I wrote yesterday in order to review the transfer window and the fact that over the course of the month Brentford had succeeded in bringing in four players and losing nobody. They had also resisted the temptation to bring in an experienced striker to support Andre Gray and instead decided to keep their powder dry should a short term addition be required once the loan window reopens shortly. I felt that the club had acted carefully and responsibly and simply kept to their tried and tested blueprint of improving the squad slowly but surely and concentrating on bringing in young players with huge development potential.
I waited for the fallout but I was gratified to discover that the overwhelming majority of the comments I received totally agreed with the club’s actions.
David Carney just seemed to wonder what all the fuss was about:
Spot on, of course, but far too much analysis by just about every Brentford Supporter. The simple fact is that Matthew Benham has a clear vision for success and the creation of a dynasty. In setting out to achieve that vision, he has seen the absolute necessity to have the very best mix of minds that create an outstanding football club. Benham knew Mark Warburton before he worked at Brentford and knew exactly how his mind ticked AND what a wonderful technical football and people motivating mind it is, alongside his understanding of Team Environment.
Add into the mix David Weir, Frank McParland, Mark Devlin, the other coaches, medico’s, academy, etc, and there is a unit that is the equal to, if not better than, any other Football Club in the UK. Everyone outside that select group running Brentford FC is unaware of the detailed planning and strategies being implemented, cost pressures, personal player issues, competition from other clubs, etc. All we know is that this is one hell of a trip and very few football supporters at any club experience the development of a dynasty on their doorstep as we are witnessing now. I first saw Brentford in 1954 and there has never been anything like what is happening now – so just enjoy the ride, enjoy the wins and do not become an instant expert. We have Benham, Warbs and the rest of the team to do all that for us. Our role is simply to support and enjoy.
I wish it was so simple David and that all of us were as phlegmatic as you appear to be! We all live and breath Brentford FC and it is hard not to scrutinise, kibitz and even criticise simply because we care so much and are desperate for things to work out as we believe they can and will.
Mike Rice also felt strongly that we need to remember how far we have come in so short a time and that we have kept to our pre-planned strategy without attempting to “live the dream” or run before we can walk:
Your remarks got me musing on when exactly did the change take place? Mark Warburton’s arrival at the club was clearly highly influential, but my trip to Wembley, when he was assisting Nicky Forster, did little to change my “stated hope”. Uwe Rosler also represented a sea change in attitude at the club, but as you say, there were still the “Stevenage talks”. I have trouble with the chronology, of who arrived when and before whom, but I think two factors have played an enormous part: our ability to attract the likes of Adam Forshaw and Jake Bidwell on loan, and Matthew Benham’s reticence to ‘splash the cash’. Ever since he has arrived at the club he has matched his generosity to the position of the club, and the ability of those running it to spend his money wisely. Nobody knows how much he is worth, but the money has always been there in sufficient quantities, but never more than necessary.
When Bees United took over, he stood back and injected the bare minimum to get by. That clearly wasn’t going to work, so he took more of a stake in the club and spent a bit more money. Andy Scott was given just enough cash to get us out of League Two. We have never been at the top of the pile in terms of playing budget, but have had enough for an astute manager (and director of football) to bring in players, set up loans, adopt a playing style and achieve success.
Not for Matthew Benham the Chelsea or Man City approach. He has never flung money at the problem. He has shown admirable restraint. How easy would it have been for him after the Doncaster/Yeovil season to throw money at the problem? And when we did get into the Championship, he increased the budget enough to make a few key acquisitions, all young and good investments for the future, but not enough to attract the attention of the media or our ‘biggers and betters’ with their parachute payments. Of course, the FFP regs now come into the equation, but I bet Brentford, with some of the smallest gates in the league, do not fall foul of it.
Similarly, I bet Brentford’s playing budget (and player expenditure) may put us in the top half of the money table, but by no means matches our league position. At this moment in time, I believe Brentford has the perfect combination of wise owner and loyal lieutenants in Mark Warburton, David Weir, Mark Devlin and Frank McParland, who all share the same vision for the club and fully agree the means of achieving it.
This combination has worked so well that we are now ahead of the timetable. But that is no reason not to believe that all that has been achieved won’t last. Indeed, while many including me scoffed at the idea of an Academy as being above our station or a bottomless money pit, I can now see it is all part of Matthew Benham’s long-term plan. It will hopefully provide a steady stream of the kind of players we now take on loan or buy for £1 million. So getting back to when the change in my “stated hope” happened. I think it was the moment – after a first half in which we were the total underdogs – Stuart Dallas connected with the thunderbolt that put Derby firmly in their place.
Luis Adriano was far more vehement and bullish in his comments about how happy he is with how the club is being run and that we managed to keep hold of our prime assets:
Seriously, anybody whinging about our business in the transfer window needs to have a visit from the Ghost of Transfer Deadlines Past… Remember Nicky Forster? Remember DJ?… Some of the best business in these times is in simply keeping hold of the talent you already have.
How would you feel if Harry Redknapp actually knew his stuff and spent his time on Monday chasing our talented youngsters rather than his usual preference for has beens like Adebayor? Or he wasn’t too busy trying to get an exchange on his duff Christmas present from West Ham?
Just imagine that Crystal Palace had taken Andre Gray off our hands giving us a quick profit… Or if Jota had been snapped up by a Premier League or La Liga club willing to invest in his potential.
We have KEPT HOLD OF OUR VALUABLE ASSETS. HOOBLOODYRAH.
We got Long in on loan and he is clearly a talented boy. There’s our cover up front in addition to ‘Big Nick’ who actually scored a goal on Monday night. Some people don’t know how good we’ve got it right now.
Also, would you rather we bought a modern day equivalent of Neil Shipperley? I’m sure there are plenty out there. That is NOT how we do things now.
Honestly, I read/hear people moan and can’t help shaking my head.
It is also important that we don’t just become satisfied with where we are. When we see the Ghost of Transfer Deadlines Future, I don’t want it to be saying, “ah yes, 2015, that’s the best you’ll ever have it”.
I think we need to get the balance right of understanding where we came from and enjoying careful, steady progress.
I have every faith that there won’t be a second season syndrome struggle if we don’t go up this year.
Just consider how much losing a Play Off Final can muck teams up. Look at Orient as the most recent of many examples. When I came away from our Yeovil game though, I knew we’d go up the following season.
Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the people we have in charge and generally around the place these days. We have brought in players, staff with the correct mentality (as well as knowledge of the game) to succeed. This is why if we get close but no cigar again (I can’t see us/anyone ever getting as close as a crossbar away), I’m sure we’ll just continue to come back stronger.
If we do go up to the Premier League, there is every possibility we’d come straight back down. Not a guarantee, just a fact of financial life. If we did, I’m sure we’d rebuild and just go up even tougher next time round.
So basically, enjoy where we are right now. There shouldn’t really be any true Bees fan whinging these days. It’s not been better in most of our life times. We just haven’t reached our pinnacle yet.
TRUST the people in charge. They know what they are doing and they will continue driving us on this wonderful journey.
There is absolutely nothing that I can add to those wonderful words. Thank you everyone – and thank you Brentford FC too!