Tag Archives: Bob Booker

Black Cats roll over to have their tummies tickled. Birmingham City are on the way down (to Brentford). Plus FA Cup oddity.

18 Feb

Is everybody back from Sunderland yet? A 2-0 win for Brentford at the Stadium of Light on Saturday was the perfect way to bounce back from a mini blip that had seen The Bees pick up 1 point from the previous three games (although fully deserving of all 9, if Dean Smith’s post-match press conferences were to be believed). Yet this time it was Chris Coleman using his time with the media to put the black cat amongst the pigeons. The former Fulham man opining about the Bees that: “I don’t think they’ll ever get promoted, I could be wrong, because they don’t have the finances but, if they keep doing what they do, they won’t be relegated either. Elsewhere, I woke to news of Manchester United drawing Brighton in the FA Cup. Somehow….

First up, the Sunderland manager. West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore ran a story last night that included Coleman’s claim – a statement worthy of Steve Evans at his finest. We’ve all been here and done this so many times yet it never fails to amuse. The suggestion that playing your way to the top isn’t possible without gargantuan levels of spending. Little Brentford. Teams like Brentford. Even Sky Sports haven’t bothered to update our crest on their graphics package – and we’re two thirds of the way through the campaign. The awful ‘cluttered clipart’ crest still hanging around like a bad smell. Every time you think it’s gone, it comes back. Had it been around 65 million years ago, one can only suspect it would have survived the asteroid .

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Curse that clipart graphic.

But enough of dinosaurs. Instead, Chris Coleman. Whatever his thoughts, we are seeing more and more that you can’t put a price on shrewd and innovative acquisition. On bringing the right people into the right set up. Look at how the Bees have continued to flourish season on season. Look at Birmingham City for the closest possible parallel to what happens when you just lump cash at it.

We’ve all had our doubts about the Brentford model over the years. Myself included. This summer in particular felt like a particular low point. Yet we’ve picked ourselves up and gone again.

Neal Maupay, now pretty much guaranteed a long run with the departure of Lasse Vibe, scored his eighth goal of the season with the cheekiest of back heeled efforts to go top of our scoring charts. This, after Kamo had opened the scoring with less than a quarter hour gone. Firing home hard and low from outside the box, he broke his Brentford duck and has given Dean Smith a real selection poser from the visit of Birmingham on Tuesday.  Brentford sit 10th in the Championship for the fourth successive season and with 42 points still available, there’s still a chance at the play-offs.

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Neal celebrates another goal.

Tom’s story also sparked the clickbait-gate debate on Social media once more. You can read that one here – the story rather than the clickbait chat. Personally, I’ve said my piece on that in these pages previously. The likes of Here Is The City and Football League World don’t even warrant a read these days, such is the eventual anti-climax that follows upon selecting one of their ‘stories’.

These publications so often tempt the reader with what transpires to be worse transfer news than the demise of the Letraset ‘action’ range.  News Now is littered with headlines which lead to nothing more than the regurgitation of the same footballer’s twitter feed we all have access to. Is the need for ‘hits’ and internet traffic THAT desperate?

On a totally unrelated note, I did enjoy Alan Judge’s retort to Coleman on the Social media platform last night. A simple but deliciously sweet: Yeah but we won’t be goin down. Certainly it makes a wonderful difference to the usual ‘we go again’.

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Letraset Action Transfers – a sadly missed treat from the 70s

That said, even Brentford official have been guilty of it in the past. I’ll never forget the moment back in November 1991 when the club proudly announced that we’d be signing a Division One (now Premier League) player. The excitement. The calls to 0898 121108 (at 33p a minute). The tension. Who would it be? Gary Lineker? Lee Chapman? Gazza? Gary McAllister? With the greatest respect to the legend that he is, the return of Bob Booker was hardly one to have supporters dancing in the streets of Raith when he was revealed.

Getting back to events at Sunderland, you have to feel for a team who were in the Premier League last season and are now on a fast track to League One along with Burton and Birmingham City. Talking this morning to one Bees insider (a man with his finger very much on the pulse of relevance) his considered opinion was that Black Cats are doomed, describing them as a shadow of the team that played at Griffin Park for the 3-3 back in October. Something that is desperate to see, especially given they’ve such great fans too.

Yet as we’ve seen with the likes of Wolves and Southampton (who played alongside us in League One) or Newcastle and Leeds United, former glories count for nothing. Having a huge stadium and great fans mean naff all if you can’t get the spending right, keep the team motivated or perform on the pitch.

With the greatest respect, that’s their issue. Not ours. Brentford are safe and looking upwards. Barring a remarkable reversal of fortune, Sunderland can start programming Birmingham, Accrington Stanley and Luton into the Satnav for 2018/19.

Who are they? Sunderland might be about to find out.

This weekend has also seen the FA Cup fifth round ties taking place. It really has been a TV overload with Sheffield Wednesday – Swansea providing a low key start before things kicked off on Saturday. Manchester United got past Huddersfield despite some dubious use of VAR. One does have to wonder how hard it is to get watching a TV replay wrong. Yet here we went. Again.

If VAR was confusing, it was nothing compared to waking up on Sunday to news that the draw for the sixth round had already taken place. This, despite a quarter of the ties yet to have taken place. Is nothing sacred anymore? Like semi-finals at Wembley and virtual reserve teams taking the field of play (although that didn’t work out too well for Tottenham at Rochdale on Sunday evening), it’s yet another subtle erosion of the gilt from this famous old trophy. We still love it, of course, yet I can’t help feel the FA are allowing their tournament to become tarnished. Even if squad selection isn’t in their hands, other factors most certainly are.

Still, for me its all about looking forward. About getting ready for that Birmingham City game. This is one we’ve all had in the diary since the transfer window slammed shut. If ever there was time to avoid the whiff of slippage then it is now.  #BeeTheDJ selections are being lined up and the vocal chords loosened. Victory for Brentford will take us to the 50 point mark, 20 better than our old boys at St. Andrews. That’ll be twice ten times better.

See you on Tuesday, Harlee. Forget Chelsea v Barcelona in the Champion’s League. Griffin Park is very much going to be the place for a blood and thunder encounter. It’s going to be a lively one, that’s for sure, and I can’t wait. Bring it on.

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Nick Bruzon

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Terry v Terry. Deano v Bliss. Who gets your vote as Bees and Bolton prepare to step back in time?

12 Jan

Brentford prepare to host Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, looking to put the faux pas in the FA Cup behind them and resume recent form. But for the 3-0 loss at runaway leaders Wolves, the Christmas period saw a quite wonderful return for Dean Smith’s boys. The draw at home to Barnsley was followed by that win on the road against Norwich City. This before quite comprehensively outplaying both Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday at Griffin Park. It was a run that saw Romaine Sawyers deservedly being nominated for Championship player of the month. Whilst Scott Carson of Derby County may have scooped that prize, let’s not forget Romaine also began December with a goal in the defeat of Fulham. Yet with the club preparing to use the Bolton game to go ‘back to the 80s’, can The Bees use it to get back to winning ways?

DTS694AWsAAcsEi.jpg-large First up, Bolton Wanderers. Early season form has now dissipated. The Trotters’ former position in the basement has been taken by Birmingham City as a run of form not unlike ours has seen them start to break clear. Three wins out of the last four, including 3 pointers against high flying Cardiff City and Sheffield United, has seen them break clear of the triumvirate at the bottom. Victory tomorrow could take them to the giddy heights of 18th.

One would like to think Brentford, with key players rested last weekend, will have enough in the tank to make this another notch in the ‘W’ column. Moreso with Bolton’s top scorer Gary Madine coming under transfer scrutiny at present. Cardiff City have already had one bid turned down but with ‘the window’ open for almost three more weeks, could the club’s resolve weaken? Might this be a distraction for a player who may suddenly remember he has a sick relative in the Valleys or be suffering from a buttock spasm?

The transfer window is never a fun time. So far the Bees have, mercifully, remained free of transfer gossip or rumour. But for one desperate attempt at clickbait from Get West London (not Tom Moore), the Griffin Park in/out doors have remained firmly bolted. Then again, as was seen in the summer, we do leave it late. As things stand though, I can only take solace in the lack of any talk. At a time when the likes of Alex Pritchard are being linked with a £15M move from Norwich to Huddersfield (he was good, but £15m good? That’s a rate of inflation not seen since Lewis Grabban) then let the papers focus elsewhere.

All that angst is likely to come. There’ll be plenty of time left for us to sweat over any potential exits. Even if they do just turn out to be rumours. Instead, for now, let’s just focus on Brentford and Bolton as the club prepare to take a trip back in time. A trip back to the 80s.

Not so much the fighting, quagmire pitches, smoking in the stands, short shorts or the fanzines being sold in the street. We’ve all moved on since then. Instead it is more a chance to don your retro shirt, to vote for your player of the 80s and even welcome a few club legends back onto the Griffin Park pitch. No doubt there’ll even be an 80s inspired #BeeTheDJ (so no change to the normal soundtrack then with The Clash and Madness sure to be amongst the bands played just before kick off).

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Bliss – a club legend and a classic shirt

On social media, the club have already run an article and a vote for shirt of the 80s (yours truly being given a rare run out on Brentford ‘official’ – that one’s here if you’s like to read more and check out that hall of fashion fame).

The latest survey is one to now decide our player of the decade. This is tough. So tough. Who do you go for from four top draw nominees? The colossus that is Terry Evans. The goalscoring record and iconic FA Cup strikes of Gary Blissett. The ferocity of Terry Hurlock. Or club legend, Dean Holdsworth.

At the time of writing, and half way through the 24 hour vote window, things are tight. Deano is ahead although, being quite honest, he’s not a player I’d necessarily associate with the 80s. An absolute hero in the eyes of many, myself included, but he is a player who only played a handul of games at the tail end of the decade before really making his name in that wonderful partnership with Bliss from 90-92.

Still, each to their own. I’m just pleased that the vote has seen a new picture of Bliss emerge from the archives. Rather than those two ‘stock footage’ pics of him in the 91/92 Chad kit or my crowbarred job, a snapshot of a book cover (1989’s ‘100 years of Brentford’), there’s a fetching image of him in that ‘Funky Bee’ kit. Moustache still resplendent (above).

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Bliss – that iconic image (in my eyes) as Manchester City are put to the sword

If you’d like to vote then the twitter link is below. Enjoy. And good luck trying to pick a winner from these. My vote has now been cast.

And that’s me. I’m off to see if I can pour myself into a size ‘medium’ Osca 83-84 home shirt ahead of Bolton’s visit. This could take a while. Let’s just say that time has not been kind in the battle of paunch versus 80’s fashion.

It might just have to be chinos and rolled up jacket sleeves. Unless anybody has a spare….?

Nick Bruzon

With Brentford in a Field of Dreams (sorry) here’s one turkey from Christmas past before Cardiff on Boxing Day.

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all that. Brentford are preparing to host Cardiff City (for whom Sol Bamba – a terrace songsmith’s dream if there was one – will be missing) whilst Rangers fans will be crying into their sprouts at the prospect of no Jota under the tree. As for Matthew Benham, will he be the beneficiary of a £15million gift from West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa or even Reading in the New Year sales? This, of course, being the current suggested rate for a Scott Hogan.

Reading have probably got more chance of picking up Hulk Hogan than Scott. Why would he need to even consider going there? Besides, with the Royals already baulking at the prospect of having to pay £9million (as has been reported in the Birmingham Mail), adding another 6 to that is going to be well beyond their particular ball park.

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There’s more chance of Hulk than Scott

That is if we even sell in the forthcoming window. Eventually, of course, it will happen. Nobody is that naive whilst the simple mathematics of ‘one club players’ so rarely being a thing these days make it inevitable at some point. Yet in the short term, the tantalising prospect of seeing him and a returning Jota on the same pitch is one I’m still holding out hope for in the second half of this season.

Still, all that is to come. We have the festive games against Cardiff and Norwich City to before that. Scott will surely be the first name on the team sheet (unless he has a sick relative), closely followed by Tom Field. The left back “delighted” at having just signed a contract extension that will see him at Griffin Park until 2020.

For all that Scott is doing it at one end, few could deny the wonderful start that Tom has had to his own Brentford career. From a home debut agasint Fulham where his call up was so unexpected that even supporters were asking ‘Who?‘ when they saw his name on the team sheet, to a recent run in the side as Dean has switched to a three centre back system supported by Tom and Maxime Colin. It is no coincidence that we are yet to concede a goal in the League whilst Tom has been on the pitch.

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Tom in a field of dreams. A pun so bad we made it twice

Prior to all of that we have Christmas day ahead of us. Preparations here are remarkably under control with all shopping done (for once). Already I’m dreading that Columbo moment around 3pm when Mrs Bruzon asks for “ Just one more thing…..” from a by then heaving, and empty shelved, supermarket. So until that happens, here’s one we’ve run before but probably deserves another airing.

It is a story that, if being honest, I had completely forgotten about until an article in The Times a few years ago from none other than Mark Clemmit.

Mark, of course, is better known as Clem, the ever popular roving reporter for BT Sport and formerly of the BBC Football League Show. There, his own performance was the subject of a season long analysis in 2014/15 as to whether there is any support for many supporters’ long held belief that he ‘jinxes’ whichever team he follows. Specifically, that the team covered by the man with the mic that week would, at best, pick up a point. Indeed, by season end Clem teams had only tasted victory 7(seven) times out of 30

But we digress. The jinx factor aside, it is fair to say that Clem remains an endearing and well-respected pundit. Aswell as his TV work he has also been a prolific writer over the years and it was for the aforementioned paper that he chose to talk about Brentford a few years back. Or, specifically, what we tried at Christmas 1983

To me, 1983 doesn’t seem that long ago. Knight Rider, Blackadder and the A-Team graced our TV screens whilst big hits at the cinema included Return of the Jedi and Octopussy. On the football pitch, Stan Bowles was strutting his stuff for The Bees whilst Bob Booker was halfway through his first spell at Griffin Park.

That said, given as Bob made his final appearance for us in 1993 that doesn’t really narrow it down, such was the three-decade spanning length of his Brentford career. Even Roger Moore only lasted as Bond for 12 years although for all that I love his time in the role, even I have to step back in slight disbelief at the image, from the official movie poster, of 007 casually standing on the tail of a speeding aeroplane as he tosses a bad guy to his doom.

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Roger’s wing walking (top left) a highlight of 1983

But the point being that, to me at least, 1983 still seems very vivid in the mind’s eye. As such, I was intrigued by the gem that Clem had unearthed, pertaining to Brentford’s Christmas fixture list. The ever-progressive club had, at one point, looked to revive an old festive tradition and arrange our game with Wimbledon for 11am on December 25th.

It seems madness now but not as crazy as the reasoning, given out by the Press Officer at the time. It was an attempt to get back to, and I quote, “The old idea of men going to football whilst ladies stayed at home to cook the turkey”.

Seriously? Was this just Clem having a joke at the expense of Brentford fans? Seemingly not. A quick trawl of the interweb reveals this gem elsewhere whilst, more importantly, it is directly referenced in the excellent “100 years of Brentford” book.

After protests from both sets of fans the game was rearranged for Christmas Eve and we promptly lost 3-4 in front of 6,689 fans.

Their numbers, presumably, bolstered by women who had been unchained from their cookers.

Here’s hoping for a better result on Monday against Cardiff City. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

Selfie heaven ; football hell. Unbeaten April comes to an end

27 Apr

Hull City AFC 2 Brentford 0 . A hectic April finally saw the Bees losing a game and we approach month end sitting 10th in the Championship table. A possible 8th position still beckons although surely, now, focus will only be on a local derby win over Fulham at Griffin Park this Saturday. Which, of course, is definitely our final game of the month. Definitely. Hull being the penultimate (regardless of what you may have read earlier).

Certainly, the team line up suggested that we might have more than an eye on the West London derby with both Lasse Vibe and Scott Hogan rested whilst John Swift returned to a side that had gone on that wonderful run in his absence.

I wasn’t there. Neither were most of us. You know the drill about where to find match reports by now. Instead, it was Bees Player and the alternative BBC (Burridge, Brett, Chapman) for me.

That said, 214 hardy souls did make the journey with the majority of them looking out for Peter Gilham. Kitman Bob Oteng using his latest ‘BBGiveaway’ to put three pairs of player boots on offer for anybody getting a ‘selfie’ alongside our man ‘with the mic’.

Here’s hoping PG was given due notice of his impending popularity. Otherwise I can only imagine him left very much confused by an even more heightened level of terrace idolatry. If there’s any justice, Twitter user @Beesbanter is surely going to feature amongst the winners for sheer comedy value alone.

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Surely this effort has to be worth a pair of boots, Bob ?

So what can we say about the game?

Harlee hit a screamer (sadly in the wrong end) and Mohamed Diame doubled the lead on half time. In between, David Button saved a penalty (an almost carbon copy of Scott Hogan’s recent effort against Bristol City) to give the Bees hope. Sadly it wasn’t to be.

The second half sounded what we’ll politely call ‘pedestrian’. Sky’s match report notes that it “took longer to get going than the first,” whilst their highlight’s package cuts straight to interviews with Steve Bruce after the first period.

Mark Burridge’s use of classic World Cup line, “For those of you just coming in from work” was probably the standout moment. Then again, I get excited by brackets. However,  despite our best efforts there was no chance of that famous Bob Booker inspired 7(seven) – 2 scoreline being repeated.

Indeed, the thoughts of the two observers whose opinions I value more than any others, BBC Billy Reeves and the aforementioned commentator par-excellence, say it all:

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Instead, its all about Fulham now. Changes will, surely, come to the team with the likes of Lasse and maybe even Scott straight back into the starting XI? Will three starts in a week prove too much for the brilliant Sergi Canos whilst what about John Swift whom BBC Billy noted as “not having an impact”?

Jake Bidwell’s replacement during the second period does raise concerns. In a season dominated by Alan Judge and David Button,Captain Jake has very much been one of the unsung heroes in our team. Quietly going about his business and even weighing in with a few goals, here’s hoping all is good for Saturday.

Look. We lost. Well done Hull City. To be in 10th with just two games to go is, frankly, remarkable given the ups and downs we’ve seen this season. There have been some giddy highs and a lot of sickening lows.

No doubt we’ll get to those over the coming weeks and months. For now, though, there’s one more prize on offer.

Bragging rights over our West London rivals.

Fulham and QPR – we’re coming for you.

Nick Bruzon

A surprise source unearths a real Christmas turkey

30 Dec

As Brentford spent Christmas going down to both Ipswich Town and Wolves, it seems that away from the field various sources were busy either writing about, or preparing articles on, the club’s home fixture from the 1983 festive period.

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.

Roger's wing walking is in the top left corner

Roger’s wing walking is in the top left corner

It’s only obvious if you know the answer. Thank you, Mr Benham

22 Jul

Obvious clue”. Not my words but those of Brentford owner Matthew Benham on Sunday night as he dropped another of his cryptic hints as to who would be joining the Bees yesterday.

In the end, the video of Bob Dylan’s Wigwam was neither Bob Booker (as suggested by Luis Adriano) or Patrick Bamford as, finally, it seemed I may have unravelled one of these. But no, instead my guess merely unearthed Dusty Bin once more as a Hogan transpired to also be a Navajo dwelling.

Not Patrick Bamford but a Navjo tent

Not Patrick Bamford but a Navjo hut

There’s more chance of Brentford winning the FA Cup than me getting one of these clues. Not that I’m complaining. Matthew’s continued investments, in quality, are a stunning thing to behold. When the only problem we seem to have is the inability to solve a riddle, then things must be good.

That said, I wouldn’t mind if he could make them a tad easier. Frankly, Matthew could come out and say, “We are signing Marcello Trotta” and I’d probably translate that to Tommy Smith becoming a Bee.

Although, to be fair, we are yet to pick up that ‘experienced pro’ that sides entering the Championship always seem to do – see also England International Kenny Sansom, 92-93.

So instead it IS Scott Hogan, as all the ‘unofficial’ clues were suggesting may be the case on Sunday, who has joined Brentford. Matthew retains his place as Brentford’s own Ted Rogers and Patrick remains a Chelsea player.

And what a signing Scott promises to be. Whilst you can read the full ‘Hogan’ fact file on the clubsite, for me, the telling facts are a PFA ‘team of the year’ selection and 17 goals in 33 league games last season. Of course, previous stats don’t guarantee a glut of goals (see also: Northern Ireland International Will Grigg) but the team seems set up to provide even more attacking options than ever before.

You can get your first look at Scott tonight, with the Bees due to travel to Barnet, against whom Warbs has promised he will be given a run out. And if you can’t make it, don’t forget there is live coverage on Beesplayer where you could also contemplate more intriguing questions:

Given the club’s ability for picking out young talent, just how good can Scott be?

When will  Mark Burridge & co first use the ‘Hogan’s heroes’ line or reference to WWE’s ‘Hulk’ ? (my guess, by 7.10pm tonight)

And, most importantly, assuming Hogan lives up to his promise, which member of club staff will attempt to grow the wrestler’s trademark blonde handlebar for Movember?

The chief executive? The programme editor? Mr Style? Or a fellow new boy?

Stranger things have happened – the artist’s impression (nobody has done it for real, yet… is below)

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

Will anybody from the club go 'Full Hogan" this November??

Will anybody from the club go ‘Full Hogan” this November??

Shirt news and a moment of genius from the programme

9 May

With Brentford fans, for once, able to enjoy the play offs (will it be Uwe’s Wigan Athletic or the Loftus Road mob who stay in the Championship; perhaps Leyton Orient will enjoy some Wembley FA Cup style celebrations) the mind starts to wander to other things.

For me, it’s two fold – next season’s shirt and looking to dig up the past from our previous, brief foray into the Championship.

On the former subject, the club has remained tight lipped, so far, beyond a reference to some form of special crest. Chief Executive Mark Devlin went a step further on twitter during the week when, questioned on the subject by several kit enthusiasts (football’s equivalent of trainspotters?) including myself, he has now advised:

“Goes on sale June 19. And has stripes on the reverse! Watch out for our teaser campaign.”

This is excruciating. I feel like a guest at the ambassador’s party. We can all see the butler in the corner, waiting patiently with that pyramid of Ferrero Rocher precariously piled on top of the silver platter. I’m desperate to bite into a hazelnut smeared in nutella but, until such time as ‘His excellency’ gives the barely imperceptible nod, the Roche (which a colleague recently assured me is the correct plural) remain off limits.

After two years of teabags and red backs, I’m itching to see the new shirt. Whatever this campaign is, I hope it starts soon.

As for the second issue, I’ve long ranted about Ray Biggar – the chronologically challenged referee who as good as sent us down to the third tier back in 1993 with the eight minutes of mysterious extra time that allowed Notts County to steal two points from The Bees. Well, I bought the programme from that game on eBay last week (£1.40 including p&p).

Would there be picture of the man? Perhaps a biography. I was just after some additional information about Ray – some explanation as to what caused him to do us such damage? But there was nothing beyond his name – incorrectly spelt – and place of residence. Noooo. I feel cheated.

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The Biggar file – I blame the editor

As though the butler had been summoned but then the first guest decided to take the bottom Rocher, thus causing massive pyramidic instability – the net result of which was a cascade of tumbling chocolates as they all fell to the floor.

However, any disappointment at this was soon tempered by the a flick through the rest of the programme, in particular the 8 page ‘Focus on the Club shop’ in which Bob Booker, Neil Smillie and Chris Hughton do their best to promote everything from rugby shirts and cardigans to waist coats and jumpers.

They don’t do marketing like this anymore – which is a real shame. You can see some extracts below. Given the various ‘hotties of the year’ still at the club, I reckon the programme team and club shop could ‘double up’ for a real winner next campaign.

Mike Sullivan, Mark Devlin, and Mark Chapman – over to you….

PS If any ambassadors are reading (they aren’t) and could explain correct protocol of how to ‘eat into’ the pyramid’ please do let us know.

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Sub-standard journalism and a 125th anniversary puzzler for ‘MacBrentford’….

10 Apr

The exhilaration of Brentford moving closer to possible promotion on Tuesday was tempered by last night’s London Evening Standard and their general obliviousness to this fact, at the expense of Chelsea. True, the one time Champions of Europe deserved extensive coverage after their late win over PSG at Stamford Bridge but three full pages (with pictures on two more) whilst the Bees were given just two lines is hardly balanced coverage from a, supposed, London paper.

It’s an old gripe and I fully understand they are going to lead with the story of larger (general) interest. That said, Brentford are a London team too and, as our fans know, are going great guns. It’s just a shame that the rest of London isn’t being given the opportunity to share in these exciting times.

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.

Brentford Bees 1 Hull Tigers 0. A result I never want to see.

14 Dec

““Hull City. My first Brentford game!! Thanks to Bob Booker for getting me hooked so young.”

Not my words but those of GPG user Robbee74, when I canvassed Brentford supporters for their memories of Bob back in 2010.

It may seem odd to start with another club ahead of Brentford’s game against Oldham Athletic but these are troubled times. For those unaware the owner of Hull City AFC, Doctor Assem Allam, is currently ploughinhg ahead with his decision to change the club name to Hull Tigers. Supporters are, unsurprisingly, up in arms over this and moreso given some of his inflammatory remarks about both them and the reason for his taking this course of action.

Dr. Allam has been quoted as telling The Independent that opponents to his scheme “Can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football.”

Charming. It’s up there with the moment that former Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed said, on deciding to erect a statue of Michael Jackson outside the club’s ground,  “If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world they can go to hell. I don’t want them to be fans.”

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.

 

Always a legend – despite the suspect hammy

16 Aug

With no game having been played since the win over Sheffield United last week, ‘The Last Word’ took the chance to catch up with former Bee, Paul Gibbs.

Despite leaving Griffin Park Imageback in 2002, Paul remains as popular now as he was then – to the extent of organizing May’s ‘legends’ match aswell as being a current ‘BeesPlayer’ pundit. He shares his thoughts on the season so far, but first  – that legend’s game.

Over the summer you were pivotal in organising the Bees Legends game v ‘Showbiz XI’. How did you find the whole experience?  I loved it! Peter Gillham called me and asked if I could help with the game. I said ‘Absolutely’! I got in touch with all my old mates from 2000 and they were all happy to play.  I got to speak to other players that were before  and after my time a time at Brentford,  which was great as I knew of them but never got to meet them. After only a few weeks I managed to get around 16-17 players confirmed and got the help from some old bees fans to assist me so it was a bit of a joint effort

And personally, the ‘hammy’ went after about a half hour. All ok now? I played in a game two weeks before at Brentford and I pulled it then. I had two weeks physio and knew it would not last but I just had to be there. I even moved our family holiday so I could play in it… (editor’s note: this is true – despite risking the wrath of mother-in-law) .

It was a game I would not miss and to catch up with some great lads I just had to be there. I lasted about 25 minutes I think and, to be honest, I thought it was going well until I decided to make an overlap run! But It was still great to be a part of it all.

Is it any

 coincidence that the Bees team started to score after you went off? That’s because I wore them down in the first 25 minutes!!  I will have to say I was very impressed with the fitness levels of all of the lads. Some of us were in the late 30’s or early 40’s but I think we played some great stuff! Scotty P and BBB were fantastic! 



Will we see you out there again? Will there be another legends game? I would love to get the club to support an Official Bees Legends team. Plymouth have a fantastic set up for their Legends and support them on their travels whilst I have people that will help get it off the ground.

I would love to get us into the ‘Masters’ and organise a London legends event but this will all have to go through the club, so we will wait and see. However, we have been asked to go to Plymouth next year and play in a Devon competition against Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay so we will get a team together for that…

Which ‘legend’ didn’t play but you’d love to have had involved?  Bob Booker he is a great guy I would have liked Martin Rowlands to play too! We all love a villain! I will get him next time!

And who impressed you the most from those that did? All of them did but Ben Burgess was amazing and Scotty Partridge, too!, Glenn Poole is a class act and Nathan Elder was fantastic!!!

Even Mark Chapman (Bees media team) got a run out in the last ten minutes? To be fair I promised him 10 mins as he works for the club but you don’t get a chance to play with the guys you support. I thought It would be nice for him to get a feel for what its like in the changing rooms and on the pitch and he did well!!

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(The centre of the action – even off the pitch)

These days we can hear you popping up on BeesPlayer. How did all that come about?
 You certainly seem to enjoy it . Initially I was just asked to say a few words but it’s hard for me to say “only” a few words. I’m passionate about football and Brentford so it was easy for me to talk about the game. I really enjoy it and will be doing more this season, commentating with Mark on the game. So that will be fun!

Mark, Luis and the rest of the team are pretty slick, wouldn’t you agree?  Not bad for something they do as a ‘side project’. They are total pros and have a huge amount of passion for the bees. Its why Brentford its close to my heart as there are so many people that do so much for the club. I was very privileged to play for them so its my time to give something back

Will we hear much from you on ‘Player’ this season? I do hope so. Its’ a juggling act for me as I work away from my family through the week and weekends are for my kids but I will get to as many games as I can. It was 11 years ago that I left and all the fans still keep asking me if I have got my boots! It is lovely they still recognise me but, with this nose, I guess people cant forget me!

As for the Bees, what do you make of preseason and the opening games ? I don’t want to get carried away but I would be very disappointed if the Bees didn’t get automatic promotion this season. Uwe has done very well this season with his additions and watching the Sheffield United game showed a real strength in depth in the squad.

Does anyone stand out in particular? The whole team looked solid to be honest, but I always look at the centre spine of the team. If you’re strong through the middle you will do well and I think the gaffer has it right this year. I still think that you may need another striker but its looking very good this year.

What’s your opinion on Uwe ? It’s hard to say as I’m not in there with him but he seems to have the support of not only the board but the players, as it looks like they are really buying into what he is asking them to do. He seems to be very organised and methodical in his approach.. This season is a big one for him after last years effort and the fans will be expecting big things this year.

In the League cup Uwe fielded a very different team to that from the opening game of the league campaign. Is it something you agree with?  I ask you firstly as a player and then as a supporter.  As a player I want to play every game so I hate it when the managers do that! But its good for him to see what the other guys can do and it helps develop the squad so its a good thing (now I’m not playing)!

As a fan its a good thing as you get to see what the squad players are like and to see what youngsters you have coming through the ranks!


Is there any game – home or away – you are particularly looking forward to watching? Not really I just like getting to any game I can but the last game of the season when we are four points clear will be a good one!

Who is your dark horse to watch in the league this season? Coventry, I would say, as its all against them at the moment!

Where will the Bees finish? 2nd but I would love them to win it!! 

Wolves will be strong this year and I think Preston will do well.

You can read more about the Brentford legends at:

https://www.facebook.com/BeesLegends

And

http://www.griffinpark.org/forums/showthread.php?t=105612&highlight=bees+legends

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(‘Gibbs’ even popped up on ‘Soccer AM’ before the Doncaster game at the end of last season. With Max Rushden, Helen Chamberlain and the worst penalty takers ever – until 4.45 that afternoon )