Journalist and Bees fan, Jim Levack, has worked on Fleet Street and Sports Desks around the land for many years – here are his thoughts on Adrian Durham’s nonsensical defence of James Tarkowski’s refusal to play for Brentford last Friday.
I’m pretty certain that in 30 odd years of writing about football I’ve never once criticised a fellow journalist or football expert… and I’m not about to start now.
But the ill-informed and frankly rather ignorant host of radio’s answer to the Jeremy Kyle Show is neither of those so he’s fair game in my book.
Actually, I tell a lie. I did have a Twitter spat with Alan Swann, a hack on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph a few years back.
So as you can see there’s a bit of a theme emerging here. The Fen-dwelling folk seem to have chips on their shoulders the size of Maris Pipers about all things Brentford and seize every opportunity to tell a world that isn’t really listening.
Every time you hear Durham mention Brentford he follows it up with a disparaging or dismissive comment, and has been doing so long before the Warburton departure.
He makes my blood boil, and here’s the rub. That’s his job. His views aren’t really his own. They’re a conflicted conglomeration of bile and hatred against almost every club. Listen to him for long enough (if you have to) and he contradicts himself on a regular basis.
Luckily he’s backed up by his sidekicks, the Scouser and the Yorkshireman, who spout equally nonsensical arguments with one aim – to push up the listening figures.
There’s no wit in his rambling, contradictory arguments – unlike his excellent colleagues Hawksbee and Jacobs – so when Beesotted editor Dave Lane rang him to confront him my heart soared and then sank.
Soared because someone was taking him on, and then sank with the realisation that Dave would be yet another victim of this radio bully.
Dave started well (click below to listen to the call) but when he pointed out to Durham that his arguments were a conflicted melange of misinformation, he either talked over him or used his edit buttons to silence any coherent comment.
His only half sensible comment that the stats-led approach was flawed because it ignored the human element shows a lack of knowledge of the actual system in place at Brentford – and sadly, the prejudices that exist against us within the game.
But when you have the soccer intelligentsia like Micky Quinn also throwing his two penarth and reinforcing the gibberish, what do you expect?
As Dave tried to say but wasn’t allowed to, few Brentford fans wanted Warburton to leave, But he wasn’t sacked. He had the option to stay and chose not to. After having a veto on signings and then being told he wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have stayed either.
But with Dean Smith in charge, the signing of Ryan Woods and attempted signing of George Evans, I reckon it’s safe to say that the manager (head coach if you like) is having a fair say on who he wants to bring in.
Matthew Benham, who Durham claims to admire, is not stupid enough to think that the human factor – as the shock jock puts it – has no relevance in signing a player or his stats once on the books. I also suspect his approach is being tweaked as we go along, or he wouldn’t have managed to get Smith.
But in Durham’s nasty little world everything is black or white, which is why ringing his show is a pointless exercise guaranteed purely to inflate an ego inflated well beyond his meagre “journalistic” ability.
The problem is that the longer people like him refuse to listen to the bald facts – like Harlee Dean being offered a contract – the longer Brentford will be regarded as the renegades of English football. But then there’s a certain merit in creating that siege mentality.
Durham’s argument clearly stems from the fact that he feels Warburton was harshly treated, so in his child-like mind any criticism of the club from there on in is justified.
To be fair to Durham he has to keep in with the widest common denominator in the game or he won’t get any guests on his show. Brentford are just an easy target.
Warburton may have been a fantastic boss, but since his move north of the border he has done little to dispel the myths surrounding Brentford and his time there.
That became evident to me when his mate, mentor and confidante Sean Dyche appeared before the TV cameras and in the post match press conference after the Burnley game.
He was repeatedly dismissive of Brentford as a club, damning with faint praise, was evasive and twisted the facts… but at least he could go back to his old mate Warbs and say “that showed ‘em”.
Warburton is history now, but in Dean Smith we have a good, honest man in charge, and he’s a bloke I honestly can’t see not having his say in the recruitment process.
Bottom line is if you upset the traditional football world and the people in it, you will become a pariah. My attitude, increasingly, is ‘xxxx them, we’ll do it our way’.
I don’t think everything is rosy at the club and feel our wage structure needs looking at, but if you’d said to me three years ago “by 2016 you’ll be a fairly well established Championship side’, I’d have bitten your hand off.
The harsh fact is Durham’s beloved Posh had a stab at the second tier and couldn’t hack it. I fear that must be eating away at the poor fellow every time he looks at the respective league tables.
Life’s so unfair isn’t it Adrian?