Why do you wear such flashy boots? What does it feel like to take a penalty? Who is the best at Gangnam style?
This wasn’t your average press conference – it was far more interesting than that. As the rain fell outside, the questions rained down on the Brentford squad during the trust’s Meet the Players event at Goals Soccer Centre in Osterley.
The group of 120 children, aged between five and 12, earned the 30-minute Q&A session with the players after battling some tricky weather conditions on the five-a-side pitches.
For an hour, the trust’s coaches had put the youngsters through their paces – mixing testing drills with more lighthearted games – while keeping an eye out for any balls, or children, that might blow away.
Thankfully all 120 turned up to lunch where there was little evidence of the weather dampening spirits.
“It’s fun playing in the rain,” said 10-year-old Albie. “I like getting wet. I would play football all day.”
Albie got his wish with more football after lunch. The boys and girls took part in a quick warm-up before being divided into teams in preparation for the players’ entrance.
Kitted out in red team tracksuits, the Brentford players braved the rain and wind to shout their teams to glory. Or not, in the case of Brentford goalkeeper Richard Lee.
“I was manager of my team and when they went 3-0 down it made me realise that management is not for me,” said Lee, with tongue slightly in cheek. I wasn’t able to inspire in the way I was hoping. But you could see they were excited, trying to show off their skills and there are some really talented kids out there.”
One of those talented children, with words as well as the ball, was nine-year-old Jack, who was not afraid to get to the heart of the matter at the Q&A.
“I asked Clayton Donaldson if he liked playing for Brentford,” said Jack. “He said he was happy at Brentford and is enjoying his season. So that made me happy.”
After the Q&A session, the young fans formed an orderly queue to squeeze autographs on to a matchday programme and take photos with their favourite players.
Jack said: “The best bit was getting the autographs just now – my favourite player is probably Donaldson because I walked out with him when I was a mascot in 2011 and in that game he scored and ever since he’s been really good.”
Another great question came from 10-year-old Miranda Connor, who travelled all the way from Miami, Florida. After Miranda asked Farid El Alagui how he had got into football, the striker explained things could have been very different if his mum had found the basketball court.
“My favourite player is Sam Saunders, and also Marcello Trotta, I think he is really good. I think Brentford can go up this year and I will be keeping updated from the States,” said Miranda.
With the exciting development of a 20,000 stadium at Lionel Road on the horizon, Brentford are hoping to expand their fan base both home and away.
“I heard Luis Melville (trust development manager) say the children were given free tickets to a match and this will encourage parents and friends to come to games,” said club captain Kevin O’Connor, who has been with Brentford for 18 years. If you can latch on to a few of them permanently then you have done your job.”