Tag Archives: 0-4

Is Ian wrong, again? Can we do it? Newcastle v Brentford is here.

14 Oct

Just one more wake up until the weekend and the return of Championship football for Brentford. With it, the much anticipated trip to Newcastle United and our chance to catch up with the Magpies in the heart of the play-off zone should we get three points. Should….

International break is always a tough time. Much as I love following the football fortunes of Gibraltar, it has been another period of little satisfaction. Results wise, that is. 0-4 and 0-6 losses to Estonia and Belgium, the latter seeing Christian Benteke record the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history, have given plenty of time to think things over on the domestic front. As for England, that’s a whole other world of pain.

So whilst Saturday’s game has always been a standout fixture on the calendar with (cliché alert), the game at Newcastle one of the first we looked for when the fixtures were announced, the long wait through a barren international weekend has given even more food for thought.

Everybody is saying to treat it like another game, myself included. That’s right, of course. Play the team, not the occasion. Yet, at the same time, one can’t help but be swept up with the moment. For a club that have, until recent years, been more accustomed to playing the likes of Newport than Newcastle there is an enormous swell of pride at where we are now.

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The last time we played Newcastle in the league, Phil Holder was the Bees boss

I’ll doff my hat to statistical guru Luis Melville when he proves me wrong but I can’t imagine we’ll have played in front of a crowd this big before. Whether in modern times or ever. The attendance at the W place for the 2012/13 play-off final was just short of 42,000 whilst our FA Cup quarter-final with Liverpool in 1989 was just over.

The flip side of this being that we thoroughly deserve to be where we are. This, our third season in the Championship, is the result of an awful lot of hard work on and off the pitch. Much of it unseen. Finishes of 5th and 9th have been no flukes, despite the many challenges we have faced – including those of our own making.

Yet still people sneer and write us off. Ian Holloway started the season by describing us as a club that were regressing, promptly tipping us for relegation. How wrong that one has proven so far as, instead, Brentford find themselves in 7th(seventh).

Indeed, so far have things changed that yesterday he used his Sky Sports column to predict we’ll win the game!! Indeed, he even held up his hands to admit, “I jumped to conclusions at the start of the season when Brentford couldn’t keep hold of their good players like Jake Bidwell. I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction. Dean Smith and the squad are proving me wrong. Good on them.

With Newcastle already having lost at home to Wolves and Huddersfield Town in the league, their last outing at St.James’ Park saw that epic 4-3 win over Norwich City. Yet even that one saw them going into injury time 3-2 down.

And with Scott Hogan having just scooped the Championship player of the month  award for his own goalscoring feats, could Ian be onto something?

The bookies don’t agree. Club sponsor 888sport have us at 21/4 to win. In real terms that means – put £10 on; get £62.50 back. Too good to be true? Free money? Or do the bookmakers know what they are talking about?

At 3pm on Saturday, we find out.

And if you’d like to read more, Ian’s full piece can be found here.

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Do 888 know something we don’t? (other bookmakers are available)

Nick Bruzon

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Walsall, Chelsea and Eastleigh add to FA Cup excitement – even for Brentford

8 Dec

A Christmas party meant I missed the FA Cup third round draw and ‘the big reveal’ as to who ball 7 (seven), Brentford, would be up against. A subsequent, and furtive, check of the Internet revealed a somewhat low-key headline on the BBC website: Arsenal host Sunderland. It was a title that suggested a tepid draw and, after seeing we’d been given a home time against the winner of the Chesterfield / Walsall tie, the phone went back into the pocket until this morning.

That was then. This is now. Having slept on it and reviewed the draw with fresh eyes, I have to say it looks somewhat more exciting than on first glance. Exeter City v Liverpool, Eastleigh v Bolton and Chelsea v Leyton Orient or Scunthorpe all seem made for TV and a potential ‘upset’. They have those classic FA Cup ingredients of an unfancied side hosting a ‘bigger’ team that, on paper or current form, are the candidates for the proverbial giant killing.

Hopefully we’ll be served up one of these rather than the tedium of an Arsenal v Sunderland or Norwich City v Manchester City. The sort of game we get week in, week out on Sky and BT but which the BBC, given their dearth of live games, will be itching to show. Anybody that wants to see that will be there – us ‘regular’ fans will be much more interested in seeing whether the likes of Chelsea or Exeter City can cause an upset and reach the fourth round.

Saunders territory Chelsea

View from the terrace – Chelsea almost came unstuck at Griffin Park in 2013

And then, as ever, we have the subplot at Griffin Park. With Dean Smith having left Walsall to takeover at Brentford last week, the chance to renew acquaintances so soon is the sort of opportunity that only this oldest of cup competitions can throw up. A tie that, at the start of the campaign wouldn’t have got the fans overly excited, suddenly has an additional layer of intrigue.

Who’d have thought two weeks ago that a second round replay between The Saddlers and Chesterfield would have so much interest from all at Griffin Park? If nothing else, it may send our one decent twitter hashtag, #BeeTheDJ, into meltdown. Certainly if this early contender from the weekend is anything to go by.

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A song too far for #BeeTheDJ?

On a more practical note, this does mean we’ll have three home games over a six day period with the visits of Middlesbrough (Tuesday) and Burnley (Friday) immediately afterwards. And if the cup was to go to a replay it raises the prospect of four games in the space of just over a week.

For that reason alone, I’d expect Dean Smith to shuffle his FA Cup pack – regardless of the opposition. But when you have the likes of Sam Saunders, Andy Gogia, Josh McEachran and Jota currently on the bench, that’s no bad thing. Hey, we might even get a chance to see Lewis Macleod by that point (subject to leaf fall).

That said, one can only hope that the lessons from the earlier season debacle in the Capital One Cup have been learned. Marinus Dijkhuizen put together such an inexperienced and rejigged team that we were lucky to escape with just a 0-4 thrashing. From League 2 Oxford United. Three goals down within twelve minutes meant Brentford were, at one point, staring down the barrel of a bracketing.

Using the squad is one thing but this, on a pitch that was very much looking like the Somme despite having hosted less than two hour’s competitive football, was the polar opposite. In retrospect, it’s a miracle Marinus lasted beyond the end of that first week.

Still, that’s all in the past. Things have only moved onwards and upwards. We’ve got a home tie and that, for me, is all you can ask for in the Cup.

The rest is down to Dean and the eleven players he picks to start this one.

Marinus Oxford touchline

Marinus looked a lone figure as the carnage unfolded against Oxford

Nick Bruzon

Will Brentford be above Bristol City in the football league tonight?

15 Aug

Brentford travel to Bristol City today, with several obvious questions on everybody’s lips. Can we bounce back from the midweek humbling at home to Oxford United in the Capital One Cup? Will Andre Gray be ‘ready’ to start after speculation continued to link him to Hull City and, erm, today’s opponents? Who will be fit for the Bees? And can Channel 5 salvage anything from their ‘Football League Tonight’ show after last week’s car crash of a season opener.

First up, Bristol City. Well the good news is that we can expect 11 changes from the team thrashed by Oxford United. The not so good news is that Andreas Bjelland’s replacement will be an enforced one after the first half injury he suffered turned out to be severe cruciate damage that will keep him out for the entire season.

Andreas Bjelland in pre-season

Andreas Bjelland in pre-season

One can only wish him well after this most awful of starts to his life at Griffin Park. Interestingly, Marinus ruled out our playing surface as being a contributory factor, although it was something he had already acknowledged in his Beesplayer interview as, “more dangerous than a good pitch.”

This is a cruel twist of fate for our record signing and sees him join the ranks of Scott Hogan, Lewis Macleod and Josh McEachran as potentially game changing players who have come to Brentford but then seen injury rob them of the chance, so far, to impress.

On the more positive side, Marinus also confirmed that Alan Judge and Harlee Dean are both fit to return (expect to see the later line up alongside James Tarkowski at centre back) although Jota (ankle) and Nico Yennaris (dead leg) are doubts. As for Andre Gray, the impact he made against Ipswich Town last weekend was clear for all to see and one can only hope he is going to begin the game against Bristol City. Certainly, Marinus remained a lot more upbeat on that front, when pressed on the latest speculation, saying: “No news. I expect he will be playing on Saturday”.

Another player who could feature, although I expect it will be too soon, is new right back Maxime Colin. The former French U-20 signed yesterday from FSC Anderlecht, providing competition in the wake of Moses Odubajo moving to Hull. I’d still expect Alan McCormack to begin today but it will be very interesting to see how this latest new player performs when he pulls on the red and white stripes.

My prediction for today’s starting XI: Button, Bidwell, Dean, Tarkowski, McCormack, Diagouraga, Kerschbaumer, Gogia, Judge, Hofmann, Gray

Max Colin - no truth that the signing shirt has to be replaced as it is full of holes

Max Colin – no truth that the signing shirt has to be replaced as it is full of holes

As for the Oxford United game, it is done. Let’s all put it behind us. Move along, nothing to see here.

Marinus was man enough to admit, ”Maybe I was a little bit naïve about the game” and, no matter how well our opponents played (which was ‘very’) we all know that was nowhere close to the Brentford FC starting XI. It promises to be a tough match today against a Bristol City team making their first Championship appearance in front of their home fans after last season’s promotion and so expect a passionate, full house.

That said, Brentford have come out smiling from tough venues in the past. Last season gave us an excellent grounding for Championship life and so I don’t expect atmosphere to be a factor.

Instead, the challenge will be for the team to carry on where they left off against Ipswich Town and try to find a way past former Bees ‘keeper Ben Hamer in the City goal. Matthew Benham used Twitter last night to acknowledge the role Ben had played for the Bees and few who had seen him in action could disagree.

Well said Matthew

Well said Matthew

Ashton Gate or Beesplayer are the obvious places to see how things do pan out today but, if you are feeling particularly masochistic, how about avoiding the scores until 9pm and then tuning in to Channel 5 and Football League Tonight?

No. Seriously!

Surely, there can be no way this week’s show can be as bad as what was served up last week as the alternative to Manish and team? My own thoughts on their effort have been well documented and mirrored those of supporters up and down the land.

Presumably George, Kelly and the production team have taken some of the criticism about format on board. It IS a tough challenge to try and do something different and the basic elements are in place – decent presenters and League football. It was everything else, from start to finish, that was wrong about a show which is going to have to adapt, fast, to survive.

Can they do it? At 9pm we find out.

Nick Bruzon

The only winners were Holby City fans. And Oxford United

12 Aug

Well played Oxford United. Let’s get that out there first of all following their 4-0 Capital One Cup victory over a Brentford XI last night. To go three up within twelve minutes deserves credit at any level and, being honest, we were lucky it wasn’t more.

Let’s be equally clear, I don’t blame any of the youngsters on show. I’m all for using this sort of game to blood a couple of less experienced players. But don’t make so many changes and leave them with so little first team support. The lads were on a hiding to nothing against a physically stronger Oxford team.

For that, you have to look to Marinus and wonder why he felt it a good decision to give so many untested players a game simultaneously. He blamed injuries but have we really got that many just one game into the season? Let’s hope they can learn from this and we do see more of them being, gradually, phased in rather than another such baptism of fire

And if you are going to make such a decision then have the balls to stand by it. At a time when the new look side were crying out for some direction, Marinus’ body language spoke volumes. I’ve seen more animated statues as he cut a forlorn figure rooted to the edge of his technical area. Worse, there was no handshake for Courtney Senior when he came off. Indeed, it looked as though the youngster was actually given the cold shoulder as he turned to the head coach on reaching the dugout.

A similar snub was offered to the entire team at full time aswell as the crowd. Aside from a brief chat to the Oxford management and officials, he headed straight for the dressing room with no further word or sign being offered.

Perhaps this is just Marinus’ style and he does his talking in the dressing room. But at a time when the youngsters he’d chucked into the lion’s den needed an arm around the shoulder it was this that really upset me. Defeat I can take but at least back your team in public.

Marinus is a solitary figure as the action unfolds (note: your definition of action may vary)

Marinus is a solitary figure as the action unfolds (note: your definition of action may vary)

Andreas Bjelland had a debut to forget. Whether it was worry about a pitch that continued to cut up or first game nerves, he didn’t put a foot right as challenges were missed and clearances misdirected. As one wag in the New Road suggested to me, “He looks like a defensive Nick Proschwitz”. Harsh, perhaps, but matters became worse when his game to a premature end following injury just before half time.

But it’s not fair to single him out. Jack Bonham struggled with his distribution – Oxford’s third goal being an exquisite strike by Kemar Roofe who put the goalkeeper’s headed clearance straight back past him from 40 yards. Lasse Vibe barely had a touch whilst Nico Yennaris was played in an unfamiliar central midfield role.

Marinus would later describe it as, “An embarrassing performance from my team. After 12 minutes it’s game over. I think there was no organisation, no leadership in the team.” In layman’s terms, Holby City hadn’t even started on TV by the point we were 3-0 down.

Brentford practice kick off. Again. Holby starts in 3 minutes

Brentford practice kick off. Again. Holby starts in 3 minutes

Look. I like Marinus. He comes across as a genuine bloke and a wonderful straight talker. I have no doubt he and the team will bounce back and so I hope this is just one that we have to chalk up to experience. A heavy defeat at the hands of a better team.

Mistakes were made but at least they have been realised. Let’s just put it behind us and focus on the game at Bristol City. Three points there and this will all be forgotten about.

As for the youngsters. If any of them are reading then chin up. There was a lot of potential out there and I’m sure we’ll see the likes of Courtney, Josh Clarke, Jermaine Udumaga and Josh Laurent again. As Alan Hansen so famously said, “You can’t win anything with kids” and look what happened next.

For now though, we just have to take it on the chin.

Well done Oxford United.

Nick Bruzon

The 3 key questions after Bees beat Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic come sniffing.

3 Aug

Brentford rounded off pre-season with a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace. The highlight clearly our winning goal as Moses parted the Palace defence like the Red (or should that be Yellow) Sea? The lowlight being a no-show from Adam Forshaw after Wigan Athletic had made another “unsettling” bid for the League One player of the year.

Three key questions come out of Saturday for me.

Adam Forshaw. Whilst its probably not right we start here, given the overall team performance, it is the ‘hot topic’. So just how worried should we be by Wigan’s approach?

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Forget Clifton. Brentford – Crystal Palace is a friendly that offers Moore

1 Aug

With Brentford due to entertain Premiership side Crystal Palace on Saturday in our last warm up for life in the Championship, it does beg that perennial question about friendlies – What is the point?

This is where the distinct difference between games at International and club level becomes more apparent (and I don’t mean in terms of player quality, with England’s World Cup showing making them very much the poor relations on that front).

I’ve long ranted about these – certainly when it comes to England. Despite looking and sounding like the real thing, they suffer from a total lack of punch. The footballing equivalent of alcohol-free beer or any James Bond film that doesn’t star Roger Moore.

Plus, internationally, you have the added pain of Bernie Clifton and his alleged supporter’s band…

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Forget the score – Warb’s words about Wigan impress

30 Jul

A very much young and ‘new look’ Brentford team slipped to a 0-4 home defeat against CA Osasuna on Tuesday night. Or should that be against two CA Osasuna teams, as the Spanish outfit’s 11 half time substitutions, with the scores level at 0-0, proved to be the turning point in the game. However, it was the post match interviews about Wigan Athletic that proved to be the main entertainment.

Talking to supporters after the game, nobody seemed too perturbed about the score. This was clearly an experimental line up with a lot of promise on show – Montell Moore, in particular, impressing. When even referee Gavin Ward ends a game without fans feeling they’d been ‘hard done by’ then you know it’s been a low key one.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.