Down, Down. Deeper and Down

12 May

Newcastle United. Down! Norwich City. Down !  On a busy, busy day for all things Brentford related, the Bees learned more about who we’ll be playing next season. This, when Sunderland’s win guaranteed their own safety whilst sending their arch-rivals to join us taking on the likes of Aston Villa and Burton Albion in the Championship. The rumoured news about the Brentford Academy was confirmed whilst for those looking for a bit of entertainment on the way to work today, Besotted’s latest podcast is now available.

We’ll start with The Academy. Any article entitled ‘Club Statement’ appearing on Brentford official is never normally great news. Sure enough, this one confirmed that as part of a “lengthy evaluation process” undertaken by co-directors of football Rasmus Andersen and Phil Giles “the decision has been taken to completely restructure the Club’s Academy system“.

The subsequent definition of ‘restructure’ seems to be more one of almost wholesale shut down at every level. Rather than running from under-8 up to under-21 and the Development squad, we’ll be replacing all of this with what is described as “an elite squad of  around 18 players aged 17-21.”

It’s hard to pick out the exact reason for this decision amongst what is meant to read as positive and innovative but, instead, at times gets lost in a sea of buzzwords.

Given how Brentford saw the Academy as such a huge part of its future state model, this does mark a remarkable reversal. It can’t have been an easy decision and one has, first and foremost, to feel sorry for the kids and their families involved in the structure at the moment.

How the new elite squad pans out will only be evident in a year or two’s time. That’s not to say, the personal cost aside, this won’t work either.

From one respect I can understand the logic that  “The Club will specialise in developing one age group rather than trying to master the whole talent spectrum”. Where these players are to come from is another question. Moreso, given the fierce local competition.

It’s a brave decision to make, that’s for sure. Both on a personal and professional basis. I want my club to succeed and hope that this trimmed down ’elite’ squad playing  a “carefully planned programme of games, predominantly against Category One Academy teams” is a way of doing so.

Only time will tell.

Tom Field

Academy graduate Tom Field featured in the first team against Fulham

Ok – last night’s football. How much must Sunderland have enjoyed putting the final nail in the Newcastle United Premier League coffin? Their 3-0 win over Everton meant that the trip we’ve been planning for the last few months has now come a step closer.

Along with those new experiences at Villa Park and Burton Albion, the Championship is now shaping up to be an even more exciting place. Get those railcards ready !

It does show how football fortunes can change, though. Who’d have though the 2016/17 top flight ‘North-East’ derby would be Sunderland v Middlesbrough ? Likewise that next season’s game between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest will mark the first time that two former winners of the European Cup (kids, that’s the proper version of the Champions’ League) will meet in a league fixture outside of the top flight.

Bournemouth and Watford both keeping their places in the Premier League against most people’s expectations. Leicester City, of course, have become hugely popular champions. Tottenham have broken into the top four although have given themselves a wonderful opportunity to perform their annual ‘choke’ as they go for second place, at Newcastle United, this weekend.

The football landscape is changing. Stick to the Status Quo at your peril or run the risk of going Down,Down. Whether you agree with it or not, and I know that from reading social media last night many feel strongly,  It’s something Brentford are trying.

And talking of ‘Down, Down’, how about down, down-loading something for the journey to work. Yes, the latest Besotted podcast goes live this morning and you can get it here.

Whilst Billy (Grant, not Reeves) and the team do talk about the Academy, the emphasis in this ‘end of season’ special is very much on fun. Amongst other things this edition covers off the season’s highs and lows, rumour of the year and the Alan Judge-less player of the year.

The podcast is always well worth a listen. Nobody can doubt Billy, Dave and the rest of the Besotted crew’s passion and enthusiasm. Here’s to more next season.

And finally, on the subject of downloads, The Last Word review of the year is now available. Entitled “Ready.Steady. Go Again” it features the least bad of these columns from the appointment of Marinus in June 2015 up until 9th place in the Championship was confirmed at the weekend.

‘And if you’d like to read more’….. there is also an anthology of the last three seasons  : “Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up“ , which runs from ‘that penalty’  all the way through to the 5-1 humping of Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

If you’d like to read all about it, whilst listening to Billy and team, you can do so here.

Many thanks.

Until then, here’s The Quo…

book 3 and 4 cover

Its all about the kit, man. And the Bees.

Nick Bruzon

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4 Responses to “Down, Down. Deeper and Down”

  1. KevinO May 12, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    I think the “re-structuring” of the academy is a worrying devlopment. The club statement mentions Tom Field’s emergence but fails to mention that hje joined the club as a 14 year old, so who knows where he would have been in the new set-up and whether it would have been at Brentford. Very worrying!

  2. Rob May 12, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    The news that Ian Carlo Poveda is off to Man City came out almost simultaneously as the closing of the academy story broke so was this more than coincidental? I think what they are saying is that any top draw player that shows potential at a young age will be snapped up by a Premier League team, and all that investment in a player will have gone to waste before the club has had a chance to benefit. I understand that, but if we have plans to be a Premiership club, would we not have the potential to be one of the clubs picking off talent in a similar fashion? I thought that was part of the sustainable model? We’ll have to wait and see.
    Doubly sad that this news comes off the back of the U13’s winning a tournament out in Greece, against none other than AEK Athens….

    • KevinO May 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      I agree Bob, if you watched the video of the U13s final they were a credit to the club and surely are helping spread the name and reputation of Brentford. Interesting that Poveda is being cherry picked by a Manchester club not a London club and I am led to believe we will get a fee for him. So much was made of when we won the Milk Cup final in Belfast a few years ago yet that cannoy happen again now. It appears we are abandoning the youth team as well if we are focusiing on less than 20 players between the age of 18-21. This is the most depressing news to come out of the club for a long time.

      • Rob May 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

        And after this we are one of only 3 league clubs not to have a youth academy…Wycombe and Crawley being the other two.
        I can only assume that we believe we can do better by unearthing talent using the stats (and traditional scouting methods of course!) instead of nuturing it

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