Ahead Of The Game – Book Signing And Review 12/12/15

I just wanted to provide everyone with some advance notice of a special pre-Christmas book signing next weekend.

Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown has kindly agreed to meet and chat to supporters and also sign copies of Ahead Of The Game between 2 – 2.30 pm next Saturday, December 19th, in the BFC Superstore before the Huddersfield Town match.

Cliff very kindly contributed an excellent, erudite and insightful Foreword to the book and he has always been extremely supportive of all my efforts, and I am very grateful to him.

Hopefully some of you will take the time and trouble to come and talk to us both next Saturday, and we very much look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

In passing, I would also like to thank Dan Williamson, author of the excellent Open Veins of Football website for his enthusiastic and perceptive review of Ahead Of The Game.

Here is what he had to say about the book:

For Brentford fans this book will act as a Bible of what was one of their most successful seasons of recent years. Ahead of the Game is a fans-perspective diary of blog entries of the 2014/15 season by hardcore fan Greville Waterman.

The author has an admirable dedication to, and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of, the Bees, having been a match-goer since he was young and even completing a short stint on the club’s board.

As a neutral I must admit to knowing very little about Brentford FC before reading Ahead of the Game. It was refreshing not being familiar with all of the players involved, or the results of that season.

It gave the book an almost novel feel, like it was sports fiction. I personally enjoyed the off-the-field passages more than the detailed match reports, like a real-life version of the Sky television show Dream Team.

The book begins in pre-season, with the author sharing his dismay at the exit of fans’ favourite Clayton Donaldson to Birmingham City. Greville’s joy at visiting Griffin Park for the first game of the season was palpable, and some of the away-day stories were brilliant.

Often the result pales into insignificance against the enjoyment of a “day out” and as a reader these anecdotes were the most pleasurable to read. One of the highlights was a chance meeting with a Burger King-munching Oldham player at an M6 service station.

The author’s match day experiences with his kids were great too, including when he coincided an away trip to Forest with seeing his daughter who was studying at Nottingham University.

The will-he-won’t-he Mark Warburton saga made February one of the most page-turning months, but perhaps the most excruciating for Brentford fans.

I also really enjoyed learning more about the mysterious presence of Matthew Benham. The media-shy owner and his “moneyball” approach have been covered in the press but it was great to learn more about the man who has transformed the club in recent years.

The diary-format meant that the book could be easily digested in small, bitesize chunks, but at 400-odd pages it is a mammoth read. Some of the passages seemed a little forced and could have been reduced or even removed to make for a more fluid read, but the detail may appeal to certain Brentford fans.

Brentford are currently in mid-table of the Championship, having recently appointed former Walsall boss Dean Smith as the manager, the second since Mark Warburton’s exit to Ibrox.

The ups-and-downs such as these are what makes being a football fan so great, and why it’s so fascinating to keep reading about the sport.

A must read for all Bees fans and recommended for football fans looking for a detailed insight into another club.

Ahead of the Game: Brentford FCs 2014/2015 Season by Greville Waterman (Bennion Kearney, 2015)

Book Signing

imagesFormer Bees legend – to me anyway – Richard Lee will be joining me in the BFC Superstore at 1.30pm this Saturday before the Preston North End match to sign copies of Ahead Of The Game.

Richard is featured heavily in the book and also wrote a brilliant review of the season which outlined exactly what is was like to be in the dressing room last season as well as his carefully considered viewpoint on both Matthew Benham and Mark Warburton.

Even if you do not want to read my stuff, Richard’s chapter is well worth the price of the book by itself!

GW & Richard LeeIt would be great to meet fellow Brentford fans who hopefully enjoy my blog and perhaps those who have not yet bought a copy of Ahead Of The Game might now reconsider and come along on Saturday.

So far I have sold around 500 copies which is pretty good for a book on Brentford FC but hopefully with the help of all of you, and maybe a pre-Christmas rush too, we can at least double that figure which would mean that I should then be able to get another book published at the beginning of next season – if that’s what you all want!

Richard and I look forward to seeing you this Saturday!

Best wishes

Greville

Ahead Of The Game is available at the BFC Superstore, via the BFC website or on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/p6tsasj

Final Cover 020615

“Ahead Of The Game” – Book Review – 19/7/15

Final Cover 020615Many apologies for the blatant self-promotion but I hope that you all can forgive me for enclosing this wonderful review of Ahead Of The Game which was written by Tim Street – obviously a really talented and observant book critic – in today’s online newspaper Get West London.

Many thanks Tim for your kind and perspicacious words! I am really knocked out by them.

Brentford blogger documents a season to remember!

BY TIM STREET
New book covers Bees’ most exciting season in decades – and more is to come

It all started by trying to kill some hours on a flight home from Spain by writing about his favourite football club.

A year later, the end result was a book documenting Brentford’s most exciting season in living memory, as they took the Championship by storm and so nearly landed a top flight spot for the first time in 70 years.

Over the course of the season, Greville Waterman, who was, by delightful chance, celebrating his 50 year following the Bees, wrote more than 200 online blogs which he has now put into print with a book, Ahead of the Game .

He said: I was sitting on a plane back from Spain last June with some time on my hands and just started writing, and the words began to flow.

There weren’t any times I struggled for inspiration. Frankly, it was harder to stop writing than start as I wrote over 225 blogs, and nearly 300,000 words, over the course of the season.

My favourite was one I wrote one last December about what Griffin Park means to me and how it has become part of my life, which I am pretty proud of.

As for my least favourite, I could have done without all the articles immediately after Times-Gate last February (when the fact that popular manager Mark Warburton would be leaving at the end of the season whether the Bees were promoted or not was leaked to The Times).

And yes, last season would have been too soon to go up both on and off the pitch, but carpe diem, when the chance comes you need to grasp it and we let it slip. Harsh but true.

If you read Ahead of the Game, you will see that my expectations changed after the Bournemouth away match in August. I was concerned until then, but after we had totally outplayed the ultimate champions on their own turf I knew that we would do far better than establish ourselves.

I have to confess that on the long drive back from Leeds in February (Brentford won 1-0 at Elland Road) I allowed myself to dream of the promised land of the Premier League – and then Times-Gate broke a few days later.

One of the consolations for failing in the play-offs was two more derbies against QPR, relegated from the Premier League, next season, which are bound to bring the memories flooding back for Waterman of his debut season half a century ago – when Brentford’s last glory era was coming to an end and years of decline were about to set in.

He said: My first game was in 1965 as a callow youth, and we beat QPR. 5-2. On my second visit we beat them 6-1. I thought Brentford were world-beaters. Not for too long though!

No other era in the past 50 years can come anywhere close to what we are so privileged to witness now. It’s as if someone up there has said to me and others like me ‘you’ve suffered so much for so long, now it’s your time in the sun.’

As for next season, with so many changes on the pitch and behind the scenes, I suspect that it might take us a little time to gel. As long as the players buy into the new coaching team and we retain the amazing team spirit and will to win of last season we will do just fine. Maybe even better than last season as we are certainly bringing in quality players.

But will next season – under the new era of Marinus Dijkhuizen as head coach, with players scouted using, alongside more traditional methods, a ground-breaking stats-based approach – be blogged and documented too?

Waterman added: I have started writing articles already this pre-season, and my blog, BFC TALK, can be found at bfctalk.wordpress.com. I hope to write a new book the same length next year as I am sure that there will be lots of new material both on and off the pitch.

Ahead of the Game, by Greville Waterman, is available in the BFC Superstore and can also be be obtained as a paperback or eBook on Amazon. The book is 408 pages long and includes a paragraph of endorsement from Brentford owner Matthew Benham.

Ahead Of The Game – Available Now! – 19/6/15

Final Cover 020615Just to let everyone know that as of today Ahead Of The Game is now available to purchase either as a paperback at The Brentford FC Superstore or it is can be bought as a paperback or Kindle eBook on Amazon.

Here is some information on the book itself:

AHEAD OF THE GAME: BRENTFORD FC’S 2014/15 SEASON

By Greville Waterman

In May 2014, Brentford FC were promoted to the Football League Championship. It was only their second season at such a level, in sixty years, and many asked how the newcomers would cope against the so-called massive clubs Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and Leeds United. Would they survive? Would they thrive? Or, as many expected, would they fall short and crash back to Division One at the first time of asking?

The 2014/15 season answered these questions in emphatic style with Little Old Brentford – the perennial underachievers – displaying a vibrant brand of positive, attacking football that took the Division by storm and rocketed the Bees into the playoff places. Under the visionary ownership of Matthew Benham and the ultimate man-manager, Mark Warburton, the club had created a new and different way of doing things that piqued the interest of the Football World. Rather than look downwards, the disbelieving but delirious Brentford supporters began to harbour dreams of reaching the Promised Land of the Premier League.

Screen shot 2015-06-19 at 17.30.32In Ahead Of The Game, long-established supporter and blogger, Greville Waterman, puts together selected articles from his blog, alongside new content, to detail Brentford’s journey. He offers a fascinating and incredible inside story of how this unfancied team defied expectations, overcame the unforeseen break-up of the successful partnership between Benham and Warburton, did the double over Fulham, and came within a whisker of promotion.

This book is a must-read for any Brentford fan and includes guest contributions from Cliff Crown, Richard Lee, Billy Reeves and Jim Levack. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that The Bees are truly Ahead Of The Game and the best is yet to come!

“Greville has written an excellent and perceptive overview of everything that happened at the club during this incredible season. I loved it and I know you will too!” Matthew Benham 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greville Waterman is a long-term Brentford supporter who has enjoyed all the good and bad times at Griffin Park and who can finally see light at the end of a very long tunnel.

He was a director of the club for a brief spell in 2005 (don’t ask) and is currently on the board of Bees United.

Greville owned a sponsorship consultancy for many years and now teaches Autogenic Therapy, a Mind/Body relaxation technique that helps people who are suffering from anxiety, stress and mild depression (see www.howtobeatstress.co.uk). Greville needed the help of AT after suffering the trauma of watching the Bees over a fifty year period! He is also Chief Executive of The Institute, a long-established adult education college in North London.

Greville is married to his long-suffering and beautiful football widow, Miriam, and has two wonderful children, Nick and Rebecca; this book is dedicated to the three of them.

Greville will be making a contribution to Brentford FC out of his royalties.

Screen shot 2015-06-19 at 17.33.34The book is available in the Brentford FC Superstore .

Note: Amazon is currently displaying “Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks”.

Please be advised that stock is shipping to Amazon right now, so customer copies should be shipping out very soon.

Published 17 June 2015 | 978-1-910515-14-3  | 408 pages | Print and Kindle | £15.99, £8.99

Available Now!

Here are the Links to where the book is available:

http://www.brentforddirect.co.uk/product/400/0000-4811

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ahead-Game-Brentford-2014-Season-ebook/dp/B00ZPO1OBU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434732211&sr=1-3&keywords=ahead+of+the+game

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ahead-Game-Brentford-2014-Season/dp/1910515140/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1434732211&sr=1-3

I really hope that you enjoy it and that you think that it gives an accurate and ideally, entertaining, account of all the incredible things that took place both on and off the pitch during what was certainly the most amazing season for Brentford FC within living memory!

Please let me know what you think?

Many thanks.

Greville

BFC Talk – The Book – 1/6/15

Cover mock-up

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update regarding my BFC Talk blog. I have kept it going since the middle of June last year and inflicted over 220 articles and the best part of 300,000 words on you all!

I have been planning a book for the last few months and have been really fortunate to find a sympathetic publisher in Bennion Kearny who liked the idea and agreed to bring it to fruition later this summer.

I’ve spent the last week or so finishing up the book, which contains edited versions of the best of my blogs, as well as writing a final long article which summarises the season overall, explains our success and how things could have gone even better, and also suggests how next season might well go given the changes that have just been announced at the club.

For those of you who, quite reasonably, are fed up with me, there will also be three new fantastic guest articles which will be featured in the book as well as several other previously unpublished pieces.

Richard Lee has written a detailed player’s perspective on the season as well as providing his impressions of both Matthew Benham and Mark Warburton and how they worked together. His article is really interesting, incisive and thought provoking and he provides an authentic insider’s view on an incredible year.

The Maestro, Billy Reeves has written a generous and justified appreciation of Mark Warburton given his experience of working with him over the past couple of years and Jim Levack has also paid fitting tribute to retiring colossus Kevin O’Connor.

We have also just come up with the title Ahead of the Game which hopefully sums up where we are in our journey towards the Premier League.

Mark Fuller has also kindly allowed us to cherry pick some of his best images from the last nine months or so and his brilliant photographs are interspersed throughout what will be a meaty four hundred page book.

Ahead of the Game will be available both as a paperback and Ebook later on this month and I will provide you with more information as and when it becomes available regarding how you can get hold of a copy (hopefully from the Club Shop or via Amazon) and how much it will cost.

I will also be making a contribution to Brentford FC out of any royalty payments that I receive.

In the meantime, here is how the front cover will look. I hope you like it.

As for me, I now intend to take a short break from writing.

Candidly, I’m not sure as we speak whether or not to continue with the blog next season and would welcome your views.

I have really enjoyed writing it but it has all become a bit overwhelming given the length of some of my articles and the need to keep things up to date and contemporary and I don’t want to run out of things to say.

Anyway, that is all for the future. As for now I simply want to thank everyone who has read any of my stuff, I hope that you have enjoyed it and maybe some of you are gluttons for punishment and even want some more!

I also hope that you will decide to buy the book when it comes out as it will hopefully provide you and every other Brentford supporter (Christmas present perhaps?) with some suitable and entertaining and maybe even thought provoking memories of what turned into a quite remarkable and unforgettable season and how we indeed became Ahead of the Game.

Thank you again.

Best Wishes,

Greville