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With echoes of the “European tour” song slightly less audible and Brentford just having ‘won ugly’ against Steve Cooper’s side, it’s a good time to take stock. Chances of a top seven finish hang in the balance after an April blip in which some displays were described on social media as “horrible” by one journalist. So, as we sit back and take stock of yet another incredible season, perhaps the journo in question needs to be sent a copy of Dave Lane and Tim Street’s excellent Revolution book – for a little sense of perspective.

Long before he climbed aboard the Bees bandwagon, there were dark days of bucket rattling, greedy grey-haired businessmen and the odd chancer thrown in for good measure.

We used to eke out 2-1 wins against Bury and Crewe in League 2. Now we’re doing it against sides in the Premier League. The comeback win against Forest just another small but significant part of the evolution.

This well researched book, written by two fans with 70-plus years combined knowledge of the club they love, charts those gradual, and at the time often imperceptible, changes that have brought us to where we are today.

In years to come, if we miss out on Europe this year it could be seen as a missed opportunity or – like the first Play off final against Fulham – part of the evolution of the club. I suspect the latter.

I use the word evolution advisedly because, although not quite as dynamic a title, it’s a better reflection of the changes we’ve seen since Matthew Benham arrived on the scene like a shadowy character from a Philip Marlowe novel.

Little was known about the Brentford dream-maker then, but this book offers a small but significant window into how he operates and thinks.

“He can’t lie”, reveals Mark Warburton in one of several chunks that give us a rare insight into his thinking along with analysis of the the impasse created in the run-up to his departure.

His exit though was just one part of a tapestry of changes and tweaks at a club that, as this book neatly underlines, isn’t too arrogant not to learn from its mistakes and grow. Always grow.

From the increasingly distant memory of winning the League Two title at Darlington in 2009 to the euphoria of claiming scalps of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Revolution tells it from the viewpoint of the people on the inside.

It starts with a frank reflection of his time at Griffin Park from former player turned boss turned coach Andy Scott and gives perspective and balance with cleverly interwoven comments from those around him at the time.

There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes info to give Revolution its rightful place as an inside track on things that were largely glossed over or diplomatically withheld at the time.

The early details of Matthew Benham’s involvement remain sketchy, but it was clear early on that his personality was as far removed from previous owners as you could imagine.

His rational approach, unclouded by the emotion of fans and media, comes to the fore in this 237-page roller coaster so full of twists and turns as to be fanciful. But that’s exactly what this book is… a fairytale that came true.

We hear how Benham was “pacing up and down” at Wembley… “I’d mentally prepared myself to lose, and all of a sudden, I was having to come to terms with ‘shit, we might win’. Even when they got the red card, my main thought was ‘how terrible is this going to be if we don’t go up now?”

You weren’t alone Matthew, but I wonder if you cried at the final whistle like some people… no names, no pack drill – and thank you.

Rewind a little though and everything that led to that glorious day started to gather pace when Benham appointed East Germany Man City legend Uwe Rosler as his first full time boss.

From the press benches you could feel attitude, professionalism and, most importantly, the football ethos changing, along with the transfer method of the club. The Revolution was underway.

Warburton was followed by Marinus Dijkhuizen, and the media weren’t quite so impressed by what was, on paper at least, another inspired capture.


Nine games later he was gone – proof that the club wasn’t afraid or too arrogant to admit it was still capable of making the odd mistake here and there during the evolution.

“We win or learn” and “always humble” are principles laid down by Thomas Frank – whose take on the importance of football in a crazy world is wonderfully refreshing – that have played their part in the evolution, told warts and all here by former players and managers.

Lane and Street have been given access to Director of Football Phil Giles and CEO Jon Varney who both talk openly about the challenges the club faced on and off the pitch, through Covid and the ground move.

Alongside chapters about the philosophical side of the club’s growth, transfer rationale and no dickhead policies, are the emotional moments. Darlo away, the heartache of Donnie at home, THAT day against Swansea, Eriksen, Jansson, Romaine, the BMW, Ivan the Lion, all told the perspectives of those in the know.

Now, as we fight for Europe, all that seems so long ago, but this book is a valuable reminder that we can take nothing for granted. As with any evolution, a few errors of judgement and we could be back where we started.

Tim Street brings a sometimes witty, sometimes serious but always tidily written journalistic edge to this book, which many of the poorly informed pundits could do with reading. They won’t of course because it doesn’t sit comfortably with their big club narrative.

So little is known about how Brentford achieved the seemingly impossible and continue to defy the odds as the media, Lineker, Richards et all roll out their lazy Moneyball comparisons.

That’s why it’s a must for any self-respecting Bees fan… whether they were at Torquay away or have only ever known this thrilling new Brentford. Like them, I can’t wait for the next chapter.

Jim Levack

If you haven’t done so already, buy your copy direct from Legends Publishing here, or from Amazon here.