Tag Archives: Cambridge

Cambridge follow Oxford in giving Bees the third degree.

14 Aug

Well that wasn’t great. Cambridge United reached the second round of the League Cup at the expense of a Brentford team chock full of new signings yet tinkered with to such an extent that it was almost at the level of  Marinus and the car keys in a bowl team selection of Oxford United from the same stage a few season back. Almost. At least this time we held on for a 1-1 draw before succumbing to fatal spot kicks taken in front of an ecstatic away support. On the plus side, the arrival of alleged Celtic target Rico Henry and long term signing Ollie Watkins put some much needed spring in the step to a game we almost won but, obviously, didn’t. 

Screenshot 2019-08-13 at 22.51.01

Griffin Park looked great under lights. Despite the result.

Upset? In a cup sense then of course but personally I slept well upon returning home. Dru Yearwood’s mistake early on presented Cambridge a chance from which they made no mistake but then they barely had a look in. Dru himself looked composed after that and grew into the game but the challenge of throwing so many new faces together was one that Brentford struggled with. Thomas Frank would later describe it as a disjointed performance and few present in the 5000+ crowd could argue with that.

Trying to look on the bright side this morning, there are still plenty of positives. Thomas was always going to play the new boys  – even this self-confessed numpty on the terrace called that one out yesterday – so it was a self-imposed challenge. The visitors came at us from the off and got the early goal as we struggled to settle in. Fair play to them in doing what they needed to but after that there was no more. Rather than turn into an Oxford style car crash (3-0 down after 12 minutes with Kemar Roofe’s 40 yard lob of Jack Bonham the ultimate slap in the face for the hapless head coach back in 2015) Brentford put the brakes on. Even though we struggled to get through our opponents, looking to walk it in rather than shoot, at least it stopped the goals going in.

Marinus Oxford touchline

Marinus and the Oxford fiasco (not a prog rock band). Never, ever forget

Thompson, Mbuemo, Valencia and Yearwood in particular all grew into the game and now have vital minutes under the belt. Zamburek and Racic stepped in and stepped up to a line up which was very much one for this evening only. Rico Henry and Ollie Watkins made a huge difference when they came on and showed what might have been had Thomas not used the game to try out new faces and give his starting XI a break after their exertions in the weekend win at Middlesbrough. Hull City on Saturday is going to be a tough one so you can understand why he has done this.

Outside of the rested faces, we’ve still got the likes of Said and Kamo to come back in to the team. And Marcus Forss scored another goal for the Bees. Huge news there with a starting berth possibly up for grabs in Thomas Frank’s all attack front line for Hull.

The subsequent second round draw saw Cambridge United drawn away to Swansea City. That in itself a reason to be grateful for crashing out. After last season’s horror shows against the Swans (home, away and FA Cup trip) the less we see of them in the short term the better. Besides, it also means we are now free to concentrate on the league.

And, of course, Celtic lost. Knocked out of the Champions League at home by CFR Cluj of Romania. Their own collapse at the death seeing them fail to make the group stages once more. This in itself of huge importance to Brentford, given the apparent interest in Rico Henry and the fact that their window remains open for a few more weeks so anyone could still leave for the Scottish top flight. Should they desire.

With the lure of Europe’s top table no longer available (as ever at this time of year), might a move to Glasgow be quite so appealing for Rico?  If, indeed, it was? The way he played last night, he is somebody who will surely be part of Thomas Frank’s plans this season so hanging on to him will be another boost.

Also, the cover of the programme looked great. Clutching at straws now, granted, but it was that sort of night. Some would say ‘couldn’t be bothered’ . Personally, I’ll go for slight over-tinkering in a bid to get new blood circulating. Another time we may have got away with it but not this time and there’s not much else to say, really.

Well done to our visitors. No gripes for me there. Bad luck Bees. We tried but much like Oxford, Cambridge gave us an education in how to play cup football and it was Brentford left with the blues. Nobody needs any further lecture from me on the subject.

Roll on Saturday and Hull City. See you there.

Screenshot 2019-08-13 at 22.50.41

Nice artwork

Nick Bruzon

Advertisement

Here’s hoping for a starry, starry night on Tuesday.

12 Aug

Middlesbrough has been and gone. Another trip to the Riverside and another win. Easy when you know how. Winning up there is starting to become a bit of a habit for Brentford but let’s not dwell on it any more. The points are in the bag and the team that scored the most goals won. Next up is the visit of Cambridge United to Griffin Park in the League Cup on Tuesday evening. And whilst we’re hoping it won’t be another ‘last ever’, who knows what might happen should the team be anything but on their game.

Screenshot 2019-08-11 at 07.10.50

The weekend at Middlesbrough was fantastic but it’s been and gone

As Brentford saw last season when pitted against the likes of Oxford United and Barnet, league position is no guarantee of cup success. Yes, we did beat both teams but neither game was anywhere near as emphatic as the divisional gulf may have suggested prior to kick off. Just as we’ve been the team administering the shocks in the past, now Cambridge United will be looking to throw down a potato skin from the depths of League Two. Will Thomas Frank put his foot in it though?

Well, I can’t help but feel there’ll be changes. Albeit, strong ones. Those acquisitions made later in the window are sure be given a go. Aren’t they? Presumably we’ll see Joel Valencia, Bryan Mbuemo, Dominic Thompson and Dru Yearwood on the team sheet. What about a certain Mr. Benrahma, too? Josh Clarke? Luke Daniels? It will be interesting to see how much Thomas tinkers but get it wrong and we face paying the ultimate price i.e. losing. Which could then bring us to the aforementioned ‘last ever’. Namely, cup game under lights at Griffin Park. And whilst I’m already in danger of ploughing the West Ham furrow of last ever this/that and the other at Upton Park / The Boleyn Ground, it does make you think.

If nothing else, about how wonderful an atmosphere can be generated by an ‘after-dark’ cup tie. Here’s hoping it isn’t our ‘last ever’, if only for the reason that  I can’t be ticking that one off the list in August. And it also means that Cambridge will have scored a first goal of the season after opening their League two campaign with successive 0-0 draws. So if you haven’t got your ticket as yet then it’s not too late. Besides, what’s the alternative? Staying at home to watch the ultimate Sky TV love-in of Salford City v Leeds United? Pass me the bucket. Please.

The other bonus about Cambridge visiting is that we get an unexpected glimpse at one of THE kits of 2019/20. Namely, their Hummel away shirt which is a spin on the Vandanel effort from the early 90s. So glaring it’s beautiful. One fan’s explosion in a paint factory is another’s Starry Night or Birth of Venus. And I’m definitely in the latter category. Much like Van Gogh’s masterpiece, let’s hope we don’t get lost in those blue and white depths.

Elsewhere, I did promise we’d try and keep on top of The Last Word Fantasy Football League this season. So here we go. After the first round of head-to-head fixtures the top ten are as below. Thanks all for entering and let’s not forget there’s a shirt on offer for the winning team at season end. Please let’s not forget….

Until then, here’s to Cambridge United on Tuesday. See you there…

Screenshot 2019-08-12 at 10.04.51

Nick Bruzon 

Are these the worst kits of 2015/16 ?

12 Jul

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

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

This is ours - as seen on the official club site

This is ours – as seen on the official club site

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

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

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

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

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

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

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

White, black and blue - the traditional Newcastle colours

White, black and blue – the traditional Newcastle colours

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

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

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

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

As if relegation hadn't been bad enough

As if relegation hadn’t been bad enough

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

Terrible kit - and a hashtag

Terrible kit – and a hashtag

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

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

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

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

When crap marketing meets crap design, you get this

When bad marketing meets bad design, you get this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Football truly is a village

Football truly is a village

Nick Bruzon