Head in the sand? Or glass half full optimism?

20 Aug

The morning after the night before. Brentford returned home empty handed from Portman Road yesterday as a 2-0 defeat saw Ipswich Town continuing their 100% record in the Championship. With Wolves, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday next up for the Bees in the league, can we expect any respite from our own bad luck and bottom of the table placing? Are we just a bounce of the ball away from administering a tonking and picking up our first three point haul of the season? Or are we locked in a downward spiral of self-pity with no means of arresting a slide?

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 16.13.22



Will Harlee stay a Bee and win back his armband?



My relegation tip have four wins from four . Move along etc

Nick Bruzon

6 Responses to “Head in the sand? Or glass half full optimism?”

  1. Gordonbankole August 20, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    Dear All

    Yesterday was all too predictable.

    We were WAY better than Ipswich in every area except where it mattered. The first half in particular was embarrassingly one-sided. Except we went in 1-0 down.

    We are the best team in the league between the two penalty areas and the worst team inside them, particularly the one we are defending.

    The first goal was another horror show and once again we gave away a free header in a very scorable position for the second. At which point the heads went down a bit.

    We are very guilty of trying to score the perfect goal and/or just taking that bit too long to tee up shots, which gives the oppo a chance to block. Wish we could defend like that, mind.

    Of course, we were not helped by the referee’s inability to deal with (or even spot) some of the most blatant cynicism and rotational fouling I’ve seen since Middlesbrough.

    The fact is, we are now on the verge of another worrying DS slump. Of course it’s still very early doors, but if things continue like this, we’ll get more plaudits for our football than points.

    Our manager has much to ponder…



    • Dave Washer August 20, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      Excellent points, Gordon. Absolutely spot on about being the best team between the two penalty areas and the worst inside them. Spot on.

  2. Dave Washer August 20, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Two things for me, Nick.

    First, why wasn’t Harlee’s contract sorted pre-season? Such an important player (and captain) should have had his future sorted well before kick off at Bramall Lane. Asking for too much money? Refusing to sign because he wants to leave? Fair enough. Then don’t play him at all. Build the defence around Egan – a talented (if still raw) player who a) is now a fully-fledged Irish international and b) is committed to the club. All this uncertainty is not good for anyone and, combined with the stripping of the captaincy, makes us look weak and disunited before we even take to the field.

    Second, in my opinion, there has been far too much focus (to the point of fixation) on youth – both in terms of transfers and team selection. Great to have the youngest team in the Championship, but I’m afraid our naivety has cost us dear already this season. Why on earth did we let Alan McCormack go? How we miss his experience, grit, fire and leadership now. I like Mokotjo a lot, but he has no experience of either English football or the Championship. I’m afraid that regardless of how exciting we might look going forwards, it all counts for nothing if we can’t keep them out at the other end. Example: Sheffield United… Forest… Bristol City… Ipswich. Yes, players like Watkins, Maupay and Sawyers are all excellent, but when you are such a soft touch in defence and defensive midfield it all counts for very little. (For proof, take a look at the table.)

    We all know how the Championship works by now. You need flair, pace and skill, but you also need some grit and steel about you too. Players that know how to work the ref. Players that can get the opposition wound up so that they make mistakes. Players that can get people booked. And players that know how to wind down the clock for a lucky 1-0 win when you don’t deserve it (and also know when to hoof it into row Z, rather than play pretty football in defence when there’s simply no need to).

    To me, these are the players we don’t have. Did we have them in 2014-15 when Warburton was in charge? For me, we did. Douglas and Diagouraga ran the show in midfield, broke up opposition attacks and fed the creative men like Pritchard, Judge, Dallas and Jota. Did we have them when Carsley rescued us after the Marinus experiment? Well, we still had Dave and we had McCormack too. Remember Charlton away that season? Yes, we won it because of Judge’s genius – but would he have had so much of the ball if the two in midfield hadn’t been there to break up play and GIVE him the ball in the first place? Did we have it last season? Arguably not. But we did still have McCormack to come in at times (despite missing a lot of the season through injury).

    I guess it shows you how much we miss Ryan Woods. But even when he’s back (and huge condolences to him and his partner, of course) we’re still too light when it comes to midfield ‘bite your legs’ grit and steel. Look at McCarthy. Look at Warnock. Look at Rowett. Look at Warburton. Can you imagine any of them going into this season without a decent smattering of experienced Championship hard men / ball winners? I can’t. And they haven’t. (Want proof? Again, look at the table.)

    Would players like McCormack get us to the top of the league? Probably not. Would they have brought an added dimension, determination and resilience that would have brought more favourable results from the last four league games? In my opinion, absolutely yes. Sheffield United: shaken up. Forest: roughed up. Bristol City: battered. Ipswich: fire fought with fire.

    Am I missing something? Am I too simplistic? I don’t think I am. Football is actually a pretty simple game. Score one more than your opponent and you win. But scoring one more than your opponent is not just about looking good going forwards. It’s about looking strong defensively too.

    • Nigel Garrigan August 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

      Absolutely agree with every point Dave, as you say, look at Mick McCarthy, he buys 2 experienced Championship strikers, for not a lot of money, they score goals, 2 against us – job done – enough said.

  3. Anglian Wolf August 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    Looking forward to this coming Saturday and another trip to Griffin Park – always a good day out.

    The Bees at home is always a tough match but in recent years it’s also been an entertaining one. Hoping for the same this week.

    The fact that you’ve had a poor start and, from reading this blog, unluckily so heightens my nervousness about this game. I know you’ve got some decent players and Dean Smith is a shrewd manager.

    From the comments it seems the general view is you are short of strikers – well we would say the same about Wolves. We’ve obviously invested heavily this summer and bought well. We have pretty much a new back 3 (or 5) including our very own Big Willy, a new keeper and a couple of exciting Portguese lads in the middle in the shape of Neves and Jota.

    The quality of our football in our first three games was, at least for Wolves fans, mesmerising at times and the excitement levels amongst the fans is sky high. Thus the reason selling out Molineux twice and selling out all of our away allocations.

    We got mugged this last Saturday by Warnock’s thuggish brand of anti-football but that was always on the cards. I’m not sure how our style of play will suit smaller pitches but I guess we’re about to find out.

    Always get a good welcome at Griffin Park and hope it’s a good game all round.

    I will look forward as I always do to the blog that follows – this is one of the best fan blogs in the Championship in my opinion. Second only I’d have to say to our very own South Bank poet Michael Petalengro. He has a style with a use of imagery and language that is utterly unique. Well worth a read if you’re interested https://southbankresistance.wordpress.com/2017/08/19/the-ballad-of-colin-wanker/

    Keep up the good work and see you Saturday

  4. the ain't August 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    dean smith do the rite thing and play de third team at qpr in the league cup don’t tire out de lads any more or risk even more injuries de league comes first

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