Tag Archives: Ben Strevens

This is the transfer story that has me worried. Is the king about to leave?

18 Jan

c2iaagfxaaau7icNoooo! Say it isn’t true? Could the legend that is Sam Saunders really have played his last game for Brentford? With all the talk being about the FA Cup and Chelsea yesterday , you may not have seen a story from West London’s Premier Journalist, Tom Moore, in which he reports that along with Alan McCormack, the wing wizard is available to leave Griffin Park.

The source no less than co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, who is quoted as saying (amongst other things), that: “If they want to leave, the club is willing to let them go and someone makes the right offer then they’ll go. We have conversations with all players that are not playing.”

You can find the full article here. It’s worth a look , if only for the latest of Tom’s ‘transfer talk’ videos’.

If this happens it really will be the end of an era. Sam is as close to Mr Brentford as Kevin O’Connor and Peter Gilham. Having been signed back in 2009 from Dagenham (alongside Danny Foster and Ben Stevens) he soon made his mark.

Those free kicks. That tan. That song. The effortless cool – even after playing a match. He is the sort of player that brings a rare spark of character and personality to the game. One who puts me in mind of a latter day Allan Cockram in terms of his ability and interaction with the fans.

sam-saunders-black-kit

As cool off pitch as on it

Regular readers will know of the terrace ritual that has sprung up whenever a free kick is awarded within about ten yards of the box. “And this is Saunders territory”, just has to be said (ITV Ronaldo style). This, regardless of whether the great man is on the pitch.

Whilst that one may be somewhat of a niche call, there is that other terrace routine – known by all. THE song.

“Oh Sammy Saunders, you are the love of my life.

Oh Sammy Saunders , I’d let you sh&g my wife”

It never fails to raise a smile. And none moreso than when Sam, always a regular on Twitter, responded to a fan’s request for a message to be read at his Brentford supporting friend’s wedding.

sam-song-tweet

This sort of good natured banter off pitch is as much the part of Sam’s charm and popularity as his ability to curl it around a defensive wall and into the back of the net from 25 yards out. And he’s done that more than a few times.

Who needs a dead ball coach? I could do that job – “Just give it to Sam.”

Sam Saunders v Fulham (1)

View from the Braemar. Sam – a magnificent 7

Cracks about the tanning. Photos with the lads where he’s wearing not more than a rubber glove or a bit of gaffer tape to keep those photos ’twitter friendly’ . The ‘car wash’ is still the stuff of legend – if you’ve seen it, you’ll know.

Nothing is ever too much for him. Hospital visits, supporter requests or even just something as simple as asking for an autograph. On personal note, he is, along with Harlee, my own three year old’s favourite player. This one is going to be like explaining the concept of a death in the family if Sam really does leave.

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-06-03-51

Sam is popular amongst all age groups

Yet, at the same time, if he does leave it will be with nothing but profound thanks and huge best wishes. It is so rare for a player to make such an impact and, whilst I’m sure Sam may have an idea of how much he is appreciated, it doesn’t hurt to say it again.

And in the mean time, why not let’s give ourselves another look at what has, quite rightly, been labelled the greatest free kick routine ever. Boxing Day 2013. Swindon Town were the visitors.

Only one man could get away with this……

Sam Saunders does what only Sam Saunders can

Nick Bruzon

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Who is top of the local pile as our favourite 7(seven) returns?

8 Nov

A point for Brentford following the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers was sufficient to keep us top of the West London Championship pile, above both Fulham and QPR. The former, in particular, being on the wrong end of a 5-2 home hammering c/o Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson’s Birmingham City (stop sniggering at the back). And with another ‘nil points’ for Chelsea in the Premier League, the West London football demographic has a wonderful look to it as things stand.

But it’s the Championship, and Blackburn Rovers, where we need to give specific focus. Lee Carsley’s ‘men in black’ made it 13 points out of a possible eighteen with a result that now sees clear air between Brentford, Fulham and QPR.

Come for the style; stay for the point. Next stop, the C&A catalogue

Come for the style; stay for the point.

It was a game that saw the Bees take the lead via Lasse Vibe, despite the expected absence of Alan Judge and the enforced substitution, on a stretcher, of Marco Djuricin after just 23 minutes. John Swift, who only moments earlier had been singled out by BBC Billy Reeves as being ‘outmuscled’, played a delightful through ball that split the Blackburn defence like a Samurai dissecting a watermelon . With a sword. Of the Samurai variety.

Vibe got on the end of it to run at Jason Steele in the Rover’s goal. Steele, like Wigan Athletic’s Max Power, somebody with a name that puts me in mind of a sauve 60’s TV detective duo. Roll neck jumpers and adventure are never far away. Neither are goals, as Vibe made no mistake, chipping it past the ‘keeper for 1-0 Bees .

However exciting the moment, it was a lead that wasn’t to last long. Tom Lawrence with an effort that could be called speculative, at best, equalised for the home team.

It was a cross-cum-shot from well outside the box that seemed to creep through everybody, turning more from cross into shot before eventually becoming the quintessential example of a ‘stealth goal’. Neither Rovers nor Bees attempted to put a foot, or other body part, in the way. With David Button scrabbling for it, the scores were levelled up.

And that’s how things stayed. Being honest, we’d all have taken a point before hand although there was a genuine feeling of disappointment from several quarters. Personally, I was just pleased to see Harlee not having to tweet about ‘going again’ at full time and, instead, bigging up the return of Sam Saunders.

With 18 minutes game time now under the belt, not to mention looking resplendent in the new all black ‘third kit’, Sam’s presence can only give another attacking option to the Bees in the coming months. What an unfortunate time for international break to hit us again although, on the flip side, it may allow Marco Djuricin time to recover.

Still, I’m just buzzing to see Sam back in action. Having been with the Bees since 2009 after signing from Dagenham & Redbridge with Danny Foster and Ben Strevens (now at Eastleigh, for the record) he has long been a fan favourite – as much for his ability as anything else. Seeing him back in action will be a huge lift for the supporters, the players, the management and our free kick coach.

Mark Burridge provides croaks, sorry, erm.. comms

Elsewhere, Fulham weren’t the only team to ship five as Ipswich Town hit the same amount past hapless Rotherham United. Even Jonathan Douglas got in on the act with a 20 yard effort. As one terrace wag later suggested, “It was good to see him score with a stunner on the pitch, for once”.

QPR laboured to a 0-0 at home to Preston North End although, at least, had the novelty of something called a ‘clean sheet’. Indeed, Fulham have now shipped more goals than the Loftus Road outfit. The Cottager’s 28 has only been surpassed, if that is the word, by the aforementioned Millers (whose form seems even worse than that of Chelsea) on 33.

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

Still, that’s their problem. Brentford are back in pole position to be crowned Kings of West London Championship football. Could a fourth team be joining us next season? Or will Chelsea even end up getting leapfrogged?

It’s not that the Blues are too good to go down. More that there are simply worse teams than them in the vicinity of the dropzone. On current form the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will do a better job of ensuring top flight safety for Chelsea than Jose Mourinho could hope to do..

Still, Chelsea are up there. We aren’t. Yet.

But, as ever, it shows that anything is possible in football. To coin a phrase, you just need to Beelieive.

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

Nick Bruzon

Could this be next season’s away kit ?

9 Oct

Another month, another international break. Such are the ‘problems’ facing Brentford as life in the Championship means we now have a bit more spare time on our hands. And, as ever, the mind starts to wander.

No better case in point than yesterday when, on a trip to White City Westfield , whilst failing to spot any footballers lining up outside Nandos, I did stumble across an exhibition of film memorabilia – all of which is to be auctioned later this month.

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

The regular reader may be aware that I am very much a fan of the ‘James Bond’ series of films. And, likewise, that Roger Moore stands head, shoulder and eyebrows above anyone else to have filled the role. Moore IS the best Bond. Fact.

So imagine my shock when I spotted THIS lurking amongst the props to be sold.

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare....?

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare….?

Way, way beyond the budget of a mere mortal such as myself. That said if any multi millionaires are reading, imagine how good this would look in the corner of Stripes bar.

But then my imagination went into overdrive. The other topic to regularly feature in this column is that of the ‘comedy’ football kit. Usually emanating from Spain, we’ve seen everything from Broccoli to lager and octopus tentacle to butler motifs incorporated into a novelty away shirt.

Who doesn't love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Who doesn’t love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Then it hit me. Why not combine both? Especially as Brentford, having dabbled with yellow, blue and black in recent years, don’t have a ‘regular’ away scheme. To the best of my knowledge, no English team has gone for one of the ‘eccentric’ away shirts (although the Hull City AFC ‘tiger stripe’ home remains a favourite). As such, why not take the chance to become trailblazers?

Could the Bees, now our contract with Adidas has been extended, go for a Safari style away shirt? Not so much ‘wild beasts’ but a tan or green in the Roger Moore Style.

Perhaps with ‘Nobody does it better’ playing over the Griffin Park tannoy for the big unveiling.

Could the Bees tap into the 'eccentric' shirt market - Roger style?

Could the Bees tap into the ‘eccentric’ shirt market – Roger style?

One can dream. And in the short term, I’ll await my medication.

The other shirt news, this time genuine, to reach me from ‘sources’ is in regards to a new Brentford Tee shirt now on sale. Penalty success is such a rare thing at Griffin Park that one of our most momentous (not THAT one) has been recorded for posterity.

Want the chance to relive Alan Judge tasting the net against Preston as we went up last campaign? You can do so here…

A penalty to be celebrated

A penalty to be celebrated

And finally, just a polite request for your help with a reminder about the FBA and FSF Football blogging awards. With Beesotted and The Last Word both up for nomination, it would be massively appreciated if any reader could take 30 seconds to vote.

Beesotted are up in the ‘best video’ and ‘best club’ category . The Last Word in ‘best club’ and best ‘new’ . The work of Beesotted is, of course, legendary, and I wish them luck as they look to make the final shortlist.

It would be great if we could have a couple of Bees going ‘head to head’ at a national level – and you can nominate here.

An update from Sam Saunders gets my vote

7 Oct

Whatever football news was announced yesterday, there was one piece of information that has probably bypassed most sources. Even the official Brentford club site doesn’t have this one, yet.

But for me, an already exciting season has just cranked up another notch.

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.