In the end the lure of the beach was too much.

23 Jan

What can you say? Congratulations Chris Mepham on finally securing his dream move to the Premier League. The Welsh centre-back completed one of the most expected moves of the season yesterday when he finally left Brentford for AFC Bournemouth with the fee reported at £12million plus the usual, copious add-ons. It was no surprise given Eddie Howe’s previous bids in the last two windows along with the player’s own omission from the squad that beat Rotherham United 4-2 on Saturday. This, following injury absence that had coincided with Thomas Frank rejigging his defensive line up and seeing his Bees finally return to unbeaten ways. Yet the gain here is all for Bournemouth as, despite a suggested higher offer from Dean Smith (something c/o my good friends at Beesotted, who are always on the money), the young Welsh International has declined a move to Aston Villa and chosen to take a trip to the beach. So to speak. 

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We can take consolation in great memories, lots of money and no hashtag

For Brentford, it means further shrewd transfer business as another player who we have picked up for minimal outlay (Chris joined as an under-16 back in 2014) has departed for the sort of money we could only dream about a few years ago. The club has made no secret of saying it will sell if the valuation and deal is correct and here we would seem to have another example. Bournemouth have made no secret of their intent to acquire a player whose rise has been, frankly, stratospheric. He hit the ground running last season and regular Welsh call ups were soon to follow. 43 games and one goal (oh, that knee slide against Sheffield United…) after his Griffin Park debut he has now reached the top flight with Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe must be purring like the metaphorical cat who got the cream. In one respect it is a gamble given Chris has played so few games but my word, what performances he has put in over that time. Last season, especially, where nobody could quite believe the confidence, precision and calmness of a player thrust into the squad and then the first team following the departure of Harlee Dean to Birmingham City. 

Things continued a pace this time around with Chris a regular call for ‘first name on the team sheet’ although, it would be fair to say, things did go somewhat amiss from mid-October. For the whole team. Thomas Frank’s first game in charge, a 1-0 defeat at home to Bristol City, saw Meps shown red for two bookings (the second somewhat innocuous) but from that point a malaise came over the Bees defence and midfield. It has something that has only been over remedied with the restructure of our our line up and with Chris having missed the resurgence through injury, perhaps the thinking is that with the fee on offer we have sufficient cover now in place to continue the upwards surge.

Whatever the reason, nobody can deny the talent that Bournemouth now have at their disposal. Chris has the potential to go all the way to the very top. On a personal note I’m obviously sad to see him go but it’ll be intriguing to see how quickly he adapts to life in the top flight. One can only assume he’ll take to things like a duck to water and despite the apparent ‘better terms’ offered by Aston Villa, taking the direct route to follow your dream is very much the way to go. As the ever eloquent Bernard Quackenbush put it on Twitter last night:

“As someone who has lived in Bournemouth for 38 years, with its miles of sandy beaches, warmer climate and with Sandbanks, The New Forest & the Dorset countryside on your doorstep.

Why the f@ck would you choose to live in Birmingham over Bournemouth. It was the only sane choice“.

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‘That’ knee slide

Elsewhere, we’ve had some downtime on these pages recently and so didn’t comment on the 4-2 win at Rotherham on Saturday. It was a result that saw our first win in the quite wonderful brown/orange kit as the unbeaten run continued to 7(seven) games. Those hardy souls who made the long trip to Yorkshire were treated to goals of the highest quality. Kamo’s second (our third) has to be the pick of the bunch  – a quite wonderful pass and move display direct form kick-off after being pegged back to 2-2. That Rotherham didn’t get a touch until fishing the ball out of the net tells you all you need to know about this one.  With an FA Cup fourth round trip to Barnet next up, what a time to find your form on the road. Wha ta time for the Jaffa cake shirt to finally come to the fore.

Albeit, the word on the street is that Thomas Frank has never tasted Jaffa cakes before. The training ground address is 100 Jersey Road, Osterley, TW5 0TP…..

Mmmm. Jaffa Cakes

Nick Bruzon

9 Responses to “In the end the lure of the beach was too much.”

  1. Thomas Burns January 23, 2019 at 7:35 am #

    The next big decision Nick. Will Mepham be going straight into your fantasy football team squad for the coming game week.

    • nickbruzon January 23, 2019 at 8:05 am #

      Very likely. Depending on price, of course!

  2. Brighton Bee January 23, 2019 at 8:35 am #

    Congratulations to Meps, a great move for him. The Brentford Management team obviously think we have enough cover in that position and with £12m rising to whatever the add ons are, it is nothing to be sniffed at. It will be interesting to see if they invest further in the squad during this window.

    • Martin January 23, 2019 at 9:02 am #

      Good luck to Chris. Given the price: a good move all round. My only concern is that if we continue with three center halves we are light on back up

  3. Aussiebee53 January 23, 2019 at 9:50 am #

    What odds a buy back clause if they go down and we go up ? I look forward to seeing more of him in the future , looks like he deserves a great career.
    Much as I liked the team aspect and clinical finish of Kamo’s second Maupay’s little flick away from the defender to create the space for his goal edged it for me.

  4. David Carney. January 23, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    What I think is vitally important is that the Brentford model is finally at the stage where the club it is profitable and has a sustainable future without relying upon constant funding from Matthew Benham. The pipeline of young emerging players like Mepham and a long term recruitment/investment of outstanding young talent managed, developed led by a group of experts says it all.
    The income from the sales of Mepham and Woods, plus others that will occur before 30 June will be repeated, albeit with different names every season, with Brentford continuing to be a better performing team en route to the Premier League.
    The vision of Benham, Ankersen, Giles and the implementation by Crown, Frank, O’Connor, (the late Rowan), and the many other staff is light years ahead of the rest of Football in England. Leadership is a rare quality, but at the moment it is present in bucketfuls at Griffin Park.
    Long may it continue.

  5. Rob January 23, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

    Good player! Great bit of business for the Bees, and dare I say for Bournemouth to. It is however a little galling that another player of quality has left where we we have only had limited time to see them start to flourish < 50 games is nothing, but it's difficult to turn down that sort of money. I wonder what might have happened if we hadn't gone on such a bad run in November / December and were in the playoff spots….?
    Of the centre halves at the club he was my favourite. Solid, won his aerial challenges (we'll miss that) and quality on the ball. Right now I would have selected him over Konza, but that's just my personal choice.
    Hey ho…. Good luck Chris Mepham and thanks for the (brief) memories

  6. Gordonbankole January 27, 2019 at 8:37 pm #

    Dear Nick

    I saw you on Bargain Hunt yesterday. It was very funny.

    As regards Mepham, can I be very controversial and suggest he hasn’t had a very good season? He defends very elegantly outside the box but is he so good within it where it really matters (e.g. throughout the autumn)?

    One way or the other, if we’re doing 3-4-3, which has transformed our season, we need to replace him with someone, even though it goes against the grain in January.

    Sadly I had to go out before the auction. Did you win the golden gavel? Did you take the bonus buy? And did you win?

    Regards

    Gordon

    • nickbruzon January 28, 2019 at 6:01 am #

      Many thanks. Bought 4. Lost 4. Antique hunting was the true winner. Possible

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