Tag Archives: Addicks

Another cup defeat for Bees as Cheltenham – Charlton sees the night’s real winners.

10 Aug

Another season, another cup defeat. As Exeter City eased past Brentford to reach the second round of the EFL cup, Bees supporters were left with the scant consolation that at least we can concentrate on the league until January. Given some of the post match soundbites, I was half expecting to see that one put in an appearance alongside “We go again”. And elsewhere, Cheltenham Town produced the result of the evening against Charlton Athletic – in their programme .

Hey, at least we got to 90 minutes without conceding a goal. The ignominy of defeat coming with the solitary goal of the evening being tucked away late in the first period of extra time. Harlee Dean was quick to apologise, noting “It wasn’t good enough again. We didn’t create chances and we didn’t test their goalkeeper”, although he did go on to add that “I think as a defensive unit we were solid”…..

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)
 
Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 16 to May 17, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 05.12.02

The Sky cameras show our latest attempt at the unorthodox

 

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Nick Bruzon

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And you thought football was a village…..we aren’t alone!

16 Mar

In a season where communications, or lack of, have been one of the key themes for Brentford supporters trying to get our heads around the club’s new direction it seems there is a similar sentiment across London at Charlton Athletic. That said, the ‘problems’ faced by the Bees seem miniscule compared to those at the Valley. Yet given how raw last season’s ‘Village-gate’ affair still feels to many, yesterday’s press release from the Addicks has struck a chord in what some might deem a similar scenario. Namely, that of a patronising and nonsense packed ‘official statement’ on a club website.

Football is a village’ is a line that will be forever steeped in infamy at Griffin Park. If ever we were looking for an opposite to, “They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup” then here it was. To this day, I still don’t know who came up with that gumph, who thought it was our best response to the leaked stories surrounding Mark Warburton and why, in retrospect, nobody has come out and suggested we might have played that one a little bit better. Still, enough has been said about that sad event on these pages to warrant further discourse (although if you’d like to read more…..)

Then, yesterday, it all come flooding back as the Charlton media team decided to crank the Village factor up to 11. To be fair, they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Sunday’s home win against Middlesbrough which, hot off the back of a victory at Griffin Park has given them renewed hope of survival, was one marred by a number of protests against Roland Duchatelet and chief executive Katrien Meire.

Amongst other things, a coffin made an appearance whilst several whistles in the crowd did their best to disrupt the players. Kick off was followed by a deluge of beach balls onto the pitch and several fans walked out on 74 minutes – to signify the amount of goals Charlton have shipped so far this term. There was even a somewhat unsavoury pitch invasion which, against type, the watching Sky TV cameras gave full prominence to .

I can sympathise with the club in wanting to do something. Likewise, they’ve even waited on this until Tuesday in order to let the immediate heat go out of the situation and then give it their most considered response. But there are ways of doing something and then ways of doing something. If I didn’t know better I’d suggest our own comms team had been transferred out of Griffin Park and taken up residence at The Valley.

Last Sunday, some individuals did not come to The Valley to watch the game and support the team, but came to create disorder on the pitch and interfere with the players and the game. Disorder which is, allegedly, needed to drive change in ownership and management

Those aren’t my words but the opening salvo of a ‘toys out the pram’ response that makes the football village seem almost Shakespearean in comparison.

Other ‘highlights’ include, “Some individuals seem to want the club to fail. This is a confused approach, since following this logic leads to exactly the opposite of what we all want: staying in the Championship” and

Allegations regarding the CEO are misrepresented and are continuously used as a method to discredit and fuel personal abuse, hatred and with a risk to personal safety”.

You can read the full statement on the Charlton website. It’s a sorry state of affairs for their supporters, many of whom I have no doubt are backing the team to the hilt. Instead, at this time of need, they are all being tarred with a brush of ne’er do wells in a statement that reeks of paranoia.

Football is, without doubt, something bordering on a religion and obsession to many. It is part and parcel of our lives, our friendships are based around it whilst, for many, the choice of club is a generational thing handed down by parents keen to pass on the torch. Simply put, we are bound to our teams in a symbiotic relationship where everything that happens to them impacts us one way or another.

Sure, Charlton had to make some sort of reaction. Yet given the frustrations which have been building over the course of this season and came to a head on Sunday, doing it in such a fashion is yet another example of a club owner’s failure when it comes to making friends and influencing people.

For all those unhappy with certain aspects at Brentford this year, please have some perspective. Whilst we’ve certainly hit a bump in the road on the pitch, off the field Matthew Benham and his team have started to open up more to the fans in the last week whilst you can’t deny he is a Brentford fan through and through.

Football isn’t a village, it’s more than that. Our top brass would do well to continue realising that.

Please let’s not ever release a statement like this (again).

Nick Bruzon

bees fans leave charlton shit

It stinks at Charlton

 

No pressure, lads. This is one run that needs to continue

5 Mar

Charlton Athletic are the visitors to Griffin Park today and, on paper, surely Brentford couldn’t have picked their opponents better had we tried? The Addicks are on an absolutely woeful run of form that has seen them win only once in their last 18 games. That, a 4-1 victory against fellow relegation candidates Rotherham United. They’ve shipped 8 goals in their last three games alone whilst the miserable streak included successive 6-0 and 5-0 defeats at Hull City and Huddersfield Town respectively back in January.

So bad is their current run that even hapless Bolton Wanderers have overtaken them to leave Charlton rooted to the bottom of the Championship table and, seemingly, doomed. My online bookmaker has the Bees as odds-on favourites today whilst the ‘away’ win is a hefty 15/4. Surely there can be only one result: three points for Brentford?

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s nothing more dangerous than a team staring down the barrel. Moreso, one which knows that should they lose today the gap to safety could be as much as ten points (plus a goal difference that would be deemed an insult to the word ‘goal’). Many of us thought last Saturday would be a ‘banker’. How wrong that turned out to be and I don’t expect any difference today.

We’ve no Max Colin whilst Dean Smith must decide whether to recall Yoann Barbet. It’s still too soon for Scott Hogan to be considered although the centre forward must be chomping at the bit to get back to action after so long out. He’ll have been heartened by his recent development squad goal and one can only assume the Griffin Park faithful will see him on the pitch before the season is out.

Much closer to a return is Alan McCormack. How the Bees have missed a player of both his savoir-faire and firmness in the challenge over these last few months. It’s all very well having a team of potential stars but how much better to have the likes of a Toumani or Macca alongside them in the midfield? You can’t put a price on experience and I’m as excited at his potential involvement as anything else today.

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Could Alan McCormack feature today?

Barring a statistical miracle/disaster (delete as applicable) Brentford’s season is over. At least, in terms of exiting the division. The top 6 are just too good whilst the bottom four look to be too far adrift. Whilst it would have been wonderful to push on from last campaign, to be lining up a third season in this division is still no bad thing at all when you look at where we have come from and, equally, what we’ve been through.

I just hope that rather than limp over the line, the lads give it their all. Aswell as today’s game, next Saturday sees the 237 derby as we head down the road for that most anticipated of encounters with the Loftus Road mob. Likewise, we’ve still got a home game with Fulham along with 9 other matches.

There’s plenty to play for, with finishing the season as top dogs in West London (at least from a Championship perspective now that Chelsea appear to have ditched their brief flirtation with relegation) at the top of that agenda for me. Likewise, a top ten finish would be something to be tremendously proud of and, from a personal note, my son (almost three) will be at the game today.

It’s been nothing but “Daddy Bees, Daddy Bees” , “Harlee“and “Buzz, Buzz” in our house this week whilst, from a statistical perspective, he’s never seen the Bees lose. All the mathematical models in the world count for nothing when you’ve got something as simple as a lucky shirt, a pair of magic pants or a child who’s never tasted the pain of a loss.

No pressure, lads. Please don’t end his run today. Explaining defeat could be as tricky a concept as the birds and the bees.

Hopefully both are conversations that will be a long time coming…

HB and HD

Harlee (and Buzz) very much favourites in our house

Nick Bruzon

Bustin’ makes me feel bad. Will Saturday be more Riley than Winkleman?

4 Mar

Brentford take on Charlton this Saturday, hoping for more of the same after cruising to a 3-0 victory at the Valley back in October. That result saw Addicks manager Guy Luzon, erm,  losing his job immediately afterwards and the Bees put in as one sided a performance as we’ve seen all season – even moreso than Wolves last Tuesday .

It was a game which had been completely at odds with Luzon’s first matchin charge of Charlton, their 3-0 win over Brentford that came at the height of last season’s Village-gate affair. That was a woeful performance from the Bees which, despite Warbs denial at the time, seemed to suggest a squad in disarray with just one thing – their manager’s future – as a point of focus. Thankfully, the Bees picked themselves up from that and confounded the expectations of most onlookers to make the play-offs. Where normal service resumed .

bees fans leave charlton shit 2

Last season, Village gate saw a real low at Charlton

And, of course, we couldn’t take this briefest of looks at recent encounters without a nod to Tommy Smith. It was he whose late equaliser secured a point in our first ever Championship game – the season opener at Griffin Park back in August 2014. How the place erupted and then gasped as Alan Judge almost stole a late winner, hitting the crossbar with a freekick taken deep in Saunders Territory.

So in 18 months our three games have turned out as D,L and W. What will it be on Saturday?

Dean Smith spoke yesterday in an article on the official site where they did their wonderful trick of warming us up for the quote by giving us the quote, noting: Dean said the only target for the team between now and the end of the season is to win as many matches as possible. If anybody was in any doubt, the next line proved this as readers were advised, “We don’t want to target this or that but our aim is just to finish as high as we can and to win as many games as we can,” said Dean.

Dean went on to add that he hoped to “get that winning mentality back” . It looked like that might happen after the Wolves game before normal service resumed at Rotherham United. 2 wins out of 11 in 2016 are a poor run for Dean and I would question that to get something back, does he not have to have had it in the first instance ?

Then again, if we play like we did against Wolves anything is possible whilst Charlton’s confidence must be as low as that of the team behind the forthcoming Ghostbusters movie. The trailer for this being universally panned upon release yesterday and the unfunniest thing I had the misfortune to sit through all week. At least, until I saw Claudia Winkleman standing in for everbody’s favourite mathematical model, Rachel Riley, on ‘8 out of 10 cats does Countdown’ last night.

How can it be THIS bad?

Still, it has been a week generally filled with more disappointment than a post match press conference for the development squad (whatever the score, the interviewee always seems ‘disappointed’). Ghostbusters and Winkleman aside,  Saturday saw that game at Rotherham United whilst Sunday saw the worst ever James Bond theme, Sam Smith’s title track from the otherwise excellent Spectre, pick up an Oscar. This, an effort so bad it had ousted Madonna’s ‘Die another day’ from the bottom of the ‘Best Bond’ list yet here it was being honoured in the most public of fashions.

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. As Dean Smith would recognise, performances don’t always get what they are due. Let’s just hope that tomorrow we do what, honestly, we should. With a trip to Loftus Road the following weekend, we need everybody brim full of confidence.

Fingers crossed that Saturday is more Rachel Riley than Claudia Winkleman.

The brentford mathematical model final

artists impression of a mathematical model etc etc

Nick Bruzon

What can we expect after midweek shock ?

24 Oct

Brentford travel to Charlton today hot off the back of those two successive wins – against Wolves and, previously, Rotherham – that have seen us finally start to climb the Championship table. Charlton meanwhile, as was noted in yesterday’s column, go into the game hot off the back of two shots on target over the same period.

With the Addicks nestling in the relegation zone and, seemingly, Brentford now freed from the shackles of our early season problems, we even go into this game as slight favourites. That’s not me being overconfident but simply a fact quoted by my online bookmaker who, should Mrs. Bruzon be reading, I use purely for research purposes only.

Don't shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

Don’t shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

But then you can understand why, as a neutral, they have adopted this view. Recent results have seen Brentford get to within 7(seven) points of the play offs whilst a win at The Valley will bring us just two points off the 19 we had at the same time last season – 13 games into the campaign.

Charlton, meanwhile, seem to be very much on a Luzon streak. They’ve been beaten 6 times in their last ten games, scoring just 8 goals over that period.

Whilst it sounds good (on paper), I won’t be putting the deeds of the house on an ‘away’ win. All the stats in the world count for nothing on matchday if you take victory as a given and I just don’t believe the hype. Surely Charlton can’t be that bad and something has to change at their end? Likewise, it was only a few weeks ago that the Dijkhuizen / Hendriksen era came to an end and the team started to look at getting back on their feet.

Are we steady yet? No, if I’m being honest. Absolutely the signs are there and Lee Carsley is making all the right noises – plenty of positivity tempered with an acknowledgement of improvement areas.

Indeed, the win against Wolves on Wednesday is something that should fill us with confidence – a commodity that money just can’t buy, no matter how many millions you have in the bank. Talking to long time Last Word correspondent and Wolves fan ‘Rustymini’ after that game, he was sporting enough to note: ”Brentford thoroughly deserved their win. Far more lively and far more structured”.

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Those of us who had the misfortune to sit through Burnley (a) or some of the first halves under Marinus (and I’ve struck the Oxford result from the record) would struggle to comprehend the concept of ‘lively’.

That said, its one I’m loving the sound of and can’t wait to see first hand today. Next stop, Charlton. See you there.

And, doing my best Columbo (kids, if you need to ask, go and watch some – now), just one more thing.

If you haven’t seen the update from last night’s academy game (a 2-1 home win over Bristol City) then prepare for a treat. Not only did it feature more Sam Saunders but, as excitingly, Lewis Macleod. And, when he can stay away from the twigs, just take a look at what he can do….

What a finish…

Nick Bruzon

From ‘the village’ to The Valley. Does paradise await?

23 Oct

Brentford travel to The Valley on Saturday to take on a Charlton Athletic team currently stuck in the bottom three and with a record that anybody worried about the Bees recent form should take a long, hard look at.

The Addicks have picked up just one point out of the last six league games. Indeed, they’ve only managed two shots on target in 180 minutes of football (the first in the 1-0 loss at Reading and the other last time out, when they went down 3-0 at home to Preston). Brentford, meanwhile, followed last weekend’s home win against Rotherham with the midweek triumph at Molineux as Wolves were dispatched 2-0.

That’s the positive (for the Bees – sorry Charlton fans). Before we get too carried away, just think back to last season in what was, and moreso given our league position at the time, a calamitous performance.

Last time, out. Terrible manners but what a critic

Last time, out. Terrible manners but what a critic

Then again, it was at the height of ‘Village-gate’. We were stuck in the no-man’s land between ‘that statement’ being issued on the Tuesday, followed by a week of tumbleweed drifting through the Griffin Park media centre.

As a rule, I don’t particularly want to draw too many parallels to that period. It has been and gone. Like it or not, Warbs is at Rangers and the Bees have a new management team and a new approach. Even better, we’ve started winning again. Yet the Charlton game, of all, illustrated how important team spirit is. And when it is missing, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Even now, looking back, I’ve had to remind myself just how shambolic we were that day. With apologies to any terrace wags / observers who may be reading, the post mortem of this ‘performance’ (and that’s almost a breach of ‘trade descriptions’) from the Last Word review of season 2014/15 still seems generous:

How about Harlee’s non header for the opening goal? Look at Jonathan Douglas, whose meandering and sorties up the pitch then left a midfield hole big enough to park an oil tanker in. This was a game crying out for his experienced head to get a grip in the middle rather than go fannying around like Matt Le Tissier looking for a packet of fags.

The normally brilliant Alex Pritchard decided to show all the delivery skills of a drunken postman whilst Andre Gray just looked plain knackered. But then, with only the ineffectual Nick Proschwitz or the inexperienced Chris Long as alternatives, it’s no surprise. Moses seemed lethargic whilst Jota barely got a look in.

I could go on but what’s the point? A 3-0 defeat was the least we deserved. Only David Button came out of it with any kudos.

The game was so bad, some fans just caught up on their i-player viewing

The game was so bad, some fans just caught up on their i-player viewing

I take no particular pleasure in dragging this up again. Instead, it is done more to say that, if there is one game where I’d love to see the players prove a point, it is Saturday’s. Charlton cruised to the win that ended a 13 game winless streak and, to coin that most famous of phrases, we were lucky to get nil.

Interestingly, of those players named and shamed, only Harlee remains. With him and Tarks looking rock solid at the back, and Lee Carsley getting excited about the reinvigorated spirit in the camp, are we already in a better place than last time out?

Hopefully Harlee will crack out the Coldplay once more and, with it, another winning performance. There is as much about personal pride as anything else riding on this one.

And with Stuart Atwell as the man in the middle, we’d better make sure that volume is set to 11…..

Still, if Chris Martin isn’t enough to inspire us again, perhaps this is.

Football is sometimes called a village, and in any village, gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, whether or not such rumours are true.

We’ve got a lot to put right on Saturday. I can’t wait to see us try.

Could it be paradise for Bees fans this time ?

Could it be paradise for Bees fans this time ?

Nick Bruzon

Hats off as a great season comes down to the wire.

2 May

Today’s the day the Championship gets settled. Brentford fans all know the maths in regards to our game and those involving Derby County and Ipswich Town. Meanwhile, at the very top of the table Charlton are the only ones who can stop Bournemouth getting promoted although (and I apologise to Watford fans) it will be the Cherries who lift the Silverware. Plus we’ve the latest from Steve Evans at Rotherham United

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 on.

Who am I to argue??

Who am I to argue??