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The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “dean smith”

Brentford are Consistent. Consistently inconsistent. What will happen at Burton? 


Too many times this season Bees have been lauded as one of the best teams other sides have played. A great performance is then followed by incredibly dire ones. How many times have we had this during the season? Games lost against Wolves, Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn amongst others. Why does this happen? Why does Dan Bentley openly admit that ‘ wolves wanted it more’? Why should Bees not be as motivated ? Is this down to the players or the manager? 


Most fans have their views but will all agree on a few things. We need more physical midfielders. We need a Plan B. We need more strikers. But the fans are not all convinced that the players are to blame for these disparate resukts. Some feel the manager is at fault. It is his job to motivate the players and select a team that is ‘up for it’. 


It might be even more complex. Certainly no managers are faultless and all players can have an off day. But my view is that Dean Smith is not good at selecting the right team for the right game. There are some games where one knows physicality wil be important . The dire 0-0 home draw with Wigan is one example. He needs to have and to select more physical players. The only exception to this is Jota who must start every game. He also needs to make changes to a system earlier in a game.  Changes could and should have been made early against Wolves. 

So what’s the prediction versus Burton? I suspect a tough game and maybe a draw would be a decent result. Bees are a mid table side and it would be good to now push on to a good run of form building for next season. 

Ipswich 1 Brentford 1. A good point for Bees but should have been three . Some good signs for next season


Being fortunate enough to photograph the game one gets fairly close to the action and able to see some of the little things that might get missed. Let me start with the highly supportive nature of Dean Smith to all his players after the game, and also the embrace between Toumani and himself.

A fairly wet night and a fairly boggy pitch certainly not of the Griffin Park standard. Ipswich is a very friendly club and when arriving to collect press pass one is greeted by a serious of smiling and mischievous souls in the ticket office, all wearing smart clean blazers and ties. In fact I cannot fault the Ipswich club at all. Nice people, who deserve a good and decent football team. Whether they deserve mick McCarthy as a manger is a separate question. The fans I spoke to were mixed in their views.  Inconsistency of the team was a common theme. As a negative though the entrance price of 35£ for adults is excessive, 25.50£ for concessions, and 24.50£ for under 20. There is no need to charge these prices.

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There are plenty of good match reports online so no need for me to repeat much. This game was not a classic but was fully competitive until the last kick of the game. Although both sides are truly mid-table and arguably satisfied with a point, even in the 4 added minutes both pressed for a winner.

The goal was a nice pass from Romain Sawyers and a neat finish from Yennaris.

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Nico Yennaris scores

Brentford played the better football. Ipswich did a lot of shirt pulling and pushing and a few dubious tackles and manoeuvres . Maybe someone in the FA or the Referees select committee can explain to me how this “rugby league” tackle ( illegal even there and seriously punishable in the NFL in USA) was not given as a foul. The role of assistants talking to the referees arises weekly. How this was not given as a foul against Vibe I am unsure.

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An interesting style of tackling from Ipswich 

Brentford looked well set up with Woods looking more solid and winning more than his share of the 50-50 balls. The full backs looking better with every game. Maxime Colin has improved enormously this season.

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Maxime Colin demonstrating an interesting style of tackling

00007689 Bjelland went off injured, without having an inspiring game, and Barbet came on, who still looks suspect to me. 0000767300007763

Justin Shaibu had 20 minutes and as against Rotherham caused all manner of problems to the Ipswich defence and was unlucky not to score. The days of Hoffmann are truly over and he needs to move on. 000077610000774400007746

So I take away a lot of positivity in this team and performance. The sort of game a while agao that Brentford would not have drawn. The worry remains over the number of goals conceded. This will improve.

Sergi Canos is such an exciting talent and could be a truly great player.

0000770200007703Rico Henry looks a class player and fast coming forward.

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Rico Henry

Wrongly placed adverts that make you laugh. Sheffield Wednesday 1 Brentford 2 . Did the referee cause incontinence? 


Carlos Carvalhal had some interesting thoughts as the Sheffield Wednesday manager after their side were beaten 2-1 at home by Brentford. The referee was making according to him everyone nervous. But are his concerns really enough to warrant a large advert for a male incontinence product? 

What Logically is going on at Brentford? Are we heading for relegation in the next 2 seasons?


The last six months have given us no real clue as to the ambitions nor the route to achieve these ambitions  at Brentford. We have gone from being a playoff contender a few years ago, to a steady mid-table side, through now to a side that unless radical changes happen are relegation candidates either this season or next. These are not baseless stupid comments, having watched Brentford for over 50 years, but real worries based on what I see on the pitch each week.

img_3407-1Amongst fans there has been clarity for at least 9 months that what is needed to move the club forward and arguably to retain championship status until Lionel road is completed, is a shopping list that comprises : a manager who can manage ( motivate and have a Plan B), some physically larger players in midfield ( where we have the smallest non-combative group in the championship and maybe the whole league), two strikers and some exciting wide players. In addition with all the hype of our B team and previously academy, the expectation that at least 2-3 players will emerge each year. So what has happened? Pretty much nothing. No strikers have been signed and the ineffectual pairing of Vibe and Sawyers float around upfront achieving little inspires nothing other than apathy. For the first time in many years I was embarrassed to be a Brentford supporter at Stamford Bridge. The odd glory goal from either of them does not deflect from the fact that they score few goals and are often absent in games. Hoffman in my opinion is not good enough for this league and for both him and his development would have been better going on a season loan to a league 1 side to play football for 90 minutes instead of the occasional 10-15 minutes. Our midfield has got even less combative. Many recent games the question could be asked did any player make a timg_3405le? Jota has been brought back ( with murmurings that he too might move on at the end of the season), and has yet to start a game. Arguably the best crosser of the ball Tom Field for some bizarre reason has not even been selected ( despite being the best player on the pitch in the Newcastle game).

To all this, why? Why do players not want to come to Brentford? There are good players in the three leagues below us who we might sign in all these roles. Why has the football become so sterile recently? Why the plethora of collapses and “inquests”? The appalling nature of the Fulham, Blackburn,Wigan and Chelsea defeats should raise a large red flag amongst fans. What exactly is wrong?

I cannot answer that and will not pretend to be a football manager however I have seen managers manage and teams play with utmost passion and workmate and succeed. Has anyone else watched Lincoln city play? Their workmate is a joy to behold. They are not the most gifted players on the planet but they work hard and are well organised. Danny Cowley, their manager, I would take at Brentford tomorrow. His skill set is aligned with Warburton. Yes, that calibre, and he has shown that consistently too. What do we get? We get Dean Smith who in my opinion fails to motivate his team, select his team, change things when Plan A fails and importantly has zero relationship with the fans. What would it have cost him to meander the 50 yards from his dugout to the away end at Chelsea to thank the fans? Occasionally even to do that at Griffin Park. At the recent Eastleigh cup-tie, the reception that Martin Allen received must have embarrassed Dean Smith, but he should learn what the Brentford fans expect. We do not demand sides that win all the time ( nice if they do, but not essential), but what we do demand is passion, hard work and some respect. I have a huge issue with the tedious style at the moment. Brentford mostly are boring to watch as at Chelsea. A slow tempo that gets slower. Why has Smith not utilised any of the players with real pace of late? Josh Clarke, Tom Field and Jota are three names that should be on the team sheet before anyone else. Why does he persist with the anaemic Yennaris, who in my view contributes nothing? Why play Barbet at full back? Barbet is a fourth choice centre back who has not shown great progress and who also needs regular football. My view is irrelevant but I do not see him as a championship player ever. But to play him at full back? img_3409

Tomorrow is the close of the transfer window and I hope Brentford make some sensible signings. However I fear there is some malaise in the club for all the above reasons that we seem unable to sign players from lower leagues. We need to be signing and improving 5-6 such players annually. Dan Bentley and John Egan  are the only players this year in that category (And when will Rico Henry actually play? Why are we signing players who are injured who cannot play for 6 months? We are a small squad ).

As always I hope to be proved totally wrong the rest of the season. Yennaris will play like a manic Jonathan Douglas and be transformed as Toumani was. Doubt it though. I am very concerned that we have a poor manager, and a team that must be considered relegation candidates. img_2193-3

A worrying Brentford performance. Brentford 1 Sheff Wed 1


Although the result shows a draw this game should go down in the annals as a game that could start a season of struggle.  Many fans struggled to get to the game on time due to roadworks in the area  and to avoid the dangers of Knotweed. 


In short Brentford with the exception of Daniel Bentley and Ryan Woods were poor. Off the pace all afternoon. Abysmal tactics. Disjointed substitutions.  I am struggling to recall a single tackle Brentford won and if they won a single header then I missed it. 


Sheff Wed should have been even 4-0 up at half time . An astonishing miss from under the crossbar will go viral on Twitter later. Brentford were second to every ball.  The Brentford goal from Vibe was a comedy of errors from the keeper Westwood who having kicked the ball against Vibe then watched it trickle into his net. 

The referee managed later to send off two players when really he should have had better options. The game hardly contained a meaningful foul. 

The Sheff Wed equaliser had been coming and when it did arrive in injury time the Brentford players played the remaining minutes seemingly hanging on to the point. 


Why were Bees so poor? Certainly the physical presence of their opponents was one factor yet that does not explain the abysmal work rate.  The whole midfield were anonymous and with the exception of the tenacious Ryan Woods one might have been excused not knowing that Yennaris and McCleod were even playing. 

In contrast Daniel Bentley was superb making world class saves. So simply there is no real explanation for this poor performance. But a worrying sign of what might lie ahead. 

Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

Ipswich 1 Brentford 3. Photos to Show that The Old Brentford Are Back


The result was important here as this seals the impossibility of relegation and takes Brentford up to 13th in the table and a maximum of 9 points in a week. The game was marred by the terrible injury to Alan Judge who after a reckless challenge from the seemingly unrepentant Luke Hyam suffered a double fracture of his leg.  After the tackle and when the players became aware of the seriousness of the injury it was clear that tackles on Hyam were strong and Jake Bidwell had words for Hyam as he left the pitch.

00002703 I cannot recall such anger from a  Brentford team over a challenge such as this. At a minimum it was reckless and the conspiracy theorists argue that Hyam picked his man. The only person who truly knows is Luke Hyam. What I will comment is that having seen the tackle in real time and watched it on TV many times, that there was no necessity for this tackle. It was dangerous, reckless and is the type of tackle that can end careers. there seemed little sympathy in the ground even from Ipswich fans at his eventual sending off. Good management might have dictated that he was replaced as he became a peripheral figure after that unpleasant challenge. And as of 24 hours after the incident he has posted nothing on his Twitter account to offer anything resembling repentance or even good wishes to Alan Judge. He will be a marked man at Brentford for many years to come.

What was both refreshing and encouraging for next season was to see that the workrate and tackling so much missing this last few months was clearly back. The midfield were both skilful and combative and Sam Saunders for me had one of his best ever games in a Brentford shirt. Lass Vibe scored two superb goals that maybe he might not have scored even 2 weeks ago.

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Sergi Canos gave the kind of display that should make Brentford want to sign him on a permanent contract and the 18,845 crowd included  559 Bees fans who made more noise than the 18,000 Ipswich players. Canos ran, tackled and fought for every ball. He was magical.00002822

The introduction of Jonathon Douglas in the second half did galvanise Ipswich a little and Douglas was involved in most of the decent passages of play that Ipswich had. My own view is that I would have him back at Brentford any time.

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Ipswich Town are a friendly football club and to some extent one wonders if that hampers their desire to return to the top tier. Certainly there was nothing in evidence to show that Mick McCarthy has great tactical or even motivational tactics to produce. Talking to the local fans it was clear that they feel his time has come and he should move on. The fans and the stewards are some of the most friendly football fans in our division.

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Sam Saunders epitomised the spirit shown by the Brentford players as in the photograph below.

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Even the fringe Brentford players when they came on,  and will surely feature more in this injury melee that surrounds Brentford , did their part. Gogia looked interesting and created trouble for Ipswich and Kerchbaumer also had his best game in a Brentford shirt. The photo below of a snarling Jonathon Douglas is a classic.

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Mention has to be made however of the defence who have been heavily critiscised this season, by many including myself. They were imperious. Maxim Colin was both skilful, creative and tough tackling and is the kind of player we need in the summer to boost our chances of promotion next season. Harley Dean shows the dominance to contain Freddie Sears and make him look almost anonymous. 00002828

00002830The only negatives apart from the dreadful injury to Alan Judge, were the cost to get in that Bees fans had to pay £32.50. This is too much for Championship football. Even for the home fans excluding travel, this takes the cost of a game over £100 for a couple.

But this week and maybe the day belonged to Lasse Vibe who looked every inch a Danish International striker. We should applaud him. 00002817

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A Very Wet Brentford Performance.Brentford 0 Walsall 1


As Brentford fans some weeks are best forgotten and it is better to remove those bees coloured spectacles and see the game for what it was. Brentford were comprehensively beaten by a hard working and decent Walsall side.

An excellent turn out from Walsall that filled the away end.

Fans arrived mostly by car but the potential was there to arrive by boat if they wished, and with such a wet game that might have been a good option. IMG_1179IMG_1178

The first half ended 1-0 to Walsall which is how the game ended but it was totally one-sided. The second half was better for Bees once Alan Judge came on, but frankly they never really seemed likely to score with the exception of one excellent save from the walsall keeper.

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Why were Brentford so bad? Conspiracy theorists will no doubt argue that the cup is not important or maybe that transfer speculation had upset the side. I don’t know, maybe both are true. But the reality was that Walsall were the better side, their work rate was higher , their players seemed technically better. The five players brought in from last week did nothing to suggest they should be chosen next week. The swirling rain made watching even from Row G a rather wet experience. The plus point was the introduction of Marco Djuricin half way through the second half.

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Hands on head time maybe?

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The Bees fans on Twitter formed their views of this game which align with mine above. What we learned for sure was that Bees have no strikers. Midfield needs strengthening . But above all the worry that it was not the result but the performance that is most of concern. Players like McCormack did not perform. Swift looked undone by the physical attention of the Walsall players. Hoffman just looked poor really, not a championship player.

Lets Remind Ourselves of the highlights of Burnley before Tarkowski and Judge decide.


Some of the Brentford fans had the pleasure of a day out at Turf Moor earlier this season. The stewards and fans were friendly enough and maybe we were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to a sloppy goal from defensive error. But would I want to live there?

Judging by the news Burnley are after signing the whole Brentford squad, the fans, the badge and most likely the urban architecture that is Brentford! Today allegedly having a 2.3 million offer rejected for James Tarkowski. A ridiculous bid.

Lets take a look at what Burnley the town and the football ground was like and maybe Tarkowski and Judge may form a different view of where they want to play their football.

  1. A Night out in Burnley. If these were the new ideas from the new owners, what exactly were the old ones like?
A night out in Burnley

A night out in Burnley

2. Maybe not much different to many Northern towns but this is what the streets looked like around the ground

Burnley Streets

Burnley Streets

3. Uninspiring architecture here at the away fans entrance

Away Fans entrance

Away Fans entrance

4.The ground itself

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Lovely Wooden Seats

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What have Weekend Offenders and Foot Long Hot Dogs got to do with Birmingham 2 Brentford 1 . Jan 2nd 2016


Sadly an awful football game. The first half was maybe the worst football, if one can describe it as that, all season. Neither team able to pass to another player and nothing to note other than an awful looking tackle in the 45th minute by ex-bee John Toral on Jake Bidwell. Half time arrived with the Brentford crowd baying for a red card and possible execution.

The second half was better though not by much. Brentford leaked their usual two goals with the second resulting from another error from Harlee Dean. Brentford in between scored a goal, a tap in after a goalkeeping error. Frankly this was the sort of game that neither side deserved any points. The referee was also abysmal, Graham Scott. He was finicky to the extreme. Booking an excessive number of players and stoping the game on any any pretext at any time. He ran Keith Stroud a close second in the worst referee of the week awards.

A strange Brentford team performance after recent very strong ones. Raised questions about possible tiredness? Issues behind the scenes relating to transfers?

The team was also a little unusual in that Jota was neither in the side nor on the bench, for which there may be multiple reasons but is he being transferred was the one being discussed? Alan Judge had his quietest game for months. Maybe tired, maybe took a few heavy tackles , maybe again is a transfer allegedly to Middlesbrough for 12 million on his mind? James Tarkowski had his worst game I have seen him have, but still looked good! Again, transfer issues? Tiredness? Who knows.

On the positive side Gogia looked interested when he came on with 20 minutes to go. Neither Hoffmann nor Vibe are strikers we want playing upfront alone.

So, a strange game. St Andrews is a decent ground but we always seem to lose there every time i go……so maybe all my fault.

Weekend offenders was a great piece of graffiti on a wall and foot long hot dogs smelled great. They were maybe the highlights today.

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