another midfield battler to cross off the list.

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  6. I have to say I totally share the sentiment expressed by Rebel Bee.Whilst criticising Messrs Ankersen & Giles I have always been reluctant to lay too much at Smith & O’Kellys door as I felt the DOF’s had sold them a pup.Nothing has changed on that front but the Team selected & tactics employed by our Head Coach yesterday beggars belief.
    Whilst Bristol City were signing Loan players like Lee Tomlin & Peter Odimwinge we had & still are faffing about with virtual unknowns with zero Championship experience .Meanwhile Rotherhams great escape is being masterminded by a Championship hardened motivator aided by a number of seasoned pros with ,you guessed it ,Championship experience.As for the “money is tight etc” bit ,well it’s gonna be a lot tighter if ,as seems highly lightly,we loose our hard won Championship status.
    As has been already said a replacement for Smith needs to be found now ,incentivised to secure our Position in the second tier.At least 2 experienced loan signings(defensive mid & wideman) are needed too & now!
    Time for some decisive action Matthew!

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  7. I agree with Mark Croxford’s summation. As my brother keeps on reminding me Jimmy Sorrel did it all when he was Manager, and what wasn’t done by him was done by Dennis Piggott (not my favourite person, but credit were credit is due). We have had good owner’s and bad owner’s, with Jack Dunnett being thecworse. MB is deemed a good owner, but despite this will he be remembered as a saviour, or just another owner along Brentford’s history.

    Len Shackleton left the page blank in his autobiography on the chapter what the average director knows about football, and I was thinking about that when thinking about our owners and directors, past and present. Maybe teams who are successful and stay successful allow people to do what they are good at.

    Goingvforward maybe MB should bear that in mind.

    Where am I with regard to whether we stay up? I have been Bees fan for 50 year’s, so I am preparing my self to going back to the old Division 3, which is where we have been for most of the time I have supported them. It’s the only way I find I can cope with supporting Brentford. Then, if we do stay up (and on this I wonder where a goal is going to come from, let alone a win), it becomes an unexpected bonus.

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  8. I usually agree with RebelBee because I do find he speaks a lot of sense, in my opinion. His comments above are a case in point.

    I don’t think there are any Brentford fans who openly dislike Dean Smith. And certainly I think that most people would agree that he has been dealt a rough hand with the departure of Toumani, Tarkowski and the mercurial Jota. Then there are the January signings – or complete lack of them… followed by the solitary loan coming in (although hopefully one or two more to follow before the next game, please God).

    But the nagging feeling for me is how would this team be playing if Lee Carsley was still in charge? He seemed to galvanise the players, get them playing for him and imbue them with a sense of real self-belief. Yes, he had Toums and Tarkowski, and of course they are massive players which Dean Smith no longer has to call upon. But for me it’s more than that. It’s a listlessness and a lifelessness about the players. A general lack of energy or apparent sense of purpose. Along with a lack of discernible tactics or willingness to try something – anything – remotely different.

    Actually, that’s not quite right. We played with no strikers at QPR. But I’m talking about tactics that a) are positive and b) might actually work. Yes, we could try Greville’s proposed 4-4-2 and by God our lone striker – whoever it is – desperately needs some support up top. Or why not go for something like a 3-5-2 (which I bang on about on here every week!) which would add both an extra attacker and extra central defender?

    Whatever we do, I agree with RebelBee that we probably do need to consider a new man calling the shots on the touchline. Someone that can give the players the kick up the backside that they apparently need and shake up the tactics that are patently not working.

    A case in point has to be what Warnock is doing at Rotherham. A few weeks ago, they were apparently doomed – 17 points behind us and heading back to League One. Now they are one of the form teams of the Championship, winning four out of five and drawing the other one. Incredible stuff. How has this happened? Have they signed Messi, Neymar and Suarez? Has their Chairman entered into some sort of pact with the devil? Apparently not (although Warnock does have something quite devilish about him). What they decided was they had to stay in the Championship at all costs, and the only way of achieving that goal was to change the manager.

    Of course, changing the manager doesn’t always do the trick. Remi Garde has failed spectacularly at Villa (although arguably not even Pep Guardiola would have been able to do much there) and, despite beating us and Middlesbrough, it doesn’t look like Riga is going to be able to keep Charlton up. And of course let’s be honest – Neil Warnock is a singularly unique phenomenon. I can’t think of another English manager who could have turned things around so spectacularly – and beaten teams like Wednesday (away), Ipswich and Boro. Maybe Allardyce or Pulis? Maybe Roy Hodgson or Harry Redknapp?

    Be that as it may, Warnock has turned things around. He has brought in a load of players, built up their self-belief, got them absolutely on it in training, ratcheted up their fitness levels and turned them into a winning team. As they have risen, we have gone backwards. And, whilst there is genuine sympathy for Dean Smith, if part of MB’s project is to stabilse as a Championship club before launching a sustained (and sustainable) assault on the Premier League, can we really afford to sink back down to the pit of mediocrity that is League One?

    When all’s said and done, it is a moot point, because MB does not want to replace Smith. He has been brought on board for a long term project and we can’t go jettisoning the manager every time things go pear-shaped (although it is surely worth noting that poor, hapless old Marinus was only given 8 league games in which to make his mark – so far, DS has had 20, of which we have won 5). But I personally believe that at some point, MB will be forced to make a move. My feeling a week ago was that, if we lost to Blackburn, Forest and Bolton, MB would ultimately take the decision to relieve Dean Smith of his duties and give someone else (Carsley?) 7 games to keep us up with a new face in charge and maybe some new ideas on the training pitch. Maybe I’m wrong. And hopefully we won’t find out, because we’ll pick up at least 3 (or 4) points from the next two games.

    It’s a conundrum, because I do think Dean Smith is a decent manager who has had his hands tied. But if we do find ourselves in the bottom three at full time on May 7, will even his most ardent supporters feel that the club could and should have acted sooner?

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  9. Loads of common sense there beesyellow22 – you’re probably right in that we won’t make a change now, personally I’m now preparing myself for DS to take us down. Good coaches improve what they have and make tactical decisions that improve performances and results. DS is doing neither, despite the many challenges that have been dropped on to him by the DoF’s. His handling of Canos at QPR, and nobody up front, the withdrawal of Woods yesterday, his in game substitutions never improve us.

    It’s only a theory, but I feel they went for a nice guy who wouldn’t challenge anyone or be difficult to handle. Evidence for this could be the acceptance of January squad pruning, and messages of support from the players, whilst at the same time team unity and discipline seem to be slipping….

    Time for some actIon & some leadership, we are on the brink.

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  10. Spot on both of you as always, without wishing to have too much of a love-in here.

    Apologies Greville for my description of Phil Giles, which could be seen as a slightly low blow. I didn’t agree with what you put at the time and generally feel the guy is out of his depth in the remit he’s been given – if he were left to concentrate of his strengths and work with a genuine football man, that would be a big step forward for the club in my view. On reflection what I put came across as a bit sarcastic and it wasn’t clever.

    Very glad we’ve got two weeks off, but by God the pressure mounts when we start again, not least for the Tuesday night home game.

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  11. In all my years watching the Bees scoring goals has been at its most potent when two strikers work as a duo up front. George Francis and Jim Towers set the trend many seasons ago. Billy McAdams and John Dick quickly followed suit and more recently Nicky Forster and Robert Taylor formed a lethal “FT” combination. I appreciate that times change but we could do worse than seeking a modern day version of what worked so successfully in the past!

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    • Good post, Peter. Probably my favourite striking partnership would have to be Holdsworth and Blissett. In our promotion season of 91-92 they must have scored 25 goals each. Actually, come to think of it, didn’t Holdsworth score nearer 40 goals that season – or am I completely making that up?!

      Personally I think Warburton got it right last season, playing one up front. We were new to the Championship and we needed that extra man in midfield. This season – apart from when Carsley was in charge – it hasn’t really worked so well. To be fair to Dean Smith, it is a lot easier to play one up front when that one is someone like Andre Gray. Djuricin, Hofmann and Vibe are a) all new to the English game and b) simply not as good as Andre.

      Again, to repeat ad infinitum my continuing mantra – LET’S TRY 3-5-2!!! How can we do any worse after losing 7 out of the last 8?! The prospect of having Hogan and Rodriguez playing together at Forest, with Bidwell and Colin pinging in the crosses, is, to me, extremely exciting.

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      • Thanks beesyellow22. Sorry I overlooked the Blissett/Holdsworth duo-a great pairing. Completely agreed with Andre Gray being the “lone striker” last season because he was so ably supported by Alex Pritchard and Jota in the goal scoring stakes not to mention Stuart Dallas and Jonathan Douglas adding to the fire power! Would love to see Scott Hogan in a new duo combination with whoever !

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  12. well we can slate the new manager ect but if we look into all this we have exactement the same failings of last seson giving away sloppy goals not getting people into the box ect we lost our best or should i say our only striker to burnley start of the season as other players who we sold .Even under Warburton last year if you all remember we had touble getting people in the box or dangers areas yes we did get into the players off but when it was needed we could not deliver where it matters and score goals.As i said a couple of weeks ago we ARE in a relegation fight and things do not look good and personnel i just hope we can scrape those points we need i do not care how even if it means playing UGLY football as some people will say all i want is to have one more point than the other teams who go down

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  13. I cant disagree with much that has been said already on here. I started my Bees supporting days by watching Phillips and McCulloch banging the goals in which took us out of Div 4. and all season long have been calling for us to ditch this single striker set up. Most good teams have strikers who hunt in pairs with a good 3rd man helping out (Sweetzer in those days) The 3 miss firing forwards we have I think would have performed better than they have had they had a striker partner alongside them. Heaven forbid we revert to a long ball option in doing so but at least we might have someone in the box. I recall clearly on Saturday someone (I think Woods) being clear on the right wing, time to put in a cross but there was 5 Blackburn men and not a single man in red and white. But even though our new lad is said to thrive on crosses was he even going to beat the man mountains Blackburn had – in fact I am not sure we even delivered a good cross!

    I have also mentioned in the past that the ‘rose tinted’ glasses brigade of last season forget just how fragile our defence was Warbs. We played high tempo attacking football which was suited to us having a one goal lead and counter attacking as our opponents pushed on. It worked because we have the raw pace and strength of Gray, supported by huge talent that was Pritchard and the pace and trickery of Jota – as has been mentioned, all supported by Judge pulling the strings. The talent available suited 4-5-1 – but we saw in the last few games of last season teams learnt how to close us down and snuff us out.If we were behind then we struggled to breakdown and create clear chances. Second season syndrome would have surely sent a message to opponents on how to expect us to play and that is exactly what has happened, we have followed the Warbs set up but lost the key elements that made it work. The end result is a stagnated set up which teams know how to play against and where we have a lack of quality to unlock them. The end result is the silly mistakes and casual defending which was there last year has changed but as we are snuffed out one end now means we are spiralling downwards
    I agree that a 3-5-2 option is surely worth trying. Barbet has some pace and would help to cover where O’Connell and Dean may lack. I would like to see Colin back in the side as he offers more going forward, but the left flank is still a weakness, this was Pritchard and Dallas domain last season, and I am not sure for all his whole hearted efforts Saunders is an option. Least with 2 up front we might get more chances to score, goals win matches and simply we have gone from one of the divisions leading scorers to a team who just doesn’t have the belief that they can score.

    This season I fear will be one we will look back upon with great regret, and ultimately will be put into print as the opposite to the fantastic roller coaster of success we had last year. Smith….? I don’t know, his tactics and subs frustrate me, The players say there are behind him but I confidence and morale is now so low in this team I can not help think something needs to change to get the mindset turned around. But who could make that happen, I liked Carsley but don’t see anyway back. The failure to strengthen not just in January but even for whole time of the loan window (till last Thursday) I fear will come back to haunt us….just like we didn’t make the right moves back in 92/93 and we know what happened next.

    I like others fear its too late to turn this one around, we are on a slippery slope and the momentum is with others while we are in reverse. After Saturday I started to prepare and accept the worse, if we escape I will be very surprised but I am not expecting it and what’s worse this will be a self inflicted injury

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  14. Have to agree. I always said that this season would be tricky and from August have predicted a finish somewhere between 13th and 18th, which would have been fine, something to build on. Now though we are in freefall and there is no glimmer of any improvement from any quarter. I am mentally prepared for a 22nd place finish because we seem unable to score goals, continue make errors at the back and we are losing to those teams around and below us and deservedly so. Our one chance is to play 2 up front, continue to play football and not just hoof it and hope to get one win to build confidence on. All our best players from last season, with one or two exceptions have gone as have the management team and we have not really replaced them. We can still survive, but it will take a momentous effort and I am not sure we have the assets to make this happen. Hope i’m wrong and I will still be there cheering them on in division one regardless, but I do feel we have failed to build on the success of the last three years. We can still do it, let’s hope the short break renews our batteries and we come out flying for the last 9 games.

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      • Having re-read the blog and the comments that followed I have really got myself “fired up” I refuse to mention the “R” word but I hope the Club Chairman, his Board colleagues, and the senior management team are asking themselves the following questions 1) How on earth did we land the club in this position in the first place ? 2) If we lose our Championship status will we be able to maintain the proposed entrance fees for nest season ?(i.e. Championship prices for League One football)? 3) How are we going to attract permanent recruits,or loanees, to meet the expectations for summer signings- and will we be able to afford them? 4) Will we be able to anticipate continuing crowds of around 10,000 ? 5) How long do we think it will take to regain Championship status? 6) What will happen if we are still in League One when the new Lionel Road stadium is finally completed with a capacity of 20,000 ? Just hope we get some answers to these questions but do not hold your breath!!!

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