Going Nowhere? – 29/7/14

ForshawAs you can probably tell from the tone of most of my recent blogs, there is a feeling of quiet confidence and optimism around Griffin Park at the moment.

And after all why shouldn’t there be?

Brentford have spent well in excess of two million pounds on bringing in six high quality new recruits.

The one million pound barrier was finally broken with the signing of Moses Odubadjo.

fansWhilst the results are not the prime consideration, we have won our first three Preseason matches and played some beautiful football of a style and calibre that long standing supporters can only have dreamed about a few short years ago.

We have sold over 5,200 season tickets – a totally unprecedented number – and the feeling of confidence and growing levels of support were highlighted by the hordes of supporters, young and old who flocked to the Open Day on Sunday.

Lionel Road is no longer a chimera, but is firmly on the horizon.

There is a feeling that under the leadership of Matthew Benham, Cliff Crown, Mark Devlin, Mark Warburton, David Weir and Frank McParland we are in safe, rational, experienced and competent hands who have ambitious plans for the club that will actually be realised.

That is why when some news broke last night that would in previous times have brought on either an attack of vapours, or more likely a reconciled shrug of the shoulders, I was pretty unconcerned.

I am of course referring to the reported bid by Wigan for our midfield inspiration Adam Forshaw.

I can well understand why Wigan would covet the player.

After all whilst being nowhere near full fitness Adam was last season voted the League One Player of the Year  by opposition managers as well as being named in the League One Team of the Year and, for good measure, he also won Shoot Magazine’s League One Player of the Year Award.

A player of great talent, energy and vision, he glides through matches with the ball seemingly glued to his feet.

He plays with his head up and is always looking for the killer pass.

More than that he appears to be a serious young man, with his head firmly screwed on, totally committed to becoming the best he can be and modest, measured and sensible to a fault.

No wonder therefore that he is coveted by Wigan, and I am sure many other clubs, perhaps of a higher calibre too.

On first examination a move to Wigan might tick some of the boxes as it was Uwe Rosler who first brought Adam to Brentford and it would also be a return to his native North West.

But is Wigan the right move for him and is now the best time for him to leave Brentford?

In my opinion the answer to both those questions is a resounding “no.”

There might well come a time when Adam decides he needs to better himself but given the way he is developing I think that he will eventually join a Premiership team – he really is that good.

He also probably realises that he needs to play a season or two in the Championship and where better to put himself in the shop window than Brentford, where he is the fulcrum of the team and where Mark Warburton has instilled a style of football that totally suits his game and allows him to shine?

At Wigan he would become just another faceless cog in a larger and far more experienced squad, be subject to the whim of Uwe Rosler’s rotation policy and would doubtless play far less than he will at Griffin Park.

From Brentford’s perspective the welcome news late last night that the bid, thought to be in the region of one and a half million pounds, was rejected also represents a watershed.

It highlights the fact that we are no longer automatically a selling club.

Of course, as that hoary old chestnut goes, “every player has his price” and should we get offered our valuation for any player then we would have to think carefully.

This is certainly not the case here with Adam Forshaw, as the reported one and a half million pound figure would, in my not totally unbiased opinion, be enough only to buy his right leg and certainly not the rest of him!

The situation is also complicated by the likelihood of there being a hefty sell-on clause with his former club, Everton, given that Adam arrived at Brentford on a free transfer.

If that is in fact the case then any fee would need to be bumped up to a considerably higher level than the derisory figure quoted last night.

Also given Matthew Benham’s financial support, we now only sell a player when we want to, when it makes best sense for all parties and on our terms, Simon Moore being a prime example.

He was given the opportunity to join a Premier League team, we were offered top dollar and we were able to replace him exceptionally well within twenty four hours with David Button who cost – if not buttons- a mere fraction of the fee received from Cardiff City.

I have also up to now not mentioned the Uwe Rosler factor.

There certainly has been the feeling that Wigan and Brentford have been prospecting in the same area for players, with Conor McAleny being a prime example.

Wigan also hired the highly rated Chris Haslam from Brentford as Head of Performance plus there was the Rob Kiernan saga last season which seemed to drag on interminably with the young Wigan defender always seemingly on the verge of returning to Griffin Park but the move never actually materialised.

Uwe has a job to do, and that is to act in the best interests of Wigan Athletic, and whilst that is totally understood, and also more than fair – why should we do anything to help him, and selling our best player to him at a woefully low price would certainly come into that category as well as send out entirely the wrong message?

That is why I slept well last night as I am certain that this situation is a storm in a tea cup and will soon die down.

Brentford have previous in this area and the examples are endless.

John O’Mara, Roger Cross, Andy McCulloch, Nicky Forster and DJ Campbell are all prime examples of players – all strikers – that were sold at far below their market value at crucial times in the season to predators who came knocking and in most cases made derisory offers that were eagerly accepted, if not having their hand bitten off.

The other day I was reading an article in a 1980s programme by then Bees manager Frank McLintock where it appeared that he was openly touting our star midfielder Terry Hurlock for sale by stating that any six figure offer would have to be seriously considered.

That was the way that things were and probably had to be at that time, and of course the club did not have the financial backing and stability that it does now, but it still seemed in many of these cases that we were doing our best to self-sabotage and cut our own throats by allowing our prime assets to be stolen away at a mere fraction of their value and indeed, actively encouraging outside interest in them.

BFC Chairman Letter re Cross 1971I have reproduced a fascinating letter from the Brentford Chairman back in 1971 after the sale of Roger Cross to Fulham, which aptly sums up the way of the world back in those days.

He emphasised that Cross was promised that if a reasonable offer came in for him from a higher placed club then Brentford would sell him. On that basis Roger joined the club from West Ham.

Now the boot is on the other foot. I believe that we are now holding all the aces.

Adam Forshaw is a Brentford player, is in contract, and is reportedly happy to be where he is.

And Brentford is a really good place to be.

The time will surely come when he does leave us, but that time is definitely not now and that club is certainly not Wigan Athletic.

I look forward to seeing him play tonight for Brentford at Griffin Park!

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6 thoughts on “Going Nowhere? – 29/7/14

  1. Spot on. We’ve come a long way since our days of selling our best player to the first bidder… I never thought I’d see the day that we weren’t a selling club but thanks to Sir Benham and co, our boys will now only leave on our terms.

    Keep up the good work, I know I’m not the only one that thoroughly enjoys your thoughts.

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  2. Couldn’t agree more. We’re no longer a selling club that lets our assets leave to anyone that waves a wad of cash infront of us. Mr Benham is adored!

    Keep up the good work, I know I’m not the only one that enjoys your thoughts.

    Apologies if I have repeated myself, I left a comment earlier but I don’t think it saved.

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    • Thanks. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and check that I’m not dreaming. I’m just not used to Brentford being so ambitious and professional.

      Long may it last. Now makes up for all the dark days of the past.

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  3. First of all, thanks for the developing blog which I’ve only recently come across. I’ll keep watching out for it.

    In typical Brentford fashion, I can only add some doom and gloom about Adam Forshaw and how he might want to move. Since I have no-one’s ears and eyes,all of this is conjecture overlaid with natural Brentford negativity (although II do feel positive, really I do, It’s just that I carry all this baggage).So I hope against hope that I am wrong.

    Firstly Forshaw’s 22. Time’s ticking if he wants to make a mark – but he’s young enough to still think he might

    Secondly, with the clock ticking he can (a) stay with Brentford, A club for which, if we are to be realistic, a mid-table finish would be considered to be something of a success or (b) join a club with immediate Premiership ambitions (well, that’s where there pitching their tent).

    If he stays at the Bees, he ***might*** get a transfer to a premier league club in 2015 and be a bench sitter. If he goes to Wigan, he might end up in the premier league, or get transfered and be a bench sitter.

    Third comment – Forshaw’s 22. Given the option, with most other things being equal, at that age most people would jump at the opportunirty to be closer to friends and family. Not all, but some, and I have no idea how he’s been getting on in the smoke,

    Fourth comment – Bees are now not a selling club, but even so, where would you value him, especially if he was homesick? One and a half mill may seem like a bit of an insult, but where’s the limit for someone who has, after all, never played at Championship level? Two mill? Three?

    That’s why, although I”m looking forward to the new season, I am kind of getting prepared for Adam Forshaw’s departure. I hope like hell it doesn’t happen, but you know – if it does, it does. Cemeteries are full of people previously thought to be indispensible. The future of Brentford Football Club does not hang on Adam Forshaw, even though he would be most welcome to stay. With or without him, we’ll do OK this season, although my very strong preference would be with.

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