Yesterday was one of contemplation when Brentford supporters reflected upon and considered the import of the statement issued by the club on Tuesday afternoon and their views differed as to how well they thought the club had handled matters and whether we were all now in a position to put things behind us, move on and concentrate on the football again.
Peter simply hoped that the situation could now settle down:
You have summed up the current situation at the club we both love, and in particular the feelings of the club, its employees and supporters alike. We continue to live in hope and must stay true to our core beliefs around what is best for the long term future of Brentford FC.
Rebel Bee spoke for many when he admitted how conflicted, disappointed and sad he was about the situation and how it had been dealt with:
So after the week from hell and the arrival of a statement finally worthy of the name, we are left in the knowledge that is was indeed Times Journo 1 – BFC 0. That hurts as much as anything that has followed, and the thought of a previously disinterested media dining out on BFC’s shortcomings fills me with rage. Whoever leaked the story, if it went down that way, had better stay clear of Griffin Park, they will not be welcome again.
Short lived though it was, the beautiful period is over. Since Mr Rosler departed my bad days at work or troubles elsewhere have been soothed by the magnificent achievements of our club – unified and pulling together. My every moment has been consumed by this fine manager and his team, the growth of Brentford FC, and of course the incredible improvements off the pitch to boot. I honestly thought it could be dynastic, Warbs as our Shankly, Busby or alike. I knew he would move on one day, mad though it sounds only to manage the national team! But it’s all over now, and although I’ll be there as ever cheering on my club, things will never be the same again.
Maybe I’m out of step, old school and lacking the vision and ambition that we need to progress, sorry – I can’t help it. Mark Warburton has been treated shabbily in my eyes and I thought we were better than that. There seems to be a swing of opinion towards Matthew Benham now, and his money, his club, his ambition etc. Maybe his “Moneyball” formulas and apparent penchant for structure & foreign coaches will pay off, he may be right and I’ll be first in line to commend him if it comes to pass. But for me we had it all, the full package – we were getting there anyway, and now have decided to change tack. He has my gratitude and support – not that he probably needs it, I’ll be a lot more sceptical in future, and I hope the writer of this fine blog is too.
They’ve been caught out and someone needs to provide checks and balances, more so now than ever. Blind faith support for the owner isn’t healthy and if we as supporters form opinion simply through the fear of him bailing out on us, the slippery slope has begun. It would be great to see all of the non playing staff reach out to us fans now and put this to bed, that would go a long way towards bringing us together again. So the games come thick and fast and there is all to play for, can Mark Warburton and the team regain focus and get back on track? What happens if they don’t and defeats pile up – not a pleasant scenario for anyone concerned. Our next opponents will help to answer that one, if the Bees turn it on with a packed Griffin Park behind them AFC Bournemouth had better watch out, if not they have all the tools to pull out all the stitches on recent wounds – what then? We’ll know soon enough.
John Hirdle too was wrestling with the happenings of the past week and how they had been allowed to come to pass and seemed resigned and cautiously optimistic about the outcome:
As ever you have the situation summed up perfectly. I think the thing I find most difficult to grapple with is why Matthew Benham has chosen this particular time to make these changes to the structure of the club when things were going so well under Mark Warburton and the present system. If we were struggling at the bottom of the table then it would be more understandable. Of course having put in the amount of money into the club he has, Benham has every right to go down whichever future avenue he wishes too and he deserves the trust and support of the fans until he proves to us otherwise. Being the dinosaur I am I can’t say the talk of mathematical modelling and sleep coaches leaves me drooling but who knows? Benham may well be a complete visionary and in three to five years time his success with such methods at Brentford may well have many other English clubs going down the same road.
For the here and now, whether Mark Warburton actually lasts the season out or not, we should all get behind him in the remaining games and show our appreciation of an excellent manager, and as the events of the last week have shown, a man of great integrity also. There will be no shortage of takers for his talents when he becomes available post Brentford, I am sure. The players as always are the key to everything and now we do at least have some clarity on things it is up to them to make the last couple of months of the season exciting. We know they have the ability and quality. The question is with all that has happened will they have the motivation? I guess we will find out Saturday.
Richard Poole from his eyrie in France gave the footballer’s dispassionate viewpoint:
Well, if I read it right the owner is looking to run the running of the club similarly to how we operate in France. I know this system very well as when nearly forty years ago when I signed for second divison club SC Toulon it was the owner who wanted me and not really the coach. Then after six months I got injured and the coach was sacked as for the third year in a row we missed out on promotion by a mere couple of points. So in the end after changing the coach several more times the club finally got promoted in 1983.
But where are SC Toulon today? They exist only in the depths of non league football and the owner’s gamble did not pay off. Though I cannot see this happening to our Brentford I recognise that Matthew Benham, like lots of today’s owners wants more say on the playing side of things and that’s reasonable given that it is their money. How many of the teams in England have a similar system that works? Very few! Clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United have strong willed managers who, rightly I feel would not let the owner meddle with the playing side, although I am not suggesting that this is the case at Brentford, but the line is very thin. I have some experience of managing in the lower reaches of non league football here in France many years ago and I am totally old school in my approach. I think that the only thing we Bees can do is to stay behind our team and just hope that it all works out, although like many, I feel it was not just badly handled but quite un-professional and should have been dealt with near the end of the season.
In response to John and Richard I would simply say that things were not planned or meant to have been handled in the manner that transpired. The newspaper leak changed everything and meant that a difficult situation that was being discussed calmly, rationally and slowly behind closed doors between the owner and the manager, and was never meant to go beyond the club until the end of the season became public property and swiftly intensified until it got out of control with the ghastly results that we have all witnessed.
It is also totally unfair to associate Matthew Benham with other interfering, megalomaniac and meddling owners. You all know who they are! He is not doing things on a whim and a prayer or by consulting the runes, totally the opposite. Everything he does is cold, clinical, measured and based on innovation, breaking the mould, best practice, intensive research, data analysis and statistics. He is not accustomed to making mistakes and every Brentford fan will hope that he has got it right again this time.
Someone close to the action remarked to me today that Mark Warburton’s view of life is “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it,” whereas Matthew Benham’s is at entirely the opposite end of the spectrum and is far more akin to “It might not be broken but let’s keep improving it.” Therein lies the difference between the two of them.
Patrick Sutton was far more bullish in his views:
I am amazed at some of the fans’ reactions to this decision and while I understand the support for Mark Warburton I am at a loss as to how and why folk can damn Matthew Benham. For his actions I am behind Benham 100%. To hear fans saying let’s start a petition to get Benham out is outrageous and full of blind ignorance. The matter is now clear and if Mark does not see or agree with Matthew’s philosophy on moving the club continuously forward that is his choice. I get the impression that both had an in-depth heart to heart and though different views were aired, an amicable parting was agreed. Now we as fans must focus on our bright future once again and see that managers like players, as we have witnessed over the last two seasons, come and go almost in a heartbeat.
We are lucky to have a owner who cares about the club, has a long term vision and I’m sure a passion just as big as every other Brentford fan. The only thing I am not sure about is if he should have stayed until the end of the season, and I feel the swift appointment of a new manager would have been the better way for the club although I do see the negative side to this and how it might affect our style of play for the rest of the term. As sad as it is to see this outcome let’s just remember how long we have waited to be in the position we now find ourselves……..Onwards and upwards. Is is not an option…………it’s our destiny.
Thankfully the situation is calmer now that the dust has settled and hopefully the media spotlight and scrutiny will now fall on clubs other than Brentford. Everyone recognises and hails the achievements of Mark Warburton and regrets that he and Matthew Benham have not been able to resolve their philosophical differences and there is a deep sadness that he will be leaving the club. Everybody also recognises Benham as the saviour and lifeblood of the club and trusts him with our future, a trust that he has earned many times already. There is now an uneasy truce between club and supporters and it is hoped that renewed success on the pitch will help bring everybody back together.