It’s been a while and a lot has happened. My last post ended with my Brentford team sitting second in the Championship (in my first season) and in the final of the Carling Cup. Fast forward two more seasons (end of the 2016/17 season) and i’ve guided Brentford from Football League obscurity to Europa League winners. Yes, i can’t quite believe it either, but with some astute signings and a solid tactic, this small London club are now looking forward to taking on Barca and Real Madrid in the Champions League. Just hand me the trophy now!
As there was such a gap between my updates, in the post i just want to give you all a short overview of each of my seasons and my ambitions for the next season too.
End of 2014/15 season
My first season in the Championship ended on a high. I managed to win the league and finish 7 points clear of second-placed Norwich in the process.
Our luck however wouldn’t extend to the final of the Carling Cup where we came up against Premier League, Manchester United, and an in-form Adnan Januzaj. We slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Wembley and finished as competition runners-up, still a huge achievement for such a small club in my first season.
Our first season in the Premier League. I’d been given around £7m to spend on new recruits and i was determined to add strength and depth to the squad. After selling Jake Bidwell to Villa for £7.5m, i managed to bring in 7 players in the Summer transfer window and a further 3 in the January Window with a total outlay of just £13.75m. Admittedly many were loan deals, but 5 of the players i’d captured would have a particularly significant impact over the course of the season. Carl Jenkinson, Dorin Rotariu, Sergio Araujo, Jordan Veretout and Rene Krhin would all prove pivotal in challenge to gain Premier League stability and the addition of Adama Traore in January, on loan from Barcelona, really made the difference when it came to the business-end of the season.
Throughout the season, the front three of Rotariu, Araujo and Traore would prove near impossible for defenders to stop, and along with existing squad member, Andre Gray, their goals would contribute to some excellent results.
No cup run this year, but a solid sixth placed finish, and thus, qualification for the Europa League, beat any pre-season expectations that i had for our first season in the Premier League.
As you can see, we conceded our fair share of goals, but scored a respectable amount too. I’d decided to stick with the same formation as i’d used in the Championship which, in hindsight, may have been slightly naive when playing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United – who incidentally, absolutely destroyed us both home and away. Even so, the formation was working against most teams outside the top 6 and with some quality additions in the summer, i knew the big teams would eventually succumb to it too.
So, with our Premier League status firmly in-fact, the 2016/17 season was all about building on last season’s league position and attempting to get past the group stage of the Europa League. To do this i brought in a total 11 players of the summer and a further 3 in the January window. Wonderkid, Adama Traore, and English left-back Luke Garbutt were both recruited on permanent deals, with the former shattering our record transfer after costing £21m from Barcelona. Nathaniel Chalobah and Martin Odegaard both came in on loan to add some steal and creativity to the midfield and Richairo Zivkovic, an 18 year-old prodigy from Ajax, was added to provide competition to main striker Araujo.
I was slightly disappointed with our Premier League run as, despite some good results, we still weren’t able to break into the top five and so were once again left to accept a sixth placed finish. In fact, up until Christmas even sixth place was looking like a bit of a battle, but i’d managed to bring in some fresh faces in the January window and tighten up my tactic slightly in an attempt to concede less goals. It worked. The team was on fire post-january and put together a quite outstanding run in the Europa League, dispatching of Valencia with ease in the quarter-finals and beating Dynamo Kiev in the semi’s, to set up an all-England final against league rivals Tottenham. Another perfect performance on the night saw us run out 3-0 winners and clinch the club’s first ever European silverware and my first cup success as manager.
After all the exitement of the Cup had died down and the league had finished, Manchester United requested my presence for an interview for their top-job. Obviously, as a Chelsea fan, i could never have even entertained the offer they put forward, but equally, i was determined to strengthen my Brentford team and make one more go at cracking the top 4. So far this summer i’ve managed to bring in one or two squad players, but as the transfer market gets in to full swing, i’ll be sure to keep an eye out for any potential gems to add to my talented squad. Come’on you Bees!
If anyone has any reccommended signings for me or would like more information on my Brentford game so-far, drop a comment below and i’ll get back to you.