Brentford FC tries to do things differently. As Premier League fans have seen over the past year, the club operates a little differently than others. Despite 2021/22 being the club’s first top-flight season in decades, the club stuck to their scout-and-development system. The other option is usually to spend the squad freely, like Nottingham Forest 2022/23.
That meant the Bees came into their squad with very little Premier League experience last season. Despite this, the club have more than avoided relegation, a fate reserved for the other two teams to come up with Brentford. In fact, Brentford finished 2021/22 a cool 11 points after the drop.
Just a Bus Stop hits bookshops in Hounslow ahead of Brentford’s second Premier League season. This book serves as an excellent foundation if you want to learn how to keep bees awake in the second year. Author Greville Waterman is a longtime Brentford fan. He has followed the London side through both their recent and fruitful successes and failures over the years. He wrote a book written like a blog. Just a Bus Stop in Hounslow takes readers through Brentford’s EPL debut as if they were a fan.
Background information on Brentford
For those unfamiliar with Brentford, the club calls West London home. The book’s title comes from a taunt reportedly first used by QPR fans, which was eventually adopted by Brentford fans as a cheer of support. It emphasizes the club’s place in the English football landscape – just an out-of-the-way destination.
The fate of the junior club turned when Matthew Benham began his involvement with the club. What started as a simple investment in Brentford FC grew into a controlling ownership of the club. Brentford pioneered the use of analytics and player development to use undervalued assets in his system. Partnered with a club in Denmark, Brentford quickly rose through the professional ranks without spending large transfer fees. Two seasons ago, Brentford secured a place in the Premier League via the Championship Playoffs. Conveniently, the book also covers Brentford’s new stadium and its impact on the club.
Just one bus stop in Hounslow
Waterman’s book reads like a series of blog posts that will be published throughout the season. Almost every chapter is about a game or a week in the season. Reflections describe what is happening on and off the field. Waterman occasionally intersperses interviews with club officials, though not the media-hating Benham. The anecdotes provide first-hand accounts of how the club navigated the campaign. Additionally, Waterman attended post-game press conferences with manager Thomas Frank, a candidate for this season’s Premier League Manager of the Season.
The book becomes particularly interesting when Christian Eriksen signs with the club. At the time, Brentford were following a string of poor results due to schedule issues, injuries and COVID-19. Frank and the club officials openly state that they convinced Eriksen to join the Bees because of the club’s many Scandinavian connections and the club’s more relaxed atmosphere. As we saw last season, the former Spurs star was a spark that kept Brentford safe. However, the ending is sour as the author and club officials express hope that the Denmark international can stay at the club.
A special association
The book is another addition to the fan gaze genre of football books. What makes this book interesting compared to others is the subject matter. Brentford is a fascinating story, and Waterman’s passionate perspective gives him access to more information than a neutral journalist could have obtained. However, my favorite parts of the book are his interviews with his friends. For example, there is a chapter on Brentford’s rivalry with QPR. Waterman asks his QPR fan friend his opinion on the rivalry, and the friend absolutely rips off the idea of QPR caring about Brentford. This type of narration lends itself to such funny asides.
This type of book is not original, but Brentford is. Waterman did the work for this manuscript, and it shows. Readers who enjoy books from a fan’s perspective will enjoy this, as will fans who want to know exactly why this team, which is a Hounslow bus stop, continues to thrive.