Tarky’s Tale – 26/1/15

James Tarkowski finally broke radio silence yesterday when he issued a personal statement intended to explain his actions last week when he refused to play against Burnley.

Here is what he had to say:

I wanted to share a message with the fans following last week’s events. My plans were to do this sooner but I agreed with the club that it was better to do so once I’d returned to training.

I have always enjoyed giving 100 per cent playing for Brentford and am always proud to wear the shirt.

As a team, and with your support, we’ve had two years of great progress. From the promotion to the Championship through to last season where we reached the Play-Offs, I have so many special memories of this club and of the backing we’ve had from you, the fans.

I have always had a strong bond with my team mates and the fans. I also have a very close relationship with my family who, like you and my team mates, have been thereand supported me throughout my career.

Unfortunately my mum has a serious, incurable illness and her condition has been getting steadily worse. I live a good four hours away from her and during the autumn, it became clear to me that I needed to get closer to home to support both her and my dad.

I was open and up front about this with the Club, who were sympathetic and said they’d work with me and my agent to try to reach a solution which worked well for the Club whilst giving me the possibility to move to closer to my mum.

We decided to keep this matter confidential in the best interests of everyone. I decided not to put in a transfer request as we agreed it would be better to work together on this.

In the run up to the match against Burnley, I felt completely frazzled and unable to concentrate properly. I felt that to play in the match in this frame of mind may actually do more harm than good. I thought that my distraction may result in an error that would let my team mates and the fans down. After much thought and consultation with the gaffer, my family and my team mates, I felt unable to guarantee my usual standard of performance and said as much to the gaffer.

I would like to apologise to my team mates, the gaffer and the fans. I hope that you can understand the pressure I was under and that no offence or insult was intended to anyone associated with the Club. I have taken the sanction given to me by the Club with good grace.

I would also like to thank everyone who has offered me support over the last ten days, and thank the Club for continuing to understand my situation at home.

I am still under contract at Brentford and am committed to giving my best for the Club, the team and the fans, as I always do when wearing the shirt.

James Tarkowski

When I last looked earlier this morning there were already pages and pages of comments on social media endlessly and forensically examining the runes and entrails and taking every single word apart in an attempt to analyse the exact meaning and nuances of what Tarkowski had said and in many cases comparing his situation with that of Jota who was pretty much given compassionate leave recently given his own personal problems.

Please feel free to wade through them all if you have the time, energy, interest and desire to do so and the general tenet of the comments ranges from a continued and unchanged feeling of anger at his original behaviour to a sense of understanding that the seriousness of the situation relating to his Mother’s illness had led him to behave irrationally and unacceptably.

I have no intention of giving an opinion on the matter as quite frankly I don’t really think that it matters one iota or jot what I think. What is more important is where this now leaves us.

Frankly the club is betting each way and covering the bases as nothing has really changed. Tarkowski still wishes to leave the club and Brentford will still only sell him if they are offered an acceptable sum for his transfer. Everything else is pure gloss and window dressing.

It would be to everybody’s advantage if a club does come in for the player before the end of the Transfer Window and offers a sum in excess of three million pounds. Should that be the case then I would fully expect that Tarkowski will be on his way. The key question is whether clubs will now be looking to take advantage of the unedifying situation and offer us well below market rate?

Given what he had to say yesterday it will be particularly interesting to see how he copes with the dilemma should a club south of the Watford Gap attempt to sign him given his stated intention to return to the North of England.

What the statement did, given that it included an apology to all parties, is open the door to the possibility of Tarkowski playing for us again should his move not come to fruition, and that is where the problems arise.

There is absolutely no point in leaving the player in purdah for the remainder of the season, thus further eroding his transfer value and turning him into damaged and shop-soiled goods.

Tarkowski is finished at Brentford, that is quite obvious to me. A parting of the ways is inevitable and it is just a question of whether he leaves in the next week or at the end of the season.

As for his playing for us again should he still be at the club after the Transfer Window shuts, I would hope fervently that the form of Dean, Barbet and O’Connell makes his presence on the pitch unnecessary and superfluous, not because I feel any personal vitriol towards him, but simply because his presence would be turned into a sideshow which would take attention away and distract everybody from the only thing that matters – winning football matches.

The Tarkowski situation and how we should handle it has totally divided and polarised the supporter base and is just one more unsettling episode in what has been a season that in so many ways has resembled a soap opera in terms of some of the off field happenings.

I have no way of knowing what will happen between now and the end of the month however I believe it would be in the best interests of everybody if James Tarkowski, talented player that he undoubtedly is, finds a new home as soon as possible.


13 thoughts on “Tarky’s Tale – 26/1/15

  1. I don’t know what exactly was the purpose in having Tarkowski make his apology on the official website but I assume it was to cover the bases in case we cannot move him on and to leave the door ajar if we fail to find a buyer and have to integrate him back into the squad at some point.

    He is however damaged goods now and it seems likely that he’ll be sold for considerably less than we valued him at the time of the Fulham offer.

    I have not changed my mind Greville and stand by my conviction (posted on an earlier blog of yours) that I did not agree that the original BFC statement was wise and also I thought that it was very poorly written and would come back to bite us.

    Although we would have speculated endlessly a diplomatic ‘calf strain’ or ‘personal family issues’ could and should in my judgement have been offered for Tarkowski’s no show against Burnley with the club sorting it out behind the scenes in this case and working to move the player on without the tarnish of other clubs being aware that he withdrew his labour in what the club deemed to be unacceptable circumstance and probably wondering what they would be buying in to.

    However I accept that I very much remain in a minority and the vast majority like yourself believe that the original statement from the club was excellent and showed a welcome smack of firm government. It’s a matter of opinion and I respect yours and the majority who think that the club has handled this well.

    I see that Ross McCormack didn’t play for Fulham against Hull on Saturday but was officially ‘ill’.


    • Greville, I agree with virtually every word of your analysis and the conclusion you reach. Nor do I believe that the club had any alternative but to issue the statement it did on the events leading up to JT’s refusal to play against Burnley.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought a lot about the discussion on here concerning BFC’s statement the other Friday, frankly I couldn’t make up my mind on the wisdom of issuing it. But once the club allowed JT’s statement to go up on the official site, it confirmed to me that Alan’s take on things was indeed right – perhaps very unfairly BFC now “look” bad over this. Mind you Burnley don’t come out of it well either!

    There are a lot of smart people working at BFC these days, in my view we now have to recruit a senior professional to manage the club’s top level media and PR output – and quickly.


    • I am a fan of Rebel Bee and seldom disagree with his comments. But I feel I must on this occasion. Why would any club want to employ a “senior professional” to try to pull wool over the eyes and ears of the media? Surely media management demands that clubs should tell the truth however embarrassing that might be.


      • In today’s football, especially for fans, how you come off in the media can be pretty important. For example, other clubs know that Tarky is very keen to leave Brentford, and may take advantage of this by offering less than they would if they thought he was happy at Brentford.

        As opposed to telling the outright truth, events like Tarkys need to be thought out and managed. I think we should employ someone for ‘damage control’, as these somewhat scandalous events at Brentford seem to keep popping up.


      • Fair Do’s Peter, it’s a tough one for sure. My struggle here is that if I agree with BFC’s original statement and handling of the player, how can I continue to support that in light of yesterday’s statement? There are major contradictions between the 2 officially sanctioned statements, perhaps BFC have seen an angle that I just don’t see, but somehow I doubt this.

        The media attention on championship clubs is far greater than we’ve been used to, step up a division and it is magnified 100 times further. Our wonderful owner does not court the press, and the senior staff around him have other roles to fulfill. Which means that the glare of the media is often focused on the coach or other staff who are not equipped to deal with it. BFC has come under siege in the past 12 months and not handled things well, and for the future prospects of the club it needs improving. For this reason I feel that we need to bring someone in, not to deliberately deceive anyone, but to set and manage the agenda and to present BFC in the best possible light.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think there are pros and cons regarding whether BFC should have issued that statement before the Burnley game but you cannot put the genie back in the bottle and I am more concerned with what happens now.

    I would totally accept that honesty is best policy but I would also say that in business there are times when confidentiality and sensitivities mean that it is reasonable to be less than completely open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It may be reasonable to be “less than completely open” My issue is with those who seem to believe that good media management would be to tell the Press that a player is “ill” when he blatantly is not. The truth will out !


      • Peter, I don’t think that anyone on here has suggested that we reported Tarkowski as ‘ill’ so I’m not sure exactly with whom you have an issue. I personally suggested the tried and tested ‘calf strain’ or preferably ‘personal family issues’ which judging by Tarkowski’s statement would have covered it if indeed it was deemed wise and important to rush out a statement. I didn’t and I said so at the time.

        Fulham reported Ross McCormack as being ‘ill’ for his non inclusion in the squad last Saturday which coming days after a substantial offer was made for his services by M’boro no doubt raised many eyebrows including mine. It is now reported that McCormack is refusing to play until he gets his move so it’s starting to catch on.

        At least on here we can have sensible ‘agree to disagree’ discussions whereas elsewhere if anyone dares to post a slightly negative comment regarding any aspect of the club it’s perceived by some as a disgraceful attack on Matthew Benham.


  4. I might be in a minority here but am less angry with Tarkowski and am more sympathetic towards him. He is young, seems to have been unable to manage what was going on (transfer talk, family situation) and in his words was “frazzled”. This maybe not professional maybe, but then we aren’t robots and react to situations differently. Maybe he was badly advised.

    There are things which don’t add up – if the issues were indeed personal and BFC were aware for them, then the pre Burnley announcement makes no mention of it – yet with Jota we were aware of personal issues.

    Maybe Tarkowksi was hoping to be loaned to club nearer to his mum, who knows (he said he did not put n a transfer request).

    One man does not make a team (well maybe Judge almost does), and the Preston game showed a pretty determined back four.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess in a competitive industry there is a difference between telling the whole truth and blatantly lying. With hindsight a simple “Tarkowski is unavailable for selection for personal reasons” would have been enough – maybe we’d have done better against Burnley and could’ve then worked our way through these issues with a more favourable outcome. But as they always say hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it.

    In line with the title of this blog recently – “it is what it is”, let’s move forward together and enjoy the rest of our 2nd season in the championship, starting tonight with a win.


  6. Hi Greville
    Just wondered what your thoughts were on our lack of activity in the january transfer window.
    Also remembering ex bees still playing i told you eddie hutchinson was at hampton and richmond,
    Nathan elder is playing for tonbridge angels.


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