Pep Talk – 15/11/15

JS53729436Talk is cheap and whilst all the rumours are still unsubstantiated, the fact remains that there is growing speculation that Brentford are closing in on their preferred choice to replace Lee Carsley as Head Coach. Much of the chatter is on social media but the mainstream press has finally joined in the fun too with The Daily Telegraph yesterday naming a new candidate, and one who had not previously been openly mentioned in connection with the club.

According to journalist John Percy, the Swansea City Assistant Manager, Pep Clotet, is in serious contention to take over at Griffin Park. It would appear that any leak has come from the Swansea rather than Brentford end given that Percy is the Midlands football reporter for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and predominantly deals with the Premier League. Indeed only a few days ago, on the ninth of November, he wrote a detailed story about the current state of affairs at Swansea and revealed that their manager, Garry Monk, has effectively been told by the club’s chairman, Huw Jenkins, to agree to changes to the overall management structure of the club or risk losing his job given Swansea’s recent dire run of only one win in their past nine games. It is alleged that Jenkins has suggested that Monk must agree to bring in an experienced coach to assist him and in that regard the name of Colin Pascoe, a Swansea legend and Brendan Rogers’s former assistant at Liverpool, has been mentioned.

Now it emerges that Clotet, whose role at his current club might now be under real threat given the chairman’s apparent ultimatum, could be a serious target for the Bees and has apparently been interviewed by Matthew Benham over the past few days.

Is Percy jumping to conclusions or could there be some – or even a lot, of truth in his suggestion regarding Clotet which has now been picked up by other media outlets in Wales? Perhaps it would help if we examined Clotet’s background and credentials in more detail in order to see if he might fit the criteria required for Brentford’s new Head Coach.

He was born in Barcelona and is still in the first blossom of youth at only thirty-eight years of age. He had a totally undistinguished playing career before earning his coveted Pro License when only twenty-six years of age and took his first coaching role whilst still in this twenties at UE Cornellà before moving to RCD Espanyol’s where he worked with their youth teams. He then joined another local team in UE Figueres but was fired after only nine games as they were relegated from Segunda División B. He subsequently returned to his previous club, still in charge of the youths.

Not the most impressive of starts but all the time he was gaining crucial coaching experience which he then began to use to good effect at Espanyol before he was was spotted by Roland Nilsson at Malmö FF, who won the 2010 the Allsvenskan championship with Pep acting as his assistant. His first major Head Coach appointment then came at Halmstads BK but it ended in disappointment when they finished bottom of the table.

Still he kept moving on and learning and coached at Viking FK before catching the eye at Málaga CF where he began to make his name under Manuel Pellegrini by developing several  young players who would shortly make an impact in the first team.

Swansea City were impressed by what they had seen and in November 2013 Clotet was appointed academy consultant at the club before being promoted to assistant manager in May last year where he has remained ever since as manager Garry Monk’s main confidant and support.

Those are the bare facts which confirm that Pep has packed in a massive amount of coaching experience despite his tender years but we also need to put some flesh on the bones and for that I am going to Mike Calvin who profiled Garry Monk in his excellent recent book on football managers, Living On The Volcano.

Monk spoke extremely positively about Clotet when interviewed by Calvin. Apparently Pep was influenced greatly by the coaches at Barcelona and Johan Cruyff in particular before attending one hundred and sixty training sessions when Louis Van Gaal was in charge of the club in order to analyse the way he set up his teams to maintain possession of the ball. Closet is also renowned for breaking down matches into five minute segments so that he can assess thoroughly what is happening on the pitch and pass on information in real time to Monk. He is quite obviously open minded, thorough, relentless and committed to his role and would fit in perfectly with Brentford’s stats and analysis led approach.

There is talk that he came onto the Brentford radar last year when he was recommended to the club and was apparently considered for the managerial vacancy at FC Midtjylland over the Summer and given the situation at Swansea, it would appear likely that he might well be available and would perhaps not require us to pay compensation in order to acquire his services.

Like the majority of Brentford fans, I would prefer that Lee Carsley remained in post until the end of the season given the way that the squad has responded to him and the renewed sense of togetherness and organisation which has culminated in a series of much improved performances and results, however that does not seem to be an option given that it seems he is determined to leave his position as Head Coach as soon as possible given his total aversion to many elements of the job.

If that is in fact the case then we can only thank him for all his efforts on our behalf and for buying us enough time to make the right appointment to replace him. I would hope that there will still be a role for Lee at the club given his obvious ability but somehow I doubt if that will suit him and his ambitions. Hopefully if and when the new man arrives there will be a hand over period and given his popularity with the players I would anticipate that Paul Williams will be retained as a coach which will help maintain some element of continuity.

I am sure that this coming week will reveal whether or not Pep Clotet is the man for us. He appears to tick many of the boxes for us in terms of his background, reliance on stats and the fact that he has gained a massive amount of coaching experience around Europe given his relative youth. Most importantly, he has worked in England in the Premier League, fully understands the physical demands of the English game and is working at a club that is renowned for its excellent passing and possession based football. How players respond to him is something I am not qualified to answer.

I might be wrong – I normally am – but it would not surprise me if Pep is the man for us and that as long as he can get the players on board and convince them to buy into his methods then we might well have identified a massively impressive candidate who will become exactly the type of Head Coach that we have been seeking .

17 thoughts on “Pep Talk – 15/11/15

  1. Couldn’t agree more Bill. We need some continuity and someone who literally speaks the same language as the players and to whom they will respond. Closet is interesting and I think ticks many of the boxes – but as with all of them, he is a gamble!


  2. My comment would be is that when Pep gets the top job things have not gone well. I would suggest also his appointment as Monk’s Assistant coincides with the downturn at Swansea. Sorry to be negative!


    • How can that be true? Last year Swansea had their best-ever season – and that coincided with Clotet’s appointment.

      Swansea are probably the nearest model to the way that Brentford operate so it seems to make a fair bit of sense to be interested in someone from there.

      Whether he would be the right appointment remains to be seen, of course, and it’s a big jump from being the adviser to the decision-maker but with a team of coaches to share the burden, maybe it would be a good move for him?


      • Apologies. Appointed Assistant at Swansea May 14 so did have a successful first season.

        That considered I am still unsure. If Clotet is appointed, lets see what the latest rollercoaster holds?


  3. The situation at Griffin Park has become like a soap opera this season – it’s hard to keep on top of what’s happening anymore!

    Like you Greville, I would love for Carsley to stay in place until the final ball is kicked next May, but apparently the owner does not share this point of view. I understand and appreciate the desire to get the new man in place asap but who’s to say it won’t be another Marinus situation – particularly given Clotet’s poor managerial record?! We could then find ourselves onto our fourth head coach before we’ve barely gotten into 2016!

    If Clotet is indeed to be the new head coach at Griffin Park, then good luck to him. But the big fear for me is that the players have already been through so much already this season, that to get a new man in now could have a real adverse effect and undo all the fantastic work that has been done since Marinus and Roy were given the bullet.

    Let’s see what happens, but Clotet’s (admittedly youth-based) managerial record does not fill me with excitement or optimism. In fact, if the plan is to bring in a guy with predominantly youth management experience, why the hell not give the job to Mr. Brentford himself – Kevin O’Connor? He’s doing a great job with the development squad, he knows the club inside out and he is Brentford through and through. Unlike Pep Clotet.


    • Nothing to do with Matthew Benham,Lee Carsley doesn’t want to be a manager and wants to go to other pastures Asap once the new coach is in place.I suggest you check out LCs cv in football management not impressive in the short periods he’s been caretaker boss.King Kev as manager coach …God give me strength


      • All very well talking about Carsley not being impressive but facts are facts. We won four on the bounce. The players now know what they are doing. The players are happy once again. The training methods are now working. The players are fitter and stronger. The players (seem to) enjoy playing for LC. Pretty much the same players as were previously playing for MD.

        ‘Nothing to do with Matthew Benham.’ Also extremely wide of the mark! Of course it is to do with Benham. Benham is the driving force and the beating heart behind everything that happens behind the scenes. He is a successful and driven businessman and someone who plays to win. Hence the (apparent) decision to now dispense with the services of the man who has a) dragged us kicking and screaming out of a relegation dogfight and b) won the Skybet Championship Manager of the Month award for October! This has EVERYTHING to do with Matthew Benham, presumably hastened by Carsley’s consistent reiteration that he does not want the job.

        And why the derision re KoC? How is he any less of a suggestion than Clotet? At least he is passionate about BFC and his early results as development squad coach would appear to be extremely encouraging (I’m interested to hear what your reaction was when Warburton was given the manager’s job…)


  4. In the main i’m with Beesyellow22 on this, let’s just rewind to the statements that came out of GP when LC was put in charge until the end of the season. So that wen’t well then didn’t it, seems he can’t get away fast enough – so why did he take it and why didn’t BFC just say it was going to be a very short term move?

    If Clotet does join I can’t see Carsley or Williams being part of the team going forward. And what has Clotet actually achieved in the game to justify our pursuit of his services?

    There seems to be a fascination with overseas coaches, ironically i’d now convinced myself that Edinburgh and Smith could be decent appointments.

    Here we go again.


  5. Bees yellow22 said that Lee Carsley is leaving due to Matthew Benham which is complete rubbish and a slur against our owner.How many more times LC doesn’t want the job in actual fact he hates it and wants to move on.Lee Carsley has done a good job and I also would have liked him to have continued but he doesn’t want to he wants to coach young players as he does with the England under 19s and it gives him the flexibility for him to work on other things outside of football.I was not dissing LC by saying look at his CV but it’s just an example of if he was on our list today as a target check out his history before joining us and you could find many negatives.
    We have had a horrendous injury list this season and unfortunately picked the wrong coach in MD this can happen to the best (Man united for example)You might think this season is a soap opera but I among many other fans have enjoyed some great times this season number 1 beating that lot down the road Charlton Leeds Wolves Bristol Blackburn away to name a few.
    When the new manager comes in I expect LC to help the transition for a week or so and Paul Williams to stay.I know the majority of our fans to get behind the new man and also expect the usual uninformed clap trap to continue on message boards.


  6. Bill we know you’re not dissing LC, but if he doesn’t want the job and hates it so much then something has happened right? As a reminder here’ are the relevant quotes from our chairman’s statement.

    “The Club has moved swiftly and decisively in order to maintain its long-term vision and philosophy”.

    “That’s why Lee Carsley has been appointed as Head Coach for the remainder of the season”.

    “Lee has shown with the Under-21s he is an outstanding leader. His work at the training ground has been hugely impressive whilst coaching the development squad and has demonstrated he understands the Club’s philosophy and the ambitions of Brentford FC”.

    “We believe these qualities will help Lee settle into his new role effectively and quickly”.

    As to his reasons for not wanting to continue, we can only guess and speculate – I don’t blame MB for this at all, however the management team shouldn’t get a pass for the MD disaster.

    I do wonder why once again why we have managed to make a mess of this, even if it is just in the way it was communicated. As for “uninformed clap trap” – really is that your answer to anyone who sees it slightly differently? I think you can do better than that.


    • Clap trap wasn’t aimed at you but the more extreme stuff that has been aimed at MB on other forums and social media sites when ever there are decisions being made.I would agree our PR has been dreadful at time over the last 12 months.Lee Carsley has never ever stated that he would or wanted to be manager till the end of the season although others have been quoted suggesting that for reasons I don’t know maybe wishful thinking.Its no secret that LC gives a lot of time to charity work and being in youth football gives him the time to do that.I wish him all the best and look forward to the new Coach taking over hopefully this week.


  7. Fair do’s Bill, but there are some wide of the mark views on both sides of this. Like you I have enjoyed some great days already this season – with Charlton / QPR the stand outs. I don’t expect BFC to be top 6 or chasing promotion either, I love the league and i’d just be happy to stay in the division with a bit to spare. I’d just like to see us settle down with the coach and players pulling together, playing some decent stuff. And i’d like the club to communicate & do its PR a bit better, so that we don’t need to speculate so much.


    • From Peter Lumley :Whoever is appointed itwill be just another MB gamble with little regard for the views of the GP faithful.For my money the “dream ticket”would be Kevin O”Connor and Paul Williams


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