Tag Archives: Benitez

Amidst all the noise and distraction, let’s not forget the main event this weekend as Newcastle visit.

12 Jan

There’s been so much going on in the last week that one could be forgiven for being distracted by the main event for Brentford. It’s been all West Ham this, West Ham that over the alleged £15m sale of Scott Hogan to the Olympic stadium team. Likewise, Chelsea have been at the forefront of our attentions as the FA Cup draw has paired us with the current Premier League leaders once more. There’s even a case for adding Norwich City into the mix, given the paper talk about Sergi Canos – the only piece of transfer gossip to have the longevity of the Hogan rumour. Yet amongst all this I’ve not seen many people getting excited about Newcastle United in social media.

This Saturday sees one of THE games of the season as the Magpies are the visitors to Griffin Park. The match was, of course, originally moved to Monday night for the benefit of the TV cameras before a last minute rejig (and the inevitable travel chaos that will be caused for many) as a result of their FA Cup draw with Birmingham City.

This is a huge occasion and was without doubt one of the first games we looked for when the fixture list was published last summer. Yet now it is here, such are the other distractions at present that Newcastle United seem to be the last team on anybody’s radar.

Which, for me, is just great. Whilst nobody can deny our visitors’ history, let’s go into this as just another game rather than any form of special occasion. Newcastle have earned their place in the Championship through top flight ineptitude just as we have done through hard, hard work. Now, both teams are competing in the same division on the the same terms. If not financially then certainly in terms of opposition, games, TV rescheduling and even just the random level of refereeing.

Despite a blistering first few months to the campaign, the wheels are starting to fall off the ‘Rafalution’. Relatively speaking. Not only have Brighton caught up with the one time runaway leaders of the Championship but they now sit two points clear with a game in hand. Indeed, should Reading win their home game with hapless QPR tonight then the gap between second and third place will have shrunk to just three points.

rafa-hashtag

Worst. Hashtag. Ever.

That’s not to say I won’t be looking forward to Saturday’s game. It’s not every day that Rafa Benitez comes to town – the last time seeing him leave Griffin Park as the beneficiary of a very late draw in the FA Cup with his then Chelsea side . I’d love to see us go one better this time around, and if only to avenge the 3-1 defeat his team inflicted on us at St. James Park back in October. At one stage, that looked like it was going to be a real drubbing as the Bees were somewhat overawed by the occasion and the venue in the opening quarter hour.

Yet, equally, that can work to our advantage. There can’t be too many of the Newcastle team to have played in such a compact stadium as Griffin Park. A place where the changing rooms are less ‘palatial’ and more ‘garden shed’. A place where the fans will be on top of the pitch and on top of the opposition. A place where songs about table service  will, no doubt, be sung in the vicinity of the away dug out.

Uwe and Rafa

Rafa has been here before; albeit he was outthought and outplayed by the Bees

So our approach to this one has been quite low key. That’s good. The Chelsea game will happen regardless whilst West Ham will, by all accounts, need to invest in a bigger calculator before even considering an investment in of our prize assets. If these things act as smoke screens to take the pressure off in the build up to Saturday then all well and good.  If John Swift and Reading win tonight to heap the pressure on Newcastle then even better.

Best of all though, with all of this going on there’s been no room to focus on the most horrific story of all this week. One worse than the image of the soon to be President Trump indulging in whatever golden medal wining video performance he is alleged to have indulged in. Yes, the BBC have announced the return of Mrs Brown in a new prime time Saturday night show.

The blurb from the Beeb tells us that the new show will featuring celebrity guests and allegedly outrageous stunts. Even more scary is the promise of ’shenanigans’. See also: ‘zany’ and ‘crazy’ in the list of words used to massively over compensate for extreme tedium.

I want to beat Newcastle United. I’d love the Bees to get promoted. Yet, if we are to find ourselves in the Championship  in 2017/18 then, at least, there’s the consolation of not having to sit through this tediously unfunny nonsense (It’s a man. In a cardigan.) whilst waiting for Match of the Day to start.

See you at Griffin Park on Saturday.

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Mrs Brown. Be afraid. Be very afraid

Nick Bruzon

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With Derby next up, what can we learn from the Newcastle juggernaut?

16 Oct

Brentford travelled en-masse to Newcastle United full of expectation. We left on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. It is a  scoreline that doesn’t even come close to showing the gap between our two sides. I’ve no problem with being well beaten but let’s not pretend that, on this occasion, we weren’t anything but second best to deserved winners. Dean Smith’s post match assertion that “We competed well enough”  something which, I’m sorry to say, I disagree with. With the next game, at Derby County, only on Tuesday let’s hope he reviews this one carefully.

Hey, I love our Bees. I love going away and this was a corker of a trip.  Close to 3,000 visiting fans helping to make it the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of since 1946. And there, perhaps, was part of the issue. Whilst Newcastle are used to this on a weekly basis, we aren’t.

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A huge crowd to watch the Bees and Magpies

I’ll big us up when we do well or ‘fess up when we get away with proverbial murder, but I won’t stick my head in the sand. It was like watching 11 rabbits caught in the headlights of on onrushing Geordie juggernaut for the first twenty minutes . And it rolled straight over us.

How much room for the first goal as Jonjo Shelvey directed it on to the head of an unpressured Ciaran Clarke just 11 minutes in ? Dwight Gayle was given all the space he needed for the second (16) as Shelvey’s long ball over top set up the striker for the first of his pair.

Two down and rocking on the backfoot,  Newcastle really should have administered a knockout blow on 20 minutes. Had Ayoze Perez opted for head rather than hand his goal would have stood and, surely, opened the floodgates for a potential 7(seven) goal bracketing.

Instead, despite Brentford having been carved open time and again like a prize turkey with little resistance offered in return, the Bees hung on to a 2-0 half time deficit. Yet with the gap manageable and the potential there to, erm, go again in the second period we crumbled just four minutes into the half. Gayle grabbing his second of the afternoon as Shelvey turned provider once more.

To their credit, Brentford weren’t overwhelmed and even had the last word….“. Those aren’t my words but those of Channel 5 commentator Nick Halling to describe the moment Scott Hogan swopped in to give us hope. The already vocal Bees erupted further; passion flared in the stands. With most of us cheering on our our boys (although a few choosing a somewhat insalubrious selection of exhortations and admonishments) a brief period of hope turned to a case of ‘if only’.

Had we got that goal at 2 down rather than just a few moments after falling 3 behind then things might have been different. 2-1 and 40 minutes to play make it anybody’s game. But, instead, it proved to be little more than consolation.

Mark Burridge talks through the action, as ever, c/o Brentford official

Newcastle United were worthy winners. Absolutely. You can only beat who you are up against and they did that. Yet, being equally honest, were they that good? At least, yesterday.

I’d agree with Dean that we gave them a helping hand and that defensively we’re normally very good. Equally though, we offered little and had we challenged more then who knows what we’d have got out of this one?

Instead our selected team were stretched in midfield and couldn’t get the ball forward. Substitutions, made once we were 3-1 down, seemed more around containing the damage than offering any hope of pulling something unlikely out of the bag. Surely that should have been more the team he started with than reverted to?

Newcastle United played us. We played them, the history, the reputation, the atmosphere, the stadium, the occasion and ourselves.

Genuinely, I think things would have been a lot closer had the game been at Griffin Park. But then that’s home advantage and boy did they make it count. Let’s not take anything away from Newcastle after a game they could have won by more.

Look. This shouldn’t be taken as doom and gloom. Let’s not forget we were up against a team who had recently won 6-0 at  QPR and put 4 past current leaders Norwich City.

This is all part of a learning experience for a team that is still developing. It’s just, perhaps, disappointing given how competitive we can be at times and how far we have already come. The more we play in venues such as this the more we’ll learn how to handle the pressure. The more we’ll learn to take the game to our opponents or, at the least, shut them down.

And if nothing else, we can leave with our heads held high. Given our own history with sh*t hashtags, (see, amongst others: #trophyfriends, #bignewambitions, #novemberkings ) it was nice to see one that was possibly even worse than all of these put together.

Newcastle United inviting their fans  to #JoinTheRafalution.

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Brentford have a chance to get straight back into action on Tuesday night at Derby County. Interestingly, Steve McClaren got off to a strong start as his Rams beat Leeds United 1-0. With his team climbing to within five points of our own 8th placed Bees, don’t expect this one to be any easier.

For either side.

Nick Bruzon

As next season already tantalises, there’s a new ‘worst kit ever’.

13 May

Whilst the likes of Brentford and Burton Albion supporters may well be looking forward to next season’s trip to Newcastle United, unsurprisingly news of the Magpies’ relegation to the Championship hasn’t gone down well in the North-East. We’ve got a new entrant to the worst kit of all time c/o CD Palencia from Spain (where else?) and then’s even news, of sorts, from Griffin Park.

First up, Newcastle United. I only mention them purely because of the most amusing tweet I’ve seen this week. One that surpasses even the quote attributed to former Sunderland player Jack Colback which has been doing the rounds of social media. The highlight of which was the line : “I have absolutely no intention of playing in the Championship and that’s why I’m joining Newcastle.”

It would be safe to say that @hasarnn10 isn’t overly enamoured about the fate awaiting his team next season. Certainly if the below is to be believed.

Newcastle fan

Well Graziano, I think you’ll find we do.

Whilst it would be easy to launch into paragraphs of diatribe on the nonsensical quote, life’s too short. Sadly for Newcastle fans their team gave up any right to play in the amazing stadiums of the Premier League next time out and so, instead, we’ll simply file this one away for when our paths cross next season.

As one final observation, no sooner has temporary manger Rafa Benitez up and left (on Steve McClaren’s brolly ???) than  editor-in-chief for Trinity Mirror North East, Darren Thwaites, has launched an impassioned plea on behalf of ‘The Geordie Nation’, begging him to return.

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Whilst Darren’s Twitter feed has since backtracked on the whole ‘Geordie Nation’ thing, at the time of writing over 9,000 supporters have already signed the petition. Being quite selfish, I hope Darren fails in his mission.

Certainly, to the outsider looking in, Rafa almost hauled them out of the mire that Shteve had left the Magpies in.

With Brentford placing 5th and 9th in the Championship these last two seasons, there’ll be a lot of expectation for another strong finish.A Benitez led Newcastle United are surely going to be an additional hurdle in that aim.

Then again, it’s all the sweeter getting one over a ‘big’ team, given how tinpot we are and all that. On a totally unrelated note,  a big hello to any Leeds United fans reading. Hey, you never know.

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Will Rafa return?

Ok, crazy kits. Spain has long been the market leader in the ridiculous shirt. Every year, it seems as though there is an unofficial competition thing place in the Spanish lower leagues to come up with the most outrageous shirt possible.

Over the last few seasons these pages have seen ‘the tuxedo’, ‘the octopus’, the beer shirt’  and, of course the king of them all – La Hoya’s ‘broccoli’ kit.

Stop. The king is dead. Long live the king. We have a new pretender to the throne. Third division team CD Palencia have started to flex their muscle, quite literally, with their latest effort.

Even worse, their Kappa branded kit commits that most heinous of sartorial crimes by continuing the design onto this shorts. I have no idea if Kitman Bob or chief executive Mark Devlin are reading but, if so, here’s hoping we aren’t going to emulate this…..

CD Palencia

CDPalencia model their si-new kit

And finally, Brentford. Is Sam Saunders releasing holiday snaps ? Is this another picture of last season’s pitch?  Or is it simply that after last campaign’s pitch gate affair (which, of course, you can catch up on in the Last Word season review) it seems we are taking no chances this time around.

Visitors to Griffin Park would have seen the pitch being taken up before we’d even thumped Huddersfield Town 5-1 in the final game of the season last Saturday. A photograph was published on ‘official’ Twitter yesterday to show similar work is already under way at our Jersey Road training ground.

This is only good news. I don’t recall patchwork starting quite so soon in the past. If nothing else, there’s usually time for those end of season ‘workplace’ run outs and the ‘Bees Legends’ game.

Instead, there’s no let up in the pace for Brentford. Off the field, the players may be on holiday. Back in TW8, it’s already full steam ahead for August.

This could be a long three months…..

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Simon Moore just off camera

Nick Bruzon

What does it mean for us as Uwe’s new Groover’s blow Blues away?

9 Mar

Hull City AFC v Sheffield United and Wigan v Arsenal.

Even though Brentford fans know all about the Rösler effect in the FA Cup (last season The Bees came within a whisker of humiliating Chelsea at Griffin Park) would anybody have honestly predicted that as semi final line up?

Wigan’s defeat of a Manchester City team chasing an unprecedented domestic treble – regardless of their faltering progression in the Champion’s League – is not to be underestimated. Moreso, as they did it on City’s home pitch.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.