As cup draw shows what might have been, where do you stand ?

21 Sep

As one last piece of fall out from the EFL cup defeat, Brentford fans now know who we would have been drawn against had we beaten Norwich City. With the Canaries having been handed the seemingly plum tie of a trip to Arsenal, I’ve seen several supporters bemoaning our own missing out on a trip to The Emirates stadium.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even watch the draw this time around. The overly convoluted methodology used for rounds 1-3 had long since sapped any interest I may had had. That, and nothing to do with our capitulation against Norwich, were the reasons that an early night seemed an infinitely more palatable option. As such, it was a case of waking up to Arsenal this, draw that on my Twitter timeline this morning.

Yet at the case of formally labelling myself as the most boring man on the planet, rather than a visit to Arsenal the reward for a Brentford victory would (by my rough calculations) have been a home tie with Bristol City. And that’s assuming the balls had then been pulled in the same order.

The numerical sequencing (with Tuesday winners numbered 1-11) would have seen the Bees slot in at number 2 instead of Bristol City. They’d have taken the place of ball 3, Crystal Palace, and the tie that now sees the Robins host the Eagles would actually have seen them heading to Griffin Park for the chance to earn a quarter final slot.


A fourth round with Arsenal, Bristol City and Norwich. But no Brentford

It’s all conjecture. Free to concentrate in the league until January, our own immediate future sees the trip to bottom club Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, followed by Tuesday night’s game with Derby County. It’s a shame from many respects as a fourth round tie at home to a fellow Championship club would have presented a wonderful chance of progress. Mind you, we’d have said the same prior to Norwich City visiting and look how that ended up. A 3-1 defeat and one of the worst penalties ever seen.

Head Coach Dean Smith has already said his piece on how the third round ended up, telling BBC Radio London: “It’s not relevant (in terms of morale) at all compared to Saturday.”

Whether he would be saying the same thing now, having seen how the draw has panned out I do wonder. Likewise, I’m surprised he doesn’t think a win would have been good for the buzz around Griffin Park. I guess that’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace and he’s the head coach.

Still, there’s no point crying over a split milk (cup). Norwich deserved it. We didn’t. Here’s to a morale boosting win on Saturday instead. Three points at The Macron now very much the order of the day and, as Dean also noted in that BBC piece, “Bolton is very important to us and we’ll have a lot of fresh players come back for that.”

I’m not going to avoid the elephant in the room here. As is typical in this situation, I’ve seen some supporters calling for a change. That Thomas Frank or King Kev should be parachuted into the head coach role. For the record, my own thoughts are anything but at present. Putting aside the constant references to bad luck, refereeing and our own ‘wonderful’ performances, this is not the time or the place.

With a set up that includes two directors of football and multiple coaches, we win or lose together. We’ve even had a specialist in the provision of strategy, leadership, cultural engagement and performance management solutions and skills join the board with the announcement yesterday that Monique Choudhuri has been named as a club director.

With our current football philosophy, one man should not be made the solitary scapegoat for current results. Nor should he take all the plaudits when things go well.


#WelcomeMonique ?

Let’s not forget that over the summer we were told how wonderful the scouting set up had been in helping bring in all these wonderful new players. And we have undoubtedly picked up some real gems over the last few seasons. Albeit it’s quite understandable that Dean is the focal point for how things go on the pitch. That his role is to pick the best team for the job. To have a consistent side. To motivate them. A side selected from the players he has had made available to him by our set up. And in my opinion, on Tuesday he got that all wrong.

Equally, his role is to get the best out of what he has. To say the right things when results don’t quite go to plan. I don’t get the ‘self-pity’ excuse thing. I don’t agree that we are yet to play a team better than us in the league. Four draws and four defeats tell you everything you need to know on that front. But I do think he is coming under an undue amount of flak at present. He is a head coach that has guided us to top ten Championship finishes over his two seasons in charge. For a club that has made no secret of the need to sell to survive.

If Dean can settle on his best XI, and pick it. If Dean can find a Plan B rather than subs by number or giving those like for like entrants to the field of play just a few minutes when the game is all but lost. If he can get some luck on the fitness side where the returns of Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe alone would be huge, then expect things to change.

Roll on this week’s press conferences. I’m not a journalist but, if I was , my first question to Dean would be – who is your starting XI if everybody is fit? Followed closely by, when are we going to get a win?

Here’s to the weekend when hopefully we can find out.

Barbet pen Norwich

Tuesday happened. Move along

Nick Bruzon


7 Responses to “As cup draw shows what might have been, where do you stand ?”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 21, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    Normally I agree with you Nick, but on occasions I will beg to differ.

    I have never been 100% convinced by Smith. He sets his stall out the same way if it was a winning streak or losing streak. I feel it happens by accident with him having no idea why it is happening. He rarely strays from his 4-2-3-1 win or lose and instills a pass pass pass mentality with a player eventually shooting from an impossible position when the shot should have gone off 3 passes ago. I also wonder if there is a possibility of over coaching and the edginess of some players being lost.

    We have had our worst start in 47 years, so I dont get why questions about Smith’s employment should not be discussed. Saturday is now crucial, Smith has made it more so by saying that the Norwich result was ‘irrelevant’ compared to Saturday’s game, and that the Canary stuffing would not affect morale. What absolute BS! As for Smith’s comments to the press, I do wonder whether he actually thinks about what he says before he opens his mouth sometimes.

    Final word on the new director post. I got nothing against the employment im sure Monique will bring valuable business experience and contacts to the club. What I want to mention is yet another appalling press release. It was written as a bio for a financial corporate website not as an article for football supporters. I write press releases in my job and they miss the golden rules, know what message you are trying to convey and know who your audience are. Another clunk from the gaffe prone PR & media team at the club. If they arent writing awful press releases they are talking about themselves on the club commentaries (something I have stopped subscribing to after 10+ years plus because the quality of commentary had become irritating & unbearable (bar the excellent Mr Burridge of course))

  2. Rob September 21, 2017 at 8:53 am #

    I think the performances have merited more, though i dont totally buy into the bad luck thing. In the past weve had good luck in that oppostion have fluffed gilt edged opportunities such as Daryl Murphy missing an open goal and say Charlton the first season we got promoted, now they are going in…even the half chances. But our Achilles heel has always been coughing up a couple of really good chances in a game. Sadly thats still the case. As a defender you’d have hoped DS would have tightened that aspect up, or if we are going ro play risky balls someone from midfield falls back to cover (a la Dave/Macca/Douglas). But…DS doesnt have total say in who he brings to the club and who he has to let go. And therefore can’t be held accountable on his own. So i would let him stay until Xmas at least and see where we are. At that point if a change is needed then the club need to act fast, and if bids come in for key players we MUST turn them down at all costs. We can only afford to “get stronger” after the next transfer window.

    • peter lumley September 21, 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Hi,Nick. Agree that this is not the time to replace DS. But if the powers that be think otherwise King Kev would be my preference.Let us hope that 3 points at Bolton will negate the need for a change.But I would not put money on DS surviving if we get a “wrong” result?

  3. Dave Washer September 21, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Totally agree with Mr Quackenbush. WHY can’t we question the managers position or suitability for the role after such a disastrous start to the season without being labelled unfair, knee jerk or disloyal?!

    I accept he’s been extremely unlucky given how we’ve played in the league and I also accept that he has to cope with losing good players on a regular basis. However, after two years in the job, he still doesn’t appear to know his best team and seems completely lacking when it comes to being able to motivate either the players or the supporters.

    For me, if we give him until Christmas it will be too late. Fail to beat Bolton and that should be his lot. Yes, others have failed him but ultimately HE picks the team and the squad we have is better than bottom three. King Kev. Thomas Frank. The ghost of Alf Ramsey. I don’t care who comes in. If we go 9 league games without a win then Dean Smith should be relieved of his duties, and those of us who believe that shouldn’t feel that we are wrong to express that opinion.

  4. Spanish Bee September 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Research, such as it is, suggests that changing the manager doesn’t make things better, and I don’t think DS is wholly to blame, especially with the transfer window running into the season like that. We should leave it to Christmas and maybe also consider spending some of all that dosh we earned, on players with a bit more experience.

  5. Captain Colon September 22, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    Only Ryan Woods worth a bid in Jan at the moment. The Chinese cash machine will be looking elsewhere. Money talks although nowadays in a different language.

  6. Angry Griffin September 22, 2017 at 7:40 am #

    With the exception of Aston Villa away, which other game have we worked the opposition keeper. How can you deserve more if your not penetrating the box.
    We can pass team to death, backwards, sideways and have 70% possession but if your not working the opposition goalkeeper it counts for nothing.
    Yes we have retained the ball and had the majority of possession but we are where we are because of the manager and the board.
    Where are the goals coming from?
    Set pieces – free kick or corner to far past , headed back for second ball tap in or Josh Clarke coming in from down the right. We are too predictable, teams now know that can stick 10 men behind the ball and we will struggle to penetrate.
    Like to see Ollie Watkins up front, Maulpay try as he may its just not working for him.
    Take him out the firing line, play a couple of reserve games and smash a few goals into rebuild his self belief.
    God forbid but if the boys do not get a result at Bolton then Smith has to go.

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