I think it’s been a challenging, interesting and exciting first season with our new B Team Model and I’m sure others at the Football Club will share a similar opinion.
The first year of any new plan is always a little experimental as inevitably there will be issues that arise which you didn’t predict or plan for and we were no different. An example of that was the resignation of Flemming Pedersen in October. Flemming was an integral part of the B Team during its first few months and I would like to thank him for his efforts and contribution towards our first year.
I am looking forward to moving into year two of our plan. We have made some changes to the key processes within this framework which should ultimately improve the development experience for our players. I think the most significant change going into year two is that the Technical Staff and I have one year of experience with this way of working, our players have one year of experience with this way of working and potential new recruits have something to analyse before making their decisions about joining Brentford B. That experience should allow us to be more structured within our planning and efficient within our execution of the strategy.
Our objective remains the same, we must produce players capable of playing First Team football in Europe's top five leagues, within that objective we have targets for the areas of games programme, player pathway and player recruitment which, if achieved, should make our objective easier but until we meet that objective we are still underachieving and must strive to improve whilst doing things differently from the other clubs.
Games Programme 2016/17
45 Fixtures completed.
26 Games against Cat 1 opposition or equivalent (overseas or First Team).
4 Overseas Tours against elite opposition.
4 Games at Griffin Park Stadium (one behind closed doors)
Next year we have planned to increase the amount of tours which will give our players more opportunities to play against elite opposition from overseas. Ideally we will play more games at Griffin Park next season but we need to respect the First Team fixture schedule and pitch maintenance staff.
One of the positives of this model is the flexibility within the games programme to structure our season however we want it to look like. We have discussed the possibility of creating scenarios that are similar to the Championship i.e. Tue-Sat-Tue fixture schedule which should ultimately challenge the players physically and mentally in good preparation for their progression as footballers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters who attended our games at Griffin Park this season, the experience this provides our players is extremely difficult to replicate elsewhere within our games programme so your support is much appreciated and has a significant contribution upon our players development – to have over 1,500 spectators at our last match against Manchester City was something that I think supporters, staff and players can be proud of and likewise try to improve on for next season.
409 occasions where a Brentford B player trained with the First Team.
5 First Team debuts.
4 Players on bench for First Team.
1 First Team Graduate
This is an area that all the staff have contributed to, the Co-Directors of Football have stressed the importance of Brentford B within the Football Club’s strategy, Dean and his coaching staff have embraced the new setup by attending our fixtures whenever possible plus taking training sessions with the B Team. Kevin O’Connor and Allan Steele have worked very closely with the First Team staff to build the ’bridge’ between the First Team and B Team whilst working together with Dean, Thomas and Richard to align how both teams play and train.
To achieve five debuts was excellent for us as a group of players and staff within our first year. We know that it was an overachievement and that it’s unlikely to be sustained at such a high number but it was exciting and it allowed our players and staff to experience the excitement of a debut as a player, team mate, coach or member of support staff. I think that experience gained this year will be used as motivation going into the new season, the opportunities are there for our players and the numbers above prove that but it’s up to them to take the opportunity.
Justin Shaibu has graduated from B Team Player to First Team Player, this will mean that Justin now comes under the daily management of Dean rather than Kevin but it doesn’t prevent him from playing with Brentford B over the course of next season. Justin has worked hard throughout the year despite injury setbacks and being in a First Team environment permanently should take his game up another level if he maintains his determined attitude for development.
The Scouting Department, Andy Scott and I have worked all year to strengthen our knowledge in undervalued markets and young talent. Together we have been working on numerous targets and hope to be able to announce some signings in the next couple of weeks. I believe we have a far more attractive product now compared to the start of last season which should help increase the level of quality within Brentford B from here onwards.
I would like to thank Dimi Kyriatzis, Dom Kurasik, Danny Parish, Seika Jatta, Luke Dunn, Kyjuon Marsh-Brown and Marc Río for their attitude, application and commitment as Brentford B players. Unfortunately, we won’t be renewing their contracts and they will be leaving us this summer, but on behalf of everyone at Brentford FC we wish them the very best of luck with their careers.