What A Wonderful Day! – 28/6/14

Well some days are just perfect and yesterday was really up there with the best of them. I cannot tell you how many times I visited the Brentford FC website on Friday morning hoping to see confirmation of our new signings.

Finally it arrived.moses

But wait, on closer examination it wasn’t Moses Odubajo who had signed, but Development Squad prospect Manny Oyeleke – I knew then it was time to get my eyes tested!

But in the end both Moses and Luton striker Andre Gray signed their contracts and were duly paraded on the pitch wearing their new Brentford shirt and at a stroke our mood has been transformed from one of apprehension to massive optimism about the season ahead.

Moses and Andre are both young players of immense talent and potential and from listening to their interviews it is obvious that they see Brentford as a club on the up or as Moses’s agent succinctly put it “a Premiership club in the Championship.”

High praise indeed and symptomatic of how the club is perceived nowadays.

So this week three pieces of the jigsaw have been slotted in and given the strength of the existing squad there isn’t too much else required beyond a centre forward who can hold the ball up and take the weight off Gray, perhaps a left winger and another midfield player, both possibly on loan.Andre

There have been many murmurings about Rotherham’s trolley dash with ten players already signed but in comparison to the Bees’s new arrivals it really seems a case of quality over quantity.

You can’t really say a word against the Millers given the two tonkings they gave us last season when they were the only team to do the double over us, but I know whose squad I prefer.

The good news just didn’t stop coming with goalkeeper David Button signing a new three year contract and judging by the tone of the players in their Bees Player interviews it really seems a happy and confident camp.

It is rare that transfer fees are announced nowadays and yesterday was no exception but figures of around one million pounds for Moses and five hundred thousand pounds plus for Andre have been bandied about on social media.

Who knows how accurate these figures are but it would appear that Brentford have comfortably smashed their transfer record, previously set when Icelandic star defender Herman Hreidarsson signed for an estimated seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

Without being too specific I would guess that others in the top ten would now include Andre Gray, Will Grigg, James Tarkowski, Joe Allon, Alan Judge and Scott Marshall.

The last time Brentford went on a similar spending spree was at the beginning of Chairman Jack Dunnett’s reign back in 1962.

It all ended in tears and almost the demise of the club itself, but that is a story for another day and indeed one that fellow authors Mark Croxford, Dave Lane and myself fully intend to tell as we interviewed the still sprightly nonagenarian Mr. Dunnett last year.

The club caused a sensation when it brought in an all-international strike force of Johnny Brooks, John Dick and Billy McAdams and their goals ensured that the fourth Division Championship was won at a relative canter with a massive ninety-eight goals scored.

The difference between then and now (and really let’s not try and compare Jack Dunnett with Matthew Benham – please) is that we were signing excellent proven players whose best days were gone and their impact was short term and none of them had any resale value given that they were dead assets.

Things are different now as the club is stuffed to the gills with players who are coveted by other teams.

Let’s just hope that they can fulfil their ambitions at Griffin Park – and indeed, Lionel Road and that we have no need to cash in on the likes of Adam Forshaw, James Tarkowski and Jake Bidwell to say nothing of the plethora of young kids with enormous potential nicely coming to the boil in the Academy.

Talking of Johnny Brooks brings me onto the only truly sad part of this article as The Times reported on Friday that eighty-two year old Brooks is now suffering from vascular dementia which brings to the surface yet again the issue of concussion and the repeated effects of heading what was more like a cannonball than a football.Brooks2

There is much in terms of research and indeed disclosure that needs to be done in this area given that Johnny Brooks is by no means an isolated example and indeed Jeff Astle died of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition that has affected countless American footballers.

Footballers should and must not be allowed to die of “industrial injuries.”

So at a time of great joy, hope and optimism for all Brentford fans let’s end by remembering and rejoicing in the huge talent of Johnny Brooks and the enormous pleasure he gave fans of Spurs, Chelsea, Brentford and Crystal Palace alike and send him our best wishes.