I wrote a long article yesterday giving my opinion on what is currently happening at Griffin Park. Since then the water has been further muddied by Andre Gray turning down Bristol City’s offer and returning to train with the Bees. Just when it appeared that everything had settled down again, at least for the next few days until the madness resumed, news broke of an apparent nine million pound offer from Burnley and that the move could even be completed in time for Gray to make his debut at Turf Moor tomorrow – against, of course, Brentford! You really could not make this up!
Who knows what the truth is as Burnley are not renowned for flashing the cash around, and your guess is as good as mine regarding whether Gray will actually play tomorrow, and if he does, for which team. We supporters are just totally confused and heartily fed up with a situation that appears to be spiralling away out of control. We just ask for resolution one way or the other, but in today’s crazy world of football when money talks and agents rule the roost, there appears to be little that we can do apart from sit tight and hold out for the valuation that we have set on the player to be met by a team that he actually wants to play for. Pretty obviously Brentford is no longer high up on his list!
We also pray that should Gray finally leave us that sufficient time remains for him to be suitably replaced and for other players also to be added to what is a thin and beleaguered squad at present. I well suspect that moves are afoot behind the scenes and Gray’s future does not predicate everything that is being planned by our brains trust, but the clock is ticking.
The person I really feel sorry for is poor Marinus Dijkhuizen who must really be questioning his decision to join this mad house given everything has been thrown at him recently. How can he make any plans for tomorrow’s match when he does not know who will be playing for his own team, let alone the opposition? My heart goes out to him and we need to be very patient and understanding towards him.
Maybe there will be further news to report as the day progresses but I suspect that this sad and sorry saga will drag into next week or even beyond.
As for my article, several fellow Brentford supporters also had trenchant opinions that I would like to share with you all.
Rob Boyce commented:
I would certainly agree that consolidation is required, and that with the influx of new players the opportunity arises to mesh them into a potent force, once (hopefully) the injury situation improves. I also agree that the updates on the pitch and injury situation are a welcome change in communication, and hope that they are continued periodically.
Headlangdon felt similarly:
Fantastic post Greville. A properly considered, long term / long game article. I am not so sure that we are still considered a ‘stepping stone’ anymore, due to Benham’s revolutionary ideas. Maybe we are more of a championship enigma, with poachable players, though – as we keep building, this will change. I am happy to sit and ride this journey out instead of rushing it. Lets back the players, lets back Marinus and #InBenhamWeTrust.
Rebel Bee held stronger views:
As always a great read and today’s edition does raise a few areas where i’d like to challenge you a little. Always though in a friendly manner as I know we share the some love for this amazing football club – or folk club as Marinus now calls it. Firstly, I accept that BFC are financially one of the smaller clubs in the top two divisions, but we can’t allow this to become a litany for failure though. Firstly we have a very wealthy owner, whilst his generosity should not be taken for granted I doubt he’ll see us as financial lightweights in this league. We also have a growing fan-base, increased commercial income and a new stadium on the horizon, that I believe we will fill. We are a big club to those in Leagues one and two and we simply have to do what is being done to us and find / take their better players.
I don’t see much evidence of this right now, we are doing our work in Continental Europe. I would like us to find another Andre. Moses and alike here. Sure we have to be prudent and there is this outbreak of madness amongst our rivals at the moment as they chase next year’s Premier League and Sky monies – leave them to it and if crazy money is offered for our players which we cannot match then let’s do the deals and get as much in for them as possible, then reinvest. Smart work here can bridge the income gap to some extent, Bournemouth and others have made it work!
Then we come to those magical stats, not mentioned so much in the piece today, but i’ll simply pose the question. How many of our summer signings have been made based on the new analytical stats based formula -not a complaint just really interested to know? I have my doubts and would imagine that the pace of change has forced compromises here.
Then to communication, firstly I give huge credit to Mark Devlin for the work he does and the way he communicates – under his watch we are way better than ever before in areas he touches. As for the rest – woefully inadequate and worse than ever in my view. With all this change and uncertainty a few reassuring words and an update on “the plan” from the top would go a long way. I know that Matthew Benham isn’t seeking the role of “gobby” attention seeking owner or front man – I have no issue with that, but someone needs to step up, also to give more public help and support to Marinus.
What have we heard so far, nothing from the Chairman, nothing from the Director of Football who achieved much notoriety as a master communicator and motivational speaker. A little more from Director of Football number two – our very own Alan Turing (Mr Giles), usually with fairly clumsy remarks. And that’s it. Come on guys – some “Churchillian” positivity is needed here and now, something we can all get behind – is it so much to ask or are we just too needy?
Finally on to Andre – luckily we won’t get mugged off here, to my addled brain he wants out and wants to go to Hull City, he was apparently at their game on Sunday or at least watched it on television! We have the fee we want but not from them. now I truly hope that Andre stays with us, but I now doubt it very much, and we have to be wary of Bruce and Hull playing games to let this run on and on to weaken our hand, also for “someone” to suggest to Andre that he make himself unavailable for selection due to the “stress” of it all. I hope Andre is better than this, but either way I think they will all meet their match in our Mr Benham. We are still a work in progress and there is much to improve upon, but BFC are rising – get used to it people.
Paul Dryden said:
An excellent post as ever. Could we possibly imagine say three years ago purchasing players for six hundred thousand pounds and then selling on for nine million around a year later? We do have a small squad and an horrendous injury list but hopefully just round the corner Mr Lewis Macleod will be making his long awaited debut! If he is as good as they say he is then we are in for a treat.
Stephen Burke stated:
It’s a real shame about Gray – he has obviously had a very productive summer/pre-season and come back a better, stronger player who could score thirty goals in a season. As to everything else, who is pulling the strings at the club? If as seems likely it’s Matthew Benham, it would be good if he could tell us what’s going on. But PR has never been his strength!
Richard Poole wanted us to kick on:
Great stuff Greville but I think even us supporters should be thinking differently if we as a club want to push on from last year and I do not mean throwing the cash around. Yes it is great that we are selling and buying players and beating our transfer record but we are not that “Little Old Brentford” any more, we are a Championship team which showed last year that we fully deserve to be in this league. OK we need a bigger ground to go with our status but we are in the Championship so let’s do our best to stay there or dare I say go further. This is the best opportunity in years to establish Brentford FC in the higher tiers of football so i hope we give the coaching team what they need and have no regrets at the end of season as we all know in football how things can change so quickly.
Mark Croxford , as always the voice of reason said the following:
That’s an excellent analysis. I do feel a little sorry for Dijkhuizen as he has made two or three references to the fact that he is “only the Head Coach” and yet he is getting plagued during every interview with questions about transfers, incoming players, etc. I understand the questions have to be asked and we all want the answers but I do think he’s been left a bit exposed.
He made a rueful “at last” comment when asked about football matters during a recent interview. To the outsider, he’s Brentford’s manager and is being treated as such. The Evening Standard last night started their article by saying that “Dijkhuizen will be allowed to spend the whole £8 million…” If the club really wants to hammer home the message about the new structure, I do think there needs to be a bit more effort to include some of the decision-makers in the necessary public part of the process – and I don’t really mean Matthew Benham. The way the new set-up was announced, I’d have almost expected the Head Coach to do the pre-match and post-match interviews only – and leave all the other stuff to someone else!
Does anybody else have anything to add? If so please let me know bearing in mind that matters might well have changed yet again by the time I have finished writing this!