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When Brentford played Aston Villa last week, our Midlands rivals – armed with bucket loads of parachute money (the war chest for failing football teams) – paraded a load of their new signings. One of those players was Jonathon Kodjia – a player they paid £15m for from Championship rivals Bristol City.

It’s a well-known fact that Bristol City are ambitious. They met the £9m asking fee for Andre Gray last summer, but the ex-Brentford striker preferred to move to Burnley. They reportedly also made an enquiry for Scott Hogan in the countdown to the Transfer Window closing – itching to spend some of that Kodjia cash.

The fact is – with the riches on offer for going up to the Premier League –certain Championship clubs seem prepared to shell out silly money to lure players from their rivals.

Scott Hogan has only played 16 games for Brentford. The first one of those matches he got injured in half-way through – keeping him out for around two years. What’s more to the point is, Scott Hogan has still only played 16 games in The Championship.

His hat trick on Saturday showed the world that you don’t have to give him much of a sniff to hit the back of the net. It’s a stone cold fact that he was identified by the much derided (by some people) stats system that Brentford have incorporated as part of our scouting network. So, if we have found an Andre Gray and a Scott Hogan by using this system, the system must be working.  So is it a simple as going out to find another?

I remember speaking to someone at the club when we signed him a couple of years ago. “Hogan was off the scale in all our key indicators” I was told at the time.

From that I can only assume:

• Speed
• Positioning
• Shooting from the right ‘hot-spots’ (apparently the stats crew weight you more heavily if you shoot from certain key areas parts of the pitch than for example from a worldie from 35 yards)
• Creating his own chances
• Speed
• Strength

There are no doubt a million other factors that go into the SmartOdds system containing the complicated algorithm highlighting which players we then start to track.

Brentford have done the hard work. We scouted him. We paid money for him and paid him a wage. We stuck him straight in The Championship from League Two. We nurtured him through injury. We put faith in him again. And the results have paid off.

But this is normally when someone steps in. After we have taken all the risks.

Hogan has scored 13 goals in those 16 matches – started in just over half of them – and if he carries on the way he kicked off this season, he will have scored around 15 goals by Christmas. Hogan is a potential 30 goal-a-season striker.

If Aston Villa were prepared to pay £15m for Kodjia, who scored 19 goals in his one and only season with Bristol City, we would be absolutely foolish as fans to think that no team with a wheelbarrow of cash will bid any less for Hogan. Despite his history of injury.

With a value touted around the £10m mark at the moment, that figure could easily rise to £15m by Christmas. Possibly even more.

But the value of a player is relative. Relative to how much a team is prepared to pay for him. And relative to how much he is worth to you in the long term.

Scott Hogan is integral to a Brentford team that is trying to rebuild after the Divison One promotion and Premier League play-off days. The team is currently trying to work its way into the Premier League.

But surely, if we continue to sell players like Hogan at the drop of a hat (albeit a £15m plus hat), we will find it hard to realise our long term ambition as we will be continually rebuilding?


We met Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown in the pub (well outside the pub if we have to be totally accurate) after the Preston match and asked him on the Pride of West London Podcast (above) – bearing in mind we had a number of enquirers for Hogan this summer – what his personal thoughts were on Brentford selling Hogan in the January window if we got a huge offer.

Crown said with £150m Premier League money at stake, it wouldn’t make sense Brentford selling the striker in the next window if the team was riding high, despite what offers might be on the table. But he also highlighted the reality of the situation – that it is often not the club that forces the move, but the player and his agent.

So enjoy the next few months if you can, as it already looks like we are in for another rollercoaster transfer window in January, with the vultures circling, getting ready to pounce on our key players once again.

And you can replace the name Hogan with the name Woods. Or Colin. Or McLeod. Or Egan. Or Dean at the moment the way they are all playing.

But if any of these players are reading this, hopefully they penny has started to drop, that the sum of the parts is very often much more valuable than the individuals on their own. For a team to be successful, the synergy has to be right.

Look at Derby. And QPR. And Villa. And Wednesday. You can double, or even triple, your wage there. But money does not necessarily buy you success. We have plenty of players who moved to ‘so called bigger teams’ for more dosh, and supposed success, who would give their right arm to be back in a buzzing Brentford side playing good football and – eventually – challenging for the top.

If you look at lil olde #PubTeam Brentford in comparison to so these called ‘bigger’ teams with massive budgets, there is no question that if as a team we stick together, we have a lot more to offer than many of them in terms of realising our long term ambition.

We are undoubtedly building a squad that will challenge for a place in the top tier of English football. We’re not quite there yet. But we only need a few more players to complete the jigsaw.

The challenge will be keeping them together.

Yes they may get more money from Wednesday.

Yes they may get more money from QPR.

Yes they may get more money from Aston Villa.

But these are teams full of very talented individuals, which arguably lack the team spirit to carry them up to the next level at present.

The fact is … if this team sticks together, and Brentford is able to build on what we currently have, these players could actually find themselves playing Premier League football sooner than they think.

We seem to be building ourselves towards having a similar spirit to the promotion-winning team of 2013/14, and the playoff team of 2014/15, which isn’t a bad place to be.

But, ultimately, it’s not our choice whether these set of players are the ones that mount our next promotion challenge. It’s up to the players.

Will they stick? Or will they twist?

We’ll just have to wait for January with baited breath to see.

Billy Grant