Driving up crowds

Sam Saunders’ team-mates can now tell him he looks like the back end of a bus. But there is a serious point to Brentford’s new advertising campaign.

An image of Bees winger Saunders being held aloft by team-mates will adorn buses on the 237 and 65 routes until next summer, publicising the club’s Family Ticket offer.

By taking advantage of being on the flight path to Heathrow by having advertising on the roof of stands at Griffin Park, Brentford have already shown they can be innovative.

And with three Premier League clubs on their doorstep, they need to be.

“Having me on the buses is great for the banter and all good fun, but the publicity is good for the club and hopefully will get more fans in,” Saunders told West London Sport.

“The club’s doing everything possible to do that and hopefully it’ll work. We’ve got to compete with the likes of QPR, Fulham and Chelsea, but the family deal we’ve got is very cheap and reasonable.

Saunders has received plenty of stick from his team-mates

“I’ve had a bit of stick from the lads. Richard Lee in particular is a bit upset because he wanted to be on there, but obviously they chose the best looking one who was going to get people through the doors.”

Brentford argue that their deal – £30 for a family of four to watch a game – represents outstanding value.

Their cause might also be helped by the style of play introduced by Uwe Rosler since he took over as manager in the summer.

At times this season their football has been excellent to watch, despite injuries to a number of key players whose return to fitness has been reflected in recent results.

Ninth in the table and having lost only one of their last six league games, Rosler’s side are well placed to challenge for a play-off spot in the new year.

“The gaffer’s set us up to play attractive football and hopefully that’ll attract people to come to our matches,” Saunders added.

“We do try to get the ball down and play. I’m not saying we play like a Premier League team but we have a go. They’re good games we play in, not boring ones.”

That is echoed by Rosler, who believes he has a big role to play in helping Brentford increase attendances.

He is also acutely aware that his budget is directly linked to the amount of money coming through the turnstiles.

The former Manchester City star said: “Brentford have to find ways in which they can attract fans. It’s very important. We want to sell ourselves as a family club.

“We need more income. We need higher attendances and it’s my responsibility as manager, in terms of style of play, to help achieve that.”