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FC Brentfjord - Road to Relegation

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"Analytics is a way of thinking..." - Rasmus Ankerson, Brentford FC Co-Director of Football.

 

Warburton's end to Dean Smith

Our first season in the Championship in 2014/2015 saw us compete with the second tier's best as we failed to win promotion after a brilliant season, losing out to eventual Play Off winners Middlesbrough in the Play Off Semi Finals.

Mid way through the season it was to be announced that Mark Warburton's contract would not be extended and Brentford FC would bring in a new manager in the Summer as we looked to make the best of statistical analysis in a game dominated by £££. We appointed Marinus Dijkhuizen, who eventually was sacked due to a personal difference between him and the players after a poor run of results, our owner Matthew Benham later came out and admitted a mistake was made when appointing him as the club ignored the advice of an agent that referred to the issues the players had.

Development Squad Manager Lee Carlsey was put in charge, he lost his first two games however went onto winning the Championship MOTM award after winning 4 out of 5 games. Carsley was soon replaced with current Manager Dean Smith, who at the time was leading League 1 with Walsall. The season was one of ups and downs for Dean Smith also, who lost 12 games and drew 3 games in his first 20 games in charge for us, causing most outsiders and a lot of fans to prepare for relegation. However from April onwards we won 7 games, drew 1 and lost 1. Dean Smith guided us to a 9th place finish in his first season in charge.

 

Benham's Brentford

I've backed Matthew Behham's vision of Brentford FC since the beginning, backed it when Warburton left the club and still back it today. I've definitely wavered at times, when Dijkhuizen was sacked, when Dean Smith couldn't buy a win for love nor money, but backed them still. In the end it's paid off for us and we're now in a healthier position as a club than we were in Mark Warburton's first season in the Championship. There were a lot of mitigating factors that the media and fans outside have ignored, even some of our own fans. We've been looked at as a selling club, a club with no loyalty, a club who's owner tries to get involved with team selections. But here's a list of what happened in our first Summer without Warburton:

  • We got rid of a manager reluctant to add to a squad in dire need of goals throughout a January transfer window, and didn't buy into the club's philosophy.
  • We lost a key player and arguably best midfielder in the division after a great loan deal in Alex Pritchard.
  • We had key players in a position to hold the club to ransom on short contracts. We lost Jonathan Douglas, Stuart Dallas and Toumani Diagouraga all to "bigger" clubs who could afford bigger wages (Ipswich and Leeds x2).
  • We lost Moses Odubajo to Hull City and sold Andre Gray to Burnley.
  • AFTER SELLING ANDRE GRAY FOR £9M, WE STILL WEREN'T FFP COMPLIANT. We did not have the funds to keep the team that played under MW together, and would never have challenged again in the same way.
  • Our star summer signing, Andreas Bjelland, broke his leg in a pre-season friendly.
  • In the January transfer window, our best defender James Tarkowski refused to play for us so he could move "up norf" to Burnley, to be near his sick mum.

The playing staff was largely ripped apart as we rebuilt a squad that would be younger, have more potential and be on longer contracts. It was the beginning of a period of upheaval and change as the club had little control over it's short term future. The one clear mistake was Marinus Dijkhuizen, however Dean Smith has shown we have our manager right now.

We've had a mixed season as the rebuild has continued with the youngest squad in the league, we also sold Scott Hogan to Villa in January for around £12m-£15m. After selling Hogan we've been able to bring back Canos on a 5 year deal, bring back Jota and offer a contract extension till the end of next season, re-sign Alan Judge on a two year deal after he was due to leave the club on a free and also sign young and promising full back Rico Henry from Walsall. Since selling Hogan we have averaged 2 goals a game with the goals now being spread around the team as opposed to being reliant on him.

 

Current Players on Long Term Contracts

Our current team has key players on long term contracts:

  • Yennaris 2019
  • Sawyers 2020
  • Rico Henry 2021
  • Ryan Woods 2020
  • Judge 2019
  • Egan 2020
  • Canos 2021 (plus 1 year option)
  • Bentley 2020
  • Josh Clarke 2020

 

Introduction of the B Team, goodbye Academy

After losing our most promising academy product Joseph Bogui for a pittance to Manchester United, the club made the decision to close down our academy entirely. All funds and focus from the academy has been set into a B Team, a side which is there to offer young players on the fringe of first team professional football an environment to grow in and play the best academies from around the world, with a direct route into first team Championship football should the players be good enough, rather than be loaned out with futures unknown.

Our B Team this season have played Chelsea, Man City, Villarreal, Valencia, Liverpool, Man Utd, Southampton, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Hamburg, Crystal Palace and the Nike Academy. We have had wins over Hamburg, Southampton, Man Utd, Liverpool and West Brom, as well as other clubs.

We've seen many B Team players make the first team bench and also seen B Team players break through to the first team, like Josh Clarke and Tom Field.

 

Premier League Ambitions

Currently we're around 10-12 points off of the play offs and in good form, with a well balanced team. Promotion this season would be an achievement in itself but looks extremely unrealistic. Next season however I think everyone will see a Brentford team in and around the play offs and promotion places, and we'll see a Summer where we're able to keep hold of our best players and actually strengthen the squad instead. The sale of Scott Hogan will have helped us strengthen in January, if we did receive £10m for him, we've spent around £4m on transfer fees and then wages will be thrown in there too, so how much is left of that kitty who knows. 

I hope we can strengthen with the addition of one or two key players in midfield and up front, but I'm confident with the team we currently have that they'll be able to step up and be a lot more consistent next season.

 

"You should never have sacked Warburton..." - Every cunt going.

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Shouldn't there be twenty-odd of these threads then? Most sides in or around the Championship have Premier League ambitions. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

Shouldn't there be twenty-odd of these threads then? Most sides in or around the Championship have Premier League ambitions. 

 

If there were 20 odd different Championship clubs represented on here you'd have a point.

 

9 minutes ago, Cannabis said:

Brentford killing the game by introducing "B" teams :ph34r:.

#peanutbutterandjelly

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13 minutes ago, Romesh said:

what's the 'Premiership'?

That thing you're trying to get relegated from :coffee:

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There's also got to be more reasons behind the closure of the club's academy than they lost one player to Man United, surely? Most clubs outside the Premier League have that problem, ourselves included. We've lost Kaziah Sterling (Spurs), Katelyn Hinds and Jay Beckford (Arsenal) plus a few others who's names escape me. 

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18 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

There's also got to be more reasons behind the closure of the club's academy than they lost one player to Man United, surely? Most clubs outside the Premier League have that problem, ourselves included. We've lost Kaziah Sterling (Spurs), Katelyn Hinds and Jay Beckford (Arsenal) plus a few others who's names escape me. 

We're a club that likes to think "outside of the box", you pump in a load of money into an academy system to have your best players snatched away. We have the ability to sign quality reserve players in one team and offer them a pathway to first team football.

Theyre actually looking into this in Scotland after someone from the club carried out a presentation on it as there are too many academies there.

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12 minutes ago, Danny said:

We're a club that likes to think "outside of the box", you pump in a load of money into an academy system to have your best players snatched away. We have the ability to sign quality reserve players in one team and offer them a pathway to first team football.

Theyre actually looking into this in Scotland after someone from the club carried out a presentation on it as there are too many academies there.

So effectively, instead of being the little club that has had their players taken from them for less than the club values them for, you've become one of the teams to take other team's players for (presumably) less than their respective club's value them for. Morally that may not be right but I'll give you, it's outside of the box and clever if not totally the morally right way to do things. 

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41 minutes ago, Smiley Culture said:

So effectively, instead of being the little club that has had their players taken from them for less than the club values them for, you've become one of the teams to take other team's players for (presumably) less than their respective club's value them for. Morally that may not be right but I'll give you, it's outside of the box and clever if not totally the morally right way to do things. 

Yeah and no. A few from the academy originally, a few from obscure picks in Europe and a few from Arsenal, Stoke, Benfica etc

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With the amount of times you referenced Mark Warbuton I have to ask... who are you trying to convince here? Us or yourself?

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7 minutes ago, Aaroncpfc said:

With the amount of times you referenced Mark Warbuton I have to ask... who are you trying to convince here? Us or yourself?

Tbh no one talks about Brentford on here so I've gotta do something to try and get a bite here and there xD

With that said if you knew the amount of times what happened with him is held against us still to this day you'd know why he has been mentioned so much.

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On 03/04/2017 at 1:21 PM, Danny said:

Tbh no one talks about Brentford on here so I've gotta do something to try and get a bite here and there xD

In a way that is not a bad thing having a season where teams have little to say about you in The Championship. Teams usually in this predicament now end up having a good season next season as the foundations and stability is there.

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1 hour ago, Aaroncpfc said:

In a way that is not a bad thing having a season where teams have little to say about you in The Championship. Teams usually in this predicament now end up having a good season next season as the foundations and stability is there.

That's the expectation for next season, we've got a good young side that's a lot more balanced now we sold Hogan and brought back Jota, Canos and resigned Judge.

Considering we have one of the lowest budgets in the league it'd be class if we were to go up simply for our ability to punch above our weight.

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So you have bought into the B Team project? It's been a season now since the Academy was closed. With what you understand to be happening wih it all do you think that the money is better spent on the B Team than a youth development programme? I'd also like to know what your thoughts were when you initially heard that the Academy was closing.

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4 hours ago, Large said:

So you have bought into the B Team project? It's been a season now since the Academy was closed. With what you understand to be happening wih it all do you think that the money is better spent on the B Team than a youth development programme? I'd also like to know what your thoughts were when you initially heard that the Academy was closing.

We'll see more next season I imagine, can't really make much out of it at the moment.

I support the cause, why fund an academy if we can't keep our best youngsters...put it all into a B team that offers higher quality reserves the chance to break into the first team by playing world class academies constantly. All sounds great so I can't complain, but we'll need to see what it produced over the next few years.

We're surrounded by scouts of Chelsea, QPR, Fulham, Arsenal, Spurs...a lot of clubs in west London alone, let alone the north London clubs. Let alone United stealing our best prospect.

Id love for the club to run a good academy but at the moment if the B Team brings in better players then I'd prefer that.

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Interesting. The main players to come through from the B Team this season though are Academy players. Tom Field, Reece Cole, Zain Westbrooke, Chris Mepham. That's not a bad return for any Academy, especially one that it isn't worth investing in.

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8 hours ago, Large said:

Interesting. The main players to come through from the B Team this season though are Academy players. Tom Field, Reece Cole, Zain Westbrooke, Chris Mepham. That's not a bad return for any Academy, especially one that it isn't worth investing in.

They have been, but I think if we give it time we will see what we get from the rest of the B Team. The idea is that it's a bit more competitive than the academy teams and offers more of a direct route to the first team, meaning we can sign a higher calibre of player and keep them on a decent contract.

You make a valid point and time will tell what we get from it but I'm hoping we benefit.

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10 hours ago, Danny said:

I support the cause, why fund an academy if we can't keep our best youngsters...put it all into a B team that offers higher quality reserves the chance to break into the first team by playing world class academies constantly. All sounds great so I can't complain, but we'll need to see what it produced over the next few years.

We're surrounded by scouts of Chelsea, QPR, Fulham, Arsenal, Spurs...a lot of clubs in west London alone, let alone the north London clubs. Let alone United stealing our best prospect.

The example you use though is one of those 'once in a blue moon' ones. Josh Bohui could be a top, top player. Players of that calibre will always be snapped up by the big clubs. It is very rare that a 'smaller' club will keep hold of players that are considered the very best. The same with Ian Carlo Poveda Ocampo [although that one was a different situation altogether]. The four players I've listed earlier though are all Academy players that the First Team are now benefitting from. There's also players like Alfie Mawson that was a Brentford Academy boy. In my opinion he should have been kept but wasn't. Even so though the club has done well from the sale to Swansea.

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29 minutes ago, Large said:

The example you use though is one of those 'once in a blue moon' ones. Josh Bohui could be a top, top player. Players of that calibre will always be snapped up by the big clubs. It is very rare that a 'smaller' club will keep hold of players that are considered the very best. The same with Ian Carlo Poveda Ocampo [although that one was a different situation altogether]. The four players I've listed earlier though are all Academy players that the First Team are now benefitting from. There's also players like Alfie Mawson that was a Brentford Academy boy. In my opinion he should have been kept but wasn't. Even so though the club has done well from the sale to Swansea.

Josh Clarke is the only one to properly break the first team, Field has done so but largely at a squad rotation level. Even then Clarke hasn't been our first choice with the strength we have on the wings now.

The rest have made appearances but it's Clarke has been the closest to breaking the first team, so whilst the academy lads are definitely stepping up, they've not cracked the first team yet.

Time will tell, we may have a B team that has a host of players like Clarke and Field for example that can break through to the first team, we may have players like Stuar Dallas in there starting from humble beginnings. Our academy wasn't failing us, but I do buy into what we're trying to achieve and think we'll be able to get more from the B team than we have our academy.

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It will definitely be interesting to see.

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Around the promotion places? That's ambitious. I can't see Brentford doing it. It's all very well signing those key players on long term contracts, but if attractive or financially better off teams go in for those players the contracts won't be worth the paper they're written on,they'll just assure you of a better fee. If a player really wants to leave they invariably do, and it's not always because they're unhappy sometimes it's because they'll simply earn far more elsewhere.

I like the manager (Villa fan), any any team who can get on a run has a chance for play-offs but top two is incredibly difficult and I don't think you'll be consistent enough.

 

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On 20/05/2017 at 0:12 PM, TomAVFC said:

Around the promotion places? That's ambitious. I can't see Brentford doing it. It's all very well signing those key players on long term contracts, but if attractive or financially better off teams go in for those players the contracts won't be worth the paper they're written on,they'll just assure you of a better fee. If a player really wants to leave they invariably do, and it's not always because they're unhappy sometimes it's because they'll simply earn far more elsewhere.

I like the manager (Villa fan), any any team who can get on a run has a chance for play-offs but top two is incredibly difficult and I don't think you'll be consistent enough.

 

Yeah youll always lose your best player if a bigger clubs wants him, but it wasn't just that one player we lost. Alongside Andre Gray we then lost Douglas, Diagouraga, Dallas, Pritchard (loan), Odubajo and Tarkowski. That's 7 players who were all fairly key players for us, we didn't lose them because big money was thrown around in transfers, we lost them because they weren't signing new contracts and we could only previously afford to keep them on 3 year deals, often only extending by 1 or 2 years. Tarks and Pritchard were different as Tarkowski refused to play for us once Burnley got involved and Pritchard was just on loan, but the point is we now have most of our players on 4-5 year deals with extensions thrown in there as opposed to just a 2-3 year deal. So if we are going to lose Sergi Canos or Ryan Woods we'll either be in a position to say no or demand top dollar as opposed to just taking something rather than nothing.

Currently we have the best winger in the league, if we keep him he'll score a shitload and if we sell him we'll make a shitload and bring in someone who can make a similar impact on a long term contract. We're still waiting on Alan Judge to come back and that's not mentioning the likes of Canos, Jozefzoon and Vibe too.

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 1:46 PM, Danny said:

Yeah youll always lose your best player if a bigger clubs wants him, but it wasn't just that one player we lost. Alongside Andre Gray we then lost Douglas, Diagouraga, Dallas, Pritchard (loan), Odubajo and Tarkowski. That's 7 players who were all fairly key players for us, we didn't lose them because big money was thrown around in transfers, we lost them because they weren't signing new contracts and we could only previously afford to keep them on 3 year deals, often only extending by 1 or 2 years. Tarks and Pritchard were different as Tarkowski refused to play for us once Burnley got involved and Pritchard was just on loan, but the point is we now have most of our players on 4-5 year deals with extensions thrown in there as opposed to just a 2-3 year deal. So if we are going to lose Sergi Canos or Ryan Woods we'll either be in a position to say no or demand top dollar as opposed to just taking something rather than nothing.

These two sales had nothing to do with length of contracts the club could offer or whether they could be afforded. They were made because of FFP.

Edited by Large

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Just now, Large said:

These two sales had nothing to do with length of contracts the club could offer or whether they could be afforded They were made because of FFP.

Odubajo was made because we had a release clause in his contract but you're right, even after selling Gray we still hadn't cleared FFP hence having to sell more. I don't think people realise how overbudget we were in our first season.

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7 minutes ago, Danny said:

Odubajo was made because we had a release clause in his contract but you're right, even after selling Gray we still hadn't cleared FFP hence having to sell more. I don't think people realise how overbudget we were in our first season.

He did but had Grey stayed then I know Odubajo would had to.

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Just now, Large said:

He did but had Grey stayed then I know Odubajo would had to.

Remember Gray leaving and Odubajo congratulating him as if leaving us for someone "bigger" was the goal, don't think he'd of been so open about that if he were staying.

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My stereotypical view of you @Large would be that you're out in Essex somewhere, how'd you end up working for the Bees?

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Same as almost any job in pro football. I know somebody who knows somebody. Football is the worst industry in the world that I know for it. It's not what you know but who you know. Goes a long way to explaining why generally it is run so poorly [not talking about me though, obviously. I was probably the best bit of business the club has done B|].

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On 6/24/2017 at 1:46 PM, Danny said:

Yeah youll always lose your best player if a bigger clubs wants him, but it wasn't just that one player we lost. Alongside Andre Gray we then lost Douglas, Diagouraga, Dallas, Pritchard (loan), Odubajo and Tarkowski. That's 7 players who were all fairly key players for us, we didn't lose them because big money was thrown around in transfers, we lost them because they weren't signing new contracts and we could only previously afford to keep them on 3 year deals, often only extending by 1 or 2 years. Tarks and Pritchard were different as Tarkowski refused to play for us once Burnley got involved and Pritchard was just on loan, but the point is we now have most of our players on 4-5 year deals with extensions thrown in there as opposed to just a 2-3 year deal. So if we are going to lose Sergi Canos or Ryan Woods we'll either be in a position to say no or demand top dollar as opposed to just taking something rather than nothing.

Currently we have the best winger in the league, if we keep him he'll score a shitload and if we sell him we'll make a shitload and bring in someone who can make a similar impact on a long term contract. We're still waiting on Alan Judge to come back and that's not mentioning the likes of Canos, Jozefzoon and Vibe too.

If Sergi Canos or Ryan Woods want to go, then they will go, whether you hang on an extra window or not would be the only variant. 

Whose the best winger in the league? Another big statement. How do you know if you sell him you'll automatically replace him with someone who can make a similar impact?

I like Vibe. He ruined us that dreaded night.

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