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Dan Thomas: A Danish Connection

Started on 25 April 2018 by ScottT
Latest Reply on 23 July 2019 by Justice
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Foreign Affairs

Jubilation once again as we completed yet another win, hammering our opposition by four goals to nil. We sat comfortably at the top of the table, on course for completing yet another successful season as we continued our rise up the Danish pyramid. Yes, the Danish pyramid, where I am helping Lemvig Gymnastikforening climb to the highest of heights in the domestic game.

The name's Dan, by the way... Dan Thomas. It's a funny old story how I got over here. Born and raised back in England, in the North-West town of Warrington. Being a town predominately of rugby fans, it seemed I was destined to take a love for the game, however it was football that I fell in love with. Not many would support the local club, Warrington Town, especially children like I were when I first started attending, but something attracted me back every week. The rawness, the reality and the sheer passion shown by each player on that pitch, I couldn't get enough.

Years went by and my love for Warrington Town Football Club grew. We were just two divisions away from the Conference North, a league that seemed so far away not too long ago. As I write this, we're still not there yet, but we're just a step away and have made history in the FA Cup in recent years, crowning memories I will certainly never forget. Trust me, Warrington will be in the Football League at some point.

Another ambition of mine was to live abroad. I didn't have a certain destination in mind, I just knew that I wanted to satisfy my urge of exploring a new culture. My decision was made when I met Kristina, a young woman who had lived in England for a number of years but was from the city of Randers in Denmark. Myself and Kristina built an intimate relationship and talked about our plans for the future many times, finally settling on the idea of moving to Denmark and to her birth place of Randers.

I was never disappointed when I arrived. The city dazzled me and I instantly fell in love with it. The culture was fantastic and the things to do were endless, it was a surreal experience. We settled down with Kristina's parents to begin with until we were able to buy our own accommodation. We've now been here in Randers for little over three years and I don't regret a thing.

My family were supportive of the move as they understood my keen desire to travel. They often come to visit, or vice versa. At Christmas myself and Kristina go back to England for a fortnight to celebrate and it does make me miss the feeling of being with my family, however it could never replace the love I have for my new home in Denmark. I simply cannot describe how warm the people make you feel.

Danish football is vastly different to that we are used to back home. I was given the opportunity to manage through studying my coaching badges when I was back in Warrington, prior to my departure to Randers. Management was always the route to go down for myself, as I was not exactly a gifted footballer. Not having the experience can hamper your chances of making it, however not so much here in Denmark. If you show an interest and work hard, you can achieve it.

Since, I have grown with the football club. Lemvig have a place in my heart and I thoroughly enjoy every game. I have built a relationship with the players and with the community of the club. With the club being about two hours away from my home, it is easy to commute to and from and I can often travel with Kristina. I can't see why I would love the project I am working on here, but if I were, I would leave with very fond memories. Very fond memories indeed...
Dan in a Danish story? How Dan-ish. Does he eat danishes?
Love it!

Affiliations and Friendships

Lemvig Gymnastikforening and FC Midtjylland. Two clubs linked together in a working relationship that was formed by yours truly. A giant in the Danish game looking to help out a minnow within it. It was a working friendship, their fans were their fans and our fans were their fans. We celebrated each others successes, including their capture of the Danish Superliga in 2015 and the bond only continued to grow.

Midtjylland were gaining a reputation across Europe and forging new paths for themselves. It was a great feat for a football club that were formed in 1999. They had grown quickly as a club, finding a strategy that enabled them to find success and find the best players in the market.

I had befriended the chairman Rasmus Ankersen, which allowed our affiliation to actually come together just over a year ago. We were playing the Midtjylland academy in a friendly the day we met and unsurprisingly, the talented academy came out 2-0 winners. Rasmus was in attendance, keen to watch the abundance of young talent the club were churning through. He approached me and told me he was impressed with my side, shaking my hand.

'Well played sir,' he told me. 'I was thoroughly impressed with your side, for a club such as yourselves you have them playing some terrific football.' I smiled at him, gracefully thanking him for his comments. We talked for a while about our respective clubs and talked about the history of each. It led to us speaking for hours, eventually ending in a few drinks within the complex of his club.

He opened an invitation to me that night, stating that he believed in my abilities and the clubs abilities to grow together. He was willing to invest a small yearly fee to help boost the club and we would work in unison to better both parties. I couldn't refuse the offer and that would cause the start of our working relationship together and would also mark the start of a close friendship between ourselves.

As our relationships grew I was introduced to Matthew Benham, the owner of FC Midtyjlland. He was a huge fan of our alliance and was a well-mannered individual and although he was often back home in England, he became a good friend of mine also. We understood one another as Englishmen who were working in Denmark and as people who were working in the demanding field of football.

I was fascinated by Matthew's knowledge of the game. He would study the analytics of the sport for hours on end, which helped him gain his fortune. He managed to beat the system of football betting markets by studying patterns within the game and looking at the stat of conversion rates more specifically. He became a real mentor as well as a friend in this respect. My respect for him was very high, both as a football man and as a friend.

I often received messages from both Matthew and Rasmus. We would communicate details with each other and would arrange for future meetings and meetups for example. If one of us weren't playing one weekend, we would arrange to travel to each others games and it was always a pleasure to be in their company. Usually it was same-old, same-old with the text messages, however I received one I never thought I would from Rasmus. This text message, I remember telling Kristina, could potentially change our lives forever.


Justice: And to think I didn't even mean to do that. :P

Aaron: I'm glad you do. ;)

A New Opportunity

'We have a vacant job available for you, get down to the coffee shop and we can discuss properly,' the text read. Rasmus knew I was happy at Lemvig, they had helped forge an enjoyable start to my career and I would be forever grateful to the many players who helped shape my legacy there. At the end of the day, it's all well and good for me to tell the players to play in a certain way, but they have to go out onto the pitch and deliver. It's my job to find the suitable players in that regard.

I was sat in the house, Kristina was on the laptop doing some shopping as I notified her where I would be heading. 'You don't fancy coming do you?' I asked her. I liked her coming with me in urgent situations, if it was possible. 'Yeah, sure. Just let me sort myself out, any idea what position it is?' I shook my head. I was just as curious as she were about this - it had to be big, or else Rasmus knew it would be a definite no.

We jumped into the car and headed on route to the small coffee shop where Rasmus would meet us. It was the same coffee shop we would usually meet at, a small and humble business ran by a kind woman named Olga. It became the hub of our business meetings and Olga welcomed us, knowing our exact order every time we stepped foot into the building. It was a little more than twenty minutes away by car, but with the way Kristina drove, it added another ten minutes on top of that.

Kristina was adament that she would drive. She had passed her test a few months previous and would dive into the drivers seat every time, desperate to 'improve her driving skills' as she put it. It's a complete nightmare when she drives, she is far too cautious and is unwilling to put her foot down, which as a man who likes to do just that, is very frustrating.

Eventually reaching our destination, we joined Rasmus who laughed when he saw Kristina get out of the drivers side. 'I understand now,' he laughed, knowing why we took longer than expected. Kristina frowned, but knew the comment was in jest. Olga smiled as she saw us approach, 'The usual I assume? Coming right up.' She came over with my coffee and Rasmus began.

'I understand that you love being with Lemvig, but this is an opportunity you cannot turn down, Dan.' He told me assertively. 'The Brentford job became available as Dean left due to illness and Matthew wants you to take the job. He believes in your abilties and says it's worth the shot.' He looked at me seriously while saying this, I thought it was all a huge joke.

'Rasmus, I thought you were joking. This is... amazing.' I turned to Kristina who beemed at me as I did. 'You have to take this,' she told me. I did. I did have to take this opportunity because it's a chance to eventually make my way into the best division in world football, the Premier League. Brentford were a club on the rise because of Matthew, and I would be able to work with a man who knew so much about the game but also so much about myself. 'Yes Rasmus, I want this.'

The next few days were a whirlwind. I were taking flights to London and back to Randers as I went into talks with Matthew. Brentford were closely affiliated with Midtjylland and this meant that Matthew, Rasmus and I would be working as a dream team. It was something I could never turn down. Lemvig, thank you for everything. Without them, I wouldn't be here as manager of Brentford Football Club...
fuckin women drivers

A Final Goodbye

As The Sound Of Music says, 'So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight...' Packing my bags to leave the beautiful city of Randers was difficult for me. The city had become a part of me, stealing my heart and placing a bit of its own within it. The culture, the people, the sights, I was saying goodbye to it all to return to England to begin a new chapter. A chapter that involved Brentford Football Club.

It was emotional leaving my club. Lemvig had found an identity with myself at the helm and to leave that behind is something I will both miss with great fondness, but also treasure for the remainder of my life. They are what has led me to this whole new adventure back home, in the UK. When you think about it, it's pretty mental how I've ended up here in the first place, but now it was time I proved my worth.

The English press were deeply intrigued into who I were. They aren't too familiar with a minnow like myself and I have been told that they would prey upon me if I gave them the opportunity. But I was happy to be myself and to allow them to say what they like - most people know that the media sprout a lot of rubbish these days regardless. I was here on a mission, a mission to take Brentford to new heights.

Matthew had already found me some accommodation for when I arrived in London after a quick flight over from Denmark. Myself and Kristina settled in straight away and took a stroll around the capital for a short time, taking in our new surroundings. It didn't beat Randers. In Randers, there seemed to be something in the air that drawn you in. It was fresh and attractive. Here, it was another story and I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Pre-season would begin in little over a week and I were due to make appearances the next day, sitting down with the club and then the media. Rasmus offered to fly over here with us, but I was perfectly comfortable without him here. To be honest, I am ready for whatever is thrown in my direction. I will have to learn quickly, but I have the key trait of adapting quickly in my arsenal.

Tomorrow would mark the beginning of it all then. The day where I would announce to the world just who Dan Thomas is and what my plans are for the season. Most would be nervous at this point, but I was ready. Brentford Football Club are soon to be a force if I had my way and trust me, I intend that we will be... just give me a few years and I'll do it, trust me. It's time to prove the doubters wrong, they'll know my name soon enough.


Aaron: Nightmare aren't they.
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT
2 yearsEdited

First Impressions

The bright lights of the cameras all flashed in front of my eyes as I entered the room. It felt more like a fashion shoot than a football interview at first. A number of chairs were placed in a line for myself, Matthew and a number of other figures to do with the club to sit on as we answered our very first set of questions together. I smiled at the reporters and cameras as I lowered myself into my seat, I was ready for whatever was to be thrown at me.

Matthew took the seat next to me and whispered to me, 'If you ever feel uncomfortable, just let me know and we can end the questions. The media can be relentless at times and as you're a minnow in their eyes, they feel like they can also what they like. They can get personal with the questions, so just watch out.' I laughed slightly to him, 'I'll be fine, boss.' And with that, the questions begun.

First of all, hello and welcome to the Sky Bet Championship... how does it feel to be here?
It's an incredible opportunity for me. I am very thankful to be given the responsibility of taking a great club like Brentford forward this season and achieving the best we can as a football club. The Championship is an iconic league, it's the gateway to the best football league in the world. I intend to get there with this club at some point in the future, as all managers aspire to do so.

Your appointment has sent ripples through English football, are you ready to face the pressure?
Of course I am. I wouldn't be much good if I let the pressure get to me. I expected it because I am a gamble in many people's eyes, I haven't been and done it in this division before so their will be a lot of eyes on me to see how I fair in my debut season both in the Championship, but also in this country and professionally. I have the faith of the people around me and that's all that matters, I'll have to win over the supporters and I'm happy to do just that.

You mention it is your first job as a professional manager, can you explain your previous role in Denmark?
Certainly. I moved to Denmark a few years ago and as I had taking my coaching badges in this country, it allowed me to gain an opportunity over there. I was taken on by Lemvig Gymnastikforening, who play in the lower tiers of the Danish game. It is very much a community club, but we managed to gain two promotions to leave us just a step away from the third tier of the pyramid. It allowed me to gain a lot of skills and I have seen the deepest and darkest football has to offer.

Can we expect you to continue the tradition of 'Moneyball' at the club?
Definitely. The concept of that is installed through Matthew. It is a concept I heavily believe in also, as it allows the perhaps smaller clubs to continue to compete with the clubs that can offer a lot of money to stars. Especially at this level, it is becoming very popular with a number of other clubs following the model in order to maintain their status and look to improve. I would be very silly to ditch it and I expect it to only get more popular in this country.

We understand that you have a close relationship with FC Midtyjlland, a club that are linked with Brentford - do you think this will benefit the club further?
The relationship between the two clubs were already very close anyway. Matthew owns both clubs and that's why the link is there and why there is a real friendship also. Yes, I do have my personal connections with the club, but it wouldn't matter anyway. We will continue to work in a manner that betters both clubs and it is a very important link that will continue to help this football club grow, as they are moving at a very fast pace over in Denmark.

A question to Matthew, what led you to appointing Dan?
Easy. He has a lot of potential to grow and understands the game well at such a young age. We have formed a good relationship, both personally and footballing wise as we can understand one another's views on the game. I was thoroughly impressed with his work back in Denmark, from an outsiders perspective is it perhaps difficult to understand how well he did there, especially for yourselves, but he is the perfect candidate for me. I know that the future of this football club will be in the best of hands with Dan at the helm.

End of questions, thank you for your time.


Aaron: Up the Bees! <3
All sounding very confident! Looking forward to it mate :)

Swedish International Lundquist Joins Brentford

Brentford have completed the signing of Swedish left-back Adam Lundqvist from IF Elfsborg for £700,000 on a three-year-deal.

Lundqvist, 23, has represented his country twice at senior level whilst playing for the Swedish side, who he joined in 2011 for an undisclosed fee from Nykopings BIS. Making 109 appearances for his previous club, the defender became a vital part to the clubs success domestically, as they won the league title in 2012 and the Svenska Cupen in 2014. He was also a part of three separate campaigns in the Europa League with the club.

Also representing his homeland in the Rio Olympics, Lundqvist is keen to progress his career in England with the Bees. 'I am thrilled to be given the opportunity here in England. Everyone knows that this is where you want to be, you grow up idolising English football. To be handed an opportunity to play here is amazing for me,' he stated.

Brentford director Rasmus Ankersen said, 'We continue to use the Scandinavian market to our advantage. There is a lot of talent available to us and we are open to a wide pool of players. Adam is a young and talented defender who has not just experience in Europe with Elfsborg, but has also represented his country both at youth and senior level. He understands how to manage himself in the biggest of situations.'


Aaron: You don't get anywhere without being confident in your abilities, my man.
Good attacking full-back, the Swedes seem to have a lot of those. Could let you down defensively, looking forward to seeing how he gets on

Discussing Business

Matthew and I were obsessed with the moneyball policy. Ourselves and Barnsley were by far two of the best at utilising the method within the Football League. So many players had come and gone from the club, leaving behind many memories as they did and very profitable fees, as it happens too. That was the theory of moneyball, buy small and sell big.

There was no market like the Scandinavian market, we said. Lasse Vibe was a prime example of using the market to the best of its abilities as we brought in the Dane from IFK Goteborg from Sweden for just €1,300,000 on a three-year-deal. After he proved to be a revelation for us, we sold him on prior to my arrival to China for a much larger fee, which is yet to be fully disclosed.

A number of faces within this squad have come from that market, in which include Emiliano Marondes (FC Nordsjaelland) and Justin Shaibu (HB Koge). Whilst others have come through that route and joined other clubs like Andreas Bjelland and Henrik Dalsgaard. It truly is a market that not many clubs in England have yet to look into, despite it overflowing with young talent that could easily make it into the first team.

It was discussed when I arrived at the club that we would continue working in this market. Having experience in Denmark, I knew a lot of talent within the successful youth academies, that perhaps get overlooked. Even clubs that find talent and help them to develop such as FC Kobenhavn for example have given us the likes of Christian Poulsen, Brede Hangeland and Oscar Wendt within recent times. The work they do to keep a steady flow of talent coming through is terrific.

Adam (Lundqvist) won't be the only arrival this Summer. I intend to strengthen the squad and look to find more youth to ensure we have a lot of potential coming through year after year. My experiences in Denmark taught me a lot as a manager and I would be silly to ignore the many lessons I learnt. I am very excited by the prospect of what is to come at this football club because this is a project that is one to keep an eye on.


Aaron: Yeah, you can definitely see what my system is going to be like, just based on that signing. I love the Swede's attacking ways, it provides for entertaining football - but I'll definitely be making sure his defending is up to scratch when called upon.
It's going to be a fun season at Brentford for sure! I see big things in store.

Omoijuanfo Completes £1,800,000 Move

Norwegian forward Ohi Omoijuanfo has completed a £1,800,000 move to Brentford on a three-year-deal from Stabaek Fotball.

The 23-year-old has been making a steady climb in Norway over the years, making a name for himself when he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, scoring at 16 years and 300 days with Lillestrom in 2010. He left the club to join FK Jerv before making a return to the top flight with Stabaek last season.

Scoring 25 goals in 62 appearances for the club, the forward, who made his international debut for Norway against Sweden last month, has impressed within the last year. Eligible to play for Nigeria through his father, he has opted against this and has represented Norway from U16 level.

Stabaek club president Espen Moe stated, 'It is with great regret that we announce that Ohi leaves the club to join Brentford in England. He has impressed us all with his tremendous skill with the ball at his feet and his ability to find the goal. However, it is his work ethic and passion for the game that we all admired the most, I think.'

'He has a huge career in front of him and we are blessed to have retained his services for the past year or so. I am confident that he will succeed with Brentford, he has that something in him that just makes him unique to all other strikers. I wish him the very best and I thank him for all he has done.'


Aaron: You're that confident you said it twice! ;) Yeah I hope so mate.

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