Tag Archives: Boro

A new look – in more ways than one. But do you like it?

10 May

Boom. No sooner has the regular season ended than out of nowhere Brentford have launched a new club website whilst our new crest has also began to appear all over cyber space. And, although slightly delayed (this nonsense can’t write itself every day) we now know another opponent for next season as Middlesbrough make a swift return to the Championship following the briefest of sojourns in football’s top flight.

First up, the website. There was no real build up but visitors to what is now brentfordfc.com on Tuesday morning were greeted with a new look. And what a relief. What a blessed relief. Gone is that awful, awful cluttered template look. Gone is the almost random way articles were thrown together on screen. Gone is that stream of outdated and long defunct ‘news’ that we’d get on the right hand side of the screen.

The previous incumbent was awful. I make no apologies for saying this and it was something that had been noted on these pages previously. Equally, it wasn’t one of the club’s direct making. Look around the websites of other EFL clubs and you’d see the vast majority with the same, restrictive template. Even the ability to write in paragraphs was an enhancement that only came about this season.

First impressions of the replacement are nothing but positive. What a great decision by the club to look at breaking the mould and what a great job, certainly on first impressions, to those responsible for putting this together. For a non-techy like yours truly, it was simple to use, intuitive and I loved the fact that there’s even a tab for our fan groups on there (most of whom will grant you access !).

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Early visitors to ‘new look official’ got a treat – our important fan groups being represented.

Nice one Brentford. I can’t wait to see how it looks once we get back into a season ‘proper’.

Next up, the crest. We’ve made no secret on these pages of loving the castle and not being the biggest fans of her replacement – the cluttered, clipart that until the weekend has been the public image of BrentfordFC for over 20 years. To me, it was always the graphical equivalent of  Murray Jones replacing Dean Holdsworth. Equally, I’m not so naive as to ignore the fact that it remained hugely popular amongst a large section of out fan base who view the crest’s passing with some sadness.

But whether you loved it or loathed it, the crest is dead. Long live the crest. The new look Bee began to take pride of place on the website and Twitter from yesterday, with the promise of a club wide rebrand to follow. For me, the is nothing but good news.

On a personal note, there was no secret of my approval for the new version when it was revealed earlier on the season. It is an opinion that I most definitely stick with now we’ve had time to acclimatise. Stylish, smart and displaying a modern take on a former classic, this really is a good look.

Looking around the internet yesterday I saw those interminable muttering about the legs and the ‘wasp’  factor being mentioned once more. It is so clearly a bumble bee as to be almost unrecognisable as anything else. Likewise, it is possible for a Bee to only have four of the six legs on display at any one time. And if we’re really going to split hairs, just look at the crest that has just shuffled off this sartorial coil. Examine the legs on view and count them. One, two, three, four, fi..no. That’s it. The same four as we have once more.

new-badge-bee

The new crest is now live (and a bee, for comparison)

Look I don’t want to dwell on that anymore. Our new crest is, in my opinion, worthy of a big thumbs up. It isn’t the Castle (what is, though?) but it is now the look of our club. The next big question being just what it is going to look like on a shirt. Kitman Bob, any clues here?

And finally, Middlesbrough. As suspected by many, they’ve bounced straight back to the Championship after a solitary season in the Premier League. Which is awful for them and potentially worse for us. Nobody needs any reminder of our record since the return to this level of football. Played 6 Lost 6.

That was then; this is now. Four of these six were in our first season and included that play-off semi final loss where we came so close to an incredible end to the campaign. Then again, do we do play-offs any other way?

I think both Middlesbrough and Brentford will find each other very different opponents next time out. Our own set up has undergone a huge overhaul and the starting XI is probably now our strongest in years. Certainly when the players hit their stride. As for Boro’, they’ll have had the wind taken out of their sails somewhat and will no doubt have their own rebuilding exercise to undergo.

Will they be a Newcastle united or an Aston Villa? We saw vastly different responses to Premier League relegation from those two fallen giants this campaign. Newcastle bouncing back in style; Villa finding the Championship a much tougher division than could have been anticipated. Whilst the Magpies ended it as champions,  the Villans finished the campaign below the Bees in the final table.

Whilst the suspicion is that Boro’ will use their experience and set up to be nearer the business end of the table, they’ll no longer be that big fish they once were. Neither will Brentford be the perceived minnow.

I can’t wait for the chance to do battle once more and look at getting that first win under our belts. Until then, it simply remains to say, RIP to the previous crest.

Now bring on our new look….

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Nick Bruzon

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No prizes for ‘unlucky’ but at least we won the possession

13 Jan

Well, you can talk about “unlucky” and “on another night “ all you want but the simple fact is that Middlesbrough left Griffin Park with all 3 points after beating Brentford 1-0. It may well have been against the run of play in a game where, especially in the first twenty minutes, we dominated but if ever there was a lesson to be learned about taking your chances when they arise then here it was. And with free scoring Burnley due to visit on Friday night, let’s hope it is one that we learn fast.

Brentford played very, very well for large parts of this game despite the best efforts of referee Gavin Ward. The aforementioned opening salvo saw a performance that was world’s apart from the debacle in the FA Cup. Lasse Vibe, especially, started at 100mph as first he set up Alan Judge for a shot that drifted just wide before finding himself clean through moments later. With defenders closing and Boro’ keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos on inspired form, as ever, the chance was pushed away for one of the 11 corners we earned.

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Hands off Toumani….. Boro’ defend another corner

The returning Sam Saunders saw Dimi manage to get to a dipping first half free kick whilst Harlee Dean and Max Colin (my standout player from last night) also came close for the Bees. Yet despite these wonderful chances and a final figure of 60% possession if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net then you don’t win football matches.

Middlesbrough were solid and well organised. Perhaps you could even say they were cynical at times but they did what they needed to. On a blustery evening they soaked us up, rode their luck a bit yet, with the scores still at 0-0, when the chance presented itself on the hour they put it away. Or, rather, we did.

David Button, for so long this season the man who has kept us in games, saw an attempted punch spin off his gloves, over his head and, despite the claims of Daniel Ayala, straight through a melee of players and over the line. It was, to be polite, a frustrating moment and I’m not going to start criticising our ‘keeper – far from it. He’s been a hero this season and we play as a team.To be honest, the game should have been closed out by that point.

Instead, Middlesbrough did what they do – lock things down and win games. In tricky conditions, a long way from home, they made it 6 wins in 16 months against The Bees.

I’m not going to pander to our team and say “unlucky”. This was a wonderful chance to beat the league leaders and close in on play-off rivals. Instead, they’ve got away with the points once more and the gap to sixth is now eight points. From a table perspective, the only consolation is that at least positions 4-6 are really tightening up. But, being honest, I think we’re now in a place where unless we start winning very fast indeed, consolidation is the best this side can hope for this time around.

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The BBC table shows the current state of play

That’s still no bad thing and moreso given the start to the campaign we had. People have huge expectation levels and forget how far we’ve come over the last few seasons. Likewise, how mediocre things have been in the past. Ladies and gentlemen, before Marinus I give you Terry Butcher, Leroy Rosenior and even the sad end to the Andy Scott era – just for starters.

Yet at the same time, we were spoiled by what the squad achieved last season and just how close we came to the top flight. For a brief moment, ‘automatic’ was looking very much a possibility and, even then, we still got a second bite as we hit the play-offs on that stunning final day of the season.

Seeing Andre Gray scoring goals for fun this season up at Burnley (and, indeed, the brace he managed for us under Marinus) does show just what this team have been missing in recent weeks. You can’t knock Lasse Vibe’s effort, or goals, but target man isn’t his natural position. The return to fitness of Marco Djuricin can only be a good thing for a team whose record is now just two wins in eight games.

Only Derby, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and, erm, Fulham have scored more goals than us all season and so I’m sure you’ll hear the statisticians and coaches saying we’re looking quite healthy in that position. Well, the last five games have only seen us trouble the scorers three times – and two of those were the wonder goals from Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos at Reading. Incredible strikes, for sure, but not the sort of thing you can rely on week in, week out.

Were we unlucky last night? Yes. We played very well with Sam Saunders providing a welcome burst of fresh air and enthusiasm whilst Max Colin really impressed.

Should we have won? Probably. Judge and Vibe had the best of some good chances for Brentford.

Did Middlesbrough deserve it? It’s irrelevant. When the chance arose, we were pressured into conceding and they didn’t let us back in despite the Bees having seen the majority of the ball  by full time.

Goals win football matches, people. Regardless of who you are playing or how it gets into the back of the net.

Roll on Friday, when Burnley await. They warmed up with a 5-0 humping of MK Dons last night. Then again, if Brentford start like we did on Tuesday evening it could be an interesting one…

Nick Bruzon

Opinion very much divided as rumours persist and Boro’ await

12 Jan

Brentford take on Middlesbrough tonight, hoping to put the cup defeat to Walsall behind them and get back to winning ways in the league. An obvious statement, perhaps, but anybody who bore witness to just how below par Saturday was, where we were outplayed for huge swathes of the game, will be fully aware that a reaction is needed. Moreso, with a game against play off rivals Burnley just three days after this one.

I mentioned in yesterday’s article that Boro’ have beaten us five times in the last 16 months. What I didn’t realise was that they’ve actually done us the last 8 times out of 8. Whilst, understandably, some people are calling Middlesbrough a bogey a team, I’m not having a bar of that. The only bogeys I care about are the ones up my nose, with a heavy cold putting attendance tonight in the balance.

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View from the terrace – Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last season

Besides, it may be horribly clichéd but you are only as good as your last result. Ahhhh. Yes. Walsall. But that was the cup, where we played with a black hole in the centre of the park, sucking all life and creation into a morass of nothingness.   In the league, the Bees have recorded 5 wins and a draw out of our last 7 (seven) games at Griffin Park.

Yet, tonight provides a real problem for Head Coach Dean Smith in one respect. Who does, or can, he pick to start for Brentford? With the flurry of transfer rumours doing the rounds might his hands be tied? Tarks keen to go to Burnley and Toums asking for a transfer request being the pick of the pops yesterday.

Could wandering minds impact performance?

Both players were sorely missed at the weekend. Toumani in particular. It is a tremendous insult to either player to suggest they’d give any less than 100% yet, at the same time, if (and it is a huge IF) somebody would rather be elsewhere then will the absolute focus be there? Will they stick their foot into that 50/50 challenge?

I’m not a professional footballer and I don’t have the answer to that question. I’d hope that once you pull on the red and white shirt, all else goes out of the window. Regardless, I’d be starting with Toums, Tarks and Alan Judge unless injury or orders from a higher power than Dean Smith said otherwise.

Given Alan’s appearance from the bench on Saturday, I’m sure we’ll see him from the off. As for the other two, let’s just hope ‘the injuries’ that caused them to miss the cup game have cleared up.

The middle of the park was a mess on Saturday. If Swift or McEachran start I’ll be really quite frustrated tonight. P*ss poor performance should not be rewarded with another chance. Josh, for all his potential, was off the pace whilst Swift is fast becoming the new Jonathan Douglas. Don’t let the odd goal and surging run disguise the lack of impact when things are against and defensive frailty when the ball is going the other way. Even Dougie would stick his foot in from time to time.

And the reason I mention our former man was an article by West London’s Premier Journalist, Tom Moore, looking to analyse the reasons for our cup exit. Fair play to Get West London for running an opinion piece – always much more interesting than a ‘double transfer swoop’ scoop that turns to nothing.

As I said myself on Saturday night, it was the sort of game crying out for Sam Saunders. That’s a point also picked up on by Tom, with him actually going one further to suggest this could be the beginning of the end for the mercurial wing wizard. I hope not but fear he could be right.

Where I don’t agree is in his comments regarding Dougie. “While it is clear that Douglas was difficult to handle off the pitch, what he brought on the pitch is still being missed.

He would mop up attacks and charge forward, turning Brentford’s 4-2-3-1 formation into one more akin to a 4-1-3-2 and Douglas scored eight goals last season”

Sorry Tom. I respect your opinion but on this one I feel you’re wrong. It’s an emotive subject, for sure. Dougie was a hero to many and nobody could deny the amount of goals he scored.

But it was this charging and chasing forward, especially last season, that saw us cruelly exposed time and again. You didn’t need to be a genius to know we’d be done by the long ball over the top of the midfield or see the hole that he kept leaving. That’s without any of the ‘off field’ issues that are alluded to. Even when he came back with Ipswich Town, Jota was the man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A great player at his peak, Dougie’s time had definitely come and, for me, it’s less a case of missing him as more needing the new breed to step up and do what they are supposedly able to.

Douglas hits jota post Ipswich

Dougie – last seen on Beesplayer giving Jota a ‘girly slap’

For me, and I may be in a minority, one of the few good things that happened under Marinus was to end ‘the cult of Douglas’. Despite his longevity and past heroics, at the end it felt as though he was keeping his place on reputation rather than ability. I do wonder what might have happened had Warbs given things a bit of a shake up towards the end of last season.

Still, that’s all conjecture and why we love football so much. Wallowing in the memories of past legends with the beauty of rose tinted glasses isn’t going to change what our current, youthful, team do. Or don’t. One person’s hero is another’s villain. Poor Harlee Dean certainly seems to be the fall guy in that position, amongst some supporters, this season.

We could talk about this for hours. That’s what podcasts are for.  Perhaps instead  a topic for Beesotted over the coming days? For now, I’m only interested in the current team and tonight’s performance against Middlesbrough.

If Dean looks to crowd the midfield again, let’s just hope they don’t trip over each other’s feet and, likewise, look to get the ball forward. We’ve got as tough opponents as you could expect in the league and it’s going to be hard. Very hard.

On the flipside, if ever a reaction from the previous game was needed then it is now. And what a team it would be to give it against.

See you there. Hopefully.

Nick Bruzon

Bees have nothing to lose and everything to gain at Middlesbrough

15 Sep

Brentford complete their mini-break away from West London, with the game against Middlesbrough following hot on the heels of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leeds United. But will it be a case of ‘Grim Up North’ or coming back home with some more positive news after last season’s footballing lesson at the hands of the Smoggies?

Brentford, of course, surprised most observers in reaching the Play-Offs last season. Those of us present saw a team punching well above their weight as household names and, so called, ‘big clubs’ were dispatched with all the ease of a supporter polishing off a balti pie i.e. easily. The Bees trounced the likes of Wolves, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United as we came dangerously close to emulating Bournemouth and reaching the Premiership.

But Middlesbrough were a different kettle of fish. Over four games, including the two-legged Play-Off semi, Brentford ended up on the wrong end of a 10-1 aggregate scoreline. Middlesbrough won all four games, including a 4-0 league victory at the Riverside that Mark Warburton would later say “wasn’t acceptable, especially after the break when we weren’t good enough”.

View from the terrace - Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

View from the terrace – Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

For all that Warbs was a hero to many and did some wonderful things with his team, when it came to Middlesbrough we were most definitely second place. But can Marinus do any better?

Well, that was then and this is now. Whilst it is nice to recognise previous results when they go your way, they are nothing more than a statistical nicety used purely (and there’s nothing wrong with that) to remind the opposition of previous dominance.

But when it comes down to it, current form is the only thing of particular relevance. Whatever happened last season is done. Middlesbrough and Brentford find themselves both locked in the Championship hoping for another crack at promotion.

There wasn't much, beyond this, to smile about last season

There wasn’t much, beyond this, to smile about last season

Boro’ are in third place already, behind runaway leaders Brighton and Cardiff City (Hmmm. That’ll last). They’ve picked up 11 points from 6 games, including 3 wins. Interestingly, their solitary defeat was at home to Bristol City. That’ll be the same team Brentford recorded their first win of the season against, with the 4-1 hammering at Ashton Gate. Mind you, that was also our only win of the season as the other four games have seen two draws and two losses.

Nobody gives us a chance. Certainly, outside of TW8. But then that’s the way I like it. Even my online bookmaker (who I use purely for reference purposes), has the Bees as 9/2 to pick up all three points. It wasn’t going to be easy, let alone midweek when there’ll be only a handful of the super loyal present (at one point, it was touch and go as to whether a coach would even be running).

Full marks to them for making this most torturous of trips. Especially off the back of the weekend when we’d have been denied the luxury of being able to stay in the region. It’s been a while since the odds and situation have been so heavily stacked against us, yet the optimistic part of me thinks this could be the night. And simply because nobody gives us a prayer.

There’s nothing like home support, expecting a massacre, to get frustrated when it fails to materialise. And as we know, that can transmit to the players. I expect Marinus to have the defensive handbrake on full lock today and then look to catch Middlesbrough on the break.

Then again, that’s what most people expect. Could he shock us all and go for all out attack? Looking to create chances at Leeds United on Saturday certainly worked, even if we weren’t quite able to finish them all off.

Ultimately, I haven’t a clue. I’m just the numpty on the terrace but you can be sure I’ll be glued to Beesplayer this evening to follow all the action. It might not be pretty. It certainly won’t be easy. But after last season’s 4 defeats, could it be different?

At 7.45, we find out…..

Nick Bruzon

Time to ring the changes ?

6 Feb

Brentford head to Leeds United on Saturday with the news that Warbs has missed out on his second manager of the month award in three months. Instead, as suspected, Aitor Karanka of Middlesbrough emerged as a deserved winner for January. His side’s 1-0 win at Brentford last weekend being the deciding factor (although, by all rights, that is a game that should probably still be under way given the amount of second half timewasting that took place).

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 on.

Could the one time 'hottie of the year' (right) see more action ?

Could the one time ‘hottie of the year’ (right) see more action ?

Fitness questions as another MOTM nomination is earned

5 Feb

Early morning visitors to the official site may have had to check twice after seeing the story that Brentford manager Mark Warburton has not only been nominated for Manager of the Month, but he has also ‘won’ . Whilst Aitor Karanka of Middlesbrough is, surely, a shoe in for the January award after picking up 10 points out of 12 (including victory at Griffin Park) it is testament to Warbs that he has been nominated (along with Neil Redfearn at Leeds United and Steve Mclaren of Derby County).

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 on.

Another penalty not to mention as Bees miss out to Boro

1 Feb

After all the build up it was Middlesbrough, with the returning Adam Forshaw in tow, who emerged the winners from Saturday’s table top clash with a 1-0 win over Brentford. It was a game the Bees can count themselves unlucky not to have got out of with at least a point but when you are up against the division’s meanest defence (a mere 18 Championship goals conceded in 28 games) then you need to take chances when they are presented.

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 on.

View from the terrace - the only goal of the game. Unfortunately

View from the terrace – the only goal of the game. Unfortunately

Also spotted on the terrace was this the result of a bet, an attempt to beat the cold weather or a stag night prank? Infact, it turned out to be the latter rather than the club looking to replace Buzzette during the transfer window.

Could Buzzette face competition before the transfer window closes?

Could Buzzette face competition before the transfer window closes?

S

Game on? Forget about the past, we’ve all stepped up.

31 Jan

Brentford entertain Middlesbrough today in the most hotly anticipated game of the year, so far, at Griffin Park. Whilst Bournemouth’s win at home to a Watford side who had to play all but the first thirty seconds of the game with ten men may have denied today’s winners a chance to top the table, there is still plenty at stake.

First up though, will we even get the chance to kick off against Middlesbrough?

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 on.

Who needs the 'Go pro'? Prior to Tranmere, we had 'shovel-cam'

Who needs the ‘Go pro’? Prior to Tranmere, we had ‘shovel-cam’