Tag Archives: FFP

Stop sniggering at the back. FFP pigeons coming home to roost for QPR.

25 Oct

Well. That just got interesting for Brentford fans. The chance to sit back, watch potential carnage ensue and be reminded once more of the Financial Fair Play rulings. Whilst most Championship eyes were probably focussed on Crystal Palace (L) being thumped 4-1 by our divisional rivals Bristol City in the League Cup last night, a huge story had already unfolded in West London. Namely , that of hapless QPR and the fine of up to £58 million for breaching divisional FFP rules back in 2013-14.

The BBC sum things up nicely, but in a nutshell clubs were allowed losses of up to £8million that season. QPR ran up a deficit of £9.8million aswell as then seeing owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders write off an additional £60million loan, deeming it an ‘exceptional item’. As you do.

The case has dragged on for the last three years. So much so that, speaking about it recently to a fellow Brentford fan, gut reaction was that Fernandes had just paid the fine ‘under the counter’. Do it discreetly and make it go away. Save some face. Surely that was the only reason we’d heard nothing else about this?

Sadly not, for QPR. An arbitration panel has now given their verdict that the fine was correct for the offence committed. They may have edged their way into the Premier League but having dropped out of it, that pigeon has now come home to roost.

Not surprisingly, there has been little comment out of the Loftus Road club although plenty on Social media. Chief Executive Lee Hoos has issued a short statement , expressing the customary disappointment aswell as noting that “We will be appealing“. Surely a first for a club normally about as appealing as finding a maggot in an apple.

Back at the time, Fernandes was all blood and thunder. There’s a piece in The Guardian where he denounced how unfair this all was. His team had been a Premier League club but after employing the likes of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp (not for the first time) were relegated (not for the first time).  Yet despite the rules in place they chose to breach them to suit their own situation.

My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.

“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.

Boo-hoo. Welcome to the real world of football. It’s not ‘fair’. Don’t clubs like Brentford, trying to compete on a level playing field with the likes of over spending QPR and Bournemouth, know that? We’ve had to watch for year on year as our best players are sold to balance the books. The likes of Moses Odubajo, Scott Hogan, Andre Gray, Jota, Maxime Colin, number 26 and Stuart Dallas. To name but a few.

How nice would it have been just to spend beyond our means and then cry ‘unfair’? Instead, despite huge frustration as to the individual sales, the update from Loftus Road shows the longer term reasoning behind such decisions. We’ve made no secret of buying low to sell high. Of using this model to keep ourselves afloat and build for the future. It has been frustrating at times for sure, I’m the first to admit that. Yet, also, there’s now a wonderful opportunity for a line to be drawn.

Will QPR be able to wriggle out of this one? Will a further appeal be successful? Will their board pay the fine through gritted teeth? Do they even have any money left to do so? Or is a points deduction and demotion the alternative?

One things for sure, when Brentford travel to Loftus Road next month (assuming QPR are still in existence at that point) it’s going to be tasty.

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It has been a troubled few seasons for QPR

Nick Bruzon

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Jota. I love you. But please don’t join Fulham.

29 Aug

Jota – probably the most talented player to pull on the red and white of Brentford in recent times and now we’re all sweating on whether we’ve seen him play for the last time. Whilst the West Ham rumours have gone deathly quiet, the stories of bids from Middlesbrough hang around like a bad smell whilst Fulham of all clubs have now entered the mix. Yes, Fulham.

Oh, and there’s also one now doing the rounds about Harry Redknapp looking to take Harlee Dean to Birmingham City. Yes, we’re now well into international break and whilst on pitch most people are concentrating on the World Cup qualifiers between Belgium – Gibraltar and Malta – England, back in TW8 that accursed window can’t ‘slam shut’(tm) quickly enough.

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

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Jota team Rotherham

We feel the same way too

 

Jota tweets

 

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This could be a tricky conversation on Friday….

 

Jota Fulham last minute

This.

Nick Bruzon

As Tarka’s the Rotter is it adios to Jota and Toums?

16 Jan

The morning after the night before. Burnley have still beaten Brentford 3-1 after playing us not so much off the park but into next week during the most shambolic first half I can recall in some time. The second half remains one of top- drawer excitement and a hugely enjoyable atmosphere as Alan Judge and the boys began an improbable fight back that, in the end, wasn’t to be. And, having slept on it, words to describe James Tarkowski’s actions still fail me.

I wrote a column when I got home last night to describe my thoughts on the player and the situation. It was an angry one – although not quite up to the recent FCM piece – and it’s here if you want to read it. In the cold light of day, has anything changed? No, with the exception of fellow central defender Andreas Bjelland.

Just to clear up any potential confusion, I can only apologise if anybody feels that the weak pun in the headline was a sleight at him. Andreas has suffered a horrendous injury and James is one of the players we’re looking to help in his place at centre back. Personally I felt a bad pun, that fitted the scenario, would be the best way of conveying what most of us are probably thinking. I could have gone much stronger but, then again, writing at 1am following an emotional night has probably impaired that decision ! Certainly one that would have been written differently with a bit more consideration.

Having given it some thought over night, my over riding feeling is one of being tremendously let down. Alan Judge and Toumani Diagouraga have both been the subject of high profile bids – in the case of the former from Burnley themselves – yet both continue to give their all for the Bees. Indeed, Toumani may well have played his last game if the gift he gave one supporter is any sort of indication. ..

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One train passenger got more than he bargained for

Yet neither player has stooped to this level. There’s nothing much you can really say on the matter. We’d all love Matthew Benham to hold out on selling him but, sadly, the financial demands of Championship football and FFP rules means it will be unlikely we can afford to leave a wheelbarrow full of cash on the training pitch. I’d love to be proved wrong on that front and hope , for once, principals would triumph. However, given that, barring a miracle, Tarks has played his last game for Brentford can we afford not to sell him just to prove a point ?

What a sad end to a great Griffin Park career. From hero to zero in the space of a day.

The other hero who sounds as though he has played his last game at Griffin Park for some time is Jota. Reports doing pretty much all the rounds suggest that he is on his way back to Spain to play for Eibar on an 18 month loan.

Certainly, Dean Smith has alluded to the hugely popular player having some personal issues at the moment and so, whilst this would be a huge loss for Brentford if confirmed, we can only wish him the very best. Of course, we all hold out hope of seeing him in a Bees shirt once more but I fear the worst.

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It looks unlikely to be Jota in the 90th minute any more

So what else did we learn from last night?

Well, despite popularity levels on a par with James Tarkowski (at least, amongst the Brentford faithful) Joey Barton can take a mean free kick. If Burnley’s opening goal, curled in from 25 yards by Scott Arfield was a stunner, this wasn’t too far behind Whilst it hurts to say anything nice about the former Loftus Road man and outspoken numpty, you can’t deny the technique used in his strike. Fair play to the Turf Moor dead ball coach.

Sam Saunders ran his heart out, as did Alan Judge. One good thing to come out of the last week might just be the renaissance of the ever popular wing wizard (some would argue it had never gone). I’m sure he’ll get another run out at Preston next week – and no bad thing.

Brentford are still struggling to score goals. We’ve managed just 4 in 6 games whilst Dean Smith can’t seem to buy a win (not literally, that would be a breach of regulations). The Bees are still in a great position, moreso given the start to the campaign, but I really hope the rest of the campaign doesn’t fizzle out into a fug of gloom and nonchalance as we slither down the table.

Yet when this team do play, they still look stunning. Talking to one New Road observer in the pub afterwards, she noted how the first half had seen us play like a team that would struggle to even complete a dot to dot, let alone a pass to each other. The flipside being that the second period saw us turn it on for one of the most exciting periods of play we’ve seen in a long while.

And finally, Burnley ‘keeper Tom Heaton. Or, more specifically, his buttocks. “Stunning” was the politest of many references to a player that one terrace wag described as “The Kim Kardashian of the 18 yard box”. Truly, a rotund derriere that was the butt of many jokes from the Ealing Road.

On a night where Tarky was talking out of his backside, let’s just hope we can put all this business behind us.

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Nick Bruzon

The best Christmas present some fans could have hoped for.

25 Dec

I wasn’t going to write anything today but the combination of a two-year old son and a potential visit from Santa has meant the excitement levels have been raised somewhat in our house. But that’s just me – at the time of writing Harry is fast asleep and, I’d imagine, dreaming of Buzzette (or, again, is that just me?). With a home game against Brighton tomorrow and Christmas today my focus should be elsewhere. Yet I still can’t help think about poor Fulham and, to a lesser extent, Bournemouth. This, following the announcement of their failure in the Financial Fair Play audits for 2014/15 that, for the record, Brentford passed.

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Dreaming of Buzzette….

Audit’. Is there any less thrilling word in the English language? It ranks in the top five of those to avoid at this time of year along with, ‘Next’, ‘Mrs’. ‘Browns’ and ‘Boys’ .

Ordinarily something that would send you to sleep, the news of Fulham breaching regulations (or, technically, ‘cheating’) has brought a smile to the face of many Brentford fans. See also : Bournemouth who, just for the record, did also pip us to a Premier League promotion slot that season.

I’m not bitter about that part. Our season was stunning and, regardless of anybody else’s spending, I think that with a tad more squad rotation in the final quarter The Bees might have done it. It is simply noted as a statement of fact for you to draw your own conclusions or form your own opinions.

Indeed, ongoing compliance with these rules is partly the reason that Brentford have had to sell the likes of Andre Gray, Moses Odubajo and Will Grigg. To ensure that our own expenditure remains within the limits laid down by the footballing authorities.

Likewise, I’m not one to overly laugh in the face of our rivals. After all, Christmas is a time when we are encouraged to remember the needy and those less fortunate.

The somewhat bland statement issued by Fulham tells you so much about their own precarious state. You can read it on their website if you want, but their key admission would seem to be that : The embargo arises as the Club made an adjusted loss greater than the £6m limit allowed by the Football League in the year following relegation. The Football League has since recognised this limit is low, especially for clubs recently relegated with Premier League overheads in place, and the limit has now increased to £13m per annum. Unfortunately Fulham’s embargo falls in the final year of the previous limit, but the Club does not anticipate being in breach in future years.

Going on to blame their own purchase of Ross McCormack and Matt Smith (Doctor Who?), the club’s additional justification about this being a ‘low’ limit conveniently fails to mention all those lovely parachute payments designed to help such huge spending teams avoid this sort of situation. Amongst other things. In what world is a loss of £6million deemed ‘low’ but £13million is probably something to worry about?

As I say, today is not the day to laugh at anybody. Moreso given their budget breach didn’t actually achieve anything. 2-1 and 4-1 to Brentford, wasn’t it? Instead, I’ll simply bid you a happy Christmas, suggest you avoid BBC1 tonight and hope to see you all at Griffin Park for the Brighton game on Boxing Day.

Christmas TV

Warning: he’s back

And finally…. Whereas yesterday I offered our reader the gift of music and, specifically, ‘The Quo’, we’ll finish up today with the gift of artwork. Stunning artwork.

I have no idea who produced this but hats off. It is absolutely in my all time favourite pictures of the year.

As one terrace wag involved in sharing this with me noted, ”Thing is, you can imagine Marinus just ignoring a unicorn if it was there.”

Happy Christmas.

Marinus unicorn

Simply brilliant

Nick Bruzon

Is anyone courting the Judge?

17 Nov

Congratulations to Alan Judge and the Republic of Ireland who last night qualified for the finals of EURO 2016. Getting out of a group including Germany, Poland and the potential potato skin of Gibraltar is no mean feat. Moreso to follow it up with a play off victory against Bosnia-Herzcegovina that saw the first leg shrouded in fog and the second in emotion following Friday’s events in Paris. And if Lasse Vibe’s Denmark can do the needful against Sweden in Copenhagen tonight, then Brentford could have even more representation at the summer tournament.

Whilst Alan didn’t feature last night (although he was on the bench for the first leg) it shows, again, the developing strength in both the Brentford team and the Championship as a whole. The side that won in Dublin featured league counterparts Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick of Derby County along with Ipswich Town striker Daryl Murphy. And with Austria already qualified, then the Bees could have even more representation in Marco Djuricin.

Still, all that is a long way off. We don’t even know if all involved will be at Griffin Park by that point. Djuricin is, of course, only here on loan (albeit we have the option to buy) whilst Alan Judge is no doubt going to be the number one target for those looking to further plunder a club that has seen Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas, Andre Gray and Northern Ireland international Will Grigg all leave over the summer for 7(seven) figure sums.

Alan’s performances have, rightly, earned him the divisional player of the month award for October. He is the one that supporters are worried will be the next to go but will it happen? Could it happen? Do we have any choice – either financially or personally? Quite simply, the lure of the Premier League might be too much for us to compete with, regardless of any other factor.

Alan Judge and Lee Carsley

 

October saw the profile of Alan, and Brentford, raised further

This isn’t me trying to scaremonger. I’m just being realistic. We’ve had these jitters before and the last two season’s January transfer window – with the Bees pushing for promotion to the Championship and Premier League respectively – have been torturous times.

The good news then was that nobody left midseason but this time around it feels different. The well documented managerial situation, along with those huge summer sales, have many fans fearful that, in conjunction with Alan’s own stunning success, we could be preparing to say farewell.

Understandably, Brentford ‘official’ will not say anything about potential transfers whilst there hasn’t been a sniff of a rumour from our beloved local press or other sources (close to the club). The transfer window isn’t due to open for another six weeks but as we get closer to, and then enter, that period I have no doubt the stories will crank up.

Let’s be clear – I don’t want Alan or any of our prized assets go. No doubt the likes of Jota, Sam Saunders, David Button and Harlee Dean (to name but a few) will also be linked with the big leagues come January. I’m not so naïve as to think we are untouchable – the summer alone showed that. It is all part of what makes up the modern game and a club such as ours, which has seen some huge investment, doing what it needs to in order to ensure we comply with all the rules around FFP.

I’m merely putting this out there because, genuinely, I have no idea which way things are going to go at the end of next month. We have a big squad, especially in midfield, when everybody is fully fit. Equally, those players in form only have the potential to get even better as part of a settled team.

Instead, let’s hope that some more results like those in October keep that push up the League going. Then, it could all be a moot point.

Nick Bruzon