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A personal message from Phil Giles

1 December 2015

Brentford Co-Director of Football Phil Giles writes a personal message to supporters.

By now, I’m sure you’ll know that yesterday we appointed Dean Smith as our new permanent Head Coach. 

It therefore seems to be a good time to give you a bit more insight into what has been happening over the last few weeks, on behalf of both Rasmus Ankersen and myself.

A few weeks ago we were asked to describe the Brentford philosophy in a few words. The words that immediately came to mind were “we take risks”. Not reckless gambles mind you, but calculated decisions for which the possible implications have been considered. It’s a philosophy which comes right from the top of the Club and has served Matthew Benham very well in his other businesses.

The reason for this is simple: we cannot outspend our rivals so therefore we have to find different and innovative ways of doing things. However, you can’t say “take risks, but don’t fail” and at the same time expect to move forward.

Appointing Marinus was a risk – in particular because he didn’t have any previous experience of English football. That it didn’t work out was personally disappointing for me, as both Marinus and Roy are good men with great integrity. 

I was therefore pleased to see that Marinus won his first game at NAC 6-1 on the same memorable evening that we defeated Queens Park Rangers at Griffin Park.

Rasmus and I are constantly working to improve how we do things, and the Board of the Club were keen to understand what lessons had been learned from the recruitment process last summer. 

A key difference this time around is that we are now embedded at the Training Ground, whereas last summer we had to put the coaching staff together from the outside. 

We now understand the different personalities in the football department, and this time we aren’t trying to simultaneously hire several other members of the coaching staff. It was always going to be a challenge to make that work effectively at the first time of asking.

Appointing Lee to take over after Marinus had left was less of a risk, since we’d seen the excellent work that he was doing with our Development Squad. It certainly wasn’t a moment for taking any chances, and Lee was a safe choice at that time. 

Given the rapid transformation in fortunes on the pitch, Lee Carsley, Rasmus and I agreed that appointing a permanent Head Coach sooner rather than later would be the best decision for both Lee and the Club. They would be coming into a positive environment and both Lee and Paul would be able to ensure a smooth transition. 

We had of course already been investigating our options for succeeding Lee, so accelerating the process was relatively simple to achieve, despite the original plan being to make a change at the end of the season.

Lee has always been clear that he wouldn’t consider the Head Coach role permanently. He is another man of integrity and was especially keen to make sure that his comments before and after the Birmingham game showed respect to the departing Head Coach, whilst also not misleading anyone of his long term intentions.

After the Nottingham Forest game, Lee said that it would be his final game in charge. However, as last week progressed, it became clear that we couldn’t guarantee that the new Head Coach would be in place and able to take the team at Bolton. 

The most important thing for the long term benefit of the Club is that we appoint the right person for the job, rather than appointing in haste (and repenting at leisure, as the saying goes). Lee was therefore happy to continue in the role as we all have Brentford’s long-term best interests at heart. 

In Dean Smith we believe we’ve appointed the right person for the job. Here are some of the reasons why we believe he is the perfect fit for Brentford.

  • Dean has significant coaching experience in English football, including more than four years as manager at Walsall.
  • He is a hugely likeable man with strong leadership skills and the ability to immediately manage and command the respect of the players and support staff.
  • He wants to play football in a bright and attractive way – the way that Brentford fans have become accustomed to over recent seasons.
  • Dean has a track record of developing young players, and can help our relatively young squad to reach their full potential. 

I’m also delighted that Richard O’Kelly is joining the club, he is a very talented and experienced coach who will dovetail well with the existing coaching staff.

Clearly, as with all clubs in the Championship, we’d like to think we have a chance of being promoted to the Premier League at some point over the coming seasons. Dean and Richard share our ambition and the strategy for achieving that goal. Rest assured that our plan is based on the traditional Brentford qualities of team work, commitment, exciting attacking football – and taking a risk or two.

Phil Giles

Brentford FC Co-Director of Football

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