Tag Archives: Bradford

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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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.

spurs-home-kit-landing-main

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

Are these the worst kits of 2015/16 ?

12 Jul

With Brentford having now launched next season’s home and away kits, thoughts have turned to other clubs and what they’ll be turning out in. From Newcastle United to Watford there are certainly what we could call some ‘eye catching’ designs out there. And there’s interesting news on the sponsors front where we also have further update from Hull City AFC, amongst others, who of course featured in yesterday’s column regarding their proposed name change. Not to mention a missed opportunity at Griffin Park…..

But first, kit. Brentford’s new shirts seem to have been universally well received.

This is ours - as seen on the official club site

This is ours – as seen on the official club site

Looking further afield, the same is not necessarily true and where I mentioned ‘eye catching before, perhaps eye gouging would have been a more appropriate term. Whilst not every club has shown it’s hand, enough have – revealing some true horrors – that we can already put together a top five of 2015/16’s worst home kits.

5: Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers have been traditionally red, sometimes with blue offset, and twice previously have gone for both colours in stripes. They’ve gone down this route for a third time but what a mish-mash. One red sleeve, one blue sleeve and then the alternate blue stripes are of ever decreasing width from left to right as you look at it. And they’ve got a new badge – with some daggers on it (the modern equivalent of our funky bee?)

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

4: Bradford City AFC. This is one team who haven’t been afraid to mix it up in the past. They’ve had some truly brilliant/bonkers takes on the claret and amber over the years. That said, this takes things to another level. You should wear a football shirt to, erm, play football in. Not to play chess, on.

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

3: Newcastle United: I feel sorry for Newcastle. Their black and white stripes are probably one of the most iconic designs in football. A style recognised the world over and, as such, to overly mix things up must be a tough job. They tried it last season with a broad black yoke and they’ve tried it again this year with the addition of blue (something that has very rarely featured). Everywhere.

From the morally dubious sponsor to the collar and cuffs, things begin to get a bit distracting. Then we have the black stripes themselves, which have had additional diagonal blue stripes added in to the lower half. Less mixing things up and more throwing things up.

White, black and blue - the traditional Newcastle colours

White, black and blue – the traditional Newcastle colours

2: Cambridge United I’ve gone for this but it was a tough call. I could just has easily have picked Crawley Town. Both clubs (like the high viz Huddersfield United ‘away’ have adopted one of Puma’s half and half templates.

This is the shirt equivalent of one of ‘those scarves’.

Presumably the template was added to their catalogue to make up the numbers yet, incredibly, these three clubs have all picked it. The right hand side sees the traditional club colour. The left sees that colour interwoven with black diagonal stripes of varying width between them.

Crawley have already announced they are sticking with this for two seasons – their model looks suitably embarrassed at this though.

As if relegation hadn't been bad enough

As if relegation hadn’t been bad enough

However, Cambridge scoop the prize – simply, because they’ve used a hashtag to justify it. Regular readers will know of my disgust for such things, and whilst it isn’t #novemberkings, we aren’t too far off in the crap marketing stakes.

Terrible kit - and a hashtag

Terrible kit – and a hashtag

1: Watford. I had nothing but congratulations for Watford and their supporters when they got promoted from the Championship last season. I have nothing but commiserations for Watford and their supporters about what the team will be wearing in the top flight.

Subtlety and tradition have gone out of the window. Instead of the yellow with black and, sometimes, red trim they’ve opted for hoops. Lots of hoops. Whilst these may be in black and yellow, there are so many that, and of such differing thickness, as to make Dagenham’s shirt suddenly seem discreet. And, like Cambridge before them, there’s a slogan (thankfully no hashtag, yet).

To make it worse though, Watford’s appears to be a bespoke effort. Somebody has actually chosen and designed this. Maybe it is meant as a ‘hornet’ style but, as a traditionalist, if you want comedy then that’s what the change kit is for. At least the U’s could hide behind a template.

Presumably the tickets at Vicarage Road will come with a warning that the strobe effect from watching Watford running around could cause seizure.

When crap marketing meets crap design, you get this

When bad marketing meets bad design, you get this

As a side note, I also promised some updates on the sponsorship front. Hull City AFC has recently announced a tie in with Flamingo Land. I’m really hoping they follow their stunning ‘tiger stripe’ efforts of the early 90s with a similar pun related, flamingo style away kit when that gets launched. And congratulations, by the way, as their proposed name change to Hull Tigers was, again, kicked into touch yesterday – this time at a meeting of the Football Association Council.

Hull City owner Doctor Assem Allam had always promised to throw his toys out of the pram (not literally, although who knows what he gets up it in his spare time) and walk away if he didn’t get his way. So will he be true to his word or will the lure of being a club owner remain too much and he’ll just hope everybody now forgets about his threat.

In a very brief statement on the official club site he told supporters, “We always knew that following a change to the FA’s policy, the chances of changing the name were slim but we also feel it is important to fight for what you believe in and we believe that being called Hull Tigers would be the best strategy for the future.

We will be taking some time away from the Club to consider our options and we will make no further comment until we have come to a conclusion.

Given his option had been categorically stated previously – give me what I want or I’m going – my money is on him sitting tight, possibly under the guise of ‘not being able to find a buyer’, and then hoping all this blows over. But hey, what do I know – I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers - with or without Dr Allam ?

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers – with or without Dr Allam ?

Getting back to shirt sponsorship, sad news reaches me that the iconic association between Rainham Steel and Scunthorpe United has finally come to an end. As comedian Dave Gorman once said (or words to eh effect of): you can tell a true football fan by saying two words: Rainham Steel. Then watch for the reaction – it’ll either be glazed confusion or the utterance of the name Scunthorpe United.

Whilst I can’t knock them for giving over their shirt to a charitable cause – the battle against Prostate Cancer – it still marks the end of an era as recognisable as Brentford and KLM or Arsenal and JVC.

And finally, just as Brentford have changed their sponsor to Matchbook.com, Bury have changed theirs too. Given everything that happened at Griffin Park last campaign, how wonderful if Matthew Benham had, somehow, been able to negotiate a deal with the Shakers’ new partner.

Just think of the reaction if we’d had this across the red and white stripes.

Football truly is a village

Football truly is a village

Nick Bruzon

Is his the first name on the teamsheet?

7 Apr

It’s fair to say Brentford, Rotherham and Wolves are very much the form teams of the moment in the League but there is one player who stands out. I’ve praised him on more than occasion this season, based purely on my own observations, but I heard a stunning statistic at the weekend in regards to his abilities.

Brentford have not conceded a goal whilst James Tarkowski has been on the pitch.

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

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

The clock is ticking for our one shot at the greatest prize on offer.

15 Mar

It’s 5.30am and I’m wide wake with nothing but giant scalextric, coming live from rainy Australia, for company. The TV is on but it’s just washing over me – the tedium of Formula One Grand Prix qualifying (essentially, you are watching a clock) just doesn’t compare to the prospect of Leyton Orient – Brentford at Saturday lunchtime.

To say I am excited about this game would be an understatement. An away fixture always has a special atmosphere but with the game at Leyton Orient having sold out, including a massive proportion of those being Brentford supporters, this one could be even spicier.

Victory for either team could take them above Wolves at the top of League One although the Bees would need to win by 16 goals. Even my online bookmaker stops taking bets at the 10-0 point (500-1, for the record).

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.

Farewell, Griffin Park – and Uwe?

6 Dec

What a night.  Who’d have thought Council business could be so exciting, so tense, so uplifting?

When the votes were counted and the announcement was made that “The report is approved” , you could feel the joy and the relief. Finally, after 11 years of planning and talks, Brentford have been given permission to proceed with the new stadium at Lionel Road. Despite an excellent presentation by Brian Burgess and the rest of the team, there was always that nagging thought that the decision could be swayed by four councillors who seemed, at times, more worried about the value of their houses than the alleged disruption to the views from Kew Gardens  – despite the objectors being unable, at any point, to match the excellent job Brentford had done in showing exactly how they envisaged the design would look from the critical view points of the Gardens.

Whilst it is not fair to single out anyone from the Brentford team, you have to admire the diplomacy, the patience and the fortitude of Brian in particular. Not one question threw him whilst pictures and graphics came flying on to the big screen, almost on demand, to help defend the tough questions. And there were many. The England cricket team could do with him right now; such was the straight bat with which he was able to defend some bouncers out of leftfield.

Opposition questions were at some times, seemingly ignorant and at others ludicrous. Councillor Barwood scooped the honours with the suggestion that the club don’t even need to be in the borough as most of our supporters, including nine from Norway, lived outside of the area by her reckoning. Equally, there were some cowardly references to Bradford City and Hillsborough. None of this distracted the Brentford team.

Councillors Todd, Fisher, Davies and the aforementioned Barwood seemed the ones most likely to railroad the plans. Largely, it seemed, through reckless scaremongering and rambling statements that ‘the chair’ had, specifically, told them to avoid. Fairplay to him, therefore, for clamping down on this sort of behaviour.

And fairplay to the Brentford supporters, too. A credit to the club, League One and themselves. There were some ripples of muttered discontent at some of the more provocative accusations and couple of laughs at the really outlandish ones (Exclusive: Chelsea are leaving Stamford Bridge and the Borough). Other than that, the rabble that I am sure our opponents had hoped for, failed to materialise. Instead, it was an auditorium that was FULL of smartly dressed and well-behaved fans – of all ages.

It was the only time I’ve ever heard Chris and Simon (who probably account for half the noise on the Ealing Road between the two of them alone) keep quiet for so long. Woe-betide their work colleagues today as they make up for lost time! Even the rumours of Uwe being given permission to talk to Wigan Athletic which were sweeping the Civic Centre (and that Mark Devlin has now confirmed), failed to put anybody off their stride

This was a historic night – of that there can be no doubt. As club chairman Cliff Crown said in his presentation, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for the club and the community and we need to grab hold of it”.

Make no mistake – the opportunity has been taken with both hands.