Stepping Stone – 11/7/14

One of my real pleasures in life during the football season is to lie in bed on a Sunday morning reading the sports section of the Sunday Telegraph counting how many former Brentford players I can spot in the line ups of the other teams in the Premiership and Football League.

Does anybody else do the same as me or am I just a total sad sack who needs to get a life?

On second thoughts please ignore that question as I think I know the answer without being told.

I generally set myself a goal of discovering a set number of ex-Bees, generally around fifty, split between permanent signings and loanees.

With the rapid turnover of players over the past three years there is an increasing number of our former favourites now plying their trade elsewhere, even though sometimes I have to cheat to reach my target and include Shay Logan and Farid El Alagui from the Scottish Premier League.

The Premier League team sheets last season produced pretty slim pickings with Michael Turner and very occasionally Simon Moore the only candidates, bolstered by former loanees in Steve Sidwell, Saido Berahino and the wonderful Wojciech Szczesny. Oh, and Lewis Price too.

Their numbers will be boosted by Liam Moore and Jeffrey Schlupp next season and hopefully the names of Adam Forshaw, James Tarkowski and Jake Bidwell will not be added to that list until our dreams and fantasies are answered by the Bees reaching the promised land of the Premier League under their own steam.

Some of the names in the Championship bring back happy and even wistful memories, and will hopefully be revisiting Griffin Park in the near future.


The fawn-like promise that Jordan Rhodes demonstrated at the tender age of eighteen, culminating in his perfect hat trick at Shrewsbury and the thought that our current regime certainly would not have allowed him to leave Ipswich for Huddersfield without putting up a fight for his signature.

We might not have been able to hold onto him for long but we would have made a fortune when he left us.

What about the enigma that is Lewis Grabban?

He had outstayed his welcome at Millwall and he had two in and out loan spells at Griffin Park where he shone fitfully and at times demonstrated his true potential.

He was generally played down the right wing but in his last game for the club he partnered the speedy Schlupp up front in a pacy combination that terrified a static and cumbersome Huddersfield defence and shared four goals between them – a feat of generosity matched by our own porous back four!

Not too many complained when he was shown the door by the time that Uwe Rosler arrived at the club but his subsequent conversion to a devastating central striker who recently changed clubs for a three million pound fee has proved that perhaps our judgement could have been better – easy though it is to be wise after the event.


Tom Adeyemi made a massive impact in his one season on loan at the club with his hard tackling and powerful lung-bursting box to box runs.

Our loss has proved to be Birmingham’s gain although hopes persist that we might not have seen the last of him in a Brentford shirt.

Ben Hamer couldn’t seem to stay away from Griffin Park and had three loan spells with us, becoming a firm fan favourite.

He finally established himself in the Charlton goal and now has the opportunity to play in the Premier League with Leicester City.

Harry Forrester’s name barely appeared on the Doncaster team sheet last season as his injury jinx struck with a vengeance and only time will tell whether his move was ill-judged.

He has talent to burn but he needs nursing and I can only hope that he recovers the sizzling form that he showed us spasmodically.

Maybe it’s also time for us to let go and stop sticking pins in his effigy?

Two massive favourites played on and off for Ipswich in Jay Tabb and Steve Hunt and I am full of admiration for their determination to make the most of their talent and have long and fruitful careers.


The Alex McCarthy who starred in goal almost every week for Reading can only be the twin brother of the hapless keeper who fumbled and stumbled through a desperately unimpressive and tentative loan spell at Brentford four seasons ago.

He conceded a gift goal early in his debut against Walsall and never really recovered – but look at him now – a prime example of the old adage that the game is as much about confidence as ability.

As the bar is raised at Griffin Park so many of our former players have extended their career in the lower divisions and tomorrow we will have a look at some of them too.

We will also examine the etiquette of how one should welcome back past heroes!