Brentford B team - long read article

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Father Jack
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Brentford B team - long read article

Post by Father Jack » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:19 am

Really interesting read about Brentford and how they have set up their pathway to the first team supplemented by their scouting network domestic & abroad for both first team and B team.
Their strategy is seemingly working despite regular changes to management and playing staff. Shows there can be merit in doing things differently.


Brentford B - the globetrotting reserve team who rebelled against England’s academy system and are reaping the rewards.
Dominic Fitfield - The Athletic


The game had entered its final quarter, Girondins de Bordeaux having just extended their lead to three, when the visitors’ mounting frustration was exposed. Kane O’Connor spied a loose touch from Yanis Hamoudi on a treacherous surface and leapt into a challenge, the ball ricocheting up-field off his boot with a satisfying thwack and a collective gasp from those spectators standing closest, just beyond the advertising hoardings.

His opponent, clearly rattled, flashed a rather imploring look at the passing referee as he picked himself up but no whistle was forthcoming. No foul had been committed. Even so, the official still opted to seek out the Scottish centre-half at the next break of play and suggest he might tone down the aggression.

“C’est un match amical. Amical, ouais? Friend-ly.”

He was met with short shrift. As far as O’Connor was concerned, this was European competition.

The scene was the Stade Michelon, the modest home of the French amateur club FC Marmande 47 where a young Marouane Chamakh once plied his trade and the latest fixture in Brentford B’s innovative games programme. A slimmed down squad of 16 had travelled from London to the Garonne valley in south-west France this midweek to confront a line-up flung together by the Ligue 1 side. Bordeaux had selected players from their under-19s and under-23s, as well as a few older heads on the fringes including David Rui de Kong Cardoso, a 25-year-old journeyman from Macau who was schooled at Benfica.

Perhaps the French considered this a training exercise, a refreshing change from their daily sessions at La Plaine du Haillan, 60 miles up the road. But their opponents from England were not of the same mindset. The ferocity of O’Connor’s challenge, together with the vociferous post-match inquests conducted by Neil MacFarlane and Sam Saunders in the dressing room with their defeated team, betrayed as much. Games like this are the lifeblood of Brentford B.

“Every match is a learning curve and we have to be switched on,” says the visitors’ right-back, David Titov, en route to carbing up in a neighbouring clubhouse in the aftermath. “But we weren’t really at it today and standards dropped. The coaches reminded us of our responsibilities. We will be better for this in our next game.”

That comes in Portugal next week, where a week-long training camp will be broken up with matches against senior opposition from FC Seoul of South Korea and Astana, conquerors of Manchester United in the Europa League last November, from Kazakhstan. A third fixture, against a local side, will also be crammed into the schedule to replicate the breathless nature of life back in the Championship. It is all drawn up with the longer-term picture in mind.

The 3-1 loss to Bordeaux was their 33rd game of a hectic campaign, their varied and demanding fixture list helping to school a group largely picked up following their release from Premier League club academies or signed for the B team from rivals at home and abroad. They have already taken on a Chelsea selection made up of players from their loan group as well as the under-23s of Arsenal, West Ham and Bournemouth this season. They have beaten Celtic and Aberdeen’s reserve sides, thumped AFC Wimbledon’s first team and Queens Park Rangers’ youngsters, and progressed in the London and Middlesex Senior Cup competitions respectively against more grizzled non-League opponents.

The average age of those who started in France was a little under 19. They included the former Southend midfielder Dru Yearwood, still a teenager but a relative veteran of over 50 League One games and the Czech Republic under-19s player Jan Zamburek, both of whom now boast first-team contracts. The latter was one of seven junior internationals in MacFarlane’s starting line-up, which is evidence of pedigree.

Perhaps most critically of all, what was once a trickle of players progressing from academy to senior set-up has become a stream since Brentford risked upsetting the established order, who tend to operate rigidly within English football’s Elite Player Performance Plan, and abandoned their conventional youth set-up for the B team model back in 2016.

Plenty had grumbled dissatisfaction at that decision. Now, though, this club is reaping the benefits of being bold.

Brentford have made a habit of thinking outside the box since Matthew Benham, whose company Smartodds provides statistical research and sports modelling advice to professional gamblers, bought into the club over a decade ago. Their analytics-driven recruitment puts rivals to shame. They have sold almost £100 million of talent since 2014, from Chris Mepham (now of Bournemouth) to Neal Maupay (also in the Premier League at Brighton), while continually securing gems at a fraction of the price.

Ollie Watkins, the Championship’s joint-leading scorer, cost £1.8 million from Exeter City (who admittedly stand to make 20 per cent of any profit on his future sale). Premier League scouts are swarming around Said Benrahma, a £2.7 million arrival from OGC Nice. Bryan Mbeumo cost a club-record £5.5 million from Troyes but has pilfered for fun in the second tier to date with his valuation escalating as a result. And those are just the prolific front three who hog the headlines.

Thomas Frank’s first team are third in the Championship, quietly bridging the chasm to West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United at the top. They have won 11 of their past 16 league games, with only Slaven Bilic’s leaders and QPR having scored more goals. No one can match their defensive record.

The head coach signed a contract extension through to 2023 earlier this week and there is the very real possibility that his team could depart Griffin Park, the club’s home of 116 years, to play in the sparkling new Brentford Community stadium next season as a Premier League side. Construction of the new arena, looming up close to Kew Bridge with its capacity of around 17,500, is almost complete with the turf laid, season ticket sales open and test events to follow.

For what it’s worth, Frank’s side also have an FA Cup fourth-round game with Leicester City later this month though, given the opportunities he offered to fringe players and B-teamers in the previous tie’s victory over Stoke City, it will be interesting to see how many of MacFarlane’s touring squad are recalled early from Portugal to participate against top-flight opposition.

The B team plays an integral part in everything this progressive club are seeking to achieve. Fredrik Hammar, a Swedish midfielder schooled at IF Brommapojkarna and secured from Akropolis IF, became the 16th B team player to represent the first team when he came off the bench against Stoke. The graduates are listed on the Robert Rowan First-Team Debut Board, below, at the club’s Jersey Road training ground, a constant reminder of what can be achieved as players trot back into the main building to the regular roar of planes to-ing and fro-ing from nearby Heathrow Airport.

Rowan, the former head of football operations who passed away suddenly in late 2018, had helped shape this club’s vision, not least over the closure of their academy. “We were spending a lot of money, up to £2.5 million a year, running a category two academy but weren’t producing any first-teamers or making a profit on any player,” says Rasmus Ankersen, the co-director of football, who also has a part-time role as chairman of Benham’s Danish Superliga club FC Midtjylland. “If you develop your own senior players, that’s a cheaper process than going and paying £2 million for someone from outside. But academies should also be a profit centre, so we weren’t achieving either objective.

“So, at boardroom level, we took a more strategic view. For every player produced who is good enough for the first team, there are seven or eight who don’t make it. You can accept that if, when that one player comes through in whom you have invested so much, [his sale] can effectively pay for the rest.

“But when those talents did come through, their scholarships ended at 17, they became free agents and went off and joined Manchester United and Manchester City. We ended up getting something ridiculous, like £30,000 because that’s what they judge their training to have been worth. It’s like having a winning lottery ticket and then someone comes along and steals it.”

That was a reference to the midfielder Ian Carlo Poveda and forward Josh Bohui, who departed for City and United for training costs within a few months of each other in 2016. Their loss convinced Brentford that, within the confines of the EPPP academy structure, they were fighting a losing battle. “We considered going category four, to reduce the costs and take less risk,” says Ankersen, “but, when we looked at it, it was staggering how many players were released by the category one academies when they were 17.

“We know from all the science of talent identification that it’s very, very difficult to predict, even at 16, who is going to make it. You have that big maturity factor: you have biological age and then you have ‘real age’. That’s not the same thing. Naturally, because there’s such pressure to win, clubs end up picking the bigger, more mature kids. It’s the relative age effect, so the academies make mistakes.

“If we do the same thing as Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — the clubs whose catchment areas surround us — we have no chance. So why don’t we try and flip the model, rather than trying to compete with them? Why don’t we make them our friends? We went to them and said, ‘You release players who you don’t think are going to make your first team but you still don’t know, so give them to us and you get, for an example, a proportion on the next sale’. Those were the kind of deals we were looking to make. We would capitalise on that inefficiency in the system.”

Brentford’s recruitment department considers detailed knowledge of everyone operating across under-18 academy sides and non-League as “par for the course”. Whenever they pick up a cast-off, they do so having scouted him and spied potential for that youngster to make his mark, eventually, in a senior set-up.

There are players in Brentford’s B team who have drifted away from Chelsea, Arsenal, Norwich and Swansea. Julien Carre, whose grandparents travelled down from Paris to watch him play in Marmande, was released by Brighton. On Thursday, they announced the signing of the England under-19 international midfielder Paris Maghoma from Spurs.

A host of other potential new arrivals are currently undergoing trials with the squad as part of the next regeneration but there needed to be more to the strategy. “We could mop up the ‘rejects’ from category one academies but we also had a really good story to tell emerging players in small or medium-sized countries overseas,” continues Ankersen. “They all want to come and play in England and Brentford can offer them the opportunity to do that, and a pathway to move up the ladder.

“We can compete for the biggest talents — national youth team players — overseas. So, rather than looking at nine-year-olds here, we target 17 to 20-year-olds in undervalued markets abroad, pay a little bit more but have a bit more certainty over whether they can make it or not.”

Their knowledge of potential recruits on the Continent is just as extensive. They have been able to tap into the Danish market easily enough through their close working relationship with FC Midtjylland. Christian Tue Jensen, a forward capable of waspish delivery with his right foot, and Japhet Sery Larsen are on loan from the Superliga club. Gustav Mogensen joined from AGF Aarhus, Luka Racic from FC Copenhagen. Both are now in the first-team picture. O’Connor was secured from Hibernian, one of a burgeoning contingent lured south from Scotland. Joe Adams, a Wales junior international, moved from Bury last summer.

“I’d heard about the set-up, how they managed the players’ development and tried to bring them through to the first team,” says Mads Roerslev, a talented right-back prised also from FC Copenhagen’s first-team set-up. “That was what attracted me. People are very much talking about the Brentford model back home. It’s unique.

“In Denmark, when you are a youth player, after under-19 football, there’s a gap. You either go straight into a first team, which is quite hard and people struggle, or into reserve team football. But that’s not like in England. The players you come up against in Danish reserve team football don’t want to be there. They’re unhappy. They just want to maintain their fitness. So matches are like training sessions. I was finding it hard to make that step up, to hold down a place in the first team, so to come here and have this extra inbetween stage, which is such high quality on and off the pitch, was perfect.”

Roerslev, now 20 and living in digs with three club-mates round the corner from the training ground in Osterley, had initially targeted a call-up to Frank’s first-team in the summer of 2020 but has been taken aback by his own progress. He already boasts six senior outings, his progression helped by the fact that players from both squads mix freely at the training complex, eating together in the canteen. While those in the B set-up aspire to be promoted, they are not subjected to snobbery from their club-mates established at the higher level. “Even so, I’ve done it all too quickly,” adds Roerslev through a sheepish grin.

Others would admit to being surprised by Brentford’s initial interest, only to be convinced by the merits of signing up to the long-term vision. “No one really watches the Championship back in the Czech Republic, so we hadn’t heard of them,” says Zamburek, who was secured from Slavia Prague and featured regularly for the B team last season to earn himself that new four-year first-team contract and a place in Frank’s senior squad. “I was surprised when they explained the B team doesn’t play in a league. But the matches we play are always competitive. None of them are friendlies. I’ve come up against older players, experienced players, people who are physically stronger, smarter, and whose technical abilities are better than mine.

We play first teams. We had a game against Slavia in Portugal last season, just before they played Sevilla and Chelsea in the Europa League. They put out players like Miroslav Stoch against us and beat us but those games help you a lot. They are an education. That’s why I decided to take this huge step and leave for a new country.” Zamburek is combining life in London with his studies back in Prague, sitting 12 subjects as he prepares for high school exams. He will sit four this summer, as soon as the Championship season has concluded. By the time he graduates, he could be a Premier League player.

Such talent is tempted to west London by everything Brentford B has to offer. They can see a clear pathway into first teams, either at Griffin Park or elsewhere. There were five B-teamers, plus the 19-year-old Dominic Thompson — formerly at Arsenal — on the bench when Brentford beat Reading in November. Marcus Forss, released by West Brom, had scored 11 goals for AFC Wimbledon in League One this term before tearing his hamstring, an injury which saw the cancellation of his season-long loan while he undergoes treatment back at his parent club. His immediate aim is a B team return.

The set-up put in place by Rowan and a succession of head coaches in the years since would be the envy of plenty of senior teams in England. MacFarlane boasts Saunders, a former Brentford midfielder, as his assistant and a goalkeeping coach in Jani Viander, who played 13 times for Finland. There are two team specific strength and conditioning coaches, two physiotherapists, a communications officer and video team, and a dedicated analyst in Lewis Jordan, who was filming from up in the stand in Marmande with GoPro cameras set up behind each goal. They, too, can spy a progression into senior football.

MacFarlane, a defensive midfielder at clubs across all four levels of Scottish football, had spent seven years working as his former Hearts team-mate Steven Pressley’s assistant at Falkirk, Coventry, Fleetwood and the Cypriot club, Pafos.

The 42-year-old sat through an exhaustive interview process over the summer to succeed Lars Friis, who had returned to Denmark as Brentford B’s coach. The prospective candidate delivered a presentation to Ankersen at Smartodds at the initial meeting, then conducted a second round of talks with the Dane, Frank and the other co-director of football, Phil Giles.

“Then there was a third interview, where I was asked to analyse a first-team game from the previous season, break it down and outline where I thought the team could improve,” says MacFarlane. “We were all on the same page. We all had the same beliefs. And I knew I’d be working for good people. The support staff here… we can talk about the players’ careers evolving but mine is too, working with sports scientists, nutritionists, even sleep coaches. At Coventry and Pafos, it was basically Steven and me.

“Wherever I’ve coached, I’ve sought to develop young players. At Falkirk, we had one of the youngest teams in Scotland at the time. At Coventry, we were docked 10 points and placed under a transfer embargo, so we had to focus on youth. But we learned soon enough that, if you give them the opportunity and make sure they’re prepared, they’ll really surprise you. We were lucky to have the likes of Callum Wilson and James Maddison… good young players who had a lot still to learn but were technically so strong.

“They had to learn what it took to be a footballer, to know how to work hard, and we gave them a framework for when they were out of possession so they could flourish when they were in it. To see them progress into the national team in the years since has been incredible.

“What we have here is similar to what we had at Coventry, where we also didn’t have an under-23s team. If those in the under-18s were good enough, we gave them that opportunity in the first team early. Here there are two teams, two squads at the club, working on neighbouring training pitches.

“That takes out that little bracket of players who become jersey-fillers at other clubs where, essentially, there’s no pathway for them to progress. There are great academies up and down this country but, with so many big clubs around us, Brentford have done the right thing at the right time for them. This is working.”

At Jersey Road last week, MacFarlane had worked with a group of 18 players boasting an average age of 18, with the likes of Yearwood, Adams and the French defender Aubrel Koutsimouka flitting between B team and first-team drills.

There were trialists in their number, with January an opportune moment to refresh and reinvigorate. As new players are recruited, so others are moved on. “Our job is to try and find senior football elsewhere for those from 18 to 21 who are not breaking into the first-team group,” says MacFarlane. “With (the head of recruitment) Lee Dykes and (the B team assistant coach and technical lead) Allan Steele, we work out when is the best moment for them to move on or move up.”

Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when the free-scoring striker Joe Hardy, originally secured from Manchester City, was sold by Brentford B earlier this month to join Liverpool’s under-23s. He duly registered a brace in a 5-0 victory over Southampton this week.

“But Joe had been here three years so his time had come and he felt going to Liverpool would help his development and potentially get him a better loan or future move because he’d have Liverpool as well as Brentford B on his CV,” explains MacFarlane. “We’ve had others go off and play in League Two or the National League because they’ve needed to experience men’s football. We’re trying to expose them and let them see there’s another world out there.

My role is to make sure players are prepared properly for that but also should Thomas call upon them for the first team. Or that those not featuring in the seniors, who come down to us, help the B team players while also gaining the necessary minutes to be ready in future to step up again.

“Freddie (Hammar) made his debut against Stoke and now he’s back with me, so I have to drum into him that he’s had 10 minutes as a first-team player. The next stage is to work even harder to get 10 games. They either buy into it or they don’t make it. That’s the harsh reality. Not every one of these guys is going to fulfil his dream of playing for Brentford. But I give them every minute of my time to make sure they have a career at whatever level suits them.”

MacFarlane has aspirations to manage at senior level at some point in the future. His assistant, Saunders, provides a link to the club’s recent past having played 206 games for Brentford before moving to Wycombe in 2016.

As a player, he witnessed the strides taken under Benham’s ownership which established the club, on a relatively meagre budget, in the second tier. In Marmande, the former midfielder once released by Charlton Athletic’s academy, and who worked nights as an electrician on the London Underground while playing in non-League, took turns with MacFarlane to bellow instruction from the side-lines.

Saunders, who is studying for his UEFA A coaching licence, had seen his former team-mate Kevin O’Connor move into coaching with the B team before progressing into the senior set-up last season.

“When I spoke to Phil (Giles) in my interview, he pointed to Kevin’s move to first-team coach and, while there was never a guarantee I would do the same, made it clear there are opportunities here,” he tells The Athletic. “Thomas Frank was also promoted from within, so that was promising for me and a big part of my thinking when rejecting the chance to stay on as a player at Colchester United for another season.

“I know from bitter experience that, as a player, football can chew you up and spit you out but going into coaching is something more long-term. There’s a philosophy here, a clear strategy you can buy into.”

They have set their sights high with their games programme. Bordeaux’s pennant will be added to the wall inside the B team offices back in Osterley, where their brushes with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, the United States under-20s and New York City are pinned up with pride.

Brentford have networked cleverly to establish relationships with clubs around the world, using unlikely contacts to secure matches. Their fixer for the game with Les Girondins was Farid El Alagui, a former striker who had played for Brentford under Uwe Rosler. He was known to MacFarlane from his time in Scotland with Falkirk and now, amongst other things, coaches FC Marmande 47’s under-16s.

“Our responsibility is to create the most effective pathway in the whole of English football,” says Steele, who spends most of his life with his mobile telephone clamped to his ear either arranging future games or fielding calls from scouts.

“So we have to provide an environment, a games programme and a culture that allows that. When it comes to the fixtures, we look at the best possible academy teams — Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool — and then at the best possible teams around Europe — Bayern Munich, Inter, AC Milan, Valencia, Villarreal — and approach them for games. When that happens, our guys prove themselves against their peers from similar age groups and realise they can compete.

“That’s a start. Then, it’s about making it real. We want them to experience what it’s like to play against men, so let’s go out and play some League One and League Two teams, or enter non-league competitions, and see if we can hold our own. We had to put together a compelling programme, better than that offered by a category one academy. And we have.

“A lot of the time, these clubs are looking for something to spice up their usual training sessions, to do something different, and we can offer them that. Now, when we call up Bayern or Slavia Prague or Dortmund, they know about us.

“All of this was set up by Rob Rowan. When I go to a club now and introduce myself as someone from Brentford, they know who we are through the work Rob did. He had a dream and a vision. I have to execute that, knowing he would always have expected even more. His presence permeates this place still, and rightfully so. I think we’re doing right now by all those people involved at the start, and by Rob most of all.”

They have considered applying to take part in the Football League’s Leasing.com Trophy and even contemplated asking to join the Premier League’s under-23s cup, though there is scepticism within the club’s hierarchy as to how they would be received.

They are well aware that plenty within the establishment still frown upon them for daring to be different and quitting EPPP and the Professional Development League system. There remains no desire within the football pyramid to introduce B teams into the lower leagues. Brentford have almost set a dangerous precedent.

But what they have established is working. “It is just so effective,” says Titov, a Latvia junior international and one of the few currently on the B team’s books who had played for the club’s academy in his youth. “I’ve kept in touch with loads of the lads I played with here when we were younger, and so many of them have — in a good way — said to me they wished they’d stayed at Brentford. They can see the opportunities that are opening up here and how the education is so varied.

“Off the ball, for example, Bordeaux were so much more aggressive out of possession. We had to find a way to beat their press. I had to know what I was going to do with the ball before I received it. Whereas the Chinese team we played last week sat deeper and, while we had time to think and assess, we had to work through them.

“A lot of the academy teams we come up against play in a similar way. They’re very technical. You know what you’re coming up against. But at Brentford B, you can be up against anything.”

They have played at Griffin Park on occasion. When Grasshopper Zurich came to Osterley for a fixture in December, around 30 London-based Swiss supporters turned up at the training ground, complete with banners and beers, and chanted their way through proceedings.

There were about 100 spectators in Marmande, many of them local parents curious to see “les anglais” while their children took part in junior training sessions on the adjoining pitches. Brentford B laboured on the bobbly surface, the momentum gained from their 2-0 win over Beijing Renhe the previous Friday stalling in the Garonne.

Arthur Read’s reward in stoppage time, the former Luton player sliding his shot from Mogensen’s knock-down into an unguarded net, was scant consolation.

They can make amends in Portugal, when the coaching staff will seek evidence that lessons have been learnt. Should the first team secure promotion this season, a real possibility on recent form, then there will be knock-on effects for those in the B team.

“Momentum is building around this club given how well the first team are doing and the fact the new stadium is almost here,” added MacFarlane. “That will push everything at the club to another level.

“Premier League football would allow us to bring in an even better standard of player to the first team and that filters down. It will open up all manner of possibilities. People know the B team strategy is working here. They understand what Brentford are trying to do and why. People will want to be a part of this.”

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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by DCWat » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:32 am

I mentioned Brentford as an example of a team identifying players, giving them a route to the first team and making some big profits on the sale of some players.

I hadn’t realised that they’d rebuffed the whole EPPP system (good on them) and taken an entirely different route.

Thinking outside the box is working well for them. They’re a much smaller club than us and show it can be done - also considering our requirement to understand the character of players, what better way to assess individuals?
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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by Burnley1989 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:45 am

I’m sure I read on here that this was flawed and there was little to suggest they benefited from it

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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by DCWat » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:48 am

A fair assessment of that would be to look at the cost and what they have made, compared to the cost of running an academy and what they made from that.

If I recall correctly, the assessment of whether or not they were benefitting from their approach, was a look at their overall financial position, which admittedly, didn’t look great.

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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by ClaretTony » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:23 am

Father Jack wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:19 am
Their strategy is seemingly working despite regular changes to management and playing staff.
Don't know about the squad but there haven't been regular changes with the manager. Mark Warburton left in summer 2015 because they couldn't agree with the way they were approaching things. He was replaced by Marinus Dijkhuizen but he only lasted two months into the season. After a short period with a caretaker, they've since had Dean Smith (Nov 2015 to Oct 2018, and he left to manage Villa). Thomas Frank was promoted from assistant to replace Smith and he still in charge.

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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by IanMcL » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:00 am

Playing lots of competitive matches, as a team (rather than loan out), should 'hone' the team ethic and ability to slot in, if required.

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Re: Brentford B team - long read article

Post by Father Jack » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:25 pm

ClaretTony wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:23 am
Don't know about the squad but there haven't been regular changes with the manager. Mark Warburton left in summer 2015 because they couldn't agree with the way they were approaching things. He was replaced by Marinus Dijkhuizen but he only lasted two months into the season. After a short period with a caretaker, they've since had Dean Smith (Nov 2015 to Oct 2018, and he left to manage Villa). Thomas Frank was promoted from assistant to replace Smith and he still in charge.
I should have added some context. But for me 4 managers in 5 seasons is regularly changing manager. Particularly if we’re the context of the comparison against how Brentford work.

Playing staff regular changes -
If you use the link and filter between the last 4 seasons they’ve had massive turnover of players. Again it’s huge if we’re the comparison.

Their pathway to the first team is good. 16 players moving up from the B team since 2016. They regularly seem to turn a big profit on the sale of their big players (Maupay last seasons example) yet it doesn’t seem to stop them being competitive on the pitch given the replacements they have available.

Will be interesting to see if they can maintain momentum this season and get promoted. Or whether at the end of this season theyll loose their front three for big money (Watkins, Benrahma and Mbeumo) and will reinvest and go again.

We could definitely learn from their scouting.

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