Crunch. The sound of the PR machine moving in to gear.

3 Oct

A day before our trip to Derby County, co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen has ‘exclusively revealed’ more to Brentford supporters about why Marinus Dijkhuizen was replaced as head coach on Monday morning and, equally, the comments made by short-term replacement Lee Carsley after the defeat to Birmingham City.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the video by now – it’s at the bottom of this article for anybody that hasn’t. Likewise, it has been pretty much paraphrased by the local press – copy, past, no opinion, free column – so I’ll save you trawling through the full re-write in print.

Rasmus reveals 'all' on YouTube

Rasmus reveals ‘all’ on YouTube

However, for me the salient point was more what wasn’t said. Given we’ve had the best part of a week to put some positive spin around the news, following the vacuous statements released when the news first broke, I was hoping for more.

I’m not (totally) stupid. There was no way the club were going to air all their dirty laundry in public (that’s a metaphor, I know that kitman Bob Oteng does an excellent job) but to leave us hanging like this just causes more questions. Indeed, the stage was all set for a big reveal when Chris Wickham cut directly to the chase and asked the obvious question, “Why did we feel a change of head coach was necessary?

Along with admitting the club had made a mistake, Rasmus told him, “There were some fundamental approaches at the training ground that didn’t work to the level we expected…it hasn’t improved to the level we want to. In the end we felt the right decision was to make a change rather than protect something we didn’t really believe was going to work

Although he reinforced this point again, adding, “I completely understand how it looks. It wasn’t a decision based on eight league games but three months of training“, there was no explanation as to what the actual training ground problems were. Further, there was no attempt from Chris to get these answers.

Was it the spate of injuries? Were the players being forced to go on three hours of running around the pitch? Did Marinus not bother turning up? Was it limited to playing football manager on the PC? (crappy stats based joke).

The club have embarked on a new direction, something that was made clear as early as last February. Understandably, it’s has been a tough enough sell to get all the fans to accept this change in approach as it is. Frankly, the model is not one we are used to. So when the approach is deemed not to have worked, to not really elaborate on why is very much a missed opportunity.

Whereas Billy Reeves, the master of gentle probing, would have pushed on here, Chris / Brentford official (he may well have had a line to follow) seemed content with that and moved on to the subject of Lee Carsley. Specifically, his comments on Tuesday where he said he hadn’t put his hand up for the job and didn’t want it permanently

Here, at least, Rasmus told us what we expected to hear, and what should probably have been made clearer on Monday/ explained differently on Tuesday, “We always knew that Lee was not going to be a permanent option. He made that very clear to us when we started talking and we respect that but we feel we have a job to do in the short term and he’s the best man to do that….. In hindsight we could probably have dealt with it a bit better and we always knew Lee wouldn’t be our permanent solution”.

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

As I noted last time out, this isn’t a pop at Lee. I stand by that. Things can be taken out of context or said in the heat of the moment. Moreso, by somebody stepping in at the 11th hour. But, equally, we have an experienced backroom staff who, yet again, move with all the speed of Jonathan Douglas (certainly at the end of his time here) tracking back into midfield after a run up pitch.

I really thought we might have learned something from the football village. Likewise, and I need to be clear, I know we aren’t going to reveal everything. Much as I’d love if the club would, I’m just not that naïve. But surely there has to be a happy medium?

Even though Rasmus did go on to apologise to the fans and admit we should have handled things differently. I just don’t know why we failed to do so. It’s not hard. Surely?

The ironic thing is that we’ve been so good at straight talking in the past. The fans’ forums in particular being a place where questions have been answered to a surprisingly in depth, and honest, level. As such, to remove Marinus just three days after he and Rasmus had spoken openly to the fans smacks as a very much lost opportunity for us all to be able to put this to bed.

Instead, supporters will likely draw their own conclusions and mutter about conspiracies in the timing or being kept in the dark. And that’s the last thing we need right now. Derby County are going to be tough enough opponents as it is, without the fans on side.

It’s equally frustrating because pretty much everybody passing through the turnstiles has nothing but admiration and respect for Matthew Benham and what he has done for this club. The amount of money he has pumped in to, firstly, save us but then put the club on the path to hitherto unseen excitement has been nothing short of incredible.

We all know the stories of potential mergers, Dave W£bb, Ron Noades, bucket collections, Bees United and BIAS. Matthew has come in and done the hard part (investment) to a level that still makes me pinch myself.

It’s just a shame that those working around him can’t always do the easy part (talking to the fans), to the same degree. After all, with no fans there is no club. It’s just a team in an empty stadium.

That said, when it comes to 3pm I know full well that those lucky enough to make it up to Pride Park will do nothing but roar the Bees on. I’ll be shouting at Beesplayer for this one.

Hopefully for all the right reasons.

Here's hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Here’s hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Nick Bruzon

Here’s the full video, for those who haven’t seen it 

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6 Responses to “Crunch. The sound of the PR machine moving in to gear.”

  1. KevinO October 3, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    Sorry this seems like self justification again……

    Rasmus had said when he was appointed that a manger would not be sacked based on results, which is still what this looks like to me, so to make sure the water was muddied hints were dropped that senior players were not happy with training methods. To their credit, when these rumours appeared two of the more senior players stated they were happy with the way training was carried out, now the justification is reinforced by this interview.

    To be honest I couldn’t give a damn about the PR failure I would be much happier if I felt the club actually knew what they were doing and there is little evidence of that at the moment.

    One other point I would also like to throw in now is the appointment of the dead ball expert….remember all the stats that were produced at the time on how many goals are scored from set pieces, how we needed to make this an advantage for us etc etc…well I’m a bit of a fraud now because I only saw the match against Sheff Wed and will be at Derby today before taking my flight home, but last week I wondered what these experts were doing (remember there are two of them now) because there was little evidence of outstanding work done on this – seemed the same as ever to me. Let’s hope we get some evidence today and the result we so badly need.

    • Rob October 3, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Spot on…I could see no evidence of any real quality from set pieces, and we certainly couldn’t defend them either. If we aren’t going to create as many chances as last season, at least make it harder for the opposition to score.

      I think the PR team at GP should be the ones to be shown the door.. Time and again they have shown their ineptitude at dealing with situations properly. Instead of coming out with half baked statements, why not just issue a short one liner and say a complete explanation will be issued later?

      And I’m not sure who we’d be able to bring into the club as a future manager. Who would want to work in an environment where most of the “traditional” roles of a manager are taken away from them? Seems they are on a hiding to nothing. Success will be attributed to the stats model, failure will always be the managers “because he failed to react to the stats, or because he reacted in the wrong way to them”.

      I’m concerned.

  2. Rodi October 3, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    More bowing and hat doffing to hrh the gambler

  3. RebelBee October 3, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Too little too late Rasmus – an interview of spin & corporate jargon. Mr B has really been taken in by this guy hasn’t he, still at least all is well in Denmark.

  4. Lanesra October 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    Rasmus Ankersen …. nothing more than a meddling power control freak.
    Out of nowhere has been given a position “co-director of football ” and all of a sudden he thinks he is a big time somebody.
    The BS spin is embarrassing, ” fundamental approaches at the training ground that didn’t work to the level we expected…it hasn’t improved to the level we want to”
    When did the co-ordinator of football have a say in coaching and team selections, just proves the point that they are meddling in team affairs. Do it our way or else !!!
    When the mismanagement team took over they ripped the heart out of the club, too quickly dismantled the team that had a great run last season and bombed players out who would not take their BS. Douggie being one, messing Andre Grey around with his transfer to Hull.
    They bought in their stats players who lets be honest are just that ….. great stats and no more.
    Thanks Rasmus for ruining what we had, hopefully not , but we will have the most expensive assembled squad in league one. We sold Andre Grey to comply with FFP……. BS .

  5. KevinO October 4, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Actually watched the interview all the way through for the first time today……God it was embarrassing….and this guy is one of the head honchos???? When is his performance going to be reviewed because so far it as hardly been impressive.

    Yesterday was embarrassing simply because Derby played as if it was a training match, hardly breaking into a sweat. I won’t mention individuals good or bad from yesterday and there were examples of both but at the moment I think it is the collective that matters.

    Won’t see them again till Christmas now…let’s hope we are in a better position by then.

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