Archive | Cardiff City RSS feed for this section

Cardiff. We lost. And? It was sunny.

8 Apr

Cardiff City 2 Brentford 1. Apparently. Come for the football; stay for the sunshine and Cardiff beach. On a day that saw brackets in the Championship as Norwich City beat Reading 7(seven) – 1, we are clearly at the ‘relaxed’ end of the campaign.

Those who travelled to the Cardiff City Stadium were treated to as non-commital a stroll in the sunshine as one could expect. Perhaps it was just the net result of playing 3 games in 8 days but, with mid-table safety assured and QPR 6 points behind the Bees, this one had all the feel of a pre-season friendly.

A late shout for a penalty aside, when surely Alan McCormack was felled on the edge of the box, there was little to get the blood pumping. But perhaps this alone is testament to where our team are and where we have come from.

What’s that you say? We should accept a defeat like puppies rolling over to have our tummies tickled? At the same time, whilst I can’t imagine anyone having that specific thought, the point is more a long term one.

Sure. Brentford lost. However we’re now a regular mid-table Championship team and, moreso, one with every potential to really push on next season. The post Hogan era is one which has offered nothing but goals, points and exciting football.

I’d love to have won. I’d love to have pulled Fulham ever closer to us. But we didn’t. At the same time there was an acceptance about the game. Cardiff offered nothing. Nothing.

We Are Hoilett‘, declared the big screen at one point. Whilst perhaps true, Brentford were no better. In that whilst we equalled the Bluebirds, even taking the lead as half time approached thanks to the mercurial talent of Sergi Canos, it was what felt like our first real attempt at goal. To Cardiff’s none. A lot of huff. A lot of puff. But no penetration. Neil Warnock nullifying the attacking threat of the Bees as Dean Smith was unable to find a plan B.

IMG_6804

But hey. Sergi had done the business. Despite the reluctance of the City scoreboard controller to acknowledge our goal, Brentford went in at half time a goal up. Surely this would be enough?

Sadly not. Failure to defend another corner (remember Burton?) was a gift to the Welsh hosts before many of the visiting fans had returned from their half time tea and a wee (other drinks/activities are available). And from there, the die was cast.

Despite Dan Bentley doing his very best, it was soon 2-1 to the hosts before everything reverted to the pre-season feel. And from that point, nothing. From either team. The Bees had the odd sortie forward, one culminating in the foul on McCormack, but there was little or nothing to get the blood pumping.

IMG_6786

There was a big hint outside the ground

That’s no real complaint. We’ve no divine right to win everything. The players must be on their last legs and have done nothing in recent weeks than offer encouragement for next season. Now, the season is all but at an end. Although there are still plenty of highlights left.

Good Friday at home to Derby. The trip to Barnsley where our own Buzz has the chance to avenge his alleged defeat to Toby Tyke in our early season mascot race. Then there is the small matter of games with QPR and Fulham.

Whatever the time of year. Whatever the season. Whatever our league placings. Whatever the division. Those are games where nothing but a Brentford win can be the aspiration. Games where we know how incredible a win for the Bees can feel. Games where defeat can be that emptiest of sensations.

Think of Stuart Dallas at the Cottage. Romaine Sawyers at Loftus Road. Likewise, Alan Judge being pressed into that ‘false 9’ position a season earlier. When it’s great; it’s incredible. When it’s bad then there are no words.

Dallas 2-0

View from the terrace – didn’t he hit that well

We may have lost today, but the season is still ending on a high. It is an odd feeling though.

From a personal perspective I’ve never been to an away game where the entire vibe was so relaxed. From both sets of fans. About the most that got Cardiff excited was the funfair in the car park. Perhaps one to give a wide berth to when Lionel Road is built. Even Billy Grant of Beesotted fame (and it’s always great to see our favourite fan group out and about) was in stealth mode with ne’er a selfie stick in sight. But at least he was here and still doing the much loved podcast thing. Have mobile phone, will travel.

With Simon Moore and his Sheffield United team earning promotion to the Championship today, perhaps it was ironic that we spent a sunny day in Cardiff, very much in beach mode.

IMG_6809

Come for the football. Stay for the newspapers

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Can Lasse grab another pizza the action at Cardiff ? Brighton do Bees a favour.

8 Apr

Brentford travel to Cardiff City today. Brighton retook the lead in the Championship from Newcastle after despatching the Loftus Road mob last night (and do us a potential favour at the same time). And FourFourTwo magazine have published their list of the match day experiences at all 92 league grounds, ranked in order from worst to best . Coventry City, look away now.

First up Brentford. And we’ll keep this brief – I’ve got a train to catch. The trip to Cardiff represents an excellent chance to continue our rise up the table following three straight victories. The latest, our 2-0 win over Leeds United on Tuesday night, being one of the most complete Brentford performances seen in recent times. It really was that good. Romaine Sawyers, Harlee Dean, Sergi Canos and Lasse were amongst those taking the headlines but, in truth, we were wonderful to a man.

IMG_6728

Jota watches the action unfold against Leeds on Tuesday

The flip side to all of this was injuries to Nico and Ryan, which makes both of them unlikely to start today. Alan McCormack and KK being the obvious replacements and, if supplemented by Jota along with the aforementioned Sergi and Romaine that will still make a formidable five.

Expect an unchanged defence from Tuesday (Clarke, Barbet, Dean and Rico) with Dan Bentley between the sticks and Lasse leading the line. That is, on the assumption he hasn’t got his fingers burned in a little Italian restaurant. At Brentford Lock. I think it fair to say he’s more than earned that midweek pizza.

With Brighton condemning QPR to another notch in the ‘L’ column last night, Brentford remain 6 points above our West London rivals with today’s game to come. Victory could see us rise as high as ninth although, of course, it won’t be easy.

Dean Smith’s press conference on Thursday included the very telling observation that, “ “Neil Warnock teams are very difficult to beat. He has them well organised and they will be up for every game.”

There’s no doubting Mrs Doubtfire has the Bluebirds flying once more since their early season flirtation with the lower end of the table. It won’t be easy but the chance to draw further ahead of QPR and close in on both Fulham and last season’s 9th place finish is a huge lure. Can we do it? See you at the Cardiff City stadium this afternoon when we find out.

And for those of you travelling, it you’d like some reading material for the journey (no, not the book i although if you would like to read more about the last three seasons…….)   then could I suggest the online version of FourFourTwo magazine. Specifically, the aforementioned stadium guide they published this week.

Whilst, admittedly, being somewhat out of date it does hit the mark in most places. Certainly, I’d baulk at our performance relative to some of the soulless enormobowls we’ve had the pleasure of visiting this last few seasons. After all, this is a survey of match day experience rather than stadium quality.

Then again, if ever the Lionel Road team need some inspiration then here is a chance to see what the magazine deem the best and worst in English football.

Enjoy

Nick Bruzon

Brentford draw, Swansea and Palace get Santa’s sack and 2016 is summed up in one tweet. A week (and a bit) in football – The Good , The Bad and The Ugly.

28 Dec

A bit late this week, or is it on time? The Christmas schedule always puts the calendar somewhat out of sync. Half way through the campaign and Brentford drew 2-2 with Cardiff City to shore up what is now looking like a mid-table season. At the top, Brighton’s fourth win on the bounce (this time over relegation bound QPR) saw them overtake Newcastle United in the battle to top the table. And at the other end Rotherham , Wigan and Blackburn Rovers occupy the relegation slots.

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. With double bank holidays throwing the calendar into confusion (today being Wednesday, I think) there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest edition of our regular, weekly-ish feature  – we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

And, as ever, we start at Griffin Park where there isn’t a huge amount to add off a game where referee Simon Hooper dominated affairs. A shame, as it meant that first time around  we were denied moments such as this…..

Meanwhile, in the first of a Tom Moore double…. does he know something about Dean Smith that we don’t? Or do Get West London need a new pictures editor?

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-06-36-59

Tom has been keeping himself busy as he’s been covering events at hapless QPR, too. With the not so super hoops slithering down the Championship table to sit just three points above the drop zone, one can only imagine Ian Holloway is starting to shuffle uncomfortably in his own managerial hot seat. It only seems like a few months ago that he was tipping Brentford to be relegated whilst suggesting the Loftus Road outfit (currently 20th) would end the season 11th.Not that anybody will remind him of these in May….

wlpj-on-holloway

A bit higher up the table, Gianfranco Zola has immediately rewarded the decision of the Birmingham City board to sack Gary Rowett.

partridge-on-birmingham-zola

This, something also picked up on by BBC man Phil Parry.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-07-12-59

Lower down the league ladder, one can only rejoice in the fact that there’s an equally big fall out from a spot kick strop as Brentford suffered after ‘that penalty’.

redhill-penalty

In the Premier League, it was less Santa’s sack and more a managerial one. Or two. Bob Bradley was relieved of his duties at Swansea City whilst Sam Allardyce took over from Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. It was nice to see worlds collide….

Big Sam was the instant source of further questioning following his appointment.

big-sam-palace

Although there can’t be any chance of Mr Pardew being out of work for too long.

pardew-pedigree

Meanwhile non-league Bungay Town were quick to jockey for position despite Ryan Giggs being named as odds on favourite for the role at Swansea…

bungay-town-on-bb

Getting back to matters on field in the top flight, Arsenal continued to display their ambition.

wenger

Leicester City took protests about Jamie Vardy’s suspension to another level.

vardy

The day after Boxing Day (Tuesday?) saw Liverpool v Stoke City in the televised clash. Despite the Potters having taken a deserved lead, normal service was resumed in some style.

james-tyler-on-liverpool

The visiting manager refused to bend from his principles.

sam-wallace-on-liverpool-v-stoke

Principles which, once reminded of, deserve a repeat viewing just to remember how short ‘short’ shorts were back in the day.

mark-hughes-1984

But it wouldn’t be the festive period without a traditional Christmas message from the Queen.

queen-speech

Or in the case of former Everton ‘keeper Neville Southall, an untraditional one.

neville-southall

And there was a Christmas blast from the past.

christmas-escape-ceefax

Although, ultimately, you could sum up the period (and 2016 as a whole) in one tweet.

mrs-brown

Finally, as ever, we close with Ian Moose and his birthday friend of the week. Which of his good friends from the world of football did the Talksport DJ wish happy birthday to, via the medium of a Twitter post and picture of them together?

Given it is a period that included December 25 I was half expecting to see him pose with Jesus. However, having checked the little book of footballing birthdays Manchester City’s Navas was born on November 21st.

Instead, this week his ‘good friend’ is none other than former Bee Chris Kamara .

moose-birthday-dec-25

Nick Bruzon 

Christmas present from Crystal Palace helps Brentford draw with 12 man Cardiff.

27 Dec

A fair point, lucky to get away with it or robbed? Brentford and Cardiff City shared the spoils in 2-2 Boxing Day draw that sprang to life late in the second half but, prior to that, had been a game which felt as stodgy and bloated as a third helping of sprouts and Christmas pudding. Only the presence of Crystal Palace loanee Sullay Kaikai managing to save the day.

And talking of Christmas puddings (oh, the crowbarring…) referee Simon Hooper was giving out no gifts (the penalty to Cardiff for their opener, aside) as he enraged the Griffin Park faithful, management and players – with Harlee Dean being awarded a yellow card for his (correct) protests at yet another stonewall penalty being turned down.

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-14-09-59

Harlee tells the ref what we all think and saw – c/o Beesplayer highlights (below)

It was as shocking a display of refereeing as one could hope to see. Consistently poor decision making as appeals for three nailed on spotkicks were waved away by the man in the middle. But it wasn’t just him.

The assistant on the Braemar Road side  proving absolutely no use in telling him what we could all see. Their existence on the pitch proving pointless which, ironically, was how Brentford were almost left after Cardiff had retaken the lead with minutes on the clock.

img_4455

Pointless officials almost left the Bees , erm, empty handed

One point for the visitors would have been harsh, let alone all three. They’d taken the lead in the first half with the one penalty that Mr Hooper saw fit to award, for the most innocuous of innocuous ‘challenges’ (please note: yours, and everybody else’s definition of the word ‘challenge may vary).

Yet if the Bees had been robbed we were hardly making a fight of hauling ourselves back into it. Turgid, apathetic, lazy. Every manner of ’too much Christmas dinner’ related cliche. Any of these would have been an apt description of a team that not so much failed to get going as failed to make it out onto the pitch.

With Cardiff opting to go for muscle , brawn and height there is enough talent in this team to have kept it on the deck and run rings around them. Instead, it was tedium in football form. Bounced off the challenge and as many sideways and backwards passes as attempts to take it forward dominated our play. The first half was, frankly, as entertaining as a Christmas cracker joke.

img_4340

Answers on a postcard…

An hour in, substitutions . And good ones. McEachran for Sawyers and Sullay Kaikai for Lasse Vibe. Neither had played well whilst, for whatever reasons, the form of our great Dane seems to have long gone off the boil. How he is still justifying a starting berth is confusing to many but, with the new look team in place, things did step up.

With an added positive substitution of Philipp Hofmann coming on for Bjelland, the Bees began to push. And push. The penalty appeals aside, it was surely going to be matter of time.

And then it happened. Visiting ‘keeper Brian Murphy could no longer hold off the red hoardes as, despite a number of fine saves, he finally saw his net bulge courtesy of a quite magnificent effort from Sullay Kaikai. That’s one to hit rewind for again and again once the official highlights come out (until then, we have the Sky variant available).

Mark Burridge now on hand for ‘official’ comms

But with the Bees pressing for a late winner, we were caught short. Kenneth Zohore beating the last man when played on side and, with a generous shove chucked into the mix, was able to fire the Bluebirds into an 89th minute 2-1 lead.

With fans trooping out early for the pub, and City gloating, it was dead in the water, wasn’t it? Those who stayed were rewarded for their faith. That man Kaikai popping up again to head home John Egan’s cross and salvage a point for the Bees.

We should have won this. We could have lost it. Don’t let the anti-performance of the referee or our late surge disguise the fact that we were so desperately poor for huge swathes of this game. But for the Crystal Palace man we’d have had few complaints, barring the referee, at coming away empty handed.

A team just can’t rely on arbitrary decision making from the man in the middle to determine their fate. Cardiff offered nothing beyond grunt yet even that was too sophisticated for the Bees in the opening hour.

The record books will show a point earned and, in the longer term, we’ll have few complaints. Yet I do wonder why Dean’s teams are so inconsistent and such late starters?  Why can’t we play for 90 minutes? See also : Birmingham City . Why do we just fail to turn up at times? See also: Barnsley, Norwich City and Fulham.

I’ve no issue losing but the consistency, or lack off, is perplexing. We just don’t know which Brentford we’re going to get. Here’s hoping that when we play Norwich City on New Year’s Eve it’ll be the one that humped Reading 4-1 or Preston 5-0 way back in September.

Not the Brentford who got turned over 5-0 at Carrow Road earlier this month.

On Dec 31st, we find out. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

With Brentford in a Field of Dreams (sorry) here’s one turkey from Christmas past before Cardiff on Boxing Day.

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all that. Brentford are preparing to host Cardiff City (for whom Sol Bamba – a terrace songsmith’s dream if there was one – will be missing) whilst Rangers fans will be crying into their sprouts at the prospect of no Jota under the tree. As for Matthew Benham, will he be the beneficiary of a £15million gift from West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa or even Reading in the New Year sales? This, of course, being the current suggested rate for a Scott Hogan.

Reading have probably got more chance of picking up Hulk Hogan than Scott. Why would he need to even consider going there? Besides, with the Royals already baulking at the prospect of having to pay £9million (as has been reported in the Birmingham Mail), adding another 6 to that is going to be well beyond their particular ball park.

reading-hogan

There’s more chance of Hulk than Scott

That is if we even sell in the forthcoming window. Eventually, of course, it will happen. Nobody is that naive whilst the simple mathematics of ‘one club players’ so rarely being a thing these days make it inevitable at some point. Yet in the short term, the tantalising prospect of seeing him and a returning Jota on the same pitch is one I’m still holding out hope for in the second half of this season.

Still, all that is to come. We have the festive games against Cardiff and Norwich City to before that. Scott will surely be the first name on the team sheet (unless he has a sick relative), closely followed by Tom Field. The left back “delighted” at having just signed a contract extension that will see him at Griffin Park until 2020.

For all that Scott is doing it at one end, few could deny the wonderful start that Tom has had to his own Brentford career. From a home debut agasint Fulham where his call up was so unexpected that even supporters were asking ‘Who?‘ when they saw his name on the team sheet, to a recent run in the side as Dean has switched to a three centre back system supported by Tom and Maxime Colin. It is no coincidence that we are yet to concede a goal in the League whilst Tom has been on the pitch.

c0xuninxuaetgcu

Tom in a field of dreams. A pun so bad we made it twice

Prior to all of that we have Christmas day ahead of us. Preparations here are remarkably under control with all shopping done (for once). Already I’m dreading that Columbo moment around 3pm when Mrs Bruzon asks for “ Just one more thing…..” from a by then heaving, and empty shelved, supermarket. So until that happens, here’s one we’ve run before but probably deserves another airing.

It is a story that, if being honest, I had completely forgotten about until an article in The Times a few years ago from none other than Mark Clemmit.

Mark, of course, is better known as Clem, the ever popular roving reporter for BT Sport and formerly of the BBC Football League Show. There, his own performance was the subject of a season long analysis in 2014/15 as to whether there is any support for many supporters’ long held belief that he ‘jinxes’ whichever team he follows. Specifically, that the team covered by the man with the mic that week would, at best, pick up a point. Indeed, by season end Clem teams had only tasted victory 7(seven) times out of 30

But we digress. The jinx factor aside, it is fair to say that Clem remains an endearing and well-respected pundit. Aswell as his TV work he has also been a prolific writer over the years and it was for the aforementioned paper that he chose to talk about Brentford a few years back. Or, specifically, what we tried at Christmas 1983

To me, 1983 doesn’t seem that long ago. Knight Rider, Blackadder and the A-Team graced our TV screens whilst big hits at the cinema included Return of the Jedi and Octopussy. On the football pitch, Stan Bowles was strutting his stuff for The Bees whilst Bob Booker was halfway through his first spell at Griffin Park.

That said, given as Bob made his final appearance for us in 1993 that doesn’t really narrow it down, such was the three-decade spanning length of his Brentford career. Even Roger Moore only lasted as Bond for 12 years although for all that I love his time in the role, even I have to step back in slight disbelief at the image, from the official movie poster, of 007 casually standing on the tail of a speeding aeroplane as he tosses a bad guy to his doom.

Octopussy

Roger’s wing walking (top left) a highlight of 1983

But the point being that, to me at least, 1983 still seems very vivid in the mind’s eye. As such, I was intrigued by the gem that Clem had unearthed, pertaining to Brentford’s Christmas fixture list. The ever-progressive club had, at one point, looked to revive an old festive tradition and arrange our game with Wimbledon for 11am on December 25th.

It seems madness now but not as crazy as the reasoning, given out by the Press Officer at the time. It was an attempt to get back to, and I quote, “The old idea of men going to football whilst ladies stayed at home to cook the turkey”.

Seriously? Was this just Clem having a joke at the expense of Brentford fans? Seemingly not. A quick trawl of the interweb reveals this gem elsewhere whilst, more importantly, it is directly referenced in the excellent “100 years of Brentford” book.

After protests from both sets of fans the game was rearranged for Christmas Eve and we promptly lost 3-4 in front of 6,689 fans.

Their numbers, presumably, bolstered by women who had been unchained from their cookers.

Here’s hoping for a better result on Monday against Cardiff City. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

Russell, Slayed (by Welsh Dragon). Another one bites the dust

4 Jun

Controversial owner? Dugout equipped with an ejector seat to assist in jettisoning the manager ? Not Brentford – things are relatively stable at Griffin Park and Matthew Benham is a legend. But the same can’t be said elsewhere. Yesterday saw Cardiff City follow Leeds United in replacing a cult favourite as Russell Slade departed

Earlier this week we got the sad news that Elland Road head honcho Massimo Cellino had given Steve Evans the ‘thumb down’ and exercised his regular right to change head coach. Whatever Leeds United supporters think about the situation, it is a massive shame for Brentford fans who will be deprived of those wonderful press conferences that only Evans could give.

Packed with more sour grapes than a cocktail of ‘past its sell by date’ value brand lambrini and liebfraumilch (and often sounding like he had consumed too much of it, such was the nonsense spouted) you can’t deny these were colourful events. He was good for a quote, that’s for sure, and certainly wore his heart on his sleeve.

Cellino thumbs down

Our artist’s impression of Cellino doing the usual

Possibly the only manager in the Championship to match this intensity was Russell Slade at Cardiff City. Those of us with an eye on the news will know that owner Vincent Tan had already replaced him as the Welsh club’s manager last month, moving the former Leyton Orient boss into a ‘head of football’ role.

Now, just 28 days later, itis all over. Slade has left the club altogether and, with it, in all likelihood the Championship. Charlton Athletic are currently being touted as a possible destination although having just left the clutches of one alleged crackpot would he want to walk straight into the chilling embrace of another ?

That’s his decision, of course. I take no pleasure from seeing anybody lose their job. Genuinely, like Steve Evans, I’ll miss the chance to cross swords with Russell Slade this coming season. Nobody could deny they weren’t wonderful occasions.

They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup” he so famously said after Brentford had beaten Leyton Orient to move ahead in the race for promotion to the Championship  back in March 2014.

It is a line that has never been forgotten and inspired everything from my own first ‘season review’ to those famous Beesotted trophies. Indeed, I have good reason to believe one of these may have made it directly into the hands of Mr Slade himself…

The Championship is going to be a quieter place with out the likes of Slade and Evans in her press conferences and dugouts.

Let’s hope that both are back soon.

Nick Bruzon

For more ‘Last Word’ reading, today we’ve also got a special guest column from regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush. Given his thoughts and views on the refereeing upheaval that awaits next season.

You can read that here

Slade flame FA Cup

Slade in flames – the Welsh dragon has roared

 

 

Sex, pies and audiotape (there’s no sex. or audio)

20 Apr

Like many Brentford fans, I was buzzing when I got home last night. A 2-1 win over Cardiff City had seen Scott Hogan add a further brace to Saturday’s last minute equaliser against Bristol City. The Bees had made it 13 points from 15 and the Last word, high on the delights of victory, had gone up early. Now it’s time to (apologies) go again as we round up the other bits and pieces from Tuesday.

image

A fine win but what else happened ?

First up, Broadcast Moose. Anybody who read the post match article would have seen his comments about Russell Slade refusing to talk to him after the game. My gut reaction was that the Cardiff manager was exhibiting yet more of the sour grapes that he seems to have reserved for the Bees.

I’m pretty sure there was something mentioned about an FA Cup once whilst he was hardly full of praise when guesting on the Football League show that season. Mind you, if I’d been the victim of Manish repating the “Slade at Christmas” joke (wonderful once, woeful a second time) then I might feel a tad irritated.

Now, I’m not looking to defend Slade. Like Steve Evans, he cultivates a personality (at least, with fans) that is one of a bullish and outspoken manager. Reap what you sow. Behind closed doors he may be a lovely chap. I just don’t know, sadly. And I say sadly because I have it on good authority that at least one of Beesotted’s wonderful FA Cups made it into his direct ownership last season. Did he laugh, cry, store it up in the back of his mind? Who knows? But I digress.

Having cultivated this personality he’s there to be shot down and last night’s whine from Moose was, on the surface, such an opportunity .

Yet, Yet, Yet. Having slept on it , something doesn’t sit quite right.

I’m not too proud to admit I lay in bed last night, thinking about Russell Slade (and I hope to God my wife isn’t reading today). Or, more specifically, and probably even worse, Broadcast Moose. Hey, at least it wasn’t Jeff Stelling.

I may not know much about football’s inner workings but I do know that managers normally speak to the press and give some form of post-match conference. Sure enough, checking News Now he certainly appears to have spoken to journalists, with various pieces now online that detail his comments. For example, Sky Sports have quoted him as saying, “We lacked that clinical finish in the first half when we had total control. In the second we lost it a bit, they became a threat on the counter and we defended poorly”.

So what’s Moose’s beef? He was, as ever (yawn) banging on about the state of the catering during the game – a routine that is about as endearing as being forced to watch the season’s opener of ‘Football League Tonight on an infinite loop. Whilst Kelly and George have, thankfully, upped their game, Moose hasn’t changed the record.

But putting the pies to one side, what was really bugging me is  – why would Slade treat him like this?

Surely in the press area he’d have no choice but to answer the questions? Surely if one journalist had been singled out for a snubbing then this would have been more widely reported?

I don’t know what happened for sure – or where this contretemps actually took place. That, something Mr. Moose has failed to mention whilst making his quite provocative comments, including: “What a bad loser Russell Slade has become….,tonight point blank refused to do a post match interview….Mr Slade could only grunt no”

It takes a lot for me to think about Russell Slade as having the moral high ground but I’m just putting it out there for the sake of balance. Russell / Ian, if you are reading…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 06.19.05

Moose – at least he was happy about the pies

As for the rest of last night. Peter Gilham wins the award (should one exist) for moment of the evening, or at least half time, after exhibiting more of that deadpan brilliance for which he is so loved. Whilst talking about the opportunity for fans to get involved in the club’s social media, he mentions “Snapchat”, paused for a moment and then added, “Whatever that is.

Peter, I’m with you .

Toumani, He’s done it again. Again. After getting his second Leeds United goal at the weekend against Reading, least night he took his total to three, grabbing their second in a 2-1 win over Wolves. Whilst I was desperately sad to see Toumani go, I’m thrilled to bits for him that the floodgates are now opening. That said, I know I’m not alone in taking this ‘personally’ after such a long wait! Leeds fans must have now “been on the pitch” (metaphorically speaking) more times than the average episode of Dragon’s Den.

And finally, I couldn’t end without further mention of Scott Hogan. Or, specifically Matthew Benham and our head of medical, Neil Greig. Without their investment of faith in the player (not to mention financially or in terms of time) there’s no way we’d be celebrating his goal scoring prowess this week.

It would have been so easy to pay up his contract and let him go. Not Brentford. We’ve always treated our injured players well and boy is that being rewarded now.

Congratulations to Scott, of course. But huge thanks to Matthew and Neil.

Nick Bruzon

Russell, Slayed…. Get over it

19 Apr

Brilliant Brentford have done it again. Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over Cardiff City saw Dean Smith’s side make it 13 points from 15 over April whilst all but ending the visitor’s play off aspirations. But it was less the win and more the performance of super sub Scott Hogan that saw supporters leaving Griffin Park with genuine spring in the step.

Nobody needs any reminding of the interminable fight back from injury that Scott has endured these last two seasons. Yet that all seemed a distant memory as he came off the bench to equalise against Bristol City on Saturday afternoon. Exciting though it had been , it was merely the aperitif for what came tonight.

Not one but, this time, two goals for Scott in just 14 minutes as he rescued things once more for the Bees. The first a close range tap in after Barbet had hit the bar (bet?) whilst the second saw him latch on to Lasse Vibe’s pass to double the lead with a beautiful finish from a tight angle.

image

View from the terrace – Scott and Nico celebrate the opener

Despite a last minute consolation for Cardiff, the points were secure and mean that Scott has now scored three times in his last 32 minutes of League football. Just to put that into perspective, it’s one more than Nick Proschwitz managed all of last season and just two behind Northern Ireland International Will Grigg’s total for 2013/14.

Peter Gilham announced the goals over the p.a. system with similar exuberance to that on Saturday. I thought he was going to explode on the second, such was his excitement. Hey, had Scott got the hat-trick I think our man with the mic would have been celebrating like he’d won the FA Cup

More importantly though, the partnership he is forming with Lasse really is one to savour. Oh to see how they play together once Scott has regained his full match fitness.

Did Brentford deserve it tonight? Absolutely. Whilst Cardiff had the slightly better of a first half that Dean Smith would later describe, somewhat politely in my opinion, as “dismal”, it was the Bees who created the better chances the second period.

Lasse Vibe, clean through, had the very best of these. With just Marshall in the Cardiff goal to beat he squared it to Woods who, with just Marshall in the Cardiff goal to beat, returned it to his team mate. The momentum was lost and the chance smothered.

Still, as it transpired, this Chuckle Brothers tribute act didn’t matter. On a surreal night that saw everything from low flying herons over Griffin Park (not, as one terrace  observer thought, a seagull suffering from gigantism) to a post match hissy fit from Cardiff’s keeper,  two goals and three points that were all that mattered.

image-2

View from the terrace – City down and out after the second

Honourable mention must also go to Josh Clarke. He gave a very assured and confident display standing in for Maxime Colin. With James Ferry on the bench for the Bristol game and Reece Cole being given a similar honour tonight, it says a lot about the Bees youth system that these players are now coming through.

City manager Russell Slade was his usual curmudgeonly self after the game.  Reporter Ian Abrahams (aka Broadcast Moose) subsequently took to Twitter where he noted: What a bad loser Russell Slade has become, friendly as anything in his Orient days,tonight point blank refused to do a post match interview.Always sad to report when someone you think you know, you really don’t know at all, shame as Cardiff’s press team are so helpful & friendly.Mr Slade could only grunt no to me when I asked if he’d speak to me. Get over it Russell even the very best lose games at times.

Still, that’s their problem. Maybe there’d been a fight over the pies but it showed that, just as at Leyton Orient two years ago, Brentford had got one over the baseball cap sporting manager once again.

And doesn’t it feel good ? Like celebrating as though we’d won the…..

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 22.44.00

BBC Billy celebrates the moment 🙂

Nick Bruzon

Can Dean match the heights of some illustrious company?

19 Apr

Brentford host Cardiff City this evening with head coach Dean Smith aiming to continue April’s unbeaten run after seeing the Bees pick up three wins and a draw since March came to an end. It is an identical record to Chris Hughton’s Brighton whilst only Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough have better form after winning all five of their games this month. With the Bees now aiming to finish as high as possible, what’s left for us ?

Dean has made no secret of his desire to finish in the top ten. There’s currently a 4 point gap to Preston in 10th and 5 to Birmingham in ninth. With a game in hand it’s more than possible, statistically speaking, although translating that into actual points will be a big ask.

Cliff and Russell_face2

Russell Slade – has gone down in Brentford legend

And its not going to be easy tonight. For Cardiff City, a win is an absolute must. Five points outside the play-off places , anything but an away win will surely see our teams tied together for another season. Of course, Russell Slade will be celebrating like he’s won the FA Cup if he can secure the points and make some ground on Sheffield Wednesday.

The irony of his doing that two years and a day after those incredible scenes as the Bees went up would be lost on nobody.Despite his team going on a recent mini slump that has seen two draws and a loss,  you can bet he’ll have the Bluebirds fired up.

Then again, so will Dean. Since the injuries that have robbed his midfield of John Swift and Josh McEachran, the team have looked a different prospect. Whilst no side could say they were the same without the quality of Alan Judge, even Saturday against Bristol City saw us go so close to making it four in a row as the Bees continued with their attacking intent.

For all Dean talks about 10th, closer to home another win could make the battle for April’s ‘Manager of the month’ an interesting one. Of course, Aitor Karanka remains a shoe in for that as it stands with those 15 points out of 15. Yet with his Middlesbrough outfit facing fellow title chasers Burnley tonight (that’ll be some game) should Andre Gray and co do the business then it opens that one right up.

For me, the target still remains the Bees ending up as the top side in West London. We’re 6 clear of Fulham and only 3 behind the Loftus Road mob (with a game in hand).

Whilst Dean scooping an award in April will be a sign that we’re on track for that one, its a short term aspiration. If the Bees can finish top of this mini-pile after 46 games then I think that after all the ups and downs, the season will have been considered to have  ended on a high.

That’s a big ‘IF’ and, as I say, it won’t be easy tonight. Should anybody be in any doubt I’ll just put two words out there…

Stuart. Attwell.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 06.23.33

8 people liked the official announcement. Wow !

And finally, an apology. Yesterday’s column looked, in part, at the tour-de-force that was Sean Ridley hosting Terrace Talk. As part of this, it was noted that he ended his feature chasing after a duck.

I realise, now, this was wrong. In fact I am reliably informed it was an Egyptian Goose. So caught up was I in the excitement of his quite wonderful performance (and if you haven’t seen it yet, please do) that I’ve made a basic ornithological mix up.

I’m sorry.

That said, Sean has left a tough act to follow. No pressure, Jo 🙂

Nick Bruzon

Selection posers for Dean but will there be a Swift return? For Mark.

12 Apr

One can’t over emphasise the importance of Brentford having inflicted such a comprehensive defeat on Ipswich Town over the weekend. Three successive wins also saw another three goal display, following the previous victories over Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest. But, for me (Clive), it was the calibre of the opposition that was just as pleasing this time around.

Make no mistake, Ipswich were still harbouring play-off aspirations. The key word being ‘were’ – it’s safe to say those are dead in the water now. Likewise, it would be equally fair to say we’ve struggled against them since our promotion to the Championship. Two tough draws and that heavy Boxing Day defeat at Griffin Park, where victory would have seen Mark Warburton’s Bees go top of the table, have placed the Tractor Boys close to the Middlesbrough category when it comes to teams we’ve struggled with.

Equally, I’ve heard some naysayers talking about the quality of the opposition prior to that game. Bolton were doomed whilst Nottingham Forest had hit freefall and, even by their own supporters’ admission, put in one of the worst performances seen in that second half.

Brentford Bolton Griffin Park

A handful of Bolton fans were present as Brentford continued their winning run

Hey. As has been said before, you can only beat who is in front of you and we’ve struggled against poor teams in the past. But it does make the next few games – home to Bristol City and Cardiff City – very interesting.

Nobody needs any reminding of what happened to Alan Judge on Saturday. That said, the universal reaction of love and support from the Brentford fans aswell as many from Ipswich – shocked by Luke Hyam’s brutal assault – has provided some small level of comfort. Likewise, you can only have been moved by the philosophical approach and positivity shown in the subsequent statement and photograph that the Judge released.

Being pragmatic, we still have those Bristol and Cardiff games to prepare for and they are going to provide Dean Smith with further selection challenges. Alan would, of course, have been one of the first names on the team sheet but we know that is not going to happen again this season. So what will Dean do?

Konstantin Kerschbaumer, like the rest of his team mates, gave a very well received performance coming off the bench at Portman Road. Does he keep his place? What about Nico Yennaris? He, of course, playing in his new midfield role had scored in those two wins prior to Ipswich before missing that one through illness. Does he walk straight back into the team?

Then, of course, there is John Swift. He probably presents the trickiest of all decisions. Since his and Josh McEachran’s injury enforced absences the team has started to win. And win. Whilst, like Alan, we won’t be seeing Josh again this season, surely John’s gash will have healed sufficiently to allow him to be in contention this Saturday?

Whilst commons sense would suggest he will have to be content with, at best, a place on the bench this Saturday could that also be a longer term thing? Or will he walk straight back into the starting XI ?

Clearly a player admired for his talent and skill, he has come in for equal amounts of criticism for those misplaced passes, getting caught out of position and being generally lightweight at times. Oh for the Swift of the wins at home to Wolves or QPR rather than the no show at Loftus Road. Too often though, we’ve seen the latter from a player who is, let’s not forget, still learning his game and packed with potential.

There are only six league games left. The Bees are safe. Being honest, most of us were preparing for life without Alan Judge although due to his inevitable, post Euros, sale rather than the subsequent injury related reason. But what about John Swift? Don’t forget he is only here on loan.

Does Dean use these last few games to now look at his full time squad members for next season? Giving them a consistent run to see just how well they can do? After shuffling his pack these last few months, he does seem to have hit a winning formula.

Will that also see Swift going back to his parent club when the season draws to a close? Or is the England U-21 in his and Matthew Benham’s longer term plans?  Indeed, will Chelsea even want to sell him to the Bees ?

SWIFT Brentford QPR

Oh for more of Swift at his best

Certainly, these are questions that won’t be answered any time soon and I’d be amazed if we learn anything this weekend. Then again, I’m just the numpty on the terrace so what do I know? Just putting it out there to see who bites and what people think.

The other selection problem faced by Brentford is, of course, in the Bees Player commentary box. Nobody doubts that Mark Burridge does a stunning job talking us through the season. It is for good reason he is called ‘the commentator par-excellence’ and rivals the mellifluous Billy Reeves with his own, wonderful style.

Yet.Yet. Yet. His recent trip to the Augusta Masters has seen him, like John Swift, miss the last three games. And we all know what happened in them. 9 goals and 9 points.

Could this be the ultimate case of the commentator’s curse? Will Matthew Benham be revoking his press pass? Or will we be welcoming Mark back with open arms?

I only hope the latter. He does a stunning job for those displaced Brentford fans who can’t make the games and it’s always a pleasure listening to him. Instead, let’s put those three wins simply down to his own excellent delegation skills rather than any jinx !

Whilst I’ll be at the Bristol City game on Saturday, here’s to hearing Mark and Ciaran talking through another win on Sunday’s highlight’s package.

Nick Bruzon