Let’s Wait Until The Summer – 11/2/16

There have been so many comments sent to me over the past few days by Brentford fans eager to give their opinion on the current stasis at Griffin Park and thankfully there is a great deal of consensus in terms of an overall sense of understanding about the current lack of transfer activity and the need for the club to husband its relatively limited resources very carefully.

Our supporters are fully prepared to give the Co-Directors of Football the benefit of the doubt and wait until the Summer for the necessary recruitment to take place, however the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and what the club does or, indeed, doesn’t do in the close season in terms of replacing the star players who have already left, and any more who are about to follow in their wake, will speak volumes about the reality of our ambitions and how we are likely to perform in the short term.

That is for the future and in the meantime I am simply going to repeat the words of Phil Giles from his interview last week when he set the scene for what we can expect to see happen in the Summer:

We have identified players that we would like to bring in during the Summer. Having signed none this window we will look to do more business in the Summer.

Some of the players that we would like to bring in are the better players at teams near the top of their divisions. It would be hard for clubs who are currently in promotion battles to countenance selling their best players and we would be the same.

In order for a club to sell in January the value would have to be very high and we are not in a position where we can spend huge money on players. A better strategy is to wait for the Summer where better value will be available.

Let’s leave it at that for the time being and we will doubtless return to this topic and his words in the light of what actually transpires in the close season.

Garry Smith is a supporter who has been watching the Bees for even longer than I have and he sent me his thoughts on where he believes we are and the journey we are on, and I commend his words to you all.

I don’t agree with all of his conclusions but he has certainly written passionately and from the heart about his beloved Brentford and he deserves our attention and respect for doing so:

Thanks for providing this forum. This is a first time contribution to any media site for me and sorry if it is a bit long.

I both agree and disagree with everything I have read!

Maybe I am long in the tooth as my first Bees game was in 1963. Younger as well as an increased number of fans are desperately needed by the club given its fairly recent success and the club’s efforts and initiatives and exciting play have been great for an increased fanbase.

I sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm of youth and accept that social media is their forum of today. Because of this I fully understand their instantly voiced displeasure when standards dip, however these same fans have not experienced the pain of older supporters who not suprisingly voice their opinions by means of more historical detail. The answer is surely a balance between the enthusiasm of youth and the obvious reality.

Absolutely, I am delighted with our current standing and absolutely, I would have died for this for the last fifty plus years.

Additionally, I do agree that recruitment has been poor this year and yes the worse the season goes, the less that young and more talented players will find us an attractive proposition.

However I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Matthew Benham, trust me, no-one in my lifetime has given us more other than possibly the exception of those who saved the club back in the sixties and Bees United.

I truly thank Matthew Benham in the same way that I did Martin Allen when he single-handedly dragged us up from the depths of absolute despair!

This is our unique club, incomparable fans (who remembers the nonstop singing and support the night we lost in the play-offs to Sheffield Wednesday in 2005?) but we are all naturally negative after years of disappointment, occasionally dragged up into positivity and then seeing our hopes so often dashed.

My views on the topics that seem high on the agenda of most of your respondents are as follows:

Mark Warburton and the best players from last year were never going to stay, even if it happened a season later than it did. Last year was a freak and raised all expectation of our rise to fame, far too early. Remember that at the beginning of the season we were all talking about survival. Again I feel that recently recruited, younger supporters were spoiled too soon and are the most active on social media.

For my money Dougie’s leadership is something we have not replaced and because of that, all the responsibility has fallen on Alan Judge, he has always been an exciting player but should not be the fulcrum upon which we totally rely, teams will try to negate him and it is far too much to ask of one player.

Last season, in a team of great ball players, he was not regarded as our most important player (although I for one thought our form dipped when he got injured). This year, despite a series of magnificent performances from him, we should have had more creative options to support him and thank God he hasn’t got injured because then the threat of relegation would have been a reality.

I am actually disappointed in how much we are congratulating ourselves on merely keeping him as he will go at the end of the season and we really should have been recruiting to augment and then even replace his contribution, also we should have been preparing for what will happen next season although I for one am hopeful that Lewis Macleod may help here.

Dean Smith has been in a thankless situation, his record shows he can make the most of what he has, given time. I think he took the job knowing he was moving from one small budget club to another but at a higher level. Again, post Marinus, younger supporters expected an instant improvement (not helped by the run of fixtures and players willing to try harder for Lee Carsley when he took over) but this was never going to happen with the players available (and can I add here I am in no way underestimating Lee Carsley’s contribution, what a great job with the hand he was dealt!) and Dean was never going to carry this on to another season of pressing on for the Premier League.

I couldn’t agree more that what happens this close season will be vital to us consolidating a Championship position, what concerns me a lot more is the perception that getting to Lionel Road is going to be the answer to everything, I truly hope that Matthew Benham and the rest of the management team are not thinking likewise!!

I shouldn’t need to list teams (Wigan, Bolton, Reading, MK Dons, Huddersfield, Brighton etc.) to prove that newer, bigger, better stadiums don’t necessarily ensure better performances, bigger crowds or promotion.

I agree from a perception perspective that the new ground will help our profile and unlike the other teams cited, it could mean higher crowds, increased revenue and better players, however I have been at Griffin Park on so many occasions when it wasn’t full with its then available capacity.

I must indulge in a quick bit of nostalgia here though for us oldies, remembering a really happy memory, queueing for an hour and not being able to move in the ground in the one-nil Boxing Day victory over Crewe in the old Fourth Division – “Go Big John” – audaciously described by the club as an eighteen thousand crowd!

Yes, playing with a good team against famous teams will help, but this needs player investment and a consistent competitive league position attained before the anticipated return will follow.

I am going to join the positive crowd here and put my faith in Matthew Benham, but this was a disappointing transfer window, although I think we, whilst missing him for the remainder of the season, made a good call in getting some dosh for Toumani.

Also against the weight of opinion I have not been a Tarkowski fan, good on the ball, yes, defensively prone to errors though, mainly through over-adventurousness and an excess of confidence – definitely a problem alongside a player I like, but who is also prone to mistakes in Harlee. This partnership has been a mystery to me for some time now, they are right for a team that wants to play out from the back, but also a definite problem for a team that wants to play with its full backs way up the pitch as I believe that we need fast, intelligent central defenders, who react quickly and know when to use the long ball or hit Row Z if exposed to danger.

I am convinced that Matthew Benham thinks that we have enough points and good enough players to stay in the Championship this season, he has a potentially good Manager, some returning players, and good amount in the war chest without wasting it on over priced players in the January window.

Sadly and hopefully there will be a good transfer fee coming for Alan Judge and we all hope that there will be plenty of time and cash to allow us to build for the start of next season.

Let’s hope we make a bold but balanced impression in the transfer and loan market next season like we did last season.

To finish on this subject it would have been nice to have seen a mid season punt on a Sam Winnall, Nahki Wells, Fox in the Box type player to get on the end of the numerous crosses we keep sending into the area with nobody near them. Here’s hoping for next season.

Thanks again Garry and I would really welcome contributions from anybody else who feels that he or she has something to say and share about any aspect of Brentford FC.

Thank you all in advance.

Just to let you all know that I am going away tomorrow for a week and will do my best to keep in touch with all the happenings in and around Griffin Park.

I will therefore not be behind the goal at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday which is no great loss given the prohibitive cost of match tickets.

I will try and write something whilst I am abroad but please excuse me if I don’t and I am sure that the overwhelming majority of you will welcome the respite from my inconsequential ramblings!


18 thoughts on “Let’s Wait Until The Summer – 11/2/16

  1. Have a good break, Greville!

    I think I broadly agree with the sentiments: possibly there has been too many changes this season and with the time that new players can take to fit in that has been a weakness. Douglas’ departure was possibly inevitable, and there has been a bit of a lack of a midfield general since then. Toumani could sometimes fill the role: he could at times be infuriatingly off target and at times sheer brilliance! I would put Tarkowski in the same category as well.

    Lionel Road will never be the solution without the team there to make it buzz. We have probably got enough points now to stay safe, a few more are inevitable which should assure it. I would like to see the rest of the season concentrating on getting the injury list cleared up, giving the likes of Lewis Macleod etc a good run, so we can see what they are truly capable of. That way we can hopefully see where we go in the transfer market in the summer – and potentially in the loan market as well.

    We also get the Development Squad updates regularly: it would be good to know who is likely to break into the first team. The likes of Daniel O’Shaugnessy getting shipped off to Denmark which will provide further experience for him are interesting – who else will come through potentially?


  2. I agree with the sentiment in today’s blog & Garry’s words. But the reality is that our DoF’s will need to uncover up to 5/6 quality players in the summer. Players ready to complete in this division. We may well lose Judge & Dean and not renew any of the loans – when you add this this season’s other departures it is quite sobering!


    • Indeed – perfect subject matter, go through the current squad and estimate which current players will be at GP, under contract and ready to go next August? It is quite a challenge to bring in the quality we’ll need. and for them to gel as mentioned by Brian.

      Those under the impression that we have a nice long summer in which to do our business are perhaps underestimating the size of the task.

      Have a good break sir!


  3. Whilst I do agree with what you have written what worries me about recruiting potentially 5-6 new players in the summer is how long they will take to gel with the other players.
    We can ill afford to get off to a slow start again & must hit the ground running, therefore I believe we must look closer to home for the majority of the new players in the summer & ideally a couple of players with Championship experience, some older heads would be ideal, someone who has been there done it.


  4. Peterborough were brilliant last night against West Brom, Now they have some decent players playing decent football, they ran their hearts out and were really unlucky to lose on pens. How about we have a look at some of their players


      • Also very impressed with the Posh’s performance and spotted at least three players I would like to see atGP. While on the subject of other teams I noticed that Middlesbrough,in drawing with MK Dons earlier in the week, committed twice as many fouls than their opponents.No change there then!


  5. Also thought the quality of Peterborough’s football was very good at times, the technique of players down the leagues has really improved over the past few years. The Norwegian lad had a bit of extra class. Posh have mainly small touch players like us – tika taka is alive and well outside of the Prem.


  6. “I shouldn’t need to list teams (Wigan, Bolton, Reading, MK Dons, Huddersfield, Brighton etc.) to prove that newer, bigger, better stadiums don’t necessarily ensure better performances, bigger crowds or promotion.”

    All those clubs did very well after getting bigger, better stadiums! Wigan, Bolton and Reading had years in the PL and qualified for the UEFA/Europa Cup! MK Dons have made it to the Championship, Huddersfield and Brighton are well established in the Championship and have come close to promotion.

    Last season was probably too much too soon, but even after all the troubles this season we’re pretty comfortably midtable so having the revenue of another 5-10k fans each week plus corporate income would give us just that little more to be able to afford to keep players or to recruit ones who are a little more expensive.

    “Whilst I do agree with what you have written what worries me about recruiting potentially 5-6 new players in the summer is how long they will take to gel with the other players.”

    Last season we recruited Gray, Moses, Jota, Hogan, Pritchard, Proschwitz, Smith, Tebar, Toral in the summer/early season. The difficulty of getting players to gel is I think sometimes overstated. Even though our current team isn’t pulling up trees, it isn’t for want of gelling.


    • We recruited those players the summer before last, the fact that you don’t mention last summer’s intake is unsurprising as bar a couple they’ve not gelled with the other players. Either that or they aren’t good enough.

      Are we comfortable mid table? Take Lee Carsley’s tenure out of the equation and we’d be in deep trouble.

      LR will help, and if there is a decent Bees side on show, playing at this level it’ll be full. That’ll shock the “little Brentford” lot.


  7. Rob – In answer to your comment about the Development Squad, since it has been going I can’t think of one player who has gone on from there into the first team (and I don’t mean Wycombe, Dagenham or Newport).

    O’Shaughnessy has been with us now nearly two years and has looked about as likely to break through as Raphael Calvet.

    Just asking the question – if it isn’t bringing people through into the first team squad, is there really any point of having one?


    • Some of the Development Squad have seemed to be on the verge of breakthrough over the years, and would like to see more develop through to the first team. Would tend to agree, however, that there does need to be more done to ensure people break through. Are we recruiting the right players to the squad? Does what the club spend on them make it worthwhile when they are released or sold at bargain prices to clubs in lower divisions?


  8. Greville,
    Very interesting blogs and subsequent debates.

    As a member of the Bees United board you will know that us Bees fans were told that the club has a Three Year Plan/Strategy Programme …..at least I think it was three years but maybe five and the strategy would have been running from maybe a year ago.

    This season most of us agree seems likely to fizzle out so does this put the Plan back a year or was this ‘marking time’ for a season built into the Strategy Plan.


  9. Good to see you posting on here Alan. Whilst i’m prone to the odd emotional BFC related outburst I like to think my more sensible thoughts are shaped by what I see and the information sources that I respect.
    You are absolutely one of those, along with the writer of this fine blog, and Tom Moore at GWL – and of course many of the others that post on this site.

    You don’t know me, but thank you for the input and information you share here, and on that other fans forum, where I covertly lurk. Thanks also for all that you’ve done for our beautiful football club in far darker times.



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