New stadium on the horizon
12 December ~ On October 12, after Brentford's miserable 2-1 defeat away to Stevenage, their fourth loss in six League games, the players were locked in the dressing room for a frank heart to hear with manager Uwe Rösler. The message boards were full of people questioning his regular team changes and cautious tactics away from home. In the following home game against Colchester it was only three late goals that saved him from the wrath of sections of the crowd and another embarrassing defeat.
Nonetheless, whatever was said in that dressing room seemed to do the trick and a run of eight wins and a draw (away to Wolves) propelled the Bees right back into the promotion race. The run also attracted the attention of Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who tempted Rösler back to his family in the north-west with the prospect of European football and Premier League parachute payments.
So would this new body blow send Brentford supporters into another of their regular bouts of doom and gloom? Well, not really. As the news broke about Wigan's approach for Rösler the club finally, in the face of opposition from the leafier parts of Chiswick, achieved planning permission from Hounslow Council for the new Lionel Road stadium. And behind the scenes, while fans were speculating about the likelihood of Ian Holloway, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or (God forbid) Neil Warnock taking over, the club has moved swiftly by appointing sporting director Mark Warburton to the job "at least until the end of the season".
Just as intriguingly, Warburton's successor as sporting director is the former Liverpool academy director Frank McParland who was controversially dismissed by them earlier this year. So despite reservations about Warburton's lack of experience in management, at least the club has ensured continuity in training methods and playing style, though Warburton now presumably won't have his old job to fall back on if things don't work out for him in management.
The prospect of a new ground, McParland's appointment and the fact that Rösler is the first ever Brentford manager to have been poached by a club from a higher division is an indication of how far the club has progressed in recent years. However, that elusive place in the Championship will still be very hard to achieve.
The competition at the top of League One is particularly tough this year with Wolves and Orient having already built up formidable points totals. Preston are on a run of form nearly as good as Brentford's and Peterborough will be looking to strengthen in the transfer window. It means Warburton will be keen to get off to a winning start against improving Oldham on Saturday before a trip to Preston and a tough set of fixtures over Christmas and New Year. Chris Dean