As we enter the knock-out stages of the Brentford FC Sherpa Vans Misfits Trophy, we look a little closer as to what qualities are needed for a player to be labeled a Brentford ‘Misfit’ as there seems to be some confusion afoot.

The Brentford Misfits quarter-final sees the following players pitted against each other in sudden death encounters – decided by poll on the Beesotted twitter feed (click here).

Mike Grella v Steve Claridge

Leo Fortune-West v Paul Davis

Mark McCammon v Big Nick Proschwitz

Philip Hofmann v Murray Jones

The teams will kick off a 5pm on Friday (10th Nov) with semi-final and final matches played over the weekend.

The discussion as to what is a ‘Misfit’ started whilst recording the November international break Pride Of West London podcast (click above). We were discussing the infamous Birmingham Three (Harlee Dean, Jota and Colin)- trying to analyse WHY these players – who were all good players for Brentford – we not (so far) cutting the mustard at Birmingham.

Was it the fact that Birmingham don’t play to their strengths? Is it the fact that Birmingham City is an unhappy camp? Is it the fact that Birmingham is a team made up of loads of bigger name bigger money ‘stars’ but don’t fit together as a team? Is it because some players are confidence players who feed off the positivity around them and the buzz of fans who adore them which is helps to up their game and when they move they have nothing to feed off?

The debate then moved onto Brentford players who were great for us – moving onto teams which were supposed to give them greater success – but their careers have stalled. Scott Hogan was cited as a glaring example of a player who was brilliant for us but is seen by Villa fans as possibly their biggest recent misfit – signed for a lot of money (in our books) but unable to score (because Villa don’t play to his strengths). Anyone who knows anything about Scott Hogan would have questioned why a team like Villa would buy him. The fact is Hogan will probably be sold in January for £2m (he would have to take a cut in wages from £60k a week to say £25k a week) and end up playing for someone like Derby County where Gary Rowett would get his players to lump the ball up to him thick and fast.

The debate then turned onto players who were not very good (or maybe were so so) for Brentford but then either went on to bigger and better things after they left us. Or came to us with high expectations and reputations but didn’t perform nearly was well as expected at Brentford.

The classic ‘Misfit’ definition was:

“A player who had some level of skill and reputation for before being a quality addition to his previous team but for whatever reason, when he came to Brentford he did not reach those heady heights.

Or

“A player who played for Brentford and failed to make the same impact as he did when he went onto another team and set the world alight”.  

This threw up a whole list of names from Chuba Akpom. To Paul Davis. To Lewis Grabban. To Steve Claridge. Even Rod Stewart (the singer) was thrown into the pot to lighten things up a bit.

Loan players were allowed but managers and owners were not.

We then threw the idea out there into cyberspace and – with lots of input from Brentford fans – we came up with a pretty long list that had to be whittled down to 32 players. The list encompassed players who fitted the traditional ‘Misfits’ description (like Saido Berahino, Mike Grella, Bradley Wright-Philips, Leon Constantine and German U21 Philip Hofmann) as well as others who were quite frankly just not very good (like Murray Jones).

To clarify,  there were some very good players on the list. Just not all of them shone for Brentford – sometimes not playing to their full potential because of the system Brentford played them in. John Butegeig was a discussed on Pride Of West London podcast. A class player. Too classy for Third Division Brentford. A sweeper bought into a side that quite frankly did not know how to play with the sweeper system. Lewis Grabban was another. He did OK with Brentford but his 7 goals in a season and a half wasn’t enough to earn him a contract with the Bees. He then went onto Rotherham to score 21 goals the next season and the rest is history.

Will Grigg came to Brentford scoring goals a plenty for Walsall (20 in his final season) but he just didn’t fit into our system scoring only 4 goals and left for Franchise FC aka MK Dons on loan the following season scoring 22 goals – including one against Man United – before moved onto Wigan (we got £1m for him to be fair) where he scored 29 goals in his 1st season there helping them to promotion to The Championship and getting himself a cult song in the process.

There were some exceptions to the rule. Youth players who came through the ranks that Brentford missed out on – like Alfie Mawson – it was decided not to include as they didn’t really come to Brentford with a reputation. On paper Mawson didn’t fit in with the Brentford set-up at the time as the club deemed him too young and inexperienced in comparison to senior players like Harlee Dean, Tony Craig and James Tarkowski. In retrospect, that was a rash decision but the club are ensuring that it doesn’t happen again with the elevation of players like Chris Mepham through the youth ranks.

The original list – with fan input – looked like this:

John Buttigeig
Kenny Sansom
Ashley Bayes
Chuba Akpom
Lewis Grabban
Mark McCammon
Paul Hayes
Saido Berahino
Alan Connell
Callum Willock
Paul Brooker
John Bostock
Bradley Wright-Philips
Murray Jones
Rod Stewart
Jon Swift
Carl Cort
Mike Grella
John Mackie
Les Ferdinand
Big Nick Proschwitz
Shay Logan
Ben Strevens
Mike Grella
Will Grigg
John Bostock
Lorenzo Pinamonte
Murray Jones
Steve Claridge
Les Ferdinand
Neil Shipperley
Callum Willock
Eddie May
Saido Berahino
Jean-Philippe Javary
Mark McCammon
Efan Ekoku  
Philip Hofmann
Alan Dickens
Ashley Bayes
Paul Davis
Leon Constantine
Thomas Pinault
Paul Hayes
Leo Fortune-West
Darius Charles
Nicky Adams
Paul Brooker
Rod Stewart
John Mackie
Ben Strevens
Lorenzo Pinamonte
Neil Shipperley
Clinton Morrison
Steve Jones
Ian Benjemen
Leon Towley
George Bankole
Alan Dickens
Jimmie Spencer
Kelly Haag
Joe Omegie
Tim Finney
Derek Bryan
Julian Charles
Andy Feeley
Keith Jones
Olafur Skularsson
Ricky Reina
Montell Moore
Wayne Turner
Stan Webb
Lee Thorpe
David McGhee
Mark Fleming
Bobby Goldthorpe
Robbie Simpson
Bradley Walsh
Ian Bolton
Alan Whitehead
 
 

We then had to whittle the above list down to 32 to enable the players to be placed in heats for the Brentford FC Sherpa Vans Misfits Trophy First Round. This was a tough job. In the end we were able to apply the original MISFITS theory to 20 or so players. Which left another 12 to complete the set for this round.
Players like Murray Jones and Callum Willock – who have gone down in Brentford history for their inability to make it happen on the pitch- had naturally NOT made the final cut as yet However, stretching the definition of misfit to its very conclusion, we made a decision to take the cream of the crop of the players who quite frankly Brentford should never have signed as they weren’t good enough which made them a misfit in our side enabled us to complete the 32.

 

Brentford Misfits Final 32

John Buttigeig
Saido Berahino
Lewis Grabban
John Bostock 
Kenny Sansom
 Sir Les Ferdinand
Alan Connell
 Shay Logan
 Bradley Wright-Philips 
 Mike Grella
 Carl Cort
 Murray Jones 
Big Nick Proschwitz 
 Callum Willock 
 Will Grigg
 Mark McCammon
 Steve Claridge 
 Ashley Bayes 
Eddie May 
 Paul Hayes 
Efan Ekoku
Paul Brooker 
 Paul Davis 
 Rod Stewart
 Leo Fortune-West
 John Mackie
 Darius Charles 
 Ben Strevens
 Leon Constantine 
 Lorenzo Pinamonte
 Philip Hofmann
 Neil Shipperley

Full First Round Results (click here)

The clear favourite is Big Nick Proschwitz who breezed his heat with 67% of the vote – ahead of Lorenzo Pinamonte (22%) in Heat 1. Leo Fortune-West (39%) narrowly pipped Callum Willock (38%) to win Heat 2. Philip Hofmann (52%) was streets ahead of John Bostock (26%) in Heat 3. Mike Grella (37%) was streets ahead of Rod Stewart – the singer (28%) in Heat 4. Paul Davis smashed Heat 5 with 41% of the vote ahead of Paul Hayes (32%). Mark McCammon (30%) pipped Carl Cort (26%) to win Heat 6. Murray Jones (33%) only narrowly beat Neil Shipperly (29%) in Heat 7 after being behind for most of the match. And Steve Claridge (45%) comprehensively beat Will Grigg (31%) in Heat 8. 

The quarter finals of the #BrentfordFC Sherpa Vans #Misfits Trophy will take place on Friday (11th Nov) evening at 5pm with the semi final and final taking place over the weekend.

Needless to say this is all a bit of fun – a competition concocted over a few beers in The George IV pub in Chiswick whilst recording our weekly podcast and has somehow livened up what was shaping up to be a fairly boring international weekend.

 

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