Tag Archives: 1996

After Sunday roast, time for kebabs. Just no umbrellas

4 Sep

The middle Sunday of international weekend. There’s no Brentford result to digest (it’s another 6 days until the trip to Brighton and a week since Sheffield Wednesday salvaged an injury time draw in a game they could have actually won much earlier) whilst the national team are yet to kick things off in anger. Yes, ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce begins his tenure as England manger tonight with the trip to Slovakia after leaving Sunderland in the summer to replace Roy Hodgson.

Big Sam

Can Sam bring a smile to England supporters?

Cue hand wringing about EURO 2016. Talk of a new era. Questions over Joe Hart or the selection of Wayne Rooney as captain. Sly digs about this ’rough diamond’ being a different choice to the normal selections from those suits at FA HQ. And, of course, being forced to listen to ‘that band’.

There’s bound to be mention of Sam’s win ratio at supposedly less illustrious teams  (37.57% West Ham and 29.03 at Sunderland). Although what that proves, I have no idea. Even Roy Hodgson managed 41.94% at Liverpool, for what its worth. And, of course, with that West Ham link there’s bound to be some crowbarred reference to some sort of new stadium. It wouldn’t be a televised football game in 2016/17 without one.

Yes, my ITV cliche bingo card is fully charged and ready to begin crossing off those squares although, being honest, I’m not fully engaged at the moment. The Euros were painful. Dreadfully so. It is still far too recent a bad memory.

To see England earnestly attempt to go again feels like being faced with a groaning table of all-you-can-eat kebabs having just consumed an oversized Sunday Roast. Whilst normally this would be a delicious prospect, given what came before I’m not going to enjoy it. That said, what harm would it do to take a tentative nibble and see what develops from there?

Besides, regardless of who is at the helm, a 6 team qualifying group containing the likes of Lithuania , Scotland and Malta should be about as tough a nut to crack as using a sledgehammer on some stale dry roasted. Forget Big Sam. Big Ron from Eastenders or Big Daddy could get them through the group. And they are both sadly departed.

Big Daddy

Even Big Daddy could get England through this group

For me, the genuine excitement is over in Group H where Gibraltar have Cyprus and Estonia amongst their opponents. Whilst, of course, you’d expect Belgium to run away with that one, could the boys from the Rock make a few waves? As ever, the bookmakers don’t think so and have them at anything from 2,000-1 to 5,000-1 to win the group.

But, whatever happens, surely this is still a more rewarding prospect than watching England cruise through the qualifiers to an inevitable first place. Just remember though, 10 wins out of 10 en-route to Euro 2016 didn’t prove a particularly auspicious omen as to long term tournament success.

I hope England do well. I hope Gibraltar can upset Greece on Tuesday night.I hope we don’t get overly carried away, however the qualifying groups turn out. As has been proven again, success at a tournament proving somewhat more difficult a prospect than getting there.

Indeed, aside from Euro 96 or West Ham’s triumph in the the 1966 World Up (both home tournaments) it is only really the wonderful efforts of Bobby Robson’s team back in 1990 where England have come even vaguely close to getting their hands on foreign soil. The Premier league may be ‘the best league in world football’ (is that line still being trotted out?) and have the most over inflated transfer market, but when it comes to keeping pace with International rivals then there is still a huge gap.

All the money and all the expectation in the world are no substitute for simply being ‘any good’ or knowing how to play as a team. Just look at what Wales achieved over the summer.

After the summer, the thought of winning a World Cup feels a million miles away. The prospect of investing the emotions in a qualifying campaign that has stopped the fledgling Championship season dead in its tracks so soon and so awkwardly is a tough one. And, being blunt, a frustrating one. Just as Brentford have got going and assembled our post-transfer window squad, the shutters have come down.

Yet come 5pm I have no doubt whatsoever the TV will be tuned to ITV to see just what life under Big Sam will look like. Say what you want about him, and many have, but I can guarantee you that if it’s raining there’ll be no umbrellas in sight.

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Whatever happens, it can’t get this bad

Nick Bruzon

Who sanctioned this? And more shirt news

15 Jul

So distracted had I been by Rio Ferdinand’s Roger Moore tribute show yesterday that I forgot to mention the other salient Brentford and World Cup news from Sunday. Firstly, Gary Lineker’s awkward ‘reveal’ of the trailer for the new series of Doctor Who was the straw that finally pushed me to ITV.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a quick spin in the Tardis but the almost embarrassed segue from half time analysis in a, supposedly advert free show, killed the mood of the game stone dead whilst, at the same time, setting my more geekish tendencies into an elevated state of nerdery.

It was an unnecessary distraction that just pushed me to the light channel. If we were going to get adverts and hideous monsters, then I may aswell just go for the full Adrian Chiles experience.

From Rio Ferdinand’s jacket to this….

 

From a Brentford perspective, there were also more snippets of shirt news lurking out there in cyberspace – a preview much more welcome than a face full of daleks. A quick trawl of twitter will help you locate these but I’m very pleased to hear that the castle badge will return in some form on merchandise in the club shop.

More importantly, it seems the club are looking at one part of the 125th anniversary celebrations being a game with some commemorative wording added to the badge on our new shirt. With the potential for some of these to be on sale, too, I can already hear Mrs. Bruzon hiding my wallet .

It did also get me thinking about what is the correct protocol for this sort of commemorative wording? Around the club badge in a circular pattern or horizontally – whether underneath it or more centrally?

Commemorative wording - generally spells tears

Commemorative wording – generally spells tears

My own preference is for the horizontal – under the club badge. I’m not an owl and so, bereft of the ability to rotate my head through 360 degrees (or whatever it is they can do) struggle to read the circular text.

Does it matter? Probably not. I’ll still buy one if the possibility arises but I just know what I prefer – whatever the rules are on this sort of thing.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Rio? Roger? Changes at Griffin Park?

14 Jul

Is Rio Ferdinand swapping Manchester United for a new role at Easyjet? Or perhaps a Royal Navy commander? Given the commentary on social media last night, he might even have found time to fly Brentford back from the Florida training camp.

The World Cup ended with a win for Germany and the BBC panelist attracting as much interest in his suit as his punditry. Twitter was awash with comments about one of the most talked about bits of fashion since Liverpool rocked the ‘Man from Del Monte’ look at the 1996 FA Cup final.

These are all over the internet now (my own effort below) with, surprisingly, former England captain Michael Vaughan being amongst the chief protagonists.

Flying home from Rio?

Flying home from Rio?

However, despite all the gentle ribbing pointed at Rio he’s actually in great company. It is universally accepted that Roger Moore is, hands down, the best man to ever fill the role of James Bond. Indeed, much of the classic Moonraker saw 007 based in Rio de Janeiro where, of course, last night’s final took place.

As such, it was some what fitting that the best of the observations about Ferdinand’s jacket was not an airline related gag but one that showed what esteemed company he is in. Nobody can carry off a safari suit/blazer/polo neck like Roger and so the mantra must have been, “If you can’t beat them, join them”.

The name's Ferdinand. Rio Ferdinand

The name’s Ferdinand. Rio Ferdinand

Back in TW8, a stroll past Griffin Park at the weekend revealed two things.

Firstly, we remain none the wiser as to who the roof sponsor will be on the New Road. A peek through the gap in the fence by the ticket office reveals this to be still covered in undercoat. Despite our proximity to Heathrow, there’s been no sign of Rio up a ladder with a few tins of the budget airline’s trademark orange paint.

And then looking into the turnstile, there is a mysterious object lurking under a clubshop plastic bag. The same thing appears in each one and so I can only presume this is the much anticipated ‘electronic ticketing system’.

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What’s under the bag?

 

Not quite up there on the ’shirt’ reveal but when things are this quiet, I’ll clutch at any straw of Brentford related news.

Roll on the pre-season friendlies. Please.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.