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As someone who likes to think of themselves as a writer, I much prefer words to numbers. I therefore wanted to celebrate the end of Act 1 from the best season in my Bees supporting life by typing some cohesive sentences about what has happened so far and what I think will occur over the next month in Acts II and, hopefully, III.

I have had the most infuriating writers’ block though and still don’t know if words exist in the English language which can justify the jubilation Bees fans of more than two years’ experience should be feeling at the current rate of progress.

My summary of the present situation is that Mark Warburton has clearly been the most successful manager in most of our lives. The best by far to be honest. To outsiders, I can understand the decision not to tie him down with a PardewatNewcastlesque contract might seem a little daft looking at where he and his team have taken us compared to where we have been over the last eighty years or so.

However, while he deserves plaudits galore and our eternal thanks for the quality of results and play since he took over from the more cautious Uwe Rosler, I have even more faith in Matthew Benham. Last season I would have classed Adam Forshaw as the best player I had seen play in our red and white stripes. He decided to move and, in Pritchard, Judge, and Jota we simply replaced the best with even better. I have every faith our owner and his team will replace our best manager with even better.

The bar is constantly being raised by our man who only knows success. Ever since he apparently decided Dagenham away was one disaster too many for Andy Scott, his decisions on managers have been spot on. Personally, I probably would have pulled the trigger on Uwe before, or immediately after, the dressing room inquest at Stevenage. Benham didn’t, the five match winning run landed Rosler a rather temporary job closer to his Lancashire based family and propelled us up the league we just had to get out of.

Many names were banded about as replacements, popular consensus among fans seemed to be Ian Holloway no less, yet the continuity of promoting (or just changing job role of) Sporting Director Mark Warburton worked a treat and promotion into the second tier was secured for the first time in over twenty years.

The reasoning behind Warbs leaving at the end of this now extended season has been much publicised. A disagreement in the methods used to recruit players is based on the owner’s belief it should all be stats driven. There you go. Those bloody numbers again.

This has been explained by reference to ‘Moneyball’ a book and film about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their “visionary” general manager Billy Beane. Without the resources of other teams they used statistics to build success and over achieve. With the, in my own opinion frankly obscene, amounts of money being used in the Premier League, it is felt that we have to use a similar philosophy.

So, after coincidentally finding the Moneyball paperback in my local charity shop today, this made me look back into how much the Bees have over achieved this season already.
I will now use some numbers (form a populated Excel spreadsheet no less) to show how Brentford FC have had the best season in the Championship compared to expectations.
Enjoy this league table, and then I’ll explain.


Bees top of Championship 1415



It ranks league tables from both betting odds (courtesy of league sponsors Skybet on 2nd August 2014) and ‘respected’ pre-season predictions (from the ‘world’s best-selling’ football magazine – FourFourTwo). It then compares the difference of where teams actually finished versus these expected rankings.

The Bees come out clearly on top and not just because of the magazine’s view that we would be relegated in 22nd place. Combining the predictions and betting odds, the Bees were expected to come 20th. By finishing 5th we had a delta of +15.

Some points on other teams:
Bournemouth also over-achieved in winning the league (don’t the press keep telling us so) but their final position wasn’t as far ahead of expectations as ours.
The odds had us 18th in a league table punters’ money was dictating would be won by Cardiff.

Blackpool were expected by both the bookies and the mag to come 24th so make mid-table based on expectations.

Wigan are well adrift at the bottom with 442 believing Uwe when he said they’d win the league and the betting having them placed top four rather than bottom two.

Notable mention to Fulham too, who if you remember spent £10million on Ross McCormack to set expectations in the heavens only to have the season from hell. The fee for McCormack possibly being the finest example yet of why a Moneyball philosophy is needed for our own sustainable progress.

So, look at that table again and enjoy it. The Bees have had the best season of all Championship teams.

Our fellow Play Off entrants have all done better than they were expected to and all have more recent top flight experience. However, we can go into this £130Million mini-tournament without any pressure from outside expectation and provided someone at FourFourTwo doesn’t tip us to win them, I certainly wouldn’t put any money down on any of Norwich, Middlesbrough or Ipswich.

Come on you Bees.
Luis Adriano