With a third of the season gone Brentford are sitting where they have been for the last three seasons, just above mid-table, offending none, scaring fewer, occupying ninth spot in the table. The side’s latest outing, a home defeat to table topping Charlton, epitomised what has been a frustrating season so far for a side many tipped to make the play-offs. Most of those doing the tipping were Bees fans, but failure to score goals and finish successfully is hurting the club.
Manager Uwe Rosler, quoted after the Charlton game – which Brentford dominated for 80% of the time – said his side Brentford didnt have a quality goal scorer akin to Bradley Wright-Philips, a player who pretty much wandered round the pitch for 90 mins, but more importantly took his only real chance with ease.
In the summer money was splashed on Crewe Alexandra’s 28-goal man Clayton Donaldson, with the idea that he would be looking at a 15+ season at a higher level. On recent performances, That wont happen. Gary Alexander works relentlessly, but isnt in the side for his goals, but more for his ‘human wrecking ball’ qualities. Mike Grella looks good and exciting, but doesnt seem to fit a system that favours two big men up top. A worrying statistic for Brentford fans, only one goal since 9th October has come from open play in the League.
Even more concerning is the form of Charlie MacDonald, sold to to that abomination of a club, and has six goals for franchise FC, more than any Brentford player. The club’s leading goal scorer is Sam Saunders with five, four of those have come from free-kicks.
For all the better football that Bees supporters have witnessed, the goals are drying up. 20 in 18 league games is concerning, especially considering that five of the top six have that much, or more just at home. Brentford are in the semi finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, amongst three League Two sides, so would hope Wembley beckons for a second year in a row. A favourable home tie in the FA Cup against either Wrexham or Cambridge could see a lucrative third round tie also. But this is Brentford – anything can happen. They certainly won’t make it easy for themselves.
You could accuse me of being overly pessimistic. The club sit 8th in League One, two points of the playoffs and as said, are doing well in two cups. So the future is bright, despite the lack of goal scoring prowess. The football quality is better, and an attendance of over 8,000 against Charlton was pleasing to see.
What is more concerning is the abuse and derogatory comments made by fellow supporters directed at each other. I stand on the Ealing Round terrace, the heartbeat of the home support and the amount of discourse that exists on the terraces is quite staggering. I have been to many home ends across the country in my years, and have never experienced such vitriol dished out to a fellow supporter.
Whilst some results have been frustrating, fans have often turned on each other which is very concerning. The club have their problems, treading water against the financial clout, marketing prowess and lure of premiership football from nearby QPR, Fulham, Chelsea as well as the other London and big teams. Whether this constant fear of financial floundering – helped or not by major investment from Matthew Benham, a professional gambler – plays on fans’ minds, or its the bitterness that comes with years of frustration and ‘what could have been’ situations, the frequency that it bubbles to the surface is worrying.
As the club sets it’s targets higher and higher the agonizing games, such as the 1-0 loss to Charlton, will only stoke that agression. The future, if one of failure, is bleak.
Written by Chris Fairbank, We Are Going Up’s Brentford Blogger
Chris tweets at @crumblechris