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Derby Does Dallas as Twitter (mostly) lines up to put the boot in. See you next season.

16 May

 

What a missed opportunity. After all the build-up and that gruelling season, when the moment came the chance was spurned. The ball was sitting up to be hit into an open goal yet there wasn’t even a lazy leg wafted in the general direction of the target. With Leeds United conspiring to throw away a two goal advantage against Frank Lampard’s Derby County™ last night, Brentford official have chosen not to wade in to the general Twitter explosion. As supporter Luis Adriano noted….

My word. What an evening. What a game. What a supersonic performance from Derby. What magnificence for the neutral amongst us. What utter horror for Leeds United supporters who have seen their side let a seemingly impregnable position at Christmas slide away and then watched it turn into a choke of Scottish goalkeeping proportions. The quite wonderful Marcelo Bielsa seing his masterplan dissolving in a sea of devastation as the end of season defeat to Wigan and, of course, the whooping handed out by Brentford came back to haunt the Elland Road faithful.

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Sky cameras show a full time that was as devastating as any play-off has ever been

From that moment at Griffin Park they stumbled out of ‘automatic’ and into the play-offs where, despite a first leg advantage earned at Derby County, Saturday’s chants of “Stop crying Frank Lampard” had a somewhat hollow ring as full time was called. And I take no pleasure in saying that after the circumstances of the Rams’ visit to TW8 for April’s 3-3.  

It was a sentiment picked up all around the world where Twitter was awash with comedians lining up to put the boot into Leeds. But you can understand why after a game that had everything which makes the play-offs so compelling yet so brutal.

Despite the heroics of former Brentford star Stuart Dallas, whose early goal gave Leeds a 2-0 aggregate advantage, the home side saw their chances fade away when a horrific mix up between Liam Cooper and ‘keeper Casilla just prior to half-time offered Frank Lampard’s Derby etc etc a lifeline.

From that point on, there was only one team in it. Incredibly, Two more goals for the visitors within fifteen minutes of the restart saw the tie tuned on it’s head. Although that man Dallas restored parity soon after to keep the dream alive, in the end it was the visitors who held their nerve in a quite wonderful final half hour of attacking football. With Leeds down to ten men Jack Marriott did the needful on 85minutes as Derby held on to reach Wembley and a show down with Dean Smith.

What came next was as brutal as we’ve ever witnessed. We’re all used to the scenes of distraught players on the pitch and devastated fans but this was next level misery. Moreso, given the complete lack of sympathy from just about anybody and everybody not connected with Leeds United. As the Derby heroes celebrated, the rest of the football community joined in. Starting with Derby official themselves where some might say that what they did was thoroughly deserved….   

There’s nothing else you can say after that. Except, perhaps, see you next season when I’m sure that a certain song may be requested on #BeeTheDJ ….

Nick Bruzon

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Bees win at Bolton but Barbet wins at Twitter

24 Sep

And relax. Brentford thumped Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at the Macron on Saturday to record an opening league victory and move out of the bottom three. With Birmingham City failing to win (again), this time at a Derby County side who come to Griffin Park on Tuesday, it marked a quite wonderful afternoon for Bees fans. And players – for whom three stunning goals scored by Ollie Watkins, Nico Yennaris and Yoann Barbet were the icing on the cake of a performance that head coach Dean Smith has been promising for weeks.

If it was vindication for Dean Smith then what must it have been like for Yoann Barbet? The Frenchman started on the bench after taking what was, quite rightly, considered to be one of the all-time worst penalties ever seen at Griffin Park on Tuesday night. How he got such height from just 12 yards out was beyond the laws of physics in itself.

An early substitution for John Egan (Dean Smith telling BBC Billy Reeves that “He felt dizzy, felt coming off was for the good of the team” after getting a cut lip) saw Yoann enter the field of play. It saw him leave it at full time having been named ‘STAR of the day’. Not my words but those of the official EFL twitter feed. Although words I’d happily agree with.

Barbet EFL

Took his chance – and then some…

Sometimes, you just have to hold up your hands. Tuesday’s penalty was horrific. It lead to my own post match column noting that : “We’ve a tradition of centre backs hoofing dead balls over the bar. See also that ill-fated period of giving spot kick duties to number 26 … Likewise Miguel Llera and his attempts to channel Sam Saunders but which were more akin to Jonny Wilkinson. Why not just give it to a striker? A player whose job it it to strike the ball. To find the back of the net“.

Hmm. Ok. That’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace and Dean is the head coach. Clearly there’s something that we don’t see on the training ground because this effort, to open the scoring, was just about as good as it got.

Pick that out. Just about unstoppable and given the space available on the other side of the goal, the last thing any of us expected. More importantly, the last place Bolton expected it to end up. It was a truly wonderful effort.

It was an effort that would later see Yoann win at Twitter. For all the cracks from supporters about the Norwich effort, he nailed things with a clear demonstration of that team spirit Dean has been telling us about week in, week out.

Barbet Bolton tweet

Yoann wins Twitter

It was a strike that made the final four of ‘goal of the day’ on Sky Sports news and was joined by our second. Step up Nico Yennaris. He doesn’t seem to do easy, that’s for sure. If the one against Birmingham City at St. Andrews last season was special, then this just about blew it out of the park. How does he do it? And so often?

You really had to feel for Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal. If there had been little chance with Yoann’s curler, then he was left equally helpless here. They could have had two goalkeepers and it still would have gone in. 2-0 up and surely, now, the points secure.

But with the first half delayed by 7(seven) minutes and the second half starting late due to a kids penalty competition still taking place whilst the players were lined up to start, this had all the elements of squeaky bum time in it.

Anything but. Here came Ollie Watkins to heap further misery on Bolton. Ben Alnwick must have run over a cat on the way in because here was another thunderbolt to take the back of the net off. What a strike. You’ll have to catch the highlights on Channel 5 for that one but do take a look. They’re well, well worth a viewing. I’ll update this at mid-day once the Mark Burridge version goes up. It promises to be something very special….

Yoann and team do their thing, officially 

Three nil. Three points. Brentford finally finding their shooting boots and keeping it tight at the back. Dean Smith’s faith was unshakeable, as demonstrated in that aforementioned interview with Billy.

Our head coach was also honest enough to tell ‘official’ that: “I didn’t think we started very well in the opening ten minutes. They got into our faces and we didn’t move the ball as we would have liked but after that we took over the game.” This, before going on to enthuse about “three valuable points with three wonderful goals.” Do check out the full article. It’s been a while coming.

All very well and very easy to do after you’ve won. But still on message. We’ve criticised our indecision when it came to shooting after that Reading game. Even 7(seven) year old Felix Watts getting in on the act when he noted that , “The only thing we had to do today was shoot. Really quickly. When they were in the penalty box at Griffin Park all we had to do was shoot but we kept passing it.

What a way to answer that. But, more importantly, was it a flash in the pan? Or have we now turned the corner? The visit of Derby County on Tuesday night promises to be a huge test for the Bees. But a fascinating one.

Will Dean change his starting XI, again? This was our 12th different line up in 12 league and cup games. Might he have no choice if Yoann has played his way in past John Egan? Were Bolton Wanderers the cannon fodder that many expected or a strong team that felt the wrath of what can happen when we play as well as we’ve done in training, do it for 90 minutes and have that run of good fortune?

Without wanting to get ahead of ourselves, victory for Brentford would take us to within a point of Derby. Victory for the Rams would take them to within a point of the play-offs. This one will be huge and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. See you there….

And on a purely personal note, I’d like to thank Bolton for featuring my own thoughts as ‘away fan’ in the programme column yesterday. Moreso, the picture they used, in the Spall 87-88 away shirt. I apologise for the somewhat gratuitous size – nobody needs yours truly that close up. Yet it is included in today’s column as I’m pretty sure we’ve seen that picture and shirt somewhere before.

Fulham, wasn’t it…..?

Bolton and Fulham programmes

Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. Derby, Manchester United and Tim Burgess have the pick of a week that saw Bees stung.

25 Sep

As Brentford ended up on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline at Wolves, Norwich City usurped Huddersfield Town at the top of the Championship table following the Terriers’ second defeat in three games. This time to a Reading team who travel to Griffin Park on Tuesday. At the bottom end Derby County, Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic continue to press the self-destruct button. Northern Ireland International Will Grigg’s team not so much being on fire as given a good hosing by all-comers.

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest edition of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media over the last 7(seven) days.

As ever, things start at Griffin Park although aside from Brentford seeing the unbeaten run come to an end we’ve been keeping a somewhat lower profile than normal this week. Perhaps it was the excitement of Middlesex winning the County Championship in not at all contrived circumstances or our absence from the third round of the League cup. However, there hasn’t been too much from ‘official’ or beyond…

That said, we couldn’t let this week pass without a nod to the legend that is birthday boy Terry Hurlock. Woe betide any manager who dared tell him it wasn’t ok to dress like a pirate for the annual team photo.

Beyond that, though, there was tumbleweed blowing through TW8 (that, or everybody has just blocked yours truly). Sullay Kaikai got off the mark as the Bees went down to Wolves.

The  one positive from that defeat being that the regular hand-wringing of old and calls for the manager’s head seem nothing but a distant memory at the moment. Nice work Dean Smith and the lads in silencing the likes of Gordon Vine, Sam Jones and other cyber warriors so keen to put the boot in at the slightest excuse

So, instead, we’ll look further afield. Regular readers will be aware of my admiration for Buzzette and Kingsley (at Partick Thistle). Very much the Queen and King of football mascots, this pair are guaranteed to get the crowd going at half time.

Indeed, if Matthew Benham is reading (unlikely, but…), how about getting them together for a pre-season friendly next season? If nothing else, imagine the children…

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Buzzette and Kingsley – King and Queen of football mascots

However, it seems there is a new kid on the block. A potential pretender to the mascot throne. If, indeed, this is a mascot. To be quite honest, I’m not sure what was going on here but Tweet of the week has surely come from Derby County.

The Rams are in trouble on the pitch – and I’m not just talking about results. Certainly, if this is the sort of thing happening at Derby home games….

Incredible doesn’t even begin to do this justice. As Matt Dyson, news guru on the Christian O’Connell Absolute Radio breakfast show and Nottingham Forest supporter, noted…

In the League (EFL) cup this week, Manchester United found themselves having to improvise ahead of the game with Northampton Town.

The Brentford club sponsors then going on to note (and who doesn’t love a bit of Accidental Partridge?) that…

Sam Wallace, chief football writer for the Daily and Sunday telegraph, highlighted further problems for Jose Mourinho.

Still, at least they’ve gone through. Unlike our Bees. Joining Manchester United in the next round were Reading, for whom a familiar face starred. Again.

Tuesday night at Griffin Park could be very interesting indeed when Reading come to town. I’m sure John will have more than a few points to prove – both on and off the pitch. Is that the sound of Dean Smith calling Alan McCormack……?

Elsewhere, the tweet of the third round involves Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager involved in some sort of fast food related incident (and one which he would later claim not to have seen. Presumably).

But this week we’ve got as much ‘other stuff’ to look at as footballing material. The World of Sport (idea for a show) has delivered more than just the beautiful game.

American Football (catch ball rather than ‘soc-cer’): Us Brentford fans know all about plans for dubious sounding monorails. But over in the States, they’ve gone one better.

Volleyball : Really, there’s nothing more to add to this one…

But, for me, story of the week has nothing to do with sport whatsoever. It involves the ever stranger world of Noel Edmonds. With the axe now swinging on his ‘Deal or No Deal’ TV show, alternative employment is required.

That said, there’s alternative employment and then there’s alternative employment….

In a column that has already seen one ‘Accidental Partridge’ we’ll leave the Last Word to Tim Burgess of music’s The Charlatans.

Why write a blog when one tweet does the job so, so much better…

Nick Bruzon

Will form go out the window in today’s ‘Game of Throws’?

20 Feb

Saturday and game on. Brentford await the arrival of Derby County in a Championship game that sees two teams who, it would be fair to say, are currently going through a dip in form. We’ve talked enough about the results against Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday to warrant any further regurgitation of those facts. Suffice to say that Bees fans will, surely, be looking for something a bit more positive now we are back at Griffin Park after a nightmare road trip.

Derby are faring even worse than us at present and this was a point really hammered home by the arrival of yesterday’s match preview email. The description of ‘current form’ is one which, whilst technically accurate, highlights the sticky patch both clubs have currently hit. The question is, who will be the first to pull themselves out of it?

current form

The club’s ‘current form’ graphic

Well, my online bookmaker (used purely for research purposes) has the Bees at a very generous 21/10, Derby 13/10 and the draw 23/10. All of which makes the Rams slight favourites but, really, suggests that nobody has a clue. I can’t call it.

Then again I can’t even call which options Dean Smith will start with today. The main thing we can say for sure is that central defence will feature Jack O’Connell and Harlee, following last week’s red card for Yoann Barbet.

Whilst, of course, the likes of Alan Judge, David Button and Jake Bidwell also name themselves, the rest still remains somewhat up for grabs in terms of a guaranteed start. And the return to fitness of Alan McCormack adds a further option in centre mid.Regardless of whether he is picked, if nothing else surely this makes ‘Return of the Mack’ an absolute shoe-in for #BeeTheDJ today?

Get the crowbar out

I have it on good authority that the other thing returning for this game will be Terrace Talk. I have no idea where or when Jo and her camera crew will appear but do keep your eyes open for a chance to shine in our latest, and greatest, social media feature. Terrace Talk was conspicuous by its absence for the Leeds game so here’s hoping its back with a bang today.

Talking of social media this brings us (with all the subtly of a McCormack challenge) to Snapchat. Anybody like myself, confused as to why we’d changed our twitter profile picture to something resembling a white tadpole in a dress, soon found the answer on the club site.

Of course (?!), this was just our own take on the logo for the popular photo sharing app which ‘BrentfordFC’ have now joined . Personally, I’ve never used this before but, having signed up, it’ll be interesting to see what our media team send through over the course of a match day.

As for our Twitter account, this morning the ever direct annette c has since noted “What the f*@ is Brentfords new display picture thing?! Ew. Get the crest back please!!”

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BrentfordFC are now on Snapchat

It really is all happening today at Griffin Park. Along with the ever popular ‘free chilli’ in the Hive (get in early) we’ve also got our ‘new shirts for old’ promotion running in the club shop.

But for me (Clive) Kitman Bob Oteng has beaten Jo, chilli, the club shop and BeeTheDJ in one fell swoop when it comes to pre-game excitement .

Yes, its the return of his cryptic quiz. Bob is to giveaways what Matthew Benham was to transfer clues. And today’s competition sees supporters given, quite literally, the chance to win the shirt off Toumani’s back. Likewise, a pair of boots. Promising us a debut qualifying question, those up early saw the unveiling of his latest attempt to bamboozle Brentford fans.

What a prize. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the black ‘third’ shirt is stunning. Here’s hoping for a chance to finally guess one right.

Nick Bruzon

Is this our toughest challenge yet?

2 Oct

As next challenges go, Brentford aren’t going to have it much harder than a trip to Derby County on Saturday. With the Rams finally hitting form after picking up four points from their first five games, three wins and a draw have seen them climb up the table to within a point of third place. It is more reminiscent of the form that saw them reach the play off final before being mugged by QPR and then doing everything to get there last season – certainly until they hit the self-destruct button in that final home game of the season against Reading.

Oh to have those sort of ‘problems’ now. Whilst Brentford, of course, went one better than Derby and actually reached the semi-finals for the annual choke off at the W place, it would be fair to say that we are yet to recapture the sort of form that saw Mark Warburton fall just a few games short of taking us into the Premier League and give us one of the most exciting seasons since records began.

That was then. This is now. Whilst the season is by no means a write off, there is still a huge cloud of confusion over just what is happening at Griffin Park. The GPG is currently busier than Keith Stroud with card in each hand as Bees fanatics attempt to process / fathom everything from this week.

Keith Stroud - a busy little man

Keith Stroud – always a  busy man

Namely, head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen being dismissed just eight league games into our new ‘stat based’ regime, and then being replaced by Lee Carsley who has since gone on record as saying, “I did not ask to be a football manager and it certainly wasn’t something I put my hand up for. I don’t want the job permanently,” and… “”I’ve never had that burning ambition to be a manager. I want to be a coach and bring on the young players”.

This, on top of a curious brand of football that has seen us dominating possession – namely by passing the ball sideways and backwards through the final third – but when we choose to go forward then having all the cutting edge of an arthritic pensioner armed with a pair of children’s plastic safety scissors.

Injuries haven’t helped of course, but are they entirely to blame? The anti-performance on Tuesday night against Birmingham City was soul destroying. Here was the perfect chance to show a bit of bouncebackability. Instead, we put in a lethargic effort that was an insult to the word effort.

But if Tuesday was tough, Derby on Saturday is going to be all the harder. Being quite honest, Birmingham weren’t actually that good. Something which makes our 2-0 defeat all the more bitter a pill to swallow. County, on the other hand, are at home and on form.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to be proven wrong and I’m desperate to see our boys start to climb the table. We can’t expect to win every game and this isn’t a case of unreasonable expectation based on the last few seasons. Frankly, I’m still amazed by how far we’ve come in the last five years whilst the last campaign set a stunningly high bar.

That said, with the players and set up we have, is it too much to ask for a bit of passion? At the moment I’d settle for a fit squad that just try to find the way to goal.

Does anybody know the way to goal ?

Does anybody know the way to goal ?

The Beesotted crew have got it bang on the money in their latest article. If you haven’t seen this yet, then do take a look. They’ve hit the nail right on the head with this one – quite possibly the blog column of the year.

Besides, it could be worse. Following his dismissal from Newport County, Terry Butcher has now joined Steve Evans on the search for a new managerial role.

Be careful what you wish for….

Nick Bruzon