History Boys | The Loanees Pt. 2

Following on from the recent History Boys – The Loanees Part One, read on to find out what happened to the likes of Damian Scannell, James Wilson and Jordan Rhodes after their loan spells at Brentford ended…

Eric Odhiambo – 0 apps, 0 goals

Having risen through the ranks at Leicester, Odhiambo had already spent time on loan with Southend and Dundee, but his spell at Brentford was his final chance to impress Foxes boss Nigel Pearson. He joined on 27 November 2008 but made the bench just once during his one-month stay in west London – in the aforementioned win over Bradford– and just over a month later, became a free agent at 19-years-old when the Foxes terminated his contract by mutual agreement.

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He won the Scottish First Divison with Inverness the following season, before spending two years with Turkish outfit Denizlispor and also turned out for Hereford United, playing alongside Frankie Artus at Edgar Street. He has since played for Sligo Rovers, Brackley Town, Kidlington, before joining Abingdon Town in the summer, alongside brother Anaclet.

Jordan Rhodes – 14 apps, 7 goals

In his recent interview with BEES, even Kevin O’Connor admitted that he questioned Jordan Rhodes’ ability when he joined the club in January 2009. It didn’t take him long to announce himself properly to Bees fans, though, and he did so in style. In his second game in red and white he scored in a 3-0 victory over Aldershot, but on 31 January, he netted all three in a 3-1 win at Shrewsbury, a feat that made him the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the club’s history, five days before his 19th birthday. All in all, Jordan scored seven goals in 14 games in west London but it could have been more had he not suffered a broken metatarsal against Chesterfield in a midweek home defeat in March.

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The murmurs following the title win suggested Andy Scott was keen to bring Jordan back following promotion, but he instead made a £350k move to Huddersfield, and rapidly made a name for himself, scoring a remarkable 87 goals in just over three seasons, lifting him to eighth on the Terriers’ all-time scorers list. He carried the same goalscoring prowess through when he made the £8 million switch to Blackburn in 2012, but after three-and-a-half successful years at Ewood Park, he only now seems to be regaining his lethal eye for goal after struggling with Middlesbrough in the Premier League and also for current employers Sheffield Wednesday. He is, though, midway through a season-long stay with Norwich and has already scored more goals than he did in the previous two campaigns. Still just 28-years-old, he seemingly has plenty more to offer.

Damian Scannell – 2 apps, 0 goals

Twitter: @damoscanz | Instagram: @doctor_damo

Croydon-born forward Damian made his first foray into the professional game aged 23, when Southend recognised his talent and plucked him from Eastleigh, who were rising up the rungs of the non-league ladder at a rapid pace in the early 2000s. He made a number of cameos for the Shrimpers as they made the League One play-offs in 2007/08, but despite a bright pre-season, Damian started a two-month loan at Griffin Park at the end of November 2008. In a spell disrupted by poor winter weather, he had to wait until 13 December for his first start – that win over Bradford – and played 10 minutes in the Boxing Day home win over Bournemouth, before returning to Roots Hall in early 2009.

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After mild success upon his return, Damian turned down a two-year contract and joined Dagenham & Redbridge, but that was where his professional career came to a halt the following year. It did, though, lead to a more profitable spell with former employers Eastleigh, where he notched 12 goals in 76 league appearances. From there, he gained extensive semi-professional experience and spent the final two years of his career with Dulwich Hamlet and Tonbridge Angels, though injury forced him into retirement last October aged 32.

Damian Spencer – 5 apps, 1 goal

Twitter: @damo_7

Cheltenham Town’s financial troubles played into the hands of Brentford in March 2009, when Damian Spencer was farmed out on loan in a bid to reduce the Robins’ wage bill. His availability came at a time when the ‘striker curse’ was in full flow, with Charlie MacDonald and Nathan Elder already essentially ruled out for the business end of the season. In the third to last game of the season, the options for Brentford couldn’t have been clearer; take a point away at Dagenham & Redbridge and a top-three spot is secured, but take all three and the Bees are champions.

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Sadly, it wasn’t to work out that way. Future cult hero Sam Saunders scored one and set up another two as the Daggers raced into a three-goal lead, but Damian, who replaced Adam Newton early on, bundled home a late consolation to ensure the trip to east wasn’t in vain. On the following Saturday, he was struck by the very ‘curse’ he’d been brought in to remedy as Darlington centre-back Alan White’s leading elbow broke his cheekbone. After almost 250 appearances for Cheltenham, he was released that summer, before flitting in and out of league football until 2012. According to Damian’s LinkedIn profile, he now works as a Production Engineer at Mars Foods in Slough.

Sam Williams – 11 apps, 2 goals

Despite the frontman being brought in by Andy Scott to boost the ailing Brentford frontline, 21-year-old Williams’ scoring record did not make for great reading and when he made his debut after joining from Aston Villa, it was clear to see why when he missed a sitter in the 1-0 win over Barnet on 10 March. He did, though, redeem himself in the following game – which just so happened to be one of the most hotly-anticipated fixtures of the season – scoring an 81st-minute equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Wycombe.

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A successful trial led to a two-year deal at Yeovil, before he returned to London with Dagenham & Redbridge in 2011. He left upon the expiry of his contract and appears to have dropped out of league football, with no appearance data available since.

James Wilson – 16 apps, 0 goals

Welsh defender Wilson became a valuable asset to the Brentford squad in the title-winning season, despite having never played a senior game upon his arrival. Two clean sheets in his first two League Two starts soon showed what the youngster was made of, though. Having come through the ranks at Bristol City, with Frankie Artus, James’ displays alongside Alan Bennett in central defence exuded maturity and led to an eventual six clean sheets during his time at the club. Mark Phillips’ recovery from long-term injury meant he was no longer required, yet he managed to cross the threshold to be awarded a League Two winners medal.

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Andy Scott was so taken by his talent he re-signed him the following year, but he signed off with a red card against Wycombe in November 2009. His career seems to have peaked in 2013 when, after an extended spell in the Bristol City first 11, he was awarded his first and only cap for Wales in a 1-1 draw with Belgium. James was rewarded with a move to Sheffield United having hit a century of appearances for Oldham, but he suffered a nightmare spell at Bramall Lane and is now part of the Lincoln side taking League Two by storm.

Josh Wright – 6 apps, 0 goals

Instagram: joshwright4444

Widely known as the brother of former ‘The Only Way is Essex’ star Mark – Wright the younger was just beginning to settle in west London when he was recalled by Charlton boss Alan Pardew due to an injury crisis at The Valley. Having spent the previous season in League Two with Barnet, the 18-year-old had grown accustomed to the rigours of the division and this was almost instantly obvious when he joined the Bees in mid-September.

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Starting in alongside Marcus Bean in central midfield, Josh’s presence kept Kevin O’Connor on standby, before his stay was abruptly cut short. Two Championship run-outs and an FA Cup appearance for the Addicks followed, but he departed after a loan spell with Gillingham and spent time in the capital with both Millwall and Leyton Orient, before he re-joined the Gills permanently in 2015. Following his release from Southend in the summer, he ventured north and now captains League One strugglers Bradford.

Originally featured in BEES Issue #12 v Bolton Wanderers (22 December 2018)


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