Big guns ready to fire
FOOTBALL Consolidation is the name of the game for Brentford this season, according to chairman Cliff Crown.
Having clinched promotion after finishing runners-up behind Wolves last term, Crown is confident the club will hold their own in their first season back in the Championship in 22 years.
“The last time we were in the division we went straight back down, so it’s importanttomaintainourmomentum,” said Crown.
“We hope to consolidate and if we can finish mid-table or higher I’d be very happy.”
A chartered accountant for 32 years, Crown, who is 57 and lives in Radlett, tookoverthereinsfromGregDykewhen hereplacedDavidBernsteinaschairman of the FA just over a year ago. He said: “We’ve strengthened the squad and are in really good shape. I’m loving every minute of it.”
Having attended all five friendlies, fatherof-three Crown enjoyed a short break in Portugal ahead of Saturday’s derby against Charlton Athletic.
Hesaid:“We’vehadagoodpre-season, including matches against Borehamwood, Barnet and Crystal Palace, whom we beat 3-2.
“We’re on a bit of a roll, but the Championship is a different ball-game. It’s much tougher physically than League One.
“Something new to factor in is teams get six weeks off due to international matches,butthismeansthere’llbemore midweekgamestofitinwhichwillreally test the depth of the squad.
“We’re excited by the challenge but also wary that we’ll be up against some former Premier League teams, plus some other big clubs including Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Derby.”
Charlton look set to give a debut to defender Tal Ben Haim. “One would hopehedoesn’treceiveanyverbalabuse from the crowd regarding the situation in Israel,” said Crown who is a frequent visitor.
“It’s a very sad situationand hope they can find a peaceful solution.”
We’re in good shape and I’m loving every minute
TONY BLOOM I S h o p i ng i t ’ s third time lucky as Brighton bid to shed their nearlyman tag.
Brighton have suffered play-off semi-final heartaches in the last two seasons.
But the Seagulls chief insists there will be no hangover as they look to go again under another new manager.
Former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypiaisthenewmaninthehot-seathaving replaced Oscar Garcia, who returned to Maccabi Haifa.
Bloom said: “He played in England for a decade and his enthusiasm and hunger is clear.”
Brightonarenowequippedtotakethe next step and reach the Premier League. They regularly fill out the 28,5000 Amex Stadium, have constructed a new training ground and their academy system is flourishing.
Bloomsaid:“Weareputtingthebuilding blocks in place for when we do hopefully make it. I think we can challenge, along with Norwich and Derby.”
JOE JACOBSON IS confident his return to League TwowithWycombe Wanderers will be a shortlived one.
T h e C a r d i f f - born defender shunned the advances of Crawley to take a punt on Wycombe following his release from Shrewsbury.
The Chairboys survived by the skin of their teeth last season having only guaranteed their Football League status on a nail-biting final-day.
Jacobson said: “I know the club will not want to go through that experience again. But there’s one thing saying it and then actually doing it.
“There’s a few new players so it will take a bit of time to find our feet and gel.
“But from what I’ve seen there are a lot of good players here. Of course it’s a tough league to get out from as everyone knows.
“I do know though that with consistency and a bit of luck you can go up.”
Wycombe begin their new campaign against Newport County.
DEAN FURMAN HAS the added incentive to pick himself up from the floor – by winning a new contract at Doncaster. Furman admits he took his time to recover from the heartbreak of relegation back to League Two last season.
The setback took its toll but the South African midfielder is ready to go again.
And with a potential new deal in the pipeline at the Keepmoat Stadium, Furman, 26, will not be short of motivation.
He said: “Relegation hit the team and myself hard. We believed we were good enough to stay up. In the end it wasn’t to be and we are back again at this level having to go all again.
“But that’s the challenge we should all be relishing. I’ve had a taste of the Championship and I would like another crack. “There are some big teams in our division. The likes of Sheffield United, Preston and Bristol City have some financial clout and they will be challenging, but we feel we could be one of them once again.
Cliff Crown predicts big things from Brentford