Tag Archives: AFC Wimbledon

Dean’s captain call. The right decision or is there more afoot?

9 Aug

Brentford progressed to round 2 of the Carabao cup with a 3-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon, albeit needing extra time to complete the job. Yet with Nottingham Forest next up, the talk remains around that of captain Harlee Dean. Or, rather, former captain Harlee Dean. With the Sheffield Wednesday rumours hanging around like a bad smell and the player out of contract at the end of this season, Dean Smith has chosen to hand the armband to Nico Yennaris.

League cup progress was nice. Very nice. Even if we are going back to August 2013 for the last time we won a tie in regulation time. Farid El-Alagui popping up to get a 90th minute winner in a 3-2 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge at Griffin Park. But going through is all you can ask for and a rocket for Romaine Sawyers, followed up by an extra time beauty from Ollie Watkins and Justin Shaibu (in the very last minute) were sufficient to achieve that aim.

But it is the captaincy where the talking points remain. Dean Smith confirmed to Get West London that Harlee ”Is in a bit of limbo with contract negotiations. With that going on it’s right that someone else carries the armband.” This, before adding that, “I’m sure his representatives are pitching him around to other clubs as well”.

A reference to the Sheffield Wednesday rumours? Great bluffing by Harlee’s ‘people’ in contract talks? Who knows? But with three other quality centre backs in the wings, its not a game of bluff I’d overly fancy playing. Certainly, if my long term future was at Griffin Park. Might Dean and Matthew actually just decide to ‘cash out’? Should they?

You can’t criticise a player for exploring opportunities. That’s human nature. If, indeed, these are available. Could it simply be a case of holding out for the best offer Brentford are prepared to put in front of him? Only Harlee knows that and only time will tell. But with the Bees travelling to Sheffield Wednesday on 12th Sept, after the transfer window has slammed shut, it will be very interesting to see the shape of our squad at that point.

For me, the choice of Nico was as intriguing a one in as much as who wasn’t picked. For me, and regardless of transfer talks, Harlee wouldn’t be my captain anyway. Unless truly exceptional, no defender would.

Whilst he had a wonderful season last time out, culminating in those player of the years awards, there was still the odd rush of blood to the head. Nobody can doubt he wears his heart on his sleeve and stands up for his team mates but with referees taking a harder line stance, shouting loudest isn’t necessarily the only tool in the captain’s box.

img_4043

Leading by example? Or a rush of blood?

For me, positionally, I’d want my captain at the centre of the action. Sure, he still needs that Harlee style ‘bite’ but, as much, the ability to help dictate play. To carry out the manager’s orders. To be where he can be most effectively seen and heard. And that for me is midfield. Preferably centre. That for me is Nico, Josh, Kamo or Ryan Woods.

Kamo is too new. Josh too inconsistent, for now. Nobody can doubt Nico has been around this squad for a few years and more than earned his stripes. He has shown wonderful maturity in overcoming those initial boo-boys to make a centre midfield berth his own.

The goals are equally impressive. It’s a surprise call but a good one aswell as recognising a player who has shown long term commitment to the club. A player who has, almost by stealth, become a ‘King Kev’ style part of the furniture. And that’s meant in a complimentary style.

Yet, equally, I’d have to ask why Ryan Woods has been overlooked. He started on Saturday against Sheffield United. Nico didn’t. John Egan was captain. Woodsy was man of the match in the eyes of many observers – despite the vote going to the ever popular Jota.

True, he didn’t make the team last night but even at the start of last season I’d gone on record of saying Ryan was my choice. For whatever that is worth. He went on to have a blinder, culminating in his being named ‘player’s player of the year’. With a long contract under his belt and this clear demonstration of respect from his team mates, surely he’d have been nailed on if Harlee was having this privilege removed?

Which begs the question of why? Is there an ulterior factor at play? Sunderland talk was rife a few weeks ago although, thankfully, that has gone quiet. For now. Could it just be that Ryan doesn’t want that extra responsibility? Or is it simply that Nico is deemed the best man for the job in Dean Smith’s eyes?

If so then I’m chuffed to bits for him. What an honour. He’ll absolutely do us proud.

At the end of the day (Clive), I’m just the numpty on the terrace with no access to the club inner circle or what gets said behind closed doors. It’s just a question being thrown out there as to what people think and who would they choose?

Instead, I can only call it as I see it from the stands. As a supporter. Whilst Ryan would have been my pick, bring on Captain Nico. Bring on Nottingham Forest. Let’s see what he can do in the league.

I can’t wait for Saturday.

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Will we slip on another potato skin or dodge that lower league bullet ?

8 Aug

It seems like only five minutes ago that Brentford performed those League cup heroics against Hull City and Everton, before narrowly missing out on Round 5 via a last minute equaliser and penalties against Birmingham City at St. Andrews. Infact, it was 2010 and The Bees first XI included the likes of Mickey Spillane, Craig Woodman and Pim Balkestein. Whilst the squad has evolved from that small League One group it would be fair to say that our record in the competition hasn’t been a great one since then. Could Tuesday night’s game in Kingston against AFC Wimbledon see us get back to winning ways?

The wins over higher division Hull and Everton were wonderful occasions, no question. The latter in particular seeing a practically full strength Premier League team beaten by a never say die Brentford XI. Gary Alexander scored the equaliser and Charlie MacDonald even had the luxury of seeing a penalty saved before the eventual spot kick triumph. Richard Lee the man on form then.

Embed from Getty Images

Gary Alexander does his thing against Everton. 1-1

Now, we are the team to be shot down. A high performing Championship club travelling to an AFC Wimbledon side whose own ascension through the divisions and struggle to find a home has been a story in itself. Yet the game presents a huge potato skin for a Brentford side that is sure to be changed one from that which lost out to Sheffield United on Saturday.

The last time we won a League Cup tie Montell Moore and Nick Proschwitz (not a typo) were amongst the scorers in that defence shredding 6-6 at Dagenham and Redbridge. Kevin O’Conor played what was, if I am correct, his last ever game for the Bees – scoring what proved to be the decisive spot kick in the subsequent shoot out.

Since then the wheels have come off somewhat. We lost at Griffin Park to Fulham. At the time, something of a rarity for the Cottagers whom we would go on to take 10 points out of 12 from over the course of the following four league games. Didn’t Jota do something in the last minute, too?

Then there was the humiliation handed out by Oxford United at home as the Marinus experiment came crashing down to earth with a bump. Regular readers may be aware this gets mentioned a lot but it is important to never forget how bad that was. The team he selected was one which, long term, had a few players who are now regular (Nico, Lasse, Andreas) but at the time was an untested mixture of youth and new faces. 3-0 down in 12 minutes, that we only lost 4-0 was the main miracle of the night.

It was the consummate example of the flawed logic in both wholesale, untested change and woeful man management. Never forget.

Marinus Oxford touchline

The Oxford United fiasco  / Marinus experiment (neither being prog rock bands)

Then last season it was the turn of Exeter City to dump us out in the first round. Despite Harlee Dean, John Egan, Josh Clarke and Sam Saunders amongst those picked, Brentford struggled to a 0-0 before Ryan Hartley got an extra time winner for the Grecians.

And now is the time to go again. I can only expect more change tonight but this time I fear for Wimbledon. Harlee is available after suspension.Yoann Barbet was benched on Saturday. Likewise Maxime Colin. Expect the pace of Josh Clarke down the flank and surely starts for Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins. I’d imagine Flo Jo will begin on the left with with a very strong bench, just in case.

As the higher placed team we’re there to be shot down, just as Everton and Hull were all those years ago. That’s one of the privileges of being a Championship side and, sadly, a bullet we’ve taken more than once in recent years.

Will this time around be any different? A full house of Bees fans will be there to roar us on with only 200 tickets remaining on the gate. Watch out for the traffic delays though and get there early.

See you there. Until then, here’s one of the highlights from the Everton game. When our mascot was told to keep holding the hand of his young counterpart, he took that instruction quite literally.

 

Nothing puts Peter Gilham off his stride

Nick Bruzon

TV is really making me cup, upset

5 Jan

I really want to watch the AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool FA Cup third round tie tonight but, to be quite honest, on Monday morning I’m struggling to summon up the enthusiasm. Whatever the BBC tell you about this being a repeat of the 1988 final, it isn’t – albeit seeing Liverpool humbled that day was a fantastic feeling for the neutral and, perhaps, the ultimate cup upset.

Nobody needs a lecture from me on the authorities allowing the shameful relocation and rebranding of Wimbledon to Milton Keynes in their ‘new’ guise as MK Dons to happen.

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.

Des prepares for the final , back in the day

Des prepares for the final , back in the day

T

How Monday’s FA Cup draw disproves the oldest of clichés

9 Dec

Brentford have been given a home tie with Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup third round, following Monday night’s draw. An all Championship tie is probably not one to get the TV executives reaching for the phone and moreso when you look at the potential potato skins that await the likes of Crystal Palace (at Dover Athletic) or Liverpool at nearby AFC Wimbledon. But that suits me fine.

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.

Have we been spared some pain or missed a great day out?

3 Sep

Russell Slade celebrated like his team had won a JPT first round match last night after Leyton Orient beat Peterborough United 3-2. Good luck to him. As a Brentford supporter, it’s one thing that’s not on the agenda for this season and, hopefully, not for a while.

That’s meant as no disrespect to the trophy but simply means that Brentford will, all being well, be playing in the Championship. Or beyond….

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.

David Niven beats Manchester United as Championship beats the hype

18 Aug

Having returned from Bournemouth, Brentford prepare to visit another beach town for Tuesday night’s trip to Blackpool. With games at Cardiff City and Brighton also to come, the Championship is providing as many chances to dig out the bucket and spade as opportunities to watch football.

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.

Cows, chaos and Clem. It can only be a Championship away day

17 Aug

The pleasure of our first Championship ‘away’ trip was marginally punctuated by Brentford going down 1-0 at Bournemouth yesterday. But the defeat was the least part of a day out that also saw Fulham losing, an encouraging performance from the Bees and even a touch of local colour. And then, on returning, there was the latest update from The Football League Show’s Clem.

Starting with the game at the Goldsands, Brentford really impressed in patches and had clearly taken things forward from the opening day draw with Charlton.

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.

Brentford suporters keep it 'local'

Brentford suporters keep it ‘local’

Clem continues to prove his critics right - P2 L2

Clem continues to prove his critics right – P2 L2

Marcus Gayle – “It’s like going home to see your Auntie and Uncle”

6 Nov

I love the early rounds of the FA Cup.

As Brentford prepare for this Saturday’s game with Staines Town  – the battle of Middlesex as some have dubbed it – everyone is getting excited. Primarily because winning at the weekend takes us that bit closer to a potential tie with the Premiership ‘big boys’ in the third round.

Youngsters all over the country (and me) are raiding the kitchen cupboard for the roll of tin-foil to make that FA Cup staple – the Heath-Robinson style home made replica trophy.

Image

The home made FA Cup – Bacofoil share process are sure to surge in January

TV producers are already preparing their lists of the non-league player’s ‘day time jobs’ – A bonus point for every time you hear, ‘In the day he’s a ….plumber, milkman, postman, electrician.

And local journalists are looking for those tenuous connections between former professionals now plying their trade in the lower leagues as players or, equally, those with a link to the club they are now playing against.

It won’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out the man of the moment on Saturday. You’d have to be living on the moon not to realise that the Staines Town manager is none other than former Bee Marcus Gayle. Over the course of his two spells in the Bee’s first team, spanning the eighteen years from 1988 to 2006, Marcus represented the club in three separate play off semi finals and has a 91/92 Champion’s medal in his collection.

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.

The A-Z of the season, so far

21 Sep

With no game this Saturday and a rather slow news week for Brentford, I thought I’d catch my breath to look at the season, so far. So here it is,  using the oh so desperate medium of an A to Z list ….

A – Adidas. Our technical sponsor and shirt supplier (in theory). I said my piece on them in the previous column.

B – Beach. The preferred holiday destination of our former number one, if Herr Rösler is to be believed. (Just who is that watching the volleyball in Cardiff? below).

Image

C – Carlisle. A bizarrely disallowed goal for Toumani Diagouraga was about all we could take home from a game that ended up being an insomniac’s wet dream. 0-0 and, to paraphrase the famous Shankley-ism, both sides were lucky to get nil.

D – Donaldson. Guess who’s back? Clayton’s back. On form, that is. His wining goal against Walsall was followed up with two more against Tranmere.

E – El-Alagui.  Farid is fit again. Farid is scoring again. A last gasp equaliser at Gillingham and a virtuoso performance against AFC Wimbledon in the JPT. C’est magnifique!

F – Fulham. Comedy opportunities were taken down a level with the news this week that they are returning the Michael Jackson statue to Mr Al Fayed. No idea what he will do with this but please, Mr Benham, don’t get any ideas…

G – Goalkeepers. David Button, Jack Bonham, Richard Lee and Liam O’Brien. How many have we named already? And with rumours flying around at one point that Simon may have ben returning on loan, who knows who will be between the sticks by the end of the campaign.  Great to see Richard fit again, and my money is on him!

H – Hammered. It happens. We’ve had it at Derby and Bradford, conceding a total of nine goals without reply. What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger – just no more repeats, please: -)

I – Internationals. Brentford’s (not, on loan’s) Will Grigg has come off the bench twice for Northern Ireland in recent months. He featured in the shock win against Russia and then again as the team came back down to earth in the Luxembourg game

J – JPT. The Bees have successfully negotiated the first two rounds of a competition that represents an excellent opportunity to finally lay the hoodoo of the ‘W’ place. Next up, Peterborough (a).

K – Keith Stroud. Has carried on where he left off last season, having shown 29 yellows and two reds in the 6 (six) games he has officiated so far this season. A stat so shocking it has necessitated the rarely seen  ‘pre-seven’ bracket.

L – Lionel Road with a small, but vocal minority making noises against the current scheme to build a new stadium, have you sent in your support yet? The club have made it very easy so please do get involved. Every response counts.

M – McAleny. The excitement, the ability, the horrendous bad luck. Conor was looking like another lad straight out of the Goodison Park barrel marked ‘talent’, until that awful injury put paid to his Brentford career after just three appearances. Get well soon.

N – Ninth. Where Brentford currently sit, as it stands. Only eight places off their anticipated final position.

O – O’Connor, Kevin. – With our club captain back to fitness, ‘Mr Brentford’ is getting ever closer to that 500th appearance. Full back; centre back; centre mid. Is there anything he can’t do? Has definitely recovered from the terrible injury and even worse video-bombing (below) he suffered last season.

Image

(Harlee Dean, allegedly, over the moon about his work on Beesplayer)

P -Penalty. We’ve scored one! Adam Forshaw has written himself into Brentford history by converting from the spot in open play. The goal, against Tranmere, secured the three points for Brentford.

Q – Qatar Airways. Still getting a free advert on the roof of the New road Stand. Come on, marketing crew….

R – Rainbow laces. Here’s hoping the boys will be showing their support to the anti-homophobia campaign on Monday night. Uwe’s backing it, as he told visitors to the club website this week.

S – Sky. Cripes, we are back in front of the Sky cameras on Monday v Leyton Orient. Nobody needs reminding how it went last time that happened.

T – Tranmere – ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’, sang pop music’s Lenny Kravitz on his 1991 hit parade troubling single.  Tell that to Tranmere Rovers. They were dancing in the vomitories of Prenton Park after pulling it back to 3-3 in the 90th minute. Until Adam Forshaw popped up, deep into injury time, to help bag the win.

U – United. Sheffield were trounced 3-1. (and that only tells half the story) on a sunny afternoon at Griffin Park. Adam Forshaw’s first half strike eclipsing Shaleum Logan’s from the previous week as an early contender for goal of the season.

V – Venta – another signing straight out of left field. Javi, a champion’s league veteran, is as comfortable queuing with the fans in the burger queue as he is on the pitch.

Image

W – Window (transfer)  – flippin’ ‘eck, Uwe! Marcello Trotta. A ballsy move but I hope, a brilliant one. Hasn’t been given a massive opportunity so far due to the red card incident at Bradford but the patches we have seen suggest this could be inspired stuff.

X – eX players. There are a few doing the rounds. Highlights include Charlie McDonald becoming acquainted with the penalty box at Oldham and Gary Alexander’s Van Bastenesque effort for Crawley as they stunned league high fliers Peterborough. However, the real surprise is seeing Lewis Grabban banging them in for fun at Bournemouth in the Championship.

Y – Yeovil Town. Oh dear.  Seeing them being torn apart on the Football League Show every weekend is so frustrating, knowing just how much better than them we would have been. If ever there was an incentive needed to get over the line this season, there it is.

Z – Zones. As it stands Brentford are only one point outside the dreaded play off zone (PLEASE get those four needed to take us into an automatic place).

I’d love to blame the ref – but I just can’t (entirely)

31 Aug

Well   – that sucked. A coarse, gross and base analogy perhaps but, to be honest, how I still feel hours after the ref blew. the final whistle.

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.