Tag Archives: Andrew Henning

The season begins with travel and transfer chaos. And a badge update

5 Aug

We’re all systems go. As Brentford prepare to start our own Championship campaign at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, proceedings begin in anger this evening as Newcastle United have the somewhat dubious honour of travelling to Fulham for Sky’s opening televised game. We’ve the fallout from yesterday’s opinion piece on the club badge and an interesting update concerning former Bee Alex Pritchard and his move from Tottenham to Norwich via another fans forum – this time Brighton’s.

First up, the response to yesterday’s piece on the Brentford badge. Well, judging by the reaction from various social media sources it seems there is a lot of love for the current version over our previous incarnation. For every comment such as the Castle “is a design classic. Like the Porsche 911 or Ray Bans Aviators” or the present one looking “like it’s been made using Microsoft Clip art” there was an awful lot of admiration for Andrew Henning’s modern day effort. I can’t deny it’s popularity amongst large numbers of our support.

Of equal interest were several calls for a redesign or even just a fan vote on which way to go. How about a new crest altogether? Especially with a 130th anniversary coming up in 2019. There’s plenty of opinion out there in yesterday’s comment’s page or on twitter.

Whichever you prefer  – and whilst I am #teamcastle it is clear we have many fans of the modern version – Joe Fenton (@Jaf1991) nailed it with the observation that , “I think we can all just be thankful we haven’t reverted back to the horror of 1989..”

Bees 89 cenenary badge

Next up Fulham v Newcastle United. The first game of the Championship and already we see the headaches that will face supporters with a Friday night trip from the North East to West London. It is a game where the visitors – those who aren’t making a weekend of it, of course –  will then rely on both TFL (good luck) and a sprint across town for the last train home. One that arrives just shy of 3am.

I’ve no doubt Newcastle will travel ‘en-masse’ for this one, such is the reputation of their fanbase . Many of whom may even be wearing shirts. But it does concern me that given the obvious  attraction of Sky to feature the former Premier League outfit (see also : Aston Villa) Saturday games are going to be the thin end of the wedge. And that’s an obvious impact for us. Indeed, our trip to Villa Park has already been put back a day to accommodate that weekend’s TV.

With the Bees travelling to Newcastle on October 15th, you’ve got to think that isn’t one that is going to be deemed TV-worthy.   But should Dean Smith and his team hit the ground running then who knows what subsequent changes to the schedule may soon be made? As it stands, Sky’s ‘live’ calendar only runs as far as September 26th and from a Championship perspective, the game two days earlier between Aston Villa and, erm, Newcastle United.

Could the Bees feature in that next batch? Will Newcastle become this years Leeds United  – at least in terms of TV exposure?  Here’s hoping some consideration is given to travelling supporters – but I doubt it .

Next up. Alex Pritchard. “We want you to stay” sang Bees supporters as he certainly made an impression whilst on loan from Spurs during our first season back in the Championship.A long sleeved yellow away shirt (not even Sam Saunders was afforded that luxury), fleet of foot and a fair few goals , he was missed by many last season.

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What a shirt….

Whilst there had been hope that we might strike a deal with Spurs to bring him back, that was merely a pipe dream with Rasmus Ankersen confirming at our recent fan forum that he would just cost too much.

But with a transfer inevitable, it looked like Brighton were his next destination . Until Norwich City, already featuring another former Bee in the legend that is Sergi Canos, jumped in. Aside from making me think that Newcastle might not have things all their own way this season (the Magpies being every pundit, even Ian Holloway’s, favourite for the title) the move did spark an interesting update from Brighton’s own forum last night.

Nobody can deny Brighton’s honesty. And diplomacy, despite some clear frustration . Why blame an agent or another club when you can blame the traffic?

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not my words etc

Nick Bruzon

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Please, Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

4 Aug

Season 2016/17 is almost upon us with Brentford preparing to travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Yet before a ball has even been kicked in anger, I’ve already seen thoughts turning towards 2017/18. Specifically, in regards to the playing kit.

I’m not going to dwell further on this year’s offering, suffice to say that I love it (although, equally, recognise that it is not everybody’s cup of tea). We’ve discussed this one to the nth degree already.

However, what is of ongoing interest was Kitman Bob’s recent revelation that he is already getting close to looking at the design specs for next season. That’s 2017/18, just to be clear. Likewise, Mark Devlin’s insight into the design process given at Monday’s fan forum where he explained how the final selection involves oversight from a number of people at the club, all the way up to Matthew Benham.

Then, last night, supporter Stephen O’Brien offered his thoughts on this subject via Twitter.

Whilst I agree he has picked two absolute stunners (including my all time favourite in the home category), making a 100% clone of a previous effort perhaps isn’t the best way forward. If nothing else, Puma emulated / paid tribute to / ripped off (delete as applicable) both of the shirts  Stephen admires so much back in 2010-11. Are we ready for yet another identikit version so soon?

However, where I do agree 110% with Stephen is in his comments about the club badge. Perhaps it is a generational thing but for me nothing quite says Brentford like….the Castle.

Forget the debate about our current red to white ratio. If there is one thing that makes me instantly identify with our club then it is, with all due respect to both the Funky Bee and Buzzette, that badge.

Matthew, Bob, Mark and the other co-directors of shirt selection – please can we bring it back next season?

The Castle Badge

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

Much as I’d love to be on your kit committee, I realise that’s never going to happen . However, at the very least why not throw a ‘badge’ vote open to the supporters ?

It wouldn’t be unheard of in footballing circles and given how much we look to engage with our fanbase, why not allow us to help make a decision about the club’s identity ?

If nothing else, our current effort is now entering a twenty-second season of use after first appearing in the 1994/95 campaign. That badge was also chosen by a supporter  – Andrew Henning designing it  in exchange for two season tickets. Don’t listen to the claims to ownership from TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant whom, it later transpired, simply offered guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

Yet even after all this time, I still can’t warm to it. It just seems too busy and like our former ‘Spitfire’ font, maybe even just a little dated.  With a stylised beehive, the coat of arms,  a scroll, four quarters and several text blocks within the design there’s just too much going on. It now feels workmanlike and efficient rather than having the emotional significance of the Castle.

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The current Brentford badge

We almost changed over on the occasion of our 125th anniversary. A garish celebratory graphic based on our first ever badge was revealed, along with talk of having a simpler variant on the shirts. Instead, the idea was quietly parked and has never been mentioned since.

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was an equally wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance in one form or another. But the point is mentioned as it shows the club have considered change.

With Brentford’s sartorial fate for next season already approaching discussion, why not take a chance to roll back the years?

Please Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

Nick Bruzon

Is it time for a new badge? Or even an old one?

26 Feb

With all the talk last night surrounding Madonna taking a dive at the Brit awards, football almost passed me by. However, Bournemouth’s defeat to Nottingham Forest, following their 3-1 reverse to Brentford on Saturday, makes for interesting reading at the top of the Championship table. Leaders Derby County and second placed Middlesbrough now have a bit of clear air on the chasing pack with respective gaps of five and three points (plus superior goal difference) to third placed Ipswich Town.

Watching Bournemouth falling faster than the Queen of pop suffering a cape malfunction isn’t particular cause for celebration. They are too strong a team to write off and, indeed, Brentford themselves have just emerged from our own mini blip that saw three defeats out of four . Likewise, for those of us harbouring title hopes , a five point gap can easily be reeled in as evidenced last season when that was the size of our own gap over Wolves at various times.

So I’m not going to get overly hung up on the table top today but, instead, look inward to Griffin Park and another of those post-match pub conversations following the win over Blackpool. Amidst all the nonsense being discussed was one genuine nugget of relevance – the realisation that the current Brentford badge is now in it’s twentieth season of use on our home shirt after first appearing on the red and white during the 1994/95 campaign.

Jamie Bates in the club programme - new shirt and new badge

Jamie Bates in the club programme – new shirt and new badge

The badge was designed by supporter Andrew Henning (supposedly in exchange for two season tickets) and it has been a part of our history ever since. Indeed, TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant even claimed to have created it himself, telling none other than Clem (of the Football League Show and Clemwatch fame) that, “I designed it, with Keith Loring”.

The current Brentford badge

The current Brentford badge

This somewhat spurious claim (which you can see here, about two minutes in) was made on a Football Focus piece back in 2011. It later transpired that Grant had actually just given guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

But this pub conversation did get me thinking all of yesterday. After twenty years, is it time for a change? This current incarnation has now been on our shirts longer than the popular ‘Castle’ badge which first appeared back in 1976. And with the end approaching at Griffin Park, could we reintroduce this as part of a ‘last hurrah’?

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

The Castle was, of course, bumped before when it was replaced on our shirts by the centenary ‘funky bee’ before returning after a season. It was a simple design (certainly a lot less ‘cluttered’ than the current version) and one which has huge emotional significance for supporters of a certain age.

I’d love to see it back and, although it has reappeared on the current ‘retro’ shirt, that version is of a design so big it is rumoured to be the (much like the Great Wall of China) one of the few man made objects visible from space.

But if not the Castle then the other alternative under discussion was one which was first touted this time last year, when it seemed the club were looking to reinvent our first ever badge . Indeed, it got to the point where a garish 125 years graphic was designed although the club were talking about having a less cluttered variant on the shirts.

The new take on our first badge - a great centre piece, even if the surround was all a bit 'Arsenal'

The new take on our first badge – a great centre piece, even if the surround was all a bit ‘Arsenal’

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was a wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance.

Even if the exterior surround on the badge was proven to be generic rather than unique to the Bees, the interior was most definitely ours. Would it be possible to incorporate this into our kit next season?

The original badge (with a similar one from the time)

The original badge (with a similar one from the time)

And so if anybody is reading, then I’d like to put the thought out there. Has the current badge run it’s course or is it still relevant? Should Brentford look to go for something  different on our shirt next campaign? Perhaps celebrating part of our history as we prepare for the eventual departure from Griffin Park at some point in the next few seasons.

And apologies in advance but, much as I love it, should this thought be given any consideration then perhaps it is best if the Funky Bee doesn’t make any shortlist.

The Funky Bee. Destined never to appear on a shirt again

The Funky Bee. Destined never to appear on a shirt again