2011 has ended in as much disappointment as it started. January 2011 saw the club win once, draw twice and lose five, ultimately ending in the sacking of Andy Scott. It ended with the worst performance I have witnessed since a dreadful night in Dagenham that ultimately cost Scott his job; a 1-1 draw with a rejuvenated Bournemouth, only courtesy of a last minute equaliser by Leon Legge, was one of the most abject, effortless and lethargic performances ever witnessed. Things had to change.
They didn’t, and only a monumental second half come back from 0-3 down against the team that shall not be named on New Year’s Eve (but ultimately have been the most impressive side to grace fortress Griffin Park this year) saw the Bees rescue a point.
A 2-0 loss away at Charlton just a few days ago only sought to highlight the problems that have since blighted the Uwe Rosler era. Passing and composed football with absolutely no end product. Charlton on the other hand were solid at the back, got the ball forward quickly, finished when required, and find themselves top of the tree. That’s no coincidence.
Here’s a lesson for Rosler. It was a theme of a previous blog that the team are trying to run before they can walk, play beautiful football before they are doing the basics well; creating chances and finishing. To draw a slight tangent, look at the Arsenal side in the early days after Wenger took over. The flowing football took time to emerge once he had HIS players in place, and the rest they say is history. Rosler doesn’t have his players in place, and some of his players including McGinn, Donaldson and Eger have struggled, although to his credit, the latter has started to play much better recently. It’s the old guard such as Lee, Legge, Alexander and Bean who are putting in the hard yards and scoring the goals.
So what for 2012?
1. A new striker. Although Mike Grella will feel hard done by, one start, 4 goals and a handful of 5 minute cameos have been the extent of his season. Clayton Donaldson puts in effort but looks nothing like the 27 goal man that ravaged League Two last year. Finally, Gary Alexander puts in the hard yards, is adored by the fans, but alas, isn’t the man that he once was.
2. Give Harry Forrester a chance. He sparkled when he came on against they who shall not be named on New Year’s Eve and is a prolific talent. The boy has been injured for a long time, but he must chomping to play. Let him. Please.
3. Don’t be afraid to be direct every now and then. Brentford finished 9th and 11th under Scott playing long ball football. It can work. It’s not pretty but it gets results, and is a viable alternative in this division. Rosler’s aversion to this, whilst admirable, is damagingly stubborn.
4. Reopen the Lionel Road plan. The club recently disclosed that they need 20,000 fans coming weekly to break even. In a 12,000 capacity ground such as Griffin Park one sees obvious problems with that. The new stadium plans up the road are the long term future of the club, rosy economy or not.
5. Realistic expectations for the fans. Grumbles have started about Rosler that the 3-3 game only delayed the fans from getting vocal about further. The club are in 7th, just outside the play-offs, behind a newly promoted team and clearly the five division heavyweights. A dose of realism and humility would be welcomed.
6. Rosler must be given time to build his team.
Hopefully this isn’t too much to ask, or Gary Johnson might start stalking the directors again…
Written by Chris Fairbank, We Are Going Up’s Brentford Blogger
Chris tweets at @crumblechris