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Beesotted contributor, Lewis Holmes, takes a big gulp of medicine, looks back at recent history, then tell us all to be brave boys and girls after a couple of on the road Premier League defeats.

We’re in the trenches now. Results aren’t going our way. The team looks jaded and out of sorts. The rubber has met the road, we’ve come to the crunch, the going’s got tough, the shit’s hit the fan.

But we’ve been here before. Several times in very recent memory, in fact. It’s a weird old quirk of Brentford football club that we do seem to love a good old winter of discontent.

2015/16: Dean Smith’s side records two wins in the three months from January to March. Brentford fans, conditioned to accept the worst, react accordingly. We are in trouble, we’re in a relegation scrap, they need to do something NOW or we ARE going down. #SmithOut trends all over the socials. We go on to win seven of our remaining nine games and finish 9th,

2017/18: It’s nine league games before we record a win. Smith ain’t working, we’ve sold our three best players to Birmingham so clearly there is NO AMBITION, we WILL go down if they don’t act NOW. Another comfortable top half finish.

2018/19: Thomas Frank loses eight of his first ten games. The #SmithOut mob retune their favourite refrain into a chilling Dawn of the Dead-esque zombie moan: “Fraaaaaaank Oooooouutt…!” after every single disappointing result (only promotion to the Premier League truly puts this one to bed). The club goes on to score 72 goals in total – a feat that they will go on to better in the next two seasons – and records yet another top half finish.

We all know the story by now. It’s been three years of solid upward trajectory since Frank’s first season vindication, and we’re sat like scruffy urchins amongst the preening Premier League elite. For all but the handful who remember Harry Curtis, it has literally never been better. The Premier League was always going to be tough, and while we definitely had some gleeful optimists predicting a top half finish, when asked the vast majority would’ve snapped your hand off for 17th.

We all knew this season wasn’t gonna be all sunshine and lollipops, we knew we’d face challenges and maybe even crises. We all expected this, but you’d think that the conditioning of old would’ve been tempered by shiny, wide-eyed optimism after the last few seasons. But no, here we are yet again: depressingly still dealing with the same old kneejerkers.

We should cash in on Toney NOW. Bench Fernandez IMMEDIATELY. I want Jensen GONE. Seen them all over the last few weeks, haven’t we? First off, as an amateur scribe banging away at his keyboard, allow me to offer a little feedback: doing that capitalisation thing that The Sun does not add emphasis, all it does is make you look like a big kid chucking a strop. Stop doing it and you’ll be taken more seriously. More importantly though, you don’t actually think it’ll solve anything, do you?

Benching a 23-year-old in his debut season, in the Premier League no less, is not going to give him more confidence: it’s going to shatter what little he already has. Do you honestly think that shipping out one player will magically cure the malaise that’s affecting the entire midfield? Do you truly believe, deep in your heart, that we should punt a key cog in the machine – in mid-season – because he’s out of sorts? Of course you don’t, this is just how you deal with the situation.

When the heat is on, you either put your shoulder to the wheel or you let the wheel roll over you. If you’re reaching for quick fire, magic bullet solutions to the sticky run we’re in then I hate to break it to you, but you’re slipping under the wheel. I say this with a bit of confidence as well, because the club has given us all the clues we need. At the start of the season the message from the DoFs was clear: we have almost everything we need, we’ll sign a few players to augment but we won’t go nuts. We categorically did not want to do a Fulham: we’ll stand or fall on what we have.

The messaging from Frank recently does suggest we’ll bring in January reinforcements, but the gist of it hasn’t changed: they’ve got to be the right signings. We still won’t go nuts. One of my favourite impotent wails is “We need a Prem standard RB/LWB/attacking midfielder NOW!” you sawit before promotion as well “We need a proven Championship striker.” I always bite on these, I can’t resist.

Alright then, who? Who’s out there that is not only available but is also affordable, and wants to come to Brentford, and will hit the ground running with no bedding in time, and will compliment what we already have? That question never gets answered. It’s a piece of piss getting Brentford to multiple Champions League finals on Football Manager, but reality just don’t work like that.

Read Beesotted’s Manchester United match preview and pub guide here

It all comes back to the man at the top. Matthew Benham’s entire tenure has been characterised by pragmatic, realistic growth. Slow and steady. I doubt that he’d tear that approach up even if we were propping up the table, he certainly won’t do it when we’re 10 points clear of relegation. I don’t want to come over all Arsenal but we really do have to trust the process here. The buck stops at the top.

I’m not blindly cheerleading either, I’m just looking at the evidence. After a decade with Benham at the helm, over half of that tagged with the tired old moneyball trope. Marinus Dijkhuizen remains the only significant mis-step.

“I pay my money, I can say what I want!” Yeah sure, that’s your prerogative…  but it’s about as useful as Mark Lawrenson’s Premier League predictions. It doesn’t help the team, it doesn’t help the club and it certainly doesn’t help your own blood pressure. We’re tinpot Brentford, we’re ravaged by injuries, and we’re on 23 points after 21 games. We’re in a healthy position – Norwich fans would kill for this – with over three months of the season to go.

Take that negativity, seal it in concrete and chuck it in Brentford Dock. Manchester United bring their expensively assembled band to town on Wednesday and we can’t fill Lionel Road with noise if we’re busy tutting on Twitter. We’re in the trenches now – what are you gonna do about it?

Lewis Holmes