Firstly, a heads up that there might be an early send out on both Tuesday and Wednesday to cover the
I often say that confidence can come and go quickly with young sportsmen and after carrying all before them for the best part of four months, you could tell that a little of the self belief had deserted Brentford yesterday, after the heavy defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and failure to beat Carlisle United. They passed the ball well enough, but created nothing in a poor first half and were not playing at their usual tempo. However, they looked much better after the break, especially when switching to 4-3-3 ( they played two up front in the opening 45 ) and with the goal after an hour, the confidence came flooding back and for the final 30 minutes they were a joy to watch and could easily have scored four. The drying pitches definitely suit Brentford better and head coach Mark Warburton and his team learned a LOT from the loss to the leaders and he/they were far more pro active tactically and in terms of using the bench yesterday. It is OK to make mistakes in sport/betting and life, as long as we learn something from them.
Massive week for the Bees, Tranmere Rovers at home on Tuesday and away to Leyton Orient on Saturday lunchtime in a televised top of the table clash. If some newer subscribers are wondering what the heck we are doing starting today by discussing a match we were not involved in yesterday in depth, my pre-season notes on Brentford are reproduced at the foot of the page. By the way Bradford City left me a little cold and in stark contrast to how I left Adams Park "pumped" by their perfomance a year ago, they came looking for a point yesterday and showed little real game plan. The Bantams were unexpectedly missing a couple of very key players (Andrew Davies and James Hanson ), but have lost their way, amazing support though from almost 1,000 travelling away fans. Big club at this level and they will be stronger next season if they can find some investment, but I understand funds are tight. We can save that for late July/early August !
Football League 1 (written pre season)
Brentford have been well tipped up, pretty much across the board, we were on them last season at much bigger prices and I do feel that they were probably better value then, they came up just short, but most of us earned money out of them, so they do not owe us anything.
However, the Bees were one of the two best teams in League 1 last year, they are definitely stronger this season (I will talk about the new signings later), the division is weaker this time round IMO and the the squad which was one of the youngest , is a year older and a lot wiser. We have spoken often about how they tend to improve as a club in second/ third meetings against teams and that attention to detail and investment in backroom staff , will be even more valuable this season. We talked last season about any number of things that the Bees do ,which other teams at their level either do not have the resources for, or if they do, choose to spend their money elsewhere.
For example, Brentford have a Performance Analysis team which extends to 3-4 people, as opposed to one ,if they are lucky, at most third tier teams. They go through every players performance after games and sometimes even at the half time break if they have spotted something and this is done not just with the first team, but at development level.
The club have put huge investment into the training pitch and Academy, which is run along the same lines as big european teams, Brentford were two weeks ago upgraded to Category Two Football Academy status, the only club outside the top two divisions to ever make this step up.
They have purchased land for a new stadium at Lionel Road and owner Matthew Benham, who is a lifetime supporter, has taken steps to secure the long term financing of the club and all these projects, should something happen to him and this is clearly the strongest Brentford have been on and off the pitch in 60 years.
They are not "throwing" money at the team, most of the big investment is in long term projects, but these facilities and approach do encourage players to want to come and in terms of loan deals, bigger clubs to be willing to let youngsters with potential come to Griffin Park, knowing they will be well looked after and they have an especially close relationship with Everton.
I also feel they were the best conditioned team in League 1 and this was highlighted by two sets of stats, firstly, when they scored their goals, with 50% coming in either the last 15 minutes of the first half (23% ... this is a big number) or the last 15 of the match (27%) and also the huge number of points they gained from losing positions (23).
I also explained about the set up of the backroom beyond manager Uwe Rosler and especially Director of Football Mark Warburton who was approached by a Premier League club last season ........ Premier League WBA have been courting Bees Director of Football Mark Warburton, I explained his role at the club last season to long term readers, he has put in place Medical and Performance Analysis teams that are the envied by many bigger clubs and it is this kind of development I speak when I say the club are run along lines of a Championship + club, they have been for 12-18 months and the trees they have planted and beginning to bear fruit. Warburton was flattered, but has chosen to stay at Brentford and I never doubted he would as he is a key part in the club, in what is a long term project, he said “It was very flattering to be even linked to such a senior role at a club of the stature of West Bromwich Albion. "However, I am part of an exciting project that is well underway at Griffin Park and it is only right that my focus should be to help take the club forward and achieve its aims and ambitions."I enjoy an excellent relationship with Uwe Rösler, Ose Aibangee and all of the football staff and we are very fortunate to similarly enjoy the support of a club Board which is totally committed to taking the club to the next level.".
He added “Brentford Football Club has made tremendous strides in the past 18 months. “It is a Club set up to make progress up the football pyramid and we have sought to put into place a backroom and management team that are more than capable of working at a significantly higher level." “There is a young, talented First Team squad that we hope will continue to develop and this will be bolstered by players coming through at younger levels of an excellently-run Academy.“There is a new ground on the horizon too, which will only help the Club to grow."
Now the team, they lost Harry Forrester to Doncaster Rovers and on Monday, keeper Simon Moore to Cardiff City. They were both "expected", Moore is a good young keeper with huge potential, but not the finished article, he should develop into a quality top flight keeper, but for now, he is probably not better than Bees other senior keeper Richard Lee, however Lee is still recovering from injury , but the club had already signed 19 yo Watford keeper Jack Bonham and yesterday added David Button from Charlton as replacement for Moore.
Uwe Rösler : “We always felt we had to have a Plan B in place in case we had offers for Simon Moore. Over the summer we had goalkeepers in on trial and we made lists and enquiries in case Simon left. That happened this week and with Simon going out the door, there is an opportunity for someone to come in. We decided David was the perfect choice for us. He is at the right age and he is very hungry to make the number one spot his own. As soon as Simon left, David was our first choice. He is the only player we enquired about and the only player we made a bid for. We did not at any stage make any enquiries or bids for any other goalkeepers. David will face strong competition for the goalkeeper spot from Jack Bonham and Richard Lee, when Richard is fit again. We are very strong in the goalkeeper department. We have been strong there over the past two seasons and are even stronger this year. I look forward to working with David and our other goalkeepers. I believe it is very important to have match winners in both penalty areas. You need strikers to win matches and goalkeepers to win matches. Richard Lee and Simon Moore have won matches for us; goalkeeper is a crucial position and David is a very good player. I am very happy with the signing.”
Mark Warburton said: "We had to move very quickly to find a more than suitable replacement. David has an excellent pedigree from his time at the Tottenham Academy and in the Charlton First Team. He is a goalkeeper who still has outstanding potential and we are very excited to secure his services at Brentford FC. David is very keen to prove he is a number one goalkeeper and this is an opportunity for him to do that. We hope this is a great move for both parties.”
I wanted to explain their thinking, as this is typical of how the club is run now, there is always a Plan B and they are proactive rather than reactive in everything.
The surplus money received for Moore and Button was not cheap anyway (neither figure was disclosed), is available if required for further strengthening. It might not be needed just yet.
They also signed...Conor McAleny (Everton), Martin Fillo (Viktoria Plzen), Javi Venta ( Villarreal), George Saville (Chelsea), Alan McCormack ( Swindon) and Will Grigg (Walsall). McAleny
is a 20 yo striker and alreay has the club buzzing, he scored twice against PL Cardiff City last night. Fillo is a Czech international, Venta is a veteran defender who has played a dozen Champions League matches and he has brought into the project to help with the youngsters. Saville is a combative midfielder who, according to Warburton, trained every day last season with the Chelsea first team. McCormack is a team leader and was hugely influential in a strong Swindon team over the last two seasons playing 94 matches, I am hugely pleased with this addition and also Grigg, who is just 22yo and scored 19 goals last season in what I felt was an average Walsall team.
I am equally delighted that the loan deal for 20 yo left back Jake Bidwell (Everton) was made permanent and Harlee Dean a hugely promising 22 yo centre back and 21 yo midfielder Adam Forshaw ( another former Evertonian) have both signed three year contract extensions. These are the future of the club and all will be playing at a much higher level soon, hopefully with Brentford.
Bees also have Stuart Dallas, who is still only 22 yo and has been brought along very slowly by the Bees, Rosler when asked, always says "we know what we have with Stuart" with the implication that he is a future star, albeit a raw one, when we have seen him, he looks good and this should be his breakthrough year.
Squad wise this is incredibly strong and they have, with no exaggeration, 22-23 players who would start each week at probably 18-20 of the other League 1 clubs, Wolves are the unknown factor, they still have £19m worth of EPL parachute money, but like Portsmouth in League 2, every team will be extra motivated playing them and after two terrible campaigns, they have to start well.
Brentford were third last year, hard, almost impossible, to see them finishing any lower this season. I debated long and hard about how or if to bet them and am happy with my decision.
I will take 1.75 units Brentford to be promoted 4.0-4.33