Archive | transfer RSS feed for this section

A great deadline day. And how often do we say that?

1 Sep

So that’s that. The transfer window has slammed shut (TM) and Brentford could, arguably, be said to be stronger coming out of it than we are going in to it (somebody should use that one). Winger Sullay Kaikai comes in on loan  from Crystal Palace whilst left back Rico Henry joins former Walsall team mate Romaine Sawyers, signing on a massive five year contract. Newcastle United, Leicester City and Hull remain disappointed (at least from a Bees perspective) as our out door barely even creaked

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)

Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 16 to May 17, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

Sullay Kaikai

Sullay Kaikai on ‘official’ – now THAT’s a signing photo

 

ryanwoods-signing-4x3277-3283960_613x460

Ryan Woods signs his extension – is that really a contract?

 

Nick Bruzon 

Sawyers, Egan, Bentley all IN. And a return for Andy Scout

2 Jul

Well that was some day in TW8. Brentford boss Dean Smith embarked on a triple transfer swoop that has sent the fans into overdrive whilst, no doubt, earning further friends at Walsall. Romaine Sawyers IN. Daniel Bentley IN. John Egan IN. Oh, and then there was the small matter of captain Jake Bidwell joining QPR. There’ll be a separate piece on that one but, for now, we’ll simply say “good luck” and politely leave it there.

We’d all heard the rumours. We’d all scoured the local press looking for some crumb of Brentford related news in the lean summer months since the season ended. These names have been doing the rounds for some time but, being honest, did we expect to get them all? On day 1?

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 08.55.16

Official twitter has a triple transfer montage

More to the point, how did the local press get it so right this time? And for so long? I’ve long been scornful of a rumour mill that seems as much miss as it is hit. Throw enough mud and some will stick. However, on this on you have to say ‘hats off’ for calling them all, including the news about Jake, spot on.

This is nothing but stunning. Sawyers and Egan were both in the League 1 team of the year last season, an honour Bentley had the season previous as Southend got promoted via the play off final. That, a game Sam Saunders will remember (although perhaps for the wrong reasons) after injury forced him to leave the pitch quicker than you could say “And this is Saunders territory”, just seconds after kick off.

What does this all mean for the rest of the squad? Egan is a centre back and with Harlee Dean, Jack O’Connell, Andreas Bjelland and Yoann Barbet could somebody else be moving on? Might Dean be moving to a formation with three central defenders? Or is it a case of him having to try and keep a lot of players very happy with a place on the bench? Either way, this level of competition can only be a good thing.

As for Daniel Bentley, he comes very highly rated and there is a genuine sense of excitement at his joining. The obvious question is if he will be in line to support or replace David Button. In my eyes, he ran Alan Judge oh so close for player of the season last time out and helped keep the good ship Brentford afloat when things were, shall we politely say, going through a bit of a rough patch on field.

Reading the press release, Phil Giles has noted that, “As it stands all three goalkeepers, including Jack Bonham, will be competing to be first choice goalkeeper against Huddersfield on the opening day of the season.” Whilst I have no doubt that is true, as it stands, I can’t believe having al three on our books will be a long term option. Will David sign the new contract he has been offered? Will Daniel have to be content as an understudy at first? Or will it be a case of Bentley & Bonham being our goalkeeping 1-2 as we head into 2016/17?

Then there’s Romaine Sawyers. He earned plaudits all last season and no more so than as Walsall dumped Brentford out of the FA Cup in the game we don’t talk about. They deserved it that day and he was wonderful. With John Swift back at Chelsea, Sergi Canos back at Liverpool and Jota still on his ‘loan’ in Spain there’s certainly room for an attacking midfielder.

CmR3E6-WcAAdb1O

Romaine sports the signing scarf

Yesterday was nothing but brilliant.

Off the field, it was also confirmed that Andy Scott is now back at Brentford in an official capacity, as Chief Scout. Whilst Matthew Benham had previously alluded to his work for us, Andy is now fully on board with Phil Giles noting “I have been working with Andy over the last year or more, and he has been invaluable in identifying players and providing detailed scouting reports on all of our targets.

Andy, if you are reading then congratulations. It’s great to have you back. I’l never forget those goals or that night against Everton. Now, if you could hot foot it up to Liverpool and start compiling a dossier, there’s a chap called Sergi I think you might like to take a look at……

Nick Bruzon

And finally…. :  Andy, Daniel, Romaine or John, If you are reading ( you aren’t)  The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs about the club you are joining then  you can do so now.

Its been a wonderful three years. Here’s to more of the same over 2016/17. Thanks, as ever, for reading

In? Out? Shake it all about.

1 Feb

Strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride , Brentford fans. Deadline day is here. Could James Tarkowski be off to Burnley? Is the sale of Alan Judge (Sunderland – presumably that one a joke) back on once more ? Are former Bees Adam Forshaw and Alex Pritchard heading for pastures new? Will Griffin Park see any newcomers?

It’s football’s craziest day as journalists everywhere dust down the phrases “snap up”, “Double transfer swoop”, “slams shut” and recycle archive footage of Harry Redknapp leaning out of a car window. With the ever excitable Jim White guiding us home alongside, amongst others, Bees’ fanatic Natalie Sawyer it promises to be as frenetic and torturous a day as ever.

For Brentford fans, at least, we can take solace in the words of co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen. After the last one closed in September 2015, the club quoted his own intentions for forthcoming transfer windows following the fans’ forum.

So far this time around we’ve seen the signing of Nathan Fox from Cray Wanderers and Emmanuel Onariase from West Ham United. Joining the long list of those who left in the summer have been Jota and then Toumani Diagouraga who, of course, joined Stuart Dallas at Leeds United last week.

As such, it’s going to be very interesting how we end today. Will anybody leave? Will anybody join? Will the squad be stronger? Or is the improving performance of several players, alongside those who remain, considered as the strengthening?

It’s the worst day in the football calendar, that’s for sure. With Dean Smith supposedly after two players, time is fast running out. Then again, Matthew Benham’s ongoing absence from Twitter means that any advance clues are now a thing of the past.

Rasmus, Phil and Dean could be hot footing it up the motorway or waiting at Terminal 2 to secure a deal as we speak. Nobody amongst us mere mortals, for all that we speculate and read, actually has a clue.

All I know is that with Jim White going into overdrive, as excitable as Wolf out of the Gladiators ranting down the camera,  none of us Bees will be able to relax until it’s over.

See you in 24 hours time……

Deadline day

Jim White – not just Natalie alongside him these days

Nick Bruzon

 

Is this next season’s shirt? Plus an unexpected favour

30 Jan

Saturday. Brentford have another afternoon off. The price of FA Cup capitulation. With the scheduled game against Leeds United having been brought forward, we’re not even half-way towards out next outing – the televised clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday evening.   Plus, Manchester United do us a favour whilst one correspondent asks if we’ve been given a possible ‘sneak peek’ of next seasons’ kit? First though, this weekend.

It always feels like we are missing out when most of our rivals are playing. One slight positive is, I guess, that the next time we all meet up the shape of our squad will be known. Will that include Alan Judge? James Tarkowski? Anybody new? With the window due to ‘slam shut’ on Monday, the time for deals is running out. That doesn’t make them any less likely, of course.

Traditionally, the final day has been anything from a sea of tumbleweed to a flurry of frenetic activity. And that’s just the onlookers although recent times have seen them absent after reporter Alan Irwin was assaulted with an ‘adult product’ . Let’s hope our ‘out door’ remains equally quiet over the next few days.

That said, yesterday saw the transfer klaxon going off at Griffin Park with the club announcing that 19 year old centre back Emmanuel Onariase has signed on a youth contract from West Ham. With Harlee Dean, Yoann Barbet, James Tarkowski and Jack O’Connell having already featured in that position this season, what does this mean for our first teamers? Could one or more be on the way out – either now or at season end ?

The situation around James Tarkowski, if not entirely clear following the respective statements, has certainly been made very public. Likewise, Harlee’s contract expires at the end of the season. One would hope that at least one of these players is in the long-term plans of our co-directors of football. We’ll see though.

img-0549-4x3277-2927583_478x359

Emmanuel signs and opts for scarf over shirt

The other slight plus from this weekend was Derby County being beaten by Manchester United in the FA Cup last night. As anybody who has been reading this week will be aware, I’m not particularly interested in the cup performances of Mr. van Gaal’s team.

However, the result does now mean that our game with Derby at Griffin Park will go ahead on February 20th. Had the Rams beaten United then we wouldn’t have had a Saturday ‘home fixture’ until March 5th against Charlton Athletic. Imagine what a long wait that would have been – over a month without a home weekend fixture.

We’d have had to do ‘that trip’ to Ikea, visit the in-laws, paint the spare room or fix the leaky tap. I can only imagine the panic over at The Griffin as takings nosedived. Thanks Man U. Please note: my interest in you is now over. Again .

And finally, fellow kit enthusiast Luis Adriano contacted me on Twitter last night with a great spot – could this be next season’s home shirt? Made by adidas, it is the away shirt for San Jose Earthquakes’ 2016 campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 07.09.53

Could we wear this next season?

As Luis noted, “not sure it would go down too well with the traditionalists” but , from a personal perspective, I have to say that I love it. Red and white stripes but certainly a little bit of a twist on the norm. Would Matthew Benham and Mark Devlin take this much of a leap into untraditional territory? Would supporters like a shirt that was this heavy on the white?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Osca ’83-’84 home effort. The one with the all white upper half. So rare, I don’t even have one in my own collection that, otherwise, features most things from 1978 onwards (the ‘mythical’ Adidas ’80-’81 aside).

Indeed, it came second in my all time ‘top ten’ of the Bees home shirts. As was noted at the time, that one was “The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant”.

Would we have the guts to go this radical? Would fans warm to it? I may be shooting in the dark but it would be interesting to know.

Either way, it’s a lot better than speculating about who might be sneaking out of that window by Monday.

team-picture-1983-841

Osca 83-84. Loved the shirt – not so keen on the shorts.

Nick Bruzon

Jota shows how to do it with class

17 Jan

With the news of James Tarkoffski refusing to play against Burnley still leaving a worse taste in the mouth than a stadium burger, it was news of another player who is leaving Brentford that brought nothing but good vibes and best wishes from the Griffin Park faithful. With Jota confirming his much anticipated 18 month loan move to SD Eibar in Span, it sees the departure of one of the most exciting players we’ve had the pleasure to see play in living memory.

Probably more important in the immediate short term was his method of delivering this news. A heartfelt and emotional letter shared on social media. “This isn’t “goodbye” but more of a “see you later” he notes about a decision “based solely on personal circumstances” . A glowing tribute to the club, his team mates and the supporters also includes the news that he has signed an additional year’s contract extension with Brentford.

Jota

Jota – will now be rushing into action for Eibar

The letter is still up on Twitter or you can read it in full at the bottom of this article. As a supporter I’m gutted but from a personal perspective you can only appreciate the situation he has found himself in and respect this decision. Contrast this with the news from Friday night prior to the Burnley game just to see who leaves Griffin Park with their head held high and nothing but best wishes and who skulks off with their tail between their legs.

Jota. In the last minute”.

It is a phrase and chant that has become as familiar as, “Ooh Richy Cadette in the back of the net”, “ Big Ben Burgesssss” and “Owusuuuu” But then again, why wouldn’t it?

If ever there has a been a player to turn it on in style, at THE most important time, it was Jota. The moment of his goal against Nottingham Forest, and that solo run across Griffin Park towards the directors’ box in celebration, was something I’ll never forget. But the goal at home to arch rivals Fulham was the last minute winner to top them all.

The goal wrapped up a deserved three points as, with the clock well into the 90th, it looked as though our chance to secure all three points and second place, our highest league position in 62 years, had gone. Then Jota arrived. His shot from distance left the goalkeeper flat-footed and sent the crowd bonkers.

Brentford Fulham BBC 2 - 1final score

Jota – his winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

And what he did in the home game, he repeated at Craven Cottage. With the game surely safe at a mere 3-1 to the Bees, and the Brentford supporters reminding our hosts what happened previously with (another) rendition of “Jota, in the last minute”, the Spaniard duly obliged. Again. A beautiful half volley into the roof of the net from twelve yards out gave the scoreline an almost surreal feeling.

Even this season, but for a rogue linesman he’d have tied up another win at Craven Cottage. With the scores locked at 2-2 his beautiful header, in acres of space, secured the points before the official’s flag took them back with an ‘offside’ decision that TV subsequently proved wrong.

You can pick your Jota moment. For many, it was the wonderful solo goal up at Blackburn Rovers which inspired the infamous ‘Burridgegasm’ up in the Beesplayer commentary box. An incredible run and strike that summed up just how good he really can be and how lucky Eibar are to have him back in Spain.

Mark Burridge and Jota – the dream team

Flicking through my own season review (the cover of which was inspired by that goal against Forest), it’s incredible just how often his name comes up in relation to some trick, run, assist or stunning goal. You can’t replace a player of this ability yet, at the same time, one who always came across as a welcoming and friendly individual.

Brentford’s loss is very much Eibar’s gain. Despite our loss, I’ve never seen a player depart with such an outpouring of love and respect. Social media was awash with good wishes and tributes as the news broke. Such is the measure of the man.

Farewell, Jota. And THANK YOU. I hope we see you again.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 07.21.36

A heartfelt letter from Jota

Nick Bruzon

And now Rangers join the mix as Brentford staff respond to rumours

8 Jan

Amidst the glut of Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley related transfer rumours currently doing the rounds at Brentford it was one out of leftfield, from Rangers, that had Bees fans talking yesterday. The BBC were among the news outlets to confirm that Mark Warburton had made a bid, which has been rejected, for supporter’s player of the year Toumani Diagouraga.

But first those longstanding stories about Alan Judge and James Tarkowski were finally confirmed by Dean Smith in an interview on the club’s YouTube channel. Whilst I don’t for one second believe anybody of any significance pays any attention to this column, fair play to the media team for putting the rumours which we’ve all read about direct to the Head Coach. And you can see this on the video, where he also expands on the Jota situation, below.

Dean Smith speaks

As mentioned in Tuesday’s column, I really didn’t think that was our style (discussing rumours up front). Yet Dean confirmed, “We’ve had bids for Alan Judge and James Tarkowski but we’ve turned both of them down” although didn’t go so far as to confirm these were Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. And the reason, “We’re in a position where we don’t want to sell our players at the moment…we want to keep our better players at the football club”.

So all the right noises and just what supporters would hope to hear. Sentiments echoed, likewise, by co-director of football Phil Giles on the latest Beesotted podcast – which you can find here . Stay for the full hour twenty experience or jump straight to Phil’s piece 11 minutes into the playback. Either way, very well worth a listen and hats off to Dave and Billy for nabbing another exclusive. Phil comes across very well whilst the probing questions certainly bear a considered listen.

As for Toumani, well it was no doubt Mark Warburton would be hoping to take some former players to Rangers. Indeed, Warbs has already signed up former golden boy Harry Forrester after his jumping ship for the dream of Championship football with Doncaster quickly turned into a nightmare.

But the bid to lure Toumani sees a significant step up in Mark’s intent, given this a player who is still a regular in a Brentford team pushing for the Premier League play offs. Was the £100,000 bid, which of course was rejected, just the first salvo in a bidding war to lure the ever popular midfielder.

toumani-saunders277-951361_478x359

Toumani, Sam, Buzz and Buzzette. Bees for years and massively popular

Whilst there’s no doubt we have a huge selection in the middle of the park, Toumani is surely one of the first names on the teamsheet, around whom the others fit. If nothing else, there’d be huge disappointment if he leaves – for Rangers or elsewhere – prior to scoring a goal.

What happens next is going to be a very interesting test of the club’s ambition versus the obvious lure presented by a lorry load of cash. Whilst I’m just the numpty on the terrace rather than any insider, I’m not that stupid as to realise that every player does have his price. Indeed, this is something Phil discusses on that Beesotted interview.

Are we prepared to fight for our players – as seems to be the intent from the first round of bids? Or is this simply just a case of playing the waiting game? With the transfer window remaining open for the best part of another four weeks, there’s simply no reason to jump at the first bid – if that is our long term goal.

My own personal feel for all of this is that at least one of these three will leave before Jim White declares the window as officially slammed shut. If nothing else, the financial rewards for playing top-flight football, with buckets of TV money sloshing around, do help compensate some of this initial investment. As long as the bidding club do then make the ‘promised land’, of course.

Dean Smith did acknowledge an element of rotation will be in effect on Saturday. This works for him in potentially camouflaging any sales we may be considering. Tuesday night against league leaders Middlesbrough, a game where surely your first choice XI need to start, will be a very different and interesting selection.

Until then, despite all the speculation and opinion, there’s nothing any of us can do to stop or influence matters. Alan Judge will leave the Bees at some point in his career as, I’d suspect, will Toums, Tarks and most of this team. Let’s just hope it isn’t until the summer time, at the least.

Despite our slow start to the campaign, this team is tearing up the blindside. I’d love to see it given at least another six months to see what we can do. Will money talk or will we hold it altogether?

The next few days could prove to be extremely ‘squeaky bum’ time for those wanting to hang on to our current squad.

Nick Bruzon  

Brentford into the Woods as Jim White goes ‘Wolf’ on deadline day

2 Sep

The transfer window has ‘slammed shut’ and with it Brentford fans can breathe a sigh of relief. After a summer that has seen several big name departures and as many other rumours, we now know the make up of the squad. There was no David Button to Aston Villa (one of those heavily touted at various points in pre-season) or James Tarkowski to Fulham. Instead, we have only strengthened further, with the addition of Ryan Woods from Shrewsbury Town.

Joining Brentford for an undisclosed fee (although one believed to be in the £1million ball park) Ryan is described as a versatile player who has played right back, right midfield and even left back. He helped Shrewsbury gain promotion to League One last season and, on the way, was named in the PFA divisional team of the year. Such is his stature, even West Ham put in a couple of bids during the previous window although the Bees have been the ultimate beneficiaries.

Ryan – welcome to Griffin Park. Just take care on the training ground. After that previous business with twigs, more woods are the last thing we need !

Ryan Woods adopts that all too familiar pose

Ryan Woods adopts that all too familiar pose

We all know the deadline day routine by now. Jim White getting over excited in the Sky Sports studio, roving reporters doing their thing at stadia and training grounds all over the land, Natalie Sawyer helping see us over the line and Brentford fans sitting on the edge of their seats long into the night in the hope that nobody leaves.

Jim didn’t let us down and even seemed be channeling the spirit of Wolf out of the Gladiators as the window eventually came to a close. However, that was about it for familiarity.

Natalie was again missing for the final bow whilst the absence of WKD fuelled youths, banned after the dildogate affair 12 months previous, gave an almost ethereal quality to the reports flying in from empty stadiums. Thankfully, we were saved five hours of nail chewing with the decision made to stop proceedings at 6pm rather than nearer 11pm as is usual. And even better, nobody left Griffin Park.

Jim White had a new co-host as the window 'slammed shut'

Jim White had a new co-host as the window ‘slammed shut’

Given some of the other rumours that had been circulating pre-season, it would have come as no surprise had anybody else joined the likes of Andre Gray, Stuart Dallas or Moses Odubajo in leaving. For me, the fact that we have retained David Button is only excellent news. He has already had a standout start to the season following on from an excellent campaign last time out.

Likewise, with Andreas Bjelland already ruled out, hanging on to the likes of James Tarkowski and Harlee Dean was essential. We’ve done this and with the addition of Ryan, along with Marco Djuricin and Sergi Canos, there are suddenly a host of additional options going forward. Now it’s over to Marinus to see how he can use these to best effect.

The jury remains out for now on whether selling Moses, Stuart and Andre for around £12m will remain shrewd business or a fatal mistake. The fact of the matter is that they have gone and, much as I was desperate to hang on to Andre especially, there’s nothing we can do about it.

Indeed, the ‘in’ door has been a lot busier at Griffin Park over the summer with 12 players joining Brentford compared to the 6 (see also: Tony Craig, Jonathan Douglas and Will Grigg) who have been released or sold.

Have the club ‘over tinkered’ with a settled team? Has the ‘so called’ statistical model played much of a role (good or bad)? Will the new look squad gel to become even better than ever before? Most importantly, will supporters now give Marinus and the new system a bit of breathing space?

At 4 points from 4 games, we are only one ‘worse’ off than last season, when Warbs had us on 5 at this juncture. My main hope is that Marinus has us try to play football. Win or lose, Warbs certainly knew the way to goal.

I’ve got no major worries about the recruitment policy if it gets results. But I’d love to see the Bees start to find the back of the net. And you can only do that by going forward.

Still. The tools are now in place. We await what happens next with extreme interest.

Nick Bruzon