The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Fran­cis Kelly

IN A play­ing ca­reer that stretched across 22 sea­sons, David Weir learnt nu­mer­ous foot­balling lessons – but it’s the teach­ings of Brent­ford boss Mark War­bur­ton that the Bees’ as­sis­tant manager finds most valu­able.

Pre­vi­ously a City trader, War­bur­ton’s ap­proach is pay­ing div­i­dends at the west Lon­don club as they con­tinue to im­press in the Cham­pi­onship, and Weir be­lieves the unique out­look is fun­da­men­tal to their suc­cess.

“It’s fas­ci­nat­ing see­ing how Mark works and the dif­fer­ent way he does things,” says Weir, the 44year-old for­mer Hearts, Ever­ton, Rangers and Scot­land de­fender.

“He talks in his busi­ness terms and can re­late foot­ball to it, and it is re­ally rel­e­vant. When you are work­ing in foot­ball it can wrap you up. It’s use­ful to have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

“He’s al­ways in the of­fice at 6am ev­ery morn­ing, he’s used to it from work­ing in the City. It’s only a small thing, but I don’t think many man­agers work like that.”

High-fly­ing Brent­ford have sur­prised many this sea­son, with their at­tack­ing brand of foot­ball pro­pel­ling them up the di­vi­sion upon their re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.


And Weir is adamant they can build on their early achieve­ments, as the club looks set to record their high­est league fin­ish in over 60 years.

“We don’t want to be a 20game won­der or a first-half-of the-sea­son suc­cess story. We want to be sta­ble and suc­cess­ful,” says Weir. “We have had a good start and the boys have taken con­fi­dence from that.

“Sur­viv­ing in the league was al­ways the min­i­mum. That’s suc­cess to a cer­tain de­gree.

“But we look short term with the play­ers and group games, so we can set shorter-term tar­gets.

“It’s worked so far but that doesn’t mean it will al­ways be that way. Mark and I are con­stantly try­ing to be bet­ter and think­ing how can we make im­prove­ments.”

Brought into the coach­ing setup in De­cem­ber 2013 af­ter a short-lived man­age­rial de­but at Sh­effield United, Weir helped Brent­ford to League One pro­mo­tion at the first op­por­tu­nity.

Hav­ing missed out on the au­to­matic po­si­tions the pre­ced­ing sea­son, be­fore los­ing in the play­offs, there were huge ex­pec­ta­tions on the new man­age­ment team to ful­fil.


But the for­mer Scot­land in­ter­na­tional ad­mits the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting Brent­ford up is what ini­tially per­suaded him to join.

“There was a chance of get­ting pro­moted out of League One, that was a big draw,” added Weir.

“It was a big step up for the club and the chal­lenge in­ter­ested me. They’d got close be­fore but the league was re­ally com­pet­i­tive.

“I didn’t know Mark par­tic­u­larly well, but ev­ery role in foot­ball is a risk, that’s the re­al­ity of it. Po­ten­tially it could’ve been over in a cou­ple of months.”

Now in the run­ning for a Pre­mier League spot, the Bees are turn­ing to var­i­ous meth­ods to find the minute de­tails that may aid their race to the top. This in­cludes owner Matthew Ben­ham and his com­pany, Smar­todds, whose vast col­lec­tion of foot­ball data might just give them the edge re­quired. “Matthew is very am­bi­tious,” says Weir. “He’s got ex­pe­ri­ence in other walks of life and he comes from a dif­fer­ent an­gle, which is great for us. His rat­ings help us. Any knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence we try and utilise – we’d be fools if we didn’t.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

CITY SLICKER: The un­her­alded Mark War­bur­ton has brought plenty of suc­cess to Brent­ford LEARN­ING: David Weir

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