Tag Archives: 0-2

“It had to be Barnsley, didn’t it.” Not my words. Those of, err, Harry….

15 Feb

If there is one positive to come out of Brentford losing 2-0 at home to Barnsley on Sunday it was when 7 (seven) year old Harry turned to me and said, “Daddy. I want to write a story about this one. The headline is going to be…. ‘Scumbags’.” I’m not sure whether he was talking about us, them or simply the combination of David Coote in the middle and Ian Moose in the press box.  On waking up this morning the desire to tell the tale was still there although, thankfully, the scumbags have been dropped in favour of the above headline. For those not familiar with H and his output, this was the take on our being held at Swansea City…..

Instead, over to H for his view on proceedings…

It had to be Barnsley, didn’t it?

I watched loads of Tom and Jerry yesterday which was probably better than watching Brentford vs Barnsley because Jerry slapped a frying pan around Tom’s face or the dog Spike would be punching Tom on every part of his body. The football match wasn’t so good. One, because Barnsley were pressing so high to force us to make mistakes. Two, because we weren’t really switched on our passing game. Pinnock has a good head for heading but not so good for when Barnsley try and nutmeg him.

Probably Rico played best for Brentford and Sergi did well but not that. The rest of them had their heads turned on their loved ones because it was Valentine’s day. Pinnock messed up twice to let them have the two goals. Barnsley were just concentrating on the game.

I didn’t really enjoy watching it. A bit but not much and it was pretty frustrating as we are normally on the gas. They did screw up our automatic last season, probably making them think they can beat us again despite how well we tried. I watched the game in the lounge with my mum and dad. My mum got so bored she even went out on a long walk and got some food. I don’t know why as we normally always watch it but that’s not why we lost as they scored both goals before.

I had my lucky shirt on but it wasn’t so much. I think I know why we lost though – my dad’s lucky socks stunk like a skunk’s fart (especially after he uses the bathroom). They barely ever stink. When we were losing a few last season we still kept the same lucky shirt even though my dad insists on changing it. I’ve got four other shirts in my draw, including a training top, so I think I’ll keep this one. Lucky shirts last all season.

Harry Bruzon

Better than Brentford. Yesterday.

Let’s just call this a bad day at the office and move on.

15 Feb

Well that was all kinds of awful. Brentford said farewell to the marathon unbeaten league run after going down 2-0 at home to Barnsley on Sunday. It was an absolutely deserved win for the visitors who pressed high, pressed hard and were first to everything. No sour grapes here and with the Bees not even close to being the second best team in this one, with too many players going inexplicably awol, the outcome seemed apparent from the off. A veritable … don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it….Valentine’s Day massacre. Urghh, did it. With it went the chance to retake top spot from Norwich City after the Canaries had swept aside Stoke City on Saturday. Instead, we start the week two points behind on level games played and looking forward to visiting Loftus Road on Wednesday evening. Norwich host Coventry and third placed Swansea entertain Nottingham Forest.

Let’s rephrase that a tad. It WAS awful but it is was as much frustrating. It is only one game. Nobody can keep going for ever and all teams slip up from time to time. Have the odd off day. Unlike last season, the Stoke City and Barnsley results haven’t fatally holed the good ship Brentford. Instead, they have provided some choppy waters and how navigate through the will be the real mark of this team. We all know just what they can do. How good the Bees are on the day. The inability to react to Barnsley and their approach was inexplicable but it happens. Certainly no indication that we are doing a Leeds United. Even they wobbled more than once last time out – see also West Bromwich Albion – and whilst this is the oldest cliché in the book, the league is a marathon not a sprint. 

The game had that feeling from the off with Barnsley coming at us and dominating. Yet again, Brentford conceded the opening goal but this time there was no  coming back at our opponents. No blitzkrieg assault with that free scoring form that has typified our performances this season. Instead, we looked lethargic. Sloppy. Out of sorts. Conor Chaplin making a Charlie of the Bees defence on 13 minutes to find himself totally unmarked and steer it home for 1-0. There was no answer. No reply. No nothing. A bit of huff and puff but Bryan Mbeumo’s inability to pick out Sergi Canos in acres of space summed it up. The screaming at the TV to play it out to the electric Spaniard could probably have been heard at Lionel Road, so open was the position. Alas, it fell on deaf ears. 

Bryan wasn’t alone in being off his game though. The normally magnificent Ethan had a stinker. The second goal, straight after the restart, also had the opportunity to to be snuffed out but instead Dike’s low cross bypassed the defender leaving Carlton Morris the easiest of finishes. Tariqe Fosu did nothing off the bench. Samman Ghoddos got into space but failed to capitalise. Josh and Vitaly invisible in the midfield compared to their normally dominant selves. Rico and Henrik off the pace. Ivan Toney had the first touch of a JCB. When he was fouled in the box, referee David Coote choose to perform his Arsene Wenger tribute act and instead elected not to see the incident. Barnsley were on it and got everything their performance warranted. This was not a stolen win but one which they fought hard for with the points going to the right team. For Brentford, nothing to do except wipe this from the memory and pretend it never happened.

Thomas Frank got it spot on at full time. “We know in this league you can lose to every team in this division if you don’t hit your highest level. We lost to a better team today. They won fair and square. We need to move on. It’s all about how we react on Wednesday.

He’s bang on the money here. We know only too well that there are no ‘teams like…’ in this division. That the Championship is the most exciting, toughest league in Europe with no foregone conclusions in any game. Just look at how Wycombe turned things around to win 3-2 at Huddersfield this weekend. What is more important is how we react at Loftus Road on Wednesday, at Coventry this Saturday lunchtime and further down the track. We may win or lose both of those. They won’t be season defining. What is more important is how we react. How we play. That we put this one behind us.

I’d much rather be where we are now (second on 57 points) than where we were last season after 29 games (fifth on 47 points having just gone down to Nottingham Forest). Even then, it felt good to be that high up. Knowing there were a whole stack of games and points  – 51 – still to go for. That destiny was still very much in our hands.

The same is true now. No side has everything their own way. Even the Premier League showed that this weekend with Manchester United being held by West Brom, Liverpool seeing their own title defence obliterated and Everton being undone by Fulham. Not a typo. If anything, the tech malfunction that saw us missing comms as the game started and the sight of Ian Moose pontificating before kick-off made me feel ill at ease and in mind that this was not going to be our afternoon. Presumably, the talk sh*te buffet burglar would have buried any of our half chances before posing for a selfie with one of his faux friends. How does that work in lockdown?

Look, we’re second in the table. Automatic promotion in our sights. We’ve ‘lost’ a game for the first time since October 24th last year rather than drowned a kitten. Still with a trip to Norwich City to come at the start of next month. The Championship still has plenty more twists to come. For what its worth, I’m absolutely convinced we’ll smash our hosts onWednesday evening. An empty Loftus Road and the opportunity to get straight back on the horse awaits. I cannot wait for that one – if only to get the stinky taste of Barnsley out of my mouth. 

I wouldn’t want to be in Mark Warburton’s shoes now. If Brentford do what we know they can it’ll be raining goals in West London. IF…..

The only possible explanation for Sunday – our visitors’ performance aside

Nick Bruzon

Frank IN. Sense!! Bees do it again amidst festive fixture pile up.

2 Dec

Well wasn’t that the performance? Brentford made it three wins on the bounce, eight unbeaten with just three conceded over that period and up to fourth place. Just two points behind current table-toppers Norwich City after a 2-0 defeat of Rotherham that never, really, looked in doubt once the game had begun. Whilst the first half may have been frustrating for many, the Bees kept going and eventually grew into another game where the opposition’s primary objective had been survival. With the FT index mk.ii starting a game together, both players scored to present Thomas Frank further selection headaches (of the nicest sort) for the visit of Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Marcus Forss grabbed the first before Ivan Toney made it 13 for the season with a calm finish from the penalty spot to wrap up the points and return to the top of the Championship goal scorers charts. 

Marcus shared this one on Twitter at full time. As cool as you like.

We don’t do full fat match reports on these pages. We’ve all seen the game and there’s the BBC or Brentford ‘official’ for anyone wanting in depth. For me, the key takeaways were another team rejig that has, once again, proven we have a Plan A, B and C. The absence of Henrik Dalsgaard was barely felt with Tarique Fosu able to bomb up and down the flank in lieu of the Dane. Indeed, whilst the opening goal was notable for the interplay between Toney and Forss (what teamwork for Ivan to pass rather than shoot himself), the patience, the feint and the delivery of that ball into the box from Fosu was magnificence served up on a silver salver. Bees fans being spoiled to ambassadorial levels by a team goal that would have had the ‘Frank Out’ brigade and Canos bullies on their high horses once more as if their managerial credentials had somehow been borne out.

Yet it was Sergi himself who set up the second goal. Forss feeding the Toney before he found Canos. The Spaniard’s timing and pace were electric as he burst clear in the box. This was it. 2-0. Just the keeper to beat until….. Nooooooo! Brutally scythed by Rotherham substitute Mickel Miller with the goal gaping, referee Tim Robinson had no choice but to award the spot kick. At the same time booking the hapless Miller for a second time in the 11 minutes since he had entered the field of play and promptly returning the player from whence he came. He sent him off.  

There was no mistake from the spot. I won’t deny Ivan’s approach to penalty taking gives me the heebie jeebies. A slow, measured almost walk up is one that is contrary to everything we’ve seen about running full tilt at the ball before striking. The files of football bloopers filled with strikers attempting ‘comedy run ups’ only to be left with copious amounts of egg on face (or is that just FulhamL ?). The first time against Millwall had heart in mouth. This was no different. Perhaps it is just Brentford and penalties in general? Yet with the shot eventually released, execution like a tracer bullet speeding towards the bullseye, there was once again no doubt. The net bulged. The 20 directors and officials celebrating like we’d won the FA Cup.

As for the Toney and Forss pairing, well I can’t wait to see which way Thomas jumps when Blackburn come to Lionel Road on Saturday. With Forss playing up top and Toney just to his side in our attacking front three, the interplay between the pair of them more than provide its worth. Marcus has tremendous amounts of confidence and we all know how hard (and accurately) he can strike a ball. It’s a quite lovely team decision we have now been presented but with the visit of the Championship’s most devastating attack (Blackburn have scored 27 from 14 games, Adam Armstrong going neck and neck with Ivan for the golden boot) will he stick or revert to our more familiar starting XI? May he have no choice given Henrik wasn’t even on the bench? Given our 9 games over December and the festive period, changes are sure to continue.

One thing you can say for sure is that Vitaly Janelt gets the nod. He’s looking stronger and stronger each game. I love his approach (almost as much as his post match interviews) and can’t believe we’ve unearthed yet another one. Whilst we miss Christian Norgaard, and who wouldn’t, the German is making himself very, very hard to dislodge. Our Triple J in midfield once more banging the drum for Brentford and Thomas Franks’ tactical genius.

As for Thomas, I’ve always been a fan. I’m one very much of the ‘marathon not a sprint’ approach to football. Of realising a league campaign is 46 games long and every side has blips. Of knowing that when we’ve been awful (Stoke City away and that second half againat Preston) it is the exception, not the rule. That no team has a divine right to win every game. Nor will they. At any level. His enthusiasm is infectious. The mentality instilled in his squad really paying dividends. The Bees making their way up the table and improving on last season’s record every game. At the played 15 point in 2019/20 we’d picked up 21 points and were sitting in 13th. This time around we’ve 26 points and are already up to fourth.  ‘Frank out’? Take a look at yourselves.

Fans are entitled to opinions. Of course they are. Football would be deadly dull if it was full of blind lemmings towing the company line and singing everything is awesome. Well, you know what? At present it is. Show me any team that could lose like the likes of Benrahma / Watkins and overcome play-off pain then expect to immediately find their feet? It has taken us a few games but we’ve plugged away, the defence is looking rock solid and our attacking options continue to grow as the new look line up gel. Only Blackburn, Bournemouth and Reading have scored more than us. I don’t get the line of nonsense directed towards Thomas from certain quarters but in this strangest of seasons, he and the squad are doing more than ok. Everything IS awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Events at the Lego Community stadium continuing to prove this. 

from one lego house to another

Let’s finish on a high, though. In what has already been a topsy-turvy season, Brentford are the division’s form team. We’ve won three on the bounce including two midweek trips to Yorkshire and a local derby. I’m absolutely ecstatic to have taken 9 from 9 over that run. Now we have the Championship golden goal shootout to look forward to. Even better, there will be fans present.

To everyone that got a ticket, ENJOY and make yourselves heard. Lionel Road is going to be rocking on Saturday. 2,000 supporters are going to sound deafening. Here’s hoping Simon got his email !

And finally…. Yesterday we put up the link for the Brentford pub Top Trumps. Today’s item of choice is a Nico Yennaris 28 football shirt. Anybody interested in picking this one up can do so here. Thanks for looking.

Until then, here’s to another three points. Here’s to us looking to continue our climb. Perhaps there may even be half an eye on Luton v Norwich tonight….

Nick Bruzon 

“Professional without being scintilating”. And?

7 Mar

It wasn’t the greatest by all accounts – pitch or game – but Brentford have another win under the belt. A 2-0 victory on the road at Burton Albion sees us keeping touch with that play-off pack. The gap to Middlesbrough in sixth place now down to five points with, as importantly, a game in hand. The Smoggies’ own victory, 1-0 at Birmingham City, enough to see them leapfrog Bristol City into that final promotion slot.

There’s not much to be said about the game. Mainly because I wasn’t there. With everybody from Mark Devlin to Billy Reeves (amongst many others) using Social Media to make comment s about the ‘difficult surface’ then you have to consider this a job well done in tricky circumstances. One for the purists. Dean Smith would talk at full time about how we were “Professional without being scintilating” in “a hard-earned win.”, Although also noting that, not unusually, he felt it was “thoroughly deserved.”. Yet with Burton registering zero efforts at goal all night and Brentford going 2-0 up via Ollie Watkins, with our first shot on target, it probably says it all about this one as a spectacle.

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Dean lays it out

Hey. Who cares. As we’ve said so many times, the stats count for nothing relative to balls in the back of the net. If it took a Kyle McFadzean o.g. to give us a second-half lead then c’est la vie. They all count and that’s football. Just enjoy that slice of luck when it comes along.

We spoke yesterday about the 4 game mini-run coming up in a 12 day period. This may not have been a classic to match last season’s 5-3 but it was that all important three points. It was a seemingly injury free outcome with a solitary yellow card awarded to The Bees – Neal Maupay being the recipient of that one and pulled off shortly afterwards.

One down and three to go. Next up Millwall at The Den on Saturday. They also won last night and sit just a single point behind us. It promises to be as pivotal a game as any, with the Lions no doubt having similar play-off aspirations to ourselves. If you haven’t got a ticket yet then beg, borrow or buy one. This could be huge. It really is a cliché but now is the moment to take one game at a time. Focus on the present and don’t worry about what is going on around us. Destiny is still in our own hands. Moreso with the visits of Cardiff City and Middlesbrough on the agenda for next week.

At the other end of the table there was no change. Of course, it would be easy to take a cheap shot at Birmingham City. The Garry Monk era starting where the Steve Cotterill one ended – with a defeat. The Blues’ current form reading: Played: 6 Lost: 6 Goals For: 1 Goals against: 13. You can’t buy that sort of anti-form. But at least they’re consistent. The one down side to all this being it handed Middlesbrough the keys to the play-off zone. For now.

But we’re bigger than that. Let’s just concentrate on Brentford and, of course, the weekend’s trip to Millwall. With just 11 left to play, we’re in a wonderful position. The next few games are going to be huge. Well, they all are but let’s crack out the clichés once more and take every game as it comes.

Bring it on and see you there.

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The Den – our next destination

Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. Marcello Trotta returns, refs get tough, Bees buzzing and a new lucky omen? The week in social media.

31 Oct

Brentford recorded that marvellous 2-0 win at Loftus Road knowing that three points against Fulham on Friday night will move us into the play-off places. That said, one can’t fail to have noticed long time pacesetters Huddersfield go down 5-0 at the Cottage on Saturday – could things be tougher for the Bees this time around? That result was one mirrored at Brighton where Norwich City were obliterated whilst Newcastle stay top after easing past Preston by the odd goal in three. At the bottom (copy/paste) it is still Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham who make up the final three although a late winner for The Latics has also dragged Cardiff City towards the relegation places.

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest edition of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media. That said, there’s only one place to start – the last fall out from the victory at QPR. It was a victory that their fans haven’t taken too well  – these just two of the many.

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qpr-fan-2

From the Brentford perspective, fans, players and club staff were in high spirits going in to the weekend. With even ‘official’ now joining in the with their own social media round up (welcome to the party) , you may have seen some of these already. But, as is noted, some things can be viewed again and again…..

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One final thought from the QPR game. Good omens. Regular readers to these pages may be familiar with comments about a lucky shirt (black, third, 2015/16, this year) or magic pants (spiderman) but it seems there is something that transcends all of these. Or, should I say, someone…

The legend that is Marcus Gayle. Specifically, when he is sitting alongside Mark Burridge in the Beesplayer commentary box.

marcus-beesplayer

That’s some record. Having been present for Ipswich, Forest,  Preston and QPR our commentator par-excellence has shared the great news that Marcus is back on Friday night. Brentford have already made it 10 points from a possible 12 against Fulham in the last two seasons. Could his presence be the final inspiration for 13 from 15?

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Four wins but on the other hand, I’m sure it’s bigger than that

One final piece of Brentford feed refers back to the scandal revealed earlier in the week – namely that of Barnsley claiming victory in the half-time mascot race between Toby Tyke, Buzz and Buzzette. Whilst ‘official’ are yet to make any statement on the club site, as ever Twitter is the place to be where a voice from the club marketing team has made itself heard…..

mascot-race

Ok. Marcello Trotta. We know what happened. Everybody has seen ‘that penalty’ Haven’t we? Oddly, most YouTube footage seems to have removed the ‘tussle’ between him and King Kev that preceded the eventual outcome although this fan shot efforts still captures it in part.

It still doesn’t get any easier viewing

So guess what happened when his Crotone side came up against Chievo in Italy’s Serie A at the weekend. Yes, another penalty and another…well, you see what happened.

That said, despite the painful reminder an afternoon we’ll never forget he did manage to put this one away.

Elsewhere in football……

Let’s hope armchair viewers have a thing for Leeds united in the coming weeks:

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Much to the disgust of his fellow supporters, man brings ‘cat’ to a football match….

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Referee, Mike Dean, has a very unusual pre-match habit….

Whilst another sounds off a warning to any young players who may want to mess around on pitch…

And it seems this is a global crackdown. As if showboating was bad enough, don’t think ’twerking’ is exempt either. I’ll leave you with this attempt from former Norwich City player Kei Kamara to channel his inner Miley….

Nick Bruzon

QPR – Brentford game gives additional food for thought.

30 Oct

QPR 0 Brentford 2. Sorry. Just had to say that again. Our first win at Loftus Road since the mid-60s is something worth celebrating. Moreso, given the manner in which it was achieved.

Yesterday’s column looked at the highlights and (mostly) positives from that game but one thing missing from that one was a reminder of footballing past. Not the QPR fans fighting amongst themselves, as has been widely reported but more an attitude on show that was, perhaps, more associated to the era of our previous victory in Shepherds Bush.

1894 – Nettie Honeywell founds the British Ladies’ Football Club “With the fixed resolve of proving to the world that women are not the ‘ornamental and useless’ creatures men have pictured”.

1920 – 53,000 turn up on Boxing Day to watch Dick Kerr’s Ladies of Preston play St. Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park.

1921 – The FA bans Women’s football from being played in grounds used by it’s member clubs.

1969 – The Women’s Football Association (WFA) is created with 44 member clubs.

1971 – FA lifts the aforementioned stadium ban.

1991  – Wendy Toms becomes the first women named as a ‘fourth official’ in the English football league. A role followed by her being named the Leagues first female referees’ assistant in 1994, before eventually graduating to the Premier League.

1999 – Over 90,000 spectators attended the Women’s World Cup Final.

2015 – England come third in the Women’s World Cup.

2016 – Ginsters launch their ‘food for hungry men’ campaign at EFL grounds in England.

Welcome to the strange world of football, 2016.

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After the important message delivered by the FA in regards to their views on the role of women in football with the five game ban handed out to Brentford midfielder Alan McCormack for abuse to an official including reference to gender, this is what we get.

At a time when child obesity is at an all time high and we are doing everything possible to encourage healthy lifestyle through fast paced sporting activity rather than fast food, this is what we get.

When the women’s game continues to evolve and becomes more popular than ever before, this is what we get. An advert that comes across as sexist and stupid. Hungry men are welcome, but hungry women better go elsewhere.

Come on. It’s the 21st century; not the 1920s. Is there really any need for this? Is it even appropriate? With discrimination against women and homophobic ranting quite rightly castigated as a by-product of darker times that needs to be eradicated, we’re offered what is at best a strange celebration of macho culture and at worst comes over as stealth sexism.

Would it have been possible for the EFL to tell Ginsters where to stick their snacks? Should they have done or is it simply an over-reaction? For all their promotion of gender issues and healthy living when it suits, to then take this style of advertising revenue seems somewhat case of double standards.

The eagle eyed amongst you have may have noticed a similar advertisement  in prime position by each of the goals at Griffin Park earlier in the season. These have since been removed but were, from what I understand, part of a centrally driven advertising campaign rather than any proactive effort from Brentford to try and corner the pasty market.

Look, I’m not a complete idiot. I get that a pie, along with the half time bovril, is part of football’s rich tapestry. Indeed, I’ve had many a ‘chicken balti’ at Griffin Park whilst was once lucky enough to try the boardroom specials (and they are a culinary treat that would have Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood salivating).

But why should this be exclusive to men? Why should our female fans be deemed surplus to requirements when the chance comes to quash their hunger with these artery-busting treats? Why should progressive, family clubs such as Brentford be dragged along with, and tainted by, an advertising campaign that seems very much a relic of the past?

Quite simply, would it have been that hard to swap the word ‘men’ with ‘fans’ ?

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Nick Bruzon

Forget Watford. The real scandal is at Brentford.

25 Oct

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for Brentford, resultswise. The weekend’s defeat at home to Barnsley followed last Saturday’s loss at Newcastle United . Either side of that have been the 0-0 draws with Wigan Athletic and Derby County. Indeed, it is a period that has seen just one goal scored and two points earned – hardly the best form going into Friday night’s televised game at QPR.

That’s football. We’ll go again. Yet some things are bigger than even that. Whilst most people waking up this morning will be greeted with news of the alleged scandal at Watford and their ‘letter’ from ‘HSBC’ (oh dear…), it is one at Griffin Park that has gone largely unreported…

The Barnsley game also featured that perennial fan favourite – a half time mascot race. The 3.50 from Griffin Park saw the visitor’s Toby Tyke taking on Buzz and Buzzette in a 45 yard dash on the flat. Toby Tyke was declared winner, with Buzz a close second and Buzzette trailing in far behind.

Barnsley have since taken to Twitter to, understandably, big up Toby’s victory. Whilst Buzzette’s specialist skills would seem to be pre-game air guitar and novelty dancing (certainly, judging by the weekend), these days Buzz is a lean, mean running machine. For any rival to get one over him is a major achievement. Moreso an anthropomorphic dog with an oversized head for whom the wobble factor alone must be a nightmare to control.

This wasn’t a view shared by those standing behind the Ealing Road goal. I’ve seen several comments stating that, infact, Buzz should have been declared the winner. And in an attempt to not at all clutch at straws, what would seem to be proof has now been obtained.

Club photographer Mark Fuller has published the action shots from this weekend’s game on the official Brentford Pictures website. And there, under the ‘non-match’ section, is the evidence.

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Proof, surely, as Toby celebrates too soon?

Surely this shows Buzz crossing the line first? Enough evidence for a steward’s enquiry and a retraction of the victory claim from the Tykes ? Could (or should) the result be declared void? So far, Brentford are yet to make any comment on the race but might this dossier of evidence  – there are further incriminating pictures – change things?

Barnsley have, at the very least, already suggested a re-match at Oakwell later in the season. I hope the club takes them up on this and Buzzette is put on a Rocky IV style training montage.

Mark Devlin, Mr Benham, Brentford official. If any of you are reading (you never know), for the love of all that is good in football –  please can we accept this challenge.

Bee versus Dog 2 : The Rumble in West Riding .

Nick Bruzon

Play off challengers go fo it as transfer rumours begin

2 Jan

Brentford travel to Birmingham City today, hoping to end the festive fixture period with 7(seven) points out of 9. The Boxing Day draw at home to Brighton and the follow up win at Reading, which featured those goals from Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos, has left the Bees in eighth place. We’re already six clear of QPR (well played last night against Hull, btw…), Fulham are out of sight – at the wrong end – whilst a win could take us to within two points of fifth place. But with the transfer window creaking open today, what will we get?

First up, a team in the same position and with the same potential as ourselves. Birmingham City, who are likely to include former Bees Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson, sit one place below Brentford on the same amount of points. 36. A win for them does exactly what it would do for us and so this is a real chance for both sides to steal a march on a play-off rival.

Birmingham after 8 Clayton

Clayton eyes the target – outside of the box.

Despite all the potential of recent weeks, nobody has been able to break into that top 6 but the gap is getting tighter. Previously unbeatable Brighton have now had their vulnerability exposed, having lost 3 out of the last 4. Freescoring Burnley are still showing intermittent form. Don’t be fooled by a pair of 4-0 wins in recent games. These sandwich a 3-0 loss to Hull City and a six game winless streak prior to that.

And today they entertain Ipswich Town, who of course, sit directly below them. Something will have to give there as Andre Gray takes on Jonathan Douglas. As such, today’s game presents a tremendous opportunity for the Blues and Brentford to really close in on that pack of promotion wannabes.

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The BBC  show how tight that chasing pack are

Make no mistake. This team ARE in a race for the play-offs now. I find it an incredible statement to make based on the start of the season but you can’t fault the ability or desire of the Brentford squad. Birmingham are going to see a totally different side to the one they beat 2-0 at Griffin Park earlier in the season.

Lee Carsley’s first game in charge as he attempted to salvage something, anything, from the mess that was the Marinus experiment was a woeful performance. I genuinely hate to be negative about our team but even that, a match originally postponed due to the pitch debacle, met with a summary that included:

The longer the game went on the more heads dropped. Sideways pass followed sideways pass followed backwards pass – think Jonathan Douglas at his most negative. There was no penetration or cohesion as optimistic balls forward were easily snaffled up by the Blues defence….. as at the weekend we conceded in the 90th minute – so there is some consistency. “Not quite as sh*t as Saturday” was the view of one New Road wag after the game. I’d disagree – I thought we were dreadful. Even Lee Carsley would later tell Billy Reeves that, “We went passive with our passing which suited them”.

Still, that was then and this is now. It’s the sort of fixture today where I’d be happy with a point prior to kick off but I‘ve got a funny feeling we could go two better. That said, I’m sure Birmingham City fans are thinking exactly the same.

And if you think you know better than me (let’s face it, anybody still reading does) and fancy getting your hands on a pair of shirts – including the stunning black ‘third’ strip – then head over to Twitter where Kitman Bob is running a fantastic competition. He’s well worth a ‘follow’ anyway, but moreso now given what he is offering one fan…

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 06.41.27

Move fast – what a prize

Get on it quickly.

And finally, January 2nd see the transfer window open for a month prior to the trademark ‘slam shut’ at 11pm on February 1st. As ever, for us Brentford fans, it will be a case of ‘squeaky bum’ time. Whilst I pay little notice to rumours circulating in the local press, one can’t help but be curious as to the Alan Judge situation – his being the name at the forefront of most stories on the subject.

One of THE top performers in the Championship this season, he is sure to be attracting interest from divisional rivals and those clubs currently locked in the Premier League relegation battle (think Aston Villa, Sunderland, Chelsea , Swansea City) or beyond. Jota’s name is never far from the frame either whilst Sam Saunders is out of contract at season end. David Button is pulling out all the stops in goal whilst the likes of Jake Bidwell and James Tarkowski are showing just how much we rely on them.

I could go on. The reason the Bees are where we are is because the team is playing well. Very well. And, as such, your better players are sure to attract more interest. We saw the squad rocked by a series of summer sales as popular players such as Stuart Dallas, Will Grigg, Andre Gray and Moses Odubajo all left Griffin Park for 7(seven) figure sums. It is only natural supporters will be worried about the same thing happening again.

Will that have been sufficient to balance the books or could more be on the way? Alternatively, will Dean Smith have the green light to look at bolstering the squad to form one more in his own image? I’m sure Walsall fans are probably fearing a raid as much as we are.

I’m not a huge fan of this ‘window’ system but, like it or not, it’s what we have. One just has to hope our top brass hold firm, that the books are in good shape and the squad want to continue this push – together.

I read an article on the Telegraph website this morning regarding the top fifty transfer targets for this window. Only two were from the Championship, both at QPR – Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips. Whilst a somewhat blinkered view of the talent available, if we can stay under the radar as long as possible then I’m all for that.

Besides, we‘ve got more important things to worry about. All the concern in the world about who might go counts for nothing until it happens. Let’s not let it distract us from the trip to St.Andrews.

Here’s hoping  we can start 2016 like we ended 2015.

Nick Bruzon

 

Bees can’t quite tame the Tigers

4 Nov

Well played Hull City. Brentford saw their 4 game winning run come to an end on Tuesday night after going down 2-0 to the new league leaders. It was a game where the Bees more than matched their opponents in the first half and could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone in ahead. In the end class, experience and the quality of a former Premier League side (which had been bolstered over the summer with the help of those parachute payments) was eventually telling.

It was by no means a case of Tigers mauling Bees. More, the second half specifically, their toying with us like a kitten teasing a spider. The step up in quality over that period was terrifying. That’s meant with no disrespect to our Bees who, even having gone a goal down, could still have levelled things up.

A James Tarkowski run to set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer being a particular highlight. Somehow the big defender just kept going as he burst towards the box and released the Austrian for a shot that had Allan McGregor beaten all ends up. Only the woodwork denying the Bees an equaliser from the edge of the box.

The opening period had seen Djuricin come close on several occasions as the Bees took the game to their opponents. However, possession counts for nothing if you can’t take your chances and, whatever Steve Bruce said at half time, certainly seemed to have the desired effect.

Hull were a team transformed in the second period and got what, being honest, their performance deserved. Two goals and the win. That said, there isn’t too much to feel down about and we’ve been beaten by a team that will be well in the mix come season end. When a goal comes from a short corner you know you’ve been beaten by a side with something special about them.

Don’t take it short. It never f***ing works” (unless Ipswich are playing) is the common refrain from the terrace. Hull City proved that rare exception to the rule as they wrapped up the points late on. Their second goal eventually coming from a move that had begun with this most maligned of set pieces.

Although, for the record, my own utterance of the lines: “That’s fine; its short. They never work” just before the second goal can be taken as in no way contributory. Erm, honest.

As expected Alan Judge was missing. Would he have made a difference? Possibly. The flip side was the return of Sam Saunders to the first team squad, even if he didn’t make it onto the pitch. This time.

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

In referee Gavin Ward we had the anti-Stroud. Alan McCormack, in particular, lucky to escape his attentions just 7(seven) minutes into the game after seeming to go through his man like a dose of salts. As one terrace wag noted, with due nod to John Arlott, it was a challenge so late it was almost posthumous.

Then again he wasn’t alone. One can only imagine that had Mr. Stroud been in charge we’d have seen him go ‘full Clintons’ for a bizarre incident of handbags involving McGregor and most of the Hull team when a second half -free kick was awarded well inside the box. Ward continued his trend of ignoring most off the ball incident whilst the Bees failed to capitalise on the set piece.

View from the terrace - Brentford prepare for a close up assault

View from the terrace – Brentford prepare for a close up assault

And the other elephant in the room – Moses Odubajo. Well, he still has pace but his distribution was woeful. That’s not me being bitter but just how I called it on the night. Then again, his team didn’t concede so the Hull defence must have been doing something right.

He received the typical reception reserved for a former player; every touch being greeted with more boos than an Oddbins clearance sale. He couldn’t have been more a panto villain had he turned up in a top hat, cape and waxed moustache. I was half expecting Mr Ward to add, “He’s behind you” but, alas not.

This is all incidental though. The record will show a 2-0 win for Hull and the Bees locked in mid table. We’re five points outside the play-off zone and ten away from the relegation spots. And, if you’ll forgive the somewhat unsavoury image, we are the meat in a Fulham-QPR sandwich. The Craven Cottage outfit are a place above us on goal difference whilst another defeat for Rangers sees them one below in thirteenth.

The BBC show the latest league positions

The BBC show the latest league positions

As frustrating is the fact this defeat was predicted on Monday by Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth. Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show sidekick had warned against Hull’s threat and, for once, the man who knows as much about football as I do about driving (he supports Arsenal; I’m still ‘provisional’) called it right.

Much as it hurts, I’m man enough to hold up my hands on that one.

Next up is Blackburn Rovers away. Never an easy place to go but, equally, one we can still approach with utmost confidence if we start like we did against Hull.

Roll on Saturday.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Firth (right) with O’Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Nick Bruzon

A Long journey South as Bees capitulate at Turf Moor

23 Aug

Whilst Brentford may be anything from £6.5m – to £10m better off (depending on what you read) this weekend, points-wise we were left very much empty handed after going down 1-0 at Burnley. And it was a win, I’m afraid to say, that Burnley very much deserved from where I was sitting (the away stand at Turf Moor).

The action is about to begin at turf Moor - and doesn't more turf look great?

The action is about to begin at Turf Moor – and doesn’t more turf look great?

Being quite honest, one first half chance for Lasse Vibe aside, all the Andre Grays in the world would have made no real difference to Brentford. Don’t put this loss down to his absence. We were so obsessed with passing the ball backwards and sideways between the defence and goalkeeper, it is no wonder the stats showed such high pass completion or 62% possession.

Hanging on to the ball at the back is all well and good, and we did that part very well, but the lack of any imagination, movement, cut and/or thrust when we tried to take it forward was, ultimately, what did for us. At 0-0 away from home this works but having conceded such a simple goal from a set piece, where Philipp Hoffman failed to get his man, something needed to change. And it didn’t.

The introduction of Maxime Colin and switch of Alan McCormack to centre mid was certainly a start. The new right back has already won over plenty of fans based on his display and it was easy to see why. The problem is that it was too little, too late. Equally, Marinus almost had his hands tied given the sudden dearth of midfield options as a result of recent transfer activity and injury.

The style of football we were looking to play was just too static, too slow and bereft of any sense of urgency. Burnley hardly pushed us but then they had no need to. Being fair, up to the point of the Vibe chance, where he made a magnificent run onto a beautiful through ball from Kerschbaumer, we’d probably been the better of two cagey sides.

Certainly Marinus, in his interview with BBC Billy Reeves, deemed it our best passage of play since he has been here. But then Burnley scored from the simplest of set pieces and, with Brentford unable to step it up, the home side looked comfortable.

This was the sort of game crying out for a Sam Sanders, Jota or Moses to pick up the ball and run at this opposition. Our current run of form with injuries certainly hasn’t helped the cause, that’s for sure, but its no excuse. There were still plenty of good enough players out there but our obsession with sideways passing (something I thought had died with the departure of Jonathan Douglas) was what ultimately did for Brentford.

Positives included the debut of Max Colin (somebody whose name constantly puts me in mind of Christopher Walken’s character from Roger Moore’s final Bond effort, ‘A View to a Kill’) at right back and the ability to switch Alan Mac to centre mid. I thought Harlee and Tarks looked very solid at the back whilst the former added additional threat up top when we finally started to ‘go for it’ in the final five minutes. The pitch was immaculate whilst, points wise, we are in the same position after three games as we were last season.

Max Zorin - crowbarred excuse

Max Zorin – better placed at Turf…Moore ??

Those BBC stats also show we had 7(seven) shots, including 4 on target. There was Lasse’s chance, Alan Judge came close with a free kick and a slow-mo effort from The Hoff in the first half that almost fooled everybody except Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. However, other than that I struggle to recall him being overly stretched.

Look. It wasn’t a great performance and I do have to wonder about the choice of tactics that seemed, for all the world, to be the mark of a side a side playing for a 0-0 or hoping to snatch something on the break. It’s a shame we didn’t have the courage to play more open football as the Kerschbaumer pass to Vibe showed how easily the opposition could be opened up, with the right movement.

Likewise a few more crosses, had Philipp Hoffman got into second gear to try and meet those that were delivered, would always have been welcome.

The flipside is that we are only three games into a new season and have both a new head coach and a new look squad. Our cause hasn’t been helped by horrendous bad luck when it comes to injury whilst, and you have to remember, Brentford don’t have a divine right to win every game.

Perhaps it is more a commentary on how far we have come and how quickly that we can be genuinely disappointed about losing a game in the Championship. To a team that were gracing the Premiership last season. It wasn’t so long ago that a trip up North was to the likes of Tranmere Rovers, who lost 0-2 at home to Boreham Wood in the conference yesterday, so some perspective is definitely needed.

Talking to Burnley fans before and after the game, word on the street is that the Bees were looking at a loan for Chris Long, as part of the deal that took Andre to Burnley. Interestingly, he played no part in proceedings yesterday and so one does have to wonder if there is any truth in that?

Brentford fans know just what he can do when the ball is in that final third of the field and Chris would be a great acquisition if we could get hold of him. But, equally, why would Burnley have bought the player in the first instance only to then immediately ‘get rid’?

Chris Long - could he be back again?

Chris Long – could he be back again?

Marinus, in the aforementioned interview with Billy, denied any definitive attempt so far to make a move on anybody but, equally, acknowledged that it was as position we need to cover. You can catch that in full, here.

Off field, those of us able to get back in time might have caught ‘Football League Tonight’ on Channel 5. With the show now in week three, the car crash that was the season opener seems an eternity ago as further changes were in evidence upon catching up with that today.

Only Adam Virgo and the awkward looking audience remain from those elements so heavily criticised in the season opener. Even the kebab shop poles that housed the 70’s style ‘league ladders’ have now been replaced by a 21st Century computer graphic showing the Championship table.

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

I understand that Channel 5 need to try and be different but, equally, they need to give the audience what they want. Well done for changing so much, so quickly.

They’ve made a decision to stick with the audience that hang around like a bunch of spare parts and so I can only imagine that is here to stay. You know what? I kind of like that aspect now. It still isn’t up to the package put together by Sky but for ‘terrestrial’ viewers, Kelly Cates and George Riley are starting to steam up the blind side.

Let’s hope Brentford can do the same thing next time out at home to Reading.

And as a side note, anybody wanting another, very interesting, insight on the Andre Gray transfer and cost would do well to check out Billy The Bee’s latest Beesotted article. It makes for an intriguing read…

Billy The Bee - Mr Grant asking the right questions, as ever

Billy The Bee – Mr Grant has a great take on events

Nick Bruzon