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Beesotted song-master, Lou Boyd, discusses the merits of Brentford playing a modern footballing system and believes that Brentford will benefit from sticking with it.

The past week has seen Jose Mourinho excuse two recent Chelsea defeats by acknowledging his players are still learning his new systems and, at the other end of the spectrum, Orient’s Russell Slade insists his side have plans A,B,C and D to prevent them becoming this season’s premature ejaculators extraordinaire.

Whilst both of these teams scrapped score draws at GP earlier this year, the recent home defeat to the self-styled ‘Orient Express’ has led Uwe Rosler to reveal that a) the team didn’t play the system he felt was needed to suit the players on the pitch and b) that the team were behind where he wanted us to be (albeit within 3 points of relative success).

Rosler’s admission was neither the tea cup throwing tantrum, nor the lonely umbrella-clad resignation, we’ve seen from other managers when plans aren’t followed and it went some way to placate post-match accusations that BFC has no plan Bee (sorry).
But was it a bad workman blaming his tools or is it the case that for all the systems, planning and routines you practice, you’re only ever as good as your last pass, tackle or shot? Is League One too difficult a division to place philosophy over pragmatism?

It was evident upon arrival that Uwe had systems, ideas and a vision; counter-attacking, box-to-box, high tempo stuff we were promised and at times given, like a third tier and third rate Borrusia Dortmund. It seems the perfect antidote to the tiki taka dismissing stance of one of his predecessor’s.

Andy Scott, who believed League One demanded ends before means and results dictated style, not the other way round. Scott approached League One with the formula: players + new dugouts x ball launched into box from defender = required result/blame the players. When Scott’s Charles Reep-esque (see Graham Taylor’s Watford) percentage game failed to deliver both style or results, Andy departed and sweeping changes left only Gilham, Buzzbee & Azure Catering amongst the rubble.

A clear defeat for the ‘results at any price’ mentality as far as BFC was concerned, but it has worked elsewhere when Mourinho parked the bus, when Arsenal were boring, boringly effective and currently at Offshore Rosie’s QPR, as they squeeze their way to the top of the Championship. Maybe these are systems, just not nice viewing; desperate, ad hoc playing styles looking on only as far as blocking the next cross or delaying that next free kick conceded.

Go back further and Martin Allen’s take on things led to a style of play that had us bully the division with a motley crew of marauding centre backs and dropouts, that made match winners of Eddie Hutchinson and Chris Hargreaves. Did he have the division almost sussed and play accordingly? Or did he make the most of what he had and got lucky(ish)?

What marks Uwe out is his openness about his system, a shifting 4-5-1, ready to take possession and spring into a 4-3-3 going forward. This season we’ve had mixed results with this and reverted several times to the more traditional 4-4-2.
Of course, we are reminded by rival fans that Uwe has the luxury of a big squad, good budget and a board that’s patient. Surely, the least he could do is return us delivering a cracking playing style and bounce us out of the division?

When it hasn’t looked like working, there’s been suggestions that he dosen’t know his best lineup, can’t change tactic, even that he expects too much from his young players. That’s the problem with committing to a system, it takes time, consistency, input and refinement. Are the players BFC attracts good enough for the system Uwe expects?

With the development squad, NextGen scouting links and a decent wage budget I’d say yes, and whilst I have faith in Rosler, I’d be happy for them to suit it or leave. The likes of Weston, Legge, Bean, and maybe even Hayes, have been deemed ‘not suitable’… Sam Saunders has proven he is, whilst Donaldson, Adeyemi, Moore and Forrester have profited nicely from it.

I still have concerns about our squad depth in terms of quality, our narrow midfield style, our dependance on two peerless marauding full backs, loanees only good enough to warm benches and a jury’s worth of attacking players yet to carve out any un-droppable combinations.

I would really like to see Rosler persist and not get ground down, to only see as far as the next attacker to nullify. If, or when, ‘project Championship’ comes to fruition, I’d like to see us do it well and do it with style.

As the old saying suggests, if we did have to join ‘the ones we couldn’t beat’, I rather BFC be counted amongst the Swansea’s than the Stoke’s. Long live the systems and the beautiful game!

Lou Boyd