Don’t Panic. Or is it trouble? 7(seven) isn’t the magic number.

21 Feb

Derby County have ended their poor run. Brentford’s continues. A 3-1 victory for the Rams at Griffin Park was one which, if we are being honest with ourselves, they deserved on their first half performance alone. Equally, as we know too well, ‘deserving’ counts for nothing in football if you can’t take your chances. For Brentford to have been a goal up with ten minutes to go yet still lose (whilst shipping three) was just woeful. Derby wanted it more and got it.

The final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos and I can well understand why. Regardless of our gratitude that Brentford are in the Championship,at present the Bees look all at sea and the stats don’t make good reading:

7(seven) defeats out of 9 games in 2016.

Only 7(seven) goals scored in those 9 games – take Preston out of the equation and its 4 from 8.

10 goals against in the last three games.

QPR now ahead of us in the league table.

GP v Derby

The overcast conditions matched the mood at Griffin Park

Indeed a wonderful first half performance from one of the old guard, David Button, was the difference between 0-0 and the game being out of sight before 3.45pm. A series of world class saves kept things level, the pick of which came from one of his own players.

Unmarked in the six yard box, Jake Bidwell volleyed a clearance straight towards the Brentford goal. That man Button was on hand to parry it to his left at almost point blank range and somehow out to safety.

But going in 0-0, it seemed as though Derby had blown their chance when Alan Judge gave Brentford the lead 7(seven) minutes into the second half. And oh, what a goal.

Picking the ball up inside his own half, Judge ran and ran down the right flank before reaching the edge of the box. With Kerschbaumer making a late, unmarked, run into the centre Judge ignored him and kept going before firing home to the far corner from the acutest of angles

Whilst not quite as narrow as Van Basten in Euro ’88, it wasn’t far off. Judge had no right to score from there yet, such is his confidence and ability, he made it look simple. What a goal and what a moment for the Bees. If nothing else, the media team would have breathed a sigh of relief as it means they won’t be combing footage of the development squad to find an entrant for February’s ‘goal of the month’ competition.

And that was the high point. With the Bees’ creative juices drying up as we looked to keep it tight, things went South in the final ten minutes. The first came as the Brentford defence (rightly) called for handball. Yet only Jeff Hendrick played on and, left in yards of space, slid it neatly between Button’s legs . The previously unbeatable ‘keeper was given no chance as the rest of his defence stopped running and just waved their arms in the air, seemingly more interested in having a private game of ‘who can hail a taxi first?’.

Was it hand ball? Absolutely. Should it have stood? Probably not. But it is one of the most basic lessons of football to play the whistle, not the ball. You can’t legislate for that level of schoolboy defending. Standing still and relying on a referee to make what you believe to be the correct call is as risky a defensive strategy as they come. And it was the wrong one. 1-1.

From that point on, we were dead in the water. Cyrus ‘the virus’ Christie gave Derby the lead four minutes later, tucking in from close range and breaking Brentford hearts.

With 87 minutes on the clock, Dean Smith opted to bring on one of his two attacking midfielders in Sergi Canos (I don’t count the largely ineffectual Swift). Why he or Sam weren’t introduced earlier, or even started, I have no idea but perhaps there was a belief our fragile team would hang on to a 1-0.

And, as time ran out, it almost happened. With no working scoreboard or fourth official’s timer, the game was well into Jota time when the chance to salvage something came. And then went. Jake Bidwell’s goalbound header was miraculously saved at the death by  Scott Carson.

The ‘keeper, who seemed to have taken the advice of Rams’ sponsor ‘Just Eat’ a bit too literally, dived to his left and somehow tipped Jake’s downward header away on the goal line. If Judge’s goal had been ‘not quite Van Basten’, this save was ‘almost Gordon Banks’. Again, the angle wasn’t quite as severe as with the famous predecessor but I still don’t know how Carson got down there. Well played , that man.

And with that, it was Doncaster Rovers all over again. The chance having been and gone for the Bees, Derby broke down the other end to put the game officially out of sight, courtesy of Chris Martin. Bees fans were left feeling yellow as the indignity of another defeat in that style was further compounded by an inevitable volley of Coldplay puns.


And this was at 0-0….

Being honest, whatever the logic behind the change in manager and decision to sell the players from last season, we are a pale shadow of the team that played with so much freedom and confidence 12 months ago. Such is the general vibe that the campaign objective now seems one of simply limping over the line and hoping we can hang in there for a fresh start in 2016/17.

But for Alan Judge and David Button, I have no idea where we’d be heading. Yesterday really would have been a wonderful chance to show a reaction after Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. Instead, up against a team on an even worse run of form than ourselves, we ended up with the proverbial damp squib.

The only plus point of the day (aside from the genuinely unexpected arrival of the ‘Terrace Talk’ cameras into the upper room at The Griffin….) was the news that Matthew Benham is back on Twitter following his second period of self-imposed exile.

No matter how frustrating an experience some are finding it supporting the Bees at present, let’s hope people treat him with the respect he deserves this time around.

Having been spoiled to ambassadorial levels last season, the luxury of the Ferrero Rocher pyramid has now been replaced by what tastes like cold leftovers. That’s a hard thing to swallow but, whatever confusion is happening on the pitch, this is still the team we support and the club we love. Saturday’s wouldn’t be the same without it.

We’ve had a tough run of games and Tuesday night against Wolves won’t be any easier. Whilst we can’t rely on the likes of Judge and Button forever, it would be great to see if Dean Smith and his management committee can inspire some of the new breed to step up and show their potential over the coming games. It looked like we might do that a few weeks ago, only to have now taken three huge steps backwards.

That said, we are where we are. Crying over it won’t make a difference. Given the sheer lunacy of the season so far, frankly I’d be happy for another 13 points and a couple of local derby wins.

And for any County fans still reading, I’m not talking about beating the Rams at Griffin Park…..

leaving GP

Fans trudge out in the shadow of Denmark’s finest

Nick Bruzon


12 Responses to “Don’t Panic. Or is it trouble? 7(seven) isn’t the magic number.”

  1. michael ohl February 21, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Good summary. The thing that irks me the most is the lack of hunger in some of our players. All of Derby’s players had it, too many of ours didn’t. Barring the back four name me a player who goes for a 50:50 and doesn’t bottle it? Some of the players seem to forget that it is the fans who watch the game, not them (Swift and KK spring to mind here). And the less said about our goal scoring forwards (in our case, the words don’t go together), the better.

    I for one am starting to get worried – will we reach the 50 points?

  2. Jim Rourke February 21, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Nick, as always an excellent balanced summary. I especially agree with the comment “But for Alan Judge and David Button, I have no idea where we’d be heading. ” I suspect one will not be here next year. Maybe two. The squad is capable. I wrote somewhere else that DS has shown he can turn round this type of situation. The coming three games is the time to do it. If not, I would really worry for Championship status.

  3. Roderic February 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    A competent narration of the game Nick, I thought that was the task of other sites, when I raised your lack of factual content in the past; I guess the goalposts and game rules, move at the author’s will.
    Your continued position as an apologist for the owner, is depressing; he could have had floated his new approach to Mark Warburton and his fellow experts mid season last year, in a totally confidential manner, but he chose to announce the disbandment of this great management team, at the very point where things were poised for a real punch for promotion; if that person was a realist and not fixated on pushing through his now, thoroughly discredited methods of interference in the operations of the playing side, he would have not publicly forced the issue and all undermined the massive performance progress made by BFC, nothing to do with monetary matters, as the masterly deployment of a team ,not built on spending loads of money, is a credit in the main, to Mark and others, not the owner.
    The owner has been the root cause of all the evils of this season and he has probably cost BFC, the best ever chance it will ever get to reach the Premiership; the ghost stadium at Lionel Road, if it ever comes to pass, will be a white elephant, which will have to be let out to various rugby teams and perhaps the Jehovahs Witnesses, to make ends meet. The joy of seeing a team that was marvellous to watch last season, a REAL team, is now replaced with feeble replacements garnered by the owner’s methods.
    Now go on and be as dismissive as you like to me, I have been proven right this season in more ways than your ill placed optimism has demonstrated, though even you are beginning to falter, while clinging to your “great man” mantra.
    Now let’s watch BFC sink down the table and make out I have to doff my cap to the “great ” man; NO, NO, NO!

  4. Rod Davidson February 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    Who is the front man of this on-going project? In the Warburton era we had an overload of information being posted on line, for the Brentford fan to read and take in.
    Now when you look at Brentford on the ‘News Now’ link, it’s all about our opposition and how well they have done against us.
    Come on Brentford get your act together! If Rasmussen is to do his joint role thing, then let Smith speak his mind publicly so that we the fans can understand what our BRENTFORD priorities are.
    The silence at the moment is deafening!
    It appears at the moment that Smith is being ‘hamstrung’ in developing ‘his’ team.
    We are not stupid and if we are just treading water until the summer, then at least have the courage to explain that to us the fan base.
    Or perhaps we are just being taken for granted!

    • Roderic February 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      The Dane has little interest in BFC, perhaps understandably, his eyes are on his homeland; anyone who has visited Denmark, will see how fanatically patriotic they are; a flag on every standing building, including sheds!
      Mr Smith looks increasingly uncomfortable at every showing and his role was made virtually powerless by the “great” man; I feel sorry for him, I bet he wishes he stayed with Walsall. No signings, just no reassurance for the fans, the season has been abandoned.
      In my opinion, the set up at BFC, looks increasingly toxic and worrying.

  5. laurence February 21, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    Can you do a piece on the nonese that’s going on. We waited decades for last season and that team which the owner and executive started to queer before the season end. They then sacked their chosen replacement manager before September end, continued dismantling the team completing the job last month meanwhile employing one of the most uninspiratiional managers who I have seen for a long time. Thank goodness for Lee. Absent the shift he put in end last year we’d be firm relegation candidates. This time last year the talk was all about promotion. What a difference a year makes and what a dismantling job we’ve witnessed.

  6. Gordonbankole February 21, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    This is my take on things that I have put on another website. Believe me, it does not fill me with joy having to write this, despite what I’m sure certain people will tell me:

    I have held off for a long time on this in the hope things might turn the corner, but after today I am finally off the fence.

    I realise this will be open to the GPG ultra-loyalist mob, but I don’t care. Come and ‘dig/smoke’ me out if you want.

    We have gone an extraordinarily long way backwards in the last 12 months. I am long enough in the tooth to take us being most of the way down the table in this league as long as we’re competitive, but we’re not even that at the moment. We’ve got a goalkeeper playing out of his skin, but we’re still letting in three a game or more.

    The manager seems incapable of motivating the team, which of course underwent more turmoil in the transfer window. Without any replacements, even on loan.

    Confidence is shot, never clearer than when we concede and then do the same again shortly afterwards.

    We are relying on the bottom three continuing to be shyte. But if Warnock does some tub thumping at some stage, you never know. The old dinosaur loves nothing more than getting out of a relegation battle. It could happen, and despite some people thinking we’re safe with 40 points (??), I’m arguing that we’re still some way short. We can’t buy a point at the moment. Remember 1993? Rushden and Diamonds the year of the Great Escape? Stranger things HAVE happened.

    A couple of years ago, I’d have said that we were one of the best run clubs in the country. Then we got involved with FCM. The more the interest has been divided, the worse we have become.

    Then there’s everyone’s favourite motivational speaker Mr Ankersen. Indeed, the Chairman of FCM. And co-DOF of Brentford. Three roles, but apparently no conflict of interest. The guy who said they had had ‘a great transfer window’ while we lost two more first-teamers without being replaced. Well, absolutely great Rasmus, but ours was shyte. Oh, and you told us we were looking to be stronger after every transfer window. Didn’t happen really, did it?

    By the way, please tell us Mr Ankersen what qualifies you for your post at BFC? I’d have said an encyclopaedic knowledge of the English leagues and contacts throughout the game are what’s needed. We recruited brilliantly before you because of these contacts, but what have you done? A couple of decent guys but in general a load of poor left-field signings who are not up to it.

    Dean Smith says we’re not going into the loan market. Another decision well wide of the mark. Finding some equivalent of Chris Hargreaves (yes, I know he played in the league below) who could do a limited ball-winning job, show some leadership and pass the ball to someone who could do more with it (ie. Judge) would make a massive difference. Instead we have MacEachran, the softest defensive midfielder I’ve ever seen (oh sorry, he was the Douglas replacement) and someone who gets a nosebleed as soon as he gets anywhere near the penalty area.

    I could go on and on, however in conclusion:

    Sorry MB, you have been far too influenced by Rasmus Ankersen. I’m sure he does a great job at FCM, but we need someone else in here as this split roles mullarkey clearly ain’t working.

    Equally, sorry to say, but dividing your loyalties between two clubs does not work. We are the ones suffering.

    A lot of mistakes have been made over the last 12 months, not least the appointment of Mr Dijkhuizen. That didn’t look good so soon after the fallout over the ‘previous incumbent’. Acknowledging these mistakes and learning from them would be a big step forward.

    I keep hearing how we’ll get (limp) through to this summer and then magically we’ll put things right. Well, with every defeat, the task of recruiting pretty much a whole new team looks more and more difficult.

    • Graham February 21, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      Gordonbankole hear,hear.well said.

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 22, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      I think between Gordonbankole & Nick thats pretty much how im feeling. Concerned about Smith’s abilities, although it doesnt help when others, who spend most of their time across the sea, are making decisions for you, and quite possibly undermining you. I would not be surprised if Smith walked out in the end.

      My thoughts on the Bees-FCM situation ive made clear often on here and Twitter, and great that Gordon picked up on Rasmus’ transfer window quote.

      Loved Nick’s description of Judge’s goal I get the feeling Alan can see his ticket to France fading away by the day and had to do something selfish. Thankfully he did!

      Team selection still all over the place, I still dont get why we dont go 2 up top, particularly if thats how Vibe flourished at Gothenburg. If Vibe is to stay next season, we need to start playing to his strengths. But I do know that Smith in his time at Walsall had the Warburton approach to tactics. Plan B is do Plan A better. So i just cant see it changing, and consequently would not be surprised to see Lasse go in the summer.

  7. RebelBee February 22, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    I’m a simple man, so can anyone tell me what was going so wrong with our recruitment philosophy under MB/MW and McP that forced the need to change radically? Regardless of the person in the head coaches position was it not better to try to find the next Gray, Tark, Moses etc? With their impressive resale values, rather than to spend strong money on the Vibe, Hoffmann, KK type players who have done little to justify their fees let alone increase in value?

    Surely we are less sustainable now than we were when the big changes were implemented?

  8. Phil Gibson February 23, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Hi Nick
    Great Blog.
    I have heaps of items, questions etc. whats the best way to send them to you?

    • nickbruzon February 23, 2016 at 7:24 am #

      Hi Phil

      It’s Nick. I’ve seen your note on the blog site today. I can’t offer any inside knowledge (I don’t have any) but I’m always happy to try and factor in supporter opinions if you had any questions/wanted to submit something.

      Please do let me know what you are thinking.

      I can pick it up here.

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