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The good, the bad and the ugly. Bees undone by Leeds, Leicester City scoop more awards whilst this is one scary Santa. A week in football.

19 Dec

Brentford were hit by the ultimate sucker punch at Leeds United – an 89th minute goal from a short corner as the Elland Road outfit ran out 1-0 winners. At the tops its ‘as you were’. Dwight Gayle doing what he does for Newcastle United to move further ahead of Scott Hogan in the Championship scorer charts whilst Brighton kept pace with a 2-1 win at Birmingham City. At the bottom, Cardiff traded places with Blackburn Rovers who once again take up their place in the relegation spots alongside Wigan Athletic and Rotherham. Indeed, only the ongoing ineptitude of those teams stopping QPR from joining them although that gap now down to a mere three points….

That’s the latest Championship action in a 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.

Actually, there hasn’t been that much this week. That, or the Christmas party season has meant social media usage is a lot less than usual. But we’ll root through the detritus to start with Brentford and the last knockings from the game at Leeds United.

Despite the incredible £37/£42 ticket prices, supporters were in good voice.

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Scott hogan’s goal WAS onside.

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Leeds supporters show just what the win means.

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Tom Field underlined his importance to this team.

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Off the field, there was exciting news on the injury front.

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Whilst, as you could almost have predicted, Martin Allen has done what he does best and now set up an FA Cup third round tie at Griffin Park.

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And one we missed last week but worth a look – just for a surreal headline / teaser line image c/o Beeschat. One can only imagine what takes place over there toast at Dean Smith’s domestic tactical workshop.

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Elsewhere, pickings were slim. Just what is going on at Birmingham City?

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What is going on at Leicester City?

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What is going on at Manchester City?

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Is Mike Phelan channelling his inner Fred Dibnah? Just a flat cap short of the full look…

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Up in Scotland, Santa has taken a very scary turn for the worst.

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Perhaps he’s been listening to the advertisers.

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In more advertising news , Nike have displayed incredible precognitive powers.

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Whilst on the BBC, Sunday night’s Sports Personality of the year saw Leicester City triumph (twice) and Andy Murray receiving his overall winner’s award via a video link up from a friend.

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But, as ever, we close with Ian Moose and his birthday friend of the week. Which of his good friends from the world of football did the Talksport DJ wish happy birthday to, via the medium of a Twitter post and picture of them together?

This week: Preston manager Simon Grayson.

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Nick Bruzon

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Wasp and leg related weirdness clouds Brentford’s big reveal

11 Nov

imageBrentford football club launched our new badge yesterday and, now that the shock of the seemingly sudden reveal has worn off, what is your opinion? Brilliant? Terrible? Indifferent?

Initial thoughts from myself were in the positive camp – it does happen 🙂  – and remain as such. Likewise much of the feedback to that column , whether directly in the comments or on social media. Equally though, I’m not so naive to realise there were some less than favourable initial observations out there.

That’s life. People are absolutely entitled to opinions whilst reaction to change can be a tough thing to deal with. Moreso sudden, unexpected change.

Yet, for some reason, the tabloids were lining up, lemming like,  to immediately pour scorn. Why go for the positive or just reporting the story when you can do so in such a negative fashion? Do we have a bad relationship with the media or are Brentford just a soft target?

“Brentford supporters left furious”.   

“Are we the wasps now?”  

“Brentford’s new badge angers fans who claim traditional bee looks more like a wasp.” 

These, the respective headlines yesterday from the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and that bastion of the footballing moral high ground, The Sun. Bearing in mind these were the same sources whose leading stories yesterday included :

Why are you sitting here on the sofa?’: Alex Jones asks Cliff Richard why he is on The One Show despite SUING the BBC –Daily Mail

‘Why are you sitting here on the sofa?’: Alex Jones asks Cliff Richard why he’s on The One Show despite SUING the BBC’ –The Daily Mirror

THIS IS AWKWARD’ The One Show’s Alex Jones asks Cliff Richard why he’s on the sofa despite £1.5 million lawsuit against the BBC The Sun

I’m no Cliff Richard fan and please don’t get me started on The One Show (the audience of which is, presumably, interchangeable with that of Mrs. Brown’s Boys). Yet this is the calibre of apparent news our supposed badge based fury and/or anger is lined up against.

Aside for the fact this fan fury seems such a skewed perspective , I don’t even get the whole Bees / Wasp thing. The bee on our new badge is clearly a bee. Maybe more ‘bumble’ than ‘honey’ but still clearly a bee. Who could even think this was a wasp? Desperate editors, internet comedians or Mrs. Brown aside?

wasps

Wasps. Real and shirt based. Not Bees

We’ve seen wasps before at picnics and on rugby shirts. I can’t say this enough but ours is clearly a bee.  As for the claim that it only has four legs rather than six… Erm??! Not sure I follow the logic there. Presumably the ‘missing pair’ are under the wings.

Funnily enough, it IS possible to draw / photograph a bee with only 4 of the traditional 6 legs visible to the naked eye.

new-badge-bee

If nothing else, just look at the current badge and start counting.1, 2, 3, 4. I’ve no recollection of any fury / anger from Brentford supporters at what seems to be much more of a leg based inaccuracy. If, indeed, it even is one. Which it isn’t.

Have there been 20 years of marches and placards outside Mark Devlin’s office? “Give us back our legs” being shouted by an angry mob or #wewantourlegs appearing on Twitter ? (note to media team – don’t ).

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The current badge. 1,2,3,4 erm that’s it..

Of course not. Because, much like the self-importance and perceived popularity of the John Lewis Christmas advert, it isn’t actually ‘a thing’ outside of a small section of cyberspace. That clickbait grabbing headline writers then chose to turn it into one is, sadly, endemic of today’s journalism.

And I say that as a football fan looking in rather than any form of journalist (which clearly I’m not) looking out. I’m just the numpty on the terrace with a bit more spare time on my hands early in the morning than is probably advisable. Oh, for some sleep..

But I digress. What I would ask is why was the release so rushed? So sudden. No fanfare. No build up. No cryptic clue from Matthew Benham. No “Big announcement coming soon” type advice. No ’strip tease’ – an annual favourite

Instead, like a bolt out of the blue it was suddenly here. An email in the inbox and a headline on the website announcing “Our new club crest” .

Much like the subject of kit, this is clearly an emotive one. Fans were apparently consulted although this is something I, and many others, were unaware of over this consultation period. “During the past 18 months we engaged with a wide range of fans and stakeholders within the Club about our crest and received a clear mandate to look at change.” Those aren’t my words yet something which could have been made clearer if it was happening. And if it was just with a select group, at least explain this in the announcement .

Whilst this is ultimately their decision as a general rule I think our club goes out of it’s way to involve the fans. Being realistic, it is one I’m presuming is a decision they had to get right for many more reasons beyond simply something to stick on the shirt and say “We are Brentford” 

Involving the supporters a bit more, even just in the build up to the release, might have been a bit of a smarter move in retrospect. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and in a village such as football, where gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, perhaps this was just a case of wanting to get the news out there.

Either way, the badge is here to stay. I’m hoping it grows on supporters. I love it and, whilst I have no qualms in voicing a less than club friendly opinion when warranted (as regular readers will be aware), in this instance I think they’ve come up with a great design.

Certainly, it is one I’ll be proud to wear on my shirt next season. Now Bob just has to get his part of that deal right ….

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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

From Bees to Bristol via Manchester United. Less X factor, more cringe factor

21 May

It’s that time of year. New shirts are being released and, as yet, Brentford are yet to indulge the fans. That’s fair enough although it does leave the kit obsessives amongst us desperate for any nugget of information we can find as to next season’s kit. Whilst looking around the Internet for clues I stumbled across something from Bristol City. And it’s not good. Not good at all. Plus we’ve got part 2 of the Manchester United / X-Men story….

Apologies in advance to any Robins fans who may see this. It is, relatively, ‘old news’ but a story that had eluded me. Likewise, it would seem, the majority of Brentford fans.

City released their new shirt at the end of last month and the design has not been met with favourably. Whilst many fans were hoping for a return of the classic ‘Robin’ badge from the 80s, instead they got hastags. Two of them.

In a triumph of marketing gone mad over sanity, the new Bristol City shirt features the inspirational phrases : #MakingBristolProud and #BristolCity embroidered into each shoulder.

Bristol City shirt

This really is a thing

Nobody needs another lecture from me on football clubs failing to embrace / understand appropriate use of Twitter. Simple utterance of the phrase #Novemberkings should tell you all you need to know about this most cringeworthy of topics.

Yet City have taken it to a new extreme. They’ve woven this most sorry of social media phenomena directly into the very fabric of their being. And it’s awful.

The obvious worry is that other clubs will follow suit. We all know that Brentford have used hashtags (the wonderful #BeeTheDJ aside) with what we’ll politely call less than positive fan reaction in the past. Surely we wouldn’t go this far?

The Last Word art department have mocked up how this might look. Just in case anybody was considering that it might be a good idea.

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Could we? Should we? No. Please, no!!

If Mark Devlin, Matthew Benham or Kitman Bob are reading (unlikely, but…) please put us out of our misery. Show us your kits. Please. If nothing else, I wouldn’t mind buying one for the summer holiday.

The other thing to catch my eye yesterday was what has been described as the most embarrassing thing to come out of Manchester United since that security firm had the incident in the toilet.

Following on from Tuesday night’s X-Men crossover, which involved the Old Trafford club body painting their child mascots blue, they’ve gone again. Specifically, with a video described by Telegraph football as: Wayne Rooney acting in an X-Men trailer will be the most cringeworthy thing you see today.

And they’re not wrong. Yet. Yet.Yet, This is so bad it’s actually brilliant. For those who revel in those wonderful moments when the worlds of football and acting collide we now have a new addition to the list.

Of course, nothing could ever top ‘Escape to Victory’ , Luis Figo’s ‘Just for Men advert’ or even the simple act of Eric Cantona raising his collar before sending Nike’s minions back to hell (also Figo, for the record…).

Rooney’s wooden exclamation of “Bloody Hell” isn’t in the same ball park as Cantona’s “Au Revoir” or men like Figo who never give in to grey (“still got it”). But compared to the ‘proper’ actors around him, dreadfully trying to crowbar the names of his Manchester United team mates into a ‘scene’ from the new movie, Wayne comes across with the gravitas of Morgan Freeman.

It’s bad. Very bad. Yet compelling. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s below. But we’ve also got Eric, just to restore some sanity to proceedings.

Wayne – perhaps better picking punditry over acting.

Now THIS is how to act.

And finally, as ever, The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download.  Should anybody want to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more then you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same.  We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thank you again for reading.

Nick Bruzon

push up Brentford shirt

 

 

 

One transfer has already happened – and it’s bad news for Brentford

6 Jan

With all the talk at the moment about the interest from Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley in Alan Judge and James Tarkowski (along with a soupçon of Jota to Eibar, on loan) , there’s a story that may have escaped the notice of Brentford fans. However, with hoards of away supporters due shortly – Walsall, Middlesbrough and Burnley all visit in close succession – one thing will be different as they make their way down the Great West Road.

I’m not one for stealing other people’s work, so all credit to Salina Patel of Get West London for running this story on Monday . However, I am one for sharing a great cause and so it was with dismay that I read of the removal of the iconic Lucozade sign over Christmas, to be replaced by a tacky looking digital version.

Whilst most of us were polishing off the last of the cold sprouts and giant Toblerone, the people at Lucozade HQ were rushing through this change and, with it, ripping down an iconic bit of local history.

But a petition has already been launched, by Gary Farnan, with the self-explanatory title: Bring back Brentfords Iconic Lucozade Sign. Remove the Hideous digital advertising board.

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Before and after – as seen on Gary’s petition

Close to 1500 have already added their names to this, urging the soft drink giants to reverse their decision. And you can add your name to the list, by signing the petition here.

We may have no influence over Brentford’s transfer policy on the pitch, but this is one matter where you can make your voice heard. The sign is one that has been familiar to thousands of local residents for years and which says “You’re home”. Likewise, as recognisable an image for visiting fans as seeing the floodlights from the motorway,

Please. Bring this back.

If nothing else, Lucozade is off my shopping list as long as the new sign stays in place.

And finally, on the subject of the much maligned transfer rumours, I saw this social media post from fellow blogger Jordan Nugara. Some might argue that there is a good case for this anyway but if the club were in any doubt as to the depth of feeling for Jota, then here it is.

Rasmus, over to you….

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How much does Rasmus value his hair 🙂

 

Nick Bruzon

From the best shirt to the worst – with a video nod to Eric

6 Sep

Over the last 13 months since this column has been running, our reader may have realised I’m somewhat of a Brentford kit nerd. A quick search of this site with the word ‘kit’ will also show pieces on what we, our Championship rivals (and beyond) have worn. Likewise, some of the quirkier efforts through the ages. Hull City AFC and their tiger stripes, the Coventry City T, Spanish broccoli, beer and octopus designs being some of the best.

However, whilst reading a thread on GPG this morning in regards to Brentford shirt, it suddenly dawned on me. I’ve written about our best ever home and, equally, away shirt. There’s also been a piece published on what are, in my opinion, our worst ever away tops.

But I’ve never completed the story by talking about my least popular home effort. Until now.

By and large, our home kit has generally been pretty good over the years and so to compile a top ten or even top five would be, largely, a pointless exercise. That said, two do stand out for me and both are from recent years.

In second place is the 2012/13 effort. On the surface, I really liked this. Thick stripes, a decent shade of red and even a solitary touch of black on the shoulder was a nice touch. Then you turned it over.

Where were the stripes? Not only had they been removed ‘due to football league regulations’ (that, seemingly, Sheffield United were able to circumnavigate) but they’d been replaced by a teabag. Whilst the front of this was standard shirt material, the reverse was some sort of perforated ventex effort. It meant our female fans had their bra straps on display whilst it gave all of us the chance of gaining a polka dot sun tan.

As for the stick on ‘Skyex’ sponsor patch. It was the first appearance of this much maligned piece of low budget kit design – a trend that has continued into the Adidas regime and blighted their, otherwise, sterling efforts.

Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

2012/13 – Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

But that’s nothing, to me, on the previous season’s effort. 2011/12 is, in my opinion, the most awful of all the shirts we’ve ever had.

It’s not just that there are too many red stripes, relative to a classic Brentford shirt, yet not enough to bring it into the cult territory of the ‘funky bee’ 1989 centenary effort. Although that’s a poor start.

Then chuck in the black collars. They’re floppy!!? Think Eric Cantona, but after a few too many Kronebourgs.

The only point of a collar on a football shirt is so as you can stand it up – preferably just at the point of entering ‘Saunder’s territory’. Nothing is more likely to put the wind up the opposition than a midfielder with a known eye for goal, making this final adjustment before striking a free kick.

Cantona shows how a collar, if it has to be incorporated into a football kit, should be treated.

 

So we have too many stripes and a pathetic collar but the ultimate crime is the red shoulder patches and double black trim. Adidas have their famous three stripes, so Puma decide to copy this but go one less. Why?

It’s an awful choice and this entire upper makes us look like hotel doormen. Perhaps some people like it but, personally, I won’t even have this one in my collection.

Talk about Puma seeing out their contract in style. Or lack of .

Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

2011/12 – Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of pre-season

11 Jul

Championship. Championship. Here come the Bees in the Championship”. Not my words but those of Billy Reeves and Bee Faction in their promotion celebrating, ‘Hey Brentford’ song. Still available on free download, this terrace anthem has been my earworm for most of the summer.

And thankfully so, with the gap from promotion to the Championship an excruciating wait. Fortunately, this has been just one of numerous distractions to keep me occupied.

Some bad : the departure of Clayton Donaldson, the leak of the away kit and the most cringeworthy tweet to ever come out of ‘official’ channels. I have no idea who ‘drives’ @brentfordfc on Twitter but the reaction to the phrase ‘#trophyfriends’ was one of almost universal embarrassment.

Please - NEVER again

Please – NEVER again

Still, that was very much the thin end of the wedge and there have been more positives to focus on than I could shake a stick at.

So here they are: the top ten moments of the close season

10: The play offs. An odd place to start, especially given our track record, but wasn’t it great to watch the annual torture session at the W place with so much direct interest for Brentford? Who from Rotherham or Leyton Orient would be joining us next season and who would suffer that ultimate kick in the knackers? Likewise, could Uwe do us a huge favour and keep the Loftus Road mob in the Championship.

In the end, it was Rotherham who celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup and Wigan Athletic who will be visiting Griffin Park for the final game of 2014/15

9: Pre-season friendlies. A complete contrast to last season where, instead of a full priced game against a Celtic reserve side, whose support were allowed free reign of Griffin Park, we’ve got visits from the continent. There could even be a smattering of World Cup stars present as both Nice and Espanyol visit, with tickets starting form as little as £5 for adults. Great work.

8: The World Cup. Putting England to one side, it has been a stunning diversion from the pain of pre-season. From the second day destruction of Spain by the Netherlands right up to the hosts being on the wrong end of a 7(seven)-1 semi-final bracketing, this has really been captivating stuff. The likes of Algeria and Costa Rica have helped demonstrate that cup football is one of the most exciting sports on the planet – moreso when there is this much in such a short space of time.

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

7: Diaries. Peter Gilham’s tour diary is always a great read. A fascinating view behind the curtain as to what really makes up a pre-season training camp – for both the players and the backroom staff. Moreso, it’s a sign that the campaign is almost upon us.

Always a great read

Always a great read

6: The roof is finally covered. At last. They squatted in TW8 for longer than the Kew Bridge ‘Eco village’ but Qatar Airways have finally been evicted from the roof of the Bill Axbey stand on New Road. We await news as to who replaces them with intrigue.

Going.Going.Gone

Going.Going.Gone

5: Team morale. It seems stunning. What goes on tour doesn’t necessarily stay on tour, when it comes to Brentford. Sam Saunders car wash, wearing nothing more than flip flops and three marigolds, and Harlee Dean being slapped in the face with a wet fish by Will Grigg are both videos I never thought I’d see. But am very glad I have

4: That moment when news sources recognise us. We know we’re a Championship team but others, outside of West London, are not always so quick to keep tabs. So when the likes of ‘News now’ move the Bees to their Championship page or the BBC have us as sitting in the new League table, it put a little tingle up the spine

3: Ticket prices. These increased, but marginally. The price rise was a token one and nowhere near the amount I would have expected from a club with a limited capacity (relative to our rivals) and now playing in a higher division. This really was a bold decision and they have been instantly rewarded with over 5000 sales. Thank you!

2: Mark Devlin’s strip tease. Of course, I mean the teaser campaign that has led to the unveiling of our home kit. I liked this idea – despite my desperation to see the ‘full reveal’ – and we’ve been rewarded with a great shirt. The away shirt, in particular, aside from the cracking design spec, achieves that rare feat of making the stick on sponsor’s logo look marginally acceptable. And when that happens, you know something good must be happening.

The family friendly strip tease

The family friendly strip tease

1: The Fixture list. If there was one thing to crank up excitement about next season, it is the moment when the fixtures are revealed. Away trips can be planned, Christmas is saved with a home fixture on Boxing Day and Uwe visits on the last day of the (hopefully) regular season. Oh, and there’s a return of the derby against Fulham

And if you need any reminder of how we got here, ‘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.

Spoiler alert: Brentford gear up for the Championship with new look

1 Jul

For those who still have the image of Sam Saunders wearing not much more than three marigolds seared onto their retinas, here’s a diversion. (Assuming they want a diversion). Teams visiting Brentford in the Championship next season will see something different.

Finally, after years of squatting rent free on the New Road roof, the Qatar Airways advert has been painted over. I’ve long advocated that, if they weren’t prepared to stump up the cash / cover this themselves, the word “Don’t” (or worse) should have been added to the front of this – at a jaunty angle.

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Before: View from the terrace. Squatter about to be evicted

 

Thankfully, now, there is no need. Chief Executive Mark Devlin released the following picture yesterday afternoon to show the much-maligned advert had been painted over. Even better news, though, was his subsequent confirmation that this was because of a new sponsor – to be announced once timings have been agreed.

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After: Who is the mystery new sponsor?

Could this be a nostalgic return for KLM? Perhaps another airline? Given the club’s proximity to the Heathrow airport flight path that would make perfect sense. Or have the club joined forces with Skyex for a giant shirt transfer to be stuck over the roof?

Either way, given the stadium’s visibility from the air I’d suggest that this announcement needs to be exquisitely timed.

Now, if he could just release a picture of the away kit, that would really crank up the excitement levels a notch.

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

The season that keeps on giving – from Lineker to Lebouef (via Old Trafford)

23 Jan

With no League One action or Brentford news yesterday (beyond more idle speculation not worth dignifying with a comment) I was left to watch the Capital One Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Sunderland.

The result was a fantastic one for Sunderland – albeit after one of the worst penalty shootouts in recorded history. Three misses and only three on target, out of ten taken, is woeful from two Premiership teams. But then so is the decline of Manchester United. Watching them trying to break down the Black Cats reminded me of a weak kitten trying, and failing, to bust its way out of a damp paper bag.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Dear BBC. Please don’t do it, however good the cause

22 Jan

Brentford haven’t even faced this Friday’s trial by TV against Gillingham yet already our next ‘on air’ encounter has been announced.

Not surprisingly the visit to, current, League One top dogs Leyton Orient has been brought forward to accommodate our friends at Sky. Thankfully, from some respects (the boat crew may not agree), rather than a shift to Friday night it remains on March 15th but is now a lunchtime kickoff.

Realistically, this was always going to happen. Brentford and Leyton Orient are the top two sides in League One and so this could end up being a real six-pointer (along with a chance for Sky to crank out all those East meets West type lines).

To me, it makes no difference. The number of travelling supporters will, one would imagine, remain largely the same regardless of 12.15 or 3.00. It’s too big a game  – it can’t be too often you say that about Leyton Orient  v Brentford!

Interestingly, chief executive Mark Devlin took to twitter immediately after the announcement to discuss ticketing and canvass opinion. It seems we have a choice between an allocation of 1600 or 3700. The former figure, surely too low, but is the top whack optimistic?

In my opinion, no. It’s a table-topping clash and Leyton Orient IS an easy away ground to get too. If you aren’t taking the boat trip then its simply a case of jumping on the Central line at Ealing Broadway and putting your feet up for an hour – not literally, keep those seats clean please.

The other TV news yesterday was one which, being honest, upsets me somewhat. The BBC have announced that David Beckham is to appear in a one-off return of Only Fools and Horses.

I loved this show when it was originally shown – although I think we’ve all seen the clip of Del Boy in the bar perhaps once too often (spoiler alert – he falls over). However, it’s not been on for over a decade and for good reason – it ended on a high whilst the cast are, to be polite, getting on a bit.  It’s going to be impossible to resist a trip down memory lane and take a look but I fear a car crash. Moreso, when you then add Mr Beckham into the mix.

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The BBC have announced the return of Del Boy and…David Beckham

The man who singlehandedly secured the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain loves doing his public bit and, with this in aid of Sport Relief, it’s natural he’ll be involved. But a good cause doesn’t necessarily justify resuscitating the long dead corpse of one of the nation’s favourite programmes.

Equally, everybody knows  – footballers can’t act.

We’ve all seen Figo doing his ‘Just for men’, the classic ‘Escape to Victory’ (“We can win this”), Eric Cantona is currently masquerading as a French farmer but the king acting stinker is, of course, Vinnie Jones.

To be fair, the former Wimbledon man set the bar high with his surprise debut in ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, but its been downhill since there. Very much a case of the law of diminishing returns, he was single handedly responsible for destroying X-Men: The Last Stand whilst has also flexed his acting muscles in a range of films that includes ‘Swordfish’ and ‘Garfield: A Tail of two Kitties’.

Hey, I’ve no problem with a wooden, bad, actor. Just look at Jason Statham – a 21st century Steven Seagal. He does what he does, and does it very well. But, with footballers, it just stretches the bounds of entertainment that bit too far.

Sadly, things seem too late for Beckham and ‘Only Fools…’, judging by the publicity stills already published. I can only cross my fingers and hope we don’t have another Vinnie – ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ moment….