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BillytheBee reports from an interesting fans forum at Griffin Park where he found out that the stripes were returning to the back of the home shirts, that Lionel Rd will have a whole end of terracing and Simon Moore has been spending his last few days on the beach.

As the evening was rounding up, one fan asked Uwe “What is your greatest achievement?”. Uwe paused … And admitted he was stumped as he’d never been asked that before. He muttered something about playing for his country. Then he vaguely mentioned something to do with some team he played for. But then his face changed as he talked about the future. He became really animated and defiant as he told the audience “I want to manage at the very top”. It was at that point I realised … Uwe Rosler knows he hasn’t yet experienced his greatest moment. But the energy he gives off when he talks about his plans makes you realise that he knows that moment is very close indeed.

Fifty or so fans gathered in The Hive Thursday evening to hear Brentford Chief Executive Mark Devlin, new Chairman Cliff Crown, Lionel Rd stadium boss Brian Burgess and manager Uwe Rosler talk all things Brentford.

Uwe started off giving a run down on newly signed Everton striker Conor McAlney. “He is quick with a great change of pace and someone who is incisive. Doesn’t need many chances to score. His versatility means he can play up front, in the hole or out wide and this will come in very useful as we vary our formation. He’s young and hungry and in the same mould as the other Everton players (Forshaw and Bidwell). We have been trying to get him for a while now”.

When asked if we are going to carry on playing cautious football with one player up-front, his immediate response was “You must have been watching different matches to me. We always played two up front at home and had the best home record in the league. Away from home yes we played with one striker most of the time but our main formation was two strikers. Last season we achieved that with Forrester left wingman. Hopefully this season with either Fillo or Saunders wide right, and our strikers up front, we can become the most successful team once again”.

Then Rosler was hit with the infamous “Are you going to continue leaving no men up for corners … especially as we conceded a few goals from corners in the last few games?” question. He was quick to jump to the defence of the tactic. “We were the best team in the league at defending corners. We didn’t conceded one goal in the first phase (I’m presuming this means when the ball is played in first) all season. Then we conceded against Swindon in the semi final and Yeovil in the final. The reason why that happened was with the zonal marking system that we use, Jonathan Douglas always took out the big players for corners. When he got injured towards the back end of the season, we lost that part of our game and we really paid for it. But we will be using the same tactic in the future”.

When asked why we weren’t so good away as we were at home, Uwe put it plainly down to not being clinical. We dominated sides away but were not able to deliver the goals required so we suffered. He then went on to point out that the young players were still developing and they learned a lot last season from their mistakes. Hopefully, this season they will be all the better for it.

Brian Burgess then gave a brief overview of Lionel Rd – the first plans of which were revealed 10 years ago. Explaining that the planning application had gone in and he is getting Brentford fans to lobby the local counsellors with letters of support. He admitted that the number of letters submitted is fairly low at the moment but that will be mainly due to the closed season and said its starting to pick up momentum now (Brighton had 30k letters of support for their Falmer Stadium site). He defiantly said when asked what was the Plan B if Lionel Rd wasn’t to happen “As far as we’re concerned there is only plan A and we’re committed to making this happen”.

He told the audience that some Strand on the Green residents have put in their objections to the stadium and we need to show them why this will be good for the area. He then went on to explain how terracing is a very important feature of the new stadium with the whole of the lower tier behind one goal (2500 places) dedicated to ‘safe standing terracing’. He is even taking the stadium architect to Dortmund v Bayern Munich on Saturday to show him safe standing terracing in operation.

Interestingly, at Lionel Rd the away fans will be housed by the corner flag and, if needs be, down one side as opposed to behind the goal which should give the home team a distinct advantage.

When the question was asked “Considering a delicate stadium planning application was in place, was it the wisest time to be upsetting the neighbours by playing Celtic?” Uwe immediately jumped to the defence. “This has been our best pre-season programme ever. Last season we played Basingstoke and Wycombe. These were not strong enough tests. We lost points in our early games that we might not have if we were better prepared. With all due respect to your Hamptons and Basingstokes, we need to be upping the bar. I want to be playing sides like Celtic and Cardiff and Millwall”.

“If I has another chance to play Celtic, I would do it all again. It was an excellent test for us. And the club learned a big lesson. If we are going to be bigger and better, we need to raise the bar in every single area. In the off-field administration. In the security. It was a good test for the club but we are under no illusions. Things have to improve. But if we are going to be successful, we have got to get used to 6,000 drunken fans celebrating”.

This was the last time Celtic was mentioned during the forum – much to the surprise I can imagine of Mark Devlin. Uwe handled it well basically saying “On the pitch, this match was crucial and we really benefitted as a team from this game. Off the pitch needs work and we know that. Now lets move on and learn from it”.

Moving onto the new season, Uwe boasted that we were now covered in every playing position except centre back (rumour has it that we have put a bid in for Liam Moore from Leicester which was rejected) with three players competing in every position. Last season we were the fittest team in the league bar Swindon. Will he always play his best side? The games against Port Vale and Dagenham Uwe will see how they pan out then for Sheffield Utd he will play what turns out to be his strongest team.

Interestingly, Uwe and Alan Kernaghan (who was sitting beside me in the audience getting his first twitter tutorial) pointed out that so far we had seen our first league opponents Port Vale three times and were going to watch them again this weekend – so we were taking our opposition seriously.

Uwe piled the pressure on Kenny Jackett. “Wolverhampton Wanderers will have to really mess up this season to not win the league” he stated.

On injuries, Uwe pointed out how everybody who was injured (Donaldson, Diagouraga, Grigg, Moore, Dean) was back in the frame for the Cardiff game. Harlee had a dead leg but is back training. Farid twisted his ankle in training but should have been back for Borehamwood … Instead he decided to go for more intensive training that day.

“How about Simon Moore?” prompted some vague answers and laughter as Uwe jested “He’s been on the beach”. This prompted me to ask if it was true that Simon Moore was currently undergoing a medical at Cardiff City and Uwe said “I gave him a few days off. I don’t know what he’s up to. He’s off to the beach”. Read into that what you may. But we have been trialling quite a few “4th” keepers over the past few weeks. Why would one need 4 first-team keepers? Hmmmmmmm ….

Jonathan Douglas is out until October having played his last 10 games at the back end of the season (he wasn’t able to train then either) with a damaged knee.

When asked about the similarities between Dougie and Alan McCormack, Uwe said “McCormack is a very good player. He is like a general. He relays information to the younger players. He is very fit. And has come to Brentford solely to win promotion. He can play with Dougie, instead of Dougie or Dougie can play without him”

When asked “Other than Simon Moore on the beach, are there any other players likely to leave” and Uwe said “Decent players will always attract attention. I will finally relax on 31st August when the transfer window shuts”.

When asked about Stuart Dallas Uwe explained “Stuart got more first team game time last season than he was expecting. Our regime is much tougher than Crusaders and he’s had to adapt. He will do well”.

Devlin explained the problems they have had with Adidas supplying the kit – the worst problems he’s ever had from a kit supplier. The reason for the delay was adidas’ change in strategy. Initially they would only supply the A list clubs such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but this season they have expanded their remit to supply ‘minions’ like Brentford. And their distribution network fell apart with all the additional work. Devlin told the audience as compensation, the red and white stripes on the back of the shirts will return for next season. A quick hands-up vote on whether or not people liked the new kit saw 85% of the people in the room say yes.

Uwe added that they were delighted to be supplied by Adidas despite the issues, as the association is one of quality and, as Brentford were focussing on upping the bar, this was a perfect association. He also stated that the club stands a better chance of signing talented youngsters as they are truly impressed by the three stripes.

New chairman Cliff Crown felt there was no reason why there shouldn’t be 10k people regularly watching The Bees. We went from 4500 in 2011 to 6500 in 2013. 10k is pushing it maybe for the near future but he doesn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be regularly getting 8k fans.

Uwe added that we have a unique intimidating stadium that we need to take advantage of. He felt that the team deserved more than 6500 fans last season seeing as we had the best home record in the league playing sometimes some breathtaking football. He said that next season they will be focussing on attracting families and building on the younger generation.

Peter Gilham added he felt the fans were the best disciples of Brentford and if the hardcore 4k fans could personally witness the commitment and passion when either Uwe or owner Matthew Benham spoke, they would be inspired to convert so many more people.

The Shrewsbury game on Sat 26th October has been designated as the pay-as-you-go game.

There was some conversation about queues for the toilets that I missed before the conversation moved swiftly onto Javi Venta. “The ultimate professional. 37 years old, only been training one week and his fitness against Borehamwood was incredible. He is so professional, the first thing he asked our head of analysis for when he walked though the door was a video of all the goals Brentford conceded last season. The 2nd thing he asked for the following day was all the goals they scored. Javi isn’t coming here for the money. He’s here for the life experience and he truly thinks, at 37 years old, he’s still going to be playing for Brentford in 3 years time.

Uwe went into explain that Javi was our link into Spain – for years the best league in the world. He even talked to me afterwards at the bar about the idea of playing a pre-season friendly against someone like Seville. “This is where we should be going” as well as expressing similar regret to myself as to how Harry Forrester conducted his exit from the club. But he rebuffed the idea of becoming a team full of overseas players. “We’re not going to be like Arsenal with one English player in our first team. Brentford will always have an English core. But at the same time we need to remain flexible”

Uwe finished up by saying “Brentford will never buy their way out of this division and into the premiership. We get new players in one of two ways. Either through the academy .. It’s only been running a few years so very soon players will start coming through … Or via loans of excellent players from championship and premiership clubs with a view to signing them. The bar has been raised with the main team. It’s the 3rd year now. We HAVE to win promotion. But the bar is also raised with the academy. We have to start seeing these players coming through. It will happen.

All in all a very interesting evening and if you got only one thing from the forum, that would be the absolute dogged determination from the manager for the team to succeed this season. In 12 months time, if the same fan were to ask Uwe “What is your greatest achievement?” we are all hoping that he proudly pipes up “Winning the First Division Championship with Brentford”. But we know there’s still a hell of a lot of hard work ahead ….

Summarising the events of the evening …

– promotion is the no 1 target this season
– Simon Moore looks like he’s off (this is a personal opinion and a gut feeling. I may be wrong)
– expect more Celtic-esque experiences but this time the club has to be geared up
– Basingstoke and Hampton friendlies are so 2012
– next season we will be playing Seville and Bayern Munich in pre-season friendlies
– Were driving forward for a new stadium with a standing area straddling one whole end for home fans
– we’ve got some shit hot new players
– we’re already better than when we played Yeovil at Wembley
– pre-season has gone extremely well and Uwe expects to have the fittest team in the league
– this season is “Dallas and Reeves” time. Next season onwards the academy players will come knocking
– if we improve only slightly from last season, we will have the best home record in the league once again
– they’ve negotiated for the stripes on the back of the home kit to return .. even though the fans actually quite like the red backs now
– there’s still a problem with the toilets
– Wolves aren’t going to win the league
– the team against Sheffield Utd will be our A team
– Shrewsbury on 26th October is the £1 or more entry game
– there will be many more heavily marketed fan promotions throughout the season
– Brentford will never turn into a QPR-style “throw money at the wall” club. Everything follows a very tight plan