This season Brentford have probably the biggest budget they’ve ever had at £5m. But their game against Wolves on Saturday and the forthcoming game against Posh saw us come up against sides who makes our budget pale into insignificance as we come against the big guns with the big dough. But despite the ability to buy players for £1.5million, everything doesn’t seem to be alright at home for Peterborough.
BillytheBee catches up with a very despondent John Verrall – editor of Standing on the Glebe blog and podcast and and talks players’ lack of passion, Talksport’s Adrian Durham’s “Brentford Loan-ford” accusation and Barry Fry’s ever increasing clown duties
What was your first match? Talk us through it
My first match was actually a thriller. It was a 2-2 draw with Ipswich in the League Cup in 2006 and Posh went on to win in penalties. It was a false representation of how good we were that season mind as most of the rest of the games were horrendous.
Posh have had a decent start to the season winning 10 games, losing 5 and drawing 2. They’re pretty neck and neck with Brentford – both teams scoring 25 goals with Brentford conceding 2 more. How do you think things have panned out so far?
Not exactly according to plan. Even when we were winning, it was thanks to the profligacy of opposition strikers rather than through our own play. Anything other than the top two is unacceptable for us this season and to be so far behind the automatic promotion places already is a major disappointment.
Saying that you have lost your last 4 league games – from what I can gather both Walsall and Orient gave you a good seeing to. Every decent team has a loss of form at some stage in the season (just look at us). Is this a blip or have you come up against your match?
It certainly doesn’t look like a blip. There is a surprisingly lack of fight or ideas in this team and we are getting progressively worse rather than showing signs of recovery. Our last three performances – against Leyton Orient, Walsall and Stevenage – have been nothing short of a disgrace and unless things improve massively we will not be achieving our aims this season.
Blimey. We never saw that coming. Bees fans were more worried about meeting you than Wolves. Saying that, if you analyse it you have only scored 3 goals in your last 7 league games. Posh were always an exciting side to watch. Loads of goals scored and loads conceded last time they were in our division. You wrote a honest assessment of where you saw your team were after the Walsall defeat in Standing on the Glebe. You said you felt Posh’s luck had run out and they had lost their fight. Have you really changed that much since last time you were in this division?
The differences are huge. Last time we were in this league we were unplayable at times. Yes, we conceded goals. But we scored 106 of them to compensate for that and achieved promotion in thrilling style. Our play was incisive, purposeful and ultimately, brilliantly entertaining.
This year our build-up play is slow, thoughtless and just drab to watch. There is next to no off-the-ball movement and even when we have scraped 1-0 wins it has been through a battle of attrition, rather than free-flowing football. Attendances are already starting to plummet and it really is a worrying demise that must be put to a stop as soon as possible.
Interestingly Brentford were going through a similar stinker a couple of months back (OK maybe not as bad). A loss against out of form Stevenage really drilled it home that we were in trouble and things needed to change. Maybe you need Darren Ferguson to have a 90 minute dressing room ‘clear the air lock-in’ like Uwe Rosler did to sort things out. Or is it deeper than that?
It seems deeper than that. To be honest, there aren’t enough players that look like the genuinely care. When we go behind their first instinct is to allow their heads to drop and their play becomes even more erratic. We need leaders. People who will drive their team forward and never give up. That is something this squad has never lacked before under Darren Ferguson, but this season it looks completely devoid of passion.
What teams have looked fairly tasty so far?
Rotherham looked very good when we played them away and Leyton Orient were the best side we’ve faced this season. Walsall were also impressive even if we were equally woeful. I also like the look of Coventry, Bradford and Wolves so it should be an interesting season.
You certainly put a flag in the sand at the beginning of the season when you signed Britt Assombalonga from Watford for £1.5mill. Has he lived up to his hefty price tag?
He certainly did at the start of his career here, but his form of late has been awful. He has looked as lazy and disinterested as anyone and is not doing enough to justify the hefty fee we paid, even if he isn’t getting anything in terms of quality service. I know this sounds harsh given he is still only 20-years-old. But after spending so much money on him, we can expect more in return in my opinion.
Who else did you bring in? And who should we look our for?
Lee Tomlin, on his day, is as good as anybody in the division. But he has looked more interested in arguing with referees and getting sent off than actually playing football of late.
Elsewhere, Tommy Rowe, Mark Little and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing all have the ability to be match-winners at this level.
Your squad is the most expensive Posh have ever assembled with far more money spent on players than your last successful stint in this division. Surely you can’t justify even a playoff place. It’s sh@t or bust for Posh surely
In terms of our aims this season that’s certainly correct but financially we are relatively secure whatever happens. We have made big money on the likes of Dwight Gayle (signed for Crystal Palace for a fee around £4.5m), Craig Mackail-Smith (signed for Brighton for £2.5m) and Paul Taylor (signed for Ipswich for around £1.75m) recently and not spent too much of it (BillytheBee – bar the £1.5m on Assombalonga lest we forget. That’s not chump change) so we can afford to stay in this division for a little while longer if needs be.
That said, this squad should be getting promoted. It has easily enough quality to do so and it will be a massive failure if we don’t achieve a top-two spot this season.
You may or may not be aware of the spat going down between Talksport host and Posh fan Adrian Durham and Brentford FC after he called us “Brentford Loan-ford” for apparently loaning players instead of buying them (we had 3 loan players in our starting 11 against Wolves and 1 on the bench so not sure where he got his facts from). Uwe Rosler wasn’t happy and wanted a face to face with him to explain things. Quite astonishingly, Brentford communications team then chose to publicly pick a fight with Durham rather than do what most PRs do. Is this something Posh should actually consider (loan players that is … not pick unnecessary fights with the media) bearing in mind your hefty spend at the moment?
I think this is something Posh have considered. We’ve brought in Hogan Ephraim on loan but has hasn’t made the desired impact. Last season we had to rely on loan signings to attempt to save our season so I don’t think not considering it is something you can accuse us of.
There was a very famous song down at Brentford. “There’s a circus in the town. Barry Fry is a clown”. Is he still the same olde joker?
Fry’s actually doing a decent job behind the scenes now, dealing with transfers. He’s been much quieter, although most Posh wish he was completely silent, I think!
Darragh McAnthony bought Fry out a few years back. Seems like a decent chap.
MacAnthony has completely transformed the club since he has taken over adding an identity and ethos to Peterborough United and bringing pretty much unprecedented success in these parts. He’s certainly a outspoken character, but I think most Posh fans appreciate him being so open with the fans and we certainly wouldn’t want to swap him with any other chairman in the Football League.
More mature Brentford fans have very fond memories of Peterborough – surprisingly winning the league at London Rd back in 1992. Darragh is talking of moving you away from London Road. Good news or bad?
That talk actually died down a long time ago. Originally we wanted to move to a new stadium, but that idea was quickly shut-down by the council. Now we’re just trying to renovate London Road.
We used to love to drink on that boat near the ground before the match. Great venue but always smelt of sick hence the nickname ‘SickBoat’. Have they managed to clean it up yet??
Haha, Charters is really nice now. It’s well worth a visit.
Do you remember when you beat us 5-1 and Andy Clarke very cheekily rounded keeper Paul Smith then with the goal open, stopped the ball on the line and headed it into the net from on the floor?
I actually wasn’t supporting Posh back then so I don’t, but I have heard stories about that goal so it’s one that’s been passed down the ages!
There was that weird period when the Sky TV cameras came down to shoot “Big Ron Manager” and Ron Atkinson was installed as “troubleshooter” to manager Steve Bleasdale. They already tried it at Swindon and it seemingly fell apart as Iffy Onura walked out. So surely the writing was on the cards that It was gonna end badly for Bleasdale with him eventually resigning. It was brilliant to watch as a Brentford fan getting an insight to how shoddily one of your rivals was running their club but you must have been thinking at the time “what the f@ck is going on here?”
Again, I wasn’t a fan at the time it was broadcast as I started supporting Posh the season after. But looking back at the documentary, it is crazy to see how bad things were at the time and where we were heading if MacAnthony didn’t take over and start steadying the ship. We’ve come a long way since then.
Do you still hope that your ball pops out of the hat after Cambridge Utd in the FA cup draw or are those days well gone now?
Of course, it’s been far too long since the last time we’ve played Cambridge and everybody wants to see another game between us. Unfortunately, they normally don’t make it far enough to draw us in the cup!
Head to head, Posh are just shading it winning 20 games to the Bees’ 19 with 12 games drawn. You already have one over us this season with a Paint Pot Cup trophy win. Do you think you will do us at Griffin Park to keep the edge?
I’m really pessimistic. To be honest, I can’t see us winning as we’ve been so poor of late and you’re a decent side.
Give us a score prediction
Brentford 3-0 Posh.
Give us a 1st, 2nd and playoff winner prediction
Wolves, Posh (I still believe we can turn it around) and Bradford.
BillytheBee – Brentford news. Brentford will be high in confidence off the back of a scintillating 0-0 draw with Wolves. This wasn’t your usual drab affair. Wolves fans were surprised how we really took the game to them and thought we were one of the top 2 teams to visit Molineaux so far. Seven games unbeaten now – six wins and a draw. But more importantly 5 clean sheets in a row. There were no injuries from what we could see on Saturday so expect an unchanged side. If what John says is true, expect Harris, Forshaw, Douglas and Saville to give the Posh midfield a torrid time. Peterborough will come down with their 5-man defence and try and stifle the game and get a draw. We will create chances for sure so it will rest on whether or not we have our shooting boots on or not.
Beesotted would like to thanks John for taking time out to give us a truthful synopsis on the ups and downs of Posh at present. You can follow John on twitter – @johnvettel. You can also check out Standing on the Glebe the Posh blog and podcast for more news and views on Posh from the terraces.