On Feb 24th I wrote an article after the Wolves game essentially saying that the clouds had lifted over Griffin Park .I was in retrospect very wrong to suggest that the dire spiral that Brentford had descended into over the last 2 months was over.
The reality is that is has got a whole lot worse and Brentford now must be potentially fearing relegation if not this year then next unless a whole load of changes are made.
Today we lost a home game 1-2 to an appalling Charlton side who had the benefit of the worst goalkeeper in the Championship, Nick Pope. And frankly we deserved to lose.
The game was of a standard that frankly under the trade descriptions act should not belong in the “football” league. Better skill and certainly better commitment can be seen weekly free of charge on many park football pitches.
I will not deal with Charlton other than to say that they were poor and relegation certainties and one wonder why Sanogo the tall striker on loan from Arsenal needs to handle the ball almost every time it comes near him.
Brentford lacked desire, application, effort, skill, height, speed, accuracy of passing, and ability to get players in the box. Other than that they did well. Dean Smith seemed unable to turn the tide and his substitutions apart from being poor and not leading to any improvement were utterly incomprehensible. Taking off their most creative player, Sergi Canos, was not the best option, and bringing on Sam Saunders, who contributed zero, Phillip Hoffmann ( did he touch the ball in the 20 minutes he graced the pitch?) and Lasse Vibe, were frankly absurd changes.
Some will blame the sale of Tarkowski and Diadouraga. I don’t. They would not have made much difference today. Something was very wrong in the state of Denmark. Brentford did not compete, although I would abstain from including Bidwell and Swift, who did put in the work and were the best players on the pitch.
Brentford fans do not mind losing to a better side, but to lose in this appalling manner to an equally dreadful side needs some explaining and responsibility needs to be taken and changes need to be made.
Who is at fault here? Should Dean Smith be sacked already? There is a case for the defence that he only has the players he has. There is a better case for the prosecution that he is neither trying to change things with the players he has, for example bring in youngsters like Jan Halldack, or change the system if his players cannot perform in this system. He also appears unable to motivate his side to perform the kind of work rate that all successful sides do and which we were doing under Lee Carsley. And this is the man in indictment against him. Many of these players were involved in Brentford wins last autumn. The role of the co-directors needs also some discussion. What we can say with certainty is that they are not visible. That is not always a crime and in many cases a cloak of invisibility is a good thing, however when things are going horrifically wrong then some explanation is needed. At the very least a Fans Forum seems a sensible option to at least explain the direction of the club in the next 6 months. Most of the players brought in last summer are not good enough and lack basic technique. My own view is that even given time and opportunity , Hoffmann, Vibe, Djuricin, Kerschbaumer and Gogia, will not become championship standard. The jury is also out on Ryan Woods who increasingly is muscled off the ball and needs a strategy to become more involved in the game. Increasingly Marco Djuricin is looking out of his depth and I remain underwhelmed by his goal scoring rate and his work rate.
What should and will worry the club are falling attendances and no doubt lower season ticket sales than this year. Empty seats help no one.
At this stage of the season we need to ensure enough points to avoid relegation and make a decision then over Dean Smith. We also need to stop making excuses over players who have been with the club almost a year and chronically under perform. The main value of a striker is calculated by goals scored and it is clear Brentford do not have a striker meeting that definition. Most fans would like to see the back of Phillip Hoffmann.
Lets hope the way forward is not now down.