Not quite a sick relative as agents play dirty, West Ham beckon and furious Phil rages.

22 Jan

Brentford lost at Wigan Athletic on Saturday. 2-1. The video highlights are here. The BBC, official etc have the match reports of what Dean Smith would subsequently describe as a  ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance after running Newcastle so close 7(seven) days earlier. Yet it was the talk surrounding Scott Hogan and his on/off move to West Ham that reached a new level after the game as the Wigan result played very much second fiddle in the post match talking points.

It’s an unchanged starting XI for The Bees this afternoon at the DW Stadium” declared Brentford official on Twitter as the team was announced prior to kick off. What they didn’t make any reference to was the changed bench as Scott Hogan hadn’t even made it into the match day 18.


Unchanged. Kind of…

Another minor injury? Was he being protected ahead of the Chelsea game? Was he on strike in an attempt to force through a move? Or had one of his relatives been feeling unwell?

As it transpired afterwards it was none of these with Dean Smith revealing that the player had a ‘tight hamstring’ and ‘felt it would be a risk to play‘ after being seduced by talk from agents. Dean telling BBC sport that with what he’s been told is on offer for him, it’s very hard for him to go out and play.

With what he’s been told is on offer for him, it’s very hard for him to go out and play,” Dean told BBC Sport in an interview you can hear here.

But it was West London’s Premier Journalist, Tom Moore, who threatened to blow the lid off what was going on behind the scenes. “Just spoken to a livid Phil Giles. Explosive Scott Hogan update coming”, said his Twitter thirty minutes after full time.


Not my words but those etc etc

We had to wait a further five hours before the big reveal where, it was fair to say, that our co-director of football was threatening to do his own David Banner impersonation. Clearly, he wasn’t happy about agents circling. Phil – welcome to the world of the humble supporter,

The story, which you can find here, contains three counts of livid, two furious, three variants of rage and four no criticism of Scott. The meat of the subject matter being what we’d all suspected – that agents are whispering sweet nothings into his ear about what he could be earning at West Ham and, as such, it is affecting a player who wants to compete but is distracted.

Interestingly, despite an approach that Phil describes as “Completely illegal” the club will not be making a complaint to the FA. This, for me, is the oddest part of a story which has been played out very much in the public eye. A story which has had more leaks than the Titanic. If we are that convinced then why are we taking no action?

Indeed, both Dean and Phil have gone out of their way to defend the player. This, the complete opposite stance to when James Tarkowski refused to play against Burnley ahead of his move to Turf Moor. At the time, the club put out an immediate statement saying how the player had declared himself unavailable after being selected and “as a result of these actions he will be disciplined by the club”, later adding that, “the club will make no further comment on potential punishment.

Whilst Tarkowski would later cite a sick mother as the reason for refusing to play against a team he was looking to move to, this time the justification is an apparent minor injury. Presumably our medical team were in agreement with this? Or is it just an excuse to avoid us getting backed further into a corner with one of our biggest games of the season a week away?

As Phil notes in Tom’s article : “The whole thing is ridiculous. We’re looking ahead to next week – what are we going to do then? We want to pick our best players. We’re paying our best players to play a big game.

Will Scott feature if he hasn’t been sold? Will he want to? Will that hamstring ‘injury’ have cleared up?

One thing is for sure. I can’t imagine this ending cleanly unless diplomacy of an ambassadorial level takes place. And fast. But that’s now living in cloud cuckoo land.

Matthew Benham confirmed last week “I’m holding out” so if West Ham refuse to stump up to our valuation, then things could get very awkward. The club clearly aren’t going be held to ransom whilst Scott’s immediate focus would seem to be elsewhere.

This is lose-lose for everybody at present, with the clock ticking on time for Brentford to get a replacement in should the sale go through. Unless, of course, the plan is to see the season through with The Hoff and Lasse as our choices up top.

Either way, the sooner this ends the better. And if for no other reason than Phil’s blood pressure. The said, how nice to hear him displaying such passion and anger in public.

Now let’s hope it can be channelled for the greater good.


Scenes unlikley to be repeated ?

Nick Bruzon


14 Responses to “Not quite a sick relative as agents play dirty, West Ham beckon and furious Phil rages.”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 22, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    The whole Tom Moore/Phil Giles saga was utterly laughable. Basically telling us all something we had pretty much already guessed and dressed it as an exclusive. If Tom Moore really is West London’s premier journalist then the media students at my local uni must be on for a Pulitzer! Tom seemed to be caught up & got way over excited in meeting Phil Giles on a train and he himself exploded due to Phil’s alleged rage, and later saying he had not seen anything like it. Tom ought to spend a day in a childrens social work office then, he may change his mind!

    I cant help but feel that Matthew Benham is surrounding himself with amateurs. Having made his fortune in betting he is playing the game waiting to hit the cash out button, but his minions seem to be breaking a lot earlier. Personally, I dont get this ‘he cant play because he had a phone call that turned his head’. In any other line of work this only happens if there is illness or a death in the family.

    As for the game, I said yesterday that Brenford are consistently inconsistent, and true to word as night comes after day, a quality Brentford performance is followed by a horrendous one. Yet again Smith’s managerial inadequacies came to the fore. Why leave your most technically talented player on the bench? Why when you have a horrendous half against a team in the bottom 3 do you decide that everything was OK to go out for the second half exactly the same? Why can you not have two quality performances in a row?

    Maybe the exclusive we need from West London’s premier journalist would be to ask Dean Smith, ‘do you know what your’e actually doing or is it all just an accident?’

    • nickbruzon January 22, 2017 at 11:07 am #

      Well said, BQ. Well said. Would love Dean to get a little bit more than the usual gentle probing which our friends that make up the press corps subject him too. Even the bacon for the half time sandwiches probably gets more of a grilling than Dean does

  2. Jim Levack January 22, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Great piece – think the club needs to set a deadline of Wednesday and stick to it given what PG has said. This has already cost us a potential six points and we can’t afford to get dragged into a relegation scrap caused by the pursuit of one player. Frankly the whole thing is a farce but to be honest I am delighted with PG’s comments but disappointed the club isn’t taking it further. Wasn’t there also an illegal approach for Jota that we allowed to happen too? If you allow this to continue we will get a reputation as mugs.

    • nickbruzon January 22, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks Jim. Can only presume that the reason for no action being our own desire to get this one over the line, now. Either way, you are spot on re our potential reputation

  3. Rob January 22, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    I agree with you Nick. If there is evidence to suggest wrong doing on the part of an agent and it’s been identified, why not go to the FA? I can only assume that this agent is integral in the transfer process and it’s close to coming off and therefore no rocking of the apple cart at present, with a possibility of a retrospective complaint after the messy affair has reached conclusion. It’s outrageous that clubs / agents should recommend players go on strike in order to force through deals. And smaller clubs are not in a position to ‘let a player rot in the reserves’ as punishment for poor behaviour. The FA need to look at this along with the PFA. Does SH play against Chelsea? I’m not sure he does even if fit and available. I don’t think it would be fair on the players who’ve gone about doing their jobs in the meantime. I’m not being critical of SH. What I do say is if his head is being turned then a glamour tie against Cfc is also sacrificed. You can’t pick and chose your matches

  4. Spanish Bee January 22, 2017 at 11:01 am #

    I was going to write a comment, but something happened and it turned my head.

    • nickbruzon January 22, 2017 at 11:07 am #

      Ladies and gentlemen – we have a winner…..

  5. Gordonbankole January 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I heard a lot last week about how ‘we’ll be all right for the rest of the season if we play like that.’ Unfortunately football does not work in that way as we saw yesterday.

    So that’s defeats at Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham. That makes fairly depressing reading. We have some difficult games coming up and it’s important we start getting some points on the board to avoid getting sucked into he relegation battle.

    Would it be fair to suggest that our livid DOF is also quite a naive one?

    Would it also be fair to suggest that Dean Smith has a lot to prove in the next few weeks after Chelsea? I don’t know whether it was like this at Walsall, but he simply has absolutely no rapport with the fans.



  6. Gordonbankole January 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Oh, and here’s a stat for you. Since we stuffed Reading, we have got 16 points from 17 games. So that’s four months of relegation form then.



    • nickbruzon January 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks GB. That IS a stat. And that’s with our free scoring frontman in the team

    • Rob January 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      Our erratic form is a definite concern and i also hear on forums that ‘we are too good to go down’ and that always sounds very naive to me. Everyone in this division can beat everyone else on their day and on paper we are a mid table Championship side but then so were Wigan 2 seasons ago and they still went down. And at present our most effective weapon is out of action

  7. martin January 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    as with any transaction the seller wants the highest price and the buyer the lowest but west ham have been boasting about getting their stadium on the cheap, pay up and we can get on and fight for our championship status. maybe west ham are hoping injury prone carroll will save them a few with most teams outside the big teams we are only a couple of decent players short to go with some quality players we have,gettig them seems beyond us though.

  8. RebelBee January 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    Agree with Gordon 100% we’re really struggling again. Can DS & the DoF’s turn around a poor month & another ifffy window? Time will tell but it hasn’t been a good period for us. Sure there’s a lot outside of our control but also plenty that’s self inflicted.

  9. Dave Washer January 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

    Great article as usual. The Scott Hogan saga is now beyond depressing. I agree with Jim that it has cost us six points. Something has to give. Fair play to MB for sticking to his guns – especially if Watford now stump up the £15 mil, as is being ‘reported’ on Twitter – but it will only have a happy ending if we also manage to get a new striker/s in. If we are forced to see the season out with only Vibe and the Hoff, I shudder to think where we will finish.

    I do agree with Phil Giles… the January window is awful, particularly for us smaller, ‘tinpot’ clubs. We always seem to suffer and I will never forget when DJ Campbell departed for Steve Bruce’s Birmingham City (for not exactly a fortune). It cost us automatic promotion but once the player had had the Premier League carrot dangled under his nose, there was only one way things were going to go.

    I didn’t think we’d get into the same situation with Hogan (naïve or what?!), simply because of what he’s been through with his injuries and the way the club have treated him. I honestly thought he’d keep playing throughout January until such a time as someone met the valuation. Disappointing to have been proven wrong. Someone has certainly turned his head and it is hard to see a way back for him now at Griffin Park should the Watford deal fall through.

    Two observations.

    Firstly, I am still perplexed as to why he was stuck on the bench against the Toon. DS had informed us rather confidently in the preceding press conference that Hogan would be firing on all cylinders and raring to go against Newcastle. Yet he didn’t even get used as a sub, not even when we were losing and in desperate need of his firepower. There has still been no explanation as to why one minute he’s a big part of the plan and the next he’s sat warming the bench. I understand that MB didn’t want to risk what would be an unbelievable payday for the club, but why the misinformation just 48 hours before the match? Was DS told one thing and then something different in those 48 hours?

    Second, I was intrigued to see Robbie Brady help Norwich gain 3 points yesterday – despite apparently being courted by a veritable phalanx of Premier clubs, several of whom are apparently soon to bid for his services. The question I’m asking myself is, why is he playing with such abandon (running the risk of getting injured and thus kiboshing the transfer) whilst Hogan is being wrapped up in cotton wool? I guess Norwich have loads more money than us and can run the risk… and yes, I realise that yesterday’s absence was the player’s decision and not the club’s. But for me it makes an already depressing situation even more depressing when other players wanted by others are still putting in the effort for their existing club.

    Finally, I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Quackenbush re our manager. The team’s consistency this season has been utterly appalling and losing to Wigan, Rotherham and Blackburn has been hard to take. I accept that it’s a ludicrously competitive league and that anyone can (and does) beat anyone else. I also give thanks each and every day for MB and for our place as a (now reasonably established) Championship side (which I will never take for granted after so many years in divisions 3 and 4). But I do also think that a better coach would have got more out of the existing squad than DS has. Just my opinion of course and I accept that the manager is doing his best with what he’s got. But there must be a fundamental reason for the appalling inconsistency – and I don’t accept that it’s down to the players.

    Look at Brighton. Grinding out results, week in, week out. Down to ten men the other night against Wednesday but they got a massive win. Players with a clear direction and game plan, playing for the manager. Can any of us honestly say the same thing about DS and our squad? Win. Lose. Lose. Draw. Lose. Win. Lose. Draw. Lose. Etc, etc. Great (and unlucky) against Newcastle. Awful against Wigan. Why? For me, it’s the manager. Zero affinity with fans. Tactics that are patently not working. Why no Jota from the start yesterday? Why is Kerschbaumer continually frozen out? Why persist with three centre backs against a Wigan team that had lost six in a row at home?! Loads of questions and very few answers. Just the insight that DS is the ‘best coach’ that MB has ever worked with. Which is great – if you have zero ambition to ever be more than a mid table side.

    Maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe I expect too much. And yes, I do accept Jim’s oft-repeated Twitter refrain that DS has been hugely let down by the Chuckle Brothers (aka Ankersen and Giles). But the stats don’t lie. And neither do the (often terrible) performances.

    Who knows? Perhaps once Hogan has gone and Canos and Bogle / Watkins / Whoever are Bees players, the manager will have a squad capable of doing him and us all proud on a consistent basis between now and May.

    For now though, we need Hogan to get gone… and for Jota to be the first pick on Smith’s team sheet. Regardless of the Chelsea result, it’s time to build some consistency in the league, and a win against Villa would give everyone at the club a much needed boost as we put a forgettable January behind us.

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