Martin Lange – RIP – 14/10/15

01ASWTTZ; MARTIN LANGE Chairman, Brentford FC. COMPULSORY CREDIT: UPPA/Photoshot Photo URM 010092/B-12 08.08.1995

Martin Lange, the former Brentford Chairman died on Monday after a long illness. He was only seventy-one, no age at all in the grand scheme of things and he died long before his time.

He was also a man who was ahead of his time as he was rightly recognised for his innovative and original ideas and approach throughout his long career in football. He owned the majority shareholding at the club for a sixteen-year period, between 1981 and 1997 and also served as the Third Division representative on the Football League Board.

Like our current owner, Matthew Benham, Martin Lange was no outsider as he was Brentford through and through and he was first taken to Griffin Park as a small boy by his father.

His hobby soon became an obsession and after he became a successful property developer he was invited onto the club board at the early age of thirty-seven by the club’s then chairman, Dan Tana and soon afterwards he took over the reins for what turned out to be a real rollercoaster ride.

His new position was rather a poisoned chalice as he took over a club saddled with debt and his first task was to stump up the ludicrous seventy thousand pound fee decided by the transfer tribunal for Alan Whitehead’s purchase from Bury.

A salutary lesson for him about the economies of the madhouse that so often prevailed in football given how poorly the central defender was to perform and the size of the loss we incurred on him when we were finally able to offload him.

Lange wasn’t afraid to take tough decisions and one of his first was to replace the loyal and long serving Denis Piggott, who had become part of the furniture at the club but was soon swept out by the new broom.

He surrounded himself with exceptional people such as Keith Loring, Christine Mathews and Polly Kates but there was never any doubt who was in charge.

Just as the Roman Emperors ensured their popularity by giving their citizens games and circuses, so too did Martin Lange guarantee his place in Brentford folklore by coming up with the idea of signing Stan Bowles, a man who became a Brentford legend and singlehandedly revived the spirits of a supporter base who had had very little to get excited about in recent years.

Brentford were a middle of the road third tier club going nowhere, attracting small gates and Lange had to balance ambition with pragmatism and reality as he fought a constant and losing battle to balance the books.

Lange inherited Fred Callaghan as manager who was a terrific judge of a player and knew the lower leagues well. He bought players of the calibre of Terry Hurlock, Gary Roberts, Chris Kamara and David Crown and Martin also gained respect by always being approachable and he handled Terry Hurlock brilliantly as a combination of Father Figure and Dutch Uncle who ensured that the sometimes hothead always toed the line but was also persuaded to invest his money wisely in bricks and mortar rather than fritter it away.

Lange eventually decided to replace Callaghan – in retrospect a bit too quickly, as he gave in to the entreaties of the fans to make a change and his first appointment was Frank McLintock who proved to be a far better player and captain than he did a manager. John Docherty, a former Bees manager, surprisingly reversed roles and became Frank’s assistant but despite an abortive trip to Wembley and a Freight Rover Trophy Final defeat to Wigan in 1985, the combination did not gel and Steve Perryman was promoted from within.

Lange had got it right this time as Perryman proved to be a success both on and off the field and together they slowly improved the playing fortunes and infrastructure of the club. The team ran out of steam in 1989 and missed out on promotion when it looked within their grasp after an incredible run to the sixth round of the FA Cup with famous victories over Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers before bowing out with pride and dignity at Anfield.

Lange and Perryman fell out spectacularly apparently over the abortive signing of Gary Elkins and it appeared that the club would go downhill again but Phil Holder seized the opportunity as caretaker, and Lange was brave and astute enough to appoint him and recognise that very little needed changing. Holder was perhaps more chirpy and streetwise than Perryman and the team responded well to his promptings and after an abortive playoff campaign (now where have we heard that before) he led the Bees to the title and promotion in 1992.

Amazingly at the time of his greatest triumph Martin Lange was not there to share in the glory. As he said in his interview in The Big Brentford Book Of The 80s:

The sad thing was that I had to go over to America to oversee a big, four hundred acre development – it’s been well documented, but I simply had to be there, but I never actually saw Brentford get promoted!

It was sod’s law, as a lad I’d seen Brentford in the old Second Division when my dad brought me down in the early-Fifties, so I knew all too well how important it was to finally escape from the third tier again, so to miss the Peterborough match was devastating. Then to add to my frustration, the only two matches I was able to see in the 1992/93 Division One season were at West Ham and Bristol City!

Without his steady hand on the tiller, Brentford imploded. Dean Holdsworth was sold badly to Wimbledon, incredibly without a sell-on clause being included in the deal – total madness and poor business practise which cost the Bees dear when he made a big money move to Bolton Wanderers.

Money was squandered on a series of poor signings – Joe Allon and Murray Jones anybody? Relegation was confirmed after a disgraceful last day of the season surrender at Bristol City and the Bees were back from whence they came.

Phil Holder – perhaps unfairly, also did not survive relegation and Lange’s return to take day control of the club.

But things were never the same again and Lange admitted that the blow of relegation was the beginning of the end as far as I was concerned I think.

David Webb was rapturously received as the new manager and he embarked on a cost-cutting exercise, weeding out the older players and building a team in his own image that was tough, gritty and hard to beat but always had some inspiration and goals up front given the likes of Nicky Forster, Bob Taylor and Carl Asaba.

Promotion eluded the Bees cruelly in 1995 when they finished second in the one year when only the top team gained automatic promotion – its Brentford innit?

And two years later they collapsed spectacularly as they neared the finishing line in a manner that almost begged a Stewards’ Enquiry.

Exhausted and frustrated after the best part of twenty years in charge without being able to lead the club to the promised land, Lange decided to sell up and a consortium fronted by Webb and including Tony Swaisland and John Herting, bought fifty-one percent of his shares for the same price that he had paid for them so many years earlier.

There is no escaping the fact that Martin Lange was also responsible for pulling down the famed Royal Oak Stand and he admits to regretting his decision but he gave the following explanation:

The truth is that the back of the stand was condemned and the cost of repairing it was phenomenal. The combination of the dilapidated conditions and the club debt, plus me being a property developer, meant that redevelopment just had to be considered to clear the debts. And once the bank was off the club’s back, running the club certainly became a lot easier.

I understand passions still run high over the demolition of the Royal Oak, and in hindsight it has restricted Brentford’s scope to develop Griffin Park, but it was the right decision at the time, especially as I was constantly looking for a site to build Brentford a state-of-the-art new stadium at Western International.

Even if we’d decided to pull the Royal Oak down, rebuild it just as big, but with executive boxes etc, the council wouldn’t have let us.

Hindsight is easy but at the time, rightly or wrongly, it seemed the most sensible thing for him to do.

After selling the club Martin remained on the board until 2002 before withdrawing from the spotlight but he always remained a good friend of the club and was keen to do whatever he could to ensure its future success and he was highly supportive of Matthew Benham and his plans for Brentford.

Martin’s influence within the game spread far beyond the boundaries of Griffin Park and he proposed a number of changes to tackle falling attendances and hooliganism, including introducing the end of season playoffs in 1986 as well as supporting the introduction of individual squad numbers and names on each player’s shirt.

When asked to assess his time at the club, Martin Lange responded with characteristic modesty and self-effacement:

Looking back at my time as Chairman, in hindsight maybe I would have done a few things differently, some people, rightly or wrongly, have suggested I could have been more adventurous and spent big trying to get Brentford to the promised land, but as a custodian I think fans can look back and say that, when I was there, there was never a survival threat, there was never any real crisis to deal with, and I was a safe, stable and genuinely caring chairman.

That is not a bad epitaph and way to be remembered even if for the time being no Brentford fan can yet look kindly upon the introduction of the dreaded playoffs.

Martin Lange though was a thoroughly decent, pleasant and talented man who achieved so much that was good during his time at the club and we should all give thanks to him for everything he did for us, celebrate his life and mourn his premature passing.



Ten Games In – The Verdict! – 4/10/15

For once the M1 was kind to us and the drive to and from Derby was swift, incident free and almost pleasant. If only we could have said the same about what came between both journeys and totally spoiled the day.

To develop the travel theme a bit more, apparently Derby striker Darren Bent was caught in traffic and was left out of the squad after his late arrival, not that his team needed him on the day. As for the Brentford team – they never turned up.

The Bees were second best from the first whistle and subsided without much of a fight to a two-nil defeat by a Derby County team that despite three consecutive away victories were still searching for their first victory in front of their own supporters.

Had the Bees even tried to start the game on the front foot and put the home team under any sort of pressure then they might well have caused problems and quieted a slightly nervous and apprehensive home crowd but as it was they were forced back from the opening whistle and the only surprise was that it took almost twenty minutes for Chris Martin to score.

A second followed just before the interval from Tom Ince and with better finishing and a more measured final pass Derby might well have run up a cricket score as they found space and time on both flanks and tore us open on numerous occasions and were in total control for the overwhelming majority of the match.

David Button was his customary heroic self and Dean and Tarkowski did their level best to make up for the myriad deficiencies exhibited by those in front of them although Dean was caught ball-watching for the first goal and he was left marking fresh air as Martin’s well-timed run gave him an easy chance to score.

Brentford were slow on the ball, timid and lethargic in their general approach, showed little or no incision and lost possession with monotonous regularity.

The lower than normal possession stat of a mere forty-six percent highlighted their main problem and weakness on the day. This really did not look like a Brentford team as we know it out there but eleven ill-matched strangers who had been cobbled together at the last minute.

As is now customary the midfield was neither fish nor fowl, providing little protection for the beleaguered defence and creating nothing of substance for the isolated Vibe and Djuricin who were forced to feed off scraps.

Vibe barely touched the ball in a performance of shocking ineptitude and his only real contribution apart from shooting wastefully wide early on was to shriek in vain for a foul when dispossessed deep in home territory when cleanly tackled and twenty seconds later he was still on the ground and the ball was in the back of our net as Derby broke from defence with with pace, intent and incision.

Woods worked hard and kept going to the end without much end result but Diagouraga was submerged as we were outgunned and outfought in the middle of the field. Swift came on for the last quarter and showed that he has skill on the ball and can see a pass and he will be an asset to us when he settles in.

For the home team, Bradley Johnson and George Thorne combined size and strength with footballing ability that we could not match. In comparison, we looked small, weak and frail and lacking in overall stamina and fitness without the skill to compensate, and were knocked off the ball far too easily and barely won a challenge or second ball all afternoon.

Last season we were similarly lacking in strength and brute force but it hardly mattered as you have to catch somebody before you are able to kick them up in the air and we possessed far too much pace and pure ability for most teams to bully us. Now the situation has changed as we are slow and ponderous and are being outplayed as well as outfought week after week.

Gogia and Judge started the match on the wings but were starved of possession and this was surely a day for a 4-3-3 formation as we were far too open and outnumbered in midfield.

Canos flitted in and out of the match when he replaced Gogia after the break but we only threatened – and spasmodically at that – when Hofmann replaced Vibe. He did well, held the ball up, even won the odd aerial challenge and at last gave us a target to aim at upfront. He came close twice, forcing Carson into a plunging save and seeing a late effort hacked off the line but we were well beaten on a day when we again resembled an overmatched and outclassed lower division team.

This was a terrible, spineless and abject performance against a decent team who were made to look far better than they really are by our disorganisation, failure to get the basics right and total ineptitude.

It is only a few short months ago since we played pretty much the same Derby team off the pitch in a performance packed full of confidence and brio but we are now a mere shadow of that team and those days are sadly long since gone and show no sign of returning in the immediate future.

Ten matches in is quite long enough for us to have a fair idea of how the season is likely to turn out and there is absolutely no point in my mincing my words.

We are currently in free fall and on the evidence of the last couple of games there is every chance of us plummeting straight back to Division Two unless the slide is reversed – and quickly, before what little confidence that remains drains away.

It does not take much to pinpoint what is going wrong both on and off the pitch but it is far harder to understand how to turn things around.

I have no intention of repeating the words that I have written so often over the last couple of months – words that come so easily now that they almost seem to write themselves. We all know about the ravages of Financial Fair Play, our lack of resources in comparison with the rest of the league and our utterly ridiculous injury list but despite all of these obstacles we are beginning to look a shambles of a club.

We botched the recruitment process for the Head Coach in the Summer and the club has at least held its hand up and rectified the problem before it got out of control. Then came the short term appointment of Lee Carsley and his unfortunate post match interview on Tuesday that further put the cat amongst the pigeons.

That being said our two worst performances have come since the departure of Duikhuizen, two defeats where we have barely looked like scoring and the body language of the players today spoke volumes.

It is trite and far too easy to say that matters will improve when we get our long-term injured players back. I am now not so sure as only Jota, who will take time to regain match fitness, and McEachran have any experience of this level of the game.

Our new foreign players resemble nothing more than rabbits caught in headlights as they have been thrown in and are currently well out of their depth and struggling to cope with the relentless mental and physical demands of the Championship. Are they good enough? Well the jury is still out and whilst Colin, Barbet, Vibe and Djuricin have all flickered into life spasmodically, far too much is being asked of them too soon and it is quite frankly unfair to expect too much of any of them.

We now have a welcome respite and a break of two weeks before what is now turning into a massively important match against Rotherham, a team that currently looks as if it will be competing with us to fill one of the three dreaded relegation spots.

So what do we do in the next fortnight or so to ensure that we arrest the slump?

Here are my suggestions, none of which are likely to make me popular with the powers that be at the club:

  1. Look to bring in an older head to mentor and support Lee Carsley. Somebody like Steve Coppell would be ideal for the role. He would command instant respect and be able to provide a wealth of experience and football knowledge that is sadly lacking throughout the club at the moment. Steve Perryman fulfils a similar position with Paul Tisdale at Exeter City and adds massive value. In truth I would really welcome a new Head Coach from outside to provide a fresh voice, outlook and perspective but I fear and suspect that is a step too far at the moment despite it being a seemingly obvious move
  2. I would offer our two Co-Directors of Football some external assistance too. Someone similar to Andrew Mills (now working at Millwall) who knows the English game inside out and has extensive contacts with agents, managers and coaches and can ensure that we are offered the right players and that we get the deals done for the right price without waste or extravagance. It might also be that come January we could be looking to move some players on too and we need someone experienced in handling such a difficult situation and getting players out of the door
  3. Compromise our ideals a little bit given our current circumstances and try and find, hard though it will be, a couple of battle hardened, wizened veterans who can become teachers and leaders, things that we currently lack both on the pitch and at the training ground. I can still remember a gnarled Jimmy Gabriel coming to us back in 1974. He could barely run or move around the pitch but he inspired a young team to play above themselves and avoid the threat of re-election
  4. More controversially, find a couple of independent non-executive directors, men of substance and experience who are not beholden to Matthew Benham, who will have the forcefulness of character and the strength of mind to make their opinions heard at Board Meetings so that the Owner’s wishes are not just nodded through but their implications are discussed and fully thought through before a decision is made. Sometimes the word no has to be heard

I spoke at length tonight with my friend and fellow Brentford fanatic Gary Marson and he summed up the situation far better than I ever could and I totally concur with his wise words and opinion so eloquently expressed:

The vast majority of Bees fans recognise that Matthew Benham’s philosophy is the only game in town. His approach of securing competitive advantage through innovation and risk has already secured us success beyond our wildest dreams and in the long term is the only realistic way in which we can hope to continue to punch so far above our weight in a stale and rigid footballing hierarchy where there is normally such a stifling correlation between financial resource and performance.

The present crisis therefore need not, indeed must not, mark the end of the Benham project. But in order to preserve the long term strategic vision, not to mention his enormous investment, he may be well advised to consider a short term tactical retreat and re-think the approach for the remainder of the season. This means supplementing the playing squad and management team, both of which appear to be desperately naive at the rarefied level of the English second tier, with the type of solid if unexciting domestic experience and organisational knowhow that we might have previously disregarded.

We have attempted open heart surgery to cure a minor ailment and as a result found ourselves in intensive care. Before we can begin to think about a healthy and sustainable return to full fitness we must do everything that it takes to ensure that the patient survives.

The future can still be ours, but for now it must wait.

Managing Bees – Part 2 – 6/1/15

greenwI recently covered the first batch of former Bees who had gone onto become managers since 1970, and today I am going to complete the list, and a very long one it is too.

Goalkeepers only rarely seem to go on to become managers and Gary Phillips joined their number when he took over as player-manager at Barnet in 1993 before being replaced by another goalkeeper in Ray Clemence. He subsequently managed at Aylesbury United and Hemel Hempstead Town but quit after just seventeen games. After a number of coaching roles, he was appointed as manager of Grays Athletic before returning to Hemel Hempstead Town. He has since worked as a goalkeeping coach at both Barnet and Stevenage.

Robbie Cooke often ploughed a lone furrow as a Brentford striker in the mid-80s but he thrived after retirement and had a long spell as David Moyes’s chief Scout at both Everton and Manchester United before recently being hired by Burnley.

Keith Millen remains well in the public eye given his recent spells as caretaker manager at Crystal Palace and it is good to hear that Alan Pardew will keep him on now he has taken over as the asintnew manager. Keith is an experienced coach and also had a year managing Bristol City.

Andy Sinton was mentioned in despatches a couple of times as a possible Brentford manager, given his illustrious spell at Griffin Park as a player, but it remained a pipe dream. He became manager of Isthmian League Division One outfit Fleet Town in summer 2005, having spent the previous season as the club’s Football Development Officer and stayed there for five years before being appointed as manager of AFC Telford United in the Conference North. In his first season he won promotion to the Conference via the playoffs, and he remained in charge until January 2013, when he left after a sixteen match winless run, the worst in the club’s history.

Ian Holloway had an unhappy time at Griffin Park and was never really able to demonstrate his full ability on the pitch owing to illness but he has had a long and chequered managerial career experiencing the highs and lows of managing at all levels of the game at Bristol Rovers, Queens Park Rangers, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City, Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Millwall. He is a bubbly, eccentric and effervescent character who is as crazy as a fox and far more astute than he is generally given credit for.

Steve Perryman could well have become a Brentford managerial legend had he not decided to quit in mysterious circumstances on the eve of the 1990/91 season, apparently when he was refused permission to sign Fulham left back Gary Elkins. Let Steve tell the story in his own words:

I’d done my homework and found out Fulham would let him go on a free. The chairman didn’t want to sign him . . . in one conversation he said one reason he didn’t want me to sign Elkins was because Terry Bullivant had told Lange that he thought the Fulham player had ‘shifty eyes’!  What the chairman was inadvertently telling me was that he’d rather trust the judgement of one of his players than his manager, not based on footballing ability, but facial expression. 

That was the end of his reign at Griffin Park on a point of principle, just when it appeared that he had finally built a squad that was on the verge of a promotion push. A terrible waste, although Phil Holder succeeded him and certainly put his own stamp on things, but it was a team largely made up of Perryman signings that won the league in 1992. Steve went on to manage Watford and enjoy success in Japan as well as having a brief stint back at Spurs as assistant manager before becoming director of football at Exeter City.

Ex-Brentford loanee Paul Merson (did he play for anyone else?) had an unhappy spell as manager of Walsall which ended one cold February afternoon in 2006 when his team visibly gave up on him and subsided gently to defeat to a Brentford that was not made to work very hard for their five goal victory.

Colin Lee will never be forgotten for his four goal debut for Spurs in a nine-nil victory over Bristol Rovers. He made his name as a youth coach but had managerial spells at Watford,  Wolverhampton Wanderers, Walsall, Millwall and Torquay.

Graham Rix had a wonderful loan spell at Brentford and he inspired a run towards the playoff positions which tapered off after his departure. He had brief but unsuccessful spells as manager at Portsmouth, Oxford United and Hearts.

Paul Buckle started well as a manager, leading Torquay to promotion from the Conference and then to the League Two play-offs, and being touted as a man to watch. It all turned sour for him at Bristol Rovers and after getting the plum Conference job at Luton Town he quit and moved to the United States in order to accompany his wife. He is now trying to restore his managerial reputation at Cheltenham Town.

spDean Holdsworth had a very successful reign at Newport County, before having a two year stint at Aldershot Town . His team mate, Marcus Gayle, has just lost his job at Staines Town, where he at least had the consolation of taking them to a First Round FA Cup tie at Griffin Park last season.

Steve Perryman did not make one of his more inspired signings when he spent a lot of time, effort and money in bringing Maltese international John Buttigieg to the club. His obvious skill and ability to read the game as a sweeper did not fit in with the manager’s chosen style of play and he was too often left on the sidelines. He returned to his homeland with Floriana and Valletta after which his coaching career reached its zenith when he became Maltese national team head coach between 2009 and 2011.

Eddie May was another highly priced disappointment and gave the impression that he could not wait to scuttle back over the border to his native Scotland, and as soon as he did his career was miraculously resurrected. He then had a short spell as manager of Falkirk.

Brian Statham’s career was severely restricted by injury and he will best be remembered for his two red cards against Brentford, for Reading and Gillingham and for being sent off in the Wembley playoff final disaster against Crewe. He combined a career working in the City with managing Heybridge Swifts and Billericay Town.

Chris Hughton ended his long and illustrious playing career when injuring his knee in the warm-up for Brentford before the Christmas match against Derby County, which resulted in Grant Chalmers, who thought he was not going to be needed, having to sit on the bench whilst still digesting the pie he had just consumed. No wonder the substitute was substituted!

Chris led Newcastle United back into the Premiership before being surprisingly sacked just months later and becoming the boss at Birmingham City and then Norwich City, before his recent appointment at Brighton, where he led his new team to an FA Cup win at Griffin Park, costing us a plum home tie to Arsenal!

Shane Westley was a panic buy replacement for the injured Terry Evans in 1992 and never really looked the part, being agricultural in the extreme. He did well at Lincoln City, and led them to promotion before eventually leaving the game to become a personal trainer.

Tricky winger Paul Stephenson, who never made do with beating two men when he had the chance to take on a third, had a spell as caretaker manager at Hartlepool and is now First-Team Coach at Blackpool.

Nicky Forster could yet make a successful return to management, as after the sacking of Andy Scott he was Matthew Benham’s surprise choice to take over the reins. He gave the team a new impetus and confidence, aided as he was by Mark Warburton – now what on earth happened to him?  He enjoyed a successful three month spell in charge and led the team out at Wembley in the JPT Final. He was not retained at the end of the season before having an unsuccessful spell at Dover Athletic.

Andy Scott is still in the game as manager of Aldershot but it might so easily have been so much better for him. He replaced Terry Butcher in 2007 and had an immediate impact, righting the ship when it was listing perilously close to the choppy waters of Conference football, before winning the title in his first full season in charge. At one time being touted for higher profile jobs, he apparently came within a whisker of being appointed at another one of his former clubs in Sheffield United before it all turned sour for him and he was sacked in February 2011. He then won a plum job at Rotherham which also ended badly before taking over the reins at Aldershot Town as the club dropped into the Conference.

Micky Adams is also one of football’s survivors and is seen now as a lower division firefighter but he has achieved much in his long career and is unfortunate not to have made a bigger name for himself. He started off well at Fulham before being unceremoniously dumped for Kevin Keegan and after a bizarre thirteen-day stint as boss at Swansea City he was appointed Brentford manager in November 1997 before leaving the club when Ron Noades took over. His managerial career continued at Nottingham Forest as caretaker, two spells at Brighton, Leicester City, Coventry City, Port Vale and his boyhood team Sheffield United. He then returned to Port Vale where he achieved the fourth promotion of his career as he led the club out of League Two.  He is now trying to keep Tranmere Rovers in the Football League.

Scott Fitzgerald was handed a poisoned chalice when he took over a poor and dispirited squad from Leroy Rosenior and was peremptorily sacked as soon as the inevitable relegation was confirmed, before returning to youth team management at Gillingham and Millwall. Chris Hargreaves was an honest toiler and midfield dynamo and is currently struggling to return Torquay United to the Football League.

Steve Claridge came and went in the blink of an eye, and that was maybe too long for some people, as he was well over the hill when Martin Allen surprisingly signed him in late 1994, and he and Deon Burton formed a totally ill-matched strike duo of waxwork dummies with neither prepared to run the channels.

He eventually had a thirty-six day spell as manager of Millwall in the summer of 2005 and was sacked before a ball was kicked in earnest. He is now the media pundit we all love to hate but could well return to the dugout next season at the reformed Salisbury City.

As you can see, many former Bees have ventured into the managerial hotseat after ending their playing days, with many of them being ejected fairly quickly.

I started my review in 1970, but I would be remiss if I did not end with a brief homage to Ron Greenwood, perhaps the most successful former Bee to become a manager. He enjoyed three great years at Griffin Park as a cultured centre half and his thirteen years in charge at West Ham saw the Hammers gain a deserved reputation for style and elegance. He led his team to FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup victories in successive years and ended his career with a successful spell as England team manager before being replaced by Bobby Robson.

Let’s hope that one day another ex-Bee can emulate his success. Kevin O’Connor perhaps?