How Others See Us – 10/9/14

bbbs-4x3277-1903557_478x359Yesterday my column mentioned that two of my books were on special offer at The Bees Superstore.

Well, the advertising certainly paid dividends, as today the Brentford website proudly proclaimed the following message:

The Bees Superstore is now out of the Big Brentford Book of the Seventies and the Big Brentford Book of the Eighties.

The Big Brentford Book series has now run to three editions – a 368-page journey through the 1970s, a 474-page trip through the 1980s and a 552-page look at the 1990s.

The collaborations between Brentford fans Mark Croxford, Dave Lane and Greville Waterman feature match reports, player profiles and much more.

The 70s and 80s books were offered at a reduced prices in The Bees Superstore this week but all are now sold.

The Big Brentford Book of the Nineties is still available at the Club Shop or online at for £35.

A big thank you to everybody who responded to this offer and if anyone else would like to purchase a copy of either book for the same special offer price of £17.99 then please let me know via the comments section at the end of my article.

Moving onto other things:

Yesterday I came across this excerpt from an interview with Mike Calvin about his highly regarded book “The Nowhere Men” which, as those of you who complain about my constantly banging on about him already know, covers the crucial role scouts play in discovering emerging football talent.

Q. Which of the many set-ups discussed in “The Nowhere Men” impressed you most and why?

Personally, I felt the team of Matthew Benham and Miguel Rios at Brentford came across particularly well.

A. Brentford surprised me, because what I discovered defied the perception of the club.

I was hugely impressed by the work done at all levels.

Interestingly, Miguel and Mark Warburton, who is now manager, come from a City trading background.

That makes them more inclined to think laterally and differently.

At Academy level, the human chemistry between Shaun O’Connor and Ose Aibangee, who are different characters, really works.

mwrsThis is a club operating to a long term strategy: much of that is down to owner Matt Benham, who is a fan, but also utilises his professional experience and perspective.

Doesn’t it just make you feel proud to read about your team described in such glowing terms?

In fact, such positive coverage about Brentford has come to be the norm rather than the exception over the past year or so.

Just the other day, Mark Warburton and Orient manager Russell Slade were the guests on “Goals On Sunday” on Sky Sports, and the pair of them, looking like a combination of Uncle Fester and the Mitchell Brothers, did their clubs proud, speaking with eloquence, humour, and common sense about their roles and experiences.

imagesMark Warburton’s unique City Trader background and his unusual route into coaching and management, whilst old hat now to us seasoned Brentford fans, continue to be a source of interest, and indeed wonder to the media.

Recently Henry Winter wrote a highly perceptive and favourable profile of the Brentford manager in the Daily Telegraph ( which highlighted Warburton’s ethos and how his previous career has really helped him, given the similarities in approach between managing traders and young footballers.

Brentford have suddenly become fashionable, if not actually trendy.

I first noticed this around the time of the Chelsea FA Cup tie last January when the newspapers were suddenly filled with articles which recognised our progress under Uwe Rosler.

natRosler was portrayed in the media as a well-spoken, intelligent young manager on the move, and I am sure his media presence helped make him better known and more attractive to the bigger fish.

Since succeeding Rosler at the helm, Mark Warburton has also become something of a media attraction, and is increasingly being sought out for his well thought out and considered views on the game, and to explain his unique approach to man management.

He comes over well on television apart from his annoying tendency to mumble and speak too quickly, but he will improve with more practice.

All of this coverage is totally to the benefit of the club, which is now increasingly seen and perceived as forward thinking, ambitious and well run.

How the times have changed!

Can you imagine the media of the time trying to get any sense or soundbites out of former managers such as the monosyllabic Malcolm MacDonald or the more loquacious but totally unintelligible Jimmy Sirrell?

Given the way the club has transformed itself over the past three years it is not surprising that it has recently attracted many players who are also highly intelligent, with minds and opinions of their own.

Richard Lee has written a well received book on the psychology of goalkeeping, and his sharp and astute comments receive a regular airing in the local media.

Sam Saunders has managed to occupy himself during his long injury layoff by providing expert and pithy analysis for Bees Player, and now Sky Sports too, and Kevin O’Connor always adds value to any match he commentates on.

Things have moved a long way from my time on Bees Player, trying my hardest to coax interesting and coherent comments from the likes of the shy and tongue-tied Leon Legge!

74benhambee0805aNot forgetting media darling Natalie Sawyer, star of Sky Sports News and now their Football League coverage, who is never shy of making her allegiance to the Bees known to viewers or on-screen guests alike.

The one name missing is, of course, that of reclusive and media shy club owner Matthew Benham.

He recently conducted a hilarious and frankly surreal question and answer session with supporters on the Griffin Park Grapevine website, but to my knowledge has never been the subject of an in-depth profile or interview.

Indeed, until recently it was almost impossible to even find a photograph of him, and the club owner was able to stand on the terraces without fear of being recognised.

Brentford has traditionally been a small club, an underdog even, punching above its weight.

That will surely change, as the club’s success secrets are now becoming common knowledge in and around the game.


4 thoughts on “How Others See Us – 10/9/14

  1. Hi Greville

    Congratulations on keeping up the standard and frequency of your blog. After reading yesterday’s edition, I fully intended to contact the club shop and buy both books on offer (something I’d been meaning to do for ages).

    I’d like to take you up on your offer of purchasing the 70s and 80s for £17.99 each (and clearing a little space in your garage?). Let me know how you would like to proceed. I shall be at the Brighton game on Saturday.



    PS Do you take credit cards? 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s