Tag Archives: Ashton Gate

New decade. Same brilliance.

2 Jan

What a start to the New Year. A 4-0 win for Brentford at Bristol City about as comprehensive as they come. Robins’ manager Lee Johnson self-combusting in a full time Scrappy Doo impersonation that saw him red carded at full time for an altercation with Thomas Frank.  With Leeds United being held at West Bromwich Albion, the gap to the top two is back down to single figures. The Bees sit third in The Championship after Fulham lost at home. Millwall, Forest and The Cottagers making up the play-off places. Ollie Watkins back up to one goal behind Aleksander Mitrovic at the top of the divisional goal scoring charts after his brace rounded things off following early goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Saïd Benrahma.

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The full time score at Ashton Gate, c/o Quest TV this morning..

We’ve all see this one, presumably? Either as part of the thousand plus who travelled to Ashton Gate or via the red button on Sky. Yet some performances need to be chewed over once more, such was the manner of victory. David Raya set up the first goal with just 6 minutes gone. His enormo-clearance one that might have been selected at Millwall on Sunday. This time he called it right with a ball that must have carried close to three-quarters of the pitch before Ollie picked it off and danced through the visitors defence. They tried but couldn’t stop him and it slipped through for Mbeumo to dink home his tenth of the season.

1-0 and game on. 1-0 and man off. Ashley Williams was shown red just minutes after he and Ollie had both been booked for a coming together. A scything challenge on Watkins resulted in his ejection and with it, the home team’s chance. It was 0-2 moments later. Less than half an hour gone and Benrahma got the goal he’s been looking for in recent weeks. Daniel Bentley could only pat down a Jensen shot and, despite upending Ollie when clean though, was unable to stop Saïd from doing his thing. It all looked ridiculously easy. The decision to trade him in for David Raya being proven more and more an incredible piece of business with each passing game.

A tactical readjustment for the hosts saw them working their way back in to the game. Relatively speaking. They didn’t concede anything further up to half time and even looked vaguely threatening. Yet there was no way through, with one kamikaze backpass in the second period giving even more opportunity for Ollie to join the scorers. His goals eventually coming in the final ten minutes. The first, guiding home a tracer bullet of a cross from Jan Zamburek down the left. His second, capitalising on a Mads Roerslev  (in for Dalsgaard) assist from the other flank.  Bentley only able to parry his header and there was to be no mistake as the ball fell nicely. 4-0 and all done. Barring the full time whistle and Johnson’s punishment. 

It really was a stunning, stunning performance. Thomas Frank’s BMW front three once more driving us forward with speed, skill and flair. It’s hard to believe the Mbeumo is only 20. Amazing to see the advances to Ollie’s game. Saïd on song just speaks for himself. All three once more dividing the goals between them. Benrahama back to his sizzling best. One second half flick over his own head had to be seen to be believed. Filthy, audacious, taking the p. All three rolled up into one and served up with a side salad of confidence and self-belief. Truly, he is a talent to behold.

With that accursed transfer window now open for a month, hanging on to B, M and W will be huge. If we can do it. Yet with spirits high and the team storming the table, why would anybody jump ship now? Yes, I know money talks and this is the naivety of being a fan but the chance to see what this team could do in the second half of the season is an intriguing one.

The defence is tight (we are now clear in the fewest ‘goals against’ chart), the midfield dominant and the attacking trio electric. Leeds United continue to wobble. Their 1-1 with West Brom meaning its only been one win out of the last five for them. Even that needed a 95th minute own goal by Birmingham City to hand them the points after having shipped four themselves.I still think that top two would be Boys Own stuff, relying on a staggering run of favours, but as long as we keep on doing our thing then anything else is a bonus. The gap in the-play off zone is starting to grow with clear air now between us and seventh placed Sheffield Wednesday. Four points the difference and our staggering goal difference of +21 bettered only by West Bromwich Albion.

It is easy to get excited, no question, but why not? Why shouldn’t we enjoy the moment? This team and this performance has been building . The goals have been flying in for months. The team slowly climbing up the table. Sneaking under the radar, if you will, to emerge into 2020 with plaudits from all. We’ve got the FA Cup against Stoke City next and then a return to Griffin Park in the league where QPR visit for our next Championship fixture. With the Lionel Road season tickets also going on sale to us non-premiums, it promises to be an exciting week or two.

Then again, when isn’t it?

Nick Bruzon

Sometimes it’s just important to set the scene.

1 Jan

Bristol City host Brentford today. At the very top of the table Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion meet later in the day. Good luck. Good luck everybody. Personally, this is all going to be hard work. 

I woke up, took one look at the detritus from the night before and knew immediately that things were not good. Empty bottles. Lots of empty bottles. Dirty plates. Mess. Wine glasses all over the kitchen counter. Ferrero Rocher wrappers littering the living room floor like the remnants of an ambassador’s reception gone rogue. Fuzzy memories of Craig David doing his thing on the TV. Thankfully, none of Jools Holland and his smug piano show. 

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Then, with the espresso kicking in I stumbled across it. The left over fondue pot containing the congealed remains of a kilogram of Swiss cheese. The pungent smell carried to the back of the throat on a wave of grease. The plan of reducing the pain felt today by last night lining the stomach with an early evening, pre-drinks blanket of bread and melted gruyere suddenly backfiring with abandon. Should have stuck to the original plan of pizza rather than trying to be clever.

Let’s leave that thought there. All being well, nothing some fresh air won’t sort out. Hopefully. Instead 2020 begins with an immediate chance to put Sunday’s anti-football at Millwall out with the empties. A stodgy game played (if that is the word) on an over watered ploughed-field of a surface. One can’t dispute that The Lions had a specific game plan, which worked, but it was very much one for the insomniacs. Too many Brentford players looked off the pace and unable to adjust to the visitors pressing game. I’m pretty sure today will be different.

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Millwall away – awful

That’s not to suggest Bristol City will be easy. Anything but. They’ve been in the play-off race for the vast majority of the season and are only one point outside of it at present. A run of four straight defeats has now ended with Sunday’s home win over bottom three Luton Town. You can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be expecting more of the same. Then again, so will Brentford. If ever motivation was needed it will be the chance to consolidate our own top six placing. Likewise, the opportunity to bury the memory of Sunday. For the talismanic Benrahma to get back on his top game – something so desperately missing at The Den. He wasn’t alone, either, but knowing just how good he can be, an off-key Saïd stands out more than anybody. That’s the price to be paid for such incredible talent, I suppose.

I’d love to pour forth with erudite learnings and big match previews at this juncture but it’s not really working. Not today. The thought that forcing myself to the keyboard after the treat of a rare lie in would help sort things out proving to be nothing more than wishful thinking. Instead, there’s another waft of scorched emmenthal drifting across the kitchen and it’s not good. Mrs. Bruzon and Harry are both asleep still. I can only envy them. No doubt each dreaming about Ollie Watkins and  Sergi Canos. Albeit I’d imagine different content in their respective minds’ eyes. Instead, a riverside walk beckons before the football. Possibly.   

Sometimes it’s just important to set the scene. Now, how about a Bloody Mary to settle the stomach…

Nick Bruzon

Will it be raining goals once more?

2 Oct

Hot on the heels of thumping Barnsley, Brentford host Bristol City on Wednesday evening in game 10 of a Championship season that will finally see the table have officially ‘taken shape’. Both teams know what a win could mean – for the Robins, a chance to enter the play off zone whilst another three points for The Bees should see us hit the top half of the table and overtake Birmingham City (who lost another one last night – good luck there, Josh).  Leeds United have retained top spot but despite their game being televised, I know I’m in shock too – I can imagine most neutral observers would have been watching Spurs in the Champions League. That one, of course, saw Tottenham suffer the indignity of a home bracketing as they went down 2- 7 (seven) to Bayern Munich.

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Looks familiar……

As ever, we can only start at Griffin Park. Sunday was as morale boosting as they come for Brentford. The performance – opening quarter aside – was about as dominant as they come. Barnsley weren’t even second and struggled to get close to us. Ollie was our hat-trick hero but there were plenty of superstars out there beyond the headline maker. He’s currently joint top scorer in the Championship with 7(seven) but if he wants to stride clear of Aleksander Mitrovic then he’s going to have to beat former colleague Daniel Bentley. Of course, now plying his trade at Ashton Gate following his sale to Bristol City over the summer.

That’s not going to be easy. In his three season at Griffin Park Daniel was, largely, magnificent. Sure, there were a few wobbles last season but on the whole he was about as good as we’ve seen between the sticks on TW8. I remember BBC Billy Reeves making a very early declaration that he was our best ever and, whilst time may have forced us to slightly redraw that balance when compared to the legend that is Wojciech Szczęsny (to this day, I still do now know how we pulled that one off) for me, Clive, he’s certainly in the top few. A great shot stopper with cat-like reactions who we’ll be doing well to find the back of the net against. Perhaps we just need to pump those crosses into the box and shout ‘punch’ in a West Country accent.

So who will win the battle of the badges tonight? Let’s hope our crest is the only Brentford thing the visitors try to emulate, based on our performance at the weekend. Or perhaps they could pick up where they left-off defensively – shipping three goals on the road in a draw at Preston that saw them surrender the lead twice. Personally, I’m calling this one as another win for the Bees. The formation at Oakwell suited us wonderfully and we all know what the widemen did where the pace was electric and the delivery pin-point.

I can’t wait for this one. The modern day Michael Fish at the BBC have promised us a break from the recent downpours whilst Griffin Park always feels that much more exciting when the floodlights are on. Walking past the ground this morning on the school run, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky although do pack your gloves. Sergi, I’m looking at you in particular.

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Could it be raining goals in West London tonight ?

The win is there to be grabbed and the table is about to have become the true barometer of our rival’s ability. The draw with Stoke City L can formally be deemed a disappointment (they went down, again, last night and are rock bottom on two points) whilst we’ve already taken on table toppers Leeds United and missed out narrowly. It’s going to be tight. It’s going to be tense. But it’s going to be fun. See you there.

And in true Columbo style, just one more thing. Or should that be 7(seven)? Spurs were humped by Bayern Munich last night, leaving to a chorus of boos after the German giants hit the magical bracket mark. As if going down by this many in your own back yard wasn’t bad enough, Tottenham even had the temerity to take the lead before allowing the floodgates to open.  And what a way to rain goals as the heavens opened.

Cue obligatory shots of fans sitting in solitude at full time  – is there any more wonderful a piece of camera work in world sport? A shot akin to the sudden zoom that follows two ‘treble-twentys’ in darts. The camera lurching forward in anticipation of capturing the 180 scoring arrow in extreme close up. Probably not. Unless you support the team that has just suffered that footballing humiliation. And last night, it was the Spurs players & supporters left typing “We go again” into their social media accounts.

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Nick Bruzon

With a key festive tradition denied, can we reach an all time high?

26 Dec

Where to go with this one today? By all rights we should be looking in depth at Brentford v Bolton. A 1-0 win for The Bees on Saturday saw Thomas Frank record a morale boosting win with the game’s only goal coming courtesy of Neal Maupay. Indeed, the closest in which lacklustre opposition got to scoring was via the head of their own goalkeeper Ben Alnwick who headed just wide as the game reached a buttock clenching (for some) denouement. Honestly, it was never in doubt and Bolton look to be in serious trouble whilst Brentford will no doubt have much tougher tests ahead in the coming days. Starting this afternoon with a Boxing Day trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City. Will the Bolton performance be the building blocks of a lengthy run up the table or a flash in the pan win against a team who will need something special to maintain their own Championship status?

Yet this morning (Wednesday, possibly…) yours truly is very much in relaxed mode. The thought of engaging the brain one which is very much playing second fiddle to drinking another coffee and just enjoing some contemplative time. Some time with the family. Some time off work and not getting upset by the pressures of life.

Why even last night, flicking through the TV selection (the first time in about four days the box has been on) we stumbled across Mrs. Brown’s Boys. A ‘hilarious’ ‘joke’ about an Alexa style device played out before we jumped onwards in a futile quest for a Christmas ‘Bond’ move. There was no rage. No rant. No observation that, “FFS. It’s a man. In a cardigan. And a wig. With one joke. One joke that has been spread thinner than a chunky tarmac driveway“.

Instead, we let it go in search of Roger Moore. Some traditions die hard in our house and whilst we were denied satisfaction in this instance, even ITV4 letting us down, perhaps it might be time to crack out the blu-rays later today. Nothing says ‘festive season’ like Victor Tourjansky trying to figure out whether 007’s latest bit of derring-do really happened or was simply the by product of drinking too much in the mid-day sun.

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And Brentford have won a game… Victor Tourjansky does his thing

 But then nothing says festive tradition like Boxing Day at Griffin Park. Sadly, after what seems like a good ten or so December 26th home games on the bounce (Luis / Jonathan – IF you are reading and could please confirm), we now have to do battle with the seasonal timetable and upsetting the family. And that’s a green card too far in our house. Moreso at a time when Mrs Bruzon has spoiled us fantastically. More than we have any right to expect. Indeed, a key part of her present to Harry and myself was not coming to the Bolton game given her own, alleged, albatross like qualities when it comes to home wins. Sure enough, three points followed. Although he showed bigger balls than me, and he’s only five, when replying to her own post-match question…   

Rachel: “They won!! Does that mean the jinx is off and I can come back to football?”

Harry: “No mummy. Bolton were so bad that even if you’d been here Brentford would still have won”

A bit harsh? Or fair reflection? Personally, I’ve not been so calm at football in a long time. Honestly, the game never felt as though it was in doubt (at least through my eyes) despite Alnwick’s late foray upfield. Another goal or two would have been nice – if only to alleviate some of the stress from those sitting around us – but the three points came gift wrapped and we took advantage of a seasonal offering. Thomas Frank shuffled his pack and his formation. Three centre-backs were named with the wings back continuing to push high up the field – although this time not exposing the defence. Henrik Dalsgaard was finally given what we will politely call a well-earned rest whilst we still had the flexibility to introduce Yoann Barbet when Chris Mepham had to leave the field of play early. Let’s hope that one was purely a precaution.

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Bolton were industrial in the challenge but offered little resistance to a positive Brentford team.

It all counts for nothing if we put in a turkey of a performance at Bristol City, of course. Yet I’m feeling upbeat. Feeling confident. The good vibe of the Junior Bees Christmas party washed over Griffin Park last week and continued through to the Bolton game when Thomas and the boys gave us all the perfect present.

Today, I’ll be following via the medium of social media or possible sneaking a look towards three wise men shouting at their TVs on Sky Sports News. There’s always the commentary option, too, yet locking myself away with Mark Burridge and an earpiece for two hours will likely be received about as well as HB’s attempts at diplomacy. Moreso when Roger is saving the world.

For those who do travel, good luck. And enjoy! For those elsewhere, I wish you well in whatever option you undertake to follow this one. Here’s to three more points. And perhaps, a bit of Bond….

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You could do worse…

Nick Bruzon

Bees take the points, again (but who takes a tumble dryer to the toilet?)

14 Dec

What a difference a few days make. From going into the weekend off the back of ‘that’ run, Brentford have come back from their midweek trip to Bristol City with another win (1-0) in the back pocket. 6 points from 6 and confidence surely surging for the trip to Leeds United on Saturday (a team who themselves made it 6 from 8  – wins, that is – as they tightened their position in the play off zone with a 2-0 defeat of third placed Reading).

Was I there? No. Did I listen? No. A Christmas party at work in which, of course, good behaviour was the order of the day (no unorthodox use of a photocopier here) meant that match oversight has been limited to a series of mid-game updates via WhatsApp – other messaging services are, apparently, available.

But what updates.

In order, these included:

A picture of something that looked like a slimmed down version of the infamous Brentford funky bee with a traffic cone in place of the customary proboscis.

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Answers on a postcard, please

“Great work by Dean to keep a cool head and clear that”. (I’m presuming Harlee rather than Mr Smith.)

“Tomlin v Woods is the most hilarious short angry man battle”

“Gooooaaaallll”

“Hogan’s movement has been fantastic all night”

“FT. 0-1”

(Just) coming in from work later that night, internal monologue performing that world cup staple as scores were rechecked again to confirm exactly what had happened,  the next place to go was the video highlights. And, as ever, the BBC match report.

Both confirmed the win for Brentford, the chances created by Scott Hogan and caught the goal – a shot from distance via the boot of Romaine Sayers and (scarily)  the backside of Maxime Colin.

Scarily, you may ask? Ok – so nobody has asked but forgive me a brief indulgence. It was only yesterday that this column noted : “Create enough chances and, eventually, things will go in your favour. Something will go in off a defender’s backside.

That’ll be the same column suggesting a return for Tom Field. Sometimes, even this numpty on the terrace can get lucky.  It was a goal described later by Dean (Smith), saying : ”I think the ball went in off Maxime Colin’s backside. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to record victories in the Championship and he will want the goal, even though it was a fantastic strike by Romaine.”

He likes his luck, does our head coach. Still, if it continues going in our favour then I’ll take that over ‘blips’ and ’skill sets’. Although, equally, perhaps a more conventional goal scoring Plan B than via  a defender’s derrière would probably come in handy, too.

Still, if that’s the worst we’ve got to worry about then one can only take the points and run. Special mention, too, for Tom Field. His third league appearance for the Bees saw his third win. That’s not a bad start to any footballing career.

Now the big question is one of whether he can he make it four in a row at Leeds United? On Saturday, those of us who have taken out a second mortgage (£37 – wow !), find out .

Nick Bruzon

Actually, there is one more big question. Whilst I may have missed the game, the aforementioned office party threw up a brain teaser of its own. Namely, who uses a tumble dryer in a toilet? My thoughts, too, yet this was the sign on the inside of the bathroom.

Anybody? Anybody…..?

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Answers on a postcard, please

 

As Dean prepares for City game, what has he learned from the weekend? Who starts?

13 Dec

Midweek decisions. With Brentford travelling to Bristol City tonight, I’ve got some sympathy for Bees boss Dean Smith. My own all conquering Fantasy Football team has suddenly been shot to pieces by the red cards for Manchester City duo  Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho combined with long term injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Charlie Austin at Liverpool and Southampton respectively. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up.

The danger of over tinkering to remedy this has already blown up in my face at the weekend  (yes Jermaine Defoe, you do seem to be a cheap replacement for the free scoring Manchester City man) and could get worse.  The Bees, meanwhile, are at Ashton Gate tonight with Dean facing a similar set of decisions.

Thankfully, there are no new injuries but with this being the middle game in a set of three within eight days (and that’s before you even hit the busy Christmas schedule – wonderful planning from the league) is it a case of doing some longer term planning? Will he change things around a bit or does he stick with more of the same and potentially run his team into the ground?

To be honest, I can’t see him mixing things up. Whilst Burton Albion didn’t provide the stiffest of opposition it was a case of getting back to winning ways. One of the oldest of football clichés says you never change a winning team whilst I’d also chuck in the one about taking each game as it comes. Besides, what should he actually do?

As in the game with Birmingham City, it was as much a case of celebrating what hit the back of the net as lamenting what didn’t but at least on this occasion we got out of it with points. Is it simple bad luck or something intrinsically flawed with his set up?

Personally I’m in the former camp. Mostly. The plan seems a simple one, play it through for Scott Hogan to get on the end of and, when it works, it does so to devastating effect. The goal machine is now three clear of Tammy Abraham who he’ll be up against tonight in the race for leading Championship scorer. Only Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United has scored more this season. That’s a  stunning achievement although one which does show our incredible reliance on Dean’s Plan A.

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The Bees celebrated more goals for Scott at the weekend

As in the Birmingham game, we saw  the return of the three centre back system and I’m sure Dean will give that another go. Should Tom Field (two wins from his two Brentford appearances) get a start or will he have to remain content on the bench? The system is one that needs to be persisted with – the opening goal against the Blues was horrible whilst the marking for Burton would have shamed a primary school team. Yet it is a system which looks as though it will have merit whilst solving Dean’s problem of how to play at least three, if not all four, of his centre backs.

As for the midfield, one can only guess at just what is it that stops KK even making it onto the field of play? But if he is to get a look in, it needs to be a decent run of appearances rather than a token cameo. It is one that has been much needed in recent weeks – if only to try and break up the poor run – but Dean has remained steadfast. And now, with the team back to winning ways, the Austrian may aswell take a pair of tweezers to Bristol in order to pluck the splinters from his backside.

Then again, the start against Burton (at least, until the substitutions) means no change will, or should, happen. Romaine Sawyers was quite wonderful, Nico was full of fight whilst Josh McEachran picked up where he left off against Birmingham. There was a strong case for Alan Mac but one that was resisted and it seems to have been the correct decision.

Let’s not pretend we were perfect against Burton. But we were much improved. Indeed, but for that twist of fate it could have been more. We can see from the stands how unlucky we are being although my slight concern is that listening to Dean speak and reading ‘official’ it is an element that is being heavily focussed upon. “We could have done this…. the referee should have done that…. how did the ‘keeper stop it?” rather than simply, asking the question – why aren’t we finding the net more?

In a column that has already mentioned double cliché, let’s go for the hat-trick. You make your own luck in this game. Create enough chances and, eventually, things will go in your favour. Something will go in off a defender’s backside. The referee will wave somebody on when they are five yards ahead of the last defender. The opposition goalkeeper will be distracted by chants of “It’s all your fault” and spill one on the line.

Over 500 hardy souls are travelling up to Bristol tonight. Many more will be listening on BeesPlayer. Here’s hoping they are rewarded for their efforts with another hard fought performance.

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View from the Braemar – it was full blooded on Saturday

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

 

 

 

Bees hoping for a Bristol double as Bob has something for the fans

16 Apr

Game on. We’re back to match day at Griffin Park with Brentford looking to make it four wins in a row when we welcome Bristol City on Saturday afternoon. Elsewhere in the Championship, we’ll also take a very brief look at last night’s result where Brighton’s thrashing of Fulham gives Big Bee Radio the chance to score some cheap points before 3pm. And, of course, Kitman Bob Oteng has the final BBGiveaway of the campaign – not Alan McCormack’s black pants (I’ve seen them requested) but something very special.

First up though, Bristol City. Let me take you back to the summer….

The pitch had collapsed, Marinus was in charge, Andreas Bjelland had suffered that horrendous injury in the Oxford United fiasco, Andre Gray was just about still a Bee whilst Stuart Dallas, Moses Odubajo and Will Grigg had all departed for 7(seven) figure sums. Jonathan Douglas too, for nothing.

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The Oxford United fiasco (not a prog rock band)

Yet despite all this, our opening away game of the League campaign saw the Bees beat Bristol City 4-2 and make it 4 points out of 6. Might we actually get away with the sales and parting company with Mark Warburton over the summer? Could this be a continuation of form rather than a longer term remodelling exercise under the much maligned ’statistical model’?

‘No’ was the subsequent and emphatic answer. Andre’s goal was his last in the red and white stripes before the inevitable sale to Burnley took place whilst Marinus was gone by the middle of September as performances and form took a sharp downturn.

But we mention this just to show how things can change. Bristol City away, whilst only two games in, marks a point where I really thought we might have the potential to match the incredible heights of last season. We were third in the fledgling table with only Brighton and Middlesbrough above us (and look where they are now). It was a psychological high point before it all came back down to earth with a bump.

That win at Ashton Gate was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Burnley where we saw more of our new ‘style’ – these pages described it as “so obsessed with passing the ball backwards and sideways between the defence and goalkeeper, it is no wonder the stats showed such high pass completion or 62% possession.

Lee Carsley returned some much needed confidence and pride to the Bees as this team found their feet. His decision to step away was sad, though respected, and Dean Smith has come in since that point. A positive beginning (oh, those Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos goals at Reading) saw that awful run at the start of 2016, not to mention the additional challenge of dealing with the Tarkowski affair. Despite this, recent form has restored a lot of the Buzz around Griffin Park.

We are safe in the Championship for a third successive season as a result of those 9 points and 9 goals from our last three games. Lasse Vibe has found his scoring boots to shoot up the Championship charts whilst the Bees are within three points of the Loftus Road mob  – with a game in hand (at Hull).

Can we make it 4 in a row today? Will the Bees make it a pair of Bristol’s ? 6 points and a double would be a rare achievement in this most up and down of campaigns.

How will we go without Alan Judge? Does Nico Yennaris, reinvented as a goal scoring midfielder, walk back into the team? Has John Swift’s gash healed?

Questions, questions questions! As ever, I can’t answer them. I can make an educated guess of: Yes, yes, we’ll cope today (although it will be sadly), yes and ‘it’s irrelevant as he won’t start’. However, I’m just the numpty on the terrace so don’t take any notice of any prediction from these quarters.

Instead, here’s to 3pm when we find out.

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View from the Braemar – how will the Bees go without Alan Judge?

Ok – Fulham. There were tears in the Bruzon household last night. Of laughter. These, as they went down 5-0 to promotion chasing Brighton. The top of the table remains of supreme interest as Middlesbrough, Burnley and the Seagulls continue to match each other blow for blow. If you you thought the final day last time out was tense, this could really match it with Boro’ hosting Brighton in the final game of the season.

Good luck to them. I’m more concerned with matters at Griffin Park. Our one decent hashtag is back today – #BeeTheDJ. Just contact @BrentfordFC on twitter with your choice of pre-match music. If you are lucky, you’ll get to hear it played before kick off.

Could I ask for this – one of the greatest TV theme tunes of all time. In honour of our West London rivals. Failing that, how about we just pick it for our ‘walkout’ music on April 30th….

If we get to 5, it is the only time I would tolerate goal music

And finally, Kitman Bob is back. It’s his final BBGIVEAWAY of the season. Despite the highs and lows we’ve experienced onfield this campaign, our kitman’s twitter competitions have provided a constant source of enjoyment and genuine pleasure to supporters.

What other club would do this for their fans? It’s easy to criticise when things go wrong but absolute kudos to all the team behind the team for all the great work they do. And these competitions have been right up there. Not just the prizes but Bob’s interaction with the fans, too.

So what do we have today? Well, at the time of writing it remains a mystery. All we have to go on so far is Bob’s promise that its going to be special.

For the last time this time around, get following and get predicting from 8am.

Enjoy. And Bob, thank you !

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 06.18.23

More brilliance from Bob

Nick Bruzon

Andre Gray going to Burnley as Hull and Bristol City remain frustrated.

21 Aug

Andre Gray’s move to Bristol City still not complete but told it’s likely to go through later today”. Not my words but those of our esteemed local sources on Wednesday as yet another rumour surrounding Brentford and Andre has subsequently fallen flat. And next he’s off to Burnley. IF you believe what you read.

Andre - remains a Bee (again)

Andre – remains a Bee (again)

This is all getting somewhat tedious. Whether it is just Andre’s agent hawking him around like a spare Panini sticker, a genuine desire from the player to leave or Matthew Benham even making an improved contract offer behind the scenes, all we actually know so far is that: Hull City have had their enquiry for the player politely declined whilst Andre did not want to join Bristol City – despite their incredible bid. Whilst one would assume there is no smoke without fire, Steve Cotterill at Bristol City won’t be dialing 9-9-9 (million pounds, that is) for a while.

Indeed, the BBC (another source convinced the Bristol deal was ‘done’) have now had to reference Marinus as saying that Andre is back in training with the Brentford – although their story seems more about the frustrated desires of Steve Bruce (a specialist publication if ever I heard one) at Hull City.

Yet no sooner had the heat around the Bristol story been extinguished than Burnley have become the latest Championship rival being linked with a bid for the player. And you thought this was getting tedious earlier?

Well, it IS true. In one sense. I fully expect Andre will be going to Burnley. Albeit on Saturday, with the Bees travelling to the Lancashire club for our latest Championship fixture. Just as the in-demand striker started at Ashton Gate last week, and scored, I’ve got everything crossed (that can be) in the hope that the same thing will happen this weekend.

The irony of Brentford travelling to Turf Moor given the current state of our pitch has not been lost. I’d certainly settle for any, let alone more, turf although at least repairs are finally underway.

Visitors to Griffin Park on Thursday would have seen the contractors hard at work (below) whilst the club published a full update in the afternoon where they clarified, amongst other things, that the specialist ‘Motz’ turf we are using will be put down between Monday and Wednesday. They further added that this, “ Is usually match-ready 24 hours after it is laid” (again, please disregard any Steve Bruce imagery).

Brentford beach - our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Brentford beach – our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Anyway, as ever you can get all the proper facts about the pitch on the official club website. I’ll certainly be vising later today as the fallout from yesterday’s press conferences is published.

I’m very much looking forward to what the always straight talking Marinus Dijkhuizen has to say about Andre, Burnley and Griffin Park life in general. If nothing else, we might actually get some proper facts about what is going on.

As I’ve said before, I can’t blame the local journalists for running with transfer rumours. It is the nature of electronic media these days, where information (whether accurate or not) is instantly accessible to everybody and visitors to websites are key. But they are in serious danger of losing any credibility they may have had if they cannot be taken seriously.

I don’t envy the journos from that respect – its much easier to sit here and write a blog where its nothing more than opinion on what we can see going on around us. But I just think we all need to learn to take a deep breath and not treat everything in the media as 100% Gospel.

Blah. Who needs a lecture from me? Nobody. Instead, we’ve got a cracking game lined up as Championship action returns. Let’s focus on that instead of rumour.

Roll on Saturday. See you there.

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable

The day’s top tweets as Bristol City beat Hull City and West Ham to Andre. Allegedly

18 Aug

So the rumours are true. After weeks of speculation and leaked news the story we’d all been waiting on was confirmed. Brentford have dug up their pitch. Oh, and a £9million bid has, apparently been accepted from Bristol City for Andre Gray. Yes, Bristol City.

We can only start at Ashton Gate where the BBC have run the story saying that Brentford have accepted an offer in the region of three Lewis Grabbans for the ‘in demand’ striker. With Hull City long leading the running and even West Ham seen as 11th hour party poopers, could the Bristol story have any truth to it?

Andre - remains a Bee (for now)

Andre – remains a Bee (for now)

Certainly the club have been very open in their pursuit of Dwight Gayle before being publically snubbed by the Crystal Palace star. But with the ‘out door’ still swinging, their attention has turned to Andre in a move that has taken pretty much everybody by surprise. For a club that has just come up from League One, and lost both Championship games so far, to wave a cheque of this size under Matthew Benham’s nose seems almost crazy.

It is a price tag that has shocked even their own fans with social media in meltdown at the ‘news’. Considering Brentford paid just half a million for the player last year it would represent a stunning return and one which any club would struggle to resist. So which way will Matthew jump – cash in or look to hang on to one of his prize assets?

Tweet of the day from one shocked City fan

Tweet of the day from one shocked City fan

The above effort from @cardiniho_10 on Twitter surpassed my previous ‘tweet of the day’. One which had appeared in conjunction with the latest medical update from Bees head of medical, Neil Greig. Was he being ‘naughty’ with his choice of phrase to describe the prognosis for Lewis Macleod? Or was this nothing more than an accident for the midfielder who, of course, suffered a relapse after ‘tripping over a twig?

We’ll never know for sure, but fairplay to the wag on the New Road who spotted this.

The previous 'tweet of the day'

The previous ‘tweet of the day’

Getting back to Andre, though. Personally I’d love him to stay but £9m is just an incredible amount, if true. And whilst the ‘story’ has appeared on the BBC, it was in another of those infamous quote free stories that seem to be doing the rounds at the moment.

Yet if this is true, what’s in it for Andre? Well, the obvious answer is money. Bristol City are definitely building for the future but in terms of immediate success, the player would be leaving a club who reached the Championship play offs last time out (and have started just as brightly now) for one who have definitely had a shock adjusting to life in a higher division. Even Hull City or West Ham, whilst equally unpalatable for Bees fans, could be deemed ‘big clubs’ with recent Premiership grounding

Good luck to him. If Andre genuinely believes his best chance for future success is at Ashton Gate then who am I to argue with his logic. But do remember that as of Tuesday night these stories remain just that – stories. However, Wednesday promises to be a very interesting day.

One area where Bristol City definitely have the advantage over the Bees is in their playing surface.For a start, they have one. Our own game with Birmingham City was cancelled as a result of the shoddy pitch at Griffin Park finally having the repair work take place.

Anyone wandering past Griffin Park on Tuesday would have seen the ‘turf’ removed and work well underway. They might also have seen two visitors from Texas who were looking forward to taking in the Birmingham game as part of a sojourn in the UK. Alas, it wasn’t to be and, instead, their visit to TW8 consisted of nothing more than a photo outside the Director’s gate.

Sadly, I’d imagine this is one set of travel refunds the club won’t be able to process. That said, if we do pocket £9million in the next few days then perhaps we could stretch to a seat in the Director’s box – even for just one game.

All the way from Texas to TW8 then run out by a dodgy pitch

All the way from Texas to TW8 then run out by a dodgy pitch

Nick Bruzon