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Club News

From the Chairman: Cliff Crown

1 September 2015

Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown writes in the Reading edition of Bees Review.

They say a week is a long time in politics, and the pace of events here at the club remains hurricane like. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to make some personal observations about our great club.

I’m very aware of the frustrations of some fans in relation to the recent sales of some players who have been part and parcel of our on pitch success, yet I believe that these transfers can and should be viewed in a broader context. We’ve been here before, of course – and even in recent years, losing players such as Forshaw and Donaldson was much lamented at the time, but can, with the benefit of hindsight be seen as part of a process of improvement.

The club has had more good years than bad recently – from League Two to the Play-Offs for the Premier League in six years is no small feat, and I have spoken several times about the progress being made both in terms of moving to our new stadium, and our continued significant contribution to our community through the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

On the pitch, we came tantalisingly close to promotion last season, and yet ultimately, hard as it is for me to say, I believe we weren’t ultimately good enough to get promoted. We lost all four fixtures to our opponents in the Play-Offs – and they themselves were outplayed in the Play-Off final.

Our challenge is therefore clear. We need to make the next leap forward, and this sometimes involves making difficult decisions. In my view, our progress can be achieved by:

(i) Improving the performance of each and every person at the club – both on and off the pitch

(ii) generating more depth in the squad, to enable rotation and to cover for injuries – which

already this season have been significant

(iii) increasing the amount of cover at certain positions; and not least

(iv) bringing in better players including ones to replace those who have left us.

We believe that Brentford is different to many other clubs. We don’t have unlimited funds, but we do have a story to tell about how we have improved our squads by innovating on and off the pitch, and turned the playing fortunes of the club around over the last few years. Yet our biggest ambitions remain to be fulfilled. Last year saw some of the best football that many lifelong fans have ever seen at Griffin Park, yet not every game was flawless, as those, like me who travelled to Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic will no doubt attest. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and yet we’ve already seen this season that we have much potential.

As one of the smaller clubs in the Championship (with total income in the bottom three in that league) we will do our utmost to retain players who we believe have the capability of furthering our ambitions. Occasionally we may have to work hard to hold onto players who are intent on leaving us – many clubs in our division have Premier League parachute payments, and significantly larger stadiums and commercial operations to fund their player wages, and can provide a tempting lure for a player especially when such clubs can offer players a 200-300 per cent salary increase).

The Financial Fair Play regulations also put us under a straightjacket in terms of controlling the overall investment possible in the club - the bottom line is that, like us, many clubs have to sell players they don’t want to sell in order to avoid a ban on transfers in future.

If despite our strenuous efforts, a player indicates that he wants to leave the club, we are committed to, achieving the best possible outcome for Brentford, and if a sale is made to

reinvest the proceeds for the benefit of the club. We won’t get things right in the transfer market every time, but we have been brave in what we have achieved to date, and I believe it is our duty as a club board to continue to be brave as we evolve.

This is the way we have chosen, and we believe it is the only feasible way to reach the Premier League.

It is your support through times of transition, as much as the joyous times of great victories that make this such a special place. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I look forward to supporting with you our club through both the ups and downs of this, and future seasons.

Cliff Crown
Chairman, Brentford FC

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