Dean Smith. If you are reading (you aren’t) I’ve got a few questions.. .

4 Dec

Norwich City 5 Brentford 0. Cripes. That’s bad. Really, really bad. And I mean from the Bees’ perspective. Up against a team touted by their own support prior to kick off as ‘pedestrian’, ‘slow’ and ‘dull’, a team who had lost five in a row prior to this one – that’s LLLLL – didn’t they administer a humping of royal proportions ? No complaints with Norwich. You can only beat who you are up against and that would seem to have been the grand total of naff all.

We’ve all caught up on what happened by now, surely. Whether through being at the game, listening on Bees Player, catching up on the video highlights c/o Sky, reading the match report, following the observations of those on social media or just a combination of the above. Yet at a time when we needed to pick up where we left off in that final half hour against Birmingham City, instead we picked up where we spent the entire game against Barnsley, Fulham, Wigan..etc . 1 step forward 8 steps back.


The sky video shows how 1 on 3 outside the box became a penalty and 2-0

Prior to this one Dean Smith had gone on record as saying,”Sometimes we can catastrophise defeats and that leads to a demise in confidence.” If previous defeats were being talked up as a catastrophe , I can’t even begin to imagine what he makes of this one. What he can do next or how he can rejig his team and remotivate his players?

Hints are dropped in his interview on official  where Dean tells us:  “It is a performance that I thought I wouldn’t see from this group of players” before adding “I had a chat with the players and that performance can’t happen again.”

Come on Dean. Have some balls. Please. Your team who, prior to this had only won 1 in 8, have been blown off the park by the side with the worst form in the Championship. Incredibly, even Rotherham United (currently 1/50 to be relegated) managed a point over that period. For the record, 29th October against Ipswich Town. Is that response  – one which ended with ‘we go again’ style talk of future results – really the one you felt best in the circumstance?

Perhaps harsher words were exchanged in private rather than a simple chat. Here’s hoping, because something needs to be said. I recall Uwe adopting a similar line in the post match interview after the debacle at Stevenage a few seasons ago. Things transformed themselves from there as opinions were made clear in the dressing room – from all sides.

Indeed, Daniel Bentley alluded to it in his own ‘official’ interview where, amongst other things, he has come out and said: “I think I can speak for myself and the boys that I am embarrassed with that result. We weren’t good enough all over the pitch …. It was totally unacceptable. If there is stuff that is underlying then there comes a time when it needs to be said. After that tonight it was probably overdue. There’s only so long you can go without saying things that need to be said”.

What was said? By whom? And to who? Whilst I doubt we’ll ever know, let’s hope this has now cleared the air and given both Dean and his squad some element of clarity. Saturday sees us play Burton Albion, locked immediately below us in 19th place on 22 points. With the Bees in free fall – there’s no other word for 6 defeats in 8 and a mere four points over that period, something needs to change around and fast.

There’s only so much optimistic glass half full spin one can try to impart on this torrid run from a season which had begun so brightly. Fans are turning on each other in social media – always a bad sign that things are less than rosy in the garden – whilst yesterday even saw our Chairman Cliff Crown compelled to delete his own tweet about being entertained pre-match by his Norwich City counterparts Ed Balls and Delia Smith.

I’m not sure I follow the furore, here. Hardly a case of Nero fiddling given Rome had yet to start burning at the time he published that one. Indeed, whilst taking the post down in retrospect was probably a sensible precaution given the vitriol flying around and bad vibe amongst the Brentford faithful, it now makes him look as though he’s done something wrong.

We’ve all seen it and presumably such activity happens in football stadia up and down the land every weekend (mutual boardroom diplomacy and hospitality rather than Cliff name dropping B list celebrities like Ian Moose on a footballer’s birthday). Unless, of course, they were discussing rumoured transfer activity.  Although to be fair to Cliff, I don’t think he’d have been so naïve to post such a comment if that had been the case. Surely?

Look, it’s very easy to be wise after the event but even putting himself in that position in the first instance, given how we’d been performing recently, probably something that in the cold light of a day should have been reconsidered. Had we won, it would have all been seen as the bonhomie which it was and nobody paying any more notice. We didn’t and now look.

Positives on waking up this morning? Struggling here. About all I can come up with is the fact that for all we’re on the slide, the bookmakers still see us finishing the campaign mid-table. Brentford are currently 25/1 to be promoted and 10/1 to go down. Indeed, looking at the relegation suspects, aside from aforementioned Rotherham United there are still another 9 teams considered more likely than the Bees to be plying their trade in League One next season.

That said, three points against Burton on Saturday are essential. For more than one reason. Dean – if you’re reading (you aren’t) I’d love to hear how you are going to make that happen?


Current prices to go down. Rotherham great value

Nick Bruzon


14 Responses to “Dean Smith. If you are reading (you aren’t) I’ve got a few questions.. .”

  1. Gordonbankole December 4, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    At the risk of getting it in the neck from the überfans (who don’t actually seem to come on here), I am worried. Just like I was in March after the Blackburn game. I realise what happened after that, but I also remember what happened after we went into freefall in 1993.

    Back in October when we were fifth, people were laughing at the new QPR manager for his prediction of a 23rd place finish. Personally, while I’m still laughing at his return as the Messiah at QPR (which has had such an effect), I’m finding his BFC prediction a little less funny right now.

    I was at the fans’ forum where Phil Giles said that finishing in the top six was “very realistic”. I put it out there that the DOFs have not recruited well. From an attacking point of view we seemed to be gambling a lot on Kaikai, but he has turned out to be more Chuba Akpom (hopefully with a better attitude) than Sergi Canós. Giles and Ankersen need to question themselves and are going to have to work wonders in January to convince me they are doing a good job.This time we have to do some business in the transfer window or we could be in real trouble.

    DS seems like a decent guy, but he has never really inspired the fans in any way. I am not calling for him to go, but sense that some fans are beginning to turn. And as his old Chairman at Walsall said, it’s the fans who effectively decide your fate in the end.

    Most depressing of all, I saw the name Warburton and his era mentioned again on another site. I really hoped we had got past that, but it seems like his legacy will continue to hang around like Martin Allen’s did all those years back. We’ve been through this so often and need to move on.

    Yes, we have started to leak loads of goals, but to me midfield is the problem area. We are far too soft in front of the back four (or five) without McCormack in there, while they provide very few goals either, putting all the pressure on Hogan. Woods is off form right now, MacEachran is far too inconsistent and Sawyers has not made the step up. I don’t know what the right combination is (apart from Yennaris in a defensive role) and I don’t think DS knows either, not helped by so many being off form. Talking of which, better I don’t mention Vibe at this point.

    Next Saturday’s game is huge, and as RebelBee always says, whatever one’s opinions it is imperative that everyone is pulling in the right direction to get us those three points.



  2. Laurence December 4, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    It costs a fortune to go away and to watch the team perform like they did yesterday I can only wonder how one goes about claiming a refund for a faulty performance. Or… Have also got tickets for Bristol City away Tuesday week. Shall I wait until after that game and claim a double refund? Thoughts?

  3. steve b December 4, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    one thing that seemed to work at the tail end of last season was playing KK in behind Hogan…some great through balls happened there…that seemed to light up KK’s game a bit too…maybe try that as Sawyers although promising does seem to need a bit more experience at Championship level..and maybe try the Hoff alongside Hogan instead of Vibe ..???..couldnt do worse could we ??

    • nickbruzon December 4, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      I can’t believe KK has been dropped. Why? Why? Why? Your point about the back end of last season is spot on the money and something I’ve been saying for months now

    • K Man December 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

      This is precisely what I was going to say, literally word for word. KK was in great form towards the end of last season and I think his last start may have even been in the final day 5-1 win. He definitely needs a start and giving Sawyers a game off may be best all around. I really hope Smith makes some significant changes from this defeat as other people do deserve an opportunity to prove themselves despite the current 11 needing a chance to redeem themselves. Hopefully this defeat is more of a wake up call (rock bottom), perhaps a necessity to kick start the season back into life. Regardless of his performance against Exeter and Ampadu Hoffman could really do with a start. He is something different, more of an unknown quantity, plus he is the Brentford BFG. Gogia is in great form at Dresden so who knows perhaps some more of the summer 2015 imports may begin to shine. Brentford B are in good form as well so we might as well just play that squad against Burton haha.

  4. RebelBee December 4, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Well that was an unacceptable performance that has shocked us all…..

    Complacency and apathy has been hanging over BFC for a while now, never did I imagine that we’d be revisiting issues that should have been put to bed last season. But we do, GB’s post is bang on and feels oh so familiar, so much for lessons learned. The win at QPR covered over a few cracks, which are now gaping holes. Recruitment again comes into focus with insufficient signings and an unbalanced squad, injuries haunt us again, plus we are stuck with the unusable remnants of our recruitment in summer 2015.

    DS is a nice guy but has never really convinced or felt like he’d be the one to take us forward, unable to assemble his best formation or a tactical plan to keep us ahead of the competition. What has happened to the *Brentford way* that was supposed to run though the club? Most of the new wave coaches have gone – has the playing style and innovation gone too? Essentially and with a couple of exceptions, it’s now DS, RoK, KoC and AS on coaching and scouting. Clubs like Barnsley, Preston, Burton now look more innovative relative to their means than we do, even the train wreck at Blackburn is showing more fight than we are. To me there has been this lazy assumption that we’d be fine this season, and now it’s biting us in the arse. Unchecked it’ll take us down to L1 – then what?

    Growing fan apathy and dissatisfaction with he club is interesting, no criticism implied, but many of those that felt things were rosier last season now have real issues with the club over ”marketing” and problems with stewarding etc. We’ve all been asleep whilst our performances on the pitch have worsened.

    As for the chairman, the Moose reference is apt, i’m sorry if he seems a soft target, but when people are hurting his tweets often seem devoid of any understanding of what it really means to be a Brentford supporter.

    It’s win or bust next week, we have to pull together and make GP noisy and hostile, if we’re allowed to by the high vis bullies that spoiled last week’s game for many.


  5. Gordonbankole December 4, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I keep on hearing how talented/promising Sawyers is, but in all honesty how many good games has he had?

    I was appalled when people cheered his substitution, but he has been extremely inconsistent at best. He is also seen as Smith’s man, which doesn’t help either himself or the manager.

    Team selection will be really important next week. Let’s hope DS can come up wit the right combination.



    • Rob December 4, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Spot on. Sawyers not shown enough to convince me either. Decent passer and has some skill, no doubt, but hes knocked off the ball too easily and seems to trot around at 75%. Not his fault that he keeps getting picked though. Midfield way too lightweight. Woods has gone off the boil (not the only one) Yennaris tries hard but doesnt create anything, Clarke also tries but need to improve on his finishing and passing / crossing. Vibe is a waste of time at the moment, and that upsets me as i think he has ability and intelligence, but no physicality what so ever. Barbet is no good on the flank, Bjelland better but he should be in the centre (anyone know why he was only on the bench against Norwich?). KK had a promising end to last season but because Sawyers is Deans man he hasn’t had a look in. There are 5 players who could see and play that incisive first time pass to Hogan, Macleod, Judge, Woods, MacEachran and KK. The first two are injured, the next one has gone off the boil and needs a midfield general to help him out (we only have one of those in McCormack and i hope he’s back in next week) and the last two don’t get a decent run in the side. Even Bentley’s form has flagged on late. His decision making / distibution has been poor. So why is the team underperforming? Well in my humble opinion, some of it is down to a lack of cover in certain positions and that is down to recruitment, some of it down to energy levels and/or desire and that is down to the team management, and then its formation and team selection and again thats the team management. I still think we have the personnel to get us out of the current predicament, its just whether we can stop tinkering with the shape of the team and start to play the right players in the right positions

  6. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) December 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    This was a game I had pencilled in to travel to from Dorset. I am so glad other things came up that meant I couldnt go. In the end I watched the game on the Channel 5 live stream, and saw what has become the norm at Brentford… A side who start the game clueless, not knowing their roles, even the formation was unclear. An inability to pass to a player in a white & red shirt or knowing where they were supposed to be on the pitch. And thats all in the first 15 minutes by which point the damage has already been done.

    Marinus was fired for his training techniques whereas Im not sure Smith has a training technique because by the team enters the pitch they have forgotten everything they were alleged to have worked on in the week. He appears to hold no authority and stands on the touchline in his school trousers watching the game go by. To come out for the second half without a substitution yesterday was shocking. He basically said there was no one on the bench who could improve on that first half ‘performance’. Ever since the Walsall Cup debacle I dont feel the supporters have ever been convinced by Smith’s credentials, even after the good run at the end of last season. Smith comes across as a coach who when it does go well he has no idea why, and when he doesnt he has even less idea why. His comments to the press are unimaginative and uninspiring which has always left me wondering how he is as a man-manager.

    As Gordon & Rebel have said, recruitment has been appalling yet again. We made our marquee signing in the knowledge he would not be fit for 6 months. Left our midfield and forward line woefully short and were left with 4 high quality centre halves for only 2 spots. Our squad is completely imbalanced. ‘Where are our DoFs?’ cried someone on Twitter, well one is probably in Denmark.

    My last comment is on two individuals. Harlee. Reports that he told our booing supporters to go forth and multiply. If that was the case its completely unacceptable to take out frustrations on the supporters, many of who are on a fraction of his wage, and who gave up their hard earned cash, energy and time to make the journey & support the team. Finally, Cliff Crown. I have never been a huge fan of Cliff’s particularly his association with Midtjylland, which he seems to have kept to a more professional level now. On this occasion I will defend Cliff. Cliff is there as Matthew Benham’s representative. Its his role to build relationships with influential people in the boardrooms. If anything his tweet told me he was doing his job at representing Brentford FC and probably the only person who was doing their job properly! Its not his fault that the playing & coaching staff put in an abysmal performance and only his vilification only deflects from where the real issues are.

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) December 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

      Oops sorry for the Tolstoy like reply!

    • nickbruzon December 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      BQ – nailed it as ever. Description of Smith desperately sad to read but so true from so many respects. I thought yesterday was crying out for Captain Harlee to come out and say something at full time ( and no, I don’t mean typing ‘we go again’ into Twitter). Instead, tumbleweed and shoving the goalkeeper out to take the heat. Poor, poor all round

  7. RebelBee December 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Can see why some are calling for KK to be recalled, and in fairness nobody is playing at all well in the midfield areas, but imo he’s not what we need to be competitive, maybe a stop gap option. We smashed Reading with Alan Mac in there, why wasn’t he even on the bench yesterday so as to be ready if needed next week? Another of DS’s shortcomings is that the fringe players aren’t kept interested enough and ready. Look at Barbet, routinely unused, then thrown into new systems 2 weeks on the spin, then making basic mistakes. Then we have the Danish captain on the bench – nuts…

    I totally agree with GB though, the midfield area is key to our problems right now. No defensive shield, no incisive forward play, no shots, no crosses, no tackles, too lighweight.

  8. Gordonbankole December 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    And hardly any goals in 19 games…

    There is a rumour doing the rounds that McCormack will never play for the club again after what happened in April. Having said that, Smith seemed to be saying last week that he is available for selection, so more than likely it could be complete nonsense.

    Frankly the guy did something stupid, served his time and everyone needs to move on.

    Not great that an injury-prone thirtysomething is seen as the panacea for our defensive midfield problems, but it just goes to show we have never replaced Douglas (who, before anyone chips in, had reached his sell-by date in my view).



  9. martin December 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    regarding sawyers form I read some posts from Walsall fans, all agreed on his potential but when all the little flick passes don’t come off he doesn’t look good. players and staff at GP obviously want to do well but they don’t have the depth of feeling that supporters have, the utter despair after results like Norwich. players move on and kiss the new clubs badge and other than MBs love for the bees a lot of the others come here not having bees blood in their veins.

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