“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.

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