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.
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.
Until then, here’s The Quo…