24 June ~ When caretaker boss Nicky Forster led out his Brentford team at Wembley for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, it would be fair to say that most Brentford fans thought he had a pretty good chance of landing the job permanently. After all, he was a Brentford stalwart as well as being likeable and intelligent He had an instant impact in terms of improving both results and the style of football when he took over in February. However, the final was lost, the season ended with a whimper and the club embarked on what was to be a long and tortuous search for a new manager.
The first indication that the appointment would not be one of the usual suspects on the managerial merry-go-round came when it was revealed that the job had been offered to (and turned down by) St Johnstone’s promising young manager Derek McInnes. Several frustrating weeks later, it was finally announced that Uwe Rösler would become the League’s only German manager.
Some were worried about his lack of lower-league experience. Others resorted to national stereotypes, claiming that "He’ll get us well organised" and "At least we’ll never lose another penalty shoot-out". The consensus now seems to be that it is a brave and imaginative appointment and Rösler has come across as confident and articulate in interviews (despite unfortunately referring to his new club as "Brentford City" on Sky Sports News). Having made a full recovery from cancer diagnosed in 2003, he took his coaching qualifications and went on to manage Lillestrom, Viking Stavanger and Molde in the Norwegian First Division with a reasonable degree of success.
Much of the mood of guarded optimism is down to the generosity of benefactor Matthew Benham who, as well as increasing the playing budget, has ambitious plans to restructure the club behind the scenes. Mark Warburton has been appointed sporting director and the club intends to achieve Academy status; an under-21 development squad has been launched to bridge the gap between youth and first-team football. Rösler will have the funds to bring in five or six new players and his own backroom team.
So Uwe joins Gus Poyet and Paolo Di Canio as foreign managers trying to build a reputation in the lower leagues. It would be too much to expect him to emulate Poyet’s success but if Rösler can give Brentford a chance of promotion through playing attractive football, it won’t be just Manchester City fans who regard him as a cult hero. Chris Dean