Beehive Yourself: No more non-league hotshots for Brentford?
11:54 24 May 2012
“This way of thinking has enabled the recent signings of Harlee Dean from Southampton and Adam Forshaw from Everton, who could potentially be key to success this coming season.”
At a time when the standard of non-league football is flourishing, Brentford are casting their net further afield in the quest to assemble a squad that will challenge for promotion.
This week saw non-league football’s first million pound export in Jamie Vardy The Fleetwood Town talisman left the Fylde coast club for a shot at Championship football with Leicester City.
This came two days before 40,000 ascended on Wembley Stadium for the Conference play-off final between York and Luton - two clubs steeped in Football League heritage who have fallen on hard times. People are taking notice of non-league now more than ever.
Apart from, it would seem, Brentford. This is by no means a criticism of the club’s extensive scouting network, but a mere observation that whilst in the past the Bees would have gambled on a non-league hotshot - with admittedly mixed results - the direction of the club’s ambitions have steered us away from fishing in that familiar pool of talent.
These days the club is keeping a much closer eye on fringe players of teams higher up the pyramid. This way of thinking has enabled the recent signings of Harlee Dean from Southampton and Adam Forshaw from Everton, who could potentially be key to success this coming season.
But since bringing in Sam Wood (Bromley), Leon Legge (Tonbridge Angels) and Simon Moore (Farnborough) three years ago, there has seemingly been little interest from Brentford in the non-league talent pool.
Over the years, Brentford have acquired and nurtured the likes of DJ Campbell, Sam Sodje, Lloyd Owusu and Darren Powell who all went on the play higher up the pyramid.
Perhaps the increasing standard of non-league football is alerting attention of bigger club’s than ourselves. And with a higher quality of player comes a higher price tag. The fact that a striker who has never played league football can command a transfer fee of over £1,000,000 is ludicrous.
Brentford are unlikely to be able to compete when it comes to signing this new breed of non-league footballer. But at the same time, the likes of Liam Feeney and Anton Robinson have ended up at clubs at our own level.
I would hope that whilst recruiting talent from the Premier League and abroad, Brentford continue to scour the non-league network for rough diamonds looking to be polished.
To follow Tom on Twitter, go to @griffinparktom