Tag Archives: Bargain Hunt

Time for more football acting? One can only hope.

5 Aug

I’ve got to be honest, this column hasn’t gone in the intended direction. Thursday morning, 6.30am and that first line has just been written last. We were going to focus on last night’s TV coverage but then I caught up with ‘official’ and the news that we are gong to be welcoming back some old friends. Oh well, here goes.. Should we be excited or worried? Brentford host Valencia on Saturday evening, our final warm up game before Arsenal visit next Friday in the Premier League, and it seems we will have special guests present. Not just the living legend that is Martin Allen but People Just Do Nothing stars Kurupt FM who will be performing live before the game. Elsewhere, did you catch the feature on the Bees last night? Both BT Sport and Sky Sports running a half-hour documentary on Brentford, our history and how we reached the top flight. Club historian Rob Jex leading the charge in a fascinating look at the club that will, hopefully, be repeated as often as Yours Truly’s ill-fated appearance on Bargain Hunt. Albeit for totally different reasons. One was absolute quality. The other was Mrs Bruzon and myself arguing over antiques.

An hour long show distilled into five seconds

First up, Valencia. The programme article(s) have been written and the tickets gone on sale. We’ve little over 48 hours until kick off and I can’t wait. A chance to see Brentford in action once more and the possibility we may even get a look at Kris Ajer. All being well Thomas Onyeka is healthy following the injury he appeared to suffer in the game with West Ham last Saturday but the rest is up to Thomas. We’ve seen plenty in action so far, with Shandon Baptiste amongst those to really stake a claim for a starting berth against Arsenal following his performances up at Old Trafford and then last weekend. 

To be fair, you could say the same about pretty much the entire squad. We’ve looked solid and, whilst friendlies should always be taken with a huge pinch of salt, it’s surely better to be playing well than badly. Besides, confidence should be sky high. We‘ve won the play-offs and achieved a life’s dream – reaching the top flight. We’ve bought a few players (with word on the street suggesting two more are incoming) whilst, incredibly, there’s nobody really being linked with the out door. Rico Henry returned in style and, as it stands, supporters are still allowed to attend games with corona virus restrictions a thing of the past. Just a sexy third kit and healthy fitness report about Josh Dasilva needed for a full house.

Optimism is understandably high. It was coursing through the veins when the aforementioned documentary was filmed last month and nothing has changed since to change that view. Instead, we’re just 8 days away from hosting Arsenal in a league fixture. This, followed by home games against Brighton, Liverpool and then European Champions Chelsea. It’s nuts. There’s just nothing to be down about. Only excitement and anticipation ahead. The stresses of last season from certain quarters nothing but a distant memory. The abiding image that of Peter Gilham raising the play-off trophy above his head in the Wembley sunshine. With the added bonus being he even stayed on his feet. 

I’ve missed football dreadfully. Watching on TV just isn’t the same. Moreso when we were rattling around an empty stadium. Now, that’s done. We’re back. We’re  allowed in. We can even get a pie and a pint at the game. Valencia presents another excuse, as if one were needed, to get back inside Lionel Road and see the team in action. See old friends and familiar faces. Of getting a first look at jumper man (who will, presumably, be sporting summer fatigues).  

There’s also the visit of Kurupt FM. On the one hand, promoting their new film ‘Big in Japan’. On the other, seeing if they can engage in another masterclass with our chief exec. Inside the actors studio, it wasn’t. “The Varney/Kurupt FM cringe off” , as one North stand observer described it at the time.

It was one of those ‘so bad it’s amazing moments’ . So toe curling you needed a pair of Genie’s slippers yet, at the same time it was utterly, utterly compelling. Jon Varney playing along in a moment akin to those times a ‘real’ footballer, manager or commentator would put in a cameo on Dream Team. For the record, former Bee Andy Ansah uttering his stock line of “Get warmed up” doesn’t count. We’re thinking more Steve Coppell or Richard Keys attempting to blend in seamlessly and, ordinarily, failing.

What came next was, well…..

In the previous column we spoke about those quite wonderful moments when non-footballers do football type things. For example, and I’m just going off the top of my head, stadium announcers filming goal celebration videos. To that list you can also add Jon Varney doing his Kurupt FM thing. Here’s to round two on Saturday afternoon. You can read about it all on ‘official‘ .

Although, in retrospect, perhaps the Dream Team moment surpasses even that. And not in a good way.

Nick Bruzon

Brentford, Blackburn or Nottingham Forest? Who will win (or lose by less)?

6 May

This is it. The last weekend of the season with so much excitement still to come. And that’s just off pitch where the club have asked fans to dig out their retro shirts to mark the occasion of our current crest (badge) making one final appearance before being retired. Then there’s the small matter of Mark Warburton and Nottingham Forest hoping Brentford can do them a favour when Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Griffin Park. With Birmingham City still not safe either, live on TV we’ve Sunday’s relegation shootout.

So what will happen? Will Brentford take the foot off the gas and Blackburn survive? Can Forest get the home win they need and hope their goals are sufficient? Both they and Rovers are locked on the same points and so if they match each others results, it comes down to goal difference. Which is currently -13 Forest and -14 Rovers. It could even turn into a case of whoever loses less heavily stays up.

And I have to say that because I fully expect Brentford to win. We’ve a chance to get up to 8th place, which would be one better than last season. Then again, for that to happen it means we need  to rely on victories for both Rotherham United and QPR. We’ve got to be realistic here.

But a win for the Bees, something that is in our hands, will see us surpass last season points total by two. That alone will be incentive for Dean Smith and a team that I fully expect to be focussed on going out in style.

I feel for the Nottingham Forest and Blackburn supporters in their having to rely on another result. Moreso, from teams who they may think are already on the beach or, in our case, at the Player of the Year awards that are taking place later on Sunday night. However, I refer you back to season 2014/15.

This was Brentford’s first in the Championship and Mark Warburton was looking to go out in style. Despite a little wobble towards the end, the Bees went into that final weekend needing to beat Wigan Athletic then rely on a slip up from Derby County or Ipswich Town in order to make the play offs. The Rams were home to hapless Reading and needed just a point to secure their own spot. We’d beaten the Royals a week earlier and they looked awful. Ipswich were on fire though and, likewise, avoiding defeat was all they needed.

On an incredible afternoon, BOTH results went our way. Despite taking an early lead at Ewood, the Tractor Boys were eventually reigned in and went down 3-2. As for Derby, they missed an early penalty and hit the self-destruct from that point. A 0-3 home loss to a bang average team with nothing, absolutely nothing, to play for was as unexpected as it was hilarious.

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Post Wigan: Err. You know that holiday? Well, Derby and Ipswich have both lost.

The point being that strange results can happen. That the team who appear to have nothing to play for on paper won’t just switch off. We’ve definitely been the beneficiaries of this fact in the past.

However on Sunday, and I take no pleasure from this prediction, my gut feeling is that Brentford are going to be the executioners. We’ve more than just pride to play for. For Blackburn Rovers to stay up, it’s going to have to rely on Nottingham Forest losing by more than they do.

Then again, as has been said many times, I’m just the numpty on the terrace. Take results based advice from these pages with a huge dollop of caution. Indeed, given the aforementioned favour they did us, there’s a big part of me that hopes Blackburn losing by less than Forest is the way this one plays out. Everybody in TW8 can go home smiling. Especially if Rotherham and (something I can’t believe we need or want to happen) QPR also win.

Then again, there’s the Mark Warburton factor. A hero to many at Griffin Park, could we take any pleasure from putting a nail in his Championship coffin? Perhaps it’s not one to overthink. Let’s just go out and let the football do the talking – whatever will be will be.

Besides, there’s more to think about off field. I make no secret of being a kit nerd and the club putting out this challenge to supporters has got me intrigued.

Just what could we see? What will the fans’  ‘favourite’ be? Does anybody even own that wonderful Hummel-lite version from 94-95; our first to feature the current crest (badge)? Is there a Samvo shirt out there that still has the sponsor intact rather than having disintegrated the first time it went through the washing machine?

On a personal note, I’ve whittled it down to a choice of three. Or four. But there are more than a few stunners to pick from.

Being fortunate enough to take part in filming an episode of Britain’s top rated day time TV show Bargain Hunt yesterday, both the Bees and the kit obsession made it into that really awkward chat bit at the start.

And that bit, when the show goes out, is quite likely to be the highlight. Let’s just say it’s a lot harder than it looks ‘playing’ live rather than when you watch from home.

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Just some of the shirt choices – although current crest (badge) only

Likewise, subject to any last minute editorial decisions then I gather the match day programme will feature a very special top ten.  Although after last weekend’s Brian Guest affair at Fulham, which the club knew nothing about in advance, we probably shouldn’t take anything on that front for granted.

So if you haven’t done it yet, why not have a root through the back of the wardrobe and see what you can pull out? Whatever your thoughts on the current crest (badge) why not help see it off in style?

The next time we all get together, there’ll be a new design in place….

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Coming soon. To a shirt near you….

Nick Bruzon