Head of Football Operations Robert Rowan explains summer restructureIntroduction
The Club decided to proceed with a unique redevelopment to the structure within the Football Department over the summer. We only have one squad that is feeding into the First Team, which is Brentford B. This setup has allowed us to have more control over various different elements such as the style of play and the culture within the Football Club which in my opinion are fundamentally essential for the Club if we are to develop into one of Premier League calibre.
Being completely honest we have received both positive and negative feedback from many people within the sport, some see it as very innovative approach and others see it as a step backwards. Most importantly it has been received very positively internally by the staff and players associated with Brentford B who share similar optimism of what we can achieve but also realise that the Club is investing in this area.
The decision has made it easier for us to recruit players, in particular from overseas as they see the pathway and that the Club has something unique. In regards to recruiting players for Brentford B, I lead that process but the Technical Staff, Andy Scott and his Recruitment Team are heavily involved within Talent ID. It’s important for us that we maximise our use of the resources available from all of the service departments at the club but the Recruitment Department will play a key role in helping us to identify players with the potential to play for the First Team.
We will continue to look to recruit before the window closes, if we don’t find players whom we believe have the ability/attitude then it isn't essential that we make more signings. It’s very important that we rigorously create/monitor succession plans to identify the pathways for Brentford B players into the First Team squad.
As everyone knows Brentford B won’t be competing in a league therefore we organise our own games programme, it's important for the staff and I to make that games programme as attractive and challenging as possible. We have started very positively with games against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Midtjylland etc. and we aim to maintain games against that calibre of opposition but most importantly every game must be challenging/difficult. The staff are all supportive to making this work.
In August we have games organised against West Brom, Reading, Villarreal and Valencia with us due to play our first game at Griffin Park on 8 September against Liverpool.
We are working on making the games at Jersey Road available to the fans, I just need to finalise details with the security staff but will update you all in the near future.
We would like at least one player to promote to the First Team by the end of the season, in cooperation with the Head Coach and the Co-Directors of Football I believe we have assembled the right guidelines to support that but ultimately it comes down to the players and the Brentford B Technical Staff to make sure that they are good enough to progress.
We’re currently in the ‘start up’ stage of Brentford B, where I’m sure we will come across many problems throughout the year that we didn’t predict but we’ve got a clear strategy for what we want to achieve and how we are going to do it.
I’m due to fly over on Sunday with Rasmus and present the Brentford B model to their staff, we had informal discussions with them during our training camp in Denmark and they were very interested in our new approach. We could learn a lot from their staff and likewise they could learn from our staff, I think the experiences both clubs have can lead to opportunities for the other club. For example last season we had Kevin O’Connor spend a week shadowing their Head Coach in the build up to their game against Manchester United, which is a great experience for any aspiring coach. I hope to have more cooperation with the staff at FCM this year, particularly in player and staff development.
I initially joined the club in the 2014/15 season within the Recruitment Department, which has since progressed into my current role as Head of Football Operations. This is a multifaceted role as I am involved within the following areas – Training Ground Operations, Loans Management, Recruitment, Pre Season Planning and Club Relations. In regards to my role in relation to Brentford B I would say it was more of strategic/leadership position where I am ultimately responsible for overseeing the strategy and measuring our progress against the KPIs we have set internally to determine whether we are on or off target. My role is to oversee but the Technical Staff are the people who will make this a success, the work and commitment they’ve put in to the project on a daily basis has allowed us to make an impressive start but they know that needs to be at least maintained over the course of the season for this to be a success.