Tag Archives: Bradford City

As Chelsea look ahead to the fifth round and Liverpool, why Brentford will cause the mother of all upsets.

28 Jan

Saturday morning. 8.15am. The (now) ‘lucky’ tinfoil FA Cup from the 5-0 victory in the third round has just come out of storage whilst over on the TV Captain Barnacles, Kwazi and Peso are having another underwater adventure. That’s HB, not me, watching Octonauts and oblivious to the fact that today’s decreed ‘naughty team’ (a title bestowed upon anybody to line up against Brentford), are none other than Chelsea – the current Premier League leaders and one time Champions of Europe.

Oh yes. Its FA Cup fourth round day and Brentford go into this one with absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve been written off by just about everybody already whilst our own fans have, genuinely, no idea if the club’s leading scorer and one man goal machine, Scott Hogan, will start, be on the bench or have received a phonecall from his agent advising him that a buttock spasm has returned or his hamstring looked a little tight in Friday’s training.

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Just what is Scott’s number?

Nobody expects us to do it today. Mark Lawrenson and his team of guest pundits A.dot (no idea) and Adele (not that one ) from BBC radio have all tipped us to lose without scoring. Even the most tight fisted of bookmakers has us at 11/1 to win; the most generous 18/1. Chelsea, on the other hand, are 2/11 to win . Understandably so, given their wealth, their talent and their excellent start to the Premier League campaign. Chelsea lead the table by a country mile and specialise in clean sheets.

The nightmare of 2015/16, where José Mourinho proved less than ‘special’ as he lead the Blues to the edge of the relegation zone before being dismissed half way through the campaign, now seems as distant as it was unlikely. Only their failure to qualify for Europe in a season when even Spurs reached the Champions League group stages serving as a reminder of how much they had slipped last time out

Yet despite the calibre of our opposition there is room for massive hope and massive optimism. With games against Liverpool and Arsenal (genuine titles contenders and Arsenal, respectively) in the coming week you can expect an element of squad rotation. A Tuesday night trip to Anfield, where the home side will be looking to reel in the league leaders, must surely be seen as more of a threat and priority? Could an unfamiliar line up have trouble in making a cohesive unit?  With many changes predicted,  we are already boosted by the news that one man brick wall Thibaut Courtois has been replaced by ring rusty Asmir Begovic between the sticks.

There’s the atmosphere factor.Brentford sold out all 6,000 tickets within two days. nom matter what your views on the sale technique employed, expect there to be nothing but deafening noise from the Shed End. And that’s just when David Luiz puts in any form of appearance. Nobody in TW8 has forgotten about Jake Reeves.

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Nobody has forgotten…

What about the magic of the cup ? It was only two years ago that League One Bradford City humped Chelsea 4-2 at this stage of the competition. At Stamford Bridge. This, despite going 2-0 down in 38 minutes and playing against the likes of Cech, Drogba, Cahill, Oscar, Hazard and Fabregas – amongst others.

Then of course, we’ve our own recent fourth round encounter with the Blues. 2013 saw us hold Chelsea 2-2 at Griffin Park and for the entire first half of the replay until, eventually, form told.

Whilst they are few and far between we’ve had our own share of giant killing over the years. Sunderland, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers are the names that spring immediately to mind whilst had we just conceded four goals less and scored one at Anfield then we’d have beaten Liverpool and reached the 1989 semi-final.

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Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round – January 1989

Yet, for me, the most telling sign for optimism are the Chelsea fans at work who, to protect their identities, we’ll simply call ‘Andrew’ and ‘Dave’. They go into this one knowing they can’t win. Apart form on the pitch. If Chelsea do manage to get past us it will be what everybody expected. But if Brentford do what I genuinely expect, there will be nothing but a very sheepish journey into the office on Monday morning and bragging rights secured for the next few months.

That alone is reason to go for it today and I can’t wait. however you travel – tube, bus, Routemaster or even on the river cruise – be safe and have fun.

But most of all, come 3pm let’s be loud. Very loud. There’s a fifth round draw to look forward to. And Brentford WILL be in it.

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The lucky cup has been touched by Buzzette. What better omen do we need?

Nick Bruzon

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Happy with the cup draw? A chance for payback awaits.

10 Jan

The FA Cup fourth round draw has been made and Brentford will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It is a draw that immediately evoked memories of the same stage back in 2013 where only a late equaliser from Fernando Torres kept The Blues alive as they forced a replay following a 2-2 at Griffin Park.  That second game was a much more one sided affair as 0-0 at half time turned to 4-0 in favour of a Chelsea side who would eventually make it all the way to the semis before coming unstuck against Manchester City.

Just yesterday morning when writing about the forthcoming draw, it was noted on these pages: Trumping the likes of Manchester City and Sunderland whilst running Southampton and Chelsea more than close. Oh, for a chance to do it once more.

Ask and you shall receive. If only wishes were always granted this easily.

Saunders territory Chelsea

We faced Chelsea back in 2013. 2-2 at Griffin Park

Back then, Chelsea were Champions of Europe although that’s a far cry these days following last season’s failure to even make the Europa League (10th, wasn’t it – so not singing that song for the next few weeks would be nice). That said, nobody could deny they’ve taken the bull by the horns this time around with Antonio Conte at the helm, Diego Costa scoring for fun and their defence a fantasy football manager’s dream. Another clean sheet? Don’t mind if I do.

Brentford, on the other hand, are holding our own in the Championship but consistency is probably still the biggest challenge. With rumours about Scott Hogan’s future circling daily like vultures just waiting to feast on a carcass, could our star man even be wearing the red and white by the time we make the short trip down the road for another West London derby.

Indeed, this must be the first time in some time that we’ve played games against Fulham, QPR and Chelsea all in the same season.Where’s Luis Melville when you need him to dig out the stats on the last time that happened? (Luis, if you are reading…..).

We haven’t got a chance? Or have we? Could that cup magic deliver another wonderful story?

I have no doubt the away end will be sold out. We took 6,000 Back in 2013 and surely similar numbers will travel this time, ticket allocation permitting. Certainly the Bees will inject some atmosphere into what felt very much like a library last time out (watch out for those ‘official flag wavers’) whilst I’m sure David Luiz will warrant special attention.

Nobody at Griffin Park has forgotten what happened to Jake Reeves in the replay as the youngster came out on the wrong end of an assault (won’t dignify it with the word ‘foul’ or ‘challenge’) from the Brazilian.

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That is, of course, if Luiz and the rest of Chelsea’s first team even play in this one. With the FA Cup falling down the pecking order for many of the, so-called, ‘big’ clubs might we see a less familiar line up? Even John Terry played on Sunday against Peterborough (before being promptly red carded).

Likewise, the tie only comes a few days prior to The Blues’ trip to Liverpool for a game with  a team who are currently their closest rivals for the Premier League title. Is it wishful thinking to imagine that could play into our hands? That minds will be focussed more on that than a cup tie with a Brentford team who, on paper, they should win the floor with?

Let’s hope so. As we all know ‘on paper’ counts for nothing in this sort of game. Last time out it took Chelsea over two hours of football before they were finally able to take the lead against the Bees whilst let’s not forget the fourth round 2015. Bradford City, of course, coming from 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge to eventually emerge with an incredible 4-2 victory.

Being honest, the only slight down side to all of this is feeling a little disappointed that we’ve been denied the opportunity to visit a new ground. With all due respect to Chelsea, we’ve been there and done that. Until the Bees are regularly competing in the Premier League (one day, one day) then these sort of games are the only chance we get to mix it with football’s biggest names. Wonderful though another trip to Stamford Bridge will be, the chance to play one of the Manchester teams or even the likes of Arsenal would have been incredible.

Then again, there’s always the fifth round for that.

See you there. I can’t wait.

Nick Bruzon

The best and worst of 2016/17 kit. Who is the Bees knees and who is in the chamber of horrors?

14 Jul

1254-511With Brentford finally treating fans to a quick peak at our new shirt last night, I thought I’d cast the net that bit further afield whilst we are waiting for the full reveal. Specifically to look at what is on offer so far. Will we stand above QPR, sartorially speaking? What about fellow Championship rivals Ipswich Town ? How will Middlesbrough look now they’ve finally escaped the Championship?

All feature in the best and worst of 2016/17 so far. As ever, these are judged using no more scientific a method than than my own personal opinion. And so without further ado:

The top five best:

5: Tottenham (home) Simple and stylish. Traditional white  but the offset used in  an old school shoulder bar. I’d presumed it was  nod to Victorian times but Spurs have never gone down this route before. Regardless, it looks great and we’ll even forgive them double slogans.

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4: Port Vale (home). You could, likewise, have opted for their third kit. Steering away from the likes of an adidas and Nike can give an additional element of the bespoke when it comes to kit selection. As with Spurs, its all about the shoulders. As with Spurs, we’ll forgive their hashtag.

Port Vale

Bradford City home3: Bradford City (home). The Bantams have never been shy to innovate with their kits. 2016.17 sees them continue that tradition but with diagonal, rather than vertical, stripes. The result is wonderful whilst the good taste continues onto their away/third shirts too.

2: IpswichTown (home). What’s not to like? Chevron chest stripes along with contrasting sleeves to body. This really is a standout design and one I’ve not seen elsewhere this season.

Ipswich kits

 

Crystal Palace away1: Crystal Palace (away). Mention sashes and, windows aside, the two things I automatically think of are Peru and Crystal Palace. The eagles have gone for their iconic design once more, over a yellow shirt, and the results speak for themselves. Even the sponsor seems sympathetic to the design.

If they are the best (to date) then what about the other side? The five worst. Its been a bit tougher this time around, simply because it seems to really be the season for ‘safe’ kit design. Chelsea away and Manchester City home look like a marketing man’s wet dream – no doubt the phrase “designed to go with jeans” was bandied around design meetings

There has been a marked return for 80s pinstripe – Leicester City, West Brom and Tottenham all going for this option in their away kits. Great news for the lovers of retro design. not such great news for the, erm, fuller figure.

Yet there is still plenty of rough in the diamonds, of which my take on the ropier efforts is as follows:

Barnet third 5:Barnet (away). I love a sash, but not like this. A staggered design in a very strange colour combination. Add in horizontal pinstripes and the phrase ‘busy’ springs to mind.

4:Southampton (home). I’m sorry. I loathed this, then liked it but now I’m back out of love with it. You can’t deny it’s striking but I’m struggling to look past the hitched up bra that the players seem to be wearing.

Southampton

boro-16-17-kits (2)3: Middlesbrough (home). This isn’t sour grapes on account of their beating Brentford 6 times out of 6 in the last two seasons. Simply the fact that the low sash looks somewhat peculiar. Moreso, when you imagine this shirt on the ‘larger’ supporter where this paunch level trim has been placed in a most unflattering location.

2:Coventry City (home). Awful disappearing stripes and even worse marketing . That pose. That press release “Coventry City FC will be turning out in the famous Sky Blue and white stripes once again! “ Yes, to an extent. As long as you don’t look above the chest.

Coventry City

1: QPR (third). Great if you like Frazzles.

QPR frazzle shirt kit

Honourable mention: Rochdale – if for no other reason that it is the winner of a competition last September for fans to design and then vote for what will now be their forthcoming kit.

Rochdale kitdesign-winners 2016:17

Mark Devlin, Kitman Bob, Mr Benahm. If you are reading, any chance we could go attempt something similar next season? With a fan’s forum coming up on August 1, that question may well be on the agenda….

Nick Bruzon

The waiting game sucks; let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

28 May

Not my words but those of Homer Simpson and, with almost three months until the Championship season starts once more, it could be a long wait for Brentford fans. That’s over 70 (seventy) days until we resume rivalries with the likes of Middlesbrough, Fulham and Wolves. As intriguingly, we’ll also be welcoming QPR back to a division they managed to leave for an entire season. Sadly, though, they’ll be without Joey Barton – what a midfield match up with Jonathan Douglas that would have been.

So until then, what have got to look forward to (apart from breaking out the Hungry, Hungry Hippos)? It’s only three weeks until the fixtures are published (June 17th, being the appointed date for that one) and we can start planning those trips around the country.

From a TW8 perspective, there’s no word on those two most important of things needed to start the campaign. A kit to play in and a new manager (or ’head coach’, given our new model).

At least in the case of the latter, Marinus Dijkhuizen from Dutch Eredivisie side Excelsior remains the name on everybody’s lips. If you believe what you read in the papers then he is, supposedly, set to be announced any day soon. Whilst there is no smoke without fire, I’ve been surprised by Matthew Benham too many times in the past to believe anything I read until I see it confirmed in print.

Certainly Griffin Park had nothing much going on for the casual observer yesterday, beyond the hum of machinery as work on the pitch continued.

Manager Watch: 12.32pm 27th May… No sighting

Manager Watch: 12.32pm 27th May… No sighting

As for the kit, there’s no word even on a release date. All we know is that it will be a bespoke Adidas design. As somebody who takes more interest in the history/selection of the Bee’s kit than is probably healthy, this is an announcement that I’m looking forward to as much as any over the summer.

Moreso, as the other clubs in ‘the pyramid’ have started to release their efforts with some of these even seeing the light of day at the back end of the season just gone. The always excellent ‘Historical Football Kits’ website have now officially ‘opened’ their 2015/16 gallery and for those interested in such sartorial matters, you can find that here. Crawley Town, Bradford City and Watford being among some of the braver/more creative (delete as applicable) efforts already on offer.

Until then, we’ve got the FIFA corruption case to keep us intrigued over the summer. This, following the arrest by the FBI yesterday of 6 senior officials, is sure to be a protracted affair.

That said, it also promises to be an entertaining one as the case for long desired clarity starts to build. The U.S. Department of Justice have already begun in style, mangling their metaphors with the declaration that “This is the World Cup of fraud and today we are issuing FIFA a red card.” Let’s hope they end up issuing something a little bit stronger than a stern talking to

Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, eventually released a statement in the late afternoon in which he described the events as ‘unfortunate’ although didn’t go as far as referring to football as a village. However, there was no word in this as to whether the current elections will be postponed or the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 re-evaluated.

As the clamour is sure to grow on both fronts, this may not be as quiet a summer as we might have thought a week ago.

And, in the meantime, if you want some further distraction until it all starts again, you can relive the events of 2014/15 in the amalgamated Last Word season compendium: Tales from the football village (from Saunders territory to unchartered ground)

Running from July 2014- May 2015 it contains some additional material and is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full for less than the cost of a Griffin Park match day programme.

The alternative is Hungry, Hungry Hippos

The alternative is Hungry, Hungry Hippos

Saucer of milk for table two? Rotherham open door for Brentford and Wolves.

12 Apr

Rotherham United manager Steve Evans cut a bitter figure as Brentford and Wolves saw their promotion chances increase significantly following his team’s stalemate with Bradford City on Friday night. Six more points will do it for Brentford whilst Wolves need a solitary victory.

Evans clearly wasn’t a happy man after a game played out in front of Sky TV and which featured our very own Natalie Sawyer in the punditry hot seat. He stropped off straight down the tunnel at full time before re-emerging to moan at the cameras in the obligatory post-match interview.

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.

Oldham hold ‘em but Brentford and Wolves move clear

30 Mar

So Brentford have come back from Oldham  – the second of three successive road trips up North (Sheffield United are next, on Tuesday)– with a point that takes us further clear of third placed Leyton Orient.

As the Football League Show would later comment, it “wasn’t vintage Brentford but they remain rock solid in second spot.

Few who travelled would argue otherwise.

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.

Three great points but is there a cover up happening?

12 Mar

Another game; another 2-0 win for Brentford after an off-key first half. But with Wolves and Leyton Orient both recording away wins, the gap at the top of League One remains as tight as ever despite our own three points against Tranmere.

It really was a case of déjà vu. Just as on Saturday, fans were left wondering how the Bees could play such scintillating football in the final half hour after failing to really spark in the opening period. Indeed, you could make a case for us to be lucky to go in all square, after Rovers hit the bar twice in the first 45.

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.

“There must be a second goal, just had the pizza email”.

9 Mar

Not my words but those of Tim Griffiths, Woking FC’s ‘man with the mic’, who also happens to be a Brentford fan. It was a statement made just after George Saville had, indeed, put the Bees two up against Bradford City and, for the record, was made via text message rather than over the tannoy at Woking’s Kingfield ground.

I can only imagine that ‘Papa John’ is blissfully unaware of the spin-off benefits to displaced football fans resulting from his two-goal pizza deal. Whilst it may not have the finesse of the videprinter, that confirmation that you are now entitled to cheap pizza (should you so desire – I’m more a post match curry man) is a sure fire sign that your team are only five goals away from brackets (seven).

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.

There’s a smörgåsbord of international talent at Griffin Park today

8 Mar

September 7th was probably the darkest day of the season, to date, for Brentford as Bradford City administered a 4-0 beating. That defeat, still our heaviest in League One all campaign, also saw a red card for David Button.

Ironically, it was a result that came after the previous weekend’s 0-0 against Carlisle United although I’m not expecting any further déjà vu today. Too many things have changed since then.

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.

Arsenal good. Brentford better. Lewes Best.

3 Mar

We’ve all seen ‘FanCam’ – Brentford champion it and aren’t alone in this, although other clubs do it to varying degrees. Trawl the internet and you can find everything from Arsenalfantv  to Newcastle United allowing yourself to be tagged in a 360 degree interactive map of the stadium.

Whilst Brentford are the clear pace setters when it comes to fan films – despite the varying quality that is the obvious limitation of shooting with nothing more than a mobile phone – there is, quite literally, a new kid on the block.

Eleven year old Finn Carlow captured the below effort for Lewes FC as Steve Brinkhurst made it 2-0 against Dulwich Hamlet.

Bees supporters have got a lot to live up to.  Remember, its not just the action but what you do with it !

 

Fingers crossed that, after an uncharacteristic pair of blanks in recent games, when we play Bradford City this weekend there are a few submissions to give Finn a run for his money.