Tag Archives: champions

A ball of confusion in the cup. Matt Dyson talks Warbs, radio and football ahead of Brentford v Nottingham Forest

11 Aug

Another League cup draw; another ball of confusion. If the first round draw was a farce (Charlton being drawn both home and away) things were no better second time around. Brentford will meet QPR in the second round of the League Cup. Seemingly the game to be played at Griffin Park on first call but the somewhat odd use of a third pot to determine ‘home’ or ‘away’ left fans and officials what we will politely call ‘baffled’. All this before we get to the main event of the next few days – the visit of Nottingham Forest in the league.

Who’d have thought that using three pots to determine a two team cup tie would end in anything but a cock up? And sure enough, it did. Despite the Bees being called as ‘home’ by former player John Salako, question marks were immediately raised over the colour of his venue ball. Even official, once more displaying this season’s new found sense of humour, hit the nail firmly on the head.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 05.56.22 (1)

They weren’t alone in wondering just what was going on. Supporter comment on twitter quickly cut to the nub of the matter

Lou Boyd: Hounslow v Hammersmith in a World Cup qualifier I heard

Lee : And Dianne Abbott has concluded that the game will be played on the 43rd September

Oh Fuffuxake!: Why don’t we just play at Craven Cottage?

Even a QPR fan, James Skinner, getting in on the action: How about doing the first half at Brentford, then everyone gets a bus to Loftus Road for the second?

Emma Briden: Please don’t get changed to away cause going to that shit hole once a season is enough..

Alas Emma, it eventually transpired that Brentford are due an additional visit to Loftus Road. Instead of home comforts we have cramped seating, no beer and apathetic support from our hosts. On the plus side, the choice of opponents means that passage to round three remains very much on the cards. How good would it be to see an early season rematch between Jota and Jake Bidwell?

At least it wasn’t just us who suffered. Charlton, Bristol City and Ipswich have also had home ties rebranded as road trips.

Red, H = home. White, A = away. Simple? Surely? Apparently not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – just give me Jim Rosenthal, a lectern, some fascinating facts and 64 balls. Problem solved.

John Salako cup draw

Confused faces at the draw. Home? Away? Help? Anyone?

Still, all that’s to come. Next up for the Bees are Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon. With Mark Warburton in charge.

We all know how that story ended previously and, whilst the full facts behind his departure seem limited to that explanation about the changed structure and approach differing from his football philosophy, there are more than enough other theories and suppositions doing the rounds. Warbs remains a hero to many; not so much others. That’s football and we’ll probably never know the whole truth on this one.

Yet whatever the catalyst, we’ve all moved on. Mark is now manager at a Nottingham Forest side who almost went down last season but this campaign have won their opening games. Millwall in the league and Shrewsbury Town in the Cup. You can’t ask for more than that and Matthew Benham will no doubt be more than keen to get one over his former charge. But can we do it?

stickers-matt-videoWell, to find out we’ve caught up with one Forest fan whose voice may be familiar to anybody up and about between 6-10am.  Absolute Radio DJ Matt Dyson. The co-host of Saturday afternoon show Rock ‘n’ Roll football, he also mans the sportsdesk on the award winning Christian O’Connell breakfast show and even has a weekly podcast, Gameweek, talking (and singing) all things Fantasy Football.

We can only start with Mark Warburton. A legend to many at Griffin Park and now carving out a new reputation at the City Ground. What’s your take on how he has settled in? And the opinion of the broader fan base? Well he kept us up! So that was good.  He comes to us with a good reputation and seems like the right man for the job.  He’s got his backroom team around him and I hope our new Greek owners will give him the backing he needs.  We should certainly improve this season, after years of back to back decline under the Kuwaiti fridge magnate who used to run our club.

Warburton has made a few good signings from Scotland – a place he knows well from his time at Rangers.  I’m glad he’s not spending loads on big name players on huge salaries whose careers are on the way down.  He seems to be going for young hungry players and I think that is the key to getting out of the Championship.  Not big names who don’t give 100 per cent (e.g. Nicklas Bentdner).

Look at a club like Manchester United, where the spectre of Fergie still looms over anyone to follow in his footsteps. He’s up there in the stand looking down; a stand with his own name on it. Yet at Forest you have one of the greatest names the game has ever seen to contend with. Can Warbs escape from the shadow of Brian Clough? Well Fergie was literally in the stands at Old Trafford watching Moyes like a red faced angry hawk every game, God has left the building.  Brian’s name is quite rightly adorning what used to be called the Executive Stand (despite very few execs ever going to watch the Tricky Trees) and I don’t think his amazing legacy should affect our current manager.

What he achieved is something that all clubs should try and emulate.  Leicester came close, but didn’t get those back to back European Cups.  No cigar, I’m afraid guys.  Clough is quite rightly celebrated to this day by all Forest fans, for being the best thing to’ve ever happened to football in this country. So, no, I don’t think it will effect Warbs.

Bees 1-0 v Watford Warburton

Warbs – in there somewhere. Will he be as popular at the City Ground as Griffin Park?

Will he bring success back to The City Ground? We’ve had pre-season optimism many times in recent years. We get through managers quicker than most people get through bottles of shampoo.  I’d just be happy with a season of consolidation and then a play-off push next year.  He’s the best man available to us right now and I hope he’s given the rime and backing to achieve big things.  But the crucial thing he needs is TIME.  Some old trigger-happy owners never seemed to realise that.

Having survived last time around, you’ve already sold Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough for £14m. Good business (he missed a sitter at Griffin Park last season) with the chance to re-invest ? Or will this make things even harder for you?  He is a very natural goal scorer the like of which we’ve not seen at the City Ground for many years. But he had a really bad knee injury and was still recovering last season.  We signed him for £5 million from Peterborough a few years back, so I think it’s good business and a good profit.  I was hoping he’d go to a Premier League side though, as he will no doubt score against us this season.

Where do you see Nottingham Forest finishing this season? I’ve called 5th for Brentford so optimism is allowed.  I’d genuinely be happy with mid-table. After all the years of hurt, we just need to consolidate.

As a fan, what are your long term aspirations for the football club?Premier League, obvs.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Working in radio, specifically Rock n Roll football on a Saturday afternoon, how often can you get to see the team play? In short, not very often.  I’m really gutted to me missing the Brentford game because I’ve had a few great times stood behind the goal in the huge open terrace at Griffin Park.  Lovely old ground and the whole pub in each corner thing is also nice. We never seem to do very well here though, So it’s probably for the best that I’m not at this one.

You star on the breakfast show alongside fellow football fans in Christian (Southampton) and Richie Firth (Arsenal). Like Forest, Southampton have been up and down over the years but there seems to be a sense of entitlement from the Arsenal ‘faithful’ like no other club I’ve seen. Do you have any sympathy for the likes of Richie and those jumping on the ‘Wenger out’ bandwagon?  No. No sympathy whatsoever for the spoiled brats that go along to that ground and  are more interested in talking to their girlfriends on FaceTime than watching the match.  They’ve never known really bad times so aren’t in a position to fully appreciate the good times and they throw their toys out of the pram whenever they drop out of the top 4.  They don’t know they’re born!

Also, I’ve got quite a few mates who are glory hunting Gunners I’d much rather talk football with supporters of REAL football teams with proud histories like Forest and Brentford (…apart from the ‘proud history’ bit).

Christian once debunked the urban legend that Cameron Diaz was a Brentford supporter when interviewing the ‘Something about Mary’ star for the breakfast show. But what’s the scoop with Jason Statham? Whilst the likes of Stuart Broad, James Dean Bradfield and even Su Pollard are confirmed Forest fans, is this another story that’s too good to be true?  Sounds like bollocks to me

Why should people listen to Rock n Roll football on a Saturday? It’s a bit of an alternative to the serious, formal and frankly boring sports coverage that’s saturated the media in this country.  We give you top music and all the goals as they go in with one of the best young comedians in the UK at the moment, Rob Beckett, on the wheels of steel.  We also regularly intersperse the football with clips of Elaine Page laughing, Ronaldo selling blankets and Nigel Spink talking about his love of Ribena.

You can read more from Matt in this week’s ‘official’ matchday programme. The Gameweeek podcast can be found at the i-tunes store   – its free and well worth a listen for anyone with an interest in football – fantasy or otherwise.

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The Gameweek podcast – out now

Nick Bruzon

 

The one stat that tells the story of the season

3 May

Whilst the majority of the football world were, rightly, congratulating Leicester City and Burnley on their respective Premier League accomplishments last night, over in TW8 there was equal cause for celebration. Not that one time Brentford loan star Jeff Schlupp was now a top flight champion but QPR losing 1-0 against Andre Gray and his team mates means that the Bees end the season as the highest placed London team in the Championship table.

With only one game to play, there’s now an insurmountable five point gap between us and the Loftus Road mob. Fulham aren’t even at the party. Hey, the table doesn’t lie.

London teams table

The ‘as it stands’ table does’t lie

If ever there was an incentive to really go for it on Saturday against Huddersfield then here it is. The chance for Brentford to really stretch out that lead over QPR whilst, at the same time, even overtaking Birmingham City (whose game at Cardiff won’t be the easiest) and snatch 9th position in the final table.

Whatever happens, considering the ups and downs of a campaign that saw us lose players, head coaches and, at one point, games like they were going out of fashion this is a stunning achievement. Perhaps not at Leicester City levels but still not one to be sniffed at. Moreso given how Dean Smith was talking about a relegation battle as recently as March.

I’m not going to pretend Burnley are our new best friends. The memories of the Gray and Tarkowski sales still linger heavily although it would take the most churlish amongst us not to see the joy in the supporter’s eyes when that final whistle blew. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to offer their players – even Joey Barton-  congratulations on a job very well done. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to thank them for putting the final nail in the coffin for any hopes QPR had of overtaking us.

Likewise, we can take some pride in the fact Andre honed his skills and began the  season at Griffin Park. Now he has taken his game to new heights and it will be intriguing to see how he goes in the top flight where, of course, there is further silver lining in the fact that the ‘promotion’ clause in his transfer will now be activated.

Not that the club ever reveal details of transfer fees, of course.

For now though, there’s that all important season ending stat. It may not be up to Luis Melville standards but there’s no denying it:

Brentford are kings of West London Championship football and there’s nothing QPR or Fulham can do about it.

Maybe next season, chaps .

West London football map

Nick Bruzon

What next after a super Tuesday?

15 Jul

Brentford have played their first game under Marinus, Birmingham City (second up at Griffin Park this season) have launched a stunning new kit and Will Grigg has joined Wigan Athletic. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe Matthew Benham’s other team, FC Midtjylland, were in Champions League action against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

First up, though, Portugal where two Brentford teams (the line up changed at half time) cruised to a 3-0 victory over SC Farense. With only Chris Wickham’s match report and Twitter to rely on, I’m not sure how much we can take from this. Likewise, in a game where 22 Brentford players were used.

Certainly, it seemed comfortable and, as Chairman Cliff Crown noted on twitter at half time, the only thing Jack Bonham caught was a tan – a reference to our dominance rather than his ability. Which, by that logic would then make Sam Saunders a world-class goalkeeper.

Chairman Crown bought comms and match action via Twiter

Chairman Crown brought comms and match action via Twiter

Despite us changing the line up at half time, notable absentees included Andreas Bjelland, Josh McEachran and David Button (read what you will into any of that) but good to see Marcos Tebar get a run out. As interesting was the description of our line up in the aforementioned report as a 4-3-3 throughout with two deeper lying midfield players but their wide attackers pushed high up the pitch.

Sunday at Boreham Wood and then the following Saturday at home to Stoke City give Bees fans, barring a small hardcore who made it over to the Algarve, their first chance to see this in action. I can’t wait.

One player who won’t be there is Northern Ireland International Will Grigg, who has joined Wigan Athletic for a fee rumoured to be GBP1,000,000. Club owner Matthew Benham took to Twitter to offer him his best wishes, saying: “v unlucky in 13/14 with intl call ups, niggling injuries and the form of Marcello, still scored vital goals for us though. Then had a great season at MK last year”

Will seemed an excellent signing, on paper, for Brentford and got off to a flying start with a brace, and a missed penalty, on his home debut against Sheffield United. Sadly, things went downhill from there and a record of 5 goals in 34 games tells its own story.

View from the terrace - Will was denied a home debut hat trick

View from the terrace – Will was denied a home debut hat trick

That said, as he has proven with both Walsall and MK Dons, he can certainly find the net at that level and so who knows just how well he’ll do in future. Good luck, Will.

From our own perspective, it does present an interesting problem as it leaves Brentford with Andre Gray as the only recognised striker on our books (although you could have said the same last season given the way things worked out for Nick Proschwitz). Will Matthew be flexing the chequebook, scouring the European lower leagues of even promoting from within?

The youth team are chomping at the bit whilst we’ve more midfielders than you could shake a stick at. Could Jonathan Douglas or even Harlee Dean (who has been pressed into emergency action before) prove a statistical enigma that nobody had considered previously? Whilst it would mean they were pulled from their traditional positions, competition in those slots is already sure to be tough with some quality players joining the club.

Whilst the Dougie/Harlee suggestion is, perhaps, too far a flight of fancy, stranger things have happened. With four weeks until the big kick off (™), expect more news on that soon. One thing’s for sure, Andre was desperately crying out for some support last time out and I don’t expect us to make the same mistake this time around.

Although we won’t be seeing Will at Griffin Park in league action this season, barring an 11th hour transfer then Clayton Donaldson will be back with Birmingham City. And, it has to be said, he’ll be looking good.

The St. Andrews outfit launched their new kit last night and it is a stunning effort. Whilst the club were keen to point out it harked back to their 1875 incarnation as Small Heath Alliance, the universal reaction was – Thunderbirds. Let’s hope Clayton isn’t pulling the strings for them when they visit.

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

Finally, the Champions League. David certainly met Goliath last night as Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar travelled to Danish Champions FC Midtjylland for the first leg of their their second qualifying round. There can’t be (m)any Brentford fans unaware that Matthew Benham owns FCM whilst, on a personal note, my own Gibraltarian roots do mean this column is often peppered with references to football life in UEFA newest member.

Indeed, the build up to last night’s game saw the local Gibraltar Chronicle offering Matthew’s Bees a promotion and Premiership place we haven’t, yet, earned.

If only

If only

The final score saw the Danes run out to a narrow 1-0 win, as both Kyle and Lee Casciaro came close for the visitors in the final few minutes. With the return leg to come next week on the Rock, this is anything that the foregone conclusion it looked like when the draw was made.

Could the Gibraltarians cause the shock of the season before league action begins? We’ll keep you posted.

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Nick Bruzon

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As ever, should you want to read more about  Brentford  (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums from the last two seasons are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship, through the eyes of a supporter.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re just another way to get through a few days over the summer as we wait for any more transfer news to be confirmed and the season to start.

Trevor Francis takes us into the Twilight Zone

30 Nov

Could things get any more surreal this weekend? I’m still struggling to reconcile Brentford sticking four past Wolves to go third in the Championship table. Third In the Championship. Apologies, but it bears repeating. Then Birmingham City just had to go and take things to an even stranger place.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Clem with a giant ham. Insert your own joke

Clem. A giant ham. Insert your own joke

Attack of the Killer Bees. Even Leroy is buzzing after 4-0 win

30 Nov

Possibly the craziest November on record ended up with Brentford making it five Championship wins on the bounce, the latest being Saturday’s 4-0 thumping of Wolves. With The Bees now up to third in the table (only a point off the top) and Warbs, surely, a shoe-in for Manager of the Month, the whole thing is just taking a turn for the surreal.

Frankly, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the spirit and endeavor of this team.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Is one player a secret Eurovision fan?

29 Nov

I make no apologies for being late to this party but, if you haven’t heard, today’s Brentford – Wolves game marks a very special occasion. Assuming Kenny Jackett picks him (and how would that be for putting a dampener on things) Wolves Bakary Sako will make his 100th appearance for the club when they face the Bees in our Championship clash.

And what a way to recognise this landmark. The midfielder has commissioned a pair of custom made golden boots, bedecked in the club colours and covered in Swarovski crystals, to celebrate this centenary.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Bakarys jewel encrusted boots could be on show at Griffin Park

Bakarys jewel encrusted boots could be on show at Griffin Park

There’s nothing like a bit of competition to bring out the best

28 Nov

I love Friday mornings for the simple reason that no more ‘work day wake ups’ remain before Saturday’s Championship football. And with Wolves the next team to line up against Brentford, this Friday seems even more special than others.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

The phrase a Brentford fan would never have said last season….

21 Aug

Having spent the vast majority of last season (the nailbiter against Rotherham United aside) hoping that our main promotion rivals, Wolves, would drop points each time they played, their victory over Fulham last night means I need to say, “Thank you Wolves. Great result”.

It is a result that, whilst seeing Wolves overtake The Bees for now, leaves Fulham staring up at everybody barring Blackpool. Just to put that into perspective, they now have a record worse than that of serial jinx, Clem, from the Football League Show.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

England down but not (quite) out. At least Brentford shone.

20 Jun

I have to start with the World Cup and England being beaten by Uruguay. My one word match report: Suarez.

Whatever you say about England’s failings or those things we did well (erm, Wayne Rooney scored. A World Cup goal) the ultimate difference between the two teams was a world-class striker. Say what you want about him, and many have – including my own proclamation at 9am in the office that “Suarez is knackered – he won’t do anything tonight”, but the quality of his finishing and the timing of his runs was magnificent.

With the England defence less holding the line and more tied up in knots by it, twice he opened us up as easily though we were nothing more than a jar of caramel spread.

Poor Roy looked shell-shocked afterwards. Captain Steven Gerrard didn’t even face the cameras. But, are there any positives?

Firstly we are still in it. Unlike deposed champions Spain or Australia

We can still qualify for round 2. All we need is Italy to beat Costa Rica; England to beat Costa Rica; qualified Italy to beat a Uruguay side also in need of three points; goal difference to do us a favour.

Likewise, demoralised by defeat I didn’t stay up to sit through Japan and Greece drawing 0-0. That was an extra 90 minutes of sleep I wouldn’t ordinarily have had.

Best of all though, unless the ITV sound quality was as bad as their World Cup jingle (which sounds like a Nokia 3310 ring tone and must have taken all of ten seconds to come up with) Bernie Clifton and his ‘England Supporter’s band’ were nowhere in evidence. Being on the brink of going out is frustrating enough but then having to watch Suarez destroy us, sound tracked by a flaccid rendition of ’Love will tear us apart’, would have been a final kick in the knackers.

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It could have been so much worse last night

Back at domestic level, earlier in the day the Brentford club shop held the launch of next season’s home shirt. This was another great event with players and Natalie Sawyer, amongst others, in attendance over the course of the afternoon and doing a great job on behalf of the club. As ever, they couldn’t be more welcoming.

The only thing missing was a ‘sneak peak’ at the away shirt….

England may be standing on the edge but at least anticipation for the forthcoming Championship season is cranking up nicely.

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Proud dad takes his son shopping – not even I’ve got one of these shirts yet

(‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ The combined story of Brentford’s season  2013/14 – amongst other things –  is now available on kindle. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle )

Wolves may have a title but King Kev wears the crown

22 Apr

In the end Wolves swept aside Leyton Orient and with Brentford not quite able to hold onto the lead at MK Dons (Izale McLeod must have really wanted that half price pizza) the title has gone to Molineux. And so before this column goes any further, I must start by offering my congratulations to Kenny Jackett, his team and their supporters.

The table doesn’t lie and having 99 points with two games left shows they are worthy champions. This aside, I’d love to think that Brentford have more than given them an unforeseen run for their money and kept the pressure on all the way.

Our own total of 91 is already a club record, with the chance available to push this to 97. Just to put this into real perspective, last season’s eventual winners Doncaster Rovers did it with a ‘mere’ 84.

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.