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Brentford, Blackburn or Nottingham Forest? Who will win (or lose by less)?

6 May

This is it. The last weekend of the season with so much excitement still to come. And that’s just off pitch where the club have asked fans to dig out their retro shirts to mark the occasion of our current crest (badge) making one final appearance before being retired. Then there’s the small matter of Mark Warburton and Nottingham Forest hoping Brentford can do them a favour when Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Griffin Park. With Birmingham City still not safe either, live on TV we’ve Sunday’s relegation shootout.

So what will happen? Will Brentford take the foot off the gas and Blackburn survive? Can Forest get the home win they need and hope their goals are sufficient? Both they and Rovers are locked on the same points and so if they match each others results, it comes down to goal difference. Which is currently -13 Forest and -14 Rovers. It could even turn into a case of whoever loses less heavily stays up.

And I have to say that because I fully expect Brentford to win. We’ve a chance to get up to 8th place, which would be one better than last season. Then again, for that to happen it means we need  to rely on victories for both Rotherham United and QPR. We’ve got to be realistic here.

But a win for the Bees, something that is in our hands, will see us surpass last season points total by two. That alone will be incentive for Dean Smith and a team that I fully expect to be focussed on going out in style.

I feel for the Nottingham Forest and Blackburn supporters in their having to rely on another result. Moreso, from teams who they may think are already on the beach or, in our case, at the Player of the Year awards that are taking place later on Sunday night. However, I refer you back to season 2014/15.

This was Brentford’s first in the Championship and Mark Warburton was looking to go out in style. Despite a little wobble towards the end, the Bees went into that final weekend needing to beat Wigan Athletic then rely on a slip up from Derby County or Ipswich Town in order to make the play offs. The Rams were home to hapless Reading and needed just a point to secure their own spot. We’d beaten the Royals a week earlier and they looked awful. Ipswich were on fire though and, likewise, avoiding defeat was all they needed.

On an incredible afternoon, BOTH results went our way. Despite taking an early lead at Ewood, the Tractor Boys were eventually reigned in and went down 3-2. As for Derby, they missed an early penalty and hit the self-destruct from that point. A 0-3 home loss to a bang average team with nothing, absolutely nothing, to play for was as unexpected as it was hilarious.

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Post Wigan: Err. You know that holiday? Well, Derby and Ipswich have both lost.

The point being that strange results can happen. That the team who appear to have nothing to play for on paper won’t just switch off. We’ve definitely been the beneficiaries of this fact in the past.

However on Sunday, and I take no pleasure from this prediction, my gut feeling is that Brentford are going to be the executioners. We’ve more than just pride to play for. For Blackburn Rovers to stay up, it’s going to have to rely on Nottingham Forest losing by more than they do.

Then again, as has been said many times, I’m just the numpty on the terrace. Take results based advice from these pages with a huge dollop of caution. Indeed, given the aforementioned favour they did us, there’s a big part of me that hopes Blackburn losing by less than Forest is the way this one plays out. Everybody in TW8 can go home smiling. Especially if Rotherham and (something I can’t believe we need or want to happen) QPR also win.

Then again, there’s the Mark Warburton factor. A hero to many at Griffin Park, could we take any pleasure from putting a nail in his Championship coffin? Perhaps it’s not one to overthink. Let’s just go out and let the football do the talking – whatever will be will be.

Besides, there’s more to think about off field. I make no secret of being a kit nerd and the club putting out this challenge to supporters has got me intrigued.

Just what could we see? What will the fans’  ‘favourite’ be? Does anybody even own that wonderful Hummel-lite version from 94-95; our first to feature the current crest (badge)? Is there a Samvo shirt out there that still has the sponsor intact rather than having disintegrated the first time it went through the washing machine?

On a personal note, I’ve whittled it down to a choice of three. Or four. But there are more than a few stunners to pick from.

Being fortunate enough to take part in filming an episode of Britain’s top rated day time TV show Bargain Hunt yesterday, both the Bees and the kit obsession made it into that really awkward chat bit at the start.

And that bit, when the show goes out, is quite likely to be the highlight. Let’s just say it’s a lot harder than it looks ‘playing’ live rather than when you watch from home.

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Just some of the shirt choices – although current crest (badge) only

Likewise, subject to any last minute editorial decisions then I gather the match day programme will feature a very special top ten.  Although after last weekend’s Brian Guest affair at Fulham, which the club knew nothing about in advance, we probably shouldn’t take anything on that front for granted.

So if you haven’t done it yet, why not have a root through the back of the wardrobe and see what you can pull out? Whatever your thoughts on the current crest (badge) why not help see it off in style?

The next time we all get together, there’ll be a new design in place….

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Coming soon. To a shirt near you….

Nick Bruzon 

 

Looking good or bad dress sense? Kit Obsessive: Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday

26 Aug

Following on from today’s other new , regular feature (The Last Word on….) part of the big match build up to every Brentford home game now includes a revisit to the Kit Obsessive feature. With Sheffield Wednesday being Saturday’s visitors to Griffin Park, it’s another chance to wallow in kit heaven and kit hell.

Originally formed in 1867 as the Wednesday Cricket & Football Club, it wasn’t until 1929 that the team we now know as Sheffield Wednesday were officially recognised by that name. The intervening 62 year period had given them plenty of time to develop their famous strip of alternating blue and white stripes to the point that, sponsorship aside, it remains pretty much ‘as was’ to this very day.

But then, like Brentford, how much can you do with a design that simple yet that effective? Quite a lot, actually.

Along with some interesting variants including the occasional flirtation with Loftus Road style hoops (last seen in 1945-46), the club have gone ‘all blue (albeit white sleeved), thick, thin and even adopted the dreaded pin-stripe style that graced our own ‘Funky Bee’ kit at the back end of the ‘80s.

Sheff Wed PIC 1Added to this, though, is probably one of the most recognisable club badges the world over. Their stenciled  ‘owl’ motif first appeared in 1973 and, aside from a brief rebrand from ‘95-’99 has been in place right up until this season’s (presumably short term) rebrand.

For me, this is an integral a part of the club shirt as their primary colours and, as such, plays a role in our selection of the Fantastic Four that go on to make up: The best; The worst; The away; The unfortunate design/Retro Classic

The best: Umbro 1990-91 From1987-89 Wednesday succumbed to one of the many football fashion crimes of the late 80s – thin stripes. Very thin stripes. More white than blue, the shirt puts one in mind of our own from that era (the one that looked pink from a distance of anything over ten yards away.

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Then Umbro redeemed themselves with a kit that, some additional branding and change in sponsor aside, didn’t change from 1989-1993. And, frankly, why would it need to? With thick blue and white stripes, and the only additional colour being to highlight the club badge and technical sponsor, the floppy collar helps add a real ‘old school’ look to this most classic of designs.

However, for that most quintessential of the bunch I’m opting for the version worn in the 1991 Rumbelows (league) Cup final.  A 1-0 triumph over Manchester United (who doesn’t like to see that?) for the then second division side was achieved the same year they managed promotion to the top flight.

And, dare I say it, an example where the dark lettering on the sponsor actually gives a little balance to the vast, empty spaces we’d all taken for granted in the years prior to corporate involvement in football.

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The Worst: Puma 1995-96 With all apologies to any Wednesday fans reading, this is everything wrong with a football shirt. I had considered picking the aforementioned 87-89 but was then reminded of this.

Gone is the famous owl, to be replaced by a mess of a badge. It includes a ‘retro’ 60’s style owl, along with a shield, stripes, the club name three times (twice as SWFC), a reminder they play at Hillsborough and even a Yorkshire rose.

But just incase you weren’t sure who the club were, there is an additional SWFC badge on the opposite side to the shield. And that’s not all.

Printed directly into the middle of the shirt itself is yet another SWFC, in grey. This one is so large it is part obscured by the sponsor and central stripe so looks more as though somebody has just sneezed on it. I won’t even start on the bizarre combination of thick and thin stripes that leave a mostly white feel to this shirt.

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The away: Umbro 1987-88 Whilst that season’s home shirt may have been a car crash, the away version was a triumph. I’ve got a soft spot for silver kits after our own Community Sports Trust version saw us go unbeaten in the colour but this one knocks it out of the park.

A shimmering silver effort from Umbro saw the traditional owl in place – always a good start. But what really sets this apart is that the whole thing is then set off with diagonal lilac and white pin stripes. Sponsored by Finlux (European TV magnates, apparently) on paper this really shouldn’t work but in the flesh it is a thing of beauty.

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The Retro Classic – Bukta 1977-81 I’m not going to lie – I’ve cheated a bit here. This shirt is a retro classic and deserving of a place in any hall of fame. Nothing more pretentious to it than the traditional stripes, Bukta branding and an early incarnation of the now standard badge.

But the defining reason for selection sees it as the one that most Brentford fans will associate with Andy McCulloch, who joined the Hillsborough club after initially being tapped up by Ian St. John whilst departing Griffin Park on a stretcher. As Andy himself noted, “The two clubs I loved playing for were Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford“.

Andy McCulloch

That iconic image of Andy

Nick Bruzon

Kit Obsessive : Ipswich Town

12 Aug

Ipswich Town are the visitors to Griffin Park on Saturday with Brentford looking to get their first points, and win, on the board for 2016/17. Whilst you’ll find the usual match previews kicking around elsewhere, in addition we’re taking a different approach this season. Following on from yesterday’s new, regular feature about our forthcoming visitors The Last Word on… it’s time for another new, regular feature. New, that is, to these pages.

Kit obsessive is back. Originally submitted to last season’s match day programme, a third season in the Championship means that with the exception of 6 new teams it is ground previously covered – at least for those who buy that publication. So whilst I gather that articles on the likes of Aston Villa, Barnsley et al will still appear in that format this time around, repeating the feature would not reveal anything new.

That said, for those who missed out on the programme then I have been asked by at least one Last Word reader  if it would be possible to re-run them this year. And by ‘at least one‘ I mean, ‘actually one‘. But why not?

As a self confessed kit-obsessive, I have what some would probably term an unhealthy fascination with team colours. Of course Brentford are at the forefront of this interest as the club has, over the years, made some pretty decent stabs at changing the red and white stripes around. However, with a few odd exceptions we follow a fairly similar template.

The same cannot always be said for our opponents, though. Using no more scientific criteria than personal taste, this feature sees us delving into the historical kit bag to select the best, the worst, a sublime away and an unfortunate design/retro classic worn by our opponents through the ages. So without further ado, here’s Kit Obsessive: Ipswich Town.

Since their inception for the start of the 1888 season Ipswich Town had, like the Bees, largely worn stripes – albeit blue and white. However, unlike the Bees they ditched these in 1936, switching to predominantly blue offset with white trim and (until the mid ‘60s) white sleeves.

But with over 125 years of history to choose from, which have made the hall of fame and which should be left to rot in the chamber of horrors?

The best: Umbro 1992-94. In my opinion, Ipswich have had some real stunners to chose from over the years. The Adidas designs from 1977 to 1989, synonymous with FA Cup triumph and the UEFA Cup victory, all reek of quality. That said, I’m genuinely in two minds about the red chest stripe that accompanied the 1985-86 effort.

Ipswich pic 1An innovative break from tradition or a sickening abomination that shattered the otherwise unsullied blue with all the subtly of an oil tanker? The only people definitely smiling about it being the club sponsors, Radio Orwell – think Alan Partridge had he opted for Suffolk rather than East Anglia and neighbours, Norwich.

But my winner in this category comes from that phase in the early 90s when retro was the new cool. Specifically 1992-94. Clubs opted for big badges, old style shirts, pin stripes and even lace up collars.

Umbro were leaders in this trend and nowhere better than at Portman Road. Whilst Manchester United, Aston Villa and even Oldham Athletic made decent stabs at this look, none came close to Ipswich Town who married the perfect mix of blue, red trim and a return for the white sleeves with some old school chic.

 

The Worst: Punch 2005-07 .Ipswich Town have, to be fair, largely bypassed this category – certainly compared to some of our divisional rivals. However, even the Tractor Boys aren’t exempt when it comes to those that should probably be forgotten about.

Mitre’s effort from 2007-09 is a clumsy attempt at the vintage style carried off so effortlessly by Umbro. Looking somewhat generic, it’s less old school, more primary school whilst not even John Wark can save the Core 1995-96 away shirt – bottle green and burgundy – which puts one in mind of a poor man’s Portugal.

But the winner comes down to a choice between two and, as I’m saving one for the ‘unfortunate design’ category, it has to go to Punch 2005-07. This opts for blue with white, but the latter colour to an extent that looks as though a drunken groundsman has ‘gone rogue’ with the pitch markings when painting the touchline.

It has an expanding sash that starts on the shoulder and grows out, all the way to the waist. This is less subtle trim and more something that looks like a prototype costume for one of the Thunderbirds pilots.

Worse, the design continues onto the shorts where there is even an equivalent blue swoosh. Truly, one that should be consigned to the waste bin of history.

Ipswich PIC 4

The away: Adidas 1986-89 Where to go with this, given Ipswich have had as many top quality away shirts as they have had home?

In the end though, it was a toss up on the mid to late 80s. Whilst the Radio Orwell Adidas effort may have split opinion when it came to the home effort, there’s no question the bold red stripe only enhances things against the white of the away kit.

But I’ve elected for the successor to that one, another Adidas production, as the most stylish Ipswich Town away kit. The winner is the Fisons sponsored 1986-89 (yes, teams wore the same shirt for more than one season back then).

Bedecked in the inverse club colours of all white, with blue trim, this also featured a subtle diagonal two-tone strip effect. Simple but stunning.

Ipswich PIC 5

The unfortunate design: Core 1995-97 Just as the faux Thunderbirds sash was a close contender, the winner here could as easily been triumphant in the worst shirt category. And, again, we also need to take a sideways glance at the world of TV Sci-Fi.

You have to feel for Core. They actually produced a fairly decent set of kits for Brentford in the mid90s but, alas, at Portman Road things were somewhat different.

We’ve already mentioned their away version from 95-96 but the home from that (and the following) season is even worse. The top half starts decently enough with a traditional deep blue but as we make our way down the shirt, things take a turn for the peculiar.

The blue starts to merge into white, gradually replacing the primary colour until by the final third we are all white. It is a design gimic that even continues onto the arms.

At best it looks like the players have been caught in a snow drift; at worst, as though they have just given the order to “Beam me up, Scotty”, Star Trek style, and the transporter beam has taken hold.

ipswich design

Nick Bruzon

Please, Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

4 Aug

Season 2016/17 is almost upon us with Brentford preparing to travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Yet before a ball has even been kicked in anger, I’ve already seen thoughts turning towards 2017/18. Specifically, in regards to the playing kit.

I’m not going to dwell further on this year’s offering, suffice to say that I love it (although, equally, recognise that it is not everybody’s cup of tea). We’ve discussed this one to the nth degree already.

However, what is of ongoing interest was Kitman Bob’s recent revelation that he is already getting close to looking at the design specs for next season. That’s 2017/18, just to be clear. Likewise, Mark Devlin’s insight into the design process given at Monday’s fan forum where he explained how the final selection involves oversight from a number of people at the club, all the way up to Matthew Benham.

Then, last night, supporter Stephen O’Brien offered his thoughts on this subject via Twitter.

Whilst I agree he has picked two absolute stunners (including my all time favourite in the home category), making a 100% clone of a previous effort perhaps isn’t the best way forward. If nothing else, Puma emulated / paid tribute to / ripped off (delete as applicable) both of the shirts  Stephen admires so much back in 2010-11. Are we ready for yet another identikit version so soon?

However, where I do agree 110% with Stephen is in his comments about the club badge. Perhaps it is a generational thing but for me nothing quite says Brentford like….the Castle.

Forget the debate about our current red to white ratio. If there is one thing that makes me instantly identify with our club then it is, with all due respect to both the Funky Bee and Buzzette, that badge.

Matthew, Bob, Mark and the other co-directors of shirt selection – please can we bring it back next season?

The Castle Badge

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

Much as I’d love to be on your kit committee, I realise that’s never going to happen . However, at the very least why not throw a ‘badge’ vote open to the supporters ?

It wouldn’t be unheard of in footballing circles and given how much we look to engage with our fanbase, why not allow us to help make a decision about the club’s identity ?

If nothing else, our current effort is now entering a twenty-second season of use after first appearing in the 1994/95 campaign. That badge was also chosen by a supporter  – Andrew Henning designing it  in exchange for two season tickets. Don’t listen to the claims to ownership from TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant whom, it later transpired, simply offered guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

Yet even after all this time, I still can’t warm to it. It just seems too busy and like our former ‘Spitfire’ font, maybe even just a little dated.  With a stylised beehive, the coat of arms,  a scroll, four quarters and several text blocks within the design there’s just too much going on. It now feels workmanlike and efficient rather than having the emotional significance of the Castle.

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The current Brentford badge

We almost changed over on the occasion of our 125th anniversary. A garish celebratory graphic based on our first ever badge was revealed, along with talk of having a simpler variant on the shirts. Instead, the idea was quietly parked and has never been mentioned since.

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was an equally wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance in one form or another. But the point is mentioned as it shows the club have considered change.

With Brentford’s sartorial fate for next season already approaching discussion, why not take a chance to roll back the years?

Please Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

Nick Bruzon

With launch imminent, the Kit Obsessive returns for a look at our good, bad and ugly

21 Jul

Finally. The most protracted kit launch since the Knight Industries 2000 rolled off the production line comes to a head. ‘Official’ have announced that the new Brentford home and away shirts will be revealed on Friday and then worn on Saturday against FC Kaiserslautern. Initial thoughts on this subject have already been published but, before we look forward, perhaps time to look back.

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It’s coming. Not my words etc. etc. etc…..

Last Season I was fortunate enough to be able to write the ‘kit obsessive’ articles in the match day programme in which we looked at the best, worst and plain unusual of the visitor’s kit. Whilst for obvious reasons the feature won’t return this season – barring those newcomers to the Championship such as Burton Albion , Newcastle, Aston Villa etc  – these pages will (amongst other new features) no doubt make the odd reference to footballing fashion.

Indeed, over the years we’ve talked about the best, and worst, of Brentford shirts but never given them the ‘kit obsessive’ style treatment . So with the launch imminent, it seemed a timely juncture to close this loophole.

As ever, the categories remains : The best; the worst; the away; the unfortunate design / the retro classic. Likewise, these are picked using no more scientific criteria than personal taste.

Are these right? Wrong? What are your thoughts?

For me, they are as follows….

The Best: Chad. Home 1990-92 KLM sponsored. Chad manufactured. Title winning. Simple but stunning and the most evocative of memories. No nonsense red and white with black collar and tasteful trim. I can’t look at this without thinking of Terry Evans, Kevin Godfrey, Keith Millen, Neil Smillie and, of course, Deano & Bliss. Didn’t something happen at Peterborough? My all time favourite, hands down.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 06.15.17The away: Adidas. Third 2015/16 Whilst I’ve always opted for the corresponding Chad away shirt, kitman Bob pulled something very special out of the bag last season when we played Blackburn Rovers. A Brentford third kit. In black. Oh, this is a thing of beauty – and not just the image of Sam Saunders wearing it in conjunction with short shorts (which, I gather, medical advice suggests is apparently something not thought about in this already hot weather !) . We’ve gone for black again this season – can it match up to this?

 

 

The worst: Puma. Away.  2008/09 .Puma’s offering was truly horrific. It shouldn’t have been. There was nothing too fussy / garish about it whilst it had two shades of blue. But what a shade – pastel ‘baby blue’. The sort of thing a newborn might wear – until he vomited on it (which would be an improvement). Worse, it was regurgitated as 2009/10’s third kit.

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And from a home perspective, how about Puma 2011/12 Floppy black collars. They’re floppy!!? The only point of a collar on a football shirt is so as you can stand it up – preferably just at the point of entering ‘Saunder’s territory’. Sizing issues. Yet the ultimate crime is the red shoulder patches and double black trim.  A combo that makes us look like hotel doormen in knock off adidas shirts – the brand with two stripes

Marcel Eger Brentford

Marcel Eger chose to wear a spray on shirt rather than hold it

 

Retro classic / unfortunate design: Osca. Home, 1983/84 . It just had to be. A white upper half and, for the first half of the season, worn with white shorts….. The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant. One man’s retro classic is another’s unfortunate design. I’m definitely in the former camp

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Here’s hoping tomorrow brings something equally spectacular.

Nick Bruzon

Finally. The (kit) cat is out of the bag. New shirt details revealed

13 Jul

Sergio Canos breaking Brentford hearts by leaving Liverpool for Norwich City. The Aston Villa game put back a day due to their other, inevitable, television commitments. Dean Smith experimenting with his Mannschaft by playing three centre backs in the 1-0 win over Vfl Bochum. All mere side shows compared to the day’s BIG news – our first glimpse of the 2016/17 Brentford shirt after a series of pre-order images hit social media this afternoon.

So, what can we tell so far? Well, based on the handful of ’teaser’ shots released by the club – below – the home shirt certainly looks like it has the makings of being a classic.

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We can see at least two thick red strips and three thick white ones. Are there more? What about on the back ? We can see a round neck collar, 60’s style. We can see what looks like perforated, airtex style material on the shoulder blades. We can also see the traditional adidas stripes, in black.

A round white collar. This is a first for recent times. We almost got there on the 2006/07 Lonsdale produced shirt although it was a strange pleated affair . Prior to that it hasn’t been a visitor to the Bees shirt since the late 60s /early 70s.

The white/red stripes put me in mind of Core’s effort from 1995/96 although, thankfully, the shirt doesn’t look like it is made out of that somewhat lightweight material that picked up pulls and bobbles (at least on the fan replicas) just by looking at it.  Very much a case of Core’s light

As for the shoulder stripes, we’ve had black on white once before. Also Lonsdale, back in 2005/06 where, let’s just politely say, they paid homage to Adidas. Two out of three ain’t bad (stripes, that was) but we can only assume the shirt goes one better this time around.

2017 17 shirt imfluences

The latest images draw on our past

It’s what we can’t see that is as interesting. There’s no glimpse of the new shirt sponsor – confirmed as 888Sport and, for the record, also to be adorning the kits of Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City this season.

There’s no look at the side or under the arms. Could we expect more red there? Might we see further Adidas stripes – a look common to many of their MLS and international templates at present.

And there’s no look at shorts or socks,. Presumably black will be the colour of choice but I’m always a sucker for a white bottom half. Perhaps Mark Devlin and team will surprise us.

And talking of black, that’s the way we’ve gone on our away colours. At least, from the snippet afforded of that shirt. Plain black, a hint of horizontal pin stripe, another round neck  and the adidas stripes in white.

The shirts are already available on pre-order from the club shop. In my humble opinion, based on what we can see so far the club are on to a winner.

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Nick Bruzon

Bees, Dragons, Saints and Imps. As one dream dies, another continues

7 Jul

What a night and what a result. Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar set up a Champions League qualifying tie with Celtic after sweeping aside FC Flora Tallinn 0f Estonia 2-0 ( 3-2 aggregate). In other news, Portugal edged past Wales to reach the final of EURO 2016 whilst, for Brentford fans, could the new Southampton shirt offer cause for optimism/fear?

We’ll start, briefly, in Gibraltar where the local champions set up that intriguing encounter for Brendan Rodgers in his first competitive game as the new Celtic manager. What’s this got to do with me, you may ask? Well, aside from personal pride you may recall that Brentford owner Matthew Benham’s other team, FC Midtjylland, locked horns with the Imps at this stage last season.

After a hard fought first leg the Danes eventually ran out 3-0 winners but, it would be fair to say, performances have stepped up even more since then. With a huge swathe of the national team (who of course scored their first competitive goal against Scotland) representing the Imps, anybody taking this one as a foregone conclusion would be urged to think again.

Next up , Brentford. With supporters awaiting the first news about our new kit (which, of course, has been hinted at coming out later this week), Southampton have released their latest incarnation.

Again, something which on the surface may not have much to do with us but I’m always intrigued by how manufacturers can provide a new twist on red and white stripes. And, it would be fair to say, The Saints have done that.

Southampton

A shirt that may well divide fans

Along with the stripes, technical sponsor Under Armour appear to have incorporated some sort of bra motif into the shoulder panels. The closest thing I can compare it to is our own Osca 83-84  – the one with the all white top half.

Initial shock has slowly turned into begrudging admiration. I’m not sure I’d be overly pleased if Mark Devlin was to reveal this as our new design but you can’t deny it’s different. Besides, with nothing this outlandish in the Adidas catalogue, I can only imagine we’re at least a few seasons away from anything this unusual.

The other point of note around this is: manufacturers blurb. According to the website, “The stripes appear in blocks of five to represent Southampton’s five core brand values.”. Although it fails to note what these values are. Let’s hope that when our new design is revealed to the world, we avoid such nonsense.

And , finally, the Welsh dream is over. It was a stunning effort to get as far as they did and, for a while, looked as though the game was going to go all the way though extra time and beyond. In the end though, it was ‘that man’ who proved the difference.

Say what you want about Cristiano Ronaldo – and many have, myself included – but the power and technique in the header for the opening goal, which he connected with at a height of 7ft 10″,  could only be applauded.

The less said about his subsequent celebration (or that bizarre spearmint coloured kit), the better.

Nick Bruzon

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Osca 83-84. Better than spearmint. No core values

 

 

Who has the best kit at EURO 2016 as Jonathan Pearce misses an open goal.

14 Jun

With the memory of the England – Russia game and all those appalling scenes that went with it moving further away from us, last night it was the turn of Belgium and Italy to do (footballing) battle. There was a glorious opportunity for Jonathan Pearce in the earlier game featuring Ireland and Sweden whilst Brentford devotees Dave Lane and Billy Grant (of course, the boys from Beesotted) have continued spreading the word about events in Marseille.

First up though, Jonathan Pearce who was at the helm when Ireland kicked off their campaign. I had special interest in this game, and moreso because I was going to be on a commuter train rather than sat in front of the TV. This would be the first chance for use of that commentating staple from tournaments, “And for those of you just coming in from work, the score is…”

You never hear this line at any other time except during a World Cup or European Championships. Despite it being clear for all to see in the top left corner, expect it to come out somewhere between 6.10pm and 6.20pm.

Except no. Not Jonathan. Maybe it was a reaction to being saddled with Mark Lawrenson. Perhaps he was distracted by what sounds like an incredible anecdote about a mirror. Talking about the World Cup in 1994, my sources tell that he explained to viewers how,  “I was speaking to someone and I went back a year later to the same place and realised it was a mirror.”

Seriously? Anyone? The only thing more bizarre being the reaction of Lawro who, rather than pick up the commentator on the lunacy of what he had just said, dead panned back “Was it a big mirror?

To be fair, judging by his normal look, you can understand the co-commentator being unfamiliar with the purpose of a mirror. Either way, an open goal, missed. ITV have the baton now. Austria – Hungary is the game at 5pm.

Next up, Beesotted. We mentioned them in yesterday’s article but their great work continues. Us Brentford supporters know what they can do but their influence has now spread wider. Billy Grant appeared on BBC Radio 5 live last night to talk about what he had seen in Marseille whilst Dave has produced their latest blog.

Whilst these pages are, largely, nonsense and fun, based out amongst the footballing action in France Beesotted are cutting straight to the heart of the matter. PLEASE do take a look at what they have to say for a much more balanced view on events than some of the media would have you believe. That blog, including links to the podcast, went up yesterday.

OK, kit. Last night’s Belgium game drew as many gasps of admiration for the Belgium shirt as it did for the two Italian goals. (I’m still in shock by the quality of the pass and subsequent control for their opener. Oh, wow).

But it got me thinking, what are the best kits EURO 2016 has to offer? So here, in no more scientific order than personal preference, are my top eight. And the worst.

8: Ukraine home. Almost tartan yellow. They’d argue it is plaid. Either way an understated niceness.

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7(seven): Iceland away. Not just the style but anything that looks like the kit worn in ‘Escape to victory’ can only be a good thing.

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6: Wales home. A classical elegance, as one Ealing Road wag noted last night.

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5: Germany home. A very 70’s look for the current World Champions

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4: Spain away. So bonkers it’s brilliant.

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3: Switzerland away. It’s all a bit France ’84

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2: Belgium home. Would have been number one but the yellow is just a touch too neon. Still a thing of beauty though

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1: Belgium away. Is that Eddie Merckx? Kitman Bob, are you reading (it is made by adidas)? This is just sumptuous.

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And the worst….

Russia away. Looking like somebody has taken a giant sneeze on it when viewed from a distance of more than five yards away, I can’t help but feel they are massively overcompensating for something with that oversized national emblem printed into the design.

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Nick Bruzon

Plug time :  As for Brentford news, well the tumbleweed continues. The most I can do is guide you towards eBay where there are a number of unusual Bees shirts on sale at the moment (and none of which this kit nerd will be bidding for – season tickets don’t pay for themselves).

Alternatively,The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. Should anybody want to go over this nonsense, relive these moments once more and remind ourselves of the pain induced by Stroud and the fallout from that penalty’ you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same. We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thanks for reading.

 

What’s in the box? (without video – for now…)

10 May

I really didn’t think the end of the season could get any better for Brentford. The rebuilt team had rediscovered their mojo after hitting the low point of that home defeat to ten man Blackburn. From there, an epic run had taken us to a final position of 9th despite multiple high profile departures from last years’s squad over the course of the campaign. Life was good once more. Then Kitman Bob started to do his thing. Again.

To be honest, Sunday night’s ‘player of the year’ dinner – where Alan Judge and Sergi Canos swept the board – had already provided a moment of pure Twitter gold. Namely, ‘Brentford official’ capturing the moment that Buzzette arrived at the awards.

Buzzette arriving at Beespoty (1)

Buzzette (and Buzz) are brilliant. Non-stop energy and an unlimited supply of ‘high fives’ for our young  – and old – fans. Yet it is more than this. The beaming grins and desire to get involved in just about anything Bees related always put a smile on my face and do make me wonder if any performance enhancing substances have been involved. (kids, of course they haven’t ).

But the sight of Buzzette pulling a travel suitcase into a Heathrow hotel and waving to the (presumably) throng of paparazzi really did take things to a surreal level. Even by her anthropomorphic standards.

And when it looked like we’d hit a new high, things stepped up a level.

On the way home from work last night the phone started going crazy. Messages popping up alerting me to a Twitter update from Kitman Bob. Just for the record – specifically addressed to me rather than some ’stalker’ type ‘alert’ that goes off whenever our man from the boot room posts an update. ‘Kit obsessive’ merely being a nom de plume in the programme (honest !).

It’s here. Kind of. Next season’s gear. Brentford have specialised in the slow reveal over the last few seasons. Mark Devlin and Mark Chapman have intrigued us with their own take on the strip, tease. Now it is Bob’s turn.

Twitter was awash with questions after our enigmatic Kitman released the following picture. Granted most of them were from yours truly but I wasn’t, quite, alone…

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What’s in the box? Are there ANY clues to be taken from the picture? When do we get to see these for real?

I’ve given up guessing but Bob / Mark – if you are reading then any more clues would be gratefully appreciated.

And, when it does happen, how about a video for the launch?

Whether involving players, supporters or both? Perhaps a special ‘Terrace Talk’ as Jo Tilley leads the build up to the ‘reveal’, perhaps looking at fan favourites over the years in the pre-amble?

Or, of course, we could just try to emulate the aforementioned Blackburn Rovers. For any club to match their 2014 effort featuring ‘Birdy’ would, surely, be a challenge too much.

But, we’re Brentford. We’ve got great colours, an innovative approach, genius Jo, video whizkid Sean Ridley and even a few players who could probably do the ‘model’ thing (catwalk rather than Rasmus, Phil and Matthew’s stats).

If anybody can give it a go, it’ll be us.

Words aren’t enough 

Nick Bruzon

Beam me up, Scotty. Kit mystery solved

30 Mar

After all the excitement of Germany and Liechtenstein, it was back to normal on the International front last night. England and Gibraltar both lost (Netherlands and Latvia respectively) but, as ever, that really isn’t the focus. And a bit closer to home Griffin Park rocked to the sound of a 4-2 win for the Brentford development squad.

But we start at Wembley and, primarily, the England game. After the horror show of ‘that away kit’ in Berlin against Germany, we were treated to the first outing of the new ‘home’ version. Please note: your definition of treated may vary from Nike’s.

Wow. Having seen the press release shots, nothing could prepare us for just quite how bad this was in action. Whilst the figure hugging look sits fine on professional athletes, I fear for the ‘man in the pub’. But it wasn’t even that, the colour scheme is just vomit inducing.

Those lurid red socks, the blue stripe down the side and,of course, those bonkers coloured sleeves. Clearly part of the current Nike template, I was thinking that had it been available in long sleeves then the shirt would have looked like an offset from TV’s Space: 1999 (kids, ask your parents).

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Did England take kit inspiration from Space: 1999?

But, no. It wasn’t Gerry Anderson’s under-rated sci-fi classic where they seem to have taken inspiration from. Talking to one terrace wag about this theory, he then put another one to me.

Forget Moonabse Alpha, think Captain Kirk (and this wasn’t a reference to Wayne Rooney’s dodgy hairpiece). The new England shirt looked like it had been beamed straight off the set of 1979’s Star Trek:The Motion Picture.

I’m all for modern shirts looking like something from the 1970s. Any reader of the ‘kit obsessive’ articles in the Brentford match day programme will be aware of this. Likewise, and much to Mrs Bruzon’s chagrin, I’m partial to the odd bit of TV nerdery.

But whilst the thought of combining the two might seem like music to the ears, in reality it is a complete car crash of a kit. The England supporter’s band of shirt design, if you will.

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Dodgy hair; dodgy kits. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

And talking of football’s most unwelcome guests, the off-key parping and stale trumpets were back again last night. Blah. The regular reader knows the drill by now – I’ll spare you another rant on there being more atmosphere on the moon than listening to moribund renditions of ‘The Great Escape’.

Dear FA. Nobody cares. They add nothing. They aren’t wanted. They wallow in delusions of self-importance. If you must inflict this horrible mess on us (kit) at least spare us a second and ‘ban the band’ for the Euros.

As for a final thought on the game last night, did ITV encourage us to “Gamble responsibly, drink recklessly?” The quote from the commentary team, just moments into the second half, seemed loud and clear to me. I know being sat next to Glenn Hoddle and forced to listen to ‘that band’ would be enough to turn you to drink but was this really sage advice to be handing out?

Still, all this is small fry compared to the action from Griffin Park earlier in the afternoon where the Brentford development squad had swept aside Barnsley 4-2. It was a comprehensive performance from the youngsters who, being honest, could really have inflicted brackets on their opponents – such was the level of our domination.

But to complain about only scoring four goals would be trite. It was just nice to get that winning feeling back at Griffin Park after what has been a particularly bleak 2016. Nathan Fox hit a sweet strike to follow up Bradley Clayton’s first half brace whilst Herson Alves hit the pick of the bunch with a curling beauty that put one in mind of a certain Alan Judge.

And on a personal note, a huge thank you to Mark Devlin and the Brentford family. Whilst yours truly was more than happy with the result, somebody else was chuffed to bit with a special appearance from Buzz.

THANK YOU

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Buzz does his thing in a special guest appearance

Nick Bruzon