Tag Archives: Ajax

Bolton, Bassini and Bamford make the headlines. Ajax make like Brentford.

1 May

Well that was quite the day. The Bolton – Brentford saga rumbles on. Ajax produced gasps of admiration in the Champions League. As much for their kit as their performance against a Tottenham side who proved to be about as successful at playing football as the EFL are at decision making. And Patrick Bamford of Leeds United has now been charged with “successful deception of a match official“. Just for the record, that being his dive against Aston Villa that saw Anwar El Ghazi red carded (now rescinded) rather than the one against Julian Jeanvier that saw Mr. Stroud award ‘no penalty’ – got to love that finger wag.

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Classic Keith… And turn away then point/wag/raise card

First up, the farce of the game at Bolton. 96 hours on, Brentford are still none the wiser as to if or when the game will take place. Instead, the EFL have granted Laurence Bassini an additional 48 hours to prove he has the funds to take over the club. So how does that work? Without wanting to cast aspersions about the state of his books or the reputation of the former Watford owner, if he doesn’t have it now then how are an extra two days going to make any difference?

Regardless of the outcome, what does that mean for the game that is yet to happen (and won’t, let’s cut to the chase)? The BBC piece on this story notes that “Bassini is confident he can complete the deal and is determined the Brentford fixture will be fulfilled, even if they have to field a team made up of the club’s younger players.” How realistic this is remains to be seen. The one thing we can be sure of is that the game has now been confirmed as not taking place this week – oh, well done EFL. I prostrate myself at the feet of your imperious decision making powers.

In theory, there are an additional four days after Sunday’s season finale when the game could still happen (per EFL regulations) although I’m still unclear as to how this will be the case for all manner of logistical reasons. The least of which being supporters ability to travel, Bolton’s ability to organise a game at short notice, policing, availability of players, willingness of players, which level of actual players might be selected  etc etc etc.

The whole thing is an absolute joke of a farce of a mess of a situation. The game will never happen. It can’t.  An already awful situation at Bolton is now seeing both clubs being made a further mockery of. This is without even mentioning that Bolton are due to travel to Nottingham Forest on Sunday. The mayhem if they strike for that one could tip this over the edge…..

Next up, Ajax. Their 1-0 win at Tottenham last night in the Champions League was incredible. Not just the level of football as that left Spurs flat on their backsides but the kit they wore. Their Regista 18 template looked awfully familiar – did somebody say Jaffa Cakes? If it’s good enough for Ajax then surely it was good enough for The Bees? (He says, deploying the fishing rod emoji).  

Are you Brentford in disguise?  Quite possibly, barring a slight tweak on the colour scheme and the fact that they won away from home.

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Who wears it best? Brentford or Ajax?

Yet the real take away from this was the obvious discussion on Twitter that followed. Specifically, the reaction from Kitman Bob Oteng to one supporter’s desire that we use the Ajax version for ourselves in 2019/20. His reaction, being an intriguing one:

 “Wait till you see next seasons away kit then make your choice 😁.  Not long to go 🐝:”

I’ve heard some very promising things about what we have in store although am yet to see anything ‘official’. However, this has just piqued my already sky high curiosity even further.

With Bob also using Twitter to tell fans that the kit, “Should be announced very soon !” , could this be as soon as the end of the season? Subject to the EFL determining when the end of the season is, of course? Or is that just blind optimism from yours truly? Come on Bob, Mr. Benham et al. Please put us out of our misery and get that reveal out there….

Then, this morning, a further clue has been thrown out there by the main man. Bob making the suggestion that the new shirt is a mix of “New vibes and old skool🤔😉”. What this all means I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out.

Finally, Patrick Bamford. The Leeds player has now been charged following his play acting on Sunday. Whilst the entire footballing community can see he is guilty as charged (the fact the red card has already been reversed telling you all you need to know about the FA’s stance), it does beg the question as to how you can be charged with ‘successful deception’ ? An oxymoron if ever I heard one – see also:  deafening silence or military intelligence.

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Can everyone stop getting shot?

By definition, if you have deceived somebody successfully then you’ve got away with it. Except, of course, he hasn’t. Expect a two game ban and his return in time to see Leeds in the play-offs.

The successful deployment of the fishing rod emoji when the news was announced produced the expected reaction from Leeds United supporters. One, Julian Fortuna (and I can happily say this because he’s family) asking the question :

U know what sergi canos and connor hourihane have in common?… Both got away scot free after video evidence caught them clearly committing acts of violent conduct and going unpunished.   

Two points of order, here Julian. Firstly, the whole point about video evidence is that it gives the authorities time to review the facts in the cold light of day. Allowing correct decisions to be made and due process to follow. No charges were levelled at Canos or Hourihane.

More importantly, the correct answer to the question is actually: Both players have scored against Leeds United this season.

Sadly, I think that may be the last chance we get to see that happen. At least for a season. I’m pretty sure that the Leeds United choke is now over. Marcelo Bielsa will rally his troops for that final play-of push. Leeds United will reach the Premier League. Probably before the EFL make a decision about when the Bolton – Brentford game will be played.

Nick Bruzon

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Last Tango In Brentford ? Or dancing in the streets of Algiers?

8 Mar

Bring on Middlesbrough. Brentford are back in action on Saturday after what has felt a somewhat disjointed week in terms of footballing action. For the interested observers / half & half scarf wearers amongst us, there was the excitement of Manchester United doing their thing in the Champions League as Real Madrid failed to do theirs. Yet for us Bees last weekend’s thumping of QPR now seems as far off as the chances of Fulham staying in the Premier league. Keep up the good work, Scott. That victory over the Loftus Road mob was another emphatic notch in Thomas Frank’s metaphorical bedpost as he made it 7(seven) wins in a row at Griffin Park. Yet the big questions as we head up to the Riverside were whether that form could be replicated on the road this season, would Saïd Benrahma scoop the Championship’s player of the month award for February and is it going to be a case of ‘Au revoir, Yoann Barbet’ ? 

First up, Middlesbrough. If ever there was to be a test of our credentials then here it is. If ever there was to be a question as to whether the play-offs are a genuine aspiration then here it is. The game marks a run of three in two weeks against sides going for promotion. Boro’ are currently in the zone, as are Tuesday night hosts Sheffield United and then next Saturday’s visitors in West Bromwich Albion. It is about as tough a run as we could have served up yet the price for success needs no spelling out with the gap to the top six currently reeled in to eight points.

We all know our Championship record against Middlesbrough doesn’t make great reading. We all know that Brentford playing away from home this season doesn’t take a genius to predict how we’ll perform – regardless of the kit colour we turn out in. Had we been able to translate home form to away then the top flight would be beckoning. So this one will be about as tough as it comes. Moreso given the home sides’s miserly defence. Thomas Frank used his press conference to note that “I can only praise Tony Pulis (for Boro’s defensive record) because it’s fantastic.

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Thomas celebrates at home. Away would be wonderful !!

Indeed it is. Sadly. Only 24 goals have been conceded in 34 league games. Yet there are positives to be taken, too. Firstly, past form counts for nothing. Brentford may not have beaten Boro’ since our paths have crossed in this division but that was then and this is now. Players change and the squad we have now is not the one it was then. Results from seasons gone by count for nothing more than statistical niceties / horror shows (delete as applicable). Believing they are anything more is akin to suggesting that the colour of our away kit dictates performance. Jinx shirts? Never heard such nonsense. Move along now. Nothing to see here. 

The other topic of conversation that came up in Thomas’s ’ press conference was that of Yoann Barbet. His contract is up at the end of the season and the word on the terrace is that he won’t be staying. Which would be tragic given his relative longevity at Griffin Park, his popularity, his versatility and the role in our new look defence that he has made his own. If ever there was a player who embodied that cliche about cutting them open to discover that they bleed red & white / brown & orange it is Yoann.

So when pushed on the point yesterday the answer was one which suggested the clock is ticking and farewell collections are going around the changing room. Thomas has been quoted as saying :”We know that Yoann is very popular among the fans. He is very popular among the staff too. He has done very well in the back three. He is a player that we would like to keep at the club but there needs to be two to tango”.

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View from the Braemar – Yoann sums up the spirit in the Bees camp

We all know the club model. That players come and go – especially if valuations are met. New talent emerges to replace that which has departed. Contracts may not necessarily be offered or, certainly, at the level asked for. Nobody knows for sure what is happening here but the words from the club suggest the ball is in the player’s court. Whether it is one he wants to pick up remains another thing.

Personally, I’ve heard a lot of terrace talk (conjecture rather than the much lamented matchday video feature) and of course, have no idea what is true. So it doesn’t get published. Do we take the club’s words at face value? Would Yoann want to stay? How hard do we fight? Or is this simply part of the ongoing cycle of players coming in, impressing and eventually moving on. Whatever happens, you can absolutely bet he’ll be giving his all until the end of the season. And hopefully beyond.

The final news heading in to the Boro’ game was that of the monthly EFL awards. There was genuine surprise when Saïd Benrahma wasn’t even nominated for January’s player of the month prize following a quite magnificent start to 2019.

As such, there were belated plaudits when he was named on the shortlist for February’s award earlier this week. Surely this time the honours would be Saïd’s?

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View from the Braemar – Saïd is as popular with the fans as Yoann

Sadly not, as it transpired this morning. The club breaking the news on twitter (below) although there’s still a chance to sweep our man to some deserved glory. The chance to vote for him to scoop ‘goal of the month’ is still available, if you follow the link. Whilst he’s up against some divisional rivals with huge fan bases, as Ajax proved at Real Madrid this week it isn’t always the biggest club that wins. Whatever they may expect. So go on – get voting.

Then onwards and upwards to Middlesbrough.

Nick Bruzon 

Mrs Brown and her boys model the new Brentford away kit. But what do you think?

18 Jun

Picked your jaws back up off the floor yet, Brentford fans? The away kit has been revealed and it’s fair to see this one is going to split us right down the middle. A so called ‘marmite’ of shirts. One to rival the infamous Coventry City brown or Hull City tiger stripes. A shirt so different to any colour scheme we’ve had before that fans will either cite this as our best ever. Or hate it.

Let’s get this out there right now. I’m in the former camp. Love at first sight.

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Mrs Brown and her boys model the new kit

A tweet from Mark Devlin on Tuesday night suggested things were afoot. Friday saw the teaser campaign begin. Then it was here. And wow. The Bees have gone for broke with a colour that apes the aforementioned Coventry City classic on a design that is going to be worn by some of the biggest names in Europe in the forthcoming season.

For somebody who treats the Brentford shirt with an almost religious fervour, I’m most definitely a convert.

In the beginning there was nothing. And Bob said, “Let there be shirt”. And there was shirt.

Now it’s fair to say that perhaps, in hindsight, yours truly got a tad more over excited over the ‘Chelsea blue’ than it deserved. I had a genuine love for the difference that was last season’s green whilst the yellow and black that greeted our first season in the Championship was a stylish classic. For me (Clive) the limited edition black and silver was probably top of the recent pile. But has it been usurped?

On the one hand, this gives a colour scheme that we’ve never had before. On the other, a simple yet stylish effort that is a modern day classic. If ever the club were to come out with something unusual then here it is. Brown and orange with white trim.

It’s different, no question. Controversial?  Possibly. Could it set the GPG and twitter into meltdown? Well, my Geiger counter is currently clicking in anticipation. Yet at the same time, in my humble opinion the backroom team have produced something quite stunning.

Style wise, there’s more than a passing nod to the classic England ‘82 design . Here’s hoping the people at Adidas have had the necessary ‘ok’ from Admiral. Move along, nothing to see there. It is a template that brings the Bees bang up to date with some of the biggest names in European football.  Olympique Lyon and Ajax are amongst those to also adopt the scheme for their 2018/19 home and away shirts respectively.

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Lyon and Ajax. #shirtfriends ? I feel so dirty

Let’s cut to the elephant in the room though. The colours. We’ve never even come close to this. Whilst it’s been a while since we’ve had a regular away scheme, if you asked me to nominate what I thought were our traditional colours when on the road then blue (preferably two tone) would be the call. Perhaps with black as an alternate or some form of yellow.

If last season’s flirtation with green was different, this rips up the rule book and dials it up to 11. And I love it. Seeing this cold, the immediate reaction was the 😍 emoji. Having had ten minutes to get used to it, I’m still there. Even the sponsor’s logo seems a tad more subdued than it did on last year’s all green. For me (Clive) that can only be a good thing.

I loved that one, no question. Yet now we’ve reached new heights of sartorial bliss with a colour palette whose immediate connotation is jaffa cakes. Is this a good thing? Well, if it looks good – as it does – then bring them on. It is, perhaps, a shame the marketing team couldn’t get Mcvities to sponsor us rather than LeoVegas.

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Mmm. Jaffa cakes

We’ve also changed tack in a direction that suggests Brentford having a set ‘away’ colour scheme is a concept very much residing on memory lane these days.

I’m a great believer in football tradition. Brackets at 7(seven), orange balls in the snow and FA cup semi-finals at a neutral venue. Away kit is different though. The chance to mix things up a bit is always a wonderful opportunity. Can we seize the initiative and make a name for ourselves in the annals of football fashion history?

The recent glut of interest in the Nigeria strip for World Cup 2018 shows just what a love there is for the diverse. Only last week, the BBC ran their own ‘World Cup of football kits’. Something that both showed us the love of the more outlandish creations whilst having the added bonus of denying Fulham fan Richard Osman his own self-appointed role as host of such social media events.

One thing we’ve learned about Brentford and Matthew Benham in recent years is that we do things differently. We do things well. We do things in style.

This is unusual but it is also iconic. Whilst my own takes is that it doesn’t quite overtake the black and silver, it runs it very close. And that can only be a good thing. Hopefully our supporters will think so too.

Now, with the clear word for the away shirt being’ different’, what clues can we take for the home effort?

Come on Bob, Mark and Matthew. Stop teasing us…

Nick Bruzon

There is no Plan B. We’ll be in the Premier League in three years

24 Sep

Tonight we’re live around the world”. Not my words but those of compere Peter Gilham on Thursday evening as he introduced the latest Brentford fans’ forum at Griffin Park. The event gave supporters their first chance to quiz head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen, co-directors of football Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles, Chairman Cliff Crown and Chief Executive Mark Devlin on all matters Bees related. But what did we learn?

Primarily, what a great club Brentford is. This is something those of us who are bit ‘longer in the tooth’ are well aware of but, equally, it’s nice that some things don’t change. No question was off limits as fans were, once again, given the chance to voice their opinions to those whose actions shape so much of our lives as Brentford supporters.

So, to the salient points from almost two hours of Q&A:

The future: Rasmus noted that our short-term aim was to finish better than last season. Whilst still our target, we need to be realistic and look at the injuries. His fellow sporting director Phil Giles added, “We can’t even predict when Maxime is going to be back.”

Injuries: Marinus made the assertion that despite the large number of these, it was primarily down to bad luck rather than, for example, anything specific to the training regime. As he added “They’re all different. If we had five hamstring injuries then, yes”.

Despite the injuries, he backed his stance to leave us short on the bench for the Middlesbrough game (where, of course, we only named six subs, including two goalkeepers). The youths weren’t picked because, “You have to deserve it. At that moment there weren’t youngsters who deserved to sit on the bench

On the difference between English and Dutch football, Marinus has been surprised, “It is so quick it’s unbelievable”. Indeed, he got one of the biggest laughs of the night with the follow up comment that, “Last Sunday I went to Excelsior – Ajax and it was really boring”.

Stat based recruitment: Rasmus gave a long explanation on the subject. Effectively that it starts (and ends) with football-based decisions around what we need to take the club to the next level.

Whilst it then goes to the stats guys to conduct the next level of search, they filter it down to 3 or 4 names who then become the subject of traditional scouting techniques once more. “When you read the media you get the impression at the training ground its just robots walking around – that’s not the case.”

And talking of new talent, what about Sergi Canos? Whilst clearly a stunning prospect, he’s a player Marinus prefers to ease in to the action. After ten minutes against Leeds, he admitted, “I’m killed, gaffer”. That said, Marinus is looking to give him a couple of weeks to see if he’s ready to be used from the start.

The flipside being the older heads, in particular Jonathan Douglas who was the subject of one glowing supporter tribute. Phil admitted, “He WAS a popular player, as was Moses, as was Andre. I thought we’d replace him and we did, with Josh.” Aswell as singing his praises, Phil added, “ We’ve got a replacement who is ten years younger

The Lionel Road project sees ongoing progress. The CPO enquiry has been held and, whilst Cliff was happy with how that went, a decision is not expected until the end of the year. All being well, we’ll be on site by March/April of 2016 with the subsequent build taking two years.

He concluded this segment with the aspiration that, “My aim is to play our first competitive match at the start of the 2018/19 season. Hopefully in the Premier league.”

And so to THE key question of the night: “Marinus, will you ever give us a wave?”

Whilst it may require Roy to give him a nudge, the rest of the answer suggested this will indeed by forthcoming, along with a further explanation given for his apparent reticence to do so. “When I’m analysing the game, I don’t hear what you are singing. There are lots of supporters at away games – I’m not used to it. But I know how it works now…”

For me, one of the most telling (and passionate) answers was from Mark Devlin when it was suggested that, perhaps, the club was losing touch with the traditional fanbase. He was at pains to point out this was not the case and, more to the point, genuinely couldn’t even see any evidence of this taking place. He confirmed, “I am committed to the club, the community, the traditions and staying close to the fanbase.”

The example of season ticket prices, regardless of had we reached the Premiership, was cited – this a point that Cliff later reinforced, saying that given all the revenue streams from the Premiership, Matthew Benham certainly wouldn’t be looking to take advantage of the fans that way.

Whilst the club are definitely on the up and not ”The ugly cousins of West London anymore” , the challenge is to try and replicate our family feeling at the new stadium. As Mark observed, “You guys are the heartbeat of the club.

But it was Rasmus who really nailed it at the end of the night with the blunt but bold statement, “ It is not an option to not be in the Premier League. It has to happen in the next three years…. At the moment there is no Plan B. we’ll be in the Premier League in three years.”

Fighting talk or fantasy? There’s only one place to find out. And it begins again on Saturday at Griffin Park.

Thanks again to all involved for the opportunity to attend and hats off to Brentford FC for their ongoing willingness to engage supporters.

Nick Bruzon

Swapping the mic for the bike. To Ajax via Leyton Orient.

29 May

Beesplayer commentator Mark Burridge has a huge challenge coming up next weekend – he’s off to Leyton Orient. That’s not a shock piece of commentating transfer news but merely that the Matchroom Stadium is the starting point for the charity cycle ride from London to Amsterdam in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, in which he and Karen Manders will be representing Brentford FC.

The 200km event, culminating at the Amsterdam Arena (the home of Ajax FC), takes place 5/6 June and you may recall it was one that Mark took part in last year. Aswell as being for a vitally important cause, the Brentford FC cycle team were the leading fundraisers – something they’d love to get as close to as possible again.

As it stands, they are heading for the top ten, having already raised over £3k of their £4k target. Just to put that into context, and fairplay to them, Stevenage are currently in second place with a staggering £8k.

Can Brentford match this? Well, every penny counts and, regardless of where we finish in the pecking order, it is the end cause which is the most important thing.

Speaking to Mark yesterday, he told me : “Karen & I would like to thank all Bees fans for their generosity, considering we just have the 2 of us in the team. The fundraising has been amazing and we know there are promises of more to come. You’ve all done BFC and the Prostate Cancer UK Charity proud – we hope to do the same next weekend“.

Mark – you are a better man than me, that’s for sure. These days, I struggle to cycle to the newsagents for that next pack of Panini World Cup stickers.  I can’t imagine how hard this will be but I wish you all the very best.

So think of Mark next weekend when you are stocking your fridge for the World Cup, hanging that Wallchart or breaking the news to the ‘other half’ that you’ll be hogging the TV remote from June 12th.

More importantly, if you’d like to read more about his efforts or donate, then you can do so here.

GREAT work and the very best of luck to both Mark and Karen.

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He’s done it before, but can he do it again? Of course he can!