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J69's discarded soiled knicker sniffers vs Brentford

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Hate international breaks


NUFC to Score

0 - MiddleAgeCool

1 - The Fish, Kevin Carr's Gloves, @yourservice

2 - Happy Face, McFaul , StoneColdStephenIreland, ewerk, Kitman, acrossthepond, ohhh_yeah, ToonMarshy, tooner, Anorthernsoul, jonasjuice, LooneyToony, barnabox, trooper

3 - TheGingerQuiff, Howay, Andrew, strawb, Ant, OTF, Rayvin, Monkeys Fist, Dickie, David Kelly, rogerbarton, scoobos, wykikitoon, 247, Renton

4+ - Dr Gloom, Tom


NUFC to Concede

0 - TheGingerQuiff, StoneColdStephenIreland, Howay, Dr Gloom, ewerk, strawb, Ant, Kitman, Kevin Carr's Gloves, OTF, Tom, Rayvin, acrossthepond, Monkeys Fist, Dickie, David Kelly, tooner, rogerbarton, scoobos, wykikitoon, Anorthernsoul, jonasjuice, @yourservice, Renton, trooper

1 - Happy Face, McFaul , Andrew, ohhh_yeah, 247, LooneyToony, barnabox

2 - The Fish, MiddleAgeCool, ToonMarshy

3 -

4+ -



Edited by TheGingerQuiff
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Can imagine J69 half asleep taking his turn feeding the baby when his lass bursts through the door. "Whose knickers are these, Johnathan!? They're not mine and neither is this damp patch! Johnathan! Don't sit there gawping like a fish! Who do they belong to? Are you a cross dresser?"

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Co-director of football or some other such formulation, but aye. This from Caulkin:




Newcastle maths geek now plotting their downfall


Phil Giles, a key figure in Brentford’s bid to reach the Premier League, insists there will be no conflict of loyalty as he returns to the club where he was a season ticket-holder for 25 years


October 10 2016, 12:01am, The Times




Phil Giles poses an interesting question. How long does it take for an outsider to become a football man? How many matches, how many transfers, how many Saturdays? “It’s a mystery, isn’t it?” he says. “If I’m still here in ten years then I’ll definitely be part of the furniture, so there’s probably a boundary. But where’s the line?” Perhaps he will cross it this weekend within the granite familiarity of St James’ Park, where his own story began.


Giles was six or seven when he first visited Newcastle United. “My dad bought me a ticket for an FA Cup game for my birthday,” he says. “I was a fan from a very young age. You used to get the smell of the brewery wafting over the ground. If there were 15,000 in the stadium, that was a big crowd for me.” He would pore over the pages of the Evening Chronicle that Ian, his father, would bring home.


As he grew older, the routine mutated. “I’d go to the game with my dad and brothers and then out for the evening with friends. There are good memories from when Sir Bobby Robson was manager and he’d come on the telly and the whole pub would quieten down. ‘Bobby’s on, Bobby’s on! Shhhh.’ Some guy at the back would yell, ‘TURN IT UP.’ ”


By that stage, he was studying at Newcastle University. “When I applied, we’d come close to winning the league and if I’d moved away I’d have lost my season ticket,” he says. He would still have a kickabout with mates. “I dreamt of playing, but I was never going to be a footballer. So it was Sunday league, freezing cold, 22 lads, most of them hungover, a few smoking at half-time, one or two throwing up. A tackle would go in and it would basically kick off.”


Life took Giles from Tyneside to London, although his support, his love, remained. “By the end, I was probably getting back once or twice a year,” he says. “Work took over.” He had young children to consider, too, and so, in 2015, after 25 years, he gave up his season ticket.


What transforms this narrative from personal to remarkable is that 2015 was also when Giles became a joint director of football at Brentford, the Sky Bet Championship club. What led him there were mathematics and statistics — after his degree, he completed a PhD — but there was no set course. “At no point was I thinking that I wanted to work in professional football,” he says. “It never crossed my mind.”


On Saturday, he will be in the posh seats at St James’ rather than the Gallowgate End. “I don’t know how that’ll feel,” he says. “It might be a bit weird. I’m looking forward to seeing what goes on in the background. People have asked me about split loyalties, but I’ll be 100 per cent rooting for Brentford. Pride isn’t the right word, but maybe there’ll be satisfaction to be back there and in some ways competing.”


But how? The dots join in an obsession with sport — a football “geek” — a specialism in numbers and a job at Smartodds, a company owned by Matthew Benham that, according to its own website, provides “statistical research and sports modelling services to customers, including professional gamblers”. Benham also owns Brentford, where doing things differently is about necessity as much as philosophy.




There has been confusion about Brentford’s approach, entrenched in February last year when they announced that Mark Warburton, the manager, would leave at the end of that season and that “a new recruitment structure using a mixture of traditional scouting and other tools including mathematical modelling” would be installed. Warburton, who took the team to the Championship play-offs the previous season, cited “key philosophical differences”.


When Brentford scrapped their academy, it raised further suspicion about what was happening to a living, breathing organisation with deep roots in its community, with all the talk of Moneyball and the links to Midtjylland, the Danish club whom Benham bought and are chaired by Rasmus Ankersen, who describes himself as a “bestselling author, entrepreneur and global keynote speaker”. Giles, who is 37, splits his role with Ankersen.


Underpinning all of it, Giles says, is not some cold experiment. Benham is a lifelong supporter of Brentford, but love and ambition must be made workable. Although they are to move to a new stadium — at Lionel Road South, provisionally in 2018 — Griffin Park has a capacity of 12,300. “Over the last year, we’ve tried to get it down to a very simple message; we need to make the club sustainable over the long-term, so we need to get to the Premier League,” Giles says.


“If the normal route to promotion is heavy investment in the first team, that option is closed to us. There is no normal route for Brentford. Yes, there’s a chance this might not work, but the alternative is that we’re conservative and set our stall out to sit where we are and be comfortable, but what’s the point of a club that doesn’t aspire to higher things? And the Championship isn’t cheap, so you’re spending to sit still.”


Giles is drinking coffee outside the Smartodds office in north London. He has a desk here as well as one at Brentford’s training ground, sharing his time between both. It is not a traditional football environment; no smell of liniment, no clacking boots, but long rows of computers and television screens. All clubs now use data and analytics, but if Brentford are to have an edge, it is not just in the quality of information but how it is interpreted.


Discussing specifics is difficult because Brentford do not want to give away any advantage (Giles asks that the screens are not photographed), but the approach allows them to focus their scouting. They have a B team rather than an academy and savings made there can, in theory, be invested in better coaching, older players who are more likely to populate the first team than eight or nine-year-olds, the freedom to play better opponents.


“We try to use ideas and concepts which may not be commonplace at other clubs but which will help us get to where we want to go,” Giles says. “We’re not afraid to fail in some senses. We’re happy to take calculated risks.” But they also trust their experts; Dean Smith, the manager, may be able to call on data, but “he always picks the team. I never, ever, influence who he should or shouldn’t pick.”


Giles admits that his “learning curve was steep”. By most standards, Warburton was successful, while Marinus Dijkhuizen, his immediate replacement, was not. “Myself and Rasmus were in the door, I’d not been at a club before, the pitch was a disaster, players were getting injured left, right and centre, we could see the coaching wasn’t the right fit and you knew that people were saying, ‘Oh my God, this is all falling to bits. Who are these people?’”


Smith, though, has excelled and, as with anything, any business, any model, systems are only as efficient as those who power them. Brentford are seventh in the table, four points behind Newcastle. “Is there room for feel? Yeah,” Giles says. “Football is about relationships and people, working together as a team. We’re not trying to get rid of that. It underpins everything. It’s about enhancing it.”


Brentford are driven by a sense that “if you’re doing it OK, it’s probably not good enough”, Giles says, but it is also “early days. What I like is that we’ve got a young, hungry side and we’re pulling in the same direction.”


Newcastle, his other team, have wrestled with themselves to reach a similar place. “I’ve arranged to meet friends and family afterwards,” Giles says. “Just like a normal game, except I’ll be in a suit and they’ll be in black and white tops.” The outsider on the inside. A football man.

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