WHAT'S THERE TO LOOK FORWARD TO?

BU Board member and blogger Greville Waterman is upbeat about what's still to play for this season.

It’s the beginning of April and at the start of the season I, along with many other supporters, was hoping with no little justification that by this stage of the season we would be cheering our beloved Brentford team over the line as they looked to cement a Playoff place, or – heaven forbid – something even better. That being said as the winter nights drew in and after a listless performance and defeat at Hull City on 15th December the Bees had plummeted to 19th place in the table, and we were anxiously looking downwards rather than up. We now find ourselves safely anchored in mid table mediocrity, nine points from the Playoff zone – still tantalisingly close, but surely out of reach, but a massive fourteen points away from the dreaded bottom three.

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CAN YOU TELL A HOMEGROWN FROM A CLUB DEVELOPED PLAYER?

 

The signing of 17 year old Gustav Mogensen from Danish club AGH Aarhus is not just another example of Brentford’s European talent-spotting. It is part of a bigger picture created by rules which if we are honest, few of us really understand.

Yet every time Thomas Frank chooses which of his players he will be include in a match day squad of 18 (that’s 11 starters and 7 subs) he has to follow those rules. We asked new BU board member David Anderson, @DavidAnderson_1,  who understands these things, to help explain who can and can’t appear on the team sheet and what it means for clubs like ours and for English football. Here's his article:

 

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STEWART PURVIS'S MESSAGE TO BU MEMBERS

Bees United has earned a special place in the history of Brentford FC and as the club enters an exciting new stage in its future I am honoured to have been appointed as BU’s Chairman and its representative on the BFC Board.


I first want to thank David Merritt and Donald Kerr for all they have done to bring the club to its current stability and success. David brought business expertise to the cause and a personal commitment to finding a viable way forward. He will be able to take his seat in the new stadium with justified pride. So too Donald who will be staying on the BFC Board and hopefully still a good friend to BU.

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DAVID MERRITT'S MESSAGE TO BU MEMBERS

I am writing to you as one of my final acts as Chairman of Bees United. I am a few weeks away from reaching my twelve year anniversary on the Board of BU (and only a little more away from the same on the Board of Brentford Football Club). The rules of Bees United are designed to ensure the organisation is healthy and renews itself periodically, and has a rule which clearly says that Board members must stand down after 12 years. I am therefore standing down from Bees United with effect from the forthcoming Annual General Meeting on the 16th March, and from the Board of Brentford Football Club at a similar time. 

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS TRANSFER WINDOW

Brentford FC historian and BU Board member, Greville Waterman, gives a personal view on what may, and may not, be about to happen in the remaining days of the January 2019 window.

Brentford supporters have come to regard the January transfer window with something approaching dread as they are well aware that given its status as a stepping stone club, Brentford prefers to sell rather than buy at a time when prices are inflated and skewed by desperation and it is therefore far harder to find value and bargains.

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OUR THANK YOU TO CEO MARK DEVLIN

Bees United would like to join the football club in sending our best wishes and gratitude to Mark Devlin after the announcement  of his departure from the club at the end of December. BU Board member Greville Waterman has written this appreciation of Mark's work for Brentford

 

 

Mark joined Brentford FC over seven years ago, in July 2011, and has served the club exceptionally well ever since as Chief Executive.

 

I have known Mark for over twenty years when I worked closely with him during his time as Commercial & Marketing Director and then CEO at QPR and Wasps when I was a sponsorship consultant representing the interest of my client, the clubs’ main sponsor Ericsson.

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NARROW MARGINS

Greville Waterman looks back on Brentford’s winless run and is surprisingly optimistic about the future.

I am trying to distract myself and take my mind off Saturday’s local derby against Millwall that is now looming on the horizon. It is barely November and far, far too soon to start talking about “must win games” and “six pointers,” but after a worrying and depressing winless run of eight Championship matches stretching back to 15th September a Brentford victory is long overdue and much needed if only to restore some flagging confidence, put smiles back on grim faces and provide new Head Coach Thomas Frank with his first win since replacing Dean Smith.

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WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Greville Waterman wonders what's next in a season that promised so much but now threatens to be an anti-climax.

Well it was all looking so good at halftime on the 18th September. The Bees were firmly ensconced in second place in the Championship with the plaudits of all the pundits ringing in their ears. A well-taken Neil Maupay goal was the least they deserved as they had totally outplayed a toothless Ipswich Town team marooned at the bottom of the table and the long-overdue first away win of the season should already have been homed and hosed, so dominant had the Bees been in a totally one-sided first half.

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TAKING STOCK AFTER DEAN’S DEPARTURE

Our latest blog from Greville Waterman:

I had roused myself from my torpor and lethargy and almost finished writing a long and analytical review of the first couple of months of the new season when news broke of Dean Smith’s departure to Aston Villa.

So I have scrapped all of my previous observations, gone back to square one and tried to assess his impact upon the club and then I consulted my crystal ball to see how we might do without him.

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FIRST THOUGHTS AFTER TWO MATCHES

Greville Waterman's thoughts as Brentford emerge above the radar.

So how do we all feel a mere two games into a new season? It is still quite a bit too soon to get carried away, start screaming from the rooftops and jumping for joy, and I am all too well aware of the dangers of hubris and counting chickens, but it cannot be denied that the early signs for Brentford are very favourable.

Unlike previous years when the Bees went into a new season seemingly holed below the waterline after a series of high profile departures, Brentford's squad has now never been stronger with quality, cover and depth in almost every position. Interestingly enough despite the variety of options available to him, Head Coach Dean Smith opted for an unchanged team and substitutes for the first two Championship matches.

Rotherham were swept aside by a combination of quick passing, movement and pace allied to a quality of finishing far more clinical than we fans have been used to seeing. Brentford scored five on a sweltering afternoon and quite frankly it could have been far more. "It was only Rotherham though," sneered the sceptics, but surely a lot of the doubters have been silenced after Brentford's performance at promotion favourites Stoke City last Saturday.

Facing a Premier League squad in all but name, the Bees took the game to their much vaunted opponents and made them look plodding and toothless.They even recovered from the blow of a defensive aberration that gifted the lead to the home team, totally dominated proceedings, silenced a vociferous crowd, and but for a few attacking shortcomings and a series of fine saves from Jack Butland would have come away with a victory rather than a draw which was far less than they deserved.

The defence has so far been largely untroubled with Bentley barely having a save to make. Dalsgaard, Barbet, Konsa and Mepham have gelled into a cohesive unit, all comfortable on the ball and keen to surge forward at every opportunity. It is noticeable that all are over six feet tall and it is a long time since the Diddy Men of Brentford boasted four veritable giants in the back four and I believe we are better for it given the barrage of high crosses that we are likely to face in most matches. New signing, Julian Jeanvier has yet to be blooded and will likely make his debut at Southend in the Carabao Cup and Moses Odubajo is now a fully-fledged Brentford player and will hopefully soon be as fit as possible and in contention for a place.

Brentford are justifiably renowned for discovering and extracting gems from the lower leagues and it is already patently obvious that Ezri Konsa will shortly be joining that number. Smooth and silky on the ball, as is required from a Brentford centre half, he also knows how to defend and his partnership with Chris Mepham, two inexperienced twenty year olds will be something to savour.

Given the uncertainty over Ryan Woods's future, Josh McEachran has been given the opportunity to cement his place sitting in front of the back four and despite his early exit on Saturday with a tight hamstring he has so far looked the wonderful footballer he is, seeing and delivering passes of a quality and precision rarely seen at this level of the game, and just as encouragingly, anticipating and winning challenges and generally looking far stronger and more robust. Could this finally be his year to deliver on his immense potential?

Romaine Sawyers has quite simply regularly demonstrated his God-given ability to thread passes through the eye of a needle and he certainly caught the eye of the envious Stoke City supporters who were distinctly unamused to discover that he was a Bosman free signing. Lewis Macleod is also now fully fit and provides a cutting edge from midfield that has been lacking in recent years.

Brentford rely on breaking the opposition press and breaking forward speedily and in numbers and wingers Sergi Canos and Ollie Watkins have a vital role to play. Canos seems to have recovered his Mojo after an injury-ravaged season, knowing full well that he has the immensely talented Said Benrahma breathing down his neck and waiting for his opportunity off the bench. As for Watkins - what a player and talent he is. Southampton apparently offered around £11 million for him in the close season and were swiftly rebuffed. Totally the right move as his value will surely double this season given the electrifying start he has made. He is so strong, quick and direct and is totally two-footed as thunderous goals with both right and left feet in his last two games prove. He is now being compared in his impact and ability with Dele Alli in his MK Dons days and his future could well be as bright as Alli's. Watkins is so dangerous cutting in from the wing that it seems likely that the previous plan to play him down the middle is likely to be put on hold for the time being which means that Neil Maupay will need to stay both fit and sharp as we posses very few alternatives apart from the untried Marcus Forss.

The rump of the squad is likely to be given a runout at Southend to give them much needed minutes and it will be interesting to see if Ryan Woods will be included. It seemed a foregone conclusion that he would finalise a move to Swansea on Transfer Deadline day but for whatever reason, Swansea were not prepared to pay the asking price and Ryan is left in limbo. Will another club or even Swansea come back with a loan to purchase move before the end of the month or will he be reintegrated into the squad where he will surely be welcomed with open arms? I suspect that the club was reconciled to his departure as he had given us almost three seasons of dedicated service, we had improved and developed him and it seemed that his valuation was going to be met and that the time had come for him to move on maybe to better things but certainly for more money. Most importantly, in McEachran and Kamo Mokotjo his replacements were already in the building.

It is still early days but the auspices are favourable. Their ability has never been in question but the players also appear to be mentally stronger and more confident and resilient and it is telling how well they recovered from the blow of going a goal down in such ridiculous circumstances at Stoke having dominated the early proceedings.

For me the most disconcerting development to date has been that pundits and rival supporters alike have finally discovered Brentford and recognised how well the club is run, the quality of our football and the talent we possess, and Brentford have been widely tipped to make a serious promotion challenge. Worrying indeed, as I far prefer us to exist and flourish well under the radar and I positively relish the "teams like Brentford" and "pub team" insults and other such disparaging comments that we have been widely subjected to since promotion to the Championship in 2014.

Can Brentford thrive under the additional pressure of being in the spotlight? All will be revealed in the coming weeks. Exciting times indeed!

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