"We went from working as a seed investor to a late-stage investor" - the Brentford success is so much more than just excellent recruitment

9 June 2020

brentford
Photo: PA Images According to Rasmus Ankersen, co-director of football at Brentford, the club were in a difficult position four years ago because, even though their academy did a decent job in developing players, quite often the most valuable players - or assets - left the club when they turned 17, leaving Brentford almost empty-handed. Pictured is Emiliano Marcondes celebrating scoring his sides second goal against Sheffield Wednesday a few months ago.

Co-director of football at Brentford FC, Rasmus Ankersen, explains how the club changed their academy strategy and how they organise and work with their B-team. They used to be caught in a classic academy mindset, which saw them beaten by wealthier rivals

According to Ankersen, Brentford's success is only partly due to the data mindset they have when recruiting players. People tend to forget all the hard work that is required when new players arrive in a new environment.

Brentford see their players as assets they need to develop. And therefore, they work intensely on improving those assets from the minute they arrive in West London.  They depend on turning other clubs' misjudgements into quality players.

The foundation on which Brentford's progress has been built is the governance structure at the club. You cannot develop players in an environment where short-term solutions always win. Therefore, their structure is different from most other clubs.

Kasper Kronenberg kk@offthepitch.com

"People tend to look at us and tend to explain our relative success with our recruitment model. It is true that we have a good track record identifying undervalued players and selling them with a big profit, but that is just part of the story. I think our player development model is as important as recruitment. The young players we bring in are very rarely the finished developed package from day one, and we spend a lot of resources and money on developing those players once they enter the building.”

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