As usual May brought plenty of player movement as thoughts immediately turned to the new campaign as another successful Sky Bet Championship season came to an end at Griffin Park.
On the pitch, the season finale came against a Blackburn Rovers side who desperately needed the points to have any hopes of avoiding the drop. The visitors raced out of the traps and went 2-0 up inside the first 20 minutes. A late penalty ensured a 3-1 victory, after Lasse Vibe had halved the deficit, but, with results elsewhere going against Tony Mowbray’s side, it wasn’t enough for them to avoid the drop.
On the same night as the season ended, the great and the good of Brentford descended on the Radisson Blu Edwardian for the club’s annual Player of the Year awards dinner. More than 400 guests saw Harlee Dean pick up the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award with Ryan Woods picking up the Players’ Player of the Year prize. Jota’s wonderstrike against QPR won the Goal of the Season prize with Daniel Bentley, Lasse Vibe, and Yoann Barbet among the other winners.
Guests at the dinner were the first to discover that The Bees Spanish sensation Jota would be a Brentford player for a further year as the club option on his contract was exercised. Another player extending their stay at Griffin Park was Florian Jozefzoon: the speedy attacker had a one-year Club option in his contract which was brought in to force keeping him at the club until the end of the 2017/18 season.
It was also announced in early May that Alan McCormack would leave Brentford when his contract expires at the end of this month. The combative Irish midfielder spent four years at Griffin Park helping the Club establish themselves in the Sky Bet Championship. He has played 103 games in all competitions for The Bees, 98 of them in the league, and scored three goals. In recent days it has been confirmed that Alan will join Sky Bet League Two side Luton Town.
Late on in the month, Dean Smith made his first signings of the summer with a Danish international defender and experienced goalkeeper heading into Griffin Park. 27-year-old Henrik Dalsgaard agreed a three-year deal to join The Bees from Belgian side Sportvereniging Zulte Waregem when the Transfer Window opens. A couple of days later and goalkeeper Luke Daniels joined from Scunthorpe United on a free transfer. The 29-year-old former England youth international signed a three-year contract, with an option of a further year, and would link up with The Bees in time for pre-season.
It was a very busy time for the B Team as well as they built up to their final marquee game of the season against Manchester City at Griffin Park. Ahead of that game, doubles from Joe Hardy and Reece Cole secured a 4-1 win over Orlando Pirates before 1500 supporters were treated to a wonderful evening of entertainment against City.
The two teams were evenly matched in the opening 45 and went in at half time all square before the game sprung to life with four goals in eight minutes inside the final quarter, Zain Westbrooke and Reece Cole on target for Kevin O’Connor’s side. It looked as if the game might finish level but City’s Brahim Diaz curled in and Javairo Dilrosun made it 4-2 in the dying seconds.
In B Team contract news, emerging striker Justin Shaibu committed his future to Brentford by signing a new three-year contract while attacker Herson Rodrigues Alves put pen-to-paper on a new one-year contract. After six years with the club, midfielder James Ferry left the Club to join Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage when the Transfer Window opens this summer.
Scotland Under-19 international Theo Archibald also signed from Celtic on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The 19-year-old officially joins The Bees on 10 June but was allowed link up with the group early in order to play against Manchester City at Griffin Park.
Finally, two further Brentford players were inducted into the Brentford FC Hall Of Fame. Started in 1991, and reformed in 2012 by the Brentford FC Former Players’ Association, both Sam Saunders and Gordon Phillips are worthy recipients of this award. Gordon spent ten years at Griffin Park, making more than 200 league and cup appearances and was even selected on the bench as an outfield player during an injury crisis.
Attacking midfielder Sam Saunders spent nine seasons at Brentford after joining from Dagenham and Redbridge on a Bosman free transfer in 2009. He too made more than 200 league and cup appearances in his Griffin Park career, joining Wycombe Wanderers permanently in January this year.