Head of Football Operations Rob Rowan looks back on the last few months for The B Team
With the 2016/17 season just past its midway point, Brentford’s new B Team project is now six-months old. The Club set up its B Team last summer with the aim of providing closer links between younger players at the First Team and building a pathway to senior football. Rob Rowan, Brentford FC Head of Football Operations, updated on how the B Team is progressing.
The calibre of opposition in this quarter has provided a great learning experience and challenge for all staff and players associated with Brentford B. In the Quarter One review I mentioned that the quantity of the games was important but there was a shared belief that the quality of games is more important for development. Therefore, the opportunity to compete against the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and experience an intense tournament schedule where we played three games in 48 hours at the Kai Thor Cup will have only complimented the hard work that is put in daily at the Training Ground. Hopefully our players are starting to see/feel a difference in their performances.
Like any other process our best opportunity for learning and/or improvement comes from our reviews, during recent staff meetings it was raised that although our games programme has improved, the similarity to the Championship could still be better. For example, when Tom Field was promoted to the First Team in the summer, he had never experienced a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games programme. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to create a games programme with scenarios that prepare our players mentally and physically for the challenges that lay ahead should they progress, fortunately we have that flexibility.
We set the target of achieving more than 1,000 spectators for our game against Manchester United in November and we were delighted to achieve that. On behalf of the staff and players, I would like to thank all of the supporters who came along to watch the team. We are planning to host another showcase game at Griffin Park on Tuesday 21 March and again our target is to achieve over 1,000 spectators again. I’ve always found the ‘under the lights’ saying a little cliché but after discussions with the players and staff it’s very clear that these are the games they most look forward to. The pressure of playing in front of a big support cannot be replicated in games at the training ground, regardless of the quality of opposition. I hope the performances and results previously will entice you to come along to support the B Team and hopefully, we can put on another good performance to make it worth your while.
First Team Pathway
It was pleasing to see Chris Mepham make his debut for the First Team in the FA Cup but Chris and the other players know it’s important not to get carried away. The challenge for our players is to prove that they can be trusted to start a Cup game or feature in the Championship – once they achieve that, they then need to prove that they can maintain a place in the First Team.
I will be delivering a mid-term report to the Board this week, detailing the work going into Brentford B from a strategy and departmental perspective whilst detailing its progress against objectives set at the start of the season. One thing that’s very evident throughout the report is that the Club’s development pathway to the First Team has improved significantly and that the ‘opportunity’ for a young player is there. For example, from August until now a Brentford B player has participated in First Team training 216 times – that is 216 opportunities to prove you are good enough to the Head Coach and his staff.
Our objective is to promote one player to the First Team at the end of the season, I believe we have a minimum of one player in each position who has the potential to develop into a player who is good enough to compete in the Championship but turning that potential into reality will involve a lot of hard work, decision making and patience.