This was not the result most fans of either side predicted. Many Bees fans, maybe half , would have taken a point before the game. The reality was that a resurgent Brentford side played their best football this season and possibly for a few seasons and dominated the game from every angle.
Overall Brentford were brilliant more than Stoke were poor. Brentford need to carry on with this tempo and maybe Stoke need to jettison a few players simply past their prime .
Lastly I loved seeing the great reception Ryan Woods received . Nice Brentford fan behaviour for players we respect . And a privilege to see not only a few minutes of Peter Crouch but also him posing with young fans after the game and again the nice Ealing road reception he got when warming up.
Neither side will go up nor down this season and it will be interesting to see where they finally end up .
Football food is far from idyllic. In general nonleague clubs serve better and cheaper football fare. One of the best food items is served at Met Police football club. They play in Esher at Imber Court and participate in Evostik Southern League Premier South and are well worth watching .
They have recently started serving The Full Hogburger. For £5 you can have a superb burger cooked properly in a toasted bun. But on top there is a large sausage cut in half , cheese, onions and a thick slice of back bacon. Tasted delicious. They do not serve chips but there again you hardly need them. If there is a criticism it is that the burger is huge and not so easy to eat. This is a real meal! Football league clubs might learn here
During the second half of the recent game versus Bolton, the view over the Ealing Road stand was as good as any I have seen in years watching Brentford. So instead of photographing Neal Maupay rampaging through the Bolton defence , I spent 5 minutes capturing this beautiful moon.
When we move to Lionel road I will miss hugely Griffin Park and moments like this will forever be remembered.
These three photos were taken only a few minutes apart and using different exposures. Don’t let anyone ever say it’s easy to photograph the moon. Sometimes you get lucky and some of the trees behind the Ealing Road stand can be seen in front of the over exposed moon making an interesting image.
Ridiculous fact number one for Xmas eve is that only 3 championship teams are spelled the same way in Serbian…. one of those is Brentford! My favourite is Lids….
Anyone watching Brentford earlier in the season saw that we were a good team. Few teams if any looked better than us. This wretched run has now made some question even if relegation is a possibility.
It’s more simple than that . We are a mid table side that was full of confidence but after a series of events has lost confidence. My personal belief is that the players knew Smith was going long before it was announced . Weeks even. Having watched Brentford for many years , around 50 , I can spot when something behind the scenes is causing issues.
This leads to uncertainty amongst the players. Frank may be a good or a bad manager. We simply do not know , however it is unlikely he will have the same beliefs as Smith. Some players such as Josh have reverted to the abysmal form of last season. His lack of consistency for me combined with his inability to tackle means he is not one of our untouchable players, however to make wholesale changes last night was not the clever option. Moses will struggle to come up to speed , literally, after his injuries and lack of game time , and as he needed to play last night it could be argued that changing the midfield formation was not the time to do this. Having said that Yennaris is also a hideously inconsistent player who should have done better both last night and in general. Dan Bentley losing form has also cost us 3-4 points at minimum.
Frank needs to look close up at the team. My suggestion would be to revert to a single captain, a leader . That narrows it down to Dalsgaard or Barbet. The trouble is that the petulance and poor discipline that Dalsgaard can show suggests that to keep things calm he might not be the man.
So to put it simply my team selection for Norwich would be the usual back four, Kamo and McCleod , Watkins, Maupay, Benrahma, Sawyers and Daniels.
Daniels is a good shot stopper, like Andy Woodman, but currently falls down literally from not being able to command his area and come authoritatively for crosses, also like Andy Woodman. A goalkeeper coach is critical here to bring him on.
Some players must realise they are in the last chance saloon. Sawyers can perform. He can be premiership material but equally at times can be dreadful. Consistency is the key . Frank needs to select his best team and stick with them for 4-5 games. He also must not be afraid to make early changes in a game. If a player is poor for 20 mins take him off. Warnock does not do everything right in my book but this Warnockesque activity is what the team needs. Substitutions need also to be logical not pre-planned
Lastly do not play players where they are poor. Barbet is actually a good footballer but he has never been nor will be a good central defender. At times I would have played him as an old fashioned number nine as Plan B.
Brentford are a work in progress. We need as fans to remain realistic and supportive but also to be appropriately critical. That is important . Let’s have a rethink after the next six games of the Frank regime.
Over the last few months there has been an optimism amongst fans that for me is a little over placed. Sure we have some good players and at least two who could start in the premiership right now. The issue though is consistency. The teams that get promoted have good players but are consistent. Brentford have not been consistent.
My personal view might not go down well with some fans and that’s fine . Lewis McLeod is a luxury player. He has some good games. Some good moments . But if you were in a casino would you bet on him having a good game for example at Preston? Don’t think so. Some of his passing is sublime . But will he compete in every game ? Josh M… well ok we can explain an average performance on Saturday. Why was he selected? But many of his performances have been average . Intertwined with some brilliance . What was missing Saturday was physicality until Kamo came on. This guy is good. He rattles other teams. And he is consistent and needs to be a starter.
Thomas Frank will have his own views and I suspect team selection will evolve rather than see 5 changes overnight. We know our best defence. We know our most consistent player. Barbet. We need a Plan A and B and C for midfield. On days when Ollie Watkins is not at his best we need a quick change. Sitting in New Road the warm up gives me an indication who is up for it . Certainly by 30 minutes I can tell for sure. Let’s be radical and make substitutions early if needed or not at all if not .
Lastly we need leadership. Is the rotating captain working? Not sure. The natural captains of the side are Mepham , still learning his trade , Barbet and Dalsgaard. I would experiment with making Barbet captain. It just might work.
At the moment we are a mid table side. We could make top six but no way top two. Our focus needs to be on consistency and finishing off games. Few teams are better than us but on Saturday we saw a side that worked harder than us and it sounds bad but Lee Johnson got his tactics spot on. Thomas Franks did not.
For Preston let me see a real high tempo start . Kamo in the line up and early changes if things not going well.
A pivotal moment in the early phase of the Met Police v Basingstoke Southern Premier game last Saturday. In real time a clear trip by the defender however on reviewing the photo there is clear shirt pulling.
The linesman was on the opposite side so maybe did not see this. The referee might have been unsighted too.
The point is how difficult it is to referee a game .
Just seeing these numbers make one realise two things. It’s not all about money. Some teams with big budgets do badly and little old tinpot Brentford do rather well. One example might be Norwich with a wage bill triple that of Brentford or Middlesbrough which approaches five times that of Brentford