Another week, another defeat and another less than positive blog. As we suffered a further blow to our already demoralised team spirit against a weak 10 man Blackburn side there are a growing number of Brentford fans growing increasingly disgruntled at Dean Smith. There is of course a bigger to be looked at and a large proportion of the blame has fallen on Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles. Certainly the recruitment this season and the players left at Dean Smith’s disposal leaves a lot to be desired and it would be unfair to say that Dean is dealing with a squad packed full of attacking talent. That, as well as the loss of defensively minded Diagouraga, the vital James Tarkowski and to go further back the lynchpin that was Jonathon Douglas alongside the workhorse of Stuart Dallas has left a poorly replenished side even more vulnerable. That’s not to mention Odubajo and his replacement Maxime Colin who has so far failed to stay fit for any length of time and the big money signing of Andreas Bjellend who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since is ill fated debut.
But I am going to write something that I really don’t want to and is probably the only time I have considered writing anything which calls on a manager to be replaced but as we plummet down the league and head towards relegation that has alarming similarities to our relegation in 91 I find myself unable to come to any other conclusion.
In somewhat contradictory fashion I am of the opinion that should Smith be equipped with a team packed full of suitable replacements and with the ability to weed out those clearly not good enough at this level then I suspect he would make a good go of it next year. His time at Walsall proved he can build for the long term but that long term success was built off the back of a 19 game winless run that almost saw them slip out of the division before they turned matters around and finished safely above the drop zone.
In our current state and with games running out we do not have the time to plod along losing games repeatedly. We should have done after Carsley left the club in a solid position. We all assumed at that point that we would be safe rather comfortably and were very much in touch of the playoffs, even if few of us believed we possessed the real quality required to make it into the top six.
I’ll make my feelings clear. I believe Smith must go if we are to beat the drop. I apologies now if you think that makes me divisive. That is not my aim but as much as I believe in the long term, I am sceptical about our ability to find our way back out of league one quickly if the worst was to happen. The only way I can see that the storm can be weathered is by a new man, preferably someone like Carsley until the end of the season, coming in and providing the confidence and moral boost needed to get the players over the line. Let’s face it we all thought we would beat Charlton, suspected we would be Blackburn and believed Rotherham was going to be three points. We capitulated in the games in between that and have been on the end of some solid beatings by teams above us. Our only saving grace had been our ability to beat teams around and below us. That has stopped.
Smith has so far failed to continue the good work done by Carsley and since then, failed to reverse the slump. This hasn’t been down to a run of tough games. Quite the opposite and at a time when three points would seem like ten in the run in, we lack the ability to get past teams. The players, for all the rhetoric about being together and fighting spirit are akin to Villa in the Premier League. As soon as we concede I am not sure they believe they are going to get back in the game.
With a new man, albeit an interim appointment the players can be motivated and with Smith’s methods behind them they could hopefully find enough to get the required points total.
Tactically I am not convinced by Smith. I say this as a lay person and he could quite rightly fire back that he has played the game at professional level and led a Walsall team as manager to the top of League 1 whereas my experience stops at being in the stands but does he really believe that a midfield of McCormack, Saunders, Woods and McHechran is going to provide enough legs to beat a scrapping opponent. Do his substitutions get you off your feet and make you feel encouraged and do the players turn to the bench seeking that inspiration get what they require?
A change is needed in my opinion. I respect that it might not be the view of all and I do not want to create disharmony (not that enough read my blog for that to happen) but I want to be in this division next season and I believe that our best chance of that is to replace Smith and bring in a motivator. It is working for Rotherham and they now stand a very good chance of playing Championship football next season.
Either way can we all please support the eleven that cross the white line. Ours is a unique club and one that we all love, Enjoy the international break and lets come back stronger.
Up the Bees