Tag Archives: Castle

A new look – in more ways than one. But do you like it?

10 May

Boom. No sooner has the regular season ended than out of nowhere Brentford have launched a new club website whilst our new crest has also began to appear all over cyber space. And, although slightly delayed (this nonsense can’t write itself every day) we now know another opponent for next season as Middlesbrough make a swift return to the Championship following the briefest of sojourns in football’s top flight.

First up, the website. There was no real build up but visitors to what is now brentfordfc.com on Tuesday morning were greeted with a new look. And what a relief. What a blessed relief. Gone is that awful, awful cluttered template look. Gone is the almost random way articles were thrown together on screen. Gone is that stream of outdated and long defunct ‘news’ that we’d get on the right hand side of the screen.

The previous incumbent was awful. I make no apologies for saying this and it was something that had been noted on these pages previously. Equally, it wasn’t one of the club’s direct making. Look around the websites of other EFL clubs and you’d see the vast majority with the same, restrictive template. Even the ability to write in paragraphs was an enhancement that only came about this season.

First impressions of the replacement are nothing but positive. What a great decision by the club to look at breaking the mould and what a great job, certainly on first impressions, to those responsible for putting this together. For a non-techy like yours truly, it was simple to use, intuitive and I loved the fact that there’s even a tab for our fan groups on there (most of whom will grant you access !).

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Early visitors to ‘new look official’ got a treat – our important fan groups being represented.

Nice one Brentford. I can’t wait to see how it looks once we get back into a season ‘proper’.

Next up, the crest. We’ve made no secret on these pages of loving the castle and not being the biggest fans of her replacement – the cluttered, clipart that until the weekend has been the public image of BrentfordFC for over 20 years. To me, it was always the graphical equivalent of  Murray Jones replacing Dean Holdsworth. Equally, I’m not so naive as to ignore the fact that it remained hugely popular amongst a large section of out fan base who view the crest’s passing with some sadness.

But whether you loved it or loathed it, the crest is dead. Long live the crest. The new look Bee began to take pride of place on the website and Twitter from yesterday, with the promise of a club wide rebrand to follow. For me, the is nothing but good news.

On a personal note, there was no secret of my approval for the new version when it was revealed earlier on the season. It is an opinion that I most definitely stick with now we’ve had time to acclimatise. Stylish, smart and displaying a modern take on a former classic, this really is a good look.

Looking around the internet yesterday I saw those interminable muttering about the legs and the ‘wasp’  factor being mentioned once more. It is so clearly a bumble bee as to be almost unrecognisable as anything else. Likewise, it is possible for a Bee to only have four of the six legs on display at any one time. And if we’re really going to split hairs, just look at the crest that has just shuffled off this sartorial coil. Examine the legs on view and count them. One, two, three, four, fi..no. That’s it. The same four as we have once more.

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The new crest is now live (and a bee, for comparison)

Look I don’t want to dwell on that anymore. Our new crest is, in my opinion, worthy of a big thumbs up. It isn’t the Castle (what is, though?) but it is now the look of our club. The next big question being just what it is going to look like on a shirt. Kitman Bob, any clues here?

And finally, Middlesbrough. As suspected by many, they’ve bounced straight back to the Championship after a solitary season in the Premier League. Which is awful for them and potentially worse for us. Nobody needs any reminder of our record since the return to this level of football. Played 6 Lost 6.

That was then; this is now. Four of these six were in our first season and included that play-off semi final loss where we came so close to an incredible end to the campaign. Then again, do we do play-offs any other way?

I think both Middlesbrough and Brentford will find each other very different opponents next time out. Our own set up has undergone a huge overhaul and the starting XI is probably now our strongest in years. Certainly when the players hit their stride. As for Boro’, they’ll have had the wind taken out of their sails somewhat and will no doubt have their own rebuilding exercise to undergo.

Will they be a Newcastle united or an Aston Villa? We saw vastly different responses to Premier League relegation from those two fallen giants this campaign. Newcastle bouncing back in style; Villa finding the Championship a much tougher division than could have been anticipated. Whilst the Magpies ended it as champions,  the Villans finished the campaign below the Bees in the final table.

Whilst the suspicion is that Boro’ will use their experience and set up to be nearer the business end of the table, they’ll no longer be that big fish they once were. Neither will Brentford be the perceived minnow.

I can’t wait for the chance to do battle once more and look at getting that first win under our belts. Until then, it simply remains to say, RIP to the previous crest.

Now bring on our new look….

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Nick Bruzon

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Brentford reveal new crest. A badge of honour?

10 Nov

Oh. Wow! What the actual? Brentford have only gone and done it. Out of nowhere the badge is dead. Long live the badge. The club have announced today that the present version – which has been in use since 1994/95 – is to be updated. And by updated, we’re stepping back in time – albeit with a modern, modern twist. THIS is our new club badge.

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I love it. Let’s get that out there immediately. The new crest (to give it the correct technical term) is almost a dead ringer for the version used back in the early 70s.That didn’t last long once it was realised that the club has used 1888 instead of 1889 as the year of our formation. Yet now it is back, but with a cleaner sharper finish.

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I’ve always been a ‘castle’ man. That was the one on the shirt as my love affair with the Bees progressed from a first game at the end of the 70s through the excitement of the 80s and early 90s. The FRT final. Terry Evans. Gary Blissett. Promotion at Peterborough. The castle was there through it all (a one season flirtation with ‘the funky bee’ aside), only to eventually be replaced by Andrew Henning’s season ticket winning design. As ever, ignore those spurious claims from TV astrologer Russell Grant that the logo was his. It wasn’t

Yet despite the present version’s popularity in some quarters my own take has always been that it is just too busy and, like the ‘Spitfire’ font that once adorned the Braemar Road stand, maybe even just a little dated. With a stylised beehive, the coat of arms, a scroll, four quarters and several text blocks within the design there was just too much going on. Or, as one correspondent put it back in August, “like it’s been made using Microsoft Clip art.”

So there’s no pretence at tears from yours truly yet, at the same time, it has always been a worry that when it eventually came to replacing this we’d make a similar step. Indeed, the club almost changed on the occasion of our 125th anniversary. A garish, faux-arsenal, celebratory graphic based on our first ever badge was revealed. Whilst the centrepiece was wonderful, the overall look was horrific. Thankfully, this one was quietly parked and has rarely been mentioned since.

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Which brings us right up to date and Brentford looking back to look forward. The design is smart and stylish but with a retro feel. It looks wonderful from the stills – how will it look on next year’s shirt? Kitman Bob, I’m looking at you. Any more clues….?

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What do supporters think? Will we see Brexit and Trump ‘Not my badge’ style protests? Could ‘that fansite’ go into (yet another) meltdown? Or will supporters embrace the new creation? Could it even be deemed our best ever?

For me, it isn’t the Castle (what is?) but it isn’t the cluttered clipart. We’ve bypassed the twee shieldery of the ‘125th’ whilst avoiding the bizarre cuteness of the Funky Bee. Instead we have a modern classic with roots in the past.

This is not revolution, it’s part of the Club’s evolution” says the update on the club website. Whatever the logic, I like it. A lot. Great job Brentford FC.

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Nick Bruzon

The season begins with travel and transfer chaos. And a badge update

5 Aug

We’re all systems go. As Brentford prepare to start our own Championship campaign at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, proceedings begin in anger this evening as Newcastle United have the somewhat dubious honour of travelling to Fulham for Sky’s opening televised game. We’ve the fallout from yesterday’s opinion piece on the club badge and an interesting update concerning former Bee Alex Pritchard and his move from Tottenham to Norwich via another fans forum – this time Brighton’s.

First up, the response to yesterday’s piece on the Brentford badge. Well, judging by the reaction from various social media sources it seems there is a lot of love for the current version over our previous incarnation. For every comment such as the Castle “is a design classic. Like the Porsche 911 or Ray Bans Aviators” or the present one looking “like it’s been made using Microsoft Clip art” there was an awful lot of admiration for Andrew Henning’s modern day effort. I can’t deny it’s popularity amongst large numbers of our support.

Of equal interest were several calls for a redesign or even just a fan vote on which way to go. How about a new crest altogether? Especially with a 130th anniversary coming up in 2019. There’s plenty of opinion out there in yesterday’s comment’s page or on twitter.

Whichever you prefer  – and whilst I am #teamcastle it is clear we have many fans of the modern version – Joe Fenton (@Jaf1991) nailed it with the observation that , “I think we can all just be thankful we haven’t reverted back to the horror of 1989..”

Bees 89 cenenary badge

Next up Fulham v Newcastle United. The first game of the Championship and already we see the headaches that will face supporters with a Friday night trip from the North East to West London. It is a game where the visitors – those who aren’t making a weekend of it, of course –  will then rely on both TFL (good luck) and a sprint across town for the last train home. One that arrives just shy of 3am.

I’ve no doubt Newcastle will travel ‘en-masse’ for this one, such is the reputation of their fanbase . Many of whom may even be wearing shirts. But it does concern me that given the obvious  attraction of Sky to feature the former Premier League outfit (see also : Aston Villa) Saturday games are going to be the thin end of the wedge. And that’s an obvious impact for us. Indeed, our trip to Villa Park has already been put back a day to accommodate that weekend’s TV.

With the Bees travelling to Newcastle on October 15th, you’ve got to think that isn’t one that is going to be deemed TV-worthy.   But should Dean Smith and his team hit the ground running then who knows what subsequent changes to the schedule may soon be made? As it stands, Sky’s ‘live’ calendar only runs as far as September 26th and from a Championship perspective, the game two days earlier between Aston Villa and, erm, Newcastle United.

Could the Bees feature in that next batch? Will Newcastle become this years Leeds United  – at least in terms of TV exposure?  Here’s hoping some consideration is given to travelling supporters – but I doubt it .

Next up. Alex Pritchard. “We want you to stay” sang Bees supporters as he certainly made an impression whilst on loan from Spurs during our first season back in the Championship.A long sleeved yellow away shirt (not even Sam Saunders was afforded that luxury), fleet of foot and a fair few goals , he was missed by many last season.

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What a shirt….

Whilst there had been hope that we might strike a deal with Spurs to bring him back, that was merely a pipe dream with Rasmus Ankersen confirming at our recent fan forum that he would just cost too much.

But with a transfer inevitable, it looked like Brighton were his next destination . Until Norwich City, already featuring another former Bee in the legend that is Sergi Canos, jumped in. Aside from making me think that Newcastle might not have things all their own way this season (the Magpies being every pundit, even Ian Holloway’s, favourite for the title) the move did spark an interesting update from Brighton’s own forum last night.

Nobody can deny Brighton’s honesty. And diplomacy, despite some clear frustration . Why blame an agent or another club when you can blame the traffic?

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not my words etc

Nick Bruzon

Please, Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

4 Aug

Season 2016/17 is almost upon us with Brentford preparing to travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Yet before a ball has even been kicked in anger, I’ve already seen thoughts turning towards 2017/18. Specifically, in regards to the playing kit.

I’m not going to dwell further on this year’s offering, suffice to say that I love it (although, equally, recognise that it is not everybody’s cup of tea). We’ve discussed this one to the nth degree already.

However, what is of ongoing interest was Kitman Bob’s recent revelation that he is already getting close to looking at the design specs for next season. That’s 2017/18, just to be clear. Likewise, Mark Devlin’s insight into the design process given at Monday’s fan forum where he explained how the final selection involves oversight from a number of people at the club, all the way up to Matthew Benham.

Then, last night, supporter Stephen O’Brien offered his thoughts on this subject via Twitter.

Whilst I agree he has picked two absolute stunners (including my all time favourite in the home category), making a 100% clone of a previous effort perhaps isn’t the best way forward. If nothing else, Puma emulated / paid tribute to / ripped off (delete as applicable) both of the shirts  Stephen admires so much back in 2010-11. Are we ready for yet another identikit version so soon?

However, where I do agree 110% with Stephen is in his comments about the club badge. Perhaps it is a generational thing but for me nothing quite says Brentford like….the Castle.

Forget the debate about our current red to white ratio. If there is one thing that makes me instantly identify with our club then it is, with all due respect to both the Funky Bee and Buzzette, that badge.

Matthew, Bob, Mark and the other co-directors of shirt selection – please can we bring it back next season?

The Castle Badge

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

Much as I’d love to be on your kit committee, I realise that’s never going to happen . However, at the very least why not throw a ‘badge’ vote open to the supporters ?

It wouldn’t be unheard of in footballing circles and given how much we look to engage with our fanbase, why not allow us to help make a decision about the club’s identity ?

If nothing else, our current effort is now entering a twenty-second season of use after first appearing in the 1994/95 campaign. That badge was also chosen by a supporter  – Andrew Henning designing it  in exchange for two season tickets. Don’t listen to the claims to ownership from TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant whom, it later transpired, simply offered guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

Yet even after all this time, I still can’t warm to it. It just seems too busy and like our former ‘Spitfire’ font, maybe even just a little dated.  With a stylised beehive, the coat of arms,  a scroll, four quarters and several text blocks within the design there’s just too much going on. It now feels workmanlike and efficient rather than having the emotional significance of the Castle.

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The current Brentford badge

We almost changed over on the occasion of our 125th anniversary. A garish celebratory graphic based on our first ever badge was revealed, along with talk of having a simpler variant on the shirts. Instead, the idea was quietly parked and has never been mentioned since.

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was an equally wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance in one form or another. But the point is mentioned as it shows the club have considered change.

With Brentford’s sartorial fate for next season already approaching discussion, why not take a chance to roll back the years?

Please Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

Nick Bruzon

The kit is out and the dust has settled. Is it a winner?

23 Jul

What a day for kit news. Brentford released their 2016/17 shirt designs to the world.  Championship rivals Norwich City have entered the realms of greatness by recreating an already iconic kit in some style. Whilst, for those not already aware, Sheffield Wednesday have gone for a controversial look…

First though, Griffin Park. The kit is out and I have to say I love it. The home especially which I think is our best shirt in years. If Norwich have rolled back the years then it’s fair to say that Brentford have more than matched them on the history front. Echoing the mythical Adidas 80/81 design (seriously, does anybody have one?) fused with the Core 95/96 shirt, it also features an early 70’s round neck collar. Think Peter Gelson or Big John O’Mara (kids, ask your dads. Now !!).

Nico new kit

For sure it has a bit more white than red but that’s no bad thing in my eyes. We haven’t been afraid to mix it up in the past and, when offset with the black of the shoulder stripes, shorts and socks – looks simply stunning.

Besides, where does it actually say we need as much red as white? Well done to Matthew Benham, Mark Devlin and, of course, Kitman Bob Oteng for breaking the mould a little bit to come out with a wonderful effort.

Interestingly, looking on social media and the club wesbite last night, it seems that Bob is already starting to think about our next designs already. Do check his twitter feed (if for no other reason than the return of the legendary BBgiveaway this season) and interview on ‘official’ where he reveals:  “If we take the 2017/18 kit for example, I will start preparing for that in about six weeks’ time,”

Wow! 2017/18? I’ve not even bought this stunner yet and now there’s already another shirt to obsess about. Well Bob, if you are reading, I’ve got two words to say: FunkyBee.  Failing that, who doesn’t love a castle…?

One final thought on the home shirt. Whilst (in my eyes) it is an instant classic, I do understand that a few people might take a bit of time adjusting to the red/white ratio. If so, spare a thought for Sheffield Wednesday supporters.

Just as Brentford traditionally wear red and white stripes, they do the same in blue and white. Not this season though, where the home kit has gone so far in one direction that we’ll probably get to wear our ‘home’ colours at Hillsborough for the first time in decades….

Sheff Wednesday

Next up, the away shirt. I’ve never been a fan of a black change kit for Brentford. In my eyes, and perhaps it is a generational thing, blue is our second colour. Especially those wonderful two-tone efforts from the 80’s and 90’s.

Then, last season, Bob produced that incredible ‘third’ shirt against Blackburn Rovers and everything changed. Swoon – like a teenager with a crush I was back in love with that beautiful black.

So it was with great joy that we learned Brentford were giving it another go this time around. Having seen it, I think it looks great.Simple black with a bit of detailing and those classic adidas stripes.

My preference out of the two is undoubtedly the home shirt. That said, this is still a cracking effort. My main ‘problem’ being that last season’s third was just held in such high regard that it almost feels like ‘cheating’ to lavish equal attention on a new rival after finding a ‘best ever’ just months earlier.

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That’s just me. I need to get out more. Besides, opinions can change and, if I’m being honest, my gut reaction to last season’s blue was uber-positive before losing interest in that one very fast (then again, I blame the Blackburn, erm, black). The important thing is what supporters think and, almost universally, it seems to be going down a storm.

Personally speaking, I’ve had more time than most to get used to these having been afforded the opportunity to participate in the fans photo shoot a few weeks ago. I can only offer a huge thank you to the club for this chance, along with a huge apology to anybody of a sensitive disposition should panic about a possible new signing have set in when the pictures appeared.

Seriously though, along with Matthew’s letter yesterday it just showed, again, what we do for our fans. What a great idea to get some of them involved in the photo shoot alongside Harlee, Scott, Dan, Andreas, Nico and some local landmarks –  Betty from the Griffin looking good in particular . When Brentford get it right ‘off the pitch’ we are, hands down, the best club in the country.

Ok, Norwich City. I mentioned them at the top end of this article for the simple reason that, like us, they also released a new kit yesterday. This time, their latest ‘third’ shirt.

Sadly (for me), their Premier League status last season meant we were deprived of a ‘kit obsessive’ article although thankfully that will be remedied this campaign. However, had one been written you could be sure it would have featured the infamous 92-94 ‘bird poo’ shirt from Ribero.

Well, in exciting news (for kit nerds) it seems the Canaries have only gone and recreated it. In some style. This is just phenomenal.

Norwich third kit

Errea have made some stinkers over the years but I can do nothing but doff my hat to this effort. One can only presume there will be too much of a clash to see it in action at Griffin Park this season but we can live in hope.

It is vivd, glaring, still looks like a flock of rogue canaries with food poisoning have taken their best shot yet, at the same time, is absolutely wonderful. Moreso, the goalkeeper’s shirt which appears to be designed on hot lava.

I’m hoping that when our Adidas contract eventually expires we switch to New Balance (my only chance for a legitimate monogrammed tracksuit, being as the head coach role remains tantalisingly out of reach). That said, if Errea can keep up this level of shirt quality then maybe they could be one to keep an eye on in future…

My season ticket arrived yesterday and with it a booklet promising what I can presume was meant to say either ‘mouth watering’ or ‘eye catching’ fixtures. Instead, have we mixed our metaphors with a promise of what one terrace wag has pointed out is anticipated to be ‘eye watering’ football this season?

Perhaps though, in retrospect, they were bang on. Given those Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich efforts, this could be exactly what was meant.

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Nick Bruzon

Is it time for a new badge? Or even an old one?

26 Feb

With all the talk last night surrounding Madonna taking a dive at the Brit awards, football almost passed me by. However, Bournemouth’s defeat to Nottingham Forest, following their 3-1 reverse to Brentford on Saturday, makes for interesting reading at the top of the Championship table. Leaders Derby County and second placed Middlesbrough now have a bit of clear air on the chasing pack with respective gaps of five and three points (plus superior goal difference) to third placed Ipswich Town.

Watching Bournemouth falling faster than the Queen of pop suffering a cape malfunction isn’t particular cause for celebration. They are too strong a team to write off and, indeed, Brentford themselves have just emerged from our own mini blip that saw three defeats out of four . Likewise, for those of us harbouring title hopes , a five point gap can easily be reeled in as evidenced last season when that was the size of our own gap over Wolves at various times.

So I’m not going to get overly hung up on the table top today but, instead, look inward to Griffin Park and another of those post-match pub conversations following the win over Blackpool. Amidst all the nonsense being discussed was one genuine nugget of relevance – the realisation that the current Brentford badge is now in it’s twentieth season of use on our home shirt after first appearing on the red and white during the 1994/95 campaign.

Jamie Bates in the club programme - new shirt and new badge

Jamie Bates in the club programme – new shirt and new badge

The badge was designed by supporter Andrew Henning (supposedly in exchange for two season tickets) and it has been a part of our history ever since. Indeed, TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant even claimed to have created it himself, telling none other than Clem (of the Football League Show and Clemwatch fame) that, “I designed it, with Keith Loring”.

The current Brentford badge

The current Brentford badge

This somewhat spurious claim (which you can see here, about two minutes in) was made on a Football Focus piece back in 2011. It later transpired that Grant had actually just given guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

But this pub conversation did get me thinking all of yesterday. After twenty years, is it time for a change? This current incarnation has now been on our shirts longer than the popular ‘Castle’ badge which first appeared back in 1976. And with the end approaching at Griffin Park, could we reintroduce this as part of a ‘last hurrah’?

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

The Castle was, of course, bumped before when it was replaced on our shirts by the centenary ‘funky bee’ before returning after a season. It was a simple design (certainly a lot less ‘cluttered’ than the current version) and one which has huge emotional significance for supporters of a certain age.

I’d love to see it back and, although it has reappeared on the current ‘retro’ shirt, that version is of a design so big it is rumoured to be the (much like the Great Wall of China) one of the few man made objects visible from space.

But if not the Castle then the other alternative under discussion was one which was first touted this time last year, when it seemed the club were looking to reinvent our first ever badge . Indeed, it got to the point where a garish 125 years graphic was designed although the club were talking about having a less cluttered variant on the shirts.

The new take on our first badge - a great centre piece, even if the surround was all a bit 'Arsenal'

The new take on our first badge – a great centre piece, even if the surround was all a bit ‘Arsenal’

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was a wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance.

Even if the exterior surround on the badge was proven to be generic rather than unique to the Bees, the interior was most definitely ours. Would it be possible to incorporate this into our kit next season?

The original badge (with a similar one from the time)

The original badge (with a similar one from the time)

And so if anybody is reading, then I’d like to put the thought out there. Has the current badge run it’s course or is it still relevant? Should Brentford look to go for something  different on our shirt next campaign? Perhaps celebrating part of our history as we prepare for the eventual departure from Griffin Park at some point in the next few seasons.

And apologies in advance but, much as I love it, should this thought be given any consideration then perhaps it is best if the Funky Bee doesn’t make any shortlist.

The Funky Bee. Destined never to appear on a shirt again

The Funky Bee. Destined never to appear on a shirt again