Tag Archives: Bond

Snow day for Brentford still sees carnage at Birmingham City. Again.

4 Mar

So Brentford need to ‘go again’ with Cardiff City. The wintry conditions in the preceding few days putting paid to any chance of the game going ahead. And whilst hindsight may be a wonderful thing as things thawed rapidly on Saturday, making the call early was the correct decision. Moreso given the icy blast that was still blowing through TW8 at the weekend. Yet, with two away trips to come this week (Burton Albion on Tuesday and Millwall, Saturday) perhaps a day off was a blessing in disguise. Even without our game there was still plenty to keep us entertained in the Championship – starting and ending with Birmingham City who went down at Nottingham Forest.

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Griffin Park was among the places caught in the snowy conditions this week.

Positives for the Blues were that they scored their first goal in five games. Unfortunately, their opponents managed it twice, consigning the division’s lowest scorers to another defeat. Five in a row. Anti-manager of the month form for Steve Cotterill who despite embarking on a post-match Kevin Keegan style ‘I’d love it’ rant on BBC Radio, was consequently sacked. It is a decision which leaves Birmingham City looking for their fourth manager of the season and the club firmly locked in the bottom three. With a visit from Middlesbrough next up, it certainly won’t get any easier for whomever comes in next.

Garry Monk is hot favourite. His name being added to the mix over the last few days was something which proved the catalyst for Cotterill’s frustration. “If that’s been going on behind my back, it’s best for them to get on with it”, he told BBC WM 95.6FM. Gordon Strachan and Mark Warburton are names that have also been bandied about.

The latter’s selection, if it somehow happened, would certainly make things interesting for ‘BeeTheDJ’ (or at least, at full time)  – assuming our club paths crossed next season. The respective directions that Birmingham and Brentford are currently heading, could conceivably see a two division gap between us for 2018/19.

It finished 5-0. It finished loud…

Then again, the knee jerk actions of a board whose hiring and firing policy could be written on the back of a fag packet mean nobody is safe for any amount of time. Even if the Bees and the Blues are both in the Championship next time around, there’s no guarantee that whomever inherits the manager’s office will still be there when we play each other once more.

Since the incredible decision to jettison Gary Rowett with the team on the fringe of the play-off race back in December 2016, they’ve been through more incompetent henchmen than a Bond Villain. Think Max Zorin in his zeppelin, finger poised over the ‘eject’ button.  There was the disastrous Gianfranco Zola period, Harry Redknapp (but only after he’d splurged the the transfer budget and wage bill – mostly towards us), three games for Lee Carsley and then Cotterill’s ill-fated period at the helm. Talk about self-inflicted suicide.

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Max Zorin – any excuse

Our own model – in terms of management and spending – proving to be the infinitely stronger tactic. A fourth, successive Championship top ten finish, with the possibility of a second play-off challenge, is more than on the cards. Contrast this to a team who despite their huge reputation and even bigger spending, have finished below us every year since our paths re-crossed at this level

Brentford fans had been quick to request the likes of ‘Price Tag’, Money’ and ‘I need a dollar’ as pre-kick off song selection for our recent game with The Blues. What had happened over the summer still so very fresh in our minds. As such, there was no irony lost yesterday in Joe Lolley and Matty Cash getting the Nottingham Forest goals that would ultimately prove the final nail in the Birmingham coffin. Certainly, this this latest incarnation.

Can they pull themselves out of this downward spiral? Barnsley above them have a game in hand, are already two points better off and have infinitely better goal difference. Likewise, Hull City (who entertain Millwall on Tuesday) are starting to see a bit of clear air. Burton, one point below them, also have a game in hand but are the bookies favourites, along with seemingly doomed Sunderland and the Blues.

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The current relegation prices. For research purposes.

Still, that’s their problem. The only downside out of all this for the Bees being our own trip to Burton on Tuesday. Whilst the table suggests this will be a formality, a team with their backs to the wall and staring into the abyss always have that potential to come out all guns blazing. They really are entering ‘do or die’ territory now as games start to run out. Whether the target is one of still harbouring play-off aspirations or consolidating another top ten finish, then these are the sort of games that need to be won.

To even be talking like this is, I still think, incredible. And as much in the show of faith invested by the club in our players and staff. We all know the horror start that the Bees had. Four points and in the bottom three after eight games. A wealth of experience and talent sold. Yet we’ve put out heads down, not panicked and built on the base of shrewd acquisition, experience and belief in our own process. The evidence has been tangible.

I’m gutted that yesterday’s game was cancelled. I’d love to have seen how we went against Cardiff City. Yet, perhaps it has also given us a chance to take stock. Both on and off the pitch. To look at what is happening around us. With the first shovel due to be planted at Lionel Road on March 19th, it’s fair to say things are looking positive!

Moreso, compared to some of our divisional rivals.

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Until next time, Cardiff….

Nick Bruzon

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With one midfield genius missing, could it be time for a new one to prove us wrong?

27 Sep

Brentford take on Reading tonight knowing that victory will see us leap frog the currently fourth placed Royals. The key questions being, which Brentford team will Dean Smith have at his disposal? And could one of our former players, then Chelsea loanee John Swift, come back to haunt the Bees?

Well, the FA website has finally caught up with the rest of us to confirm, officially, that Ryan Woods is missing for this one. The yellow card picked up in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves being his fifth of the season and so just cause to sit this one out.

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Ryan Woods

That was then, this is now. Brentford have had a very positive start to the season indeed. Moreso than most expected. Whilst it’s nice to look back at those wonder strikes, I’d be more than happy to go home with a scrappy 1-0 tonight. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination but then nobody said that a chance to catch up with the third placed team ever would be.

Besides, in a game where midfield decision will be key for the Bees, could another of our own team from last season be the man to make the difference? John Swift, of course, will have a massive point to prove.

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)

 Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST. 

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 along with a smattering of new material, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

 

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Oh to have seen more of Swift at his best

Nick Bruzon

Bustin’ makes me feel bad. Will Saturday be more Riley than Winkleman?

4 Mar

Brentford take on Charlton this Saturday, hoping for more of the same after cruising to a 3-0 victory at the Valley back in October. That result saw Addicks manager Guy Luzon, erm,  losing his job immediately afterwards and the Bees put in as one sided a performance as we’ve seen all season – even moreso than Wolves last Tuesday .

It was a game which had been completely at odds with Luzon’s first matchin charge of Charlton, their 3-0 win over Brentford that came at the height of last season’s Village-gate affair. That was a woeful performance from the Bees which, despite Warbs denial at the time, seemed to suggest a squad in disarray with just one thing – their manager’s future – as a point of focus. Thankfully, the Bees picked themselves up from that and confounded the expectations of most onlookers to make the play-offs. Where normal service resumed .

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Last season, Village gate saw a real low at Charlton

And, of course, we couldn’t take this briefest of looks at recent encounters without a nod to Tommy Smith. It was he whose late equaliser secured a point in our first ever Championship game – the season opener at Griffin Park back in August 2014. How the place erupted and then gasped as Alan Judge almost stole a late winner, hitting the crossbar with a freekick taken deep in Saunders Territory.

So in 18 months our three games have turned out as D,L and W. What will it be on Saturday?

Dean Smith spoke yesterday in an article on the official site where they did their wonderful trick of warming us up for the quote by giving us the quote, noting: Dean said the only target for the team between now and the end of the season is to win as many matches as possible. If anybody was in any doubt, the next line proved this as readers were advised, “We don’t want to target this or that but our aim is just to finish as high as we can and to win as many games as we can,” said Dean.

Dean went on to add that he hoped to “get that winning mentality back” . It looked like that might happen after the Wolves game before normal service resumed at Rotherham United. 2 wins out of 11 in 2016 are a poor run for Dean and I would question that to get something back, does he not have to have had it in the first instance ?

Then again, if we play like we did against Wolves anything is possible whilst Charlton’s confidence must be as low as that of the team behind the forthcoming Ghostbusters movie. The trailer for this being universally panned upon release yesterday and the unfunniest thing I had the misfortune to sit through all week. At least, until I saw Claudia Winkleman standing in for everbody’s favourite mathematical model, Rachel Riley, on ‘8 out of 10 cats does Countdown’ last night.

How can it be THIS bad?

Still, it has been a week generally filled with more disappointment than a post match press conference for the development squad (whatever the score, the interviewee always seems ‘disappointed’). Ghostbusters and Winkleman aside,  Saturday saw that game at Rotherham United whilst Sunday saw the worst ever James Bond theme, Sam Smith’s title track from the otherwise excellent Spectre, pick up an Oscar. This, an effort so bad it had ousted Madonna’s ‘Die another day’ from the bottom of the ‘Best Bond’ list yet here it was being honoured in the most public of fashions.

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. As Dean Smith would recognise, performances don’t always get what they are due. Let’s just hope that tomorrow we do what, honestly, we should. With a trip to Loftus Road the following weekend, we need everybody brim full of confidence.

Fingers crossed that Saturday is more Rachel Riley than Claudia Winkleman.

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artists impression of a mathematical model etc etc

Nick Bruzon

Bond shaken and stirred as Canos and Woods go bonkers in Berkshire

29 Dec

What can you say? That Brentford beat Reading 2-1 to move within one point of the play-off zone was an impressive enough end to the day. Yet it was the quality of the strikes that secured the win (Dean Smith’s first on the road in his role as Brentford Head Coach) that had everybody talking. First Ryan Woods and then Sergi Canos – who had only just signed his loan extension from Liverpool – took it upon themselves to rewrite the ‘goal of the month’ rulebook.

Poor Jonathan Bond in the Reading goal. Being honest, outside of these efforts we didn’t overly threaten his goal. Yet when you can score, and score like this, then the lack of other chances are made redundant.

With close to 3,000 travelling supporters packing the away end, there were huge hopes for this one. And boy, did Ryan Woods meet then on the quarter hour. Picking the ball up in the right of midfield, nobody could have guessed what would come next. The ginger Pirlo ran forward, lined up the goal in his sights and then unleashed an absolute thunderbolt, on the diagonal, from 25 yards out. It was still on the rise when it hit the far corner of the net, leaving Bond with no chance.

It was a strike that prompted West London’s premier Journalist, Tom Moore, to note on Twiter: “That’s @BrentfordFC’s goal of the month competition sorted. 25 yards out.” How little he, and we, knew….

Even Channel 5 struggled with that one, as their Twitter feed suggests…

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It was a screamer, but it wasn’t at Griffin Park

An hour in and it was 1-1. Garath McCleary doing the damage that, on balance, Reading’s performance probably merited at that point. He opened up the Brentford defence with the speed of a child unwrapping a Christmas present – wonderful interplay with Matej Vydra left him clear on David Button and the ‘keeper with no chance from that position.

Whilst not up to the quality of Woods’ effort, credit is due for a slick move that, being honest, had many of the Brentford fans around me resigned to a point.  Referee Keith Stroud had gone into the match with 38 yellow cards and 2 red in his last 7(seven) outings. With the man in the middle starting to flex his muscles, surviving with 11 players and a point wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

Then Sergi Canos happened.

It was a goal that had Brentford fans purring with delight and Liverpool supporters waxing lyrical about a player they’d rarely mentioned – certainly across our social media timeline. But then, when you score a goal like this, it’s no wonder they were trying to take the credit for it.

Ryan Woods, man-of-the-match by a country mile, lofted a perfect ball to the Spaniard out on the right wing. His first touch was sheer perfection as he lofted it past Stephen Quinn in a style almost reminiscent of Gazza leaving Colin Hendry for dead at Euro ’96. One man gone. By comparison he made drifting past his second man, Michael Hector, looks positively easy before firing home on the diagonal from the edge of the box to the far corner.

Bees fans went bonkers and Canos was ecstatic. Bond was left shaken and stirred whilst Tom Moore has to reopen his book on ‘goal of the month’ . Even Channel 5 recognised we were at the Madjeski. Best of all,  club photographer Mark Fuller was given a very late Christmas present as Sergi ran the right way….

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A great shot from Sergi – and Mark

And that was that. With the exception of Keith Stroud. Even he surpassed his previous efforts , issuing 7(seven) yellows and a red – to the hapless Hector – as his arm was clearly in need of a work out after the excesses of the holiday period. That said, given his card happy nature, he then seemed to develop some form of myopia as first Sam Saunders and later Sergi Canos were victom of some ‘robust’ challenges.

Is there some form of additional paperwork / assessment required when you reach an eighth booking that he just didn’t fancy? Or was he exhausted after flourishing more cards than I received over Christmas? The foul on the Spaniard, in particular, probably the worst of the game.

At the end of the day (Clive), I’m not going to sour a fine victory with an overlong rant on a referee who also managed to upset the home fans (what penalty?). Sadly, we’ve all seen and heard it too many times before.

So, 2-1 to the Bees and a victory that will remain in the memory for a long time. Being honest, I still have questions about the midfield but we’ll save those for another day.

Now, let’s just reflect on those two amazing goals and our possible assault on the play-offs.

No, seriously…..

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View from the stand – players and supporters alike celebrate the winning goal

Nick Bruzon