This pains me to write, but I have to pass on some very negative information about Brentford in Division One.
Having followed them, man and boy, for more years than I care to mention, their prospects this year look on the dark side of gloomy. Infact, I would settle for gloomy, but even I, am not that much of an optimist.
BFC have lost in the playoffs the last two seasons and because of enormous financial restraints, they are £8-£10m in debt, were forced to slash/not extend (depends who you believe) the playing budget for this season. High profile manager, Martin Allen, could not accept this and walked out, feel sure that he was expecting a flood of offers, but he has ended up at Milton Keynes Dons, a division lower. I will return to them later in the month. Should add that the budget was, already pretty much shoestring and I, unlike some others, wish MA all the best.
Every player is up for sale if the price is right, wish the last part were true, the price is irrelevant, almost every offer is being accepted by the board.
Automatic promotion was virtually in the bag last season until selling DJ Campbell to Birmingham, this, I accept, was necessary, as the money was needed to pay a tax bill.
However, during the close season, we have sold Jay Tabb, one of the most skilful, hard working players in the division and recently awarded a Republic of Ireland squad call up, for a reported £120k.
Next up Michael Turner, was sold to Hull City for £325k, this is cheap for a classy central defender, who has probably had 3 poor games in as many seasons. Apparently a large chunk of this fee is due to his former club, Charlton.
Sam Sodje, a player of immense potential, will be off any day to Reading, Watford or Swansea, depending on which website you read.
These were the three best players and they have been sold for a pittance, for whatever reason, by this I mean length of contract etc. Also gone are Rankin-Grimsby, Hutchinson-Oxford, Pratley, on loan for almost 2 seasons was allowed to leave and Martin Allen has made enquiries about Frampton and O'Connor.
It has been reported that one director said that, if we could reduce the debt by £1m and finish fifth from bottom, this season will have been a success. Not exactly what you want to hear 4 weeks before the first game.
Not all doom and gloom as we have signed Chris Moore (?) from Dagenham and Redbridge, he may turn out to be a super star and that would delight me, but even his transfer was paid for by a supporter winning a Coca Cola sponsored competition.
Providing no one else leaves, the squad currently consists of 17 players, thats 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 2 midfielders (yes,two) and 8 strikers, of these , 4 are aged 18 and have 3 first team appearances between them. The main striker, Lloyd Owusu, is injured and will miss the start of the season.
Saturday saw the first pre season friendly and Brentford were beaten 3-1 by Staines Town of the Ryman Premier league.
New manager Leroy Rosenior has promised to bring in some players, but given the financial plight of the club, these will have to be budget signings. We currently have a 35 yo former player, stand up Paul Smith, on a two week trial, which says it all really.
Attendances, which have risen steadily over 2-3 years are set to plummet, the fans have had enough.
This is going to be one VERY long season, would love to be wrong, but Brentford are a team to oppose and given their recent record , bookmakers are sure to over estimate the Bees. Already seen that Ladbrokes and VC Bet have them at 12-1 to win the league, which is laughable. Look to the relegation market, Bet 365 have done some homework, they are just 6-1, Bet Fred are 10's, that looks a fair price, you may find bigger.
Corals have odds for the first round of matches (August 5) and offer 3.75 Blackpool to win at Griffin Park, home of Brentford, this will look massive value nearer kick off, especially as I see the visitors as big improvers this year.