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Brentford 23:02 - May 29 with 608 viewsDaniel

Five years ago Brentford ditched their academy, their reasoning was that it was costing £2 million to operate and they thought that money would be better invested in the first team. Today they were promoted to the Premier League.

I would be interested in Robbie Cowling's thoughts on this.

Here's a selection of the profits from players sales as a result of their philosophy...

Oldie Watkins to Aston Villa – £26.2m (bought for £1.8m, sold for £28m)
Neal Maupay to Brighton – £18.2m (bought for £1.6m, sold for £19.8m)
Andre Gray to Burnley – £10.65m (Bought for £550k, sold for £11.1m)
Ezri Konsa to Aston Villa – £9.5m (Bought for £2.5m, sold for £12m)
Scott Hogan to Aston Villa – £8.7m (Bought for £750k, sold for £9.5m)
Ryan Woods to Stoke – £5.5m (Bought for £1m, sold for £6.5m)
Jota to Birmingham – £4.5m (Bought for £1.2m, sold for £5.7m)
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Brentford on 00:55 - May 30 with 580 viewswessex_exile

They’ve invested wisely, without a doubt, and I’m pleased they’ve won promotion to the Premier League. I’m pretty sure most if not all on your list came through the academies of other clubs? Does that support or undermine clubs having academies?

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Brentford on 09:29 - May 30 with 555 viewsLeadbelly

Brentford owner Matthew Benham owns Matchbook and Smartodds, an online betting company and a sports analytics company respectively. The academy was closed, it is true, and Brentford now rely heavily on analysing performance data on players from other clubs before making signings. It doesn’t mean academies are a waste of time and money, simply that Brentford have particular resources available that most clubs don’t and use them extremely effectively. I assume at least some Brentford signings are the products of other club’s academies.

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Brentford on 10:06 - May 30 with 547 viewsbwildered

Think the Chairman ran a club in Denmark, which helped considerably in overseas talent, and also signed several PL players not offered renewed contracts, or some on the cheap.

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Brentford on 10:45 - May 30 with 538 viewsburnsieespana

I was surprised last night when a Brentford fan I know told me they were in Div1 until 1947 as had never realised they were once in the top flight despite my late brother being a season ticket holder for 20 years.
[Post edited 30 May 13:45]
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Brentford on 11:06 - May 30 with 535 viewswessex_exile

Brentford on 10:45 - May 30 by burnsieespana

I was surprised last night when a Brentford fan I know told me they were in Div1 until 1947 as had never realised they were once in the top flight despite my late brother being a season ticket holder for 20 years.
[Post edited 30 May 13:45]


Indeed, they were a top flight side in the year we were formed. It’s like the last 84 years never happened.

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Brentford on 11:42 - May 30 with 532 viewsDaniel

Don't get me wrong, academies of course need to exist. My point here is a club the size of Colchester has made it to the Premier League without throwing money at an academy.

We were both in the same league not so long ago. RC decided to focus on an academy rather than first team football and it's nearly cost us our league status.

On reflection, Parky got us to the Championship by doing what Brentford have done (Neil Danns and Richard Garcia being prime examples).
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Brentford on 10:15 - May 31 with 453 viewsdurham_exile

Brentford on 11:42 - May 30 by Daniel

Don't get me wrong, academies of course need to exist. My point here is a club the size of Colchester has made it to the Premier League without throwing money at an academy.

We were both in the same league not so long ago. RC decided to focus on an academy rather than first team football and it's nearly cost us our league status.

On reflection, Parky got us to the Championship by doing what Brentford have done (Neil Danns and Richard Garcia being prime examples).


I would just be happy for our team to get (back) to League One.

Morecambe could achieve that today.

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Brentford on 22:04 - Jun 1 with 372 viewsGOSBTS

Brentford on 09:29 - May 30 by Leadbelly

Brentford owner Matthew Benham owns Matchbook and Smartodds, an online betting company and a sports analytics company respectively. The academy was closed, it is true, and Brentford now rely heavily on analysing performance data on players from other clubs before making signings. It doesn’t mean academies are a waste of time and money, simply that Brentford have particular resources available that most clubs don’t and use them extremely effectively. I assume at least some Brentford signings are the products of other club’s academies.


Yep, and the way I understand it from talking to a family of Brentford fans a couple of years ago is that they buy cheap from the continent (Danish etc leagues). All of their players have an internal evaluation, meaning that once their price is met they are sold, with the money being used to fund more players from the continent, and so the cycle continues. It explains why they lost their front three (Maupay, Benrahma and Watkins) in the space of 12 months and still have made it to the PL.

Whilst the Brentford model is certainly interesting, it’d be going too far to say it’s the best way to the PL. After all, my team Brighton made it to the PL (and have stayed there for 4 years on the trot) using almost the opposite approach (and coincidentally our owners despise one another!). Yes we’ve made shrewd signings, but we’ve had a policy of practically NOT selling our best talent (irrespective of price) and our highly rated academy has produced Lewis Dunk, Ben White, Robert Sanchez and Solly March - players integral to our PL success. When you consider we were playing the U’s fairly regularly 20 years ago, it shows how investing in an academy can work very well. Palace and Southampton have profited from their academies too.

What will be interesting to see is if Brentford’s approach will differ now they’re in the PL. Will they continue to sell and buy cheap from the continent, or shut up shop and spend as so many other teams do when achieving promotion?
[Post edited 1 Jun 22:05]
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Brentford on 09:04 - Jun 2 with 335 viewsbwildered

Missing from the list GOSBT is Todd Miller , where and how has he progressed since been signed into the B & HA academy ?
Every manager who signed a player says he has improvement on the previous.
Cannot see Brentford abandoned the policy now they are a PL club, just have to improve the data regards scoring and conceding goals at another level , and will have to increase skill set to do so no doubt.
[Post edited 2 Jun 9:06]

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Brentford on 10:15 - Jun 2 with 329 viewsburnsieespana

I feel Brentford and Norwich have similar ethos although approach it from a different direction. Norwich have a very good Academy whereas Brentford have not but essentially both rely on developing the best young players.
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