Brentford’s Young Squad Have Finally Come Of Age

Brentford’s Young Squad Have Finally Come Of Age
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Beesotted contributor Jim Levack reflects on Brentford’s battling victory over Reading at The Madjeski Stadium and feels that the team have finally come of age . 

It was good but not a vintage Brentford performance by any means, but there won’t have been many among the 3,000 travelling fans who cared too much at the final whistle.

As I headed towards the Madejski, I had an uneasy feeling that everyone was travelling along the M4 expecting a stroll to the three points. Anyone who has followed Brentford knows it doesn’t work like that.

Brentford would need to be resolute, patient, composed and savvy to come away with a result. That they managed all four is a testament to just how far this side has come.

The goal and general performance aside, this clash marked a watershed in Brentford’s season… a game we may well look back at and say ‘that was when we truly started to dream’.

We didn’t play brilliantly but ground out a result against a side desperate to arrest an eight-game winless run. And our game management was almost faultless.

Flo walked off when substituted, Sergi sought medical help after feeling a twinge late on and then there were those beautiful bookings – all designed to break the home side’s momentum and frustrate the fans as we have been by experienced sides before.

I’ve asked Dean Smith in the past whether he thinks his side are proficient enough in the so-called ‘dark arts’ and he’s looked at me nonplussed because it’s clear they work more on the technical side of things in training.

But at Reading we looked, arguably for the first time, like a squad playing with its head as well as its heart, and both are critical in this simple game we all love.

When Andreas Bjelland gave the ref the thumbs up after taking a card for the team on 86 minutes, I smiled. Woods and Canos had gone into the official’s book in the previous five, and it wasn’t just bad luck.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone diving and deception and am not a great fan of the corner flag countdown, but the odd slightly mistimed tackle that helps you pick up maximum points is another part of the armoury that a once naïve Brentford have now learned.

In the dying minutes at Reading I tried to view the game from a Reading fan’s perspective. Watching through blue and white specs, Brentford looked like the side with all the nous… and the flair to match.

It was telling that the goal came as Reading had pushed on recklessly for the first time in a while. Brentford were quick, powerful and ruthless in exploiting it and then cynically strong in holding on… the mark of all the great teams.

Yes, it could and probably should have ended 5-2 and yes sometimes we’re not clinical enough in the final third, but this was a win where even a short time ago we’d have drawn or even lost. 

Barbet, a cheeky Reading target pre match, was imperious while Mepham continues to ooze assurance that belies his years. But it was Kamohelo Mokotjo who caught the eye with his best display in red and white, tidying up, spreading the play, never wasteful and with a tidy little stepover to boot.

Lasse, well he was just Lasse… an intelligent footballer ice cold in the box who I’m hoping knows what’s possible both at Brentford and in World Cup terms if he stays, and what he might risk if he doesn’t. Ditto Bjelland, whose constant talking has improved his and his young protégé’s game.

Sawyers was quality once more while Woods did what he does consistently, just as the rest of the squad and the system Smith has so effectively got them working within, do every week.

Reading away was proof, if any were needed, that this is a squad capable of making a little bit of history… oh and it still has Marcondes, Judge and Co waiting in the wings.

And we’re still under the radar.







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  1. Rob

    Well said Jim…a professional display in both creating chances and now defending leads. Another reason to our improving ability to take 3 points is that opposition teams actually have to create goals, not just be gifted them, and that flourishing partnership at CB. Let’s hope we hold on to those players that add creativity finishing and grit that make us a team in the truest sense of the word. And it’s great to see Romaine really looking the player DS knew he was. CoYB

  2. -David Carney

    The message is on song again by JL and being under that radar could potentially have a strong positive effect if other teams under estimate Brentford – but in today’s competition I doubt opposing Coaches under estimate the Brentford threat at all.
    The negative of being under the radar can be very significant financially because:
    – It becomes more difficult to attract sponsors because sponsors want maximum exposure of their Brand, products and services
    – When sponsorships are achieved, the value would be less for an ‘under the radar’ team (read low exposure team)
    – Less games are televised on TV and less positive exposure is provided by other forms of media – the exact opposite of the purpose of a sponsorship.
    – The lower media exposure leads to lower interest in and hence a lower supporter base, which in turn leads to lower sponsorship opportunities. It really is a vicious circle.
    – Player valuations by clubs bidding for Brentford players are generally too low, leading quite often to a bit of a saga before transfers are finalised (think Hogan, Gray, Tarkowski)
    – etc, etc, etc.
    – In essence the sponsorship window of opportunity for sponsors of Brentford is a very crowded shared small area of West London where, unfortunately at present Brentford would still rank at #5 of the 5 teams. For Brentford there is no effective National awareness, let alone international awareness and these are the real drivers of sponsorship dollars. The Brentford reach is lousy and the supporter/follower interest base is close to worthless at present when compared to other teams competing for sponsorship dollars.
    Forget being under the radar. We are all proud to be lifelong Brentford supporters and we should be noisy about it – but never, never arrogant like so many teams supporters that Brentford compete against. Like it or not, Brentford needs exposure, awareness, a larger supporter base, positive media responses, good positive PR, etc, as well as success on the field because strong sponsorship income is another of the vital ingredients of financial success, which of course is vital for the long term success of the program implemented by Benhan and his band of merry men for Brentford to once again be a powerful and successful football club.
    My Dad used to talk about the Brentford team of the 30’s. I think that can be repeated again soon, but to do so Brentford must not be under the radar and must be financially robust.


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