“It wouldn’t be a proper Summer unless we signed Swindon’s best player from the season before.”
Cutting – certainly, maybe even a bit cruel, but totally true.
For Jonathan Douglas read Alan McCormack. For Alan McCormack now read Alex Pritchard.
No wonder the Swindon message boards are beside themselves and drowning in vitriol.
What is more ironic is that Swindon, who rejoiced in being seen as Tottenham Hotspur’s nursery team last season are now fast becoming Brentford’s feeder team!
For all their demeaning comments, most Swindon fans bemoaned the loss of both Douglas and McCormack and the drive, skill and passion that they had provided the Robins over the years.
The disappointment they felt over the loss of the two Irishmen is nothing compared to their fury at losing their star player from last season to a team that Swindon supporters resolutely refuse to accept has overtaken and far surpassed them in terms of infrastructure, financial solidity and prospects for the future.
Alex Pritchard was a shining star at The County Ground last season.
On a season long loan from Spurs he rapidly proved himself to be one of the most exciting prospects in the division and finished with eight goals and an identical number of assists.
He terrorised opponents with a combination of pace, skill and directness and was a danger from long range with his ability from set pieces and eagerness to shoot with either foot.
His temperament let him down on occasions and he had some disciplinary issues but hopefully he is maturing and can be handled by Mark Warburton and David Weir.
Pritchard caused the Bees problems last season with a live wire display at Griffin Park where he helped set up the first goal and forced a wonderful late save from David Button and at the County Ground he led Alan McCormack a merry dance, forcing a penalty kick and being a constant danger.
The news of his arrival on a season long loan has been welcomed with enthusiasm by Bees fans who see another missing link being filled.
Pritchard will bring pace and guile to Brentford’s left flank and he and Jake Bidwell are certain to combine effectively and ensure that they provide a constant left sided threat to all opponents.
Pritchard is Brentford’s fifth preseason arrival and the gulf in quality between all of them and say, Rotherham’s “Dirty Dozen” is boggling.
Rotherham have mainly brought in experienced journeymen and some gambles. Fair play to them, maybe that is all that their budget allows.
Brentford, for their part have signed proven La Liga experience in Marcos Tebar and he is expected to add tackling ability and vision to the midfield.
There have also been unsubstantiated rumours both on the Transfer Rumours website as well as our old friend and comfort blanket, The Griffin Park Grapevine, that concerted efforts continue to be made to bring in other foreign players.
Personally I hope that these stories are true as I believe that there is more value for money shopping abroad and we can potentially find and afford players of a calibre that are beyond our reach in the UK.
That being said we haven’t done too badly so far with our other new additions!
We have succeeded in signing proven talent at First Division level in the anticipation that they can continue to develop and thrive in The Championship.
In Alan Judge, Moses Odubajo, Alex Pritchard, not to mention Adam Forshaw, James Tarkowski and Jake Bidwell, Brentford now possess six of the best players from last season’s First Division and the signing of Andre Gray, probably the best player in The Conference, further reinforces Brentford’s approach in the transfer market which is to identify the best affordable young talent in the lower leagues and hope that we can develop them further as we progress through the divisions.
There is talk of Scott Hogan, Rochdale’s emerging young striker joining the Brentford project, and given his growing reputation and burgeoning talent, he would also fit the bill should he eventually sign for the club.
My holiday plans mean that I will miss the preseason games at Boreham Wood and Barnet, ironically the two matches closest to my North London home but I’m sure that there will be excitement to spare as the season gets underway – and personally I can’t wait to see our new players in action.
The Bees started with a 3-1 victory at Boreham Wood last night and first reports indicate that it was a comfortable initial run out but something quite remarkable occurred.
Jake Bidwell broke his duck and scored his first goal not just for the club, but also, I am reliably informed, his first since he last played “Three And In” in his local park in Liverpool as a youngster.
He so nearly scored what would have been a crucial late equaliser last season at Swindon so I shall end this article where I started, with mention of The Robins!