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What happens on the Blues cruise, stays on the Blues cruise. At least, until full time.

1 Nov

Birmingham City 0 Brentford 2 . Let’s repeat that, for clarity, just in case anyone was distracted by the likes of Tottenham v Real Madrid or Liverpool v somebody tonight.

That’s  : Birmingham City 0 Brentford 2 . And to summarise the game , here you go…….

Harlee

Nick Bruzon

 

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What a wonderful gesture for fans. There’s still time to get involved.

7 Sep

With the Brentford Fan Forum tonight and the return to Championship action approaching with the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday there’s going to be more than enough to talk about over the next few days. So we’ll keep this relatively brief and acknowledge our near neighbours QPR. Specifically the fact that this Saturday sees them celebrate the 100th anniversary of their first fixture at Loftus Road when Ipswich Town visit. For the stat lovers amongst us, 8th September 1917 saw QPR take on West Ham for the stadium’s opening game and now they are looking to celebrate a centenary.

It wouldn’t be a ‘new stadium’ story without West Ham muscling in on the act. Apparently, and you may have missed it, they moved recently. Albeit these days the buzz is less about their own Olympic Park and more their owners. But that’s another story.

This time around, QPR are the team in the limelight. And to help mark this occasion they’ve been asking fans to use the hashtag #LoftusRoad100 to post pictures on Twitter. The best of these will then feature on the programme for the Ipswich game.

What a lovely gesture. And how great to see the reaction of supporters. Not just from QPR but other clubs, too. Not least Brentford where several of our fans have got involved in the action to help our neighbours mark the date. Photos of the stadium exterior, players scoring goal after goal, Romaine Saywers and even the technicolour marvel that is the scoreboard are all featured.

So do take a quick look. #LoftusRoad100. And for anybody wishing to get involved, the closing date for entries is 10am today.

Loftus Road 100

100 years of Loftus Road. Can you help them celebrate?

As for Aston Villa, I can’t wait to get back to action on Saturday. What with several of our heroes moving on, the Stadium news and Gibraltar shipping 9 in Belgium it’s been a turbulent week or so for yours truly. But all that’s behind us and its time to look forwards.

And what better way to do so than with the major positive being Sergi Canos. The Spanish wing wizard featuring in the B-team fixture at Griffin Park, against QPR of all teams, earlier in the week.

Whilst I missed the final score, I do know that he made it through 66 minutes of the game and seems as excited as ever about playing at Griffin Park. Certainly if his own Twitter feed is to be believed.

We all know how good Sergi is and what he can do. At a time when some of us might need a shot in the arm, to have him back will be a wonderful thing. Aston Villa haven’t had the best of starts and will no doubt be there for the taking, albeit I’m going for my standard Villa bet of 1-1 in this one (for research purposes, that’s currently available at 23/4).

The Villans sit just above Brentford in 18th place and, it would be fair to say, so far haven’t set the world alight this season. See also: last season. Moreso, for a team inexplicably tipped as title favourites when the campaign began.

That said, our own record isn’t as good as some of our play suggests. However, and quality though they were, with both Harlee and Max departing for Birmingham at least the plethora of defensive combination should be whittled down somewhat. There was a double pair of Danish clean sheets for Andreas Bjelland and Henrik Dalsgaard during the break, which will only have the defensive duo in high spirits. Chuck Sergi into the mix and who knows what could happen?

Whilst I’ve called it 1-1, Villa failing to score is an equal possibility. Certainly if our old friend SimonHateley on twitter is to be believed. He’s recently posted a wonderful graphic showing just how Villa Park really is THE place where goalscoring form goes to die.

Villa form

Villa Park. Where form goes to die. Apparently

That’s all to come though. First up we have the Fan’s forum. Don’t forget that one starts at 7.00ppm tonight in The Hive and so do get along if you can. I can’t imagine many other clubs doing this on such a regular basis and what a great chance to put anything you may wish to ask to our top brass.

Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon

Are we taking our new shirt back to the 80’s?

21 Jun

The dust has settled on the new Brentford shirt and the results would seem to suggest these are nothing but hugely popular with the supporters. However, elsewhere things aren’t so cut and dried. We’ve my favourite tweet of the campaign from one Sunderland fan whilst Cardiff City appear to have done their new adidas creation on the cheap. At least when it comes to the sponsor.

First up though, one last thought on our new home and away kits. My views on this are clear and haven’t diminished any – basically fantastic. That said, I’ve seen some commentary talking about the sponsor’s logo. Not so much ‘Who are LeoVegas?’ ( as I’ve no doubt we’ll learn all about them over the coming two seasons) but more whether their branding had been airbrushed on a bit too high after the photos had been taken. Moreso, given the launch video shows the players in unbranded kit.

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Brentford kit – 2017/18

Well, from what I understand the image in the photos is at the correct height and what we can expect to see next season. Personally (and, to be clear, no cash/kit has changed hands) I’m not bothered by this. In my opinion, for whatever it is worth, this makes the rest of the shirt look uncluttered and cleaner. Concentrate all the logos in one place.

Besides, it’s not as though we haven’t been here before. Not only does our new shirt bear a very familiar look to the 1984/85 kit but looking through the archives, a high sponsor was a trait common to many previous Brentford shirts. The 80’s especially saw the replica kits with the sponsor practically in line with the badge and maker’s logo. And whilst the nostalgic in me would yearn for a return of KLM (or, for that matter, how about any of our local firms along the golden mile – a Sega, GSK, JCDecaux for example?) the placement of the logo is not anything that is going to be causing me sleepless nights. The current weather does more than a good enough job of that.

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High sponsors are not a new thing

Next up, Cardiff City. Whilst our logo may sit a little higher than some people are used to, in South Wales their new shirt has seen a different problem. Namely that of looking like it has been handprinted on the cheap by a bunch of bargain priced student designers.

As the Bluebirds have done since 2011, their shirt promotes Malaysia. No surprise given the connections of owner and poor man’s Bond villain Vincent Tan. But could they have chosen any more basic a font?

Wow. This really must have taken all of ten second for Cardiff to knock out. It’s unsubtle and to the point, I’ll give it that. Even if it did then put me in mind of the Viz t-shirts from the late 80s.

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Cardiff City keep it basic

We’ve also looked at the new Sunderland shirt on these pages in the build up to our own launch. The high level verdict is – stinker. It would seem this is a view shared by many fans at the Stadium of Light. Yet this, for me, encapsulated it all in one tweet.

Great job, Kitman Bob!

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AUTHOR’S PLUG: Along with kit talk, the other traditional thing at this time of year is the plugging of the season review e-book. Please. Stay with me – this time around it is for a great cause . All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales form the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s all for a great cause and, hey, you may even enjoy it.

So why not do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at work? You might even enjoy it !

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

HUGE thanks to everyone who has downloaded it so far.

Nick Bruzon

What a night. Harlee and Jota go head to head at Player of the Year awards.

8 May

What a night. With the dust not even settling on Sunday afternoon’s defeat by Blackburn Rovers at Griffin Park, the Brentford family reconvened for the season end Player of the Year awards.

With Natalie Sawyer hosting the ceremony , ably abetted by Peter Gilham, the night marked a wonderful end to a third successive season in the Championship. And a third successive top ten finish. It was something noted by Chairman Cliff Crown who, as with those who would follow him to the microphone, was quick to note not just the great job done by all at Brentford this season but, as importantly, the optimism with which we can view the forthcoming season.

No more so was this demonstrated than with the ‘breaking news’ (and there was even a graphic for this) that Jota’s contract extension had been triggered. He’s with us for 2017/18 ! He’s staying with us. This is just stunning news and received one of the biggest cheers of the night. As one would expect.

In terms of the awards, Harlee Dean scooped a brace including the big one – supporters’ player of the year. He gave an interesting pair of speeches, highlighting where he has come from over the last few years, despite the various levels of trust shown in him by Dean Smith’s respective predecesors. On the sending off against Blackburn his own admission was that he just wasn’t going to let them score, even though it wouldn’t have made a difference to us. If anything told you what you needed to know about his fighting spirit then here it was.

All being well the club will publish the video highlights of these over the next day or so. The positivity and goodwill emanating from not just Harlee and Cliff but also the likes of Dean Smith, Mark Devlin and a departing Alan McCormack in their speeches was almost tangible.

Ryan Woods was named player’s player of the year. Perhaps one of our unsung heroes, he’s somebody we almost take for granted. Obviously he’s good, very good. Yet it is only in his absence that we truly see how much he does, what value he is to this side and how conspicuous the gap created by his absence is.

There were touching stories from Yoann Barbet and Lasse Vibe in picking up their Community awards whilst Zain Westbrooke picked up the first honour of the night in being named B-team player of the year. But it was that man Jota who really took the limelight.

Firstly with his goal of the season award. That wondrous, wondrous moment against QPR at Griffin Park which Jake Bidwell, and the rest of their defence, are probably still having nightmares about. Well played Nico Yennaris and Josh Clarke in not making it a Jota 1-2 in this category as the one against Derby County failed to make the top 3. What a mark of the quality we have !

But secondly, and with due respect to Captain Harlee, perhaps the REAL big one of the night was a return for Hottie of the Year. Joining a list of previous winners including Andre Gray, Jonathan Douglas and Sam Saunders, the latest name to be added to that list is now Jota.

Let’s be honest, even for us married men that one was never in doubt. His hair, something most of us aspire to as much as his footballing ability, could have won that prize on its own. Here’s to seeing if he can scoop it in 2019/20.

What a season it has been. There’ll be more to come over the week. Until then, it simply remains to say a HUGE thank you to all involved in last night’s event. It really was enormous fun, the players were magnificent and it showed yet again (as if any reminder were needed) what a wonderful club we have.

THANK YOU Brentford FC.

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Jota – the hair.

Nick Bruzon

Derby day is here. West London’s finest, and also QPR, meet at Griffin Park.

22 Apr

Brentford entertain QPR today in a game where a home win will see the Bees pull 13 points clear of our neighbours and up to a possible 9th spot in the Championship table. But can we do it?

The heart says yes. The head says that anything can happen in a local encounter, none moreso as passionate one as the 237 derby. Especially when the visitors are sitting just a handful of points above the relegation slots. And whilst, surely, the likes of Mark Warburton’s Nottingham Forest or even Birmingham City will be the ones to make a late entry into that particular battle, pressure can do funny things.

So Dean Smith’s team talk today will be key. But what will he say? I’ve no idea, being the numpty on the terrace rather than anybody even vaguely close to the inner circle of the Brentford hierarchy. But if I was in his shoes then a leaf from the big book of Harlee might be the way forward – pinning up a few things on the dressing room wall.

Dean , if you are reading ( you aren’t) then here’s a few to get started…

SWIFT Brentford QPR

The game, last season

 

andy-scott-on-qpr

The away game this season saw Dean’s Bees rise to the occasion

CmS5kCqXYAEQJos (1)

Worst.Hashtag.Ever.

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Pundit Ian Holloway’s words have come back to haunt him….

table pre qpr

…as demonstrated by the current table.

QPR tweet

This actually appeared on Twitter yesterday

takeover

50 years on, who now has the upper hand?

Nick Bruzon

Bees take the points, again (but who takes a tumble dryer to the toilet?)

14 Dec

What a difference a few days make. From going into the weekend off the back of ‘that’ run, Brentford have come back from their midweek trip to Bristol City with another win (1-0) in the back pocket. 6 points from 6 and confidence surely surging for the trip to Leeds United on Saturday (a team who themselves made it 6 from 8  – wins, that is – as they tightened their position in the play off zone with a 2-0 defeat of third placed Reading).

Was I there? No. Did I listen? No. A Christmas party at work in which, of course, good behaviour was the order of the day (no unorthodox use of a photocopier here) meant that match oversight has been limited to a series of mid-game updates via WhatsApp – other messaging services are, apparently, available.

But what updates.

In order, these included:

A picture of something that looked like a slimmed down version of the infamous Brentford funky bee with a traffic cone in place of the customary proboscis.

img_4107

Answers on a postcard, please

“Great work by Dean to keep a cool head and clear that”. (I’m presuming Harlee rather than Mr Smith.)

“Tomlin v Woods is the most hilarious short angry man battle”

“Gooooaaaallll”

“Hogan’s movement has been fantastic all night”

“FT. 0-1”

(Just) coming in from work later that night, internal monologue performing that world cup staple as scores were rechecked again to confirm exactly what had happened,  the next place to go was the video highlights. And, as ever, the BBC match report.

Both confirmed the win for Brentford, the chances created by Scott Hogan and caught the goal – a shot from distance via the boot of Romaine Sayers and (scarily)  the backside of Maxime Colin.

Scarily, you may ask? Ok – so nobody has asked but forgive me a brief indulgence. It was only yesterday that this column noted : “Create enough chances and, eventually, things will go in your favour. Something will go in off a defender’s backside.

That’ll be the same column suggesting a return for Tom Field. Sometimes, even this numpty on the terrace can get lucky.  It was a goal described later by Dean (Smith), saying : ”I think the ball went in off Maxime Colin’s backside. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to record victories in the Championship and he will want the goal, even though it was a fantastic strike by Romaine.”

He likes his luck, does our head coach. Still, if it continues going in our favour then I’ll take that over ‘blips’ and ’skill sets’. Although, equally, perhaps a more conventional goal scoring Plan B than via  a defender’s derrière would probably come in handy, too.

Still, if that’s the worst we’ve got to worry about then one can only take the points and run. Special mention, too, for Tom Field. His third league appearance for the Bees saw his third win. That’s not a bad start to any footballing career.

Now the big question is one of whether he can he make it four in a row at Leeds United? On Saturday, those of us who have taken out a second mortgage (£37 – wow !), find out .

Nick Bruzon

Actually, there is one more big question. Whilst I may have missed the game, the aforementioned office party threw up a brain teaser of its own. Namely, who uses a tumble dryer in a toilet? My thoughts, too, yet this was the sign on the inside of the bathroom.

Anybody? Anybody…..?

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Answers on a postcard, please

 

What lessons can we learn from West Ham and Bournemouth ?

23 Aug

Saturday can’t come soon enough. Brentford have a home game with Sheffield Wednesday and already it seems like an eternity since that 1-0 defeat on the road at the weekend. There was little to update fans with yesterday  – no surprise being a Monday – and we aren’t involved in League Cup action this week following the capitulation against Exeter City. Fortunately, a video has started doing the rounds from the West Ham v Bournemouth game on Sunday to keep us entertained.

Bournemouth are, to some , the romantic team who punched against the big guns to surprise all comers during their first Premier League campaign last season. To others, the side who overspent well beyond their means as they got promoted from the Championship in 2014/15 at the expense of Brentford and the rest. Whilst we may have ended up on the moral high ground, along with a fine Mark Warburton inspired 3-1 victory under our belts last year (Feb 2015), they are the ones who embarked on that huge TOTL (top of the league) run before eventual success.

Cow chaos bourenmouth brentford

I do miss our games with Bournemouth

As for West Ham, you may not have realised this but apparently they moved stadium over the summer. If only somebody had mentioned it. Just once, to give us a clue that a move was imminent.

Ironically, despite all the planning, it seems their new home is still not ready. Certainly, if the photos doing the rounds on Sunday are anything to go by where it seems season ticket holders turned up to find their seat had no actual, erm, seat.

This, of course, is already old news. Such is the speed at which the Internet moves that the picture has already had close to three and half thousand shares on Twitter. Fairplay to West Ham supporter ‘Paul’ who wouldn’t give The Sun permission to use it, instead allowing his club the chance to respond first.

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It has been a time of huge celebration for West Ham. We’ve already had the first friendly in their new stadium, the first European game there and the first Premier league game/goal/win. No doubt we’ve still got the first league game under lights and the first  FA Cup game to come.

I can only imagine the latter will be a huge occasion given as, seemingly, they won the competition back in 1980.  Like their new home and 1966 World Cup triumph, something else that never gets mentioned in journalistic circles. For all you pub quiz fas out there, Trevor Brooking grabbed the winner I believe. Store that one away – it’ll come in handy.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the first game when their new stadium isn’t mentioned. Experts predict that could come as soon as February 2017. In the short term, the media love in with the Hammers continues. Sunday sees their third Premier League game in a row televised.

But it was the weekend encounter with Bournemouth (now BOTL), West Ham’s first televised league game at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon against a team whose name begins with B in their new Stadium, that provides the pick of the action.

Only 792 people have seen this, at the time of writing, but there’s no place to hide in a modern stadium. TV cameras everywhere and moreso in a televised game. As this Bournemouth fan discovered…

A Bournemouth supporter caught green handed

From all this, let’s hope Brentford learn at least two lessons for Lionel Road.

Given the amount of work already poured  into the design I can’t for one second imagine we’ll face similar issues. Yet, if nothing else,  it does make you realise that even the most basic elements can, sometimes, be overlooked.

Whilst adequate seating is a priority, let’s not forget about the catering either.

Lionel Road

Lionel Road. Let’s get the seats and food right

Nick Bruzon

The kit is out and the dust has settled. Is it a winner?

23 Jul

What a day for kit news. Brentford released their 2016/17 shirt designs to the world.  Championship rivals Norwich City have entered the realms of greatness by recreating an already iconic kit in some style. Whilst, for those not already aware, Sheffield Wednesday have gone for a controversial look…

First though, Griffin Park. The kit is out and I have to say I love it. The home especially which I think is our best shirt in years. If Norwich have rolled back the years then it’s fair to say that Brentford have more than matched them on the history front. Echoing the mythical Adidas 80/81 design (seriously, does anybody have one?) fused with the Core 95/96 shirt, it also features an early 70’s round neck collar. Think Peter Gelson or Big John O’Mara (kids, ask your dads. Now !!).

Nico new kit

For sure it has a bit more white than red but that’s no bad thing in my eyes. We haven’t been afraid to mix it up in the past and, when offset with the black of the shoulder stripes, shorts and socks – looks simply stunning.

Besides, where does it actually say we need as much red as white? Well done to Matthew Benham, Mark Devlin and, of course, Kitman Bob Oteng for breaking the mould a little bit to come out with a wonderful effort.

Interestingly, looking on social media and the club wesbite last night, it seems that Bob is already starting to think about our next designs already. Do check his twitter feed (if for no other reason than the return of the legendary BBgiveaway this season) and interview on ‘official’ where he reveals:  “If we take the 2017/18 kit for example, I will start preparing for that in about six weeks’ time,”

Wow! 2017/18? I’ve not even bought this stunner yet and now there’s already another shirt to obsess about. Well Bob, if you are reading, I’ve got two words to say: FunkyBee.  Failing that, who doesn’t love a castle…?

One final thought on the home shirt. Whilst (in my eyes) it is an instant classic, I do understand that a few people might take a bit of time adjusting to the red/white ratio. If so, spare a thought for Sheffield Wednesday supporters.

Just as Brentford traditionally wear red and white stripes, they do the same in blue and white. Not this season though, where the home kit has gone so far in one direction that we’ll probably get to wear our ‘home’ colours at Hillsborough for the first time in decades….

Sheff Wednesday

Next up, the away shirt. I’ve never been a fan of a black change kit for Brentford. In my eyes, and perhaps it is a generational thing, blue is our second colour. Especially those wonderful two-tone efforts from the 80’s and 90’s.

Then, last season, Bob produced that incredible ‘third’ shirt against Blackburn Rovers and everything changed. Swoon – like a teenager with a crush I was back in love with that beautiful black.

So it was with great joy that we learned Brentford were giving it another go this time around. Having seen it, I think it looks great.Simple black with a bit of detailing and those classic adidas stripes.

My preference out of the two is undoubtedly the home shirt. That said, this is still a cracking effort. My main ‘problem’ being that last season’s third was just held in such high regard that it almost feels like ‘cheating’ to lavish equal attention on a new rival after finding a ‘best ever’ just months earlier.

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That’s just me. I need to get out more. Besides, opinions can change and, if I’m being honest, my gut reaction to last season’s blue was uber-positive before losing interest in that one very fast (then again, I blame the Blackburn, erm, black). The important thing is what supporters think and, almost universally, it seems to be going down a storm.

Personally speaking, I’ve had more time than most to get used to these having been afforded the opportunity to participate in the fans photo shoot a few weeks ago. I can only offer a huge thank you to the club for this chance, along with a huge apology to anybody of a sensitive disposition should panic about a possible new signing have set in when the pictures appeared.

Seriously though, along with Matthew’s letter yesterday it just showed, again, what we do for our fans. What a great idea to get some of them involved in the photo shoot alongside Harlee, Scott, Dan, Andreas, Nico and some local landmarks –  Betty from the Griffin looking good in particular . When Brentford get it right ‘off the pitch’ we are, hands down, the best club in the country.

Ok, Norwich City. I mentioned them at the top end of this article for the simple reason that, like us, they also released a new kit yesterday. This time, their latest ‘third’ shirt.

Sadly (for me), their Premier League status last season meant we were deprived of a ‘kit obsessive’ article although thankfully that will be remedied this campaign. However, had one been written you could be sure it would have featured the infamous 92-94 ‘bird poo’ shirt from Ribero.

Well, in exciting news (for kit nerds) it seems the Canaries have only gone and recreated it. In some style. This is just phenomenal.

Norwich third kit

Errea have made some stinkers over the years but I can do nothing but doff my hat to this effort. One can only presume there will be too much of a clash to see it in action at Griffin Park this season but we can live in hope.

It is vivd, glaring, still looks like a flock of rogue canaries with food poisoning have taken their best shot yet, at the same time, is absolutely wonderful. Moreso, the goalkeeper’s shirt which appears to be designed on hot lava.

I’m hoping that when our Adidas contract eventually expires we switch to New Balance (my only chance for a legitimate monogrammed tracksuit, being as the head coach role remains tantalisingly out of reach). That said, if Errea can keep up this level of shirt quality then maybe they could be one to keep an eye on in future…

My season ticket arrived yesterday and with it a booklet promising what I can presume was meant to say either ‘mouth watering’ or ‘eye catching’ fixtures. Instead, have we mixed our metaphors with a promise of what one terrace wag has pointed out is anticipated to be ‘eye watering’ football this season?

Perhaps though, in retrospect, they were bang on. Given those Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich efforts, this could be exactly what was meant.

season ticket

Nick Bruzon

Is the transfer klaxon about to go off? Which way?

1 Jul

Is Jake Bidwell leaving Brentford for QPR? Another two days of rumours going into overdrive suggest July 1st could see a move go through. Is there any substance to them? Who knows? For me, its all about the door swinging the other way and the latest issue of ‘The Buzz’ newsletter. Specifically, the feature on Josh McEachran where the fact his picture was one sporting a Chelsea shirt wasn’t the main talking point from the article.

Perhaps they got confused with our away kit” noted one New Road observer in an attempt to explain why Josh wasn’t photographed in red and white stripes. Whatever the reason, ‘The Buzz’  continues to excite when it hits the inbox. And no more so this time around from the throwaway line at the end of the article…..

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Does this mean we can expect transfer news today? Will it be one of the hotly tipped trio of John Egan (Gillingham), Daniel Bentley (Southend United) or Romaine Sawyers (Walsall) ? Could we even be living in dreamland and harbouring secret hopes of a return from Liverpool for Sergi Canos?

With the fee for Canos being reported as £2.5m, surely that has to be way beyond our wildest dreams. It would need more than selling Jake Bidwell to cover that one. Chuck in Alan Judge, David Button and Harlee Dean before the numbers even started to crunch.

Then again, all I can do is speculate. The closest I get to being a source ‘close to the club’ is walking my son to nursery past Griffin Park each morning. However, probability suggests that any available expenditure will be spread out over a number of players rather than most of the eggs being chucked in one basket.

If there is to be disappointment about Jake to QPR, or anywhere else, hopefully the blow will be softened by this implication of inward news. Interestingly, Wikipedia had Romaine down as a Brentford player on Thursday evening although, equally, we all know that is hardly a reliable means of confirming anything ahead of the facts. Had somebody been a bit premature on the updates or is it simply a terrace wag indulging in a spot of high jinks?

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Last season saw a lot of people upset about the huge turnover to a squad which almost reached the Premier League. Understandably so – football is an emotive game and these players had got us to where we finished on merit. Moreso when the new recruits took their time to bed in (much like that pitch). Again, understandably so, although it would be fair to say that some of them are now absolutely nailed on starters. Likewise, don’t forget the FFP related reasons that necessitated those sales.

Besides, nobody could deny we finished in some style. Ninth place, and clear of both QPR and Fulham, was a stunning denouement to the campaign. Moreso with that wonderful return from injury for Scott Hogan. Has that late run masked early / mid season ‘challenges’ or will we pick up where we left off? Either way, expect a further changed squad with that restructure seemingly set to start.

Is Jake Bidwell going? Is Romaine Sawyers coming ? Or, after May’s somewhat random suggestion about Josh going back to Chelsea (which Dean Smith dismissed saying “I have heard nothing at all about this. Is that to help him with his treatment?“) could the biggest transfer clue be right under our noses…..

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IS Josh going back to Chelsea? No.

Nick Bruzon

Roy, walker. Iceland beat abject England. Glenn beats the fans

28 Jun

I’m not nervous. I think we’ll beat them quite easily”. Not my words but those of ITV pundit Lee Dixon before kick off as England took on Iceland last night. Ploughing straight into the book of Glenn Hoddle level punditry he set the scene for what many feared, but few actually believed, might happen. And then it did.

First things first. Well played Iceland. They won and deservedly so. Two well taken goals to England’s one, early, penalty as Roy’s boys fell apart.

We’ve all seen it. You don’t need any form of match report from me. You don’t need any form of analysis as to just how bad things were. How, mediocre England looked throughout the evening and, if we’re being honest, the tournament . A simple inability to pass the ball , shoot on target or break down a resolute defence. A simple inability for our goalkeeper to stop making basic, game changing, errors (not for this first time in Euro 2016). Hey, at least he can handle the pressure of having a flake free scalp.

Delle Alli? Ali from Oz cabs would have done a better job out there (kids, ask your dads) but to single out one person would be unfair. England were just dreadful all round. Parped on by ‘that band’, sounding worse than ever, it was a truly miserable experience. The second half especially.

Iceland wanted it. England assumed they had a god given right to qualify. And that doesn’t win football matches. The final kick in the teeth being Roy reading out his pre-prepared statement to the press just after the game. How did he write it so quickly? Surely he hadn’t written it beforehand? Surely? Why didn’t he take ANY questions afterwards? The least he could do was try to offer some explanation. To give some form of cathartic relief.

But no, in he came, out came the paper, off he walked – resignation shared with the nation. If only there was some form of topical parallel we could draw upon here.

And then there was Glenn Hoddle. The co-commentator has been roundly panned this tournament but it was almost as though he knew Iceland were going to win and, if England were going down, he was taking us with them.

At 1-0 up he endorsed playing it across the back. That worked well. This from the man who declared : Iceland are still stuck in the 80s.

In the second half he noted about the defence  : “There’s always been a suspicion that it has been the weak suit”. Well d’uh.

Late on, despite the clear inability of England to hit a barn door with a banjo he opined how, “We might get a goal from a tap in”.

Seriously? Was he watching the same game? I might win the national lottery, but its not going to happen.

I could go on. It was 90 minutes of non-stop drivel, mirroring what happened on pitch. The crowning glory being his observation that , “They’re little things but they’re big things when it comes to things in the 18 yard box”.

What does that even mean? The sad thing is that , with Roy having walked, the bookies have him at 20-1 to be next England manager. Surely just a comedy bet?

There’s a few days for us all to catch our breath. The quarter final line up is now complete  – Italy being the day’s other winners  – and it looks like a good one.

What a shame England won’t be there but Glenn and co will. Although, on the showing, four our own safety perhaps it’s best things ended there.

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The quarters are intriguing. No England though

Nick Bruzon