Tag Archives: beach

Is it all smoke and mirrors? Or have we been here before? Jota missing again.

16 Jul

Well that’s been an interesting few days for Brentford fans. Le tour de France is now over. We’ve seen another new signing with striker Neal Maupay joining from AS Saint-Étienne (he’s on the phone, presumably being the cry from the Griffin Park media suite as the deal was being confirmed). The friendly with Swiss side Lausanne-Sport ended in a 1-1 draw whilst we’ve now got less than three weeks until the season opener up at Sheffield United. Yet, for all that, there’s one word on supporter’s lips – Jota. Just what is going on?

Despite a wonderful looking line up in France for Saturday’s game with Lausanne, there were two notable absentees. Maxime Colin and, of course, the talismanic Spaniard – King Jota. Whilst Max was labelled an injury precaution, things were less clear on the subject of Jota. One could also argue that Lewis Macleod and Alan Judge were the other big names to miss out but given their lengthy injuries and recuperation there was never a chance of either player featuring.

DEx6V8sXUAIF6SU

Injuries and absence aside, the team was a very strong one

BBC Billy Reeves had already probed Dean Smith last Friday on that subject. Likewise, I’ve already given my own thoughts (all that is here) but since then we’ve had radio silence. The ‘imminent’ big bid from a Premier League side has yet to materialise or, if it has, nobody is saying anything. The local press have no more clue than myself (at least, in public) whilst usually reliable sources on the rumour front such as Beesotted have remained very much under the radar.

It’s a shame the likes of Billy (Reeves – BBC and Grant – Beesotted) were missing yesterday. I’d love to have heard their thoughts and questions on a team line up that already looks incredibly strong for the forthcoming season. Stick Jota, Maupay and Colin in there too and Sheffield United could have a Championship baptism of fire. Not to mention the rest of the league .

Instead, it was left to ‘official’ where the match report had no managerial comment although Twitter did at least give us some update.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 07.38.18So there you have it. Despite all the noise this just seems to be smoke and mirrors at the moment. Indeed, it all very much smacks of West Ham and Scott Hogan once more. All talk, all rumour, all unsettling but no action.

It reminds me in a way of the Simon Moore transfer. His sale had been talked up for most of the 2013/14 pre-season before he eventually ended up at Cardiff City. Prior to that though, he’d featured in a two minute pre-season cameo before being substituted with an ‘injury’. This, was immediately followed by his sale to a Cardiff City team we’d then play in a friendly after the infamous explanation for another absence as ‘visiting the beach’.

That game, for the record, being one we emerged from with a fantastic 3-2 win after going 2-0 down early on. Although Paul Hayes in the last minute doesn’t quite have the same ring.

SM Cardiff beach

Simon Moore. Once went to Cardiff beach, according to Uwe

Is Jota being viewed as a big part of our plans for 2017/18 (one can only hope) or is the writing already on the wall? Without a doubt the club know more than they are saying in public – nobody expects them to reveal transfer dealings negotiations ahead of any deal being signed or rejected. But a second absence in eight days speaks huge volumes. If the player does feature against Oxford United on Wednesday, it will be very interesting to see for how long. A full 90 minutes or a token run out at the death? There’s going to be a lot of squeaky bums over the next three days, let alone the next three weeks.

On the positive side, the signing of Neal Maupay presents another exciting opportunity for Brentford. Nobody can deny that whatever the initial scepticism around our transfer strategy, we’ve unearthed some gems from the continent over the last few seasons.

Of course there’s Jota but you could add Yoann Barbet, Maxime Colin, Lasse Vibe, Andreas Bjelland and, in my mind, the criminally under used Konstantin Kerschbaumer to that list for starters. We’ll draw a discreet veil over Big Nick although he did join us from the English league so doesn’t really count in that bracket. That said, for the record, this Wednesday will mark the five year anniversary since Hull City paid SC Paderborn £2.6 million for his services. How times change.

Large

Neal Maupay – as seen on official

As a final thought for today, since the previous column about Peter Gilham it has been wonderful to see the outpouring of love and best wishes for Mr Brentford. Without a doubt he is one man to unite this club, having talked the Bees family through thick and (a lot of ) thin. So to read his own message was intensely heart warming for all of us but, as importantly, the fact that he has just carried on with his pre-season duties as though it was BAU.

His tour blogs have kept us updated as to those behind the scenes details of what goes on when the Bees are abroad. Here’s hoping he’s back with the mic on his hand for August 12th and our first home game.

Peter, we’re still thinking of you. Get well soon.

Nick Bruzon

First shots of new Griffin Park pitch look good (despite Reading fears)

25 Aug

The pitch is back. Visitors to Brentford on Monday would have seen the contractors hard at work, relaying the grass at Griffin Park ahead of the match with Reading this Saturday. The luxuriant ‘Motz’ surface is already well in place on the New Road wing as all will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the ‘turf malfunction’ that blighted the Ipswich Town and Oxford United games, aswell as forcing the postponement of the fixture with Birmingham City.

Contractors prepare to move the rolls of Motz turf into position

Contractors prepare to move the rolls of Motz turf into position

Whilst absolutely essential that this be done, Reading boss Steve Clarke has, reportedly, become the latest to get stuck into the playing surface. Somewhat ironic, given the ease with which it had previously come unstuck. However, local website ‘Get Reading’ have run a feature in which he is already approaching histrionic levels of nervousness and concern.

The story, which you can find here (for those who haven’t already seen it) includes a number of comments which I’m not sure whether are simple sabre rattling and an attempt to unnerve the Bees or genuinely deep-rooted fears.

Clarke is quoted as saying, “we have to play the first match on a pitch that is not going to be ready. It’s not correct.” This immediately begs the question of whether he possesses some hitherto unseen powers of precognition or clairvoyance. How else would he know it isn’t going to be ready? True, it is still looking very sandy but that green stuff we can now see does tend to be a bit of a giveaway.

Warning? Maybe before. It's looking very good now as work commences

Warning? Maybe before. It’s looking very good now as work commences

To be fair, one can sympathise. The layman would probably be of the impression that pitches do require months of ‘bedding in’; of something that can only be achieved over pre-season.

Yet, by his own admission, that simply isn’t the case and, these days, a re-lay prior to a game is not uncommon – however unpalatable he may find it – as he added: “I’m lucky enough to have been involved in some cup finals when they were played at Millennium Stadium. The pitch was always put down two or three days before the game and it was never good.”

Let’s not pretend the pitch was ‘any good’ previously. It wasn’t. Head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen and chief executive Mark Devlin have been amongst those leading the criticism whilst even Matthew Benham has noted this, if the ‘retweet’ below is to be taken at face value.

Matthew Benham remains undisputed king of twitter

Matthew Benham remains undisputed king of twitter

I can understand Steve Clarke wanting the best for his players from both a footballing and ‘health and safety’ perspective. Brentford will be in exactly the same boat and, having postponed one game already, will be doing everything possible to avoid a repeat of the problems we’ve previously seen.

Whilst Clarke is looking to get a delegation from the football league and a referee to view the pitch in advance, I’m pretty sure he’ll get his wish at the weekend, if nothing else. Andrew Madley, who is booked in to officiate at the weekend, will be the one who has to make the call as to whether the surface is playable or not during his pre-game inspection. I have no doubt we’ll have already be doing similar once repair works are finished on Wednesday.

Given the well publicised issues we’ve had and the fact that the Football League are fully aware of these, I can’t imagine this one going ahead if there is any element of doubt as to the integrity of the new Motz turf. Equally, one has to trust that the work which has been under way for a week already will be sufficient to provide an environment more fitting to a game of football rather than beach volleyball. If nothing else, I could do without all those cracks about Cardiff beach being cranked out again (well, maybe once more)

After Simon Moore, we've had enough of beaches to last a lifetime

After Simon Moore, we’ve had enough of beaches to last a lifetime

If Steve Clarke wants to publically voice his concerns in a psychological war of words that is likely going to impact his own side more than anybody else, then so be it. Football is a game of such finite margins that if he needs to being an additional element of doubt about his team’s ability to perform on our pitch then that’s fine by me.

I, genuinely, hope his concerns prove unfounded. For both Brentford and Reading. Ultimately, Griffin Park needs a surface that resembles a billiard table rather than a beach.

At the moment we haven’t got that so fairplay to the club for taking such drastic actions to remedy the situation. The eyes of the footballing world will be on us this weekend. Let’s hope we’ve got it right.

The pitch was 'cutting up' in our previous league game at Griffin Park

The pitch was ‘cutting up’ in our previous league game at Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

As one King stands down, could another return?

2 Jan

With the back pages of the papers being dominated by the news of ‘one club man’ Steven Gerrard and his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, it is a timely reminder of the lunacy into which we are about to descend. Brentford, of course, are already ahead of the game having signed Lewis Macleod from Rangers (effective tomorrow) whilst Championship rivals Derby County have done similar with Ryan Shotton from Stoke City. It is, of course, time for the transfer window to creak open for that one month countdown until Natalie Sawyer tries to stop Sky Sports Jim White from threatening to self combust during the last moments of ‘slamming shut’.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Can Bees beat Slade to Christmas number one?

20 Dec

Brentford travel to Cardiff City today knowing that a win and the usually unreliable ‘other results going in our favour’ could see us joint top of the Championship table on Christmas day. It is a game most fans have been looking forward to for months and, moreso, because it gives us a chance to renew acquaintances with Russell Slade.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

David Niven beats Manchester United as Championship beats the hype

18 Aug

Having returned from Bournemouth, Brentford prepare to visit another beach town for Tuesday night’s trip to Blackpool. With games at Cardiff City and Brighton also to come, the Championship is providing as many chances to dig out the bucket and spade as opportunities to watch football.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Number four is…not going to Wigan (we hope). The Forshaw/Holdsworth difference

29 Jul

Back in early July Matthew Benham took to Twitter to declare that new faces would be coming in to Brentford whilst no key players would leave. True enough the squad has been strengthened whilst, if reports circulating on Monday are to be believed, management have turned down an offer from Wigan Athletic for Adam Forshaw.

The club website, as ever, made no mention on unsubstantiated rumour but one can only trust that Matthew has been true to his word – assuming a bid has even been made, of course. And if the story is true, then what a statement to make. This is a team looking to consolidate – not cut loose it’s best players when the first rivals come knocking.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Where’s Will-y ? Is it an S.O.S from TW8?

18 Jul

Brentford kicked off their warm up for football in The Championship with a trip to Boreham Wood last night. The 253 who attended were treated to a 3-1 win for the Bees and had the added advantage over TW8 residents in not being blasted with Kew Gardens’ Abba concert.

In a marvellously ironic gesture of neighbourly relations from the World Heritage site, the sounds of their open air show reached Griffin Park, and beyond, in a note perfect recreation of what it must be like to be stuck inside of Alan Partridge’s head.

On pitch, it was always good to hear Kevin O’Connor open the scoring from the penalty spot. Mr Reliable’s strike from 12 yards (although he’d probably nail one from 18) was definitely music to my ears.

The other point of note was that, according to Billy Reeves twitter feed, Sam Saunders and new boy Alex Pritchard were in attendance but there was no sighting of Will Grigg. Even the non-playing David Button had, reportedly, been spotted . And this in a game where 23 players were in the squad.

The last time we’d heard of the Northern Ireland International, he was slapping Harlee Dean in the face with a fish. So where was Will last night ? An injury in training or had he ‘gone to the beach’, Simon Moore style ?

Was Will injured, in disguise or 'at the beach' last night?

Was Will injured, in disguise or ‘at the beach’ last night?

Bristol City have been amongst a number of clubs reportedly interested in our man over the summer and so could a move, loan or otherwise, be in the offing? Given the Bees already thin forward line, I’d hope not. And if for no other reason than I think Grigg still has the potential to find the form that caused us to sign him from Walsall aswell as earning selection for his country.

The flipside, of course, (and remember that this is all pure speculation) is that Mark Warburton is clearing the decks ahead of any further new signing. The names of Scott Hogan and Patrick Bamford (Rochdale and Chelsea, respectively) have been doing the rounds for a while but are these simply the result of wishful thinking over a quiet summer? Or is Matthew Benham firing up the cryptic clue generator once more?

Is Will going to ask Warbs to ‘Take a Chance on Me” or will the Bees be spending the “Money, Money, Money”?

Either way, I’m sure we’ll learn more over the coming days.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

 

Dear Kew Gardens – in future, please limit your Abba to repeats of Alan Partridge .

 

Moses gets a chance to ‘celebrate like’ etc etc as Bees play numbers game

28 Jun

The flurry of transfer activity at Brentford this week as we prepare for life in the Championship has got me thinking. What is the protocol when recruiting a new player? That is, once the niceties of negotiating terms, signing contracts and posing for a photograph with the shirt are done away with?

Specifically, how does he choose his squad number? Indeed, does that even form part of the contract talks or is it simply handed down by the manager from the pool of available ‘spares’?

And would the current squad get first crack at any new opening? With Clayton Donaldson heading to Birmingham City (although, like Marcello Trotta, his profile still remains in the ‘team’ section on the Bees website) that coveted number 9 shirt is now available.

New boy Moses Odubajo, who was announced on Friday as having joined from Leyton Orient has already bagged number 10. Rumoured to be for a fee over GBP1million, per the East London press, this is great news. Who knows if the sight, and Russell Slade’s subsequent talk, of those ‘FA Cup like celebrations’ helped sway his decision?

One would presume that yesterday’s other new signing (announced along with contract extensions for David Button and Stuart Dallas), the free scoring Andre Grey from Luton Town, has his sights on that vacant ‘9’.

Was it a wasted opportunity for the likes of Alan Judge (18)? Could James Tarkowski (26) and Adam Forshaw (4) have negotiated between them to give the central defender that position’s traditional 4? Indeed, does it even matter to players or are they the superstitious sort that, once allocated a number, keep it until they leave a club (or beyond)?

Image

Does a squad number make a difference?

Obviously, it makes no real difference to what happens on pitch but, whilst I’m all for progress in the game, I’m ‘old school’ at heart. Seeing a team line up numbered 1-11 gives me a certain reassurance that it ‘looks right’. An additional little ‘good luck’ omen (to sit alongside the lucky shirt, magic pants and pre-match pint). Or perhaps I just have OCD?

Watching the (so far) all-conquering Netherlands in the World Cup they have achieved this feat despite the permutations possible in a 23-man squad. Has their manager Louis van Gaal (real name: Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal) just ‘got lucky’? Or has he had the balls to name his first choice starting XI well in advance and then allocate 12-23 amongst the rest?

Image

The all conquering Netherlands team , numbered 1-11 on the BBC website

I can only hope it is the latter and if so, whilst I don’t care a jot about the tribulations at Manchester United, then self-confidence of that nature is sure to work wonders after the debacle of the David Moyes era when he arrives at Old Trafford.

Still, for Brentford fans, they are opponents’ for 2015/16. This season, let’s concentrate on getting out of the Championship.

Forget ‘survival’ – I’m aiming high. And with Matthew Benham’s cryptic clues now being unravelled (they were obvious, really…), we are certainly putting together a young, exciting and attacking squad to start that charge.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

MO, JR or another MT? And two anchors in budgie smugglers.

27 Jun

When Brentford’s Championship campaign kicks off in just over six weeks with the visit of Charlton Athletic, the first XI could have a different look. Of course, this week has already seen Clayton Donaldson head for pastures new at Birmingham City whilst Marcos Tébar has swapped Spain for Griffin Park.

However, lovers of social media would have seen hints from both club owner Matthew Benham and chief executive Mark Devlin last night in regards to further activity.

Mark set minds racing with his late evening announcement that it had been, “Very busy in TW8 today. Hopefully some incoming transfer news in next 48 hours.” No further clues were forthcoming as to who these would be although the popular choice on twitter seemed to be Moses Odubajo of Leyton Orient.

I have no idea where that has come from or how accurate it is but, with Barry Hearn currently in talks to sell up his interests in the club and memories of that play-off final defeat still raw, is now the time the O’s will see their prize assets depart?

Matthew, on the other hand, has swapped the initials for the return of his ‘cryptic video clue’. He posted this YouTube link on his Facebook page last night, along with a similar announcement to Mark’s , as a hint about who could be coming in.

 

Matthew is clearly a very intelligent man. You don’t get to where he has without brains. Sadly, I’m just the numpty on the terrace and struggle with anything beyond a join-the-dots puzzle.

So how Billy Bob Thornton, masquerading as Lorne Malvo in ‘Some Roads’ links to a new signing, I have literally no idea. It could be anyone from Sean Thornton of Bala Town to a return for Jordan Rhodes….. (we can dream!)

To be honest, he could have printed a picture like this as a clue and I still wouldn’t get it. Either way, it sounds very positive news and I can’t wait to see who is next to feature in ‘obligatory photo in jeans and new shirt’ corner.

Image

Billy Bob Thornton?

And finally, Adrian Chiles put a smile on my face last night. Not in a good way but, at least, one that showed he has a sense of humour. Readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now.

However, the build up to the evening’s World Cup games on ITV, featured his terrifying look behind the scenes at how the light channel and the BBC carve up the televised games between them, as Chiles told us:

“If you’re wondering which second-round games will be shown on the BBC and which on ITV, Gary Lineker and I will strip down to our budgie smugglers, wrestle on the beach and the winner will get first pick.”

I still reckon last season’s Pugil sticks are the way to go.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14 ) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Image

Tell me this isn’t, really, how it happens?

 

And that silenced the Cop (acabana). Brazil have a Tony Gubba moment

24 Jun

For crying out loud, England. We were never going to win the World Cup but Joel Matip’s equaliser for Cameroon against Brazil last night really hit home as to what we are missing. To be out of the tournament with one group game still to play is all a bit rubbish but, more frustrating, is not being part of the tension and excitement in the knockout stages.

For a moment, with the scores being levelled, there was a very real threat of Brazil being knocked off the top of the table and left facing a second round group game against a rampant Netherlands team who had earlier made it three from three.

As the home crowd fell silent, all I could think of was the 1989 Brentford – Liverpool FA Cup quarter-final at Anfield and Tony Gubba’s iconic commentary.

““No Offside!! Cadette!!! Ohhh, he’s missed!! Sinton’s lovely little ball and Richard Cadette, top scorer with seventeen goals this season… how close did he come to putting this quarterfinal? Well, it would have been dreamland for Brentford, wouldn’t it? It was inches wide of the post. And that…silenced the Kop”.

Just as Brentford had their chance to claim one of the biggest scalps of all time, although were eventually undone by arguably the (then) best team in Europe, Cameroon had the favourites on the ropes. Whilst the final result was as expected (the host’s four goals the same as Liverpool eventually scored that afternoon) it was fun getting there.

England, meanwhile, aren’t at the races. The fat lady hasn’t even stepped out of the shower and done her hair, let alone started to sing, yet already we are packing our bags for the trip back to the airport. Very much a missed opportunity for players and fans alike.

Image

The wallchart takes shape – without England (but with Chile x2. D’oh!!)

Getting back to Brentford, the latest player whose name is being churned through the rumour mill is Conor McAleny. Given the impact he had at the start of last season, prior to that horrific leg break, I’d be very happy to see his return to Griffin Park. The Everton talent machine is certainly a well-oiled one, with Adam Forshaw and Jake Bidwell being the two obvious examples where we have benefitted.

Is their any truth to it? Well, it could just be a lot of paper talk – much like Clayton’s trip to Birmingham beach (a less salubrious place I couldn’t imagine – St. Andrews sand should be confined to the golf course) or Bristol City’s interest in Northern Ireland international Will Grigg currently seem to be.

We’ll see what happens but with England now dead in the water, I’ll take any opportunity to feed my football fix until some real news comes along.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ – The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14 – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.