Could it have been any worse? Well, I’m smiling this morning.

3 Apr

What a night for Brentford fans. Simply magnificent. Twitter was awash with celebrations well into the small hours. Nothing to do with the performance at Swansea City, if one can even call it that, but more the fact that Fulham are down. Officially. They will now have to spend the last five games of the season being described as Fulham (R),  after their inevitable return to the Championship was confirmed at Watford. With Huddersfield Town already doomed, we now know two of the teams that we’ll be lining up against next time around. It’s just a shame that we’ve not been able to fulfil the opening part of the “Bees Up Fulham down” refrain, this time around. Woeful away form will do that to you though.

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Watford administer the fatal blow

The magnificent post-Christmas run that saw us within sniffing distance of the top six has well and truly come to a halt. We’ve not scored in four games whilst away from Griffin Park have been on the wrong end of some pretty turgid performances. Last night’s obliteration by Swansea City had been preceded by the stinkfest at Wigan (0-0), a 1-0 home defeat to West Brom and the post Middlesbrough 2-0 loss at Sheffield United. That’s one point earned in four games where we’ve failed to trouble the scorers. To this we can now add the latest, a 3-0 battering at Swansea City that saw us a goal down within a minute and that lead then doubled in a first half which also saw the hosts hit the crossbar twice.

The ‘highlights’ are here if you can do it to yourself. Oh, those first two goals are awful. One has to feel for the fans who travelled for this.  And the players, although at least Thomas Frank recognised that they knew the level of under. His post-match interview was pulling no punches as he noted,  We can lose. Ok, that’s football but I think the performance we put into the first half was under our normal standards. It was slightly better second half but first half is not good enough, no matter if you concede an early goal or not…we are definitely not satisfied with that and we need to sort it out as soon as possible”.

His interview, which you can see below went on to describe how we had played without intensity or belief. All well and good but why? Is it simply exhaustion as the squad, which has also seen Ryan Woods & Chris Mepham sold for many, many millions, is stretched to the very limits after a long season? Why have we had such a devastating contrast between home and away form? 

Thomas tells it like it is.

Let’s not forget how this season Griffin Park has borne witness to us scoring goals for fun and taking teams apart as easily as a kitten toying with a spider. Rotherham, Hull City and Blackburn Rovers (the latter two as recently as February) were all on the wrong end of five goal hauls. QPR were obliterated last month in a game where the most confusing factor was how we only managed three. The combination of Neal Maupay and Said Benrahma has fans purring like the aforementioned kitten, such has been the prolific nature of their form in recent months. 

So how does wonderful home form (mostly, let’s not linger on the visit from Swansea City where we were three down in about twenty minutes) translate to death on the road? I wish I knew. The second half at the Liberty Stadium in the FA Cup being about as horrific and shambolic as it has been.

That had seen us 1-0 up at HT and heading into the quarter-finals before the self-destruct button was hit and Luke Daniels was left scooping the ball out of his net four times. Five if you count the offside.

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Swansea in the FA Cup wasn’t good.

That’s not to get on the back of the players or the management. The former are amongst the most exciting we’ve had in years. A team packed full of young internationals and goals, goals, goals. Mostly. Thomas, a wonderful orator and that rare quality of being a head-coach who tells it like it is rather than how he would like it to be (#deservedtowin) . How the fans see it. A man who exudes confidence and faith in his squad. We’ve a new stadium being built at Lionel Road, for which surely next season will see a big push in order to open preceding in the top flight. That, in itself, a quite outrageous thing for those of us a bit longer in the tooth it even be considering !

Ultimately, we’ve not blown £100m on players. Oh dear. We’ve not been divisional whipping boys. We’ve not had an owner who has felt compelled to argue with supporters on social media as to whether he attends games or performs unspeakable with dogs. 

For all that Fulham slipped into the Premiership last time around, they’ve dropped out as quickly as they entered. Noses very much bloodied, foam fingers wilting and clappers crushed. The coffers emptied and a third manager now in charge. Scott Parker unable to arrest the dreadful form seen under Claudio Ranieri who himself had been unable to arrest the dreadful form seen under Slaviša Jokanović. 

Swansea City may have ensured that it won’t be Bees up but Watford definitely pressed the button to make it Fulham down. The season has had plenty of smiles and despite our own performance last night, I’ve woken up with another one across my face.

Here’s to a few more against Frank Lampard’s Derby County ™ on Saturday. 

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The season has still had plenty of smiles

Nick Bruzon

8 Responses to “Could it have been any worse? Well, I’m smiling this morning.”

  1. Edward Soudan April 3, 2019 at 7:56 am #

    I’m all for a ‘high press’ but Brentford take it to the ‘nth’ degree and concede needless goals in the process.
    e.g. Swansea Cup game. Macburnie offside ONE yard inside Brentford half. Second half James scored (and who could catch him with his pace) from a punt upfield with 10 Brentford players in Swansea half. We did it again last night. This time a ‘drop kick’ from the Swansea goalkeeper left Dyer with 40 yards of space in which to run and score. There’s ‘pressing’ and ‘pressing’ Mr Frank.

  2. Brighton Bee April 3, 2019 at 8:13 am #

    Another away game, another pathetic performance. My mate who went said they looked as though they were “on the beach” I don’t know how true that really is but what I do know is that although we have some very talented young players, if we are to do anything in our last year at GP (and away from home) we need to supplement the team with proven midfield experience and goal scoring capability. One shot on goal in 90 minutes again last night is a kick in the teeth for all those that went. All this sideways passing and high possession stats mean nothing if you can’t put the ball in the net. I know we’ve punished some teams at home but we are not anywhere consistent enough as proven by the last few games. The DofF and Owner have a lot of big decisions to make over the summer as to who goes, stays and comes in. I hope they make the right ones! One last thing, it will be nice to visit the Jolly Gardners just off Putney High Street again next year!!

  3. A Sayer April 3, 2019 at 8:30 am #

    Our away form this season has been lamentable ; why? Maybe tactical , maybe other reasons , but the first thing that should be changed for next season is lose that terrible brown away strip. Brown is a depressing , turgid colour that psychologically puts us at a disadvantage before a ball has even been kicked ; a laughing stock. You may argue that is suggestion is nonsense , but colours play a much more intuitive role in life than many people believe , so why even potentially put us at a disadvantage?
    The club is very forward thinking in many aspects and looks for the smart thinking to get an advantage over opponents. Unfortunately here it is shooting itself in the foot.

  4. David Carney David April 3, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    The current Brentford playing group are the best to grace a Brentford shirt since the 1930’s.
    The season has been inconsistent, so what?
    The future is bright, the future will be profitable and a sustainable Premier League future is beckoning.
    Some players will leave in a couple of months, others may arrive – another Konsa? another Benrahma? another Sawyers?, etc, etc, etc. B team players will continue to be recruited and develop into first team stars.
    Just what are some people whinging about?

  5. AT April 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm #

    Bees fan for 60 years. Current season ticket holder. Take no pleasure whatsoever at issues at other clubs. What happens elsewhere is totally irrelevant. Why gloat? I also do not share the Tarkowski grudge – celebrate him as an England international who agrees we made him a footballer – and money for him and us.
    Last night sounded dire. We are still in top half of table with a dangerously thin and very young squad so over to the hierarchy to fix this in the close season.

    • nickbruzon April 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm #

      Because that’s what football fans do. Enjoy our own triumphs and celebrate our rival’s misfortune. Moreso when it gives us the chance to cross swords next season…

  6. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) April 4, 2019 at 4:01 am #

    There is something psychologically wrong at the club where we can put in outstanding displays at GPs and rubbish on the road. The turn out at the Liberty was a fair reflection & was shocking to see but understandable. It looked like even Beesotted gave it a miss & we were left with the wonderful Debbie (not McGee) on Twitter giving us the unofficial view of the game. It sounded like a horror show & having viewed the goals, a coach of an under 11s team would have been furious with the defending.

    There does seem to be strengthening in the summer. We will see some departures McEachran, MacLeod & Yoann all likely to go at the end of their contracts and Maupay & Said probably receiving big offers. There needs to be some rebuilding.

    As for Fulham, as nice as it is to be playing them again next season, I wasnt too bothered about their relegation as i was more concerned about our own dreadful away form. But when you dont follow the examples of Bournemouth, Brighton & to some extent Huddersfield, by keeping your nucleus of your promotion team in the starting XI & spending £100m on new players mostly with no experience of England in a couple of months, then they were always going to be in trouble

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