Tag Archives: Buzz

Time to exorcise some demons?

12 Feb

Say. We are top of th.., err. How about, quite well placed at present? Nahhh. Screw it. We ARE top of the league so why not enjoy the moment? The table doesn’t lie and our run of form is quite incredible. Brentford now 21 league games unbeaten. Only Spurs and Leicester City have overturned us since late October. Ivan Toney is leading the Championship goal scoring charts and the team are on fire. We’ve just overtaken Norwich City after that fine, fine win at Reading on Wednesday night. Frank out??? Where are you? Where ARE YOU? . Let’s be havin’ you! Come on. How far away is all that nonsense now? How quiet have the keyboard warriors gone? Even Sergi Canos is getting praise from the most ferocious armchair managers. Hmm – about five months too late and how magnanimous but there you go. Things are indeed good at present so why not enjoy the moment? Next up, Barnsley on Sunday and a chance to not only maintain the pace but, perhaps, exorcise one of THE demons of last season.

Cripes, we all know what happened. After that wonderful run towards the end of the campaign, Huddersfield Town did us that quite unexpected favour of beating West Brom on the Friday night. Thank you very much, Mark Devlin. All we had to do was beat Stoke City in game 45 and we were up into automatic. Instead, we did a Leeds. No matter, game 46 saw the ultimate in unexpected shocks – the Loftus Road mob got a result at West Brom. The door to the Premier League was still open. All we had to do was beat Barnsley at Griffin Park. The same Barnsley team facing their own unlikely battle to avoid relegation. Instead, they played their hearts out and we did a Leeds. Congratulations to the Tykes – a much more deserved victory than the time Toby was adjudged to have beaten Buzz in the half-time mascot race. For Brentford, there were still the play-offs……

Never forget the time the Toby and Barnsley ‘won’ at Griffin Park.

Which of course is why we meet again on Sunday. This time around Barnsley are looking super safe and, perhaps, may even have a surge towards the play-offs on their mind. The gap to Bournemouth in sixth is only 9 points. The relegation slots are way off and currently being occupied by Wycombe, Birmingham City and Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. Valérien Ismaël’s side may not have won in five league games but they are a different proposition the time around. Even Chelsea were made to work hard in last night’s FA Cup game (eventually running out 1-0 winnners) and their biggest problem at present would seem to be on social media where the club were forced to announce yesterday that…” Due to a copyright claim dated 2018, the official Barnsley Football Club Twitter account (@BarnsleyFC) has been temporarily suspended”. 

As one North Stand observer would comment on our WhatsApp Group – “It’s the sort of thing that would have happened to us a few years ago.” One can only imagine the admin oversight / other that lead to that one although the good news being they are now back in action. And good news it is too. The club being one of my favourites in the league with good times having been had on our travels, regardless of the result. Now they are the ones on the road in a game about as big as it comes.

Hoping for a better result than the previous rematch

The longer this unbeaten run continues the more incredible it seems. A metaphorical skyscraper of a performance but one which, equally, could feel like a Jenga tower. The more it continues the wobblier it feels. The pressure, perhaps, building although certainly not apparent from Thomas and the players IF that is indeed the case. Perhaps its just the glass half-empty approach of football fans. Natural pessimists, normally, although this time around loving the moment. Last season I wanted every game to come but there was that huge feeling of extra stress because we knew we were playing catch up and so, so reliant on others around us.

This time, there’s still that feeling of desperation to play again but it is with uber confidence. It is with wanting to see just how far we can go. It is with having supreme and unadulterated confidence in whomever is picked to start. Of knowing that despite conceding first (as we have done in the last four games) we have the firepower to blitz just about anyone. 17 (seventeen) goals scored in those same four games speaks for itself.

That’s not to be over-confident or arrogant. Likewise, we can’t go into Sunday’s game thinking it will be anything but the toughest of challenges. Once the whistle goes then forget the form, forget the other results and forget the league placings. Focus on Barnsley and just keep on doing what we’ve been doing. We can’t ask for more than that. Everything else comes off the back of it. 

Oh, I love football at the best of times but this is next level fun. Like all of us, I’m desperate to be there in person. I hate watching it on TV, knowing how close we live to the stadium and remembering just how incredible following the Bees is in person. At least we have Mark Burridge and team to keep us company. Temporary custodians of our massed physical presence at Lionel Road. The weight of the home supporters on the shoulders of our comms team and our board of directors. Oh, and Pontus Jansson who seems the one person on the planet even louder than Harry Potter / Simon. His shouting and encouragement clearly audible over the top of the audio and a joy to behold. Kicking and screaming his way to the top alongside the players out on pitch.

No doubt he’ll be back there on Sunday doing more of the same. We’ll all be alongside him, in spirit. I can’t wait for this one. Here’s to an extra special Valentines’ Day. Just hopefully without the cards. Oh, and if Stoke want to upset another promotion push, then there’s no better time than their trip to Norwich on Saturday afternoon to play that card. Come on. Lets be havin’ you…

21 and counting. Barnsley very much our ‘Karleigh Osborne’ game…

Nick Bruzon 

Finally. The chance to see our new home for real. Lionel Road awaits.

5 Dec

Corona Virus restrictions. With the exception of ‘Rail Replacement Bus’, you’d be doing well to find three more depressing words in the English language. Yet today there’s a light through the gloom. For the first time since the 5-0 tanking of Sheffield Wednesday back in March, Brentford fans have the opportunity to see a game for real. Moreso, a first chance to do so at our new home. Lionel Road prepares to welcome fans for the visit of Blackburn Rovers this afternoon. I promised myself I wouldn’t overly bang on about it but to say we’re excited doesn’t even begin to cut the mustard. Like flicking on to a random episode of The Simpsons and discovering its the one with the Springfield Monorail. Yessss!! 

Not ‘that’ monorail

To date, the most to see a game at Lionel Road have been the smattering of club representatives, journalists, photographers and our 200+ directors that were on hand to roar the Bees on against Quarter Pound of Rubbish. Oh, Warbs. I’m still laughing about that one. And if you’d like to read more, today’s ‘Bees Blog’ in the matchday programme will (I hope) cover that one off. #shamelessplug. To those, we can now add the 2,000 supporters who were the first invited in as part of the Season Ticket rotation and, it has to be said, anticipation is rife. 

For me, Clive, the uniqueness of the occasion aside it gives an opportunity to really try and assert some form of home advantage. We’ve already heard Peter Gilham, the directors and Cliff Crown roaring Brentford on. Having those extra voices sure to motivate the players once more. How much of a difference will supporters make?

And what a time for this to happen. Blackburn Rovers are top of the Championship goalscoring charts. Adam Armstrong the division’s highest individual contributor with 14. Let’s not forget Ivan Toney though. As if we could. With our own man tucked in right behind on 13 goals, it has all the makings of a promotion chasing shootout. Rovers sit two points outside the top six. Brentford knowing that a win would take us to within a point of first placed Bournemouth (subject to other results). Frank out indeed. They’ve all gone very quiet – insert Picard graphic. Every voice will count. Every motivational cheer and extra bit of backing for the Bees a chance to finally remind ourselves that it is an actual advantage to be playing at home – albeit, of course, we’ll all be following the officially published Covid guidelines which, understandably, come with the contractual obligation to remind supporters: “Please avoid excessive singing, shouting and cheering.” Good luck there. The same goes for all clubs, btw.

Frank Out… ??!! Where have they all gone?

Recent form has really gone to plan. Thomas Frank hasn’t been afraid to mix his team up and bring in plans B and C. The step up in the game against the Loftus Road mob when we employed the three centre back option for the second half worked brilliantly. This time 🙂 . His use of Toney and Forss at Rotherham United on Tuesday night seeing each player end up on the scoresheet. The temptation to go again must be immense. But with our defence stronger than the Rock Of Gibraltar (only three goals conceded in the last eight games) and Vitaly Janelt once again proving that the Brentford recruitment model is light years ahead of just about every club in English football, why not?

Now, Brentford are breathing down the necks of Bournemouth and Norwich City in automatic positions. The later probably expecting to breeze past Luton Town midweek but, instead, fatally holed below the waterline at a Kenilworth Road that saw supporters present. The cat that got the canary. Mind you, going by the state of their former mascot  – frankly, terrifying – the Hatters would be doing well to bring him back out of retirement. If we’re looking at clubs making any form of home advantage count then how about starting right there? Kenilworth cat up there with Kingsley, Boiler man and Buzzette in the all time great mascots.

Kenilworth Cat – back in the day Luton very much had a rabid beast

Ah, Buzzette. Another reason to be grateful for our return to live action. John Travolta in a furry suit. 70’s John Travolta, I mean. Those funky dance moves have been sorely missed whilst we’ve been locked out. Unlike the Gunnersaurus saga over at the Emirates (remember that from the surreal heights of football lockdown?), Brentford have made if quite public that we’re sticking with our anthropomorphic crowd pleaser. Let’s hope that along with Buzz she’s back out there doing her thing this afternoon.

Yes, we are going. It IS exciting and I get that not everybody is allowed in first time out. It’s a huge shame from that respect and we’re feeling truly privileged to be part of that initial group going in. I promised myself I wouldn’t overly bang on when we were let back in. Cripes, it only seems like five minutes ago that every man Jack and Harry was telling us from their seats in the ground how amazing it was. How incredible. Hardly a day went past without seeing somebody else in there, banging on about how incredible OUR home was. All whilst we were confined to barracks. It hurt, a lot. I remember my own frustration well. Perhaps it will be even tougher for those fans who haven’t been given the chance this afternoon. Social media sure to be awash with photos and comments. Those obliged to wait until the visit of Wayne Rooney’s Derby County or beyond missing out on today and having to wait whilst that anticipation builds even further.

It will be tough for them, no question. It’ll be amazing for us, I hope. Yet at the same time whenever you get your place on the ST rotation train, it won’t feel properly proper until we are all allowed in together. Until we can have a beer with our friends. Until we can all cheer, en-masse. Until the place is sold out our rather than operating at 11% capacity (15% if you include the massed ranks of our directors). That’s not to say we can’t wait for this afternoon. Only a liar would pretend otherwise.

Finally, for the first time in 9 months, I can dig out the old refrain. Roll on 3pm. See you there !

I can’t wait to see these two again

Nick Bruzon

A dinosaur made extinct. Could we suffer the same fate?

6 Oct

Has anybody checked in on Buzz and Buzzette? With transfer deadline passing yesterday for the Premier league, the biggest story was nothing to do with Benrahma or Brentford but Arsenal and the shameful sacking of their club legend dinosaur (insert your own Arsene Wenger joke here), mascot Gunnersaurus. After 23 years he has gone. Terminated. With a tweet, rather than an Uzi nine millimetre. It’s a sad day for all lovers of our anthropomorphic furry friends. Like our own Buzzette with her amazing dance moves or the incredible Kingsley at Partick Thistle, the Arsenal icon has been very much at the top of the tree when it comes to keeping the crowds entertained. Now, this dinosaur has been made extinct. Another high profile victim of the Corona curse.

Fur-well

What else can you say? Sad times. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Gunnersaurus in action at the Emirates (when Brentford played there in the league cup a few season back) but also at The Oval.

A trip to a T20 cricket game saw the game conclude with a London mascot race. There were our own stars taking part, along with none other than the Arsenal legend. What an honour (it must have been, I’d imagine) to share a pre-match race area. For the great and the good to rub velour shoulders. To stumble around an Its-a-knockout style obstacle course.

Why so sad, Gunnersaurus?

It begs the question as to whether the budget is really cutting it that tight at the Emirates? Is this high profile casualty the first of many? Certainly at Brentford we’ve tried to keep the match day experience as ‘real’ as is possible with Peter Gilham still doing his thing on the public address system as though performing to a full house. Yet Buzz and Buzzette have been conspicuous by their absence. Or am I just extremely unobservant?  

Kingsley broke cover last night to give his own verdict on proceedings. Whilst I was half-expecting the Partick colossus to wreak furry vengeance on the Arsenal board, he’s taken a much more diplomatic stance. Well done. Moreso, using the phrase ‘very funny’ alongside a picture that included Jimmy Carr but it being a reference to the mascot rather than comedian’s tax returns.

As Mrs. Bruzon put so eloquently. “My God. The tight aresholes. F. Off. How pikey. What does that mean for all the other mascots? Of all the things to penny pinch on.

Harsh but fair.

There’s not much else to add. Farewell, Gunnersaurus. I await the kickstarter campaign or high profile appeal to reinstate him with interest. Until then, how about giving Buzzette a run out?

More of this, please. Before it’s too late

Nick Bruzon

What will happen on Wednesday?

21 Jul

Tomorrow it all happens. Brentford face Barnsley. Mark Warburton takes his team to West Bromwich Albion. We all know the maths. We all know what almost happened, but didn’t quite, at Stoke City. That’s football. Our fans seem to have fallen in to two camps since then – the vast majority who appreciate what might have been, how far we have come, how incredibly well we have performed this season and who are gutted beyond belief that we were unable to make it 9 wins in a row at Stoke. Then there are the self-indulgent few. Still bleating about how they are justified in preaching negativity at, and about, their heroes. No doubt the same faces who were calling for Thomas Frank’s head earlier in the season. The same ‘fans’ who will be first in line to say how amazing it all is when we go up. Whether that be Wednesday night or a few weeks later at an empty Wembley.

Ah, you know what? I’m done with it. It’s a simple equation. We were all hurt to miss out on the all important win, but that’s different to bitching. If you felt that strongly then, let alone now,  say it to an individual’s face. And if you still feel that way then just leave the rest of us to support the team and you go wallow in a bottle of Strongbow Dark Fruits. There are more important things to focus on. For clarity, the game with Barnsley rather than a re-run of the infamous mascot race that saw Buzz robbed by Toby Tyke back in 2016. Sadly, Covid-19 means our furry friends are nothing but a beautiful memory for the moment.

mascot-race

But what happened next….?

Of course, the only matter of consequence at Griffin Park will be the three points (technically one) needed to for a final tilt at second place. Albeit acknowledging the ‘deal with the devil’ which that would involve – namely, wishing well on the team from Shepherds Bush. Aside for the small matter of our own beating Barnsley, the Loftus Road outfit avoiding defeat is key to us securing automatic on Wednesday night. 

For what it’s worth, my personal take is that we’ll complete our own side. With Barnsley still hanging in there, any chance they have of Championship survival is dependent on their also winning the game. On scoring at least one goal. Which means we’ll likely be afforded more freedom to attack as they drive forward themselves, looking for the the back of the Brentford net and, as a consequence, leaving gaps. It’s the sort of thing this team exploit for fun.

The visitors won’t make it easy, though. Their game with Nottingham Forest on Sunday saw the Tykes dominant, peppering the visitor’s goal before finally taking the lead late in to Jota time. They’ve done it once and will no doubt be full of belief that they can do it again.

Yet on the assumption we can do our job, what next? What happens at the Hawthorns? Ahh, it doesn’t bear thinking about. It can’t be fathomed or quantified. I’ve a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach – not so much at them stitching us up but more the fact that this is totally out of our hands. Just as it was on Friday night when the Baggies went to Huddersfield Town. 

One has to adopt the approach of trying to ignore it (purely on health grounds) and looking just at our own result which, of course, will be nigh on impossible. Any change in score will be brought to us immediately – Sky do love a final day in-flight ‘As it stands’ table. And with Griffin Park off limits it means that the TV, I-Follow or local radio will be the only way for all barring the directors to follow this one.

Should West Brom slip up then we’ll be waiting to pounce. Pressure does strange things and a game their fans are likely considering a foregone conclusion against mid-table opposition could still have a twist in the tail. Slaven Bilic is a huge character and he’ll no doubt have his players set for this one – dreaming of the top flight , just as we are. Crucially aware of how close they’ve already come to relinquishing control. Something they’ll obviously want to avoid as we enter the final round of games in the regular Championship campaign. Will all of this start affecting the psyche and the approach? Causing a few jitters and a lot of mind games. Or is this just what it appears to be on paper  – a home banker ?

The QPR factor will be just awful. What will Warbs do? Will he even give us a moment’s thought? Will he have a point to prove? Is it one of those where he tries out a few of the kids for next season?

Don’t go checking the bookmakers’ websites if you are looking for any comfort. Only one team is coming out of that smiling. And they don’t go shopping at Westfield. Then again, even Stoke City were 5-1 to win on Saturday and look how that ended. Strange things can happen. 

We’ve been incredible this season. Magnificent. A style of attacking football and rock solid defence that has thrilled us all. A team that have had the fortitude and determination to reel in all those above us after a shaky start to the season. A 0-1 home defeat despite battering one shot Birmingham City in the season opener now the stuff of distant memory.

It took us a while to find our feet but once we did , wow ! Guts. Courage. Never say die – oh, that Millwall game. Goals. The brackets earned in the 7(seven) – 0 destruction of Luton Town. Humping Sheffield Wednesday in our last game at Griffin Park (in front of fans). That relentless never-say-die run of 8 games in a row as we have come within sniffing distance of ‘automatic’.

This team can do it. Whether it takes one game or four we WILL be in the Premier League next season. 

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What a finish to the game with Millwall

Nick Bruzon

Ten Signs Better? Shock move precedes weekend fixtures.

28 Sep

Well that was a day to catch us all cold ahead of the trip to Barnsley for Sunday’s TV game. Former Brentford number 10 and Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran has pushed the number of ex-Bees at Birmingham City back up to three following the departure of Jota to Aston Villa over the summer. There are no words beyond….’wow’. Possibly with a ‘drink being spat out of mouth’ gif/meme to accompany it but let’s not go there. Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest have gone to the top of the league following last night’s 3-2 defeat of abject (we would also accept ‘lowly’) Stoke City. Played 9 Won 0. Points 2. Cripes, that’s a worse record than Madonna’s version of American Pie. It is a result which sees Leeds United displaced from the penthouse suite of the Championship table hotel, heading into the weekend fixtures.

Screenshot 2019-09-28 at 06.44.49

We went there. But come on… ‘Allo ‘Allo! beats the usual ‘Downfall’ analogy.

First up, Brentford v Barnsley. Are you going ? Hats off if so. A Sunday lunchtime trek to Yorkshire when the comfort factor of TV presents an obvious alternative is a strange one. Not so much for Brentford fans who always travel in numbers but more that it would have been an easy one to swerve. An early, early start after a Saturday night out when the pub or bed beckon would be deemed acceptable reasons to catch up via alternate sources.

Personally, and there is no pretence here, I’m saving my beer tokens and green cards for those Saturday 3pms on the road. That’s nothing to do with the opposition but simply the fact that both are finite commodities which need to be played at the right time. The Barnsley game is on TV and that’s the option I have to take this time out. I’d love to be there, of course, but with a family and a dwindling bank account to juggle, sometimes one does have to take the a different option.

Being blunt, I’m still not sure why Sky have picked it. And I’m a Brentford fan!  If for no other reason, and with respect to both the Tykes and The Bees, it is hardly a game which screams of interest to anybody outside of Oakwell or Griffin Park. There is no real rivalry (mascot races aside – and do pick up the match day programme if you get a chance….).

mascot-race

But what happened next….?

Still, there are only so many times that they can show Leeds United. Or should that say, presumably there are only so many times they can show Leeds United? However, Bielsa’s boys do seem be starting at 3pm today – away to Charlton Athletic – so there you go. They do, sometimes, play in the traditional timeslot. Can they retake top spot from Forest or is their now annual ‘falling apart’ about to start once more?

The Griffin have their Sky TV lined up once more and will be showing this one. Certainly that’s where I’m hoping to take the family.  For Sunday lunch. Still, all that’s for tomorrow.  Right now, I’m still spitting my drink out over the Josh McEachran story.

Not so much that the player, released by Brentford when his contract expired, has joined Birmingham City but more the point at which it has happened. Nobody in TW8 saw this one coming with most clubs having long since wrapped up business following the early transfer window. Especially from a player who, if we’re being honest, never really lived up to the potential that the former Chelsea man brought with him to Griffin Park. Instead, we parted ways after four seasons, 102 games and a solitary goal. Against Birmingham. 

It just never clicked for/with him and when a player is best known for his services to mobile phone cases or mini-golf then perhaps it’s best to admit that despite everyone’s best efforts, sometimes things just don’t work out. Sadly.

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Whatever else happens, we’ll always have this

It was a shame and for no other reason than he did start last season so brightly. There was talk of an England call up (from the player) and it looked as though we were finally going to see the McEachran that his reputation suggested. It didn’t happen.

Pep Clotet is not quoted on the Blues website although the club’s editorial describes him as, “A composed player happy to receive the ball in tight areas, McEachran’s vision, positioning and clever passing was apparent in the Under-23s matches when he was influential in helping to dictate proceedings.

So there you go. 

Could Blues have vision that Bees lacked ? Or is the player simply better suited to a more industrial style of football than the fast flowing movement of a Brentford team who have, let’s not forget, finished above Birmingham for the last five seasons?

Instead, Josh now has the chance to ‘go again’. Birmingham travel to Derby County this afternoon, with the Rams looking to put their car-crash start to the season well behind them. Will he get the chance to dominate the ten yards around the centre-circle ? Or is it one to start from the bench ? Either way, I’m intrigued to see how this all plays out…..

Nick Bruzon

Ten times better than we could have hoped for – although perhaps not the shirt. Final Griffin Park game revealed.

21 Jun

Well that’s been an interesting few days. Hot on the heels of Yoann Barbet and Garry Monk, the Championship news keeps on coming thick and fast. Brentford fans can now start planning their away days – in theory – after the league fixtures were revealed yesterday. The computer has been very kind to us, even allowing for  early trips to Leeds United and Middlesbrough. Things kick off with a visit from Birmingham City and finish with a final game at home to Barnsley. Elsewhere, we have a new goalkeeper shirt (as Ibuprofen sales go through the roof to cope with the impending migraine) whilst yesterday’s League Cup draw, from a supermarket (as you do) sees us gifted a 24th chance to experience Griffin Park one more time as Cambridge United are the visitors.

Screenshot 2019-06-19 at 18.17.03

We have a new GK shirt – sunglasses not included.

The excitement levels ahead of the 2019/20 campaign cranked up a few notches now we know when we’ll be playing who. It’s fair to say that the fate handed out to us by the legendary ‘fixture computer’ is ten times better than anybody could have asked for. A visit from troubled Birmingham City, now bereft of both Jota and Garry Monk, kicks things off on August 3rd. Regardless of any discontent currently being experienced at St. Andrews, I am sure that Blues will have got their house in order by that point. Thus leaving us with as compelling an encounter as one could hope for at any point in the campaign, let alone to get things underway in the late summer sunshine.

Whilst we always trot out the line about waiting ten games until the table has truly been deemed to have ‘taken shape’, August offers a stern test of our credentials that could well give a firm indication of how we are set. Aswell as hosting Birmingham we’ve got away trips to Middlesbrough and Leeds United (sure to be moved for TV, given there’s a ‘Y’ in the day) along with visits from Hull City and Derby County, technically still Frank Lampard’s Derby County, although those Chelsea stories just won’t go away. Plus there’s my favourite of all ‘away days’, the trip to newly promoted Charlton Athletic.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 05.40.31

That first month of league fixtures in full

There’s a return to Griffin Park for another fixture favourite – the Boxing Day game. Swansea City are the visitors on December 26th. I can’t see it being one to trouble Sky and run the risk of being shifted. If for no other reason, Leeds United aren’t involved. QPR away is October 26th and they visit on January 11th. Fulham come to Griffin Park on December 14th whilst we get the chance to pack out the away end and neutral stands on March 14th.

Rounding it all off is the visit from Barnsley. May 2nd is the final game at Griffin Park. Thankfully it is one which doesn’t have the additional significance of a local derby or a traditional rivalry – unless, of course, Toby Tyke fancies donning his spikes for a rematch of that infamous mascot race against Buzz Bee. Things are going to be emotional enough on that day without adding to the pressure by chucking in the likes of a Fulham or QPR. Albeit, knowing Brentford we’ll probably make the play-offs this time around, just to give us an additional final game and throw all carefully laid plans for saying goodbye into disarray.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 06.00.57

Did he, though?

Next up, the goalkeeper shirt. Cherry Tomato red? Lurid Orange? Definitely electric blue. Definitely ‘different’. Quite how it falls into the ‘retro’ category that the club have been touting, I’m not sure, unless we are talking about a throwback to the garish days of David Button and Graham Benstead?

I have to be honest that my gut reaction was one of abhorrence. It’s not going to fly off the shelves and I’m not going to be rushing out to buy one (except, perhaps, as a Christmas present for Mrs. Bruzon who thinks it’s gorgeous). But having given it a bit more consideration after the knee had jerked, I think this is a smart move from Brentford. And by smart, I mean intelligent rather than stylish.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 07.07.50Goalkeeper’s shirts aren’t traditionally designed to be mass selling items. As long as there’s no clash with the home shirt then bring it on. It has drawn our eye and perhaps the logic here is that it may do the same to opponents. If the colour scheme gives even a fractional advantage then go for it. Who am I to knock kitman Bob’s methodology? I ’m sure he and the club know exactly what they are doing with this one – even if things didn’t work out quite so well for us when ‘that’ Hummel shirt was in use….   

Next, up the draw for the league cup took place yesterday. The tournament sponsors continuing their trend of ‘unusual’ locations/times for the draw and hosting it in a supermarket. Presumably, this is to get people talking about it and mentioning their names so, out of principal, I won’t. Moreso, given that in Brentford at least, the aforementioned supermarket survives only by reason of having no competition rather than customers going there through choice. If their usual empty shelves and ‘borderline’ use by dates was anything to go by, you’d have been forgiven for expecting several of the balls to be missing or the likes of Bradford Park Avenue or Middlesbrough Ironopolis to be included.

Anyway, nonsense aside, we’ve been given a home tie. Cambridge United. In a draw which I’m amazed isn’t rigged – given the number of big-name ties that seem to come out every time the balls are pulled – the first round also sees Wimbledon play MK Dons and the ‘media love-in’ derby between Salford City and Leeds United. One can only assume those two will be picked for TV coverage. Leeds on the box – who’d have thought it?

And finally, as unsubtle as ever, if you’d like to read more (to coin a phrase)….. please do download a copy of the Last Word season season review – containing the least bad of these columns from the World Cup to Aston Villa deserving to win the play offs. It also includes the World Cup aswell as all the ‘Park Life’ articles submitted for the matchday programme and so not previously available on these pages.  

ALL proceeds received are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust so what better way to remind yourself how brilliant 2018/19 was? To kill a bit of time on the commute to work / on your summer holidays / on the toilet etc You can download it , now, for your kindle , iPod telephone or other electronic reading device here.

At £1.99 it’s cheaper than half a pint so what’s to lose? Apart from £1.99 – which then goes to a great cause anyway. Many thanks again. And enjoy.

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Nick Bruzon

 

Five years of festive fun as Brentford do it again.

18 Dec

Whatever is happening on the pitch, off it there’s always one night a year that reinforces to me what a close knit family Brentford football club are. How well we look after our younger fans. How excited they are at the chance to meet their heroes. How great it is for parents and guardians to ‘unfortunately’ have to do the same – under the guise of simply being responsible for their little ones.

Last night saw the latest Junior Bees Christmas party at Griffin Park. It was, as ever, a quite wonderful event. Father Christmas was there. Buzz and Buzzette were there. Thomas Frank was there in the middle of the forecourt, talking to anyone and everyone. As importantly, the players were there. Hosting games, signing autographs, giving out presents, putting some huge smiles on the faces of our young fans and, in the case of Sergi Canos, our older ones too. There must have been as many pictures with him and Neal Maupay for the grown ups as the Juniors (although maybe that was just me).

I love our club for doing this and can’t thank everyone enough. Let’s hope it has provided some much needed Christmas cheer as we head into the festive period. Certainly, I saw nothing but happy faces as two hours shot by in the blink of an eye.

That the club continues to do this is nothing but brilliant. Yet, also, it’s given me plenty to embarrass Harry with further down the line. So if you’ll forgive the self-indulgence, here’s my favourite picture from each of the last five years of his own Junior Bees Christmas experience…..

HB with Buzzette

December 2014 – not the reaction Buzzette was hoping for

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December 2015. They kissed and made up 

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December 2016 – foul throw?

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December – 2017. Sergi and Josh on the ‘ being popular’ stall

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December 2018 – all smiles

 

THANK YOU, Brentford.

Nick Bruzon

 

Tough questions to ask, and answer, after an insipid performance under the lights.

28 Nov

Well that was awful yesterday. And not the news that Mrs. Brown’s Boys leads the BBC Christmas schedule with two episodes of the alleged ‘favourite’ having been commissioned for the festive period.  Of course we mean football where, being honest, even after sleeping on this one I’m struggling to be positive this morning. That Sheffield United made it 6 defeats out of 7(seven) for Brentford since Dean Smith left is almost secondary. The 3-2 loss contained so many problems that even had we grabbed a last gasp equaliser, it would actually have masked the deficiencies as I’ve no doubt we’d be told how this team never gives up and keeps fighting until the end. Yet the simple fact is this game should have been well out of sight by half-time. How the visitors only led by a single goal as we went in for our bovril I’m still not sure. With a televised trip to West Bromwich Albion next up on Monday night, it’s not going to get any easier for Thomas Frank’s Bees.

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Incredibly…. You HAVE been warned.

It had all started off so brightly. Despite the sparce crowd, Buzz and Buzzette did their level best to get things going before kick-off. The team came out of the traps flying and it wasn’t long before we’d raced into the lead. With just 6 minutes gone, Romaine Sawyers played Neal Maupay through and there was no mistake as the Championship’s top scorer grabbed his 13thof the campaign. What a start. But what a response was to follow.

Straight from the kick-off, the Blades poured forward in a move which culminated with Daniel Bentley’s crossbar left quivering after John Lundstrum blasted it from ten yards out. By all rights he should have scored given the space and position in which he found himself in front of the goal. It was a massive let off for Brentford and alarm bells should have been ringing. If so, nobody was listening.

Just a few minutes later Sheffield United were level as Ezri Konsa turned a corner into his own net for 1-1. And then it was 2. Oliver Norwood giving the visitors the lead with just a quarter hour gone after hitting a beauty from outside the box. Catching it first time the ball rose, curled and then dipped past Bentley high into the back of the net. It was a magnificent strike but saw yet another game where we’d conceded a batch of goals in short space of time to throw things away.

It could, probably should, have been worse after Daniel Bentley made a wonderful save at close range half way through the opening period after denying United from close range with a huge stop.

Yet in return, we offered nothing. The goal aside Brentford were lacklustre. Abject. Masters of our own self-destruction. Sideways and backwards passing saw us unable to make inroads once the visitors had settled. The midfield lacked bite and a leader. Lewis Macleod lightweight. Alan Judge making the effort but getting drawn out of position time and again. Josh McEachran uncharacteristically tetchy. Lucky to escape a booking for a quite blatant push in front of the ref that gave away a free-kick in the heart of Saunders territory. Captain Romaine Sawyers conspicuous by his silence. Where was the desire? Where was the will to win? If it was there then I didn’t see it. And that’s the most disappointing aspect of the night.

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United were head and shoulders above Brentford in the first half.

Yet. Yet. Half-time came and it was only 2-1. Despite it all, we were still very much alive. Whilst United started brightly once more, Brentford soon stepped it up. This was more like it. The pressure built. The ball started to move forward. The crowd started to lift and just after the hour Romaine Sawyers saw his cross-come-shot turned in by John Fleck for the game’s second o.g. as parity was restored. That was better and there was only one team in it from here? Wasn’t there.

Err, yes. Sheffield United.

Instead of pushing on, Brentford allowed the frailties of the first half to return. Sheffield United were given the freedom of Griffin Park as our defence once more turned into vampires. Scared of crosses. If the first goal had seen us concede from a position where we’d have expected Mepham (who missed it) or Konsa (who gifted the goal) the opportunity to clear, Leon Clarke’s winner was even worse. I’ve seen caravans that were less static. Like Middlesbrough at the weekend, a well delivered ball into the box was our undoing.

Clarke may have been embarrassed by the copious space he was left in but he made no mistake. His shot was hard and low past the diving Bentley for 3-2. And that’s how it stayed. The subsequent substitutions making no difference to a Brentford team that limped towards the final whistle.

But for me, the most telling sign was at the death. With the Bees awarded a late free-kick, Thomas Frank was clearly telling Chris Mepham to push up into the box. There followed a quite bizarre looking argument of shrugging, arms open in the ‘what’s going on?’ position and the player refusing to move up. Eventually, he would but it did beg the question what all that was about?

Lack of respect? Frustration? Or just a general confusion about what we should be doing in a dead ball situation? Why isn’t this sort of stuff clarified on the training ground rather than in the public eye? If nothing else, football 101 says that when a team is goal down and awarded a dangerous spot kick at the death, everybody piles up. Sometimes even the ‘keeper. What you don’t do is argue with the boss and keep two defenders back.

I’m not a coach. I’m not a manager. I’m just the numpty on the terrace and you may think I’ve called this all wrong. Fair enough if so. It should have been a quite fantastic night under the floodlights. I take no pleasure from moaning about the team and have looked to remain upbeat this campaign. Yet that was painful last night and don’t let the closeness of the result fool anyone. Brentford were second in every respect. Goals scored. Cohesiveness. Attitude.

We don’t have a divine right to be any good. I’ve said this many times and it’s true. Yet to see players who we know are more than capable looking so out of sorts is just wrong. To see a team looking so bereft of ideas when we’ve torn rivals apart at times is a worry. And whilst Thomas may be on the business end of the bad run, let’s not forget that despite all the ‘deserving’, the culmination of Dean’s time in charge saw only 1 win out of 6. Even Marinus had a better track record at this stage of ‘games played’ into his own start – and that’s a scary thing to acknowledge.

We do have injuries, of course. Who wouldn’t miss the likes of Ollie Watkins or Saïd Benrahma? Rico Henry and Emiliano Marcondes are only just returning to action.  The ability is there amongst those who are fit.

The real question now is not the position of the head coach, which many fans are already questioning, but more what he does to unlock the talent and inspire his team.

Roll on West Brom when we find out.

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The floodlights providing a rare bright moment

Nick Bruzon

Best. Club. Ever. It was a very merry Christmas as doors to the ground thrown open for young fans.

13 Dec

Yours Truly writing this particular column seems almost as seasonal a repeat as BBC1 showing the Mrs Browns Boys Christmas Special. Yet whilst that is the ultimate in festive hell (with nary a ho, ho or ho in sight) Brentford was the place to be last night with seasonal goodwill and Christmas cheer in abundance. At a time when most of the football world would have had their eyes on Burnley going fourth in the Premier league (why thank you for the Fantasy Football points, number 26) or Chelsea winning a game once more, over in TW8 it was a case of all down to Griffin Park for the Junior Bees Christmas get together.

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Mrs Brown – a festive repeat undoubtedly coming. Sadly, the same can’t be said for laughs

And, as ever, whilst you may have read this before it bears repeating. The squad, the staff, the mascots and the entertainers were beyond compare. Talking to the youngsters, signing player cards, posing for photos and hosting all manner of football related games. Giant jenga with Romaine Sawyers and Daniel Bentley (smart lads, bagging an indoor spot). A tour of the dressing room with John Egan . Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay in charge of the snowball toss. It had it all. And more.

Special mention to Brentford head coach Dean Smith, too. My four year old knows what Dean does – amongst other things, he picks the players. As such, the pair of us (me and Harry, not me and Dean) had needed a long chat in September about where his former favourite Harlee Dean had gone. So I was shocked and surprised (pleasantly so) when the normally shy four year old asked him: “Why has Harlee Dean joined the naughty team”?

Let’s just say that his response was both utterly professional yet, at the same time, displaying a sense of humour that has certainly tickled Harry. Thank you, Dean.

And thanks, as ever to all at Brentford. I love this club. I love what they do for the fans. Would you get this at a Chelsea or a Manchester United? I neither know nor care. I don’t support them and I don’t live overseas. My suspicion is a no. And certainly not for free. Yet Brentford, a top half of the table Championship club, were quite happy to throw open the doors once more. And it was wonderful.

Harry is still enthusing about it this morning. And that’s only a good thing.

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Sergi and Josh just running the ‘ being popular’ stall

Nick Bruzon

Post Hull City fall out is of an unexpected kind.

10 Dec

We regret that due to 3mm of snow falling in Brentford there will be no Last Word today. No update on yesterday’s 3-2 loss for the Bees at Hull City.

The Last Word apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Normal service will be resumed ahead of Brentford v Barnsley on Saturday.

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Nick Bruzon