THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Bees playing attractive attacking game

icon champ21 November ~ It’s nearly a year since Uwe Rösler left Brentford for the Wigan. He’d won seven and drawn one of his last eight games and, although some fans were less than happy with his over-cautious tactics, there was concern that the surprise appointment, ex-director of football Mark Warburton, might not be able to maintain the club’s upwards momentum. They shouldn’t have worried; promotion was secured with three games to spare, using a brand of short-passing attacking football that has rarely been seen at Griffin Park. The consensus is that this is the most talented team that Brentford fans have ever seen

Nonetheless, approaching only our second season in the second tier in the last 60 years, most fans would have been happy to avoid relegation with a 20th-place finish. Despite owner Matthew Benham’s generosity, we still operate on one of the Championship’s smaller budgets and average crowd sizes. Moses Odubajo and Jota were surprise signings from Leyton Orient and Celta Vigo respectively. Million pound purchases and players with just one name are not usually associated with Brentford.

With smart buys such as Andre Gray from Luton and Alex Pritchard and Jon Toral on loan from Spurs and Arsenal, the team has been strengthened significantly. When Rösler came back to poach last season’s League One player of the year Adam Forshaw, initial anger gave way to a realisation that he might not have got a regular place in this side.

The season has so far gone better than even the most optimistic fans expected. After three wins in a week against Derby, Nottingham Forest and Millwall, Brentford sit in sixth place. Steve McClaren and Ian Holloway were generous in their praise of Brentford’s quality of play. (Stuart Pearce was perhaps understandably more concerned with his own team’s shortcomings). Yes, there have been a few hammerings, notably against Norwich and Middlesbrough, but only in the Middlesbrough and Bolton games have the team played really poorly.

So tonight the team have a chance to test themselves against a Fulham side that recovered from their atrocious Felix Magath inspired start and are rather better than their league position would suggest. It will be a tough game with Fulham already having eliminated Brentford from the League Cup at Griffin Park. But for now at least Brentford fans can look up rather than down in the table from their position 12 points ahead of a now Rösler-less Wigan. Not many people would have predicted that a year ago. And remember – Brentford have never lost a Championship play-off. Chris Dean

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