In-Depth Look From Brentford Fan At New Signing Who’ll Give Leeds Wings

Super sub or first team regular?
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Players come. Players go. And when a team like Brentford has a tremendous season like they had in 2014/15, you would fully expect there to be interest in the players assembled by the joint partnership of previous sporting director then manager Mark Warburton and owner/statistics guru Matt Benham.

So there was little surprise when Hull City came poaching Brentford's England U20 defender Moses Odubajo.

Bees fans have been bracing themselves for the departure of 18-goal striker Andre Gray who Hull have also put a substantial bid in for with their wheelbarrow full of parachute money.

Even when Jonathon Douglas went to Ipswich, some Bees fans were annoyed but most had resigned themselves to the fact that he had done his time at Griffin Park.

However, there was one transfer that set social media alight - Brentford fans going absolutely apoplectic at the prospect of Stuart Dallas leaving the good ship Brentford to join ex-Boss Uwe Rosler at Leeds.

Well why was that then?

Brentford had signed an unknown Dallas from Northern Ireland club Crusaders in 2012. Mark Warburton was sporting director at Brentford at the time and Dallas was one of the young players on his watch-list after having won the Northern Ireland Young player of the Year award.

His first full season at Griffin Park was the one when Brentford narrowly missed out on promotion from Division 1 - the Bees missing that penalty in the last minute of the last game against Doncaster to deny us automatic promotion.

He only played a handful of first team matches that season - most of them off the bench. You knew his signing to Brentford really was a big deal in his hometown as there was a steady progression of pilgrimages of proud Crusaders directors to Griffin Park to see him play.

However, most of his time that season was spent in the development squad as he played 2nd fiddle to Brentford golden-kid Jake Reeves who was touted as the next big thing to come out of the Brentford youth team.

The following season, after making a couple of cameo appearances in the Brentford B team the club would assemble and wheel out for Johnstons Paint Trophy Matches and Capital Cup games, he was loaned to struggling Northampton town in Division 2 in October 2013 to get some game-time.

He scored his first football league goal on his debut Cobblers match against AFC Wimbledon but was recalled to the Brentford squad a couple of months later after on-loan Cardiff winger Kadeem Harris got injured - in retrospect the turning point of Dallas' career.

It took him a few months to find his feet but by in the promotion run-in, Dallas was playing in pretty much every match. He had improved his game ten fold over ‘rival’ team-mate Reeves and the following season, Reeves left the club for Swindon in an attempt to get 1st team football after he was replaced by Dallas as the up-and-coming Golden Boy.

Last season Dallas was a revelation. And the fans really took to him.

Due to Brentford’s exceptionally strong midfield - which included Pritchard, Jota and Judge - he often found himself resigned to the bench - coming on around 60 minutes to give the team another attacking option.

And more often than not it worked.

He is fast. Lively. Enthusiastic. And direct.

He’s not afraid to take players on.

And can whip a cross in better than most players in the side.

What was great was he gave an added spark to the side.

He even played left back admirably against Bournemouth and Blackpool last season when Jake Bidwell was suspended.

Traditionally he has performed better when coming on as an impact sub as opposed to when starting a match. But then the fans understood that the young lad was developing and would improve with age and experience.

Saying that, he started against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Easter weekend and his two goals in the incredible 4-1 demolition wrote Dallas into Brentford folklore - his 2nd goal overwhelmingly being voted goal of the season by Brentford fans.

That victory probably explains the reason why, emotionally, fans are particularly upset about his departure - despite him not being as such a first team regular. 

He was a super sub of all super subs. And that is no doubt the one of the reasons why he left.

He probably thought "If I am going to be a sub - I may as well be a sub on double the wages”.

There was no surprise that he was called up by to be in the Northern Ireland squad. And no doubt manager Michael O’Neill will have been telling him that, with a European Championship appearance very likely for Northern Ireland, 1st team football would be crucial for any player who was serious about featuring next summer.

But with heavy competition in midfield - with the Bees signing a number of midfielders including the lively Andy Gogia from Hoffenheim, McEachran from Vitesse, Kerschbaumer from Admira Wacker in Austria and with Alan Judge also in the frame - Dallas’ first team place was not guaranteed.

All in all he is a great player.

With a super attitude.

And an even better beard.

He will be a good addition to the Leeds squad and will be a key player in Northern Ireland’s charge to France in the Euros.

Brentford struggled to keep hold of Dallas due to the ambition of the club (expanding the squad) and the ability to match the wages of so called ‘bigger’ clubs - FFP being a huge issue for the club with the smallest income in the Championship.

Whether or not that will come back to bite Brentford… only time will tell. 

Billy Grant (@billythebee99) writes & vlogs for Beesotted Blog/Fanzine/VideoBlog/Podcast (@Beesotted) – 

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