Tag Archives: assistant

QPR – Brentford game gives additional food for thought.

30 Oct

QPR 0 Brentford 2. Sorry. Just had to say that again. Our first win at Loftus Road since the mid-60s is something worth celebrating. Moreso, given the manner in which it was achieved.

Yesterday’s column looked at the highlights and (mostly) positives from that game but one thing missing from that one was a reminder of footballing past. Not the QPR fans fighting amongst themselves, as has been widely reported but more an attitude on show that was, perhaps, more associated to the era of our previous victory in Shepherds Bush.

1894 – Nettie Honeywell founds the British Ladies’ Football Club “With the fixed resolve of proving to the world that women are not the ‘ornamental and useless’ creatures men have pictured”.

1920 – 53,000 turn up on Boxing Day to watch Dick Kerr’s Ladies of Preston play St. Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park.

1921 – The FA bans Women’s football from being played in grounds used by it’s member clubs.

1969 – The Women’s Football Association (WFA) is created with 44 member clubs.

1971 – FA lifts the aforementioned stadium ban.

1991  – Wendy Toms becomes the first women named as a ‘fourth official’ in the English football league. A role followed by her being named the Leagues first female referees’ assistant in 1994, before eventually graduating to the Premier League.

1999 – Over 90,000 spectators attended the Women’s World Cup Final.

2015 – England come third in the Women’s World Cup.

2016 – Ginsters launch their ‘food for hungry men’ campaign at EFL grounds in England.

Welcome to the strange world of football, 2016.

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After the important message delivered by the FA in regards to their views on the role of women in football with the five game ban handed out to Brentford midfielder Alan McCormack for abuse to an official including reference to gender, this is what we get.

At a time when child obesity is at an all time high and we are doing everything possible to encourage healthy lifestyle through fast paced sporting activity rather than fast food, this is what we get.

When the women’s game continues to evolve and becomes more popular than ever before, this is what we get. An advert that comes across as sexist and stupid. Hungry men are welcome, but hungry women better go elsewhere.

Come on. It’s the 21st century; not the 1920s. Is there really any need for this? Is it even appropriate? With discrimination against women and homophobic ranting quite rightly castigated as a by-product of darker times that needs to be eradicated, we’re offered what is at best a strange celebration of macho culture and at worst comes over as stealth sexism.

Would it have been possible for the EFL to tell Ginsters where to stick their snacks? Should they have done or is it simply an over-reaction? For all their promotion of gender issues and healthy living when it suits, to then take this style of advertising revenue seems somewhat case of double standards.

The eagle eyed amongst you have may have noticed a similar advertisement  in prime position by each of the goals at Griffin Park earlier in the season. These have since been removed but were, from what I understand, part of a centrally driven advertising campaign rather than any proactive effort from Brentford to try and corner the pasty market.

Look, I’m not a complete idiot. I get that a pie, along with the half time bovril, is part of football’s rich tapestry. Indeed, I’ve had many a ‘chicken balti’ at Griffin Park whilst was once lucky enough to try the boardroom specials (and they are a culinary treat that would have Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood salivating).

But why should this be exclusive to men? Why should our female fans be deemed surplus to requirements when the chance comes to quash their hunger with these artery-busting treats? Why should progressive, family clubs such as Brentford be dragged along with, and tainted by, an advertising campaign that seems very much a relic of the past?

Quite simply, would it have been that hard to swap the word ‘men’ with ‘fans’ ?

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Nick Bruzon

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What does Brentford ban tell us about FA? And ourselves?

22 Oct

Brentford v Barnsley. It should be a huge game for so many reasons. It will be a huge game for so many reasons. Yet, at the same time, one can’t help but feel it has been somewhat overshadowed by Friday’s news about Alan McCormack. Specifically, for anybody who has been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, that the midfielder has been awarded a five match ban (amongst other punishments) after being found guilty of using abusive language towards an official against Cardiff City back in April.

In typical vague fashion, the FA Statement simply says that he, “Used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official in the 52nd minute of the game against Cardiff City on 19 April 2016, contrary to FA Rule E3(1). ”That it was what they deem , “An “aggravated breach” as defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference to gender.

The response from Brentford was an equally factual one, acknowledging the punishment whilst adding, “We are awaiting the written reasons for the verdict and neither the player nor the Club will make any further comment on this matter until they have been received.

What he has been found guilty of saying remains, officially, a secret. There are enough theories out there in cyberspace without wishing to warrant further conjecture on that subject.

All we know for sure, is that the ban takes immediate effect, starting with today’s game against Barnsley and including the local derbies against Fulham and QPR amongst those in the period.

So…. OTT? Fair? Is Alan a foulmouthed pig or was it something said off the cuff under the pressures of a live game environment and totally out of character?

The answers to the first two remain a matter of individual opinion whilst only the player himself could answer that last one. Everybody who watches him knows how much Alan wears his heart on his sleeve when playing for the Bees. How badly he wants to win. How much the opposition must fear him. How much he is a firm fan favourite.

Regardless of whether it is out of character, and it’s easy for me to say this from my safe position as numpty on the terrace rather than somebody in a live game environment, you can’t get away with abuse these days. And rightly so, quite frankly.

This isn’t the ‘70s when homophobia and racism were deemed acceptable. When the idea of a woman playing football was seen as something laughable. That she was somebody who belonged in the kitchen and ’the other room’ (although the President of Nigeria begged to differ last Friday).

Like it or not. Out of character or not. The FA are doing their level best to engender an attitude of respect amongst players and supporters. They have been for some time. Fans know this. Managers know this. Players know this. Attitudes have changed for the better amongst so many although, sadly,  others are still dragging their knuckles through the ground.

Has Alan been made an example of? How has this suddenly come to light in October, from a game that took place in April of last season? When the player wasn’t even booked at the time. Surely one of the officials would have reported this to referee Stuart Attwell? How have the FA now heard about this and from whom?  Yet, at the same time, if it did happen then they have no choice in having to take follow up actions.

This is a huge ban and if nothing else Alan would seem to be patient zero when the FA have decided to clamp down hard. Yet, also, they’ve now drawn a line in the sand which I’ll be very keen to see how strongly they enforce ongoing.

At the same time, if this is a path they are going down then further clarity on what happened and how would probably be no bad thing from the FA. Just so that there is no doubt as to where that line is – for players and fans.

The reaction of supporters seems to be, largely, that the player has done the wrong thing. That the ban is a heavy one and that we’ll all miss him on the pitch. Massively. Yet also there are still a few who seem to think that this sort of behaviour, whatever the catalyst, is acceptable.

That, for me, is the saddest thing about all of this. They’ve had the benefit of time to think.

Quotes I’ve seen from supporters on social media include:

Bullsh*t. It’s a man’s game . She needs to grow a set, or officiate womens’ games.

The punishment is totally disproportionate and smacks of political correctness

All the whiter than white males condoning @almc16 ?? Get a life? Something said in heat of moment in a game of football – support our player.

It’s an attitude we still see in patches in the stands. Only last weekend at Newcastle one of my friends, as a reaction to politely asking the group behind him to stop using homophobic language was told, amongst others things: “F@ck off, you que*r c@nt” and  ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s football’ 

It’s football?! It’s. Football.

Wow. As though that’s any justification for hurling abuse that won’t even be heard by the players and officials it was directed at. That doesn’t even have the ‘excuse’ of being uttered by somebody on the pitch who would have been in the heart of any incident.

We all shout at the ref, at players and even at each other sometimes.The clear difference being we don’t all shout sexist, homophobic or insulting abuse.

Thankfully, this attitude is something very much in the minority at Brentford. At least, that’s the way it seems to me. Only on Thursday, the club joined the EFL in their campaign to stamp out anti-social behaviour in the stands.

Ironic? Coincidence? Pre-emptive? Whatever the timing, as somebody who brings a three year old to home games at Griffin Park it is something that can only be endorsed.

Equally though, it’s something that by and large I think we already do really well on.

We’ve got a great family at Brentford. I’m proud to be part of a club where supporters do get along and, whilst getting caught up in the heat of the moment, don’t normally cross the line.

Whatever the ins and outs of this case, and I doubt we’ll ever know the full facts, it seems clear we’ve moved into a new phase of football. Abuse officials – pay the punishment.

Will the FA have the guts to see this through?

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The club and EFL have joined forces

Nick Bruzon

MK Down and the true price of FA Cup defeat

24 Apr

Bye Bye MK Dons. Brentford racked up yet another win and another hatful of goals on Saturday afternoon to confirm that Karl Robinson and his team will be making an immediate return to League One. There was also that Doctor Who moment during the Manchester United – Everton FA Cup semi which we’d worried about yesterday whilst Kitman Bob is at it again. Yet again.

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Not my words but those ..etc

First up though, Stadium MK. As is the norm the BBC, Beesotted, official site  or other less salubrious pages are the place for proper match reports. Instead, the headline news to trumpet about has to be about a 4-1 win for the Bees.

It was a game that, not for the first time this season, featured brilliant goals from first Sergi Canos and later Ryan Woods (do check these beauties out on the Bees Player highlights package). These sandwiched Lasse Vibe’s 13th of the season before Jake Bidwell rounded things off. His free kick from the touchline, just like the game at Preston, drifting past everybody and into the back of the net.

Mark Burridge is back for another win. What jinx?

Team wise both Sam Saunders and Scott Hogan were missing from the 18 who had beaten Cardiff on Tuesday night. The latter used Twitter to allay the fears of worried fans, saying, “I‘m not injured it’s been planned being managed carefully, don’t forget I’ve been out a while , next season most important thing!

Maxime Colin reclaimed his right back position although Josh Clarke, who had impressed midweek, did get the final half hour. John Swift, gash healed, was an unused substitute.

Only just over a month ago many of, us including our own head coach, had noted that the Bees were in a relegation scrap.Now its been 16 points out of 18 over April. It is a month that has seen 16 goals and five wins out of those 6 games.

As it stands we’ve hit Dean Smith’s tenth spot target and could even end as high as eighth should the winning run continue. Victory in ‘our game in hand’ at Hull City AFC on Tuesday night will see the Bees just one point behind Ipswich Town in 8th and make the ‘manager of the month’ vote a very interesting one indeed.

I’d still say that one is a straight shoot out between Chris Hughton or Aitor Karanka. Their teams have won as many as the Bees this month whilst keeping up the pace at the top of a table that sees the top three all on 87 points with just two games to go. Now that’s pressure !

As a side note, am I alone in having a ‘spellcheck’ that defaults the Middlesbrough manager’s name to Aitor Karaoke ? Now there’s some wonderful imagery. Here’s hoping for a Phil Brown style pitch side singalong as Boro’ go up and fairly leave us in peace after 6 wins out of 6 over the last two seasons.

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Could Chris lift something more valuable?

The other Championship news of excitement saw QPR held by Reading. It means the Bees are two points clear of the Loftus Road mob in the battle to see who will end the season as not just West but all London’s top league club. That Hull game has even more riding on it than our opponents might realise.

Back to the FA Cup. We talked yesterday about the forthcoming Doctor Who ‘reveal’ that the BBC had intended to make during half time of the semi final and, sure enough, it happened. Whilst I’ll leave Bees supporter @Lokster71 to comment on the choice of ‘assistant’  via his excellent ‘Patient Centurion’ blog, I have to say that Gary Lineker handled the obvious disruption well.

Indeed, the BBC anchor giving a quite marvellous post-reveal segue pitch side as he dead panned, “The doctor’s not the only one with a new companion, Dan Walker talks to Lee Martin…”.

The only sour notes to the afternoon were  Manchester United securing a winner at the death. To be fair, I’d have been just as unhappy had Everton done this.

It meant that with the spectre of an additional thirty minutes ‘extra time’ now removed, along with it went the chance of Mrs Browns Boys (presumably the safety net should such a situation have arisen) being pulled from the evening’s schedule. Worse, it meant we got Michael McIntyre sooner.

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Mrs Brown – thanks Manchester United. And Everton

Whilst Lineker scored bonus points for the Dan Walker gag, I did also think his closing “Young Prince / party like its 1999” outro felt a little bit forced and, dare I say it, cashing in on the week’s sad news.

And finally, it seems like every week we’re saying this but Kitman Bob is back on the BBgiveaway. Whilst ‘that’ shirt has rolled over to the Fulham game on Saturday, he announced last night : Buzzing about @BrentfordFC support today. I’m throwing in a  BONUS BBGIVEAWAY Tuesday.  Boots to be given away. Keep looking . Tuesday lunch time

As ever, the place to look is on Bob’s twitter account.

Here’s hoping Sam Saunders is back in the team or my bet is spannered .

Roll on Tuesday.

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Kitman Bob – man of mystery and king of competitions

Nick Bruzon

Who, cares? BBC ‘go again’ but will unbeaten April continue?

23 Apr

Today should be a day of excitement. Brentford have the chance to go above the Loftus Road mob in the table once more (only goal difference separates us now) whilst simultaneously relegating MK Dons. This is immediately followed by the FA Cup semi final between Everton and Manchester United. Yet, yet, yet – the words ‘shoddy BBC Doctor Who crossover’ are lurking to spoil things. Again.

First up Brentford’s trip to Milton Keynes. This is going to be a very interesting test of Dean Smith’s managerial process. One can only assume that, injuries aside, he’ll stick with the majority of the team that continued April’s unbeaten run, making it 13 points from 15 against Cardiff City in midweek.

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The Bees recorded a fine win on Tuesday night

Josh Clarke gave a very assured performance in the position that Maxime Colin has filled with aplomb this season. Yet, with Dean confirming that the Frenchman is “available but we have to just manage him” he has a tricky decision to make. Personally, I’d keep Josh in the side. He absolutely deserves it for his showing on Tuesday whilst, if nothing else, it gives Maxime a bit more recovery time ahead of Hull City and Fulham. Assuming he is even required.

Then there’s John Swift. In his absence, Brentford’s record reads: WWWDW . That’s some difference from the LLLL that preceded it .

The Chelsea loanee has featured heavily this season despite a mixed period of form. When he’s good he’s great; when he’s off the pace well, the less said the better. That’s the price of youthful talent. Yet Dean certainly seemed excited about his potential return when giving his updates to the press yesterday.

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Will we see him back today? I doubt it and, being honest, I hope not. At least, not in the starting XI . That’s not meant as a criticism of the player but more the point that our form needs to be rewarded. Very few players could expect to walk back into a winning team after such a lengthy lay off and, with all due respect to John, he’s not one of them.

That said, I’m sure he’ll be on the bench and from there we see what happens next. Sitting next to him will also be Scott Hogan. Surely it’s too soon for our ‘man of the moment’ to start a game despite the obvious excitement about both his recovery and his form. There’s next season for that. Now, let’s just keep easing him back and setting our watches for ‘Jota time’.

The other point from Dean’s press conference was his observation that, “People talk about a massive turnaround but in my eyes we haven’t played loads better than vs Charlton Athletic or Blackburn Rovers.”

Hmm. Not sure that’s a view which will be shared by many Brentford supporters. “Frustratingly grim” was the two word summary of this one following our inability to even take a point at home to ten man Rovers. I don’t want to overly dwell on that now –  I have eyes, I was at those games, I know what I saw. Let’s just take great comfort in the fact we’ve definitely turned the corner, even if Dean believes it’s just in terms of results.

Ok. The FA Cup. Tonight’s semi-final at Wembley (count the things already wrong in this sentence) between Everton and Manchester United should be one to get the juices flowing. Instead, the BBC have chucked a huge rock in the water. Specifically, by telling us that they’ll be using the game to announce the identity of Doctor Who’s new ‘assistant’.

Please. No. I like Doctor Who (much to Mrs Bruzon’s chagrin) and have what could politely be called more than a passing interest in the great game of football. These are big occasions in each field of interest but to jam them together just seems like some cheap-arsed attempt to boost audience figures. It is one that detracts from both events. To be honest, even making ‘an event’ out of a new cast member for the Sci-Fi classic seems like an unnecessary stunt, anyway.

The BBC have ‘form’ here. During the 2014 World Cup final, they crowbarred the trailer for the then forthcoming new series into the middle of the half-time analysis. It was a horribly awkward moment. Gary Lineker seemed genuinely lost for words as any momentum for the second half was immediately washed away. Even I switched channels to ITV, and for that to happen…

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Not even Rio Ferdinand’s ‘Easyjet’ look could detract from the awkwardness in 2014

I love the FA Cup. Please, BBC . At a time when every season sees further elements of tradition being stripped away from this oldest of tournaments, please don’t demean it any more.

And finally, from Peter Capaldi to another doctor who (sorry) is going to be doing his bit for charity on Sunday. Brentford head of medical Neil Greig, that is.

For anybody not aware, Neil will be taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon where he’ll be running on behalf of Havens Hospices. You can read more about this great cause, and also donate, on his Just Giving page.

Good luck tomorrow, Neil.

And if Scott bangs one in against MK, we know who deserves much of that thanks.

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Neil will be doing his thing tomorrow

Nick Bruzon