Statto’s Delight! -18/8/14

kePPI spent a wonderful hour or so last night indulging myself in one of my favourite winter pastimes.

Lying on the sofa with a glass of wine going through all the team line ups, counting how many former Bees were involved in Saturday’s matches in the Premier and Football Leagues and summoning up my memories of some of them.

There is also an added bonus for me at this early stage of the season – trying to recognise and identify some of the new names appearing for the first time in league football.

So, there I was, wine glass in one hand, iPad in the other as I checked out exactly who that new left sided midfielder was at Northampton, and rejoicing at old favourites like the indestructible Kevin Ellison of Morecambe, who at thirty five years of age and looking more like Pete Postlethwaite with every passing year, has survived the cull and lives to fight another day, and indeed scored two excellent goals on Saturday.

But I digress, as it was ex-Bees that I was hunting for – and I found an awful lot of them.

In all fifty eight of them were involved on Saturday afternoon, a figure that doesn’t include two current squad players out on loan in Will Grigg and Alfie Mawson.

If you really want to know, twenty seven players who have previously been loaned to Brentford and thirty one others who were permanent signings at the club were on display.

Wycombe Wanderers took the individual honours as their team against Carlisle included Paul Hayes, Aaron Pierre, both of whom scored, the ever popular Sam Wood plus the aforementioned Mawson.

The number of ex-Bees still plying their trade at a decent level has increased exponentially over the past two years as the Benham/Rosler/Warburton Revolution has taken shape and gathered momentum.

We have pretty much turned over our entire playing staff since Uwe Rosler arrived a mere three years ago, with only Richard Lee, Kevin O’Connor, Sam Saunders, Jake Reeves and Toumani Diagouraga surviving from the squad that he inherited.

None of them are first team regulars either, with Kevin more of a coach than a player nowadays.

llThe quality of the players who have arrived at Griffin Park over the last three years is highlighted by the fact that so many of the old guard, ousted by the new, continue to find employment and remain in demand.

Myles Weston has left Gillingham and now plays with Paul Smith at Southend United for whom he scored a well taken goal against Stevenage on Saturday.

He was rarely as composed in front of goal when he played for us!

Leon Legge remains the mainstay of the Gillingham defence however Stuart Nelson has just damaged his thumb and will be out of action for a couple of months.

Interestingly enough, Antonio German is still at the club and started the match on Saturday against Yeovil ahead of Luke Norris, who remained on the bench.

There are also three former Bees at Crawley, who have started the season really well with three straight wins.

Ryan Dickson and Lanre Oyebanjo are their new full back partnership and Gavin Tomlin is challenging for a place up front.

Tomlin was a Leroy Rosenoir signing who quickly faded out of the picture and never looked like making the grade, but all credit to him, he returned to the non league game with Fisher and scored enough goals to be granted a second chance which he has certainly taken.

cwCongratulations are also due to Academy product Michael Onuvwigun who made his Football League debut as a last minute substitute for his new team, Chesterfield.

Harry Forrester has started the new season like a man with a point to prove, as I am sure he is, but he blotted his copy book with a red card against Port Vale.

Reuben Reid did little at Brentford under Andy Scott and merely made up the numbers, but he has since proved himself to be an excellent lower league striker who could develop even further, and he too was on the mark against an Exeter team which included the evergreen Craig Woodman at left back.

Dean Wells has also experienced a long and tortuous journey since he made his one and only appearance for the Bees as a late substitute against Sheffield Wednesday over ten years ago, but his displays at Braintree earned him a move to Stevenage where he is now establishing himself in the team alongside Darius Charles, another former Bee who showed real promise and was dispensed with far too early for my liking.

Nicky Adams has rejoined Bury where he first made his name.

He was a curious one as Andy Scott, who seemed to make a habit of stockpiling right wingers, made herculean efforts to sign him from Leicester, but he soon fell out of favour and joined the Bermuda Triangle where I am sure other Scott signings such as Marvin Williams and Cleveland Taylor reside.

I was also delighted to see that Alan Bennett and Mark Phillips are both at AFC Wimbledon, along with the injured Andy Frampton and former loanee Sammy Moore.

Bennett and Gillingham loanee Adam Barrett formed an impassable if none too mobile barrier that earned a rare clean sheet at Luton Town on Saturday.

Will Grigg has started well for the MK Dons, with a goal and assist in his first two games.

The better he plays the more likely that we will get a reasonable transfer fee should he leave us on a permanent basis over the course of the season, as I suspect will be the case.

Clayton Donaldson impressed for Birmingham as they defeated Brighton and the former fan favourite returns to Griffin Park next Saturday.

I have already written extensively about my feelings regarding his disappointing departure and would just add that a few words of gratitude and thanks from him to Brentford and, indeed, us fans who gave him unconditional support for the past three years, would not have gone amiss.

At the other end of the scale former loanees such as two goal Saido Berahino, Wojciech Szczesny, Liam Moore, Jeffrey Schlupp and Steve Sidwell all featured in the Premier League and a brief shout out to Keith Millen too, manager for the day for Crystal Palace at Arsenal, after the sudden departure of Tony Pulis.

Lewis Grabban also notched his first goal for his new club, Norwich City, following his three million pound move from AFC Bournemouth.

Joao Carlos Teixeira made his debut for Brighton after his loan move from Liverpool and hopefully the talented youngster will be given more opportunity than he received at Brentford early last season.

So, an interesting hour or so was spent devouring the newspaper, and maybe there will be some new names for me to look out for, as Brentford might well be looking to loan out a couple of their surplus squad players over the next few weeks.

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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.

Rhodes

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.

Grabban

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.

tabb

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!