Tag Archives: Bees Player

Get a plate, a knife and a fork. Add some words. Start eating.

19 Apr

Sometimes it’s just too easy. The inevitable ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ of blog columns arrives as Brentford gear up for Saturday’s home derby with QPR. Whilst Fulham may have finished above us for the first time in three seasons (although there’s still much more to come on that front), once again the Bees will finish the Championship campaign clear of the not so super hoops. With just three games to go we’re 10 points ahead – Brentford on 60 to our neighbours’ 50.

Poor Ian Holloway. Whilst it looked at one stage as though he might turnaround what had become very much a damp squib of a season, normal form has now returned. Rangers’ current record in the league reads: LLLLL and , mathematically, they still aren’t safe. Only six points separate them from third bottom Blackburn Rovers. Themselves, a team who will no doubt be going hammer and tongs for a victory when they visit Griffin Park on the final game of the season. What an awkward one that could end up being.

But if the chance to go 13 points clear of the Loftus Road outfit and push them ever closer to the trapdoor wasn’t enough inspiration for Brentford this Saturday, there’s more. Much more. Whilst one can only have huge respect for all Jake Bidwell did at Griffin Park, moreso in a week that marked the three year anniversary since our ascension from League One, how good to show him he made the wrong call? If only for that #Jakejoins hashtag.

Indeed from out of that move we’ve not only seen the true emergence of Tom Field but, as excitingly, Rico Henry recover from injury and show just how the statistical model helped pick another former Dean Smith player. To have two such comfortable looking left side players really is a rare luxury and one that has provoked intriguing discussion as to just who should start in the full back berth.

Then, of course, we’ve got the chance to do the double over the neighbours. A 2-0 win for Brentford at QPR back in October was one that saw Romaine Sawyers hit an absolute screamer to double our lead. Writing about that one at the time, it was noted on these pages that : “”Sure, the QPR defence looked holier than the Pope (and were about as benevolent) but you still need the technique to put it away. What. A. Finish.

“The look on his face before he hit it”, opined one terrace wag to me, “you just knew what was going to happen”. And sure enough, it did.””

More of the same would be just wonderful.

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View from the terrace – the net starts to bulge from Romaine’s rocket

But, of course, the biggest incentive of them all is ‘that column’, written by Ian Holloway in his pre-season guise as a pundit for Sky Sports. In it, he tipped Brentford to be relegated, saying we’d finish 23rd and incorrectly claiming we’d punched above our weight under Warbs.

“ Brentford are regressing. Mark Warburton got them punching above their weight. They still haven’t replaced Andre Gray and Alan Judge will be missing for the start of the season. They could be in trouble.”

Sorry, Ian. Punching above our weight? Regressing? The table doesn’t lie. It didn’t then. It didn’t under Dean Smith last year when we finished above both Fulham and QPR in the table (despite the early sale of Gray and the injury enforced absence of the Judge). It certainly doesn’t now. Brentford sit in 11th place. QPR are down down in 17th and still looking down the barrel of relegation.

I’m not Dean Smith. I’m just the numpty on the terrace. But even I can predict what his pre-match team talk might be on Saturday afternoon . Something Twitter correspondent Luis Adriano also noted might be making an appearance.

I can’t wait for Saturday. A West London derby is always a great thing but to have two of them back to back (of course, the trip to play off chasing Fulham is the following week) is a rare treat.

Here’s to a repeat of October. For more than one reason….

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I’m sure this was full earlier? Still eight minutes to go

Nick Bruzon

Rams raided in demolition derby. The Great Dane and King of Spain inspire killer Bees.

14 Apr

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do but stand back and gasp in awe. There’s Good Friday and then there’s this. Bloody Marvellous Friday. Brentford swept Derby County aside by 4-0. It was a scoreline which, if anything, underplays just how complete a team performance this was. Barnsley should be quaking in their boots if we can even half replicate this one on Monday.

Three hours after full time and I’m still staggered by just how beautiful that was. We’ve spoken all season about what would happen if the Bees could play a full 90 minutes at full tempo. Well, here was the answer. And boy, wasn’t it a joy to behold?

“A game of two halves. And Derby weren’t in either” . Not my words but those of one New Road observer. Top comment from a top cat. He really couldn’t have summarised it in a more poetic or appropriate fashion. Sentiments shared at the bar of The Griffin post game, where the first comment I heard was one of , “4-0? 4. 0. To Brentford? Just what’s that all about?”

Ah. The tale of the unfancied and underestimated underdog being played out yet again. Derby committing the fatal mistake of playing the reputation (a traditional mid tier three outfit) rather than the team in front of them (a free scoring XI with the tastiest wings this side of Colonel Sanders).

Oh, Jota. Could we love this man any more? Every time you think he’s reached his peak he then goes one better. Or, in this case, two. His opening goal, to double Lasse Vibe’s first half opener (one that the Spaniard himself had provided the assist for) was beautifully taken. But the second, to hammer home the four goal advantage, was up there with the best of them.

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View from the Braemar. Jota points the way

The King of Spain let the ball slide one way past the hapless Richard Keogh, the player himself going the other, before reuniting with the ball. It was a moment to take the breath away and as close to Pele in 1970 or Maradona against England in 1986 as one could hope to see in West London.

But then, with supporters gasping for air, he completed the stranglehold. On Derby, that is . From a seemingly impossible angle he fired home from the corner of the six yard box, through three defenders, past the ‘keeper, across the goal and into the net at the back stick.

How the crowd roared. How the king, arms aloft, soared. Grown men gasped. The director’s box, to a man (and woman) stood as one. Acknowledging a moment that truly was the crown jewel in a consumate performance.

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The Bees line up to celebrate with the man of the moment

Between Jota’s pair, Lasse Vibe had made it 3-0. His shot from outside the box already wrapping things up and leaving the Great Dane on the cusp of what would, possibly should, have been a well deserved hat-trick. Scott who? With the greatest of respect to the former Bee, Lasse has well and truly proven what he can do and what a great piece of business that Matthew and the team pulled off back in January.

But just as against Leeds United, to overly single out any one payer would be unfair. It was one of those performances where we saw just how good Dean Smith’s team is. The difference being that, whilst both games saw great Bees’ performances, this time we kept it going for the full 90. Indeed, if anything, we actually accelerated.

Marcus Gayle summed things up nicely at full time . His twitter analysis encapsulated it in succinct fashion. “That was the most complete 90 min team performance by @BrentfordFC this season – full of confidence,creativeness and goals at  Grifffin Park

If you were there, you know what happened. If you weren’t, then my condolences. It really was THAT good. As ever, the BBC, Brentford ‘official’ or Beesotted are amongst the sources to get your full fat match report.

The next game can’t come soon enough. The trip to Barnsley may be a long one but if Brentford put in even half the shift they did today, then three points are the least we’ll come home with.

That’s for Monday, though. For now, it’s a chance to maybe play those goals once more. Sky sports have the video up now on their internet page, with Bees Player to follow tomorrow.

I can’t wait to hear what Mark Burridge made of this one.

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Derby were yards behind us, in both halves

Nick Bruzon

Can a leopard change his spots as Preston visit?

17 Sep

Saturday morning, TW8. The torrential downpour of Friday is but a fleeting memory as Brentford await the visit of Preston North End. Instead it is the memory of Wednesday night at Aston Villa and a wonderfully hard fought point in a game that we can count ourselves hugely unlucky not to have won by the end, which is just one of many motivating factors today.

Villa Park was wonderful. An incredible stadium and a great experience although at the end of the day (Clive) it has been and gone. The tickets are now residing in the stub collection (should anybody own such a thing) ; the half and half scarves at the back of the wardrobe. Or, preferably, a bonfire. Whilst we may get another chance to play them next season for now it is all about Preston.

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Bees fans celebrate the equaliser at Villa Park

The stadium holds it’s collective breath. The penalty taker has been chosen and the ball placed on the spot. With the scores locked at 0-0, Brentford supporters know that if this spot kick goes in, promotion to the Championship is as good as ours. Teeth are gritted, fingers crossed and buttocks clenched. One terrace wag turns around and looks at the faces of the fans behind him, such is the tension and, more importantly, his own penalty based idiosyncrasy (that’s not me, btw) .

Boooomm. Noooo!!! He’s hit the crossbar and they’ve now gone down the other end to steal the title .

Sorry. Wrong season. I mean, Yessss!!! He’s done it. On loan (as he was then) Alan Judge buried his first half effort from 12 yards to give the Bees a 1-0 lead in a game against Preston the following campaign that, thanks to other results, saw us go up to the Championship behind Wolves.

Such was the difference in climax compared to what had happened less than 12 months earlier against Doncaster that the only real breatholding was when the realisation dawned that our post match pitch invasion had been somewhat premature. Rotherham were doing their level best to haul themselves back into a seemingly lost cause at Molineux but, in the end, it was too late. We’d done it.

We all know what happened. Alan even missed a second penalty that day as the Preston support, fully spruced up for their annual ‘gentry day’ helped us celebrate long into the night.

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Some people are on the pitch – what a denouement to that Preston game

Yet, like the Aston Villa game, that is now another memory and marvellous though it is to wallow in it once more, focus on the task at hand is very much the order of the day.

Having lost their opening three games on the spin, Preston have now started to find their feet. Whilst beating QPR is no big thing these days (just ask Newcastle) their most recent outing saw another win with a stonking 3-0 defeat of Cardiff City.  Even the previous game,  defeat at Barnsley, saw manager Simon Grayson enthusing about the positives in his team’s performance.

The point being, underestimate Preston and their 19th place at your peril. If nothing else, the table is still three games away from officially ’taking shape’ . 10 games being the place when that benchmark of form is reached and, of course, we are now 7(seven) games into the campaign.

The next point of focus is the man in the middle. Few names inspire fear like Keith Stroud. The booking happy official really set himself apart in the game at Sheffield United back in April 2013 and has been flourishing the cards ever since.

And nothing has changed since. In the 10 games he has officiated this season, 48 yellows and 4 reds have already been produced from Mr Stroud’s pocket.

One can only hope that, in a season which has already seen referees taking a much harder line on could and a much dimmer view on petulance, pulling and diving, our boys can keep their focus. My online bookmaker isn’t even offering odds on a red card today. This, when I checked for research purposes.

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Keith Stroud – we all know the drill

And then, of course, is the question of who Dean Smith picks to start this one. With the players having had one day’s less prep time than normal (it still feels so odd playing on a Wednesday) and the midfield looking a touch jaded at times agasint Villa, could changes be imminent? Or have Dean’s favoured XI recharged their batteries for another chance to reward his faith in them ?

Will Lasse Vibe start? What about Sullay Kaikai? The persistence and continued application of the Bees by the end of the Aston Villa game was clear for all to see.

Have these two subs done sufficiently to help tip the balance and, perhaps, give what must be some very tired legs a bit of a break? Likewise, could Dean make more changes to his midfield or is it just a game away from fully ‘clicking’? Decision, decisions.

The flip side to all of this is that I understand Marcus Gayle, will be in the Beesplayer commentary box this afternoon. Or, should I say, on the recently enlarged gantry where Mark Burridge and team will be based from today.

What’s so important about Marcus’s commentating skills, you may ask? Well, aside from being an absolute legend in his own lunchbox, sorry lunchtime, his form alongside Mark mirrors his success on the pitch bad. Two co-commentaries and two victories is as good a record as you could hope for.

Should we make it three in row today, I can only imagine Beesplayer listeners will be calling for Marcus to be made a regular fixture.

Marcus v Keith. Dean v Simon. Brentford v Preston. Who will come out on top? There’s only one place to find out. 3pm, Griffin Park.

See you there.

Nick Bruzon

What do we know after the first round of Championship fixtures?

8 Aug

And relax. With the weekend’s opening round of Championship fixtures having played out, Brentford find themselves just three points off Ipswich and Norwich (to name but a few) at the top end of the table whilst staying clear of Newcastle and Leeds United amongst others. Put a bit more simply, we lost to Huddersfield Town.2-1

What can you say? Well, for one I wasn’t even there. A last minute summer’s weekend camping meant the closest yours truly got to match action was tripping over the guy ropes chasing a rogue ball during an on-site kick about. Hey , at least it wasn’t a twig.  And then failing, spectacularly , to get any internet reception to keep track of the scores.

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Football action was limited to tripping over guy ropes (rather than twigs)

As such, it meant a hasty retreat to the local pub – this, purely for research purposes – to catch up on all the scores, updates , comments etc.

And? We lost. Frustrating , for sure, but is it really the doom and gloom some supporters are already embracing? Sometimes, I do wonder if people take as much pleasure for a defeat as a victory – simply for the opportunity to then let rip and exercise those ‘keyboard warrior’ tendencies.

Whatever. Each to their own. I’ve said it time and again – the table doesn’t take shape until ten games in. For all the comic effect of seeing Newcastle sitting bottom of the pile on Saturday morning (and, likewise, the somewhat more stomach churning sight at the top), this will only be a temporary state of affairs.

What I’d take more notice of is those teams already starting to fill their shooting boots. Forest, Ipswich Town and Norwich City (sans Sergi Canos) all managing four apiece. For all the possession and shots on / off target that a team may have, there’s only one stat that counts. And that’s balls in the back of the net. With Ipswich Town, who  beat new boys Barnsley 4-2, next up at Griffin Park we get the chance to see if this was a one off or whether the Tractor Boys could be one of those setting the early pace.

As for Brentford, positives can include Lewis Macleod lasting 80 minutes of a game. What a wait to get there since he signed last January and promptly endured that unfortunate run of injuries and mishaps. Nico Yennaris, missing from the start because of an infected toe, came off the bench to score at the end of a beautiful move involving Lewis and Romaine Sawyers.

Daniel Bentley pulled off a number of smart saves and , from a sartorial perspective, looked every bit the part with Kit man Bob pulling a rabbit from the hat. Or kit bag. The previously unrevealed all red number putting one in mind of the early 80s effort worn at Plymouth. For anyone moaning about too much white in the current home kit, perhaps that might be the answer?

Beyond that, I’m in the dark. BeesPlayer highlights on YouTube being my only source of information and so to draw any form of match report will, as ever, be a job for the likes of Beesotted, the BBC or even ‘official’ .

For now, we’ll simply look forward to midweek action in the League cup at Exeter (surely a game the home side will be viewing as a potato skin) and then start the prep for Ipswich on Saturday.

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Bob pulled a retro rabbit from his kit bag on Saturday

Nick Bruzon

Lions, Tigers and Bees. Is this another clue for next season?

29 May

We’re almost there. Yesterday’s play-off final saw Hull City AFC make a swift return to the Premier League whilst Sheffield Wednesday prepare to line up alongside Brentford once more. With Barnsley and Millwall going toe-to-toe on Sunday afternoon, by the time Antiques Roadshow is on we’ll know the full extent of next season’s Championship. And was there a further hint about kit from none other than Bees supremo Matthew Benham?

First up, the play-off final. Promotion for Hull City was well deserved on the day, despite the incredible presence and noise from the Wednesday supporters. Sadly, their team didn’t get a look in against a well organised Tigers outfit who probably could have taken it by more than the 1-0 final scoreline.

But one was all they needed and, despite an injury time surge from their opponents, Hull stayed firm. With it, Moses Odubajo joins Andre Gray, James Tarkowski and Adam Forshaw as recent Bees who have earned promotion to the Premier League this season. Let’s just hope those sale contracts were well negotiated and included promotion clauses!

Millwall give it a shot at an equally rapid return and, all being well, providing another local game for the Bees next season. We’ve already got trips to Fulham, QPR, Reading and Brighton amongst the ’short hops’ . Then there’s the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Burton Albion which are sure to provide high demand and a new experience for many Brentford supporters.

Chuck the Lions into the mix and that’s a third of the season’s away games already booked in without even trying. Best get those green cards and rail tickets at the ready. Or, if Mrs Bruzon is reading, a new subscription to BeesPlayer.

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There’s always a welcome at Millwall

Next up, asthma pumps. They help you breathe. Good things. Nothing much more to say on the subject really.

The 2016/17 kit article prompted a bit of intrigue yesterday. As was noted at the time, this was nothing more than harmless fun and tenuous guesswork. Yet, amidst the nonsense have we stumbled across the direction, or even influenced, next season’s offerings? Whilst I’d guess firm ‘no’ to each, who doesn’t love a bit of speculation?

And if an ultimately unfounded ‘Bees boss in double transfer swoop’ is good enough for our esteemed local press, then why not extend the same privilege to the playing kit – not that I’m either ‘local press’ or ‘esteemed’.

The possibility of having a green third kit is one that, judging by social media, seems to be a popular one. Supporters whose feedback I have seen have, mostly, given it a thumbs up whilst Richard Merritt and Geoff Buckingham also answered the question as to whether the Bees had even worn green before.

RM: I’ve seen us wear Green away to Watford in the 70’s. The shirt had a black ‘flap’ collar with a whole black ‘V’. I created my own shirt by having a Brentford badge sewn on to a Peter Bonneti goal keeping shirt

GB:Brentford did wear green as an away shirt during one season in the 1970’s. I cannot recall how often. It may even have been borrowed because their own kit got stuck in traffic!

Wonderful as the thought of Richard sporting his own home made kit was, things then stepped up a notch when even Matthew Benham joined in the Twitter conversation.

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Are we reading too much into this…..?

We all know Matthew’s forays onto Twitter are rare but, normally, telling. Is this another transfer-style cryptic clue? Can we read anything into this exchange? Who knows?

I’m hoping that by, “What do you think Bob” Matthew was talking about the possibility of the Bees wearing green rather than emulating Ayr United. To be quite honest, I don’t have our top brass down as the misogynistic types. We’re a family club and long may it stay this way.

Besides, the thought of Buzzette bereft of her normal oversized shirt and, instead, covered antenna to toe in nothing more than chanel no. 5, green body paint and a Brentford badge is one I daren’t visualise.

Either way, whatever the final colours and whatever the design the only think I know for sure is that the suspense is killing me. With other clubs already releasing their new designs faster than the Bees change head coaches, I can’t wait another six weeks to find out.

Come on Brentford. Put us out of our misery.

Please.

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The mocked up shirts that have (some) supporters talking

Nick Bruzon 

Plug time (regular readers know the score from here) : 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.

Thanks for reading.

Rasmus speaks ahead of our final game…

7 May

Brentford are almost home. It’s Saturday morning and we’ve a game against Huddersfield Town just hours away. Whatever else happens we’re clear of both QPR and Fulham (whose fans continue to bite) in the Championship table after this most up and down of seasons. And should anybody have twenty minutes and any battery power to kill on the way up to, or back from, Yorkshire then Rasmus has spoken…

But firstly, the game at Huddersfield Town. The overwhelming desire for points aside, the big question for me remains one of team selection. In the best sense. Last weekend’s thumping of hapless Fulham saw Scott Hogan grab a brace, that wonderful 7th 5th minute effort from Sam Saunders and the oh-so confident debut of development squad left back Tom Field in place of Jake Bidwell.

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Will Tom Field ‘go again’ ?

I’d love to see both Scott and Tom given another chance. With Scott, it will be a question of risk/fitness although I am sure he is chomping at the bit to try and grab at least one more after such a lengthy period out. To say his recent run has been prolific would be nothing short of an understatement. Indeed, he was nominated for April’s Championship player of the month with barely 90 minutes of football under his belt.

As for Tom, how do you drop Jake Bidwell if he is fit? The answer is that you probably won’t, although at the very least I’d hope an appearance off the bench is used as a sign of the faith we have in the young player. Much like Scott’s recent run, the confidence shown in Tom’s debut performance really cannot be underestimated. Moreso given Fulham tried, and failed, to exploit what they perceived to be a weakness in our team. No goals against and two assists tell their own tale !

As ever, I’m just the numpty on the terrace and only Dean Smith knows who will start. The rest of us mere mortals will find out at around 11.15 this morning whether in the ground, on Bees Player or via Twitter.

For many of us, it will be an attempt at simul-cast. Watching Boro – Brighton with the sound off whilst listening to Mark Burridge and his team via ‘Player’. Much as I’d love to have been there today, family time calls. Instead, I’ll kid myself that it’s a process banking the ‘away trips’ for next season.

The other thing to grab my attention was the video from co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen which appeared on the official site yesterday evening (and you can find at the end of this column). I’m the first to admit being quite critical of Rasmus / the club over the course of the season in regards to their approach (or lack of) to comms. So it was with intrigue that I’ve sat through the twenty minute video piece.

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Rasmus is back on Bees Player

With Chris Wickham very much administering a gentle probing, the over–riding message seemed to be that the current campaign has seen a rebuilding and consolidation exercise. That we are now in a position where the squad has contract stability and is a group of players we’d like together for the next two years.

It was another attempt to explain the strategy of the club. Something that, equally, is a lot easier in hindsight where the initial results of our decisions and the quite apparent observation that new players will take time to ‘bed in’ can be reviewed in the cold light of day.

Being honest, I do get the message Rasmus is trying to give out here although I thought it was a bit harsh at one point when asked if supporters understood what the club are trying to achieve.

I can understand why some fans feel we destroyed the team from last season – that’s how it may have looked from outside…sometimes you have to take one step backwards to take two steps forwards” and later, “A lot of things we have been working on are not things you will see the results of immediately. Our job is to build a platform.I understand it can be difficult when you don’t have that context.”

And here is my gripe – this lack of immediate context. Clearly, he relates to the shorter term viewpoint of fans and their emotional bond with our team, noting, “We’re privileged to be working in an environment where people have so much passion and interest in what you do..,.. we shouldn’t complain about being in a world where people have a lot of passion.”

For many of us, rightly so, it’s all about the result. Dean Smith himself was described as the second hand on a clock that keeps us ticking .  “We play a game, we get a result and we go again next week”.

There is a bigger plan afoot here. That much is evident and it was good to hear him enlarge upon this. But we are back to the context thing. Rasmus talked about building a culture amongst the players. All well and good and, indeed, one I agree with.

How about with the fans? This video was a great start, but it seemed very much the exception rather than the rule, safely delivered after we’d been through what will politely be called ‘the sticky patch’ at the start of 2016.

How hard would it be to have an update once a month  / quarter ongoing? How hard to make more of a regular attempt to engage with us over, what I am sure, will be an exciting but challenging next few seasons.

Otherwise, just how do you expect fans to buy in to what you are trying to achieve  and get that ‘context’ if we aren’t able to peer behind the curtain?

Genuinely. I’m pleased Rasmus has spoken. It is impossible to dispute his observation that we are in 10th place in the Championship, despite the challenges of building a foundation whilst trying to balance contracts, budgets and meet FFP.  What individuals make of the message I’ll leave to you.

As a final thought on this, two quotes.

1-When talking about the problems we’d had at the start of the campaign (pitch, Head Coach, injuries) .. “It definitely will not happen again“.

2-Re the summer transfer window: “I am pretty confident that we’ll leave the transfer window stronger than we entered it”.

Both are big claims and fans don’t forget. I remember being told in September, “The goal is to get stronger after each transfer window.”

Whilst he has used the video to expand on how this has panned out this time around, it will be very interesting to see how that assertion is met at the end of the summer.

For now though, I can’t knock this attempt to explain more to the fans. More of the same ongoing would be good.

Rasmus speaks

 

Nick Bruzon

All good things come to an end. Or do they?

2 May

Monday morning and Brentford fans are still celebrating after the 3-0 humbling of Fulham on Saturday. With Burnley knowing that victory over QPR this evening will, but for a mathematical anomaly, ensure their promotion back to the Premier League, there is a very real chance that we’ll be London’s highest place team outside of the top flight before the Bank Holiday has ended.

As such, there’ll be more than a few good wishes towards Andre Gray later today. Especially, I’d imagine, from the accounts department where of course the terms of his sale to the Clarets remain largely a mystery and so nobody knows about any promotion clause.

But with the Bees in a position to cement their place above QPR, Fulham et al, there is a downside to all of this. Sunday saw the club releasing the ever wonderful highlights package which, if you somehow haven’t already seen, can be found at the end of this column.

It also released cult favourite – Terrace Talk.

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YouTube viewers see Jo do the ‘walk and talk’ as stewards prepare to hold back the crowd

It is also a day of sadness as it is, of course, the final home game of the season. Even more disappointingly some would say, it is the final terrace talk.

They aren’t my words but those of host Jo Tilley to introduce Saturday’s edition of the quite bonkers, but utterly compelling, pre-match chat with supporters. Leading in with a piece of poetry and a spin around the centre circle, topic of the day seemed to be “How are you doing?

I was already lost by the time we got to ‘funky bee’ jumper woman. My mind in turmoil as Jo’s opening words sank in. Presumably she’d meant the final Terrace Talk of the season? Not ever? Surely?

Yet as the video closed out with a final montage of the Fulham goals from the alternate angle, I’m still not sure.

Has it been fatally holed below the waterline following Sean Ridley’s quite brilliant turn as stand in host prior to the Bristol City game ? Or will Jo be back next season. Bigger and better than ever before?

Here’s hoping. I loved this weekend’s moment of realisation that, perhaps, asking the parents of debutant Tom Field for their highlight of the season was a question to rank alongside,”So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?

Matthew Benham. Mark Devlin. The media team. Jo. If any of you are reading (you never know) please can we have Terrace Talk back for 2016/17?


Hopefully Terrace Talk is just breaking for the summer

The other ‘last’ of the season (although I’m also hoping this will return next campaign) saw the final BBGiveaway pass us by with nobody securing that wonderful prize. Good luck to Bob in sorting that one out, despite some people coming awfully close 😉 .  Close counts for nothing – just ask Marcello Trotta.

Seriously though, I’d like to thank Bob for all he’s done this season. BBGiveaway has been fantastic and supporters have loved it. For me, the two highlights have been Bob’s own prediction of Jake Bidwell scoring his first ever Brentford goal along with setting 215 fans on a selfie-hunt with Peter Gilham.

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Mystic Bob – just HOW did he do this?

Nice one, Bob. Thank you ! You’ve made a lot of fans very happy. Nowhere else than Brentford would you get this level of brilliance.

Otherwise, there are just five days to go for us until the players can start packing for their holidays and the supporters can hang up their replica shirts for the summer months. We’ve still got Huddersfield Town on Saturday but, personally, I’m already looking forward.

The Fulham game seemed such an emphatic way to end the season at home that it feels as though we’ve already reached the end of the line.

Have no doubt Dean Smith will be shouting the boys on for one last push. I’m sure that come the weekend we’ll be back to the big match prep but, for now, it’s time to put the feet up.

Until then, why not enjoy the weekend goals once more?

Sam’s finish get’s better and better each time.

Nick Bruzon

KFC or KC? Could ‘that hashtag’ come out of cold storage?

26 Apr

Brentford visit Hull City AFC tonight, hoping to continue a great run of form that sees the Bees unbeaten this month and, with 5 wins out of 6, closing in on Birmingham City in 9th position. Whilst I don’t want to overly dwell on the ghost of hashtags past, could 2014’s much maligned #Novemberkings raise it’s head once more?

Looking back over this campaign and the previous two seasons, the Bees have only lost  3 times out of 19 in April. 2013/14 saw us go down 1-0 at Swindon Town and then 4-1 to Colchester United after promotion had been assured. Last season saw a solitary defeat  with the Bees losing 0-1 at Sheffield Wednesday as we closed in on the play-offs.

That’s 16 games unbeaten. Earning point(s) tonight would take our record to 17 wins or draws out of 20 over the last three Aprils. With it, a possible manager of the month for Dean Smith and could there be a new hashtag for Brentford ‘official’ on twitter? Might there be a new contender for #Novemberkings crown as one out three most awful pieces of social media. (actually, as a general rule of thumb see any piece of ‘comedy’ social media for awful).

Well, as ever, there’s only two places to follow the action ‘live’. For those hardy enough to make the trip to the North East on a school night, the KC stadium and undiscovered delights of Hull Marina await. Hats off to those travelling. Seriously. Any thoughts about a trip to this new stadium were crushed pretty much as soon as the fixture computer dealt us a midweek hand. Shame.

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Hull Marina

For those staying at home, its Bees Player. Mark Burridge is our man at the helm, I believe assisted by Ciaran Brett and match day programme editor Mark Chapman.

Our commentator par-excellence (Burridge) was the butt of many jokes about his own ‘jinx’ factor recently. The April run began the moment he, temporarily, hung up his mic for a three game absence owing to his own time at the Augusta Masters golf (watching rather than competing).

Thankfully, his return to the commentary hot seat has seen the Bees continue their upward surge. Mark has had the pleasure of guiding us through 2 wins and a draw. What better man to have at the helm with the Bees aiming to make it 7(seven) unbeaten.

That said, if not Mark then there has to be some other factor involved in our current run. Beyond Dean and the players, I mean.

Well, let’s just say that a supporter who we’ll simply call ‘Dan’ to protect his anonymity (too obvious. How about Mr. S?) has been taking a well timed April break in Korea. And as ‘Dan’ has been out of the UK, the Bees have climbed the table.

Nothing to do with Lasse and his goals. Nothing to do with the team being rejigged. Nothing to do with Dean pulling it all together or Scott Hogan’s return . We all know football is jinx driven… 🙂

‘Dan’ you may not be able to enjoy the Bees in action but your sacrifice is appreciated. You stick to the KFC Tabasco chicken and we’ll stick to keeping things going at the KC.

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Korean deliciousness coinciding with the Bees unbeaten run

Nick Bruzon

Selection posers for Dean but will there be a Swift return? For Mark.

12 Apr

One can’t over emphasise the importance of Brentford having inflicted such a comprehensive defeat on Ipswich Town over the weekend. Three successive wins also saw another three goal display, following the previous victories over Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest. But, for me (Clive), it was the calibre of the opposition that was just as pleasing this time around.

Make no mistake, Ipswich were still harbouring play-off aspirations. The key word being ‘were’ – it’s safe to say those are dead in the water now. Likewise, it would be equally fair to say we’ve struggled against them since our promotion to the Championship. Two tough draws and that heavy Boxing Day defeat at Griffin Park, where victory would have seen Mark Warburton’s Bees go top of the table, have placed the Tractor Boys close to the Middlesbrough category when it comes to teams we’ve struggled with.

Equally, I’ve heard some naysayers talking about the quality of the opposition prior to that game. Bolton were doomed whilst Nottingham Forest had hit freefall and, even by their own supporters’ admission, put in one of the worst performances seen in that second half.

Brentford Bolton Griffin Park

A handful of Bolton fans were present as Brentford continued their winning run

Hey. As has been said before, you can only beat who is in front of you and we’ve struggled against poor teams in the past. But it does make the next few games – home to Bristol City and Cardiff City – very interesting.

Nobody needs any reminding of what happened to Alan Judge on Saturday. That said, the universal reaction of love and support from the Brentford fans aswell as many from Ipswich – shocked by Luke Hyam’s brutal assault – has provided some small level of comfort. Likewise, you can only have been moved by the philosophical approach and positivity shown in the subsequent statement and photograph that the Judge released.

Being pragmatic, we still have those Bristol and Cardiff games to prepare for and they are going to provide Dean Smith with further selection challenges. Alan would, of course, have been one of the first names on the team sheet but we know that is not going to happen again this season. So what will Dean do?

Konstantin Kerschbaumer, like the rest of his team mates, gave a very well received performance coming off the bench at Portman Road. Does he keep his place? What about Nico Yennaris? He, of course, playing in his new midfield role had scored in those two wins prior to Ipswich before missing that one through illness. Does he walk straight back into the team?

Then, of course, there is John Swift. He probably presents the trickiest of all decisions. Since his and Josh McEachran’s injury enforced absences the team has started to win. And win. Whilst, like Alan, we won’t be seeing Josh again this season, surely John’s gash will have healed sufficiently to allow him to be in contention this Saturday?

Whilst commons sense would suggest he will have to be content with, at best, a place on the bench this Saturday could that also be a longer term thing? Or will he walk straight back into the starting XI ?

Clearly a player admired for his talent and skill, he has come in for equal amounts of criticism for those misplaced passes, getting caught out of position and being generally lightweight at times. Oh for the Swift of the wins at home to Wolves or QPR rather than the no show at Loftus Road. Too often though, we’ve seen the latter from a player who is, let’s not forget, still learning his game and packed with potential.

There are only six league games left. The Bees are safe. Being honest, most of us were preparing for life without Alan Judge although due to his inevitable, post Euros, sale rather than the subsequent injury related reason. But what about John Swift? Don’t forget he is only here on loan.

Does Dean use these last few games to now look at his full time squad members for next season? Giving them a consistent run to see just how well they can do? After shuffling his pack these last few months, he does seem to have hit a winning formula.

Will that also see Swift going back to his parent club when the season draws to a close? Or is the England U-21 in his and Matthew Benham’s longer term plans?  Indeed, will Chelsea even want to sell him to the Bees ?

SWIFT Brentford QPR

Oh for more of Swift at his best

Certainly, these are questions that won’t be answered any time soon and I’d be amazed if we learn anything this weekend. Then again, I’m just the numpty on the terrace so what do I know? Just putting it out there to see who bites and what people think.

The other selection problem faced by Brentford is, of course, in the Bees Player commentary box. Nobody doubts that Mark Burridge does a stunning job talking us through the season. It is for good reason he is called ‘the commentator par-excellence’ and rivals the mellifluous Billy Reeves with his own, wonderful style.

Yet.Yet. Yet. His recent trip to the Augusta Masters has seen him, like John Swift, miss the last three games. And we all know what happened in them. 9 goals and 9 points.

Could this be the ultimate case of the commentator’s curse? Will Matthew Benham be revoking his press pass? Or will we be welcoming Mark back with open arms?

I only hope the latter. He does a stunning job for those displaced Brentford fans who can’t make the games and it’s always a pleasure listening to him. Instead, let’s put those three wins simply down to his own excellent delegation skills rather than any jinx !

Whilst I’ll be at the Bristol City game on Saturday, here’s to hearing Mark and Ciaran talking through another win on Sunday’s highlight’s package.

Nick Bruzon 

Here’s to Alan Judge. Bees unite after horrendous injury

9 Apr

Brentford made it 9 points and 9 goals from the last 3 games after beating Ipswich Town 3-1 at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon. Relegation is officially dead. Town’s promotion chances likewise. Sam Saunders scored a beauty and Lasse Vibe took his personal total to 5 in this 3 game period.

They’re the match facts but, frankly, they seem an after thought at the moment. All anybody in the Brentford family was talking about during and after the game was the horrendous foul on Alan Judge that saw the player receive almost ten minutes of on-field treatment before being stretched off with a reported double leg break.

Alan Judge corner Rotherham

View from the stand: Alan Judge – destroyer of defences in happier times

The player’s immediate reaction and that of his team mates suggested this is a very, very bad one indeed. Yet, incredibly, Town’s Luke Hyam received nothing more than a caution from referee Phil Gibbs for the nightmare assault (I won’t dignify it with the words ‘challenge’ or ‘tackle’) that saw him flying at Judge before scything through the magician, studs up. The irony of Trevor Kettle being the fourth official was not lost.

Justice was eventually done when Hyam was shown red for a second yellow just before half time, this time for going at Ryan Woods like a petulant teenage thug. But by that point it was far too little, far too late for Brentford’s player of the season. His dream of playing in the Euro 2016 finals over.

To rub further salt into the wound, Mick McCarthy has been quoted as giving a quite scandalous response to Dean Smith’s suggestion that Hyam had been “a bit naughty” and deserved straight red.

The Ipswich manager’s reaction has already been doing the round of social media, garnering the obvious replies.   “I’m disappointed if he’s said that. I don’t think it is. I think he’s won the ball. I’ve actually complained to the referee as to why it’s a booking if he’s won the ball. I don’t think it’s naughty at all. That surprised me and disappoints me if he’s said that, but we all have opinions”.

Let’s just hope that having had further time to review the footage and his own comments, McCarthy has a change of heart. It won’t make a bit of difference to what has happened yet to leave things like this will only leave further bitter taste to a quite awful incident.

The Brentford supporters, players and officials were unanimous in their support for Alan after the final whistle. Club owner Matthew Benham making a rare foray onto Twitter where he declared, “The challenge was very reckless and a clear red card, as was the one on @RyannWoods4

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The Brentford family react

I’ve got nothing else to say about the other stuff from today. No comments about BeesPlayer, no comments about the game and no comments about the league.

Instead, at the moment all I can do is think about Alan Judge. The prognosis at this juncture doesn’t read well but, at the same time, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

He has been  consistently outstanding over the entire season (only David Button running him close for the end of year award, in my opinion) and his performances have rightly earned International call ups. He’s our leading scorer and not bad with the assists, either.

Fingers crossed Judgey, we’re all thinking of you.

Here’s to seeing you back in the red and white stripes next season.

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More from the Brentford family

Nick Bruzon