So What Happens Now? – 4/2/16

I thought I would allow things to settle down for a couple of days or so before I made any comment about Brentford’s activity in the Transfer Window, its ramifications, and where it has left us in terms of the remainder of the season and beyond.

Given that we lost three valuable members of our first team squad and brought in no immediate replacements I fully expected that there would be a tirade of vituperation from those Brentford supporters who still do not understand how our club is being run or, even worse, do not want to do so.

There were indeed quite a few comments on social media which accused the club of treading water at best or even going backwards, demonstrating a total lack of ambition by not splashing the cash and that we were now holed below the waterline and had given up on the remainder of the season which we now faced with a weakened and diminished squad.

To my surprise and pleasure, of the vocal minority who made their voice heard, a far greater number supported the club’s stance and welcomed the fact that even more transfer income had been received, our limited funds had been conserved and we could now build up a war chest for the summer when more quality players would be available for far less exorbitant sums than is the case in January when desperation is the rule of the game and clubs will only allow their best players to leave if they are offered far more than their real market value.

We are a case in point as Brentford placed an extremely, and perhaps artificially, high value on our star player and talisman, Alan Judge, in what turned out to be a successful attempt to ward off potential suitors, as we made it absolutely clear that only an enormous offer would persuade us to allow him to leave the club in January.

Our tough stance worked a treat and Judge will remain at Griffin Park at least until the end of the season and, given his singleminded ambition and focus on making the Republic of Eire squad for the European Championships, it is an absolute given that he will be putting everything into his performances over the next three months in order to catch the eye of Martin O’Neill.

I fully expect that Judge will be gone before the beginning of next season but we really cannot lose out as we will have benefited from his service, receive a transfer fee in excess of ten times what we paid Blackburn Rovers for him and should he make the Eire squad and shine on the pitch during the Tournament then who knows how much we might be offered for him?

In the meantime we should just be grateful that he will be with us for the remainder of the season and continue to act as our spark plug and inspiration.

In passing there was an interesting debate in the pages of The Griffin Park Grapevine a few days ago regarding the identity of the last non-striker to score twenty goals in a season for the club as Alan, with twelve to his name to date, is perhaps within striking distance and has a realistic possibility of achieving that momentous feat.

Nobody immediately sprung to mind with the exception of Johnny Brooks who scored twenty-two times way back in 1962/63. He was a classic inside forward who played alongside John Dick and Billy McAdams in a team that scored ninety-eight goals whilst on its way to winning the Fourth Division title. We all send him our continued best wishes given that news broke last season of his ill health.

Other midfielders or wingers who in recent times have got anywhere near the hallowed twenty goal mark in a season are Bobby Ross with fifteen in 1970-71, Glen Poole, Paul Evans and Allan Mansley with fourteen, John Docherty with thirteen and Gary Roberts with twelve goals.

if I have forgotten any other candidates then please let me know.

Please excuse me for that brief but enjoyable diversion and now, back to the present day.

I will simply say that we have already made a massive profit on James Tarkowski which will be increased significantly should Burnley get promoted, and we enjoyed six years of excellent service from Toumani Diagouraga and also obtained a three hundred per cent profit on what we paid Peterborough for him.

Thankfully Co-Director of Football, Phil Giles, has given a long and illuminating interview on the official club website which explains far better than I can the rationale behind our entire Transfer Window strategy, why we divested ourselves of Toumani Diagouraga, Jota and James Tarkowski, what efforts were made to bring in fresh blood and, most importantly, where we are going from here.

If you have not read it, then I commend it to you as it is clear, open and honest and, at least to me, he makes perfect sense in what he has said.

Words, however wise and well meant, are cheap, and actions certainly speak louder, and we now all have to wait and see what transpires during the remainder of this season and, even more importantly, in the close season, before we can finally pass judgement on the success or otherwise of the most recent Transfer Window.

If the departing players are replaced wisely, as I fully expect, and further tweaks are also made to the squad, then all will be well.

In the meantime I have made a list of all the things that I hope and expect to see take place over the course of the next few months which ideally will go a long way towards proving that we remain on track and that further progress will be made:

  1. We retain our focus and remember that there is still over a third of the season to play and that performances and points remain crucial and an absolute priority as is reaching the recognised safety mark of fifty-one points as soon as possible
  2. A realisation that the season is most certainly not over as has been claimed elsewhere and that matters cannot be allowed to drift
  3. Beating both Queens Park Rangers and Fulham and proving that we are the top dog in the Championship in West London
  4. Experimentation in terms of lineups and even formations as we need to assess what works best for us and which players are up to the challenge and can remain with us and contribute fully to our journey and who is not up to the mark
  5. Giving Philipp Hofmann, Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Andy Gogia a run of games to see if they are good enough to thrive at Championship level
  6. Likewise with Marco Djuricin as he was looking good before his unfortunate injury at Blackburn in early November and a decision will need to be made as to whether he becomes a permanent signing at the end of the season
  7. Giving Lasse Vibe a breather from time to time given the amount of games he has played over the past year without benefit of an end of season break
  8. Seeing if Vibe, Hofmann and Djuricin, or any combination of two of them can play together in a front two
  9. Easing Lewis Macleod into the team and allowing him the chance to sample Championship football when his fitness levels allow. A place on the bench tomorrow night at Brighton would be a good start
  10. Identifying a suitable backup for Jake Bidwell who could also be groomed into becoming his successor should Jake not extend his current contract with the club
  11. Demonstrating to crucial mainstays of the team such as David Button and Jake Bidwell that our ambitions remain unchanged and convincing them to buy into our vision by extending their contracts with the club beyond 2017
  12. Coming to a suitable agreement with Harlee Dean that allows both sides to feel content about him signing a new contract. With the departure of Tarkowski, Dean is now the only senior right sided centre half at the club and hopefully he will thrive on the responsibility as well as the opportunity it affords him
  13. Persuading Sam Saunders to put his American Dream on hold and coming up with a new deal that allows him to combine playing with perhaps developing a new career as a coach
  14. Nursing Scott Hogan through the final stages of his recovery period and getting him back onto the field with renewed fitness and confidence in his ability
  15. Giving Josh McEachran the opportunity to develop an effective partnership with Ryan Woods as our defensive midfielders and hoping he regains sufficient fitness to make forward runs too
  16. Deciding upon the future of Alan McCormack and ensuring that he has a dignified exit if that is the way things go
  17. Encouraging Ryan Woods to get into the opposition penalty area whenever possible and to try shooting more often
  18. Doing everything possible to persuade John Swift that his permanent future lies at Griffin Park and that next season he will be allowed to play in the centre of midfield rather than out on the left wing
  19. Integrating the impressive Yoann Barbet into the team whilst still convincing Jack O’Connell that he has a future at the club
  20. Keeping in constant contact with Jota and doing everything within our power to persuade him to return with his batteries recharged and spirits revived as and when it is possible for him to do so
  21. Trying to persuade Nico Yennaris to sign a new contract at the club given his value as a squad member
  22. Encouraging Sergi Canos to try the spectacular when appropriate but not to take on too much responsibility on the pitch
  23. A limited number of loan players are brought in to fill gaps that currently exist on the wing and perhaps at centre half and ideally they are on the try before you buy basis which has worked so well previously
  24. To continue our root and branch review of the Academy
  25. To bring in more promising players from outside for the Development Squad and hope that the influence of Fleming Pedersen produces a winning mentality and helps bring some emerging young players through to the first team squad
  26. Finding appropriate loan moves for Josh Clarke and Jermaine Udumaga so that we can find out just how good they are
  27. To identify and initiate appropriate levels of contact with potential new signings for next season from both at home and abroad and ideally formalise agreements with them for next season and beyond

So there is certainly much for us to look forward to between now and the end of the season and hopefully many of the points I have mentioned above will be actioned by the club.

I would love to hear from other supporters regarding their own wish list for the next three months as I am sure that I have left a lot out.

 

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14 thoughts on “So What Happens Now? – 4/2/16

  1. A lot of sense as usual Greville. I sincerely hope that the season just does not fade into oblivion and that we manage to finish up roughly where we are at present. For me worse case senario would see us finish around 20th. and the best top ten

    On a personal level I must admit that I will be glad when this season is done and dusted. From day one we seem to have struggled from one problem to another, some of our own making and some for reason beyond our control. Surely the gods will treat us a little better next time around.

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  2. Just to add my thoughts and a sincere question or two.

    No issue with the outs during the window, slightly disappointed not to get at least one signed – just to give us a little boost. And the lack of incoming recruits does make our task that bit harder in the summer.
    DS has handled himself well through a testing period, and mostly I hope he’s comfortable with how the window worked out?

    I also wonder if we are finding it more difficult to attract players and get deals done – if so why, and does PG need some help?

    Let’s not forget that it was the recruitment strategy pursued by Mark Warburton, Frank McParland and Mathew Benham that has yielded such incredible returns for the club. With such returns was the shift to our version of moneyball / anayltics actually necessary?

    Whilst i’m comfortable with where we are at right now, it is interesting that Warburton’s lack of transfer activity last January, and his apparent veto on Djuricin opened the crack in his relationship with MB.
    MW wanted a smaller, tight knit squad we were told. Some were highly critical of MW over this, and that we didn’t really go for it. Yet in not so different circumstances at the start of this window, we are now giving credit for the good sense in consolidating and closing out with a smaller tight knit squad. So I do wonder what is different now?

    Phil Giles gave a good honest interview which was welcome and exactly what i’d like to see regularly. I feel for him a little in that he has to set a more realistic tone, to pull back from some of the more lofty aims set out by his co DoF.

    Anyway it is back to the football again, with 3 very tough fixtures to come. Looking forward I genuinely hope to see Dean Smith’s team take shape and he can put his mark on the team. We are in a decent place because of Lee Carsley, I’d love to end the season saying the same and more about DS, I want some of the newer recruits and returning players to impress, to the extent that we can see some of these assets realising similar valuations to the group from 14/15. I also want to see the semblance of a team emerge that can be a bit more settled and consistent next year, maybe even challenge. A few goals and some confidence from the 3 availabe strikers would be good – and wouldn’t it be something to see Hogan and MaCleod wearing the stripes and showing promise.

    Finally i’d like to end the season with the supporters on the same page – as much as a game of opinions and passions will allow.

    Phil Giles thinks we can win 12 from our 17 remaining games, i’ll be ecstatic if that happens, and we’ll be in the play offs. Honestly i’d take 4 or 5 wins as the minimum requirement, and would be pretty pleased to achieve 7 or 8.

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  3. Wow, what a great blog, Greville! I can’t think of anything to add – you’ve covered off everything! I would also love to see Swift’s loan made permanent, particularly in light of the fact we lost out on George Evans. Swift is still young and finding his way, and he sometimes does drift out of games. But I think his class is evident for all to see and signing him long-term would be a great move. I guess it’s a case of whether we could afford him and whether or not he sees his next move in the Premiership, a la Pritchard going to West Brom (assuming we don’t go up this season!)

    Good shout for Sam Saunders to ultimately become a coach. His enthusiasm is infectious and just having him around the place must be great for morale. I could see him being a natural at working with young players. So hopefully he’ll stay and eventually ‘do an O’Connor’.

    Apart from that, I too thought Phil Giles spoke a lot of sense yesterday and it was great to hear what’s going on with ins and outs. Now it’s push, push, push for these remaining 17 games, get as many points as we can and look forward to some great new additions in the summer.

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  4. Liking the 27 point Greville plan. Ever thought of a DoF job?

    Cannot say there is anything I disagree with. Like yourself, rather frustrated by some on Twitter claiming the season is over and we have thrown in the towel. To be top half with the season we have had off the pitch (injuries, transfers, pitch, coaches, personal issues) for me is nothing short of a miracle.

    To add, for me the Hoff has already shown that he has what he takes at this level. Technically, nothing like an Andy Carroll type. He just needs a sustained run in the team. The striker issue is interesting. One could argue that all 3 options work better as a pair, but in order for Judge to flourish, we need to stick to 1 up front. In fact before the season started I watched Lasse play for IFK on YouTube & was superb but playing as part of a 2.

    Saying that and ask any Walsall fan and they will tell you how inflexible Smith is with tactics, its 4-2-3-1 or nothing. So id like to be proved wrong before the season is out!

    Would also echo point 25, but would love to see Josh Clarke & Jan Holldack be invovled with the first team squad.

    By the way, thought you were excellent on BeesPlayer the other week. Your frank h/t comments complimented the Burridge/Cabble commentary perfectly. For me the winning formula for BeesPlayer!

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    • This is becoming ‘boring’ I agree with virtually every word of your analysis.I would be delighted to see Lewis Macleod and Scott Hogan in first-team action before the end of the season if fitness permits. Glad to see DS has said Lewis will be in the squad for the Brighton game. But for me the real eye-opener of the past few days has been the performances of Phil Giles in representing the views of the club’s senior management to fans and the world at large. A natural communicator he will always command more attention and credibility than a hired ‘ professional PR practitioner’ who some were calling for recently.And that comes,as you will know Greville, from a very Ex ‘professional PR practitioner’ !!!

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      • Not sure PG is a natural communicator but he’s certainly not a slick PR man, his open and honest interview was good to see – one or two of these a month would be most welcome. Rasmus is the media man, public speaker – with he books and profile, interesting that PG fronts up nowadays and that RA has been quiet lately.

        I’ll openly admit i’m one who feels that BFC does need to up it’s game on the top level PR and comms. On the big topics we’ve been mugged off by the press since last Feb, and have repeatedly shot ourselves in the nuts with our handling of these moments. This isn’t PG’s job – perhaps the chairman could pitch in too?

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  5. Most organisations that I have known over many years have invariably claimed they have been unfairly treated by the Press.Why should Brentford be the exception? No PR man or woman , however good,would be able to break that mould.

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  6. Brentford may not be an exception, but relative to our importance in the football world we are more scrutinized – negatively. What other mid table championship club headlines a 4 hour radio show in the way that we did on Talk Shite recently? Who had to front up on TV – the head coach, is this his role?

    Since The Times MW story broke 1 year ago, it has become evident that many news journalists have problems with BFC.

    The best form of defence can often be to attack, BFC could do more to get the message out on all of the positive things that are happening – just my view that this isn’t being done at present..

    As the club has grown and improved in almost every area, our communications have been left behind and we haven’t handled the big media interest stuff well – surely you would accept that?

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    • No, I do not accept that.I am not denying that the initial club statement responding to the MW fiasco was a PR disaster and I wrote to the Chairman at the time expressing my display at the inept handling of the issue (I note with some interest that in a previous comment Rebel Bee even suggested that the Chairman should be asked to play a greater part in improving club communications!) But no PR practitioner would have been able to prevent the subsequent and continuing “hostile” media reaction to a club that announced that it intended to “sack” a popular and media friendly manager even if he won promotion to the Premier League.I believe the club has learnt lessons from that initial disaster and has made good progress in improving communications with fans and the media in recent times.We must agree to differ on this occasion.

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      • No problem that you disagree Peter, I always read your posts with interest and you clearly have some experience in this particular area. You sound surprised that I have suggested that the chairman may be able to play more of a role in our communications, out of interest why, and what do you feel his brief is?

        This week marked an improvement in communications with the fans, agreed & very welcome. I am truly struggling to see where we have improved in our media facing communications. With our head coach model I don’t think that Dean, or Marinus before him should have to “front up” on the bigger issues. Who is our media spokesperson for such things?

        Anyways let’s have a great performance and result tonight, and get the media reporting on that.

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  7. I regret that I have no idea how the Chairman sees “his brief” What I do know is that I was not at all happy with the way he responded to my critical letters on the MW affair– addressing me by an incorrect name (Dear Mr King) in a written reply some 2-3 months late!.But all that will be forgotten if we win tonight!!

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  8. Oh that was you – yes I recall that total faux pas on his part and wasn’t impressed either.

    Agreed a decent result tonight would be a great response after a difficult transfer window.

    Up the Bees.

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