Brentford journalist and Beesotted regular, Jim Levack, looks back at the fall-out from the Norwich City draw.
Like countless other Brentford fans I was incandescent with rage as Sergi Canos tried to nutmeg a Norwich player deep in his own half.
That anger reached a peak when the ball trundled agonisingly into the net further on in the move and three points suddenly, needlessly became one.
But I’m old enough and yes before you say it, ugly enough, to know that football is a cruel mistress who loves to tantalise, tease and tear away at your soul.
The old cliches – “a draw’s a good result against the Canaries”, “we need to learn from our mistakes” and “there were positives” – count for nothing when you’re three minutes away from making the first half at Stoke even more of a distant memory.
I hope the sheer frustration accounted for most of the vitriol and personal bile spilled by “fans” on the cesspools of social media… but there will always be some who don’t hesitate before posting or don’t think their actions through.
It’s not worth sharing some of the more vile comments, but safe to say they’re not representative of the views of the 99% of true supporters, and I hope the players who were the target of their abuse understand that.
Yes, Sergi Canos isn’t making the impact his talent and ability demand, yes the three at the back foray didn’t work and yes maybe we should go to two up top.
Again, like others I was bemused by our persistence with long throws as the clock ticked down. Statistically I’d have thought that gives the opposition more chance to seize possession, but then I never was any good at maths.
Regardless of all of the above – and as fans we have every right to question as long as it’s not viciously personal – I think that as a fanbase we need a bit of a reality check. A recalibration to regain the sense of perspective we’re known for.
This season clearly is going to be different from others, and that’s not just because of the Ollie and Said exits but also the intensity of an already intense Championship going up a few levels.
I was livid when I saw our line-up for the Stoke game, largely because my best mate’s a Stoke fan – so there was even more on this one – and I knew it was a formation that wouldn’t suit us against an experienced outfit like them.
But Thomas Frank knows the players and their physical and mental levels better than I, so I trusted in him. It failed and I was frankly surprised that he didn’t admit as much in his post-match press conference. Take a bit of the heat off the players.
But perhaps it was part of a well thought out three game a week plan that we will only start to see the benefits of later in the season. I hope so.
What is a fact though in this Covid campaign is that strength in depth and freshness are going to be massive factors, along – so it seems – with sides’ ability to cope with injuries.
The losses of Jansson, Norgaard, Goode, Canos, Henry and Baptiste have left us short, yet still the twitterati gloss over the reality to vent their spleens at the ones left in.
Could Zamburek have done a job? Where’s Halil when you need him? Valid questions which I’m sure have been asked internally. Bottom line is we have to trust the management. They haven’t let us down so far.
Sergi losing the ball wasn’t the reason we lost. It was a factor in it, but that’s not how football tends to work. We lost or drew the battle but rational heads will win the war.
To call a player out is only natural – normally it would happen from the stands – and understandable when people are disappointed, but professional footballers tend to know when they’ve screwed up.
I sent a few texts to my son last night that I’d never share publicly because it’s not productive and would destroy the end product we surely all want… a top two finish and no mucking about with top six.
I keep thinking about the Director of Football’s mantra ”we always want to be stronger after each window” and can’t help thinking we’re not.
But YET is a big word in football and we’ve seen the emergence of Josh Dasilva from a fringe player to one of our most incisive and dynamic in just a few months. What’s to say Ghoddos and Janelt don’t do the same?
If they do, that has a cathartic effect on a side, confidence surges through the team and Bryan and Sergi are suddenly very different players.
We’re not far away, as that amazing five man move at Hillsborough – surely Goal of the Season if Jensen had beaten the keeper – proved.
But we have to realign expectations in this most strange of seasons, get to 10 games to go, keep in touch with the pack and see where we are in the knowledge that we always get stronger as the season goes on.
Because I’m pretty confident we won’t be far off.