Dean Smith goes from Brentford hero to Villan.

10 Oct

Oh my. It’s happened. Dean Smith has tonight left Brentford to take over as head coach at Aston Villa. John Terry is confirmed as number two. It is a move that has been widely rumoured since the Villa Park club sacked Steve Bruce and one which, as has been well documented in the build-up, now sees Dean given the chance to take over at his boyhood club. Yet with Dean still in charge for the promotion chasing Bees draw at table topping Leeds United on Saturday, I thought there may be glimmer of hope that the rumours would be unfounded. Sadly for us, this isn’t the case and Dean is now a Villan.

First things first, there seems to be a universal out pouring of good wishes for Dean from the Griffin Park faithful. Everyone from Natalie Sawyer and Mark Devlin through to supporters across the social media spectrum have been wishing him well. And understandably so. Dean has guided Brentford to successive top ten finishes in the Championship and leaves us with the team one point outside the play-off places. He has had them playing some quite wonderful football, most recently seen at Leeds where the home team snatched a (possibly fortunate) draw in the final moments of an action packed game at the weekend.

From here, he joins the club he and his family have always supported. Villa official have been quick to jump on the now predictable medium of a hashtag with #oneofourown (something I thought was the exclusive property of Frank Lampard’s Derby County) quick to appear in the signing ‘GIF’. Yet only last week we noted on these pages “Indeed, who would willingly step into the maelstrom of unpredictability that is Villa Park at present? There are those well documented financial issues that emerged over the summer and a fan base quick to make their opinions known. Whether vocally or via the medium of a rogue cabbage.

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 22.37.53

The words of Aston Villa ‘official’

Well, it seems the lure of ‘his’ team calling was simply too great. A siren on the rocks enticing him from a promotion push to a challenge that was once one of the biggest jobs in football and is now a wonderful opportunity to restore a former giant of the game to the position they naturally aspire.

For Brentford it is a huge shame on a personal note. Dean has only ever conducted himself wonderfully and has been nothing but charm personified when I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to him. His enthusiasm and love of the game, and the club, has been infectious. And now it is his job to instil that same warmth at Aston Villa.

On the pitch our set up is a solid one. Thomas Frank, who has been assistant Head Coach since December 2016, steps up into temporary charge. With our model and stability well established, surely he’ll be offered the role on a permanent basis? With Richard O’Kelly’s position to ‘be clarified in the coming days’ (not my words but those of Brentford official, in their piece which can be read here) the only other credible alternate is the B-team’s King Kev although that is, perhaps, something to come in the future.

We’ve lost our manager from a winning position before. Look at what happened when Mark Warburton took over from Uwe Rosler. Brentford were promoted to the Championship. Of more concern will be our ability to retain the crown jewels in a squad that is hugely talented yet, sadly now for us, Dean knows inside out. Certainly January’s window will be even more traumatic than ever but if Thomas, or whomever takes up the reins full times is able to keep up our current form, then who would want to leave? Don’t answer – that’s one for a few months’ time.

Instead, now is the time to wish Dean good luck. To hope we cross paths in the Premier League next season. To thank him for some exciting times so far. But equally, to know this current team – on and off the pitch – is more than just one man.

I’m gutted to see Dean leave. I’ve no worries about what we’re going to do for the rest of the campaign – The Bees ARE going up and I can’t wait.


Can Dean inspire this level of passion at Villa?


Nick Bruzon

17 Responses to “Dean Smith goes from Brentford hero to Villan.”

  1. James Brennan October 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm #

    Writing as a Villa fan, I would like to commend you on thoughtful considered write up regards to losing your manager Dean Smith. None of the hateful spiteful comments you may sometimes get when a much loved and appreciated Manager/player leaves one club for another. Rather an understanding of the situation and particularly Deans links to Villa.
    The pull to come and manage “his club” just to big a lure to turn down.
    Indeed had he not got that affinity I think he may very well stayed with Brentford.
    After all the demands and expectations at Villa Park are high, perhaps to high considering we are mid table in our third year in The Championship, a fair few of my fellow Villa fans could behave little more humbly.
    It has been great to see Brentford progress playing “have a go” attacking football. Finding decent footballers and developing them to play great football and all on such a small budget.
    I hope you can find a suitable replacement perhaps from within and continue to progress.
    As for Dean at Villa obviously he can get us back up and playing exciting attacking football you have had the privilege to be watching under his stewardship.
    Best of luck for rest of season.

    • nickbruzon October 10, 2018 at 11:11 pm #

      Many thanks. To be honest, deep down I think we’d all resigned ourself to this one as soon as Steve Bruce’s tenure came to an end. We all know Dean’s Villa connection and with the job he has done at Brentford, it was only ever going to happen. Anywhere else and there may have been kickback but take the warmth and best wishes being offered as a mark of respect for the man you inherit. Likewise, his positivity. Good(ish) luck for the rest of the campaign 🙂

  2. Steve McMillan October 10, 2018 at 11:04 pm #

    “quite wonderful football” -at Leeds?? if you saw the game, it was cheating/timewasting and a crap ref that saved them from getting a bending and without our best players.

    • Martin October 10, 2018 at 11:45 pm #

      Yes. How the ref booked one of your players for a cynical hip height challenge, leading with his studs when not also booking one of our players for simply running across to block one of yours will naturally be a mystery to your coin throwing thugs. Hopefully not you.
      Neither team was at their best, but if you blame your early resort to long diagonals to get at the fullbacks on the referee you are as sadly deluded as the guys in the Leeds/Sky studio.
      You did get into the game, even before the sending off, and genuinely deserved the draw, but no more. You are playing good football from what I have seen this year. I genuinely hope you don’t fade this year, and don’t lose faith in it. We need teams playing good football to succeed, rather than lose faith in their own strengths, which applied to both teams to some extent

    • jfortune2013 October 10, 2018 at 11:57 pm #

      What is wrong with Leeds fans? It is as if something has collectively snapped in your heads after the game. This blog isn’t even about you! I wish you all a speedy recovery from the mass psychosis and (hopefully) temporary delusion from which you appear to be suffering (though unfortunately not in silence).

      As for Dean Smith, always seemed like a great person as well as a good coach, and the two don’t always seem to go together. I hope he is successful in his career provided it is not inconvenient to Brentford!

  3. Moriarty October 10, 2018 at 11:29 pm #

    What a pity Leeds fans can’t take their medicine!
    Its also a pity that DS, after making concrete statements about his happiness with his role and commitment to his task at BFC, has jumped ship because he once swept the steps at AV and daddy was a steward; there is NO loyalty in football, allowing for honourable exceptions , such as KO’C; maybe he’ll get a look-in on the vacancy?

    • Martin October 10, 2018 at 11:54 pm #

      Dean’s statements left a fair bit of room for manouvre really. But I think he and Villa are not a great fit. Dean builds steadily, moulds a team to his image, in style and personnel. No doubt with Villa’s resources and a good starting point in players – at least in talent, though attitude remains unproven – he may do it quicker there. But I doubt if he will do it quick enough for an impatient fan base.
      Good luck to him though.

      • hobbo October 11, 2018 at 8:16 am #

        And only third choice apparently

  4. David Carney. October 11, 2018 at 12:37 am #

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
    I have no doubt that just as with players the Brentford structure has a plan to move on and it will be an improvement. This is not a criticism of Dean Smith, just an observation of the strength of Brentford.
    As for Dean Smith – he is tremendously brave moving to a still fermenting Villa environment. Good luck, but the odds for success are not looking too good.

    • hobbo October 11, 2018 at 8:25 am #

      Lets be Frank about this make sense to employ from within?

  5. John October 11, 2018 at 6:47 am #

    Maybe we will get the 3million that villa owe us for the hogan transfer now?

  6. Stephen dockery October 11, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    Just shows you never trust a viler. I wonder who fancies joining him in January.

    • hobbo October 11, 2018 at 8:51 am #

      As you lot found out it wont matter, if the monies right we just carry on regardless.

  7. The Bolton Bee October 11, 2018 at 6:54 pm #

    Well put. Football management is like any other job in as much as the factors that influence choices, salary, location, prospects etc, all play their part. Dean Smith I am sure has thought carefully about this and has decided that it is the right thing for him.
    Good luck to him ( although working with John Terry is not something to be relished) and thank you for tbree excellent years. I hope those fans who are upset still give him a good reception when he returns later this season- he has earned it.

  8. Jay October 20, 2018 at 11:04 pm #

    ‘Cross paths (with Villa) in the Premier League next season’………….love it, just love it…

  9. Jay October 20, 2018 at 11:10 pm #

    It’s absolutely amazing how deluded Brentford fans have become. Brentford, who have spent almost their entire history in the Lower leagues, wondering why a good manager wants to leave for a massive club like Aston Villa…… dur

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