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The week’s best tweet sees us drowning in a sea of nostalgia.

1 Mar

I make no excuses for this one today . It’s all down to Beesotted. On the way to work earlier on Tuesday I spotted my favourite tweet of the week (at least, until Matt Dyson of Absolute Radio stepped up to the plate). Nothing more complex than a simple request to: Share your fave Griffin Park pics here. And what a way to disappear down the rabbit hole of Brentford nostalgia. Floodlights. Sun sets. Manchester City in the Cup. Fulham, QPR, Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the league. Players. Heroes. Sweeping terraces. Promotions. Heartbreak. Something about a penalty.

It really has seen a phenomenal response already to the simplest of requests. If you haven’t seen it yet then the link is here. What are you waiting for? Get on board.

And for your own inspiration, here are a few of mine. Some ripped off from TV or book covers. Others taken on all manner of grainy cameras or even with a bit of photoshop enhancement. I was thinking about what Brentford mean to me and my family yesterday – in part, due to the Lionel Road competition – and looking through some pf these pictures really hit home how much Griffin Park is a part of my, a part of our, lives. So many happy times. So much pain. But always coming back for more. Week after week.

We’ll start with one of my all time favourites. John Swift. Against QPR. Our first Championship match against the Loftus Road mob seeing a 1-0 victory for the Bees. It was a wonderful night which looked just as good when catching up on the rerun later, via Sky Plus.

SWIFT Brentford QPR

There’s nothing big or clever about flares. Normally

But there’s something special about Griffin Park under lights. As the Beesotted tweet has shown. Whether full to the rafters or half empty in the Auto Windscreens shield, she never fails to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

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Griffin Park looked glorious against Birmingham City last season

Brentford 3 Blackburn 1 GP

Blackburn Rovers got four chances to practice their kick off routine back in December 2014

GP wide view

Ah, those famous floodlights. Chuck in a bit of sunrise or sunset to add to the look.

The height of the summer and closed/closed (?) season

The height of the summer.

sun over Griffin Park GP

Early morning on the ‘nursery run’.

Griffin Park pre Wolves GP

View from the terrace – the sun is starting to set on Griffin Park

But what about that big match action? For me, the 1988/89 FA Cup agasint Manchester City is about as good as it comes. If the QPR picture was borrowed from the TV, then this is in a similar vein – albeit taken from the cover of the book ‘100 years of Brentford’. The pitch. the weather. The stands. Gary Blissett doing his thing against his beloved Manchester City.

Bliss Manchester City

Bliss – the iconic image (in my eyes) as Manchester City are put to the sword

More recently, we had that famous encounter with the (then) Champions of Europe, Chelsea. It took that rarest of things, a Fernando Torres goal, to keep their dreams alive as the game ended 2-2 before David Luiz exacted revenge on young Jake Reeves in the replay.

Saunders territory Chelsea

Ramires, Terry, Cole, Oscar, Lampard, Torres, Cahill – that’s some Chelsea wall

Then there was Preston. We’ve played the many times but none but the game in April 2014 when an Alan Judge penalty saw us promoted to the Championship. The on pitch celebration may have been a touch premature as Rotherham attempted an unlikely fight back deep into an inordinate amount of injury time against Wolves but, in the end, justice prevailed.

Some people are on the pitch - Juge's penalty v Preston saw a wonderful denouement

Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over….

Griffin park GP

Griffin Park. Beautiful , even when empty

We’ve seen the sunsets but there’s been rain and snow, too. Right now, TW8 is gripped in wintry conditions and we’ve been there before. Fans coming together on more than one occasion to help remove the pitch covers and ensure the game can go ahead…

pitch covers griffin park

The Brentford family pull together

Will who now? Sergi was on fire agasint Villa, despite the torrential downpour

Whatever the weather….

Even as recently as this week, we’ve been out taking pictures..

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HB in the snow at Griffin Park on Wednesday

As for the rest, here’s a few more. Enjoy. And then get on that Beesotted tweet….

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Turner’s pants as visible as his temper

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View from the Braemer – unadulterated joy from Jota and the team

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Thanks for all the goals. And the memories

60 mins subs

Set your watch by those sixtieth minute subs (although 66 is the most popular)

Farid

Great work, Beesotted. But also the aforementioned Matt Dyson. It was always going to take something special to ‘win Twitter’ and he did this last night . With a bit of help…

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It tickled me…

Nick Bruzon

There is no Plan B. We’ll be in the Premier League in three years

24 Sep

Tonight we’re live around the world”. Not my words but those of compere Peter Gilham on Thursday evening as he introduced the latest Brentford fans’ forum at Griffin Park. The event gave supporters their first chance to quiz head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen, co-directors of football Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles, Chairman Cliff Crown and Chief Executive Mark Devlin on all matters Bees related. But what did we learn?

Primarily, what a great club Brentford is. This is something those of us who are bit ‘longer in the tooth’ are well aware of but, equally, it’s nice that some things don’t change. No question was off limits as fans were, once again, given the chance to voice their opinions to those whose actions shape so much of our lives as Brentford supporters.

So, to the salient points from almost two hours of Q&A:

The future: Rasmus noted that our short-term aim was to finish better than last season. Whilst still our target, we need to be realistic and look at the injuries. His fellow sporting director Phil Giles added, “We can’t even predict when Maxime is going to be back.”

Injuries: Marinus made the assertion that despite the large number of these, it was primarily down to bad luck rather than, for example, anything specific to the training regime. As he added “They’re all different. If we had five hamstring injuries then, yes”.

Despite the injuries, he backed his stance to leave us short on the bench for the Middlesbrough game (where, of course, we only named six subs, including two goalkeepers). The youths weren’t picked because, “You have to deserve it. At that moment there weren’t youngsters who deserved to sit on the bench

On the difference between English and Dutch football, Marinus has been surprised, “It is so quick it’s unbelievable”. Indeed, he got one of the biggest laughs of the night with the follow up comment that, “Last Sunday I went to Excelsior – Ajax and it was really boring”.

Stat based recruitment: Rasmus gave a long explanation on the subject. Effectively that it starts (and ends) with football-based decisions around what we need to take the club to the next level.

Whilst it then goes to the stats guys to conduct the next level of search, they filter it down to 3 or 4 names who then become the subject of traditional scouting techniques once more. “When you read the media you get the impression at the training ground its just robots walking around – that’s not the case.”

And talking of new talent, what about Sergi Canos? Whilst clearly a stunning prospect, he’s a player Marinus prefers to ease in to the action. After ten minutes against Leeds, he admitted, “I’m killed, gaffer”. That said, Marinus is looking to give him a couple of weeks to see if he’s ready to be used from the start.

The flipside being the older heads, in particular Jonathan Douglas who was the subject of one glowing supporter tribute. Phil admitted, “He WAS a popular player, as was Moses, as was Andre. I thought we’d replace him and we did, with Josh.” Aswell as singing his praises, Phil added, “ We’ve got a replacement who is ten years younger

The Lionel Road project sees ongoing progress. The CPO enquiry has been held and, whilst Cliff was happy with how that went, a decision is not expected until the end of the year. All being well, we’ll be on site by March/April of 2016 with the subsequent build taking two years.

He concluded this segment with the aspiration that, “My aim is to play our first competitive match at the start of the 2018/19 season. Hopefully in the Premier league.”

And so to THE key question of the night: “Marinus, will you ever give us a wave?”

Whilst it may require Roy to give him a nudge, the rest of the answer suggested this will indeed by forthcoming, along with a further explanation given for his apparent reticence to do so. “When I’m analysing the game, I don’t hear what you are singing. There are lots of supporters at away games – I’m not used to it. But I know how it works now…”

For me, one of the most telling (and passionate) answers was from Mark Devlin when it was suggested that, perhaps, the club was losing touch with the traditional fanbase. He was at pains to point out this was not the case and, more to the point, genuinely couldn’t even see any evidence of this taking place. He confirmed, “I am committed to the club, the community, the traditions and staying close to the fanbase.”

The example of season ticket prices, regardless of had we reached the Premiership, was cited – this a point that Cliff later reinforced, saying that given all the revenue streams from the Premiership, Matthew Benham certainly wouldn’t be looking to take advantage of the fans that way.

Whilst the club are definitely on the up and not ”The ugly cousins of West London anymore” , the challenge is to try and replicate our family feeling at the new stadium. As Mark observed, “You guys are the heartbeat of the club.

But it was Rasmus who really nailed it at the end of the night with the blunt but bold statement, “ It is not an option to not be in the Premier League. It has to happen in the next three years…. At the moment there is no Plan B. we’ll be in the Premier League in three years.”

Fighting talk or fantasy? There’s only one place to find out. And it begins again on Saturday at Griffin Park.

Thanks again to all involved for the opportunity to attend and hats off to Brentford FC for their ongoing willingness to engage supporters.

Nick Bruzon

Brentford have the painters and decorators in as Bolton moved

11 Sep

With Brentford travelling to Leeds United on Saturday (and then no home game until Preston North End on September 19th) visits to Griffin Park have been a bit thin on the ground recently. Moreso, given the enforced break which was the result of the recent International fixtures.

But walking past the ground on the way to work yesterday, something seemed amiss. The iconic BRENTFORD lettering, in ‘stingray’ font (for the record) has been removed from the Braemar Road stand. Along with the club badge.

Our last look at the old lettering

Our last look at the old lettering

When had this happened? And why? Given how slow a news week it has been, surely there might have been a story on the official site? There can’t be many fans who don’t know that 2015/16 adidas training wear is now available or that Hospitality for every Sky Bet Championship match is currently on sale.

Instead, with the comms and media team seemingly on holiday, we’ve been left to figure this one out for ourselves. And, as ever, things aren’t anywhere near as sinister as being made out in some circles. Mark Devlin used twitter to confirm that the lettering is being replaced in time for the game with Preston. Moreso, it seems that we are sprucing up the exterior of the stadium.

On first glance at 7.30am, it had seemed as though we were reintroducing the red and white stripes that had graced the Braemar Road stand back in the late 70s/early 80s. This would have been a stunning effort and, to be fair, still might be.

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

However, walking back in the evening, the red has moved further across. Stripes may still be an option, of course, but if so then they are likely to be a lot wider than those we’ve had in the past. And the eagle eyed amongst you may also have spotted that the notice board area is now a very vivid pink

From an aesthetic perspective, I’ve no issue with the removal of the Stingray font. Moreso given it is to be replaced rather than just disappear. It always smacked of something that was desperately trying to be futuristic but has only ended up being looking horribly dated as the years have advanced.

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

The real question is, predominantly, why weren’t we told? Would it have been that hard? Especially at a time when you can’t move on the official site for all the tumbleweed.

Likewise, how can we afford this? And I ask given Cliff Crown’s excellent piece in the Reading programme about what an uneven financial footing the club are on, relative to our Championship rivals , “with total income in the bottom three in that league”.

I can’t imagine it has cost much relative to the transfer fees we are being compelled to raise but with a new stadium in the offing, is this entirely necessary? We’ve lost Stuart Dallas to Leeds but we do have some new paint! Or is it simply the case that a sponsor is covering the costs? Just a thought but with no official comms out of the club then people do like to clutch at any theory.

Whatever we are left with, nobody is in any doubt that Griffin Park has been on her last legs for some time. If we can do something simple to spruce her up a bit for the next couple of seasons, at no real expense, then happy days.

The other news of the day saw the game at Bolton being moved to a Monday night for the benefit of the TV cameras. This is infuriating but part of modern football at this level and, for us, a rare experience. If you think this is bad, imagine had we reached the Premiership.

I had a cracking time in Bolton last season (result aside) and was looking forward to a return trip this time around – although, perhaps, without the Zorb football.

Zorb football at Bolton

Zorb football at Bolton

Alas, it wasn’t to be and, instead, I’ll be watching this game from the comfort of the sofa. With barely a handful of tickets sold for Tuesday night’s trip to Middlesbrough, I fear this could be a similar scenario.

Its far from ideal but, them again, we’ve won midweek long distance away trips before. I’m sure we’ll do it again.

It would just be nice if there were some supporters there to witness it. Instead, here’s the video from last time out. Come for the Zorbs, stay for the commentary….

Nick Bruzon