Sixer’s Sub’s Soapbox: Bob Chapman reports from Brentford FC

Jake’s view of the subs’ bench

John McCormick writes: It’s a team effort, here at Salut! Pete Sixmith was engaged with a non-League fixture so Bob Chapman stepped in with his seven word summary, which was sent to Malcolm, who used it to finalise the draft I’d prepared.

And now M Salut himself has forwarded Bob’s post-match report. For me, it carries a hint that, while there’s some way to go, we are at least beginning to create chances. That could be because I thought we did something similar at Preston, so I suggest you tuck into this excellent read, bear in mind that not all our players are fully match fit, and decide for yourself.

Who caused our relegation? Was it the incompetent F A, who played us along during pre season, with their appointment of Allardyce? Was it Ellis Short, who despite injecting money into the club, had made numerous poor decisions with regard to its running? Was it David Moyes who gave up before even starting the job? I am sure you can add to this list.

Whatever, we now find ourselves in a desperate position, similar to one we occupied 30 years ago.

At the height of the Peter Reid era, I thought we would never be relegated again from the top division. With the expansion of the ground I felt we would finally get back to the position my father always remembered pre 1958 when we were quite legitimately ranked alongside Arsenal and other such clubs that just don’t get relegated.

They say there is not much difference between the top half of the Championship and the bottom half of the Premiership. With that in mind, if you take out Pickford and Defoe from last year’s side, you have the equivalent of a bottom half Championship side, which is where we find ourselves today.

So, waking up on Saturday morning with just a short journey into London, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the venture. I knew Brentford had a settled side and like to play good passing football. After so many disappointments this season I just felt that they would inevitably come out on top.

London matches follow a similar routine. We meet up for breakfast in the Tavistock in Bedford and then catch the fast train into St Pancras. On a previous visit to Brentford with my brother we caught the wrong train from London Bridge and ended up in Epsom! We missed the first 20 minutes, although in hindsight it was a bonus as we were awful and got dumped out of the Cup by a youthful DJ Campbell. With that in mind we headed to Waterloo which has a direct route to Brentford.

We started off in The Old Fire Station but with prices of £5 a pint we soon moved on. We found a little gem just 100 yards away called The Kings Arms. A nice quiet backstreet pub at the end of a long terrace of 2 ups and 2 downs. We had it to ourselves initially. A nice place to live we all thought until we found out that they sell for £1.3 million each! Still, it was a good choice and much better than trying to squeeze into one or all of the four pubs at each corner of Griffin Park.

Having run out of loft space for storing football programmes I stopped buying them two seasons ago. However, now in the Championship I realise I need to restart my habit as I no longer recognise most opposition players. Our line up was pretty much what I expected, although I thought there might have been a change with the keeper.

Brian Oviedo

After a revitalising liquid lunch early morning feelings of gloom reappeared after only 8 minutes. Cattermole lost possession in the middle of the park and when a shot rebounded off a post Yennaris finished it off. Here we go again I thought! However we soon bounced back. A great through ball by Oviedo found Grabban. Holding off his man he finished in premiership style to get us back on track. There was nothing between the sides and with 5 minutes before half time we took the lead rather fortunately. A corner from Oviedo, in the swirling wind seemed to have come to nothing, only for the keeper Bentley to help it into the net. Rather fortunate I thought, if only we can hold on to half time. Christmas then most definitely seemed to have come early, when we further increased our lead in injury time when Grabbon got his second from the spot after an excellent run by Watmore.

Three points in the bag, I thought, as I fought my way to the toilets. A large Police presence was positioned behind the stand presumably to ensure that any exposed brickwork didn’t get wet! I had almost forgotten those days.

Memories of Palace away reappeared. However, that didn’t last for long as Josefzoon scored directly from a free kick. It was well struck but one which Pickford would have saved. Steele would have also, if he hadn’t have taken a step to his right when the ball was struck.

Roadrunner is back

 I know how this is going to end I thought. With Grabban and Watmore both feeling the pace we no longer had an outlet up front and were consequently being pegged back. The inevitable equaliser came in the 78th minute. It was a deflected shot which the keeper had no chance with.

Both sides continued to try to win the match and I thought if there was to be one it would have been Brentford. Fortunately we managed to hang on and I suppose I would have been pleased with a point beforehand. I applauded the team off although many didn’t and I can understand it as we have given up a two goal lead. However, I don’t see the point in booing and calling for the manager’s head at this stage. We have the players to get out of this mess. We are the top scorers away from home, but unfortunately we have the worst defensive record! If the manager can do an Allardyce and sort the back four out we will be ok.

I must admit it felt like a defeat as we walked back to the station. We made our way back to St Pancras and had a pint in the Betjeman Arms before getting the next train home. If we had won no doubt we would stayed out longer. On the train we remarked we hadn’t had a session for a long time and our wives were getting too used to their husbands returning home sober!


All graphics by Jake

7 thoughts on “Sixer’s Sub’s Soapbox: Bob Chapman reports from Brentford FC”

  1. The nervousness around our current appalling goals against tally reminds me of the mid 80s.

    Mcmenemy brought in Seamus McDonagh to replace Chris Turner. Dreadful. Then we had, in no particular order, Bob Bolder, crap, Bobby Mimms, crap, and Ian Hesford, who suffered the biggest drop in confidence I have ever seen in a keeper.

    It made for a nervous defence and an even more nervous bunch of supporters.

    Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was always proud of the fact we had a great goalkeeper and a great centre half. Monty and Hurley, Monty and Watson, then things got jumbled, but choose from Siddall, Jeff Clarke – how the hell we gave him away free to the Mags I will never understand- Holton, even Allardyce.

    Now we have a bunch of useless, posing, cowardly millionaires…..they’ve got as much guile and strength and commitment as a newtered sloth.

  2. ‘The club struggled to find a manager to take the job in the summer. What evidence is there that sacking Grayson will make things any better’

    There is no evidence and I don’t disagree with your identification regarding the ‘root of the problem’, I think most Sunderland fans agree on this point.

    The real problem is identifying the difference between being proactive as opposed to reactive.

    Reactive Argument: sack Grayson for the continued poor form and his apparent lack of any tactical nous.

    Proactive Argument: Sack Grayson, its not all his fault, but we are only heading in one direction and that’s down.

    If we leave him in place and we still have Short at the reins then we are sleepwalking in to relegation. Replace him and we still have Short at the reins then we are probably sleepwalking in to relegation. Catch 22!!

    Personally I would go for the probability factor of replace and hope as this is the only one that offers the slight glimmer of a potential change in our fortunes despite the better efforts of Short.

    Put Ball in control of team affairs and bring a senior advisor for him….Peter Reid anyone?

      • And me.
        2 points on Saturday thrown away by his bizarre decision to change goalkeepers ‘because things need shaking up’. No goalkeeper of any ability should be beaten on their side from a freekick as that is the easy side for the forward. He puts himself in a position where he can’t see and then guesses. To have to dive (badly) for a ball hit almost exactly where he was standing is pathetic. He did it last week as well but the QPR player hit it over the top.
        Ruiter started badly and could easily have been dropped after 2 games but instead Larry decided to drop him immediately after he was man of the match. We have conceded 12 goals in the 4 games since.
        Utterly bloody clueless.

  3. The club struggled to find a manager to take the job in the summer. What evidence is there that sacking Grayson will make things any better? O’Neill, Moyes, Poyet, Advocaat are decent managers who all failed to progress the club. The evidence shows that a change of manager is unlikely to improve things. Allardyce might have taken us forward but it looked as if he wasn’t going to get the backing he wanted either. Until Short sells up we are only heading in one direction and if that isn’t soon our local derbies will be with Darlington, Blyth, Gateshead, Hartlepool and Spennymoor.

    Criticise Larry all you like. Oil the revolving door to the manager’s office but deadheading a diseased flower won’t stop the rot when the problem lies in the root.

  4. I just can’t see Grayson solidifying this defence and goal keeper . Whether anyone else could , or if Rutter is any better ( I believe he is ) is a question that won’t be answered until Grayson goes . We dithered last season and went down , we will go down again unless something improves. How long do we give him before we act?

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