Club gives the verdict on Holloway as fans forum reveals key updates

2 Aug

With our Championship campaign kicking off on Saturday, Brentford continued pre-season preparation with the regular fans forum last night. A panel of Cliff Crown, Dean Smith, Mark Devlin, Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen took questions from those in attendance whilst our host for the night, the inimitable Peter Gilham, fired the questions sent in over social media from a global audience. With Newcastle United, QPR , Ian Holloway and, of course, Lionel Road all up for discussion, what did we learn?

Firstly, how key Peter is to the club. Traffic delays meant proceedings were delayed until he made his entrance, mic in hand, doing a wonderful walk-and-talk. He hadn’t even reached his seat at the top table and we were off.

The panel, only missing missing Matthew Benham for a full house in ‘top brass bingo’ , were as open as ever. There were several unexpected nuggets of information in an hour and a half that showed just how willing to engage our club can be.

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the panel line up

The panel all have “realistic” hopes of a top 6 finish in a Championship that Mark Devlin sees the inclusion of Newcastle and Aston Villa as adding a rich pageantry. All, that is, except head coach Dean Smith who stuck his head on the block and suggested he’d have to go for the same 1st place that he’s told his players he is aiming for. No pressure , Dean! At 33/1, I’ll have some of that . Certainly better value than the 15/8 currently available for every pundit’s favourite, Newcastle.

Dean also acknowledged that he was very disappointed with the performance against Millwall. And that the players knew this. However, what was pleasing is that we have been creating chances.Besides, he never really pays too much notice to results over this period – a sentiment I, for one, concur with.

On the playing front, Lewis Macleod has really impressed. A player described by Dean as “excellent”, adding that “he looks a really exciting player”. We are yet to pick a captain but the selected candidate is likely to be one who will feature in the majority of games.

Whilst Dean is still considering his squad options, with the Huddersfield game less than five days away, surely that decision will be imminent? Harlee Dean, Ryan Woods or Sam Saunders surely in line for the armband, based on that logic.

Andy Gogia looks like he is heading out on loan whilst Jota remains available for recall. Although we are in touch with him, Phil acknowledged that the best thing for the player at the minute is to remain in Spain. Jota is somebody I’d love to see back but, sadly, the language being used about personal circumstances and respecting privacy suggests that it is a forlorn hope and the player’s future will lie in Spain. This, something I’d happily be proved wrong on!

Jota corner short?

Jota – when will we see you again?

The big three questions of the night (we’ll overlook the shirt talk) were, in no particular order, :

QPR – will we celebrate their failure to take over the club 50 years ago? An anniversary that comes up in March of this season.

Cue the microphone being thrust immediately to Chief Executive Devlin (no idea why) who confirmed that whilst celebrate might not be the word, it was certainly an occasion we would look to mark. Likewise, our 4000th league game which will take place agasint Barnsley in October. For the record, Peter Gilham did then confirm that “the word IS celebration, by the way

Next up. Lionel Road. No immediate progress although Cliff confirmed that the GVD (general vesting declaration) had been issued on Friday, following the CPO. This, followed by the air of caution that, “These things do take quite some time” .

It was a sentiment echoed by Mark Devlin, given how we are “Inching towards the new stadium”. As such, he has already been speaking to the football league about a dispensation for Griffin Park in order to maintain the current set up next season. That said if we do have to put seats behind the goals then the costs and reduced capacity (down by about a thousand) are already known. Let’s just hope commons sense prevails if Lionel Road is clearly under way by that point.

But THE big one was all about former Bee, Ian Holloway. What did the panel think of his tipping Brentford as a club that was regressing and one who he saw finishing in a relegation spot this time around? He also made the bold prediction of Newcastle United winning the league.

The response to this was a unanimous one. Hardly surprising but great to hear. “ I just think it proves he doesn’t know a great deal about football, especially in West London” was the frank response from Chairman Crown. A similar observation came from Mark Devlin, who noted,  “Who cares what pundits say” whilst Phil was a bit more diplomatic, noting that Ian had commentated on the Bees in two very poor performances last time out. Perhaps that had crept into his prediction?

But it was Rasmus who came out with the zinger of the night. Fusing corporate with club, his observation on the former QPR man’s prediction of  22nd was a simple:  “Thats not what Smartodds says”.

As ever, a huge THANK YOU to the club for hosting this event. No question was off limits and the vibe really was positive one. It was, as ever, a unique opportunity to question those at the top.

Let’s hope their faith in the squad is rewarded when the action begins once more this Saturday.

Nick Bruzon

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2 Responses to “Club gives the verdict on Holloway as fans forum reveals key updates”

  1. RebelBee August 2, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    So finally the new season is almost upon us, let the madness begin! After years in the lower leagues we’ll take this all day long won’t we? Note to self, try to remember this.

    Personally I feel far more chilled about our club and very much more on side with the “Brentford way” than a year ago. The new recruits are what i’d hoped for, and those from last summer that haven’t made the grade are being moved on. This is the definitive period for Dean Smith, he now has his squad (albeit with new injuries), and right now it looks a bit top heavy in some areas and light in others, perhaps we are not quite ready. Regardless, starting Saturday we need to see if DS’s coaching and tactical knowledge can keep us competitive and then take us forward.

    As for Holloway’s comments, should we let these go as just another personal opinion? Well no not really is my answer, He is the latest in a line of pundits and paid members of the media to wade in on BFC (Wilkins, Cottee, Durham, Redknapp), this alone makes them fair game imo, but worse still it seems that these opinions are based on inaccurate information and no little prejudice. Ian, by all means tip us for relegation if you really have done your homework and know the workings of the club, earn your money and regain the respect you once had from football fans.

    By the way it isn’t only Bees fans that are calling out Holloway, Aston Villa’s owner is having a meltdown over yesterday’s piece, as are fans of Saturday’s opponents Huddersfield among others.

    As for the skipper, very tricky this one, Ryan woods has come right up on the rails in pre season for me. Much as i love our Harlee I think he has to concentrate on his own game, which has looked rusty in these friendlies.

    Tough call anyway.

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) August 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    Firstly great news about Lionel Road, one step closer! Or one inch closer!

    Secondly, amusing comment I saw on Twitter about the forum, saying who gives up their evening and goes all the way to a fans forum to ask about a scoreboard?

    I have also seen that Sky Sports have apologised for their error yesterday in releasing a table which shows the number of times each club will be featured live on Sky and instead saying they were ‘predictions’ by Ian Holloway. Not really.

    The biggest mug in this whole affair is not Ian Holloway but Sky Sports. Why? Because they are paying shed loads of money for an expert who clearly has no idea what on earth he is talking about, with his only judgement being games he has attended with Sky.

    I had said recently that I feel we are about 3 players short still, and that was pretty much confirmed last night, with 1 permanent and 2 loan signings to, hopefully, arrive in the coming couple of weeks. Ollie Watkins I think would be a fantastic signing, a player whose goals i had to rewind and watch again more than once whilst watching Channel 5 last season. There have been 1 or 2 names bandied around on social media as possible loans, which seem more Fantasy Football then reality in Ojo from Liverpool and Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea. So lets see what transpires these coming weeks and see if Holloway still thinks we are ‘regressing’.

    Oh and I vote Ryan Woods captain

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