Tag Archives: Braemar Road

Nottingham Forest 4: The invisible defence. And is this the Lionel Road news?

13 Aug

1-0 up on 40 minutes. 3-1 down after 47 minutes. Brentford not so much threw this one away as gift wrapped it, wrote ‘SWALK’ on the label and hand delivered the points to Mark Warburton in the Nottingham Forest dugout. One of only three teams in the Championship without a point, the Bees will be looking to get off the mark against Bristol City on Tuesday night. Moreso, given so much of our attacking play in the opening two league games has suggested we deserve an awful lot more.

But regular readers know the drill here. Deserving counts for nothing. Balls in the back of the net are all we look to when the points are being counted up. Likewise, the table only starts to take on a real shape when we are ten games into the campaign.

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

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View from the Braemar – Rico Henry helps Brentford ‘push up’ in the first half

 

Brittas Warbs

Mark Warburton – always one to pursue new options

 

Lionel Road monorail

Could THIS be the Lionel Road news?

Nick Bruzon

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Bees got that vibe as that man beats Robins.

2 Apr

Another Saturday, another win. Brentford eased past a hapless Bristol City side 2-0 as though they weren’t even there. And in truth, for most of their first half showing, they weren’t. It was another game where we were left waiting for the consummate 90 minute performance. That’s no criticism. Perhaps with the game well safe and Tuesday night’s visit from Leeds United in mind, one can understand us slipping back down into cruise control. At the end of the day, Clive, Dean Smith will rightly point to a clean sheet, a dominant (if somewhat restrained) display, two goals and a clean sheet. And I defy any fan to tell me they wouldn’t have taken that if offered before kick off?

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View from the Braemar – Romaine Sawyers got stuck in to City (c/o Tim Griffiths, thanks!)

As ever, get your full fat match reports on the BBC, Brentford official, Beesotted etc. Those of us that were there would have seen a game that was never in doubt from the off and was all but wrapped when Lasse Vibe doubled the scoreline on 26 minutes. This, after Sergi picked up where he’d left off at Burton Albion.

The spaniard’s opener one that Brentford fans were relieved to see in more ways than one after Joe Bryan had scythed through the wing wizard leaving him prostrate in agony. For a while it looked like our man of the moment was in all sorts of trouble. “I heard that one from up here”, one observer at the back of the Braemar Road would later note. For those of us on the touchline, right in front of where the incident occurred, there were most definitely hearts in mouths

You’re Donald Trump, you are”, shouted one young fan at referee Simon Hooper. The yellow card waved at the Bristol City man engendering the wrath of supporters who had been closer to the assault than the man in the middle. Thankfully, the enthusiastic young Bee (Sergi, rather than our own political commentator) was soon back on his feet to administer the perfect payback – an opening goal as he fired home from a parried free kick on 18 minutes.

Lasse Vibe soon made it two, heading home from a ball that was fired forward into the box, flicked up as it continued it’s journey to the back of the bet and finally steered home by the Great Dane. It was due reward not only for the Brentford faithful as for two IFK Göteborg fans who had come across to see their former favourite in action.

Interestingly, Lasse’s own own strike rate in Brentford colours of 0.367 (25 goals in 68) is now just behind that of Andre Gray on 0.38 (18 in 47). However, to see just how prolific he has been (Will Grigg supporters, please take note of this true definition of ‘on fire‘) , Brentford official nailed things wonderfully.

After that, we were all expecting it to be a question of how many Brentford chose to inflict upon the visitors. Instead, as the one-sided first half came to an end,  we sat back and waited for Leeds United. Sure, City hit the bar and the post in some rare sorties but, in truth, they could still be playing now and one can only imagine they’d have struggled to hit a barn door with a proverbial banjo. They really were that far out of their depth.

As ever, Sky TV have the video highlights up already. Alternatively, the official highlights are longer, have the commentary from none other than our own Mark Burridge and, more importantly, are now available to all.

We’ve got that Vibe. And that Canos. And Mark Burridge

Outside the ground, there was a stranger than usual vibe. Choruses of  “No surrender, No surrender to the IRA” ringing around the beer garden of The Griffin in a somewhat unusual choice of prematch song from Robin’s supporters. Seriously? In 2017 this one seemed about thirty years past its sell by date. Likewise, whilst perhaps more understandable, there seemed to be a lot of agitation towards Bristol Rovers. This is Brentford. Who? Cares?

As the aforementioned Braemar Road observer would also note – “How bad do things have to be that you hate, actually HATE, Bristol Rovers?” . A team about as inoffensive to most as pink unicorns or the Care Bears.  Despite the divisional gap (for now) it did seem as though they had somewhat of a huge inferiority complex. Yeah, we get it. You hate Bristol Rovers. Yawn.  Then again, geography counts for a lot. An awful lot. Perhaps Rovers being to City as Mrs Brown and her boys or the Loftus Road mob are to yours truly.

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City supporters in happier mood at full time, despite sliding down (the table)

Oh well, perhaps they can sort it out amongst themselves in League One next season. That’s assuming City aren’t overtaken, of course. With Rovers just two wins away from the League One play offs, there’s only one point separating fourth bottom City from the relegation places in the Championship. As for Brentford, we’re up to twelfth and the knowledge that a win over Leeds United on Tuesday night could see us back in the top ten.

Beating Leeds United will be a huge ask, of course. But their own defeat to play-off rivals Reading yesterday shows it is possible, despite the goal scoring prowess of Chris Wood. With a place in the play offs all but assured, can we use this one to continue our own upward trajectory? The Bees are three points clear of QPR and Fulham have to be next in the sights. With games against both still to come, the crown of Championship kings of West London (one worn by the Bees last season) is still, mathematically, up for grabs.

If anybody was in any doubt as to what we still have to play for, Beesplayer commentator par excellence Mark Burridge summed things up perfectly once the dust had settled . “Still lots to play for, another top 10 finish & win the derby games – so much to look forward to for Brentford FC fans next season too” he opined on social media.

Well said, Mark. With just 7(seven) games to go, the season still has plenty to offer. On Tuesday night at Griffin Park we find out how much.

Nick Bruzon 

Christmas present from Crystal Palace helps Brentford draw with 12 man Cardiff.

27 Dec

A fair point, lucky to get away with it or robbed? Brentford and Cardiff City shared the spoils in 2-2 Boxing Day draw that sprang to life late in the second half but, prior to that, had been a game which felt as stodgy and bloated as a third helping of sprouts and Christmas pudding. Only the presence of Crystal Palace loanee Sullay Kaikai managing to save the day.

And talking of Christmas puddings (oh, the crowbarring…) referee Simon Hooper was giving out no gifts (the penalty to Cardiff for their opener, aside) as he enraged the Griffin Park faithful, management and players – with Harlee Dean being awarded a yellow card for his (correct) protests at yet another stonewall penalty being turned down.

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Harlee tells the ref what we all think and saw – c/o Beesplayer highlights (below)

It was as shocking a display of refereeing as one could hope to see. Consistently poor decision making as appeals for three nailed on spotkicks were waved away by the man in the middle. But it wasn’t just him.

The assistant on the Braemar Road side  proving absolutely no use in telling him what we could all see. Their existence on the pitch proving pointless which, ironically, was how Brentford were almost left after Cardiff had retaken the lead with minutes on the clock.

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Pointless officials almost left the Bees , erm, empty handed

One point for the visitors would have been harsh, let alone all three. They’d taken the lead in the first half with the one penalty that Mr Hooper saw fit to award, for the most innocuous of innocuous ‘challenges’ (please note: yours, and everybody else’s definition of the word ‘challenge may vary).

Yet if the Bees had been robbed we were hardly making a fight of hauling ourselves back into it. Turgid, apathetic, lazy. Every manner of ’too much Christmas dinner’ related cliche. Any of these would have been an apt description of a team that not so much failed to get going as failed to make it out onto the pitch.

With Cardiff opting to go for muscle , brawn and height there is enough talent in this team to have kept it on the deck and run rings around them. Instead, it was tedium in football form. Bounced off the challenge and as many sideways and backwards passes as attempts to take it forward dominated our play. The first half was, frankly, as entertaining as a Christmas cracker joke.

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Answers on a postcard…

An hour in, substitutions . And good ones. McEachran for Sawyers and Sullay Kaikai for Lasse Vibe. Neither had played well whilst, for whatever reasons, the form of our great Dane seems to have long gone off the boil. How he is still justifying a starting berth is confusing to many but, with the new look team in place, things did step up.

With an added positive substitution of Philipp Hofmann coming on for Bjelland, the Bees began to push. And push. The penalty appeals aside, it was surely going to be matter of time.

And then it happened. Visiting ‘keeper Brian Murphy could no longer hold off the red hoardes as, despite a number of fine saves, he finally saw his net bulge courtesy of a quite magnificent effort from Sullay Kaikai. That’s one to hit rewind for again and again once the official highlights come out (until then, we have the Sky variant available).

Mark Burridge now on hand for ‘official’ comms

But with the Bees pressing for a late winner, we were caught short. Kenneth Zohore beating the last man when played on side and, with a generous shove chucked into the mix, was able to fire the Bluebirds into an 89th minute 2-1 lead.

With fans trooping out early for the pub, and City gloating, it was dead in the water, wasn’t it? Those who stayed were rewarded for their faith. That man Kaikai popping up again to head home John Egan’s cross and salvage a point for the Bees.

We should have won this. We could have lost it. Don’t let the anti-performance of the referee or our late surge disguise the fact that we were so desperately poor for huge swathes of this game. But for the Crystal Palace man we’d have had few complaints, barring the referee, at coming away empty handed.

A team just can’t rely on arbitrary decision making from the man in the middle to determine their fate. Cardiff offered nothing beyond grunt yet even that was too sophisticated for the Bees in the opening hour.

The record books will show a point earned and, in the longer term, we’ll have few complaints. Yet I do wonder why Dean’s teams are so inconsistent and such late starters?  Why can’t we play for 90 minutes? See also : Birmingham City . Why do we just fail to turn up at times? See also: Barnsley, Norwich City and Fulham.

I’ve no issue losing but the consistency, or lack off, is perplexing. We just don’t know which Brentford we’re going to get. Here’s hoping that when we play Norwich City on New Year’s Eve it’ll be the one that humped Reading 4-1 or Preston 5-0 way back in September.

Not the Brentford who got turned over 5-0 at Carrow Road earlier this month.

On Dec 31st, we find out. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

Book ’em, Danno. Not today. But if anybody knows where we can get a pizza…?

18 Sep

Well wasn’t that the game that had it all? A 5-0 win for Brentford. Visitors Preston ending the game with just 10 men on the pitch yet, for once, this wasn’t the fault of referee Keith Stroud. A hat-trick for Scott Hogan, taking him to 13 goals in 12 Championship games. Another clean sheet and the Bees into the play off zone. A current goal difference of +8 now only bettered by Newcastle United of all our league rivals.

Yet the final score of 5-0 wasn’t as apparent as it might have seemed at one point. Preston more than matched Brentford team who were, perhaps, suffering some tired legs following Wednesday night’s exertions at Aston Villa. Likewise, I’d imagine the first team didn’t get back to Griffin Park until Thursday – whether due to an overnight stay or simply the horrendous gridlock caused by the M6 closure that blighted just about every road user

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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View of the terrace. The pressure builds in front of a packed home end

 

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Keith leads the line. Dance

 

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How many goals did we score?

Nick Bruzon

 

New look, new sounds and new hashtags as club get it right

18 Sep

Brentford play Preston North End on Saturday and it seems that, in the build up to the game at least, there are plenty of changes at Griffin Park. In what seems to be partly a response to the recent ‘match day experience survey’, the eagle eyed amongst you would have spotted all manner of new things in place for the weekend.

First up, the Braemar Road forecourt rebrand is now complete. The BRENTFORD FC Stingray font is gone and the new lettering is in place on the repainted main stand. Along, thankfully, with a club badge.

The club revealed their new look on Thursday

The club revealed their new look on Thursday

We’d had our suspicions as to how this was going to look during the week after chief executive Mark Devlin noted on twitter that, ”You won’t be surprised to learn that it will be in keeping with the new brand guidelines”. Whilst a phrase such as ‘new brand guidelines’ is normally one that strikes the same feeling of doom as “rail replacement bus service” or “Coming up next on BBC one, the Eastenders omnibus”, I have to say that this really bucks the trend.

Well done Brentford. The club has come up with a smart, new look. Certainly, much better than the somewhat dated, quasi-futuristic Stingray lettering that had aged as badly as Keith Richards. Whilst the stripes I had thought might also return are still absent from the paintwork, the all red look is still a great one.

Keith Richards - the musical equivalent of Stingray font

Keith Richards – the musical equivalent of Stingray font

As for the Preston game itself, first up is your chance to play DJ. The club has started to ask fans what music they would like to hear on Big B Radio. (This is assuming people can hear it – I note, also, they are currently asking for feedback on the new PA system). However, it’s something I’ve written about many times before. There’s no excuse for Barry Manilow at football – unless it’s Bermuda triangle (I don’t mean the defence) and, whilst I fully appreciate you are never going to please everybody, this is still a great way to try.

And, read this next bit carefully…. We have a hashtag that actually seems fit for purpose.

#BeeTheDJ does what it says whilst adding a nice bit of punnery. After the debacles of #trophyfriends and #bignewambitions (which, thankfully, appears to have been quietly shuffled off) another sign that the club do listen.

Don't take my word for it. Check out the Twitter hashtag

Don’t take my word for it. Check out the Twitter hashtag

But wait. Like an advert for cheap kitchen knives, there’s more. Centre Circle Challenge is back. Kind of.

I loved this event in the past. A home and away supporter would demonstrate who had the least bad kicking skills as they attempted to hoof the football as close as possible to the spot in the middle of the meridian line. All, of course, accompanied by the wonderful commentary skills of Peter Gilham – woebetide anybody with two left feet.

After an absence of a few seasons, this has been rebranded and now returns as ‘Bees Bowls’. From reading the blurb on the clubsite (and you can also apply to participate) the end goal appears the same – closest to the centre spot wins.As somebody who has formerly taken part in CCC with mixed fortunes – both reaching the centre spot aswell as falling flat on my backside in the tipping rain – I can only recommend this as being a great fan activity and would encourage supporters to give it a go.

Apart from being tremendous fun, it’s not often the Brentford family get a chance to grace the Griffin Park surface.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Nick Bruzon

It IS great fun - get applying

It IS great fun – get applying

Will Liverpool loanee feature for straight talking Marinus?

12 Sep

Brentford visit Leeds United today as part of a three day stint up North that will also see them based in the area until returning home following the game at Middlesbrough on Tuesday. After being deprived of domestic football for what seems like an eternity, thanks to the International calendar, things are now back with a bang as we get the chance to see the new look Bees squad in action.

It is a chance that I am desperate for. There is a very honest article on the club website with Marinus where even ‘official’ Brentford describe the start to the season as ‘turbulent’. I’ve made no secret on these pages as to how much I admire his straight talking and this interview is no different.

Admitting to learning more in the past two months than the previous four years, Marinus also notes, “It can be like a new beginning….“The squad is clear, we know who is in and who is out. The past few months – with not knowing who was leaving and coming in – has been difficult but now everyone knows who is in the squad and who they will compete with.”

It is that point which has been of particular resonance to all of us. Whilst, clearly, there has been some upset at the likes of Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Moses Odubajo (Hull) and Andre Gray (Burnley) all leaving, the additional injuries to the like of Jota, Bjelland and McEachran have given the squad an unexpected makeover. And not for the best.

But with several new additions and players returning to fitness, the head coach knows who he has to play with. The really interesting thing will now be who he picks to face Leeds Untied and what he does with them. I’m not even going to start trying to name the team for this one. Will Ryan Woods start? Could Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos put in an appearance? Just how good could Marco Djuricin be? Or will Marinus leave the initial tinkering to a minimum?

Could Sergi Canos be wearing a Brentford FC shirt today?

Could Sergi Canos be wearing a Brentford FC shirt today?

I don’t envy Marinus the problems he has been hit with at the start of this season. It has been a baptism of fire although, after what seems like months ago since the opening game 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town, we are only four games into the league campaign.

There’s an awful long way to go and with four points so far, the Bees have all the potential to start moving up the table. Supporter Rob Young, a guest contributor today, gives a much more eloquent take on this subject and I’d thoroughly recommend a read. I’ve kept my own thoughts a lot briefer so as not to steal his thunder.

Like Brentford, Leeds United also had four points from their first four games, until an excellent win at last season’s high fliers Derby County last time out saw them hit the magical 7(seven) marker. They’ll be ferocious opponents today and, no doubt, keen to avoid the double defeat inflicted on them by the Bees last season.

Uwe will, of course, have personal pride at stake here and with the Elland Road outfit seeming much more settled, the only thing I will predict is a much tougher challenge ahead of us today.

Back home, the spruce up of Griffin Park mentioned in yesterday’s article continues. The good news is that the Braemar Road forecourt does, indeed, seem to be incorporating the return of red and white stripes. This is great news for us traditionalists / older fans who recall these with fondness from back in the day.

Now, if Mr Benham could go the whole ‘retro’ hog and also give us a giant Castle badge or perhaps even a Funky Bee….

Griffin Park paint job - day 2. Is this the return of Stripes?

Griffin Park paint job – day 2. Is this the return of Stripes?

Nick Bruzon

Brentford and Marinus – a supporter’s view of the season so far

12 Sep

Ahead of Brentford taking on Leeds United today, I was contacted by supporter Rob Young who has asked if he could share his own thoughts on the season so far. It’s fair to say that Brentford have had a hectic start to the campaign. The departure of Mark Warburton to Glasgow Rangers meant Marinus was on a hiding to nothing from some quarters before before he even joined. And then we had pitch gate. And injuries.

I’m always keen to hear other perspectives and, I have to say, Rob has put into words his feelings an awful lot better than I could hope to ever achieve.

Rob – over to you. Brentford, Marinus, the supporters, transfers et al…..

Firstly many thanks to Nick for allowing me to air my thoughts on the tempestuous start to the season.

I was hoping the dust would have settled a little since the Reading defeat and the influx of 3 new players at the end of the transfer window (and none leaving) may have ‘cooled’ the fervent negativity within our fan base. But reviewing the dreaded social media its seems the two week gap has done little to dampen the plethora of frustrations, anger and derision of the owner, management, coach and players. We are very much a bunch of fans in flux at the moment – bit like Stormont in Northern Ireland. Yes we have two tough games ahead and if we get one point from six I will be happy, but I guess many more will want a lynching if that is the end result.

I genuinely feel for Marnius, new job, new challenge and having to tread in the footsteps of one of the most liked, most successful and best managers our club has ever had. How he must have wished and dreamed for a solid start to win the hearts and minds of the loyal faithful. Only for fate and the power of cash rich Clubs see the backbone of his team ripped from under him. He must have, like many of us do, have had the perfect team in his head, dreaming of them doing the business on the pitch.

He would likely have planned a team built with one of the best Championship keepers in Button, the experienced Bjelland in front, and then Josh McEachran running midfield, Jota doing what he does best out wide and Andre Gray providing the spearhead.

View from the stands: Jota appeared against Ipswich and was then injured

View from the stands: Jota appeared against Ipswich and was then injured

To lose 3 of those to injury and one heading for the ‘out’ door after the first league game must have been a real kick in the teeth. Last season we were blessed with good fortune on the injury front. Yes, we lost Scott Hogan, but by and large we managed to keep the best players fit and on the field which played a huge part in our success.

Luck plays a huge part in success or failure, on the injury front Warbs got lucky, Marinus has not. Add Moses up and going and what Marinus had hoped to be his strongest XI was decimated through no fault of his own. No wonder he looks a somewhat forlorn figure on the side lines. Poor man must wonder what the hell he has let himself in for or what he did wrong in a past life.

I wanted to comment on something Nick did mention in one of his posts about Marinus and his body language. I have a lot of experience of working alongside Dutch people. They, like many different nationalities, have a lot of different traits to us. I also worked in Finland where I found out you were often presented with a stony silence during meetings and presentations, I thought I had crashed and burnt, it took me time to realize this was actually a good thing, they would speak only when unhappy. I have found the Dutch very friendly and passionate people, they can also be very arrogant, stubborn and straight talking but will show this usually on when on the edge. The remaining time they can be reserved and calm externally but fuming inside.

Marinus can come across as a solitary figure on match day

Marinus can come across as a solitary figure on match day

Like Warbs was different to Uwe, Marinus is different to Warbs. Different people, different traits. I recall it was usually David Weir laying into the officials and not Warbs, now I notice its Marinus who sounds off to the officials. Warbs drove his team from the side, Marinus takes a more statuesque role – that’s his way. Warbs liked a suit, Marinus is a clear tracksuit man. I don’t think he doesn’t care about what’s going on the pitch, he just has his own way of dealing with it, possibly that is in the dressing room. The fact he is not screaming and gesticulating shouldn’t be taken as a weakness, I think we just have to adjust to a man from a different culture which can be seen as laid back but is a likely as passionate and caring as he can be in his own way.

It’s only natural that people will compare Marinus to Warbs and how we play now to how we played last season. But this is now and not then. Let’s be honest against Reading we could have been 4 or 5 down at half time. But that happened last season as well. We rode our luck big time last season. How many times did we hear the ‘we’ll learn from it’ comment from Warbs.

I recall some saying ‘yes but when will we learn’. Don’t get me wrong I loved the way we played last season, but I also remember the howls of anguish of how risky we were playing out from the back, how open we were at times in our play. My good friend an Ipswich Town ST holder commented that we were a side with suicidal tendencies.

As we often saw if we didn’t score first we struggled to break teams down. Our strength was the counter attack as teams pushed to recover from being behind to us. High tempo, close passing, pass and move. It was wonderful but it all hinged on taking our chances because we were just as likely to ship two or three ourselves. Teams that did their homework knew how to spoil our game and we all know what Warbs approach to ‘plan B’ was.

Had Warbs stayed would he have changed our style this season? Would teams now we are in the second season syndrome know exactly what to expect and nullified our slick passing game? I didn’t want Warbs to go, I liked him – I liked him a lot, I would have liked him to take a chance on the owner’s new approach but that wasn’t ever going to happen. He moved on and so must we. But let’s give the new man some credit, he will change formation, he will make the substitution we may not expect, he does have a plan B and C.

Warbs - had success, even if no Plan B, at Griffin Park

Warbs – had success, even if no Plan B, at Griffin Park

We all know Warbs view was the ‘on the hour sub’, and usually always the same 3 subs. Marinus has had to juggle his pack given the limited resources to hand and until he has a full complement of resources how can we be sure of what he can do with them. No one wanted this start to the season, but given all that has happened how can we panic so soon until the team is again at the strength that was planned? Was our expectation too high from too many who have only known success of the last 3 years?

I hear the voices of those who have concerns but some of these fans have only known good times over the last 6 years or so, some even less than that. They crave instant gratification and expect we now have a divine right to be top of the league marching to the Promised Land because we came 5th, so now is our turn for automatic promotion! Maybe the disquiet comes amongst the ranks because we expected to keep every member of the squad and only add even better players to that squad.

Life and football, unfortunately is not like that, sometime you have to go back to go forward. Many of us remember the times of 4000-5000 attendances and the dodgy signings and dodgy managers and false hope and promises. We are a million miles from where we were then. Even at this current state of flux we are better off and we must never forget that or how and who got us here.

I heard people say Reading were a ‘poor side’ – I actually felt they were a lot better than last season, stronger at the back, quicker and slicker up front, they signed 11 players changed their squad and are unbeaten. They struggled last season, but so did Brighton and look at them now. We have to accept other teams will improve from last year and others will do worse it’s the nature of the Championship the toughest league to get out of. Just because we have not hit out straps from the start does not mean we are going to do a Blackpool. What right do we have after a mere 1 season and 4 games to be top?

Reading  - terrible kit; good team

Reading – terrible kit; good team

We need to allow the new team, players and management alike, to get to grips to the challenge ahead they are not blind to what needs to be done and we have to stop thinking about last year and stop thinking we are a slippery slope to disaster because we have not started like a train. I am a pessimist and even I believe the glass is half full.

The way some seem to see it the pub is dry let alone the glass! We were going to strengthen this season no matter what but I was always clear in my mind this would be a year of consolidation on our goal to long term sustainability. I would have settled for staying up last year, and would do the same this year as we rebuild. I feel the pain too readily of the last relegation at this level and I don’t want to feel it again. But those times were under a different leadership, different perspective and with a different end game.

Yes we should be aiming as high as possible and never accepting second best, aiming to be better year on year but we also need to do that in a measured way. We over achieved last year in my view, only the fate of others in the last weeks got us into the play offs and it hurts me to say but we were not good enough to go up. I forecasted openly before the end of the season that 5 or 6 players would leave (not including the obvious loan and 1 year contract boys).

I was right on a couple of names in Tony Craig and Dougie but didn’t foresee some of other players going, but was pragmatic enough to know we were never going to keep everyone and it was likely some big assets would be amongst those to move on. Berating the owner and club for the fact some on the team have moved on is nonsensical. Do people really believe Mr. Benham would invest in everything he has done so far just to reap the rewards in the transfer market? People need to understand the current stupidity of the English transfer market which dictates why you have to look at foreign players with lower cost implications for the next rising talent.

Selling Andre was a no brainer at 9 million for me, he could have been the next injury victim and then where would we have been? Look at B’muff, 8 million for Tyrone Mings, now he is out all season, Ipswich are the ones who truly benefited and got a good replacement for minimal outlay. We also need to be clear and understand as supporters that as much as we have great loyalty to our club the likes of Kevin O’Connor are a thing of the past now – players will do what’s right for them and their future in what is a short career. We always say once a Bee always a Bee – but can Moses (or even Andre) ever truly have a level of loyalty after just one season.

Personally I am relatively happy with the influx of new players – ok they may not be all home grown, but go review most Championship sides and you will find plenty of non-home grown players in their squads. We have to find the next ‘star’ by looking outside of these shores due to the costs demanded of quality English players, it is about finding that ‘star’ before someone else does. I like the current new boys, I believe they all have something to offer and once they have settled I am sure things will click and players who are being berated currently will ultimately prove to be of great benefit.

Some may not make it we have to accept that but plenty will. It was interesting to see much being made of the signing of Ryan Woods – “at last an English player” was one comment I saw. I retorted that as long as he can do the job, gives 100% and wears the shirt with pride does his nationality matter? It was mentioned back to me the importance of an Englishman who knew the nature of our game…and who speaks the language. I have no doubt Ryan is an excellent signing, I am excited about him joining but the lad no matter how good he is has league 1 and 2 experience to date, the pace of Championship football is vastly different as those who have come from overseas are finding. I just hope we are not thrusting too much expectation from day one because he is English.

Ryan Woods  - now a Bee, regardless of nationality

Ryan Woods – now a Bee, regardless of nationality

The comment about the pace of the Championship and someone speaking English was I thought interesting. I made an assumption that the correspondent was openly taking a pop at KK – who to be fair has loads of energy but still needs to find his feet. I have seen enough to think he will make the grade. But let’s also be honest and say he was surely going to be a backup midfielder to McEachran. If KK was the player being targeted to be replaced by our English style midfielder let’s not forget Toums was at the heart of the team versus Reading, someone to has played in England for many seasons with plenty of experience of both Championship and League 1, who speaks English perfectly yet was totally off the pace and looked out of his depth.

I think Toums has looked a shadow of the player he was last season, someone commented to me he was back to his pre-Portsmouth loan form, I had to agree. Some said he was missing Dougie, to me he looks to have lost confidence and his composure on the ball – can this be because Douglas has gone, if so I think that a weak excuse, he should be stepping up and being the most experienced on the pitch taking the lead. I thought his removal was the right thing to do, too often he was in no man’s land and Macca gave us a better bite and tenacity.

Talking of Dougie, and I know there are many who point to a void now he has gone, I refer back to my Ipswich Town friend, who has now watched all the games in which he has played for his new club – his view was “what exactly does he do, beyond being slow” – the ground swell is there is Jay Tabb is losing out to Dougie and some locals are not happy!

No one in their right mind can feel happy with the way things have panned out that’s for sure, and that surely includes Matthew Benham and the management of the club. Football as we all know is about opinions and it is everyone’s right to voice their view how they feel they wish. I can remember many years back feeling the wroth of those who stood around me on the New Road terrace (as it was then) as we disagreed with tactics, players and the management of the time. So much so that in the end I chose to view home matches from elsewhere, in the process losing touch with many I had shared space with week in week out for many years. We were each entitled to our views but did it really change anything?

Older and wiser I know now the only thing divided support does is, especially in a small ground such as ours, is transmit the divided views and nervousness of the support or lack of it on to the pitch and to the players. Many have quite rightly voiced their frustrations and anger over the performance against Reading – which needs no further elaboration on.

However the excellent overview from the chairman and the calls from Skipper Jake Bidwell for unity along with the comments from Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen all surely need to be heeded. Much was made last season about the atmosphere at Griffin Park and how it helped the players. This I feel has been sadly missing in both our home league games, split opinions of the fans can only be prevent this atmosphere from being generated. Fans are turning on fans, many are quick to damn the new players, the coach, management and owner.

I stood in the hive having a beer over hearing so much negative clap trap I wondered if this was possibly the same club as last year. Had we transferred in moaning fans from another west London club? Yes, we are all entitled to an opinion but for heaven’s sake this is really achieving nothing, when it’s not running your way the team need us to lift them. Negativity spreads and it’s spreading throughout the club like a virus. I’ll be honest my days amongst the singing section are long past, but when we are up against it, no matter how bad we have played I believe those playing for the club need our undivided support from all sides, no matter how we chose to deliver it.

Now is the time for us to remember where we have come from in such a short period, and that this is about the longer sustainability for our club. We could go the QPR route and break the rules and throw good money after bad. Or we can follow a different path and try and find a different route to success within our means. Then again we could lose our benefactor and slowly slip into the abyss of the lower leagues and go backwards again. I don’t know him but I am pretty sure I know which way Matthew wants to take us and for that I give him, the management, Marinus and our squad my faith and belief that they will do everything possible without risking our club’s future to deliver that success we all desire.

C’mon you Bees!

Brentford have the painters and decorators in as Bolton moved

11 Sep

With Brentford travelling to Leeds United on Saturday (and then no home game until Preston North End on September 19th) visits to Griffin Park have been a bit thin on the ground recently. Moreso, given the enforced break which was the result of the recent International fixtures.

But walking past the ground on the way to work yesterday, something seemed amiss. The iconic BRENTFORD lettering, in ‘stingray’ font (for the record) has been removed from the Braemar Road stand. Along with the club badge.

Our last look at the old lettering

Our last look at the old lettering

When had this happened? And why? Given how slow a news week it has been, surely there might have been a story on the official site? There can’t be many fans who don’t know that 2015/16 adidas training wear is now available or that Hospitality for every Sky Bet Championship match is currently on sale.

Instead, with the comms and media team seemingly on holiday, we’ve been left to figure this one out for ourselves. And, as ever, things aren’t anywhere near as sinister as being made out in some circles. Mark Devlin used twitter to confirm that the lettering is being replaced in time for the game with Preston. Moreso, it seems that we are sprucing up the exterior of the stadium.

On first glance at 7.30am, it had seemed as though we were reintroducing the red and white stripes that had graced the Braemar Road stand back in the late 70s/early 80s. This would have been a stunning effort and, to be fair, still might be.

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

However, walking back in the evening, the red has moved further across. Stripes may still be an option, of course, but if so then they are likely to be a lot wider than those we’ve had in the past. And the eagle eyed amongst you may also have spotted that the notice board area is now a very vivid pink

From an aesthetic perspective, I’ve no issue with the removal of the Stingray font. Moreso given it is to be replaced rather than just disappear. It always smacked of something that was desperately trying to be futuristic but has only ended up being looking horribly dated as the years have advanced.

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

The real question is, predominantly, why weren’t we told? Would it have been that hard? Especially at a time when you can’t move on the official site for all the tumbleweed.

Likewise, how can we afford this? And I ask given Cliff Crown’s excellent piece in the Reading programme about what an uneven financial footing the club are on, relative to our Championship rivals , “with total income in the bottom three in that league”.

I can’t imagine it has cost much relative to the transfer fees we are being compelled to raise but with a new stadium in the offing, is this entirely necessary? We’ve lost Stuart Dallas to Leeds but we do have some new paint! Or is it simply the case that a sponsor is covering the costs? Just a thought but with no official comms out of the club then people do like to clutch at any theory.

Whatever we are left with, nobody is in any doubt that Griffin Park has been on her last legs for some time. If we can do something simple to spruce her up a bit for the next couple of seasons, at no real expense, then happy days.

The other news of the day saw the game at Bolton being moved to a Monday night for the benefit of the TV cameras. This is infuriating but part of modern football at this level and, for us, a rare experience. If you think this is bad, imagine had we reached the Premiership.

I had a cracking time in Bolton last season (result aside) and was looking forward to a return trip this time around – although, perhaps, without the Zorb football.

Zorb football at Bolton

Zorb football at Bolton

Alas, it wasn’t to be and, instead, I’ll be watching this game from the comfort of the sofa. With barely a handful of tickets sold for Tuesday night’s trip to Middlesbrough, I fear this could be a similar scenario.

Its far from ideal but, them again, we’ve won midweek long distance away trips before. I’m sure we’ll do it again.

It would just be nice if there were some supporters there to witness it. Instead, here’s the video from last time out. Come for the Zorbs, stay for the commentary….

Nick Bruzon

Turn it up to 11 and let’s see what happens….

21 Apr

There’ll be more than a few eyes (or ears, as many Brentford fans will be in transit to MK Dons) on the lunchtime kick off between Leyton Orient and Wolves today.

Whilst I’m not sure if it is still politically correct to talk about the ‘fat lady’, I can’t hear any females, corpulent or otherwise, singing just yet. Saint and Greavsie may be firing up a trophy-laden helicopter as we speak and pointing it towards Wolverhampton, but in my eyes the title race is still open.

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.

Liverpool good. Peterborough better. Brentford best

20 Apr

Calmed down yet? Me neither. I still can’t believe that Brentford have done it after all the years of coming SO close.

Second to Birmingham City when only one team went up. Double play-off heartbreak under Martin Allen. Any play off, for that matter. Even last season when Keith Stroud nobbling Tony Craig cost us three points at an excellent Sheffield United side. Oh, and then the small matter of ‘the other thing’ against Doncaster Rovers.

As somebody who has been coming to Griffin Park since the end of the 70s, I’m probably as experienced as anyone to appreciate those rare moments of joy. That’s close to 35 years where the ecstasy has been outweighed by, if not the heartbreak, then certainly an awfully large portion of mediocrity.

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.