‘IN ANDY we trust, in Andy we trust’. These are the words of the Brentford faithful that echo around Griffin Park every home match. Rookie manager Andy Scott has turned a struggling League 2 side into a team that’s sneaking towards the Championship over the course of just two years. On a shoe-string budget, the former Bees player has earned a valuable reputation as one of the best managers outside of the Premier League.
FAN FAVOURITE: Andy Scott was a popular figure at Griffin Park during his playing days, winning the Nationwide Division Three title in 1998/99
There are numerous factors as to why Andy Scott is amongst the best managers outside of the Premier League. First is Scott’s age and the short amount of time he has been in management. Having retired from playing aged 32 due to a heart problem, Scott is relatively fresh-faced having only turned 37 in the summer. This makes his achievement all the more impressive as he has little experience in coaching. His accolades are based mainly from raw talent instead of years of trial and error. History has taught us that few good players make good coaches.
Scott also rapidly rose through the ranks following his retirement. He began as a basic coach at Leyton Orient in 2005, but quickly became their youth team manager. In 2007 he was made Brentford’s assistant manager to Terry Butcher and following Butcher’s departure, he was rewarded with the ‘gaffer’s’ job in early 2008 following an impressing caretaker spell. These types of promotions often take years if not a decade to achieve. Scott managed it in just over two years.
The rule of ‘survival of the fittest’ is adhered to in the world of football and Scott is an example of a born winner. He has the ability to adapt to situations well and alter a side hastily. In the 2007/08 season, Scott managed to assure the Bees survival by creating a strong, pacy team from the carcass of Butcher’s lacklustre squad. The football wasn’t pretty but it was effective in staving off relegation. The 2008/09 League 2 winning Brentford played a slick passing game, bullying oppositions into mistakes, thus allowing Scott’s men to punish them on the counter.
FIRST OF MANY: Scott celebrates the League 2 trophy with long-serving Brentford captain Kevin O’Connor.
Now in 2009/10, Scott has again adapted to the new surroundings of League 1 by focusing on a strong defence, physical midfield and creative wingers. This type of side has moved Brentford to mid-table and, with luck, could give the Bees an outside chance of making the playoffs. Versatility is a rare sight in football today as managers are often fearful of changes. Scott has demonstrated that he can identify strategic problems and correct them with certainty.
His approach to his players is just as ruthless. In the summer he released 10 players from the League 2 winning squad, deeming them incapable of making the transition to a higher level. In their place he purchased ambitious lower-league players and loaned in potential Premier League starlets. No-one has an assured place on the team though. Tottenham wonderkid John Bostock was dropped due to an attitude problem and last years captain-fantastic Alan Bennett has recently been shipped out after failing to impress this season. Though he wheels the blade when required, he also loyally supports fringe players. Leon Legge was left out of the squad for the first three months of the season but after a rare appearance, and a Man of the Match performance in the FA Cup, he’s secured a regular starting place at the expense of the once immovable Bennett.
NO ROOM FOR DEAD WOOD!: Scott is known to chop and change both tactics and team to improve results.
A good manager must be capable in the transfer market and once again Scott has shown he can spend the cash wisely. Legge signed for practically a pittance. Carl Cort was a free transfer and Myles Weston is now worth 10 times the £35,000 Scott paid for him. He may wheel and deal, but on a tight budget, he does so with an impressive efficiency.
Brentford is an unglamorous club on a shoe-string budget in an unattractive league. Despite this, Andy Scott has managed to shine like a diamond in the rough. His talent has linked him to bigger clubs but he’s stayed to achieve the ambitious plans he has for the Bees. Foreign mangers usually attract hungry Premier League eyes, but they often falter in a new environment. I strongly believe that Scott is the cream of the current crop of young, English managers and I have no doubt that he’ll grace the Premier League in the future. And when those heady days arrive, his name will be etched on trophies as proof of his talent and ability.
LOYAL FANS: Bees supporters proudly chant Scott’s name