Time for a change?

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

9 thoughts on “Time for a change?

  1. Couldn’t agree more! And if I’m honest, I’m not certain what impact, if any, Dean Smith has had on the team, the club, the media, the supporters, anything. He is such a non personality with no opinions and what looks like very very little ideas and asking him to step aside so we can have a hope of salvaging staying in this division is I’m afraid to say, the only option open to Benham. He has to act early in this 2 week break and give someone else a chance to improve the desire of the squad because unfortunately, as has happened before, they have simply not responded to any of his suggestions. Benham has done it before when mistakes in recruitment have been made so even though he explained in last weeks Beesotted video that he is ‘very happy’ with Dean Smith, this is clearly inaccurate and the football being played under Smith is worse than under Djikhousens reign it pains me to say.

    Smiths tactic seems to be to slow the game down, feed it in to McEachraen in the middle of the pitch, slow it down further and then go sideways, where it inevitably ends up with either Bidwell or Yennaris to cross it, albeit very poorly, in to the box to our no taller than 5′ 10” players who are up against tall centre backs or play it back to the edge of the box where we’re looking for minute openings in a by now well established back 4 or back 8. Swift or Saunders or whoever else employed to do this also slow it down and then the opposition are all nicely back in their 2 banks of 4 and facing up to very slow football all played in front or to the sides of them. That then leaves our ever energetic talisman and best player by a country mile this season, Judge, rendered completely useless as his game is all about pace and attacking at speed. He looked completely lost yesterday and the frustrations he must be feeling during the week in training where it must be getting slowed down and played in to McEachrean all the time, are now starting to show in sporadic performances on the pitch. Without being unkind, the only way out of a dogfight and relegation scrap is to run your socks off for the full 90 mins, closing down the opposition spaces and then counter attacking with energy and pace and these are very simply not Smiths tactics or traits, so either we sleep walk in to relegation and leave the fans feeling completely frustrated or we change the system now and go for it. The one game everyone played with intensity and closed the opposition down, although admittedly the opposition were desperately poor too, was the Wolves game but we won that because of it. We attacked at pace and gave our all, the minimum we have to give from the 8 or so games left.

    Whilst a change of leadership I feel is a must, a has to be, we cannot appoint from within as the club is experiencing a complete “losing culture” at present and the reserves and under 18’s are both going through a woeful run alongside the first team. No one stepping up from that level of football would be coming with any more confidence or success as our current manager and it’s clear that there is no trust in Kevin O’Connor as a coach after his demotion half way trough the season so it has to be a new man, with new ideas and very possibly no link to the club or current crop of players and not a yes man but a man who will crack the whip, stop the players feeling sorry for themselves and put it to them that their privileged careers are on trial, as well as the fancy cars and luxury salaries they are currently experiencing will be gone along with our newly acquired position in the 2nd tier of English football and those players who make up the current playing squad, will be tainted to all other teams they might wish to move to in the future as being part of the, let’s face it, nowhere near good enough team at Brentford in season 2015-16. It doesn’t go unnoticed. The party line of ‘we’ll learn from it’ or ”we’ll put it right in training’ has grown tired and painful to hear the longer the season has gone because simply saying it and not learning from it only grates to the bone more and more. Play to the strengths of our best players and if relying on McEachrean to pass us in to staying in the division, well accept defeat now if that’s the case. It’s not going to happen, he hasn’t got it in him to do it players around him don’t have the legs or intelligence to create the runs to open up spaces so play on the counter attack and at speed and get it in behind the defences early and to Judge at pace as often as possible, or were doomed.

    I do not wish to inflict ill or have no malice towards Dean Smith, it just it simply hasn’t worked for him in the same manner it didn’t for Djikhousen, for whatever reason. They haven’t reacted to him and the fans because of the results have not taken to him either so let’s hope Benham sees that he makes his way to training ground very early this week and relieves him of his duty in a much more dignified manner than we did with Djikhousen, where he was asked to pack his bags and clear his desk and vacate the training ground within 15 mins of being told he was a leaving, like he was some sort of career criminal and let’s face it, every decision since at the club from the hierarchy has been questionable at the very least this year. But act now, scrape over the line and let’s refresh and replenish in the summer but albeit in the same division that we are currently sliding very fast towards the bottom of at present.

    The fans are in fighting and showing more passion because of the predicament than Dean Smith is showing and definitely the players. If they want to know how much it means, talk to the elder fans of the club, not the newbies, talk to those over 50 or 60 (which I am not by the way) but let them tell the players what is needed. It’s not acceptable to lie down and concede given their privileges and back room staff and training facilities, no more than what it is to leave the training ground in their huge 4×4’s or sporty Mercedes because of the trappings of their ‘success’ because with out hard work and passion and desire, driving your fast cars in to a Division 1 training ground next season is a cold hard slap in the face, as well as it is when you have to give up your sporty car or 4×4 for a cheaper version because of your drop in salary.

    Mr Benham, I appeal to you to act to resolve it, in the same manner that you would if it was happening at one of your other business interests and if results or profit were declining in the same manner as we are presently, asking the manager to account for it or relieving him of his duties is an option you might have to take. We have been 4 or 5 years building up to this level of football and 8 games left to keep it. Show us your hand or push in your chips cos we have to go all in or bust from now til Saturday week when there is next 3 points on offer. Dean Smith taking us up to the county ground to scrape a result is as appealing as another turgid Griffin Park surrender so please change the man at the helm and start to get us out of this ever drowning quicksand. Please!!


  2. According to management analysis most people leave their employment because of their relationship with their immediate supervisor. I wonder if this could explain certain actions by some players. There are also a certain minority (just over 10%, this means 1 or 2 in a football team) who don’t want to leave because of the comfort and security of where they are and the rest, will go where the wind(fall) takes them.
    I would still like to know why the players had a players only meeting?
    If there is indeed a problem with DS, he has to go.


    • I have purposely tried to stay away from the players meeting in my blog as it is not something I have direct access to. I believe (no evidence to back this up however) that player meetings like this are fairly commonplace. What does worry me though is what I see with my own eyes. In the game against Charlton McHechran was being called by Smith and given a clear instruction whilst defending a corner to move higher up the pitch. McHechran ignored him. In the same game Bidwell was spoken to by Smith and again Bidwell did not acknowledge him and dismissed him with a wave of the hand. These small things seem insignificant and the players may not even notice themselves at times but it doesn’t take a body language expert to see that Smith’s ideas are not getting across very well. He does seem like a long term plan kind of man but with time fast running out I can not see any other solution other than to replace him with someone who can motivate the players in the short term. How else will we still be in the division next season. It worries me.


  3. Fair enough re the players meeting but your insight to what you have witnessed on the pitch may certainly signify some form of dissension. Having been on both sides of management, I can see a very real problem. DS can be the best manager in the world but if the team doesn’t take to him, it will always be an uphill struggle or a downward spiral in our case. If the players can find someone they believe in on the pitch, who can take charge, then there is always a chance. Sorry, optimism popping back in there.


  4. As one of the older supporters of the club ( been going to Griffin Park for 55 years) what really upsets me is the disappointment that this seasons inept performances have proved to be. Like most fans I believe that last season was the most exciting and exhilarating there has been in my lifetime. For Gods sake we got to the Premiership playoffs, who would have thought that, most of us were just looking for survival. Who will ever forget our day out at Fulham around this time last year.. Dean Smith this Saturday did not have the luxury of 7 players who started that Fulham game and they have been replaced by players who mostly have come from European lower standard leagues, Colin apart I don’t believe that any of them are up to the Championship. The blame for this season lies at the recruitment policy and whose in charge of it and the ridiculous sacking of Mr Warburton. When targeting players with good “statistics” is the standard of the opposition ever taken in consideration. I was told by the club 2 seasons ago that if I purchased a season ticket I would be given priority with choice at the new Lionel Road stadium , so our family purchased 4, still waiting for a shovel to be put in the ground ( with no up to date information ever given to us) and a team that is at best league 1 standard to watch. Hate to say it but 2 weeks ago I took 100/1 about us to get relegated, I hope I lose my bet but at least the winnings would soften the blow, plus of course the saving on the 4 season tickets. Wouldn’t be surprised if our owner “cashes out” soon.
    Very disappointed after last seasons hope


    • Bob, A situation summed up in a few words. It is so disappointing to see what has happened to an exciting squad. We’ve been through far worse though. Get through the next 9 games and stay in the Championship and hopefully we can get it right next year


      • I agree we’ve been through worse and to be honest I never expect us to do anything but yo yo between the bottom 2 divisions, it’s just that last season was so enlightening it almost felt like supporting a proper club. But back to normal now, there were actually 3 players in last seasons regular line up that I would willingly pay extra to watch. Unfortunately Mr Judge cannot do it all on his own although unfortunately I fear he has so little faith in the rest of the offensive players that he has become a bit greedy and is running up blind alleys when a pass could be better. Just praying that we stay up.


  5. Matthew Benham & Rasmus Ankerson were at the training ground this morning for a good length of time. They went on to the pitches to meet the players and coaching staff and meetings were had!

    Interesting what the outcome will be but I can’t imagine an owner turning up at the ground is for any other reason than to simply state it’s not working and the time is up for Smith because other than that, it’s going down the route of “eccentric owner meddling in team affairs” which as has been well documented in the past, just does not work.

    Please let’s hear early about any move and give a new chance to a new man to talk about motivating players desire before time runs out on us.


    • Wow. Hadn’t heard that. I think it’s easy to jump to conclusions about these things and it may have been nothing more than a scheduled visit…… Who am I kidding, it looks to me as if it could well have been to discuss the future of Smith. It also could have been to reassure him amongst all the unrest that he still the chosen one. Either way, I will be glued to Social Media tomorrow to see if anything is mentioned.


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