A new season on the horizon brought about a host of new faces at Griffin Park in June and July as Brentford geared up for a third consecutive Sky Bet Championship campaign.
The opening day of the summer transfer window saw a trio of League One’s brightest stars move to West London as Daniel Bentley, Romaine Sawyers, and John Egan arrived from Southend United, Walsall, and Gillingham.
Sawyers, Egan and Bentley. Brilliant day of signings @BrentfordFC!— Joe Sullivan (@JoeSully21) July 1, 2016
It was a day that also saw Jake Bidwell depart for rivals QPR and Andy Scott, who won promotion as both Player and Manager, return as our new Chief Scout. The ins and outs weren’t done there as July saw Jack O’Connell and David Button depart for Sheffield United and Fulham while young left-back Callum Elder arrived on loan from Premier League Champions Leicester City.
It was equally as busy for Flemming Pedersen, Kevin O’Connor and the newly-formed Brentford B staff as they prepared to take a step into the unknown. Having closed the Academy in May, The Bees had elected to run a B Team and plenty needed to be done before the season began. Kyjuon Marsh-Brown and Danny Parish both signed on from the 2015/16 Youth Team while goalkeepers Dominic Kurasic, Dimi Kyriatzis and defenders Lukas Talbro and Jarvis Edobor were also added to the group. They would be joined later on in the month by former Barcelona B player Marc Rio and HB Koge striker Justin Shaibu. After more than four years with the club, Courtney Senior departed to join League Two side Colchester United.
With the players now in place it was time for the hard work to begin on the training pitch ahead of the new season. A scorching hot Friday night in Hertfordshire was the setting for the curtain-raiser against Boreham Wood. There was a welcome goal on his return for Lewis Macleod but it wasn’t enough as the hosts ran out 2-1 winners. The following day The Bees decamped to Germany for a week-long training camp which included a 1-0 win over VFL Bochum: Scott Hogan the man on target.
Draws against Wycombe Wanderers and 1.FC Kaiserslautern followed the return to home shores before Paul Taylor’s each goal condemned The Bees to defeat under the lights against Peterborough United. The final warm-up match ahead of the new campaign saw Dean Smith and his troops head to Millwall for Tony Craig’s testimonial match. Yoann Barbet’s free-kick was cancelled out by Steve Morisson before the break as the two sides cancelled each other out.
The B Team also began to gear up for their debut campaign with a pre-season trip to Denmark: Herson Rodrigues Alves and Ilias Chatzitheodoridis scoring in a 2-2 draw with FC Midtjylland before Bradley Clayton’s goal secured a draw against Odense Boldklub. Trialist Emmanuel Ledesma was then on target in a 1-1 draw with a Chelsea XI before they suffered their first defeat of the season with a 1-0 reversal at Manchester City Under-19s.
In other news around Griffin Park, Johnny Brooks, who scored 22 goals as The Bees won promotion in 1963 died at the age of 84. The England international spent just over two years at Griffin Park, forming part of all-international forward line which shot The Bees to promotion.
Josh Clarke also signed a new contract for a further two year stay at Griffin Park. The right-sided player’s remarkable rise had seen him go from park football to the second-tier in just five years and it was a deal which went down well with the fans judging by the replies below.