Brentford Football Club. Pride of West London, if you exclude Chelsea and QPR. The team of choice of Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore, who “talk about the club all the time”.* The club whose decaying 13,000-capacity stadium is visible as you land at Heathrow and drive into London on the M4 motorway, headed for someplace that isn’t Brentford. The team that’s soon to ascend into the Premier League under the astute management of former City currency trader Mark Warburton, who has the plankton sitting only one point outside the playoff places in the Championship.
* Or not, according to this interview where Diaz says she “didn’t know they existed” but pledges to Google them … yeah, that counts. She’s all in on the Bees.
It’s a romantic, heart-warming, hug-a-stranger kind of story. And if it happens come May, Warburton will deserve a medal, a knighthood, a 10-year contract and a 500 percent raise for taking the habitual third-tier fodder into the English top flight for the first time since 1947. Sky and BT’s generosity could take the decay out of Griffin Park, which makes it more than a little odd that Brentford’s owner, Matthew Benham – a former City hedge fund trader and professional gambler (is there a difference?) – will instead reward Warburton with the ax.
According to The Times, Warburton’s getting fired whatever happens this season:
“Benham is a strong advocate of the benefits of statistical analysis and wants the club to adopt a more scientific approach to all areas of their football operation. While Benham would let Warburton stay on if he bought into the proposed overhaul, he is determined to keep faith with the methods that have brought him such success to date.”
Benham, man. You’re cold. Like ice, just witless heart.
That’s not how you treat successful lower-league managers. You let them get promotion, give them hardly any money to improve the squad, then fire them after 5-10 games, preferably after a loss to Chelsea, or Man City, or some other team that they’d never beat in a million years under any circumstances.
The Times added, “Warburton discovered via the Spanish media last week that Brentford had held talks with Paco Jémez, the Rayo Vallecano coach, about the manager’s job at Griffin Park.” Not surprisingly, following this revelation, it looks like the former Bank of America and AIG employee’s stock is about to collapse entirely. The Mirror reports that an announcement confirming Warburton’s summer departure is imminent.
Of course, the moment players find out their boss is a lame duck, results dip. And since the news of his likely exit broke last week, Brentford have lost twice. So Benham’s callous strategy has probably cost Brentford their best chance of promotion to the elite in 70 years. The EPL! A fountain of endless banknotes, even when you finish bottom! What more statistical analysis do you need?