Tag Archives: beer

Bring it on! Championship action is back.

14 Sep

Preston boss Alex Neil faces a raft of injury concerns ahead of Brentford’s visit to Deepdale…… Not my words but those of the BBC big match preview this morning and, with the greatest respect to our hosts, great news for the travelling Bees. After the interminable wait through international break following the humping of Derby County – a period punctuated by the obvious results of double victory for England along with twin defeats for Gibraltar & Scotland (sorry, JJ) – we’re back to the important stuff. Championship action. And, as ever, I can’t wait.

There’s something quite special about that moment you wake up and, as the fog clears, realising that it’s a weekend. For most of us, there’s no mad rush to get ready for the school run. No stress of having to go to work for the day. No commuter hell to fight through just to face all manner of other challenges once you reach the office.

Instead, waking up can be done at leisure. Lie ins can be enjoyed – yours truly had the luxury of 7(seven)am today. Fantasy football teams can be prepared, BBC match previews read and blogs written. The morning can be eased in to. Until the mad rush to get ready for Harry’s football club begins. But it’s fun. It’s relaxing. Mrs B is asleep and H is yet to surface. A rare moment of stolen tranquility before the fun starts. 

And that’s all before train rides North and the proper action scan be served up where this afternoon we have Preston v Brentford as our dish of the day. I’m really excited about this one. We’ve already kicked last season’s away day blues in to touch with the win on the road at Middlesbrough. Last time out at Griffin Park was magnificent. Derby County were trounced in a game that saw us really unfortunate not to extend the 3-0 lead that had been built at half-time. 

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Raining (goals) last time out, against Derby County.

Brentford really were scintillating with the team looking solid at the back and irrepressible going forward. Wing back Sergi Canos a joy to behold. Bryan Mbuemo a new hero in the making. Ollie Watkins making centre-forward look more and more comfortable a role with each passing goal.

Then there was Saïd Benrahma – a player who seems to have a permanent smile on the face and one who has the ability to pass it on to the supporters, too. Words cannot say how pleased I am that we’ve retained the mercurial wide man. Consolidating our form and position over the next few months will be crucial to retaining his services, one would presume, as the top flight can only be his inevitable home. Fingers crossed it will be with Brentford.

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Just a few men of the moment. 

Getting ahead of ourselves, perhaps, but one needs to aim high. It’s part of being a football fan. One of the many reasons we come . The expectation. The hope. Yes, there’s the social side too. Something that is more prevalent on those wonderful away days we get to experience in the Champinship. “Why are you leaving at 9am” asks Mrs Bruzon, “when the game doesn’t kick off until 3?”. She is yet to experience playing away and so doesn’t understand that the 90 minutes of on-pitch time are often the least enjoyable of the day.It’s as much about meeting your friends sharing that train ride, discovering a new pub in a new town and ticking another stadium off the list. The football itself is another bonus added to a great day out with your mates. Especially when there’s a win at the end of this.

And today, Preston is the place. This one won’t be easy, despite their own apparent injury concerns. Even at this early stage in proceedings the Deepdale outfit find themselves separated from the play-off zone by nothing more than goal difference. It is a  position they will no doubt expect to consolidate after three wins out of three in the league (Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan). Yet Brentford are no slouches. We’ve seen the team really start to find their feet as we adjust to the loss of Neal Maupay and the acquisitions of those new faces. Derby County was the quintessential demonstration that Thomas Frank has the tools at his disposal. How he uses them today will be key.

Thankfully, injury is not something that will trouble him. Whilst we had nobody on England duty (one day…one day), those who did represent their countries have come back healthy. And hopefully not too tired ! With England scoring goals for fun – and shipping them too – supporters went home happy after the victories over Bulgaria and Kosovo last week. We won’t overly dwell on Gibraltar v Denmark and Switzerland, where the ‘shipping’ was our main issue.

The point being that it was still enjoyable. But it was still England qualifying. A largely redundant exercise for those seeking a competitive edge given the size of the groups, the amounts of teams who can get through and the quality of those playing. Give me the Championship any day of the week. At least until the tournament proper kicks off in 2020.

Until then, here’s to Preston away. Enjoy…..

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Supporters enjoy watching England win at Wembley

Nick Bruzon

If Carlsberg did Twitter. New signing and backfiring bet see media team attain greatness.

19 Jul

Brentford travel to Oxford United for the latest stage in our pre-season programme, buzzing from the news that the much touted transfer of Ollie Watkins from Exeter City has been completed. Becoming our eighth signing of the summer, the conclusion of this move has seen two wonderful bits of social media (three if you count our own lack of hashtag / signing video when the news was announced). The first could leave one Bees supporter very much out of pocket whilst the second threatens to catapult a Nottingham Forest fan into Simon Hateley territory (he of Aston Villa infamy).

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Ollie Watkins joins. Its all very red

First, Ollie himself. What can you say? The Hoff may have departed over the summer but he has been replaced up top by first Neal Maupay and now the EFL young player of the year. The club were understandably excited about the news with Phil Giles telling official We first made an offer for Ollie 12 months ago, and again last January, so I am glad that we were finally able to sign him this time around”.

But it was on Twitter where the real story was beginning to unfold. Andy Scott joined Phil in celebrating the news about the Exeter man joining us, noting on the football front that it has been “A huge team effort from everybody involved” and that “patience is a virtue!” before going on to note that Ollie is “part of the family now!”.

Judging by the picture of his agent, its probably not the first time he’s heard that phrase. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy and all that but I for one wouldn’t want to cross him, going on this photo. That’s one intense look.

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Ollie and his agent. Was a horse’s head involved in transfer negotiations?

Spare a thought too for Brentford fan Josh Mahoney who is currently in the chair for a £2.5K bar bill following a tweet published last week, where he laid down a gauntlet which has come back to bite him firmly on the behind:

Can’t see us signing Ollie Watkins, if we do I’ll buy everyone who likes this a drink this season.

Yet it was the comeback from official which inspired what one supporter has described to me as “The greatest thing that media team have ever done”.

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Chris, Sean and Ciaran most definitely first up at the bar

What? This is brilliant. This is genuinely funny. Is this the same media team that has previously brought us ‘The Obama meme’,  #TrophyFriends and #Novemberkings? Whatever wind of change has blown through Chris Wickham’s department you can only doff your cap. First, no hashtag or gimmick to announce Ollie had joined from Exeter (take a leaf, Aston Villa with your fake Whatsapps and #WelcomeJT). Now, a genuine joke. And a great one. Not withstanding their choice of drink.

Andy was on fine form too, showing just what happens when you cross swords with Scott, Giles and Ankersen (not a law firm or 70s folk group).

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But it wasn’t just Josh who was left eating his words.

Up at the City Ground, Nottingham Forest fan ‘Redman’ may be regretting his own boast. Whilst not in Hateley territory (yet), this has somewhat backfired.

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 05.59.07As at the time of writing (6.00am, Wednesday morning) we’re still waiting for banter to commence. Very much a case of tumbleweed and radio silence. Ironically, something matched by Forest fan Matt Dyson – the avocado loving sports presenter on Christian O’Connell’s Absolute Radio breakfast show. His bulletins failing to mention what was the day’s big transfer story.

The other question to come out of this is how we pay for the summer’s transfer activity and changes to the wage bill? Moreso to remain FFP compliant. Of course, the fees paid for our new signings are undisclosed, we have a new sponsorship deal and are about to begin our fourth season in the Championship. Yet with previous seasons seeing outward activity as well as inward, the big fear remains that we’ll be saying ‘adios’ to Jota.

Burnley are the latest club to join the rumour mill (although I’m still laughing at the thought he’d go to the likes of Derby County or the aforementioned Forest, despite their Assombalonga windfall) despite there being no further news following Dean’s talk 12 days ago about an imminent big bid coming in.

So what happens at the Kassam tonight could be telling. Of course, Dean has already said that if a bid fails to materialise then Jota “will be available for the Oxford United game”. Playing won’t be a guarantee he’ll be with us for the big kick off but any absence from the starting XI will be an enormous sign.

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Faster than a speeding bullet – is the Spanish superman leaving Griffin Park ?

I’m not stupid (completely). We all know how good Jota is. We all know his contract is running out so we could lose a £10million player for nothing. We all know our own model. We all know we’ve sold and still thrived before. Yet, the footballing romantic in me is desperate for him to stay. The last five years have been SO exciting. With a wonderful spine to this team and an ever evolving squad, he really could be the final piece in a promotion gamble.

I’ve called top six already. Given our experience and starting XI this is more than feasible. With Jota in the team, the chances can only improve.

That may well be a decision that is already out of our hands. A decision that has already been made. One thing’s for sure, the Brentford family will be taking a very keen interest in tonight’s team sheet when that one is published.

For now, though, let’s focus on the uber-positive. Jota is a bee and we’ve made another wonderful purchase. Our media team have developed a genuine sense of humour and we’ve not sold any fan favourites.

On a day that sees us looking at how football and Twitter work hand in hand, what better way to end than with another observation from the social media platform. Ian Westbrook distilling it all into one tweet.

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Nick Bruzon

Football reaches an all time low

22 Apr

Match day is almost upon us once more. Brentford visit MK Dons knowing that a point will be sufficient to confirm the home side’s relegation back to League One. Over in Italy meanwhile, AC Milan used last night’s Serie A game with Capri to come out with something so cringeworthy as to make #trophyfriends and #BigNewAmbitions seem tame in comparison.

First up, MK Dons. There was genuine sadness amongst many supporters when Charlton joined Bolton in being relegated to League One. The controversy going on at the club surrounding owner Roland Duchatelet and the set up at The Valley has blighted their campaign, culminating in that bizarre ‘telling off’ administered to fans back in mid March.

For all that people have moaned this season about some aspects of life at Griffin Park, our ‘problems’ are, on the surface, just a drop in the ocean compared to those of the Addicks. It’s always been a great club to go and visit (especially pre-match) and for that reason alone I’ll be sad to see them outside of our league next year. Here’s hoping they bounce back fast.

Yet, on the flip side, I can’t imagine there’ll be any tears shed amongst supporters if MK Dons join them. This most divisive of clubs have done nothing but upset football fans up and down the country since their relocation and rebranding of Wimbledon FC 11 years ago.

Closer to home, we’ve had our own runs in with the club. Manager Karl Robinson left “shaken” (not my words but those of the Daily Mirror – I know) after claiming to have had a pint glass thrown at him by Bees fans back in 2012.

Chief Executive Mark Devlin, of course, categorically denied the claims – if for no other reason than we all know it’s physically impossible to find a pint glass within 100 square metres of Griffin Park on Match Day. All we have are those flimsy plastic things to wash down the free chili.

Whilst charges were never pressed by the police, not unsurprisingly that memory still lingers amongst Brentford supporters. Ordinarily I’d say it would be wrong to take pleasure in another club’s misfortunes and I’m sure Dean Smith will only be interested in keeping our unbeaten run going as we close in on QPR.

But for the Bees fans, I’m sure that a win or draw this Saturday will be treated far more excitedly than the point(s) would, ordinarily, warrant. Here’s to the weekend – whether you follow on BeesPlayer or live at Stadium MK, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Bees fans with their fingers crossed for the right result come 5pm.

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Could this happen on Saturday?

ok – Italy. We all know that football is becoming much more corporate these days and the fans so, so sterile. Whilst I’m not advocating a return to the dark days of hooliganism by any stretch, the library at Arsenal or tourist trap at Stamford Bridge show how our stadia are becoming soulless arenas of polite applause. Our game is littered with fans wearing half and half scarfs whilst sporting selfie sticks and listening to ‘goal music’.

Yet AC Milan have taken this to the next level of awfulness after performing a pre-match haka on the San Siro pitch before kick off for last night’s match against Capri.

This, bad enough. The haka, from a sporting perspective, belongs exclusively to New Zealand. And they’re welcome to it. What on earth has the haka got to do with football? Or Milan?

Promoting skin-care company Nivea is the answer. One part of the Milan haka involves them rejigging the traditional dance to mimic the application of face cream.

Sometimes words just aren’t enough. The shameless appropriation of another team’s culture and history is below.

Not that such an act has anything to do with Saturday.

Nick Bruzon

Forget sexist Tyson, I’ve still got Robinson Fury

5 Dec

Brentford take on MK Dons today with the British press in uproar over boxer Tyson Fury and his reported sexist comments about Jessica Ennis-Hill and women, in general. Phrases such as, “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on their back. That’s just my personal beliefs. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe” don’t sit well at all. Maybe that’s just me, although I’d hope not.

Rather than give the heavyweight moron of the world any more publicity, I reference this specifically to show that sportsmen can often engage the brain only after already coming out with some ridiculous things. And as we are all aware, MK Dons boss Karl Robinson is no different.

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Who wears short shorts?

Brentford fans still have a sour taste in the mouth following the controversial incident back in December 2012 when Robinson claimed a pint glass was thrown at him whilst leaving Griffin Park.

It was a bizarre allegation (if for no other reason than given our plastic cups in the hive, you’d have more chance of Nick Proschwitz scoring a goal than getting hold of an actual glass on match day) and one that was never taken forward by Police. This, despite the Daily Mirror running with the “Fans’ glass attack on boss” ‘story’.

Thankfully, chief executive Mark Devlin was on hand to diffuse the situation afterwards, explaining to anybody that wanted to listen to the truth that, “There was almost an incident but our stewards stepped in. Some beer was thrown, most of which hit our operations manager and a couple of stewards. I can categorically say no glass was thrown at Karl Robinson.”

Say what you want about MK Dons (and many have) but this, more than anything, is my abiding memory of a club for whom, I suppose, you can understand Robinson automatically being keen to avoid any references to plastic.

Regardless of our own desire to get three more points that would, potentially, take the Bees to level points Birmingham City in the play off zone, this game has that extra factor riding on it. Football fans have very long memories and I’m sure Mr Robinson can expect more than a few choice comments in his direction today.

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The BBC table shows a win will take us past QPR towards the play-offs

As for the man in the middle this afternoon, it’s Oliver Langford. His current statistics show 43 yellows and one red from 17 games, of which only 3 have been without a card being produced. That’s approximately 2 .5 per game – a figure which looks very good on paper.

And if anybody is looking for how that sits in the wider officiating community, there’s always Keith Stroud to refer to as a the yardstick of heavy handed booking ratios. And nothing changes.

His 20 games ‘in charge’ this campaign have produced 80 yellows and a further five reds. Even I can do the maths on that in my head but for those of you with a ghoulish statistical interest, West Brom v Port Vale in the Capital One Cup and last month’s Derby v QPR league game saw the yellow card appear 17 times.

But for those thinking a Langford may be better than a Stroud, I’ll take you back to last season, October 2014, and the 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. My own comments from the Last Word archives, aside from, “‘Big‘ Nick Proschwitz could have won it at the death” (how little we knew then, although were already starting to fear) included the following assessment.

Referee Oliver Langford earned the wrath of the crowd for that one, along with several horror challenges from the visitors which went unpunished or overlooked. Is it too much to ask for a bit of consistency and quality from the men in the middle?”

With the likes of Sam Saunders and, potentially, Jota just out of the cotton wool, let’s hope our players get the protection they deserve.

The club have also reminded people, for understandable reasons, to please turn up early for the game as supporters will be asked to undergo additional bag inspections, ‘pat downs’ and metal detector searches. The plus point to all this being (free chili aside) that we get the chance to hear a bit more of Big B Radio.

More importantly, those pre-match requests that have come in via the medium of Twitter.

As ever, the Brentford fans seem to be combining musical excellence with, at times,  a subtle level of punnery. As such, it will be interesting if we hear some of these before kick off.

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Can you better these? Certainly Bieber must be possible

Although let’s hope Dean Russell’s fears prove unfounded – we may now be waiting until next season for Kurt and the marketing men to bring us a jumbotron TV but we do of course already have a new, improved tannoy public address system.

As the regular reader will know, I’m not a fan of Brentford ‘official’ using hashtags on Twitter but, I have to say that this is very much an exception. And you can still get involved using #BeeTheDJ.

Nice work Brentford. Here’s to three points.

See you at the game.

Nick Bruzon

 

Exclusive transfer news as football royalty returns at Palace

29 Oct

After all the speculation, the loan move of Danny Graham to Brentford from Sunderland has, for now at least, proven to be an unfounded rumour. The alleged move is now reported to have collapsed by the vast majority of those sources that were telling us it was going to happen on Monday.

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.

Why the Danny Graham story is missing a key fact

28 Oct

A lot of the ‘paper talk’ on Monday suggested that Brentford are about to ‘swoop’ for Sunderland striker Danny Graham. The Daily Mail, The Mirror and, of course, our own Get West London (who’d report a possible transfer if they found it in a packet of cereal) all suggest the player, who last saw meaningful action on loan at Middlesbrough, is going to join us until January.

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.

Can anybody swap me a Will Grigg ?

24 Oct

In all the excitement of Brentford’s 125th anniversary this week, a story has completely passed me by as it seems we are not alone in celebrating our formation. Whereas we chose to mark the occasion by honouring it with, amongst other things, the game against Sheffield Wednesday, League One MK Dons have adopted a different approach to note their proud ten years of existence.

The League One team’s website reports that they have launched their own ‘sticker album’ as a means of celebrating a decade since their inception. Produced by Esportada (certainly don’t sound like a Panini), fans can collect 120 stickers that include the current squad, ‘action’ shots from classic matches and some club ‘record’ holders.

There’s more excitement, though. The first five people to complete their sticker book receive a free subscription to MK Dons player.

This is all true. Should you wish, then you can see the full story here. Personally, as a grown man had I elected to switch allegiances to this recently manufactured team, I can’t for one second believe I’d be participating in this primary school ritual.

Still, if it works for them then all I can do is raise a celebratory glass to Karl Robinson and his team.

Now, can anybody swap a Will Grigg?

Artists impression of the Will Grigg sticker - only on loan; not swapped

Artists impression of the Will Grigg sticker – only on loan; not swapped

From the best shirt to the worst – with a video nod to Eric

6 Sep

Over the last 13 months since this column has been running, our reader may have realised I’m somewhat of a Brentford kit nerd. A quick search of this site with the word ‘kit’ will also show pieces on what we, our Championship rivals (and beyond) have worn. Likewise, some of the quirkier efforts through the ages. Hull City AFC and their tiger stripes, the Coventry City T, Spanish broccoli, beer and octopus designs being some of the best.

However, whilst reading a thread on GPG this morning in regards to Brentford shirt, it suddenly dawned on me. I’ve written about our best ever home and, equally, away shirt. There’s also been a piece published on what are, in my opinion, our worst ever away tops.

But I’ve never completed the story by talking about my least popular home effort. Until now.

By and large, our home kit has generally been pretty good over the years and so to compile a top ten or even top five would be, largely, a pointless exercise. That said, two do stand out for me and both are from recent years.

In second place is the 2012/13 effort. On the surface, I really liked this. Thick stripes, a decent shade of red and even a solitary touch of black on the shoulder was a nice touch. Then you turned it over.

Where were the stripes? Not only had they been removed ‘due to football league regulations’ (that, seemingly, Sheffield United were able to circumnavigate) but they’d been replaced by a teabag. Whilst the front of this was standard shirt material, the reverse was some sort of perforated ventex effort. It meant our female fans had their bra straps on display whilst it gave all of us the chance of gaining a polka dot sun tan.

As for the stick on ‘Skyex’ sponsor patch. It was the first appearance of this much maligned piece of low budget kit design – a trend that has continued into the Adidas regime and blighted their, otherwise, sterling efforts.

Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

2012/13 – Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

But that’s nothing, to me, on the previous season’s effort. 2011/12 is, in my opinion, the most awful of all the shirts we’ve ever had.

It’s not just that there are too many red stripes, relative to a classic Brentford shirt, yet not enough to bring it into the cult territory of the ‘funky bee’ 1989 centenary effort. Although that’s a poor start.

Then chuck in the black collars. They’re floppy!!? Think Eric Cantona, but after a few too many Kronebourgs.

The only point of a collar on a football shirt is so as you can stand it up – preferably just at the point of entering ‘Saunder’s territory’. Nothing is more likely to put the wind up the opposition than a midfielder with a known eye for goal, making this final adjustment before striking a free kick.

Cantona shows how a collar, if it has to be incorporated into a football kit, should be treated.

 

So we have too many stripes and a pathetic collar but the ultimate crime is the red shoulder patches and double black trim. Adidas have their famous three stripes, so Puma decide to copy this but go one less. Why?

It’s an awful choice and this entire upper makes us look like hotel doormen. Perhaps some people like it but, personally, I won’t even have this one in my collection.

Talk about Puma seeing out their contract in style. Or lack of .

Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

2011/12 – Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

Support Brentford, enjoy the Bright Sky and do your bit

18 May

I’m going to try and write a post FA Cup final Brentford column without mentioning Russell Slade and celebrating after yesterday’s game saw Arsenal, finally, win a trophy whilst Hull City AFC won friends the world over.

Anybody who missed the match in preference for the conclusion to ‘La Liga’ lost out on witnessing one of the most thrilling finals on record. Spain may have some of the biggest names in world football but for real excitement, I’m glad I keep things ‘domestic’ as the oldest cup competition reached an inexorable climax.

That was then; this is now. Having woken up on Sunday morning to warm weather and glorious skies over TW8, the footballing excitement looks set to beat even yesterday’s thrills. It is, of course, the second (now annual) run out for the Brentford legend’s team at Griffin Park.

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How the BBC website might have looked this morning. It’s not too late, chaps

This free to enter event, organised by club sponsors Skyex in aid of their ‘Bright Sky’ charity forms the denouement of the Community Day. Gates are already open (9.30am) with ‘the big game’ due to kick off at 2.30pm.

Those in attendance for last year’s game saw a competitive match with Brentford eventually running out as 6-4 winners. Can they maintain their 100% record? There’s only one place to find out.

What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than kicking back in the stand, catching up with your friends, seeing some Bees’ legends in action and, perhaps, enjoying a beer in the warm weather? Better still, its all for charity !

And if the Bees make it 2 out of 2, I’ve no doubt they’ll celebrate like they’ve won the etc etc etc

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Forget Arsenal and La Liga – THIS is what it’s all about