Thomas, frank. Bees boss gives magnificent insight on GPG webcast.

10 May

A week on from the final game that never was. Brentford v Barnsley has played out in our heads a thousand times but is yet to take place in any meaningful fashion. Griffin Park is still standing but nobody is allowed in. Players or fans. A scene that is repeated at grounds all over the country, with supporters still wondering how or when football may return. How we’ll go up – automatic or play-offs ? What form will football take? Where will it be played? Might Leeds United somehow fall apart, again? All questions for which there are no meaningful answers, at least in public, although the early morning run around TW8 yesterday saw us still in the thralls of a ghost town. Tumbleweed blowing down the street, bushes growing denser and Gary Neville’s words ( in his guise as co-owner of Salford City) that it is extremely unlikely Leagues One and Two will return this season still ringing in the ears. If true, may that even feed further upwards and what impact would that have on the way the two highest divisions in the country play out?

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Griffin Park still standing – the floodlights still there

Whatever happens, the answers won’t be good. Or, at the least, met with universal agreement. What can you do though? Stay safe. Don’t be a dick. Think of the frontline workers and stay home, no matter how tough it may be or how tempting to venture out in to the sunshine for picnics and sun tan sessions rather than the permissible exercise sessions. The quicker this is all over the quicker we may be able to get back to living our lives in some sort of normality. Without the fear of catching a horrific virus simply because some self-absorbed hipster, to whom the two metre social distancing rules don’t apply,  struts too close to you. See also: pavement cyclists.        

It’s madness. As much the fact that we have hipsters in Brentford these days. But there you go. Unprecedented times ( he says whilst reaching for the Coronavirus bingo card. I would also accept : ‘I trust this finds you well’ and ‘stay safe’ for a full house). Still, wonderful sentiments and a sign that this is the new normal.

None of which changes the fact that football remains way, way off the agenda. At least, the playing side of it. We at least had the consolation of another GPG Lockdown special on Saturday afternoon, with none other than Thomas Frank occupying the hot seat. A huge audience were tuned in to hear his thoughts on the season so far and, as importantly,  what may come next.

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Getting ready to go. Cut to Thomas in 5..4..3… 

My word. What a man. What a session. What honesty and openness. What stories and insight. There was talk of Jansson and Benrahama’s brilliance. The acceleration in Josh Dasilva’s game. Ollie Watkins. The defence. Our fitness and injury concerns – all bang on track for the ‘pre-season’ in June. If that is what happens. Thomas explained how he thought the sqard would react and be treated/ used in the final run in. How games might play out. The answer to whether Pontus would have started at Fulham – no, being the decision (albeit fit).

Likewise, talk of his own positives so far. His own approach to the squad, the fans and transfers – where it seems the policy of ‘no dickheads – personality over raw talent’ remains as key as ever. There was discussion about his fellow managers / head coaches and how we had played against certain opponents. Likewise, how we would play if we met them again – Nottingham Forest, anyone? 

Despite being in Denmark at present  – something Thomas confirmed although the obligatory Carlsberg  on his kitchen shelf was a tell tale sign – he remains in daily contact with his players and staff. The attitude sounds Uber-positive and you can tell he is chomping at the bit to get the job finished. To get Brentford into the top flight and who he will call up when that happens.

There were parts that, as he exhorted us, must “stay inside the room” .  It will be interesting to see how much of this , if any, is left on the cutting room floor when the YouTube video is released. Be there or miss out, the message of the day. Let’s hope those who were present return the faith and trust invested in them by this most remarkable of individuals.

It was another wonderful afternoon and something that, whilst we’ve said so many times, needs repeating – only at Brentford. Our approach and our size, where everyone seems to know everyone, makes this possible. The willingness of our top brass to put themselves on the line, testament to the two-way respect that exists. The early season keyboard warriors must have missed the memo for this one or couldn’t get an internet signal from under their rocks.

Dan Suh

The questions continued for two hours plus

Hats off to Thomas. Kudos to Trevor and his team for not only arranging this but then co-ordinating the session. Massive thanks, also, to the fans as without them there’d have been no questions. There was never going to be a danger of that though and, personally, having a list of questions as long as my arm could have listened to Thomas speak all day long. 

The only real disappointment of the session being that Greville’s webcam was in the front room rather than the usual hub of activity and excitement that his his kitchen.

Still, at least he was wearing clothes for this one 😉   

Nick Bruzon

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