Seagulls follow the trawler and end up with more than sardines. Au revoir, Neal.

5 Aug

There was an almost inevitable end to Monday with the news finally announced that Neal Maupay has left Brentford. His non-appearance over most of the summer, followed by his absence from the squad at the weekend, left the writing somewhat on the wall and now it has been confirmed. The Premier league is the destination. Brighton and Hove Albion the choice, in a deal reported as being worth £20m. At least it wasn’t Dean Smith and Aston Villa although until that window slams shut on Thursday, one can only envisage Said Benrahma continuing to be linked with a move to the Midlands. On the plus side, we have not one but two news signings. Midfielder Dru Yearwood makes the switch from Southend United whilst French youth international attacker Bryan Mbeumo joins from Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne.  Or Troyes AC, as ‘official’ helpfully confirmed they are better known.


I feel for Dru and Bryan. Both look like more shrewd acquisitions from Matthew and the Directors of football. Southend and Troyes’ loss, very much our gain given how well our acquisitions over the last few years have turned out. Yet all anybody is talking about today is Brighton and Neal.

Oh, how we loved him. The shithousery – there’s no other word for it. The speed. The work rate. The aerial prowess from one so small. The goals. The balls. Oh my, the size of those balls. What a way to celebrate not once but twice against Leeds United. Both times, right in the faces of their rabid support. 

And that equaliser at Fulham wasn’t bad either. ‘Limbs’ as I believe the kids call it. What a moment. What a celebration. What a photo from Mark Fuller. What a way to seal your place in club legend. To ensure that whatever came next (what stamp at Aston Villa ?) could never tarnish your reputation. Would only make you even more universally loved.


What balls

Yet it was a love that seemed to go both ways. Talk to Neal and he would only enthuse about all things Griffin Park. Promises were made at the end of last season about his return for this one. Sadly, now, things have moved on somewhat. Money talks but so do agents, it would seem.

And whilst that may be bleedin’ obvious, the Twitter thread published on Monday night by the GPG makes for very interesting reading as to how this all played out. About how things have changed as this marriage made in footballing heaven between player and club has ended in the Bees being jilted for the Seagulls.

Do read the thread. In full. It starts below and makes for a fascinating insight as to what went on with this one. There’s no animosity towards player, Brentford or Brighton – for what it’s worth. But, as has been noted part way through, “ In this day of low morals in football these days – I’m glad that we demonstrated that we are a decent club with manners. The fact that we have done right by the player demonstrates to future signings that we provide a potential route to PL, it keeps us in business of course. 

There’s not much else to say at this point. There’s a genuine feeling of good luck to Neal, from me. Of course I’m absolutely gutted to see him go. No question. I was itching to see him stay put for one more season. To guide us to the top flight. Now that responsibility rests elsewhere.

In my heart of hearts I really did think he might stay until January. Mind you, I think the same about Said and Ollie. At least the latter started on Saturday and looked formidable during that opening salvo. I’m sure Dean Smith is opening the Aston Villa cheque book we speak but I’m also, perhaps naively, thinking this really is it . 

We’ve sold Ezri. We’ve sold Romaine. Of course we’ve sold Neal. We’ve also invested very wisely with the likes of Jansson, Jensen, Pinnock and Norgaard now joined by Blackwood and Mbeumo. Keep Benrahma and Watkins amongst their ranks and we will remain more than a force to be reckoned with.

Sell either/or and, you know what, there’ll be no meltdown from me. As with Neal this evening,  I would be gutted with further departures. Yet our DOFs and Matthew Benham have shown us time and again that they are three steps ahead of everybody else when it comes to doing the business.

I really didn’t think it could get any more depressing than selling Jota and Maxime to Birmingham City (and Harlee makes three) but we survived. We got stronger despite the crushing blow of seeing our hero put out to pasture. That trust is there and I cannot wait to see how the next chapter in the Brentford story plays out.

Until then, we’ll always have Fulham.


What a moment. Thank you, Neal

Nick Bruzon


6 Responses to “Seagulls follow the trawler and end up with more than sardines. Au revoir, Neal.”

  1. simonsapper August 5, 2019 at 8:55 pm #

    Well put Nick. After his non-appearance on Saturday this was inevitable but you’re right to remind us of the triple defection last year to BCFC – this doesn’t feel as bad as that did, but we do, desperately, need a No 9. And we will always have Fulham. And Leeds. Twice!

    • Michael OHL August 5, 2019 at 9:41 pm #

      I think it shows how we the fans have adapted to “The Brentford Way” (TM), that the general reaction regarding Maupay is “drat” (TM) but we move on because we have faith in the men running the show.

      With the departure of every “we cant afford to lose them” (TM) we have got over it and what’s more have got stronger. Hogan going opened up the door for the talent we didn’t know we had. And it has to be said most of these players have probably done well financially but have they really developed professionally? Tarkowski, yes Jota, not sure etc etc.

      I think it will take a while for the team to gel together again (a real shame) but in fully punditry ” who knows where it will end, Brian ” (TM)

  2. Charlie the bee August 5, 2019 at 9:16 pm #

    Good bye and good luck neal now if we can get £20 for marcondes I’ll be happy

  3. Rob August 5, 2019 at 10:05 pm #

    Good read. Not all doom and gloom. We jave a strong squad that is a little light in key areas and i thing / hope we’ll get the right couple of players needed to fit in. I think Benrahma’s short stay with us is ckming to an end, there are some rumours about Rico going to Celtic which “may” have substance given our “alledged interest in 2 left backs from Derby and Vitesse, but thats alk heresay. There have been some positive rumous about Swiss and Croatian strikers….who knows! This is the barmiest transfer window ive known so I’m going to sit tight, shut up (briefly) and see what happens come Thirsday. Whilst its painful, its also kinda exhilarating as well, like missing out on the lottery jackpot only to find that the syndicate your in did win…..

  4. Brighton Bee August 5, 2019 at 10:35 pm #

    Like many, I am disappointed that Neal has gone, from what I have read, his agent had a lot to do with it ie a money orientated move rather than a footballing decision. However, whilst I appreciate the Benham / Brentford model how many times can we “churn” our players and still hope to be competitive in this league? The new players have great potential but once again it will take time for them to settle in – so by Christmas we could well be out of the running for the play offs / promotion. I agree with the excellent points made on the GPG thread tonight. If the DofF have done their jobs right (as they do very often) then there is a goal scoring forward waiting to come in the take Neil’s place – well I certainly hope so!!

  5. David Carney August 5, 2019 at 11:46 pm #

    Bottom line is that Maupay decided it was a better career move for him to play (work) elsewhere. We have all done that. Brentford are financially even more stable than before so everyone gets what they want.
    The D’sOF continue to do their jobs well, as do the coaching staff and we move on to a bigger and better future in the promised land.
    Thank you Maupay, good luck for the future and do well because that will probably mean more cash to Brentford.

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