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Five reasons for Brentford to be optimistic ahead of Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday trips

Brentford reporter Tom Moore assesses the end of the transfer reason and finds reasons to be positive

The last few days have seen considerable panic and anger among certain sections of Brentford's support.

The departures of Jota, Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean have angered fans, especially after they all went to Championship rivals Birmingham.

It's easy for those who seldom see the Bees in action to wonder how the west Londoners will cope after losing three players.

But, as previously explained, they were already likely to leave and the club had been working on replacements in the first place.

With a trip to Aston Villa coming up, which should surely remind fans of the closure of the winter window, GetWestLondon's Brentford reporter Tom Moore has outlines five reasons for Bees fans to be encouraged going into the next run of fixtures.

History

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Lasse Vibe of Brentford FC celebrates scoring the third Brentford goal with Josh McEachran during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Aston Villa at Griffin Park on January 31, 2017 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Since winning promotion to the Championship in 2014, Brentford have tended to have a talisman that provides the bulk of the goals, be it through scoring them or setting them up.

In the second half of the 2014/15 season, Alex Pritchard was pivotal to the Bees and thrived on being the main man.

The following year that mantle fell to Alan Judge with the Irishman having the best season anyone has had at Griffin Park since before the second world war, especially at Championship level.

Luke Hyam's disgusting challenge at Ipswich in April 2016 has meant that the playmaker has spent the best part of 18 months on the sidelines.

That being said, Judge would not be at Griffin Park had he not suffered a broken leg as he would have been sold that summer with Newcastle even interested despite the injury.

Alan Judge

Before that devastating blow, the Bees had, arguably, become too reliant on their talisman and many feel they played better as a team in the final few weeks of that season with Scott Hogan returning from a lengthy lay-off to score goals.

It was the striker that became the next man to become the club's main threat. The start of the 2016/17 season saw the Bees pick up 18 of their 32 points in games where Hogan scored.

There was concern after his departure, especially without a replacement signed, where the goals would come from.

The answer to that question came from Jota and Lasse Vibe with the Spaniard assuming the role of talisman and, once again, the Bees looked a better team without a focal point.

This season has yet to get going for the west Londoners but, as previously explained, that has been more down to luck than anything else.

That being said, Jota was seen as the dangerman prior to games with opponents keen to keep the Spanish wing wizard quiet.

History is liable to repeating itself so why can't it happen again?

Opportunity knocks

The Birmingham Three: Jota, Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean(Image: Paul Burgman, Paul Burgman, bcfc.com)

Yes, it was disappointing to see Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin all leave the club in just over 24 hours.

However, it certainly wasn't a surprise. Anyone who knows Brentford knows that when a player is going into the final year of their contract will either sign an extension or be sold if the valuation is met.

Colin may have had two years but with contract talks seemingly so far apart, even at an early stage, a parting of the ways was inevitable.

Departures may mean an ending but they also provide new opportunities for those that remain.

The responsibility falls on John Egan, now the club's undisputed best right footed centre back to step up and fill the void left by Dean.

John Egan appeals for a penalty(Image: Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com)

The Irishman has had limited opportunities on his preferred side given the form of the defender in the past season and a bit.

Henrik Dalsgaard now has the chance to make the right back spot his own after Colin's exit and he will have Josh Clarke in and around the squad to push him.

Given their similar strengths and weaknesses, Dean Smith may even consider pairing them on the right flank and allowing them to interchange knowing that when one drives forward, the other can sit back.

Sergi Canos has yet to make a league appearance this season due to injury and his absence has been felt, certainly in my opinion.

When he returns, the Bees will look a much better side.

It's the way Brentford do business now

Andre Gray playing against new side Watford(Image: getwestlondon)

Over the past few days, I've read some of the biggest over-reaction to the way the transfer window ended over social media.

Would it have been better, morale wise, if Jota, Dean and Colin had gone earlier in the window? Yes.

Would it have been better if they'd gone to Premier League clubs? Yes.

Would it have been better if they'd gone to different Championship clubs? Yes.

Would it have been better if it wasn't Birmingham, who have done similar in the mid-1990s? Yes.

That being said, when you hear reports that Jota is now being paid £40,000 a week, you know full well that Brentford can't compete with those sorts of wages.

A new book, The Football Code, is out on Thursday which explains how Brentford thrive in the second tier makes the following observation.

It reads: “Should one assign each team an expected league position based on finances and compare it to their actual position in the EFL, Brentford’s three consecutive top 10 finishes in the Championship would render them one of the most overachieving teams in footballing history.

Scott Hogan on the ball against Burton(Image: GetWestLondon)

“In their most recent campaign, the 2016/17 Championship season, Brentford had a wage budget of roughly £172k per week.

“This meant that they were ranked 21st out of the twenty-four teams financially. Only three sides spent less on player wages than the West London outfit.

“The average amount that Championship clubs spent per week on player salaries in 2016/17 was £375k.

“This meant that the average team could have bankrolled Brentford’s player wages twice over. The Bees finished above teams like Aston Villa (who spent £951k per week), Cardiff City (£440k), Nottingham Forest (£339k), QPR (£402k) and Wolves (£444k).

“Brentford’s finances should have seen them fighting a relegation battle. Benham’s analytical system and innovative approach to football meant they were able to finish in the top ten of the Championship.

“To put this achievement into perspective, the average wage budget of the other nine teams in the top ten was £511k, three times larger than Brentford’s.

“Bear in mind the Bees also finished ninth in 2015/16, and an incredible fifth in 2014/15. Benham’s system has consistently enabled Brentford to defy the odds.”

Despite that, the club are still liable to be losing millions of pounds a year so the club must sell players in order to remain sustainable. The fees brought in this summer, including the Andre Gray sell on, have covered the outlay in transfer payments and will fill the black hole of money leaking out of the club.

I have also heard claims that the club should have given the departing trio what they wanted to get them to stay.

You would then have the rest of the squad, quite rightly, banging down Matthew Benham's door asking to be on a similar wage.

Mike Calvin's excellent book 'Family' which went inside Millwall in the 2009/10 season reflected on this issue. If the Lions gave one senior player an extra £100 a week would eventually cost the club up to an extra £1,000 a week with their fellow senior pros wanting the same increase.

This set-up is miles better than selling DJ Campbell to Birmingham and replacing him with Callum Willock who, for all his efforts, was nowhere near the same standard.

The recruitment has been, consistently, excellent

Sergi Canos celebrates Jota's goal against QPR(Image: Paul Burgman)

Since Matthew Benham implemented his new structure in the summer 2015 the signings have certainly been more hit than miss.

Below is my valuation as to whether they can be seen as a success or failure – the player either has to have played 50 games for the Bees or have left the club to be graded as either a success or failure.

On pitch success – Lasse Vibe, Maxime Colin, Ryan Woods, Romaine Sawyers, Dan Bentley, Sergi Canos.

Positive signs – John Egan, Yoann Barbet, Rico Henry, Neal Maupay, Ollie Watkins, Kamo Mokotjo, Josh McEachran, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Luke Daniels.

The jury's out – Konstantin Kerschbaumer

Profitable flop – Akaki Gogia

Low cost flop – Ryan Williams

Expensive flop – Philipp Hofmann

Clearly that is a record of more success than failure with Hofmann being the only really poor signing of the lot.

I don't even believe, despite not impressing on the pitch, that Gogia can be considered a truly bad signing, especially as the club made a healthy profit on what was a free transfer.

It's time for the luck to change

Scoring the second: Neal Maupay scores Brentford's second goal against Bristol City(Image: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

I'm sick and tired of hearing that Brentford are in a false position from another opposing manager or player.

I believe it to be true and know that the statistics back it up as well but it's time for things to change.

I do honestly feel that the Bees haven't had the luck so far this season, whether it is opponents sticking the ball into the top corner or goalkeepers having fantastic games.

There have been signs for optimism and all it takes is a bit of luck to go the Bees' way and they will be off and running.

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