Tag Archives: 1989

Waking up with a semi and a smile.

24 Dec

The morning after the night before. The die has now been cast. Brentford will travel to Spurs in the first week of January for a single leg league cup semi-final. A London derby the outcome after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United. The other tie sees Manchester United hosting their neighbours after winning in front of a ‘crowd’ at Everton. There was to be no reunion for the Bees with Manchester City. No fear of having to go to Stoke after Tottenham had eased through in the first game of the night. We’d love to have been at home, fans present or otherwise, but if it had to be a road trip then it is the most intriguing of the options. Relatively speaking. Pinnock and Sørensen v Kane and Son. Mbeumo v Mourinho. Delle Alli v Mourinho. 

There could only be a romantic outcome from this draw. Two teams from the top six of the Premier League, along with Manchester City and Brentford. City, their own list of recent trophies as long as the ‘bookings’ section in a Keith Stroud match report. Brentford, a whole new list of ‘teams like’ and ‘little old’ accolades now being added to our name from the broader populous. Another match that sees us emerge further from the radar we are seemingly still under. This is going to be good. Very good. The relief as Spurs did their thing against Stoke palpable. The prospect of testing ourselves against the very best now presenting itself.

Personally speaking, I’d have loved Manchester City. Purely because of what happened in 1989. That, still one of my top five Brentford moments and the chance to go again would have been immense. A momentous victory carved out on a quagmire of a pitch. (But enough about Tuesday). Perhaps we’ll just have to wait for the final, he says optimistically.

There was to be no revisit of 1989

It is, also, a tie that adds to our crowded fixture list. The 9 games over December have already been well documented. With an FA Cup match against Middlesbrough next up after the Spurs game, it gives us another 7(seven) in January.  Don’t cry now, but expect more changes. Expect a team much akin to the one that played Newcastle off the park. Thomas Frank has his league and cup strategies so clearly marked that the only unexpected thing about this week’s triumph was the quite bizarre reaction to our starting XI.

We’re talking about players ; not machines. Fatigue is very real. The squad there for a reason. It may not be the romantic ideal of football in the 70s and 80s where every man from a paper thin squad played every minute. Where there was only one sub per game. Where the actual team was printed in the programme before kick off ! That was then. This is now.

If nothing else, those who have helped get us past four Premier League teams more than deserve their chance to carry on again. Be sure the bench will remain strong if needed. Josh Mourinho picked a Spurs team full of household names to get through. The likes of Harry Kane and Gareth Bale, world class players, there from the off. Will he do the same in January or drastically under estimate the challenge provided by ‘little’ Brentford? I’ve no insight into that one but, looking at how we do things, would suggest it’s a fairly safe bet which way Thomas will go. Isn’t it?

Well…. Thomas has massively set out his stall so far but might the FA Cup tie become the game for sacrificial lambs. For the B team to be given a chance to do their thing. Cripes – who’d be a head coach?  90 minutes from a Wembley final, the temptation to go full strength in the league cup must be immense.

In the end, I guess its a case of expecting a similar team to Tuesday night and giving them both the respect and kudos they deserve. The real surprise for me will be if Thomas goes big. But up against the unpredictable genius that is Jose Mourinho, this most compelling of managers, might he have to out think his rival on and off the pitch? Could it be a case of bluff and double bluff? You can bet the players will be desperate to feature in this one. With the W place near Ikea in his sights, the urge to go with the more familiar option will be huge.

Who starts remains to be seen. Before that – with games crucial to the promotion battle next up against Cardiff, Bournemouth and Bristol City  – continuing our mammoth unbeaten run and picking up the points has to be the focus now.

This week has been amazing, no doubt. The hype sure to build as we get closer to the Tottenham game. For the minute though, its time to concentrate on the league. Even if we are still in the cup.

Nick Bruzon 

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As our rivals show their true colours, what kit clues can we learn so far?

13 Jun

With the odds of anything exciting happening in Brentford at this time of the year 5/1 or longer, its been the perfect time for a summer break. And coming back on line today, it’s all been going off. At least, if you are a kit nerd as fellow Championship stablemates / Adidas label mates Sheffield United and Sunderland are amongst those to launch their new home kit. But should we be looking further to Germany and Bayern Munich?

There’s been some off-field stuff too, but we can only begin with kit and the desperate search for any clues as to what the Bees will be wearing in 2017/18. New launches (especially at Championship level where template design is so often the way for many clubs) are fallen upon as hungrily as a past his sell-by-date detective trying to unravel a two year unsolved crime when presented with fresh evidence. Whilst said ‘evidence’ is probably steering everyone up a blind alley, there’s no harm taking a look. If you chuck enough mud, perhaps some will stick no matter how inaccurate the guess.

As such, can we read anything into what has come out so far?

The weekend saw Sunderland off the mark with an effort reminiscent of our own 88/89 centenary shirt. Broad stripes being replaced by a plethora of thin efforts in the traditional red and white. With matching collar and cuffs in black, will it be sufficient to save Sunderland from our own fate from 19 years ago?

Namely, the shirt looking pink when viewed from a distance of anything over five yards away. More importantly, could Kitman Bob have something like this up his sleeve? Here’s hoping not, if initial feedback from Brentford supporters on social media is anything to go by.

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Are Sunderland emulating the Funky Bee?

My own opinion is that this one is a stinker. But who knows? In the flesh it may look better. Stranger things have happened.

Then, on Monday, it was Sheffield United’s turn. Their shirt for next season is a stunner. Broad red and white interspersed with black pinstripe puts one in mind of the Brentford 2000-02 shirt. After that, things take a left field swerve. Unusual black shoulders and black side panels ensure the Blades will be looking sharp next season. It’s different, no doubt, but I love it.

Could this give us an indication as to how the Bees may turn out? Kitman Bob Oteng was revealing nothing about our own version beyond an admission on Twitter that, “I personally like this new home shirt than last season”. And, likewise : “Well it’s red & white ! That’s it.

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Sheffield United looking sharp ahead of 2017/18

Yet if these are both twists on the traditional red and white combo, Adidas have really pushed the envelope with Bayern Munich’s forthcoming shirt. Adding white stripes where these are not usually seen they have, as we saw with Juventus in the previous column, produced something that is retro yet stylish. Wonderfully stylish. Perhaps it is seeking this in red and white already (rather than my own ham fisted photoshop) but I think it’s the best of the bunch to date.

But we won’t be wearing this. Sadly. If for no other reason than why would Bayern let us get our hands on their kit ?

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Bayern Munich’s new kit. I’ve seen wurst.

Looking elsewhere in the Championship we’ve also seen Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Birmingham City reveal Adidas branded kit. ‘Safe’ would seem to be the key word here which is a shame from many respects.

Very much fitting into the ‘goes well with jeans’ category, there’s nothing to overly get the pulse flickering although at least Mark Warburton’s boys will have a touch of pinstripe. For the nostalgic amongst us, a nice nod back to 82-84 and 92-94.

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Adidas play it safe looking further across the Championship.

This is, as ever, all conjecture though. Last season’s Brentford shirt took us all by surprise. I have no doubt Chief Executive Mark Devlin, Kitman Bob et al will be planning similar this time around. That is to say, taking us by surprise rather than a safe, goes well with jeans piece of football fashion.

Let’s be honest, none of us have a clue. No matter what we’d like the answer to be, no matter what we chuck out there on social media, we really don’t know anything. No matter what we think. There’s nothing we can do but wait for the answer to be revealed. Whenever that may be. And I can’t wait.

The big news off field concerns Nico Yennaris. It was announced yesterday that he has signed a four year contract extension in a deal which will keep him at Griffin Park until summer 2021. This is great reward for a player who has crept up the blindside to become an ever present in the Brentford team and very much one of our unsung heroes. The only player to feature in every game last season, despite some formidable competition around him, Nico’s goal at Birmingham City is still one that gets the juices flowing. Even now. Here’s hoping for more of the same next season. And if you’d like to read more, Brentford official has the full story.

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Contract news for Nico

Along with dreaming about kit and nothing much else happening, 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 16 to May 17 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

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

Finally. Some positive ‘off field’ news.

18 Aug

Watching Bournemouth going down 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield last night, the nagging thought was, “That could have been us”. Not in the losing part – Brentford have got four points from six this season – but in general Premiership participation. Whilst Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City fully deserve their chance to take on the likes of Liverpool as part of the regular campaign, it was yet another reminder of how close we came last season.

Good luck to them. Seriously. Eddie Howe’s team game a very good account of themselves although if I hear the phrases ‘offside’ and ‘controversial’ again it will already be too soon. But, equally, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of admiration for last season’s rivals at the reward for their success – a chance to mix it with the, so called, ‘elite’ of English football and have their games beamed all round the world. This, despite the inconvenience to fans of Monday night fixtures rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon.

The Bees haven't played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

The Bees haven’t played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

However, there’s no point Brentford fans wishing life away on ‘if onlys’. We had our chance but couldn’t, quite, take it. Let’s move on and use it as the inspiration to go one better this time around.

The good news is that despite the horrendous slew of injuries we have suffered and the worst playing surface since, well, ever (I’ve seen better pitches on Dragon’s Den) the Bees have had an unbeaten start and lie third in the early season table. To put that in West London terms, we are three points clear, already, of both Fulham and the Loftus Road mob. Whilst the league is a marathon, not a sprint I’d rather start the campaign ahead of our rivals than behind them.

It’s a crying shame tonight’s game at home to Birmingham City has had to be postponed due to the aforementioned pitch. Momentum has been killed stone dead and it gives the other teams a chance to steal a march on us. Much like the aforementioned marathon analogy, I’ve always said that “points in the bag are better than games in hand” (just about the only two football clichés that are worth their salt) but with James Tarkowski being the latest addition to the casualty list after suffering that facial injury on Saturday, could this delay be a blessing in disguise?

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Likewise, it gives new right back Maxime Colin extra time to bed in with his new team mates although then, of course, presents Marinus with a (nice) problem for Saturday’s trip to Burnley – does Alan McCormack make way for the new boy from Anderlecht?

Questions, questions, questions and, ultimately, not worth getting overly hung up about. The pitch is spannered, the game is off and there’s nothing else we can do about it except wait for the weekend.

The other selection poser Marinus may well be considering is that of Sam Saunders. The fan favourite played 70 (seventy) minutes of the development squad game on Monday, bagging a goal in the process. Could we see a return, even on the bench, for the perma tanned wing wizard?

As ever, Twitter was the place to be for the up to the minute news on that one. Along with the club breaking the news of his participation and sharing the latest action, Sam later responded to the question, “Could Turf Moor be Saunders Territory?”, with the update ”very much hoping so, hopefully have a good weeks training and let’s see

You don’t need to be a genius to be aware of the effect Sam has on the team and the fans. His enthusiasm and ability are second to none – the Boxing Day game at home to Ipswich Town bring a prime example of what he can bring to the side.

Whilst places shouldn’t be given based on former glories (as Jonathan Douglas discovered) I’d love to see Sam back in the team on merit.

We’ve had a bright start to the league campaign.Could our enforced rest tonight actually help it get even better?

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon

Could we celebrate like we’ve won the FA Cup (fifth round)?

17 Mar

It’s all to play for on Tuesday night as Brentford have another fine chance to close the gap on the Championship leaders at Blackburn Rovers. With Derby County hosting Middlesbrough something has to give above us whilst Bournemouth and Watford face tricky trips to Wigan Athletic and Cardiff City respectively.

Of course, just as on Saturday other results won’t count for much if we can’t do our thing at Ewood Park but I have a feeling this one will be different. The BBC report that Blackburn have been hit by several injuries following their own weekend exertions whilst, with last night’s other FA cup replay fresh in the mind, can the Rovers team honestly say that prospect of a trip to Wembley won’t be any form of distraction?

Wishful thinking or blind optimism? Probably the former yet, with only nine games to go and the Bees with an excellent chance of promotion, I’m reading every potential positive from every game. Equally, though, it could just be own skewed line of logic and football, association.

Bliss - goals as fine as his moustache

Bliss – goals as fine as his moustache

I can’t hear the words Blackburn Rovers without immediately thinking of Gary Blissett performing his heroics back in 1989. Just as the goal scoring legend’s brace had helped knock his beloved Manchester City out of the tournament in the fourth round at Griffin Park, more was to follow in the next game.

Few gave The Bees a chance as a club issue ‘football special’ train from Ealing Broadway helped take us to a very industrial looking, pre-redevelopment, stadium. It was certainly a ground full of character rather than today’s sterile efforts whilst being escorted through town by the local constabulary hardly helped set the mood as a welcoming one.

Still, nobody was out to win friends with the visiting fans, especially in the late eighties, so it just made what happened next all the sweeter. Two late goals from Bliss, almost carbon copies if I recall correctly (highlights were somewhat thin on the ground back then) sent the Bees into the quarter finals and, to coin a phrase that Tony Gubba would use in the following round, our fans into dreamland.

Video evidence of the 2-0 win at Ewood Park is thin on the ground

 

Listening this evening, I’ll no doubt have a nostalgic thought about that game once more. Yet, equally, there is a chance for one of our own to carve his name into legend. Three points for Brentford will give the promotion push a massive boost and mean that, perhaps, it isn’t just Bliss who we think of when it comes to significant wins at Blackburn.

We’ve already beaten Rovers this season with a fine 3-1 win at Griffin Park. Another one tonight would be a double to rival those of the mustachioed goal machine.

Rovers can worry about the FA Cup. We’ve got a promotion to aim for

Blackburn got four chances to practice their kick off routine back in December

Blackburn got four chances to practice their kick off routine back in December