Tonight’s trip to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City will see us come up against a host of former Bees, both on and off the pitch.
Harry Redknapp’s summer splurge saw Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean, and Jota all trade West London for Birmingham City in the 24 hours leading up to the end of the summer transfer window. For Harlee the move to the second city brought to an end a six-year association with The Bees which included nigh-on 250 appearances, two trips to the Play-Offs, and a promotion in 2014. Spanish winger Jota moved after more than three years with The Bees while Maxime Colin departed just after his second anniversary.
In the dugout, there will also be two well-known faces with Steve Cotterill adding Lee Carsley and Paul Williams to his coaching staff in recent weeks. Former Republic of Ireland international Carsley joined Brentford as Development Squad Head Coach in late 2014 before taking on the Head Coach role, with Williams as his assistant, a year later following the departure of Marinus Dijkhuizen. His ten-match tenure included a first win over QPR in 50 years but he decided to leave the club shortly after Dean Smith took permanent charge. Williams’ time at Griffin Park lasted just six months, he too leaving shortly after Smith’s appointment in November 2015.
Heading further back in time, St Andrew’s has also been the destination for prolific Bees strikers of recent years. In January 1997, Brentford fans were stunned as Nicky Forster was sold to Blues for the bargain price of just £700,000. The Bees had been riding high in Division Two before his departure but in his absence David Webb’s side stumbled into the Play-Offs where they lost to Crewe Alexandra in the final.
Nearly a decade later and two goals against Sunderland in the FA Cup Fourth Round propelled DJ Campbell into the limelight and earned him a move to the blue side of Birmingham. Picked up from Yeading, the livewire striker scoring 12 goals during his seven months at Griffin Park, culminating in the brace against The Black Cats. With Martin Allen’s side struggling financially and Blues struggling for goals in the Premier League, DJ moved for £500,000 and, although he couldn’t keep them up that season, did score 12 goals the following year as they earned promotion back to the Premier League.
Others to have played for both clubs include 2013/14 promotion-winning top scorer Clayton Donaldson, left-back Martin Grainger, and legendary Bees striker Robert Taylor.