Matthew Benham swings the axe as Marinus waves goodbye

28 Sep

On Saturday he finally gave us a wave. Little did Bees fans realise it would turn out to be a wave goodbye. Just a day before we entertain Birmingham City, and hot off the heels of that agonising last minute defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford have parted company with head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen (along with his assistant Roy Hendriksen).

‘Parted company’ – presumably the diplomatic term for ‘sacked’ – is something which has taken pretty much everybody (Marinus included) by as much surprise as his original signing. But was it the right move?

Marinus - all over after less than four months

Marinus – all over after less than four months

A record of four defeats in the opening eight league games, along with the League cup humiliation at home to Oxford United, was hardly the stuff of a solid start. Moreso, given the high on which we finished the last campaign – almost pulling off a shock promotion to the Premiership.

But there were so many factors outside of his control. The atrocious pitch, which eventually saw the Birmingham City game postponed, hardly augured well. Then there were the injuries – how could one person be so unlucky? Josh McEachran was broken before he even played a game. Jota was crocked by Dougie in the season opener. Andreas Bjelland lasted 45 minutes before being written off for the season whilst Maxime Colin, who offered so much in such a short space of time, was yet another to fall foul of the training ground ‘jinx’.

Combine this with the loss, through transfer, of Stuart Dallas, Moses Odubajo and the free scoring Andre Gray to really see just how hard we’ve been hit from a personnel perspective.

Equally, Marinus just wasn’t Mark Warburton. Whoever followed the (now) Rangers manager was on a hiding to nothing. Warbs reeked of popularity with the vast majority of Brentford supporters. His success after taking over from Uwe was there for all to see whilst the dignified manner in which he carried himself after February’s ‘Village-gate’ affair only strengthened that bond further.

Warbs - had huge success, even if no Plan B, at Griffin Park

Warbs – had huge success, even if no Plan B, at Griffin Park

But if Warbs had the supporters in the palm of his hand, the apparent lack of touchline body language from Marinus was the polar opposite and made it hard for some fans to bond with him.

Ultimately, it is results that count. Not only had we lost 5 out of 9 competitive fixtures but to fall behind in all but one of them tells it’s own story. The negative brand of possession-based football was frustrating to watch – moreso when that possession was largely in our final third at the expense of genuine attacking intent.

When Marinus pushed the team up we looked a threat – the problem was it took so long to get there. Yet there must have been enough to persuade Matthew Benham to bring him to Griffin Park in the first place. And having spotted this, why end the arrangement so quickly? Surely he would have known what he was going to get?

Was it the results? The very open arrangement he had with the press where the refreshingly honest answering of questions was everything we’d come NOT to expect from a football manager? Or were words exchanged behind the scenes?

I doubt we’ll know for a while, if at all. The club’s opening statement revealed little whilst the subsequent follow up from Chairman Cliff Crown focused more on his successor until the end of the season, Lee Carsley, rather than any real explanation.

The one positive to take from all of this is that we didn’t have a repeat of last season where rumours of a parting of the ways with Mark Warburton were at first ignored, then rebuffed in the bizarre ‘village’ statement before eventually being confirmed a few days later. Although the news has been handled with all the subtlety of a breezeblock, at least this has been dealt with quickly. Moreso given the simultaneous availability of Steve Evans.

Steve Evans - no longer at Rotherham

Steve Evans – also all the subtlety of a breezeblock

I feel desperately sorry for Marinus. He came across as a genuinely likeable bloke and has seen the pitch, and squad, fall apart around him. His press conferences and post match interviews were compelling stuff but, in the end, that wasn’t enough.

Instead, Lee Carsley takes charge and in that wonderful symmetry that football so often throws up, his first game will be against former club Birmingham City.

Life is never dull at Griffin Park, that’s for sure. Now, what price a second home win of the season on Tuesday night? (6/5, for the record).

Nick Bruzon


3 Responses to “Matthew Benham swings the axe as Marinus waves goodbye”

  1. KevinO September 29, 2015 at 7:30 am #

    Once again an employee who seems to be a decent man by all accounts is treated shabbily by Brentford FC, is this what we should come to expect in future? At Dijkhuizen’s unveiling, Rasmus Ankersen insisted he wouldn’t be sacked if results weren’t going well so should we believe that isn’t the reason for his sacking? Once again we have a statement from the Chairman which explains nothing while justifying a shocking decision. This is even more depressing than the result last Saturday!

  2. Lanesra September 29, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    What hope does a manager have when all your back room staff with the exception of your assistant are appointed by someone else. What we will never know is what influence they also had over team selections, How can you play away at Middlesboro and have 2 goalkeepers on the bench with other fit players back at the ground.
    How much influence will Lee Carsley have over team matters, Will he be allowed to change the team shape and pattern or will he just be the front man to the control centre behind him. If that’s the case then it will only be a matter of time before he gets fed up with the approach and walks away of his own accord. Then what? Money ball may have worked well in baseball but yet to be proven that it is a sustainable criteria to succeed in football.
    If the control centre believed in the program they would not have sacked the manager
    Wish Lee Carsley every success but the fear is that he will just be the puppet with strings attached to the control centre.

  3. Rodi September 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Benham’s loathsome system is visibly and demonstrably failing; it has no respect for the individual and is emblematic of the owner’s money centred approach to,life; a true fan, would have been thrilled with the success achieved by Mark Warburton, not sought to undermine the very real promotion push, at the crucial juncture. Warburton achieved a miracle of keeping the dream alive, after his position was sabotaged and was a true gent, loyal, talented and likeable; some people, who do not appear to demonstrate those qualities themselves, should stop using BFC, as a testing ground for their narcissism and untried methods. Progress must always be tempered with a balanced approach.

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