Tag Archives: choke

A tale of two Steves as Dean stays in charge where it counts

13 Oct

With Brentford making final preparations for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United, we can at least be safe in the knowledge that any chance of Dean Smith going to Aston Villa has now officially been snuffed out. On a day of managerial change, not only was Steve Bruce named in charge at Villa Park but Steve McClaren has, seemingly out of nowhere, been reinstalled at Derby County. The same Derby County team that we visit on Tuesday evening.

First up, Aston Villa. Despite the early talk about our own Dean Smith being linked with that one it was never anything more than a story. At least, based on outward appearances. Personally, and I said at the time, there didn’t seem any chance of this happening for multiple reasons and this has now proven to be the case.

It’s great news for Brentford and, one would hope, for Aston Villa. Some fans will be relieved they haven’t inherited the manager of a ‘pub side’. Others might have some concern about a man who was in charge of local rivals Birmingham City from 2001-07.

That latter point, aside from getting stick from the opposition fans when the two sides meet, would seem to be largely irrelevant though. As long as a team is doing well then it is an awful lot easier to look at the past through rose tinted glasses.

Then again, he walks into a hotbed of expectation.

Tim Sherwood was in charge of Aston Villa back in October 2015 (hmm, that went well). A year later they’ve been through Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald, Remi Garde, Eric Black and of course Roberto di Matteo. Twelve months on and Bruce now has what was previously described as less a hot seat and more an electric chair.

And, of course, there is the additional pressure of a hashtag. The club announced his arrival with use of this cringeworthy social media device (see also: #Jakejoins). At this rate, surely we’re only a short step away from a meme to announce a new signing?

Nobody knows how this will turn out. It’ll be fun finding out though.

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Steve joins at Villa; Dean stays with his pub side

But the really interesting news yesterday surrounded Derby County and Steve McClaren. Of course,  the one time umbrella wielding manager has been there before. He and Derby parted company in 2015 amidst much interest from a Newcastle United side he would eventually join (hmm, that went well) and hot off the back of that self-destruct as they threw away an almost nailed on place in the play-offs.

Brentford were just one of the beneficiaries as the Rams somehow lost 3-0, at home, to a very average Reading side who had literally nothing to play for. Indeed, our 2-0 win over them the weekend before had further knocked the stuffing out of the Royals in their final home game of that campaign. The Bees’ reward for that capitulation,  a two legged semi with Middlesbrough. Move along, nothing to see here.

But will it work again? McClaren’s time at Newcastle was an unmitigated disaster, I’m sorry to say. He has that emotional pressure of the way his England career panned out – a disaster on the pitch and widely ridiculed off it –  whilst he is as known for his infamous Dutch accent as his two stints in charge of Eredivise side Twente. That, a role he would also be obliged to resign from.

Frankly, he seems to have more lives than a cat yet still boards come back to him. I’m not sure what just what it is that he posesses but it’s going to be interesting finding out.

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Can Steve the cat stay out of the rain this time?

Both Bruce and McClaren will have expectation from their own fans aswell as heckling from the visiting supporters to deal with. In the case of Aston Villa, one can only assume this will be limited to a few games here and there – the Birmingham s and Wolves of this world. But for McClaren, with terrace wags knowing just how many roles (and play offs) his teams have eventually choked, he could be in for a rough ride should things not get off to anything but a flier.

Forget the weight of expectation, that umbrella is the real baggage he carries around with him. Here’s hoping it is still weighing him down when Brentford visit on Tuesday.

Before that, though, is the small matter of our visit to Newcastle on Saturday. The Bees will be there in huge numbers, with chief executive Mark Devlin giving local journalists a free story with his latest ’tweet’ on ticket sales. For a club our size, the travelling fans have always gone in impressive numbers and this is no different.Close to 3,000 for the long trek up to the North-East isn’t to be sniffed at.

Great work, one and all. Let’s hope the team, and Dean Smith – our head coach – do them justice on the pitch.

See you there.

Nick Bruzon

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Is this the worst free kick of all time?

2 Mar

Alan Pardew showing potential new owner Vince McMahon how much Newcastle United embrace the spirit of WWE. Deluded Arsenal fans (are you reading Richie Firth) still trying to convince themselves that ‘the treble is still on’. Brentford starting the next ‘unbeaten run’ with a draw at Carlisle United.

Whilst the major talking points of the weekend are clearly all about the madness at Newcastle, Arsenal and QPR matching each other ‘choke for choke’ or the ongoing state of League One, today’s column has found something you may not have seen on Match of the Day.

I’ve banged on about Gibraltar a lot this week, but last night they played their first match on ‘The Rock’ since officially becoming full members of UEFA.  The game, a 4-1 reverse to The Faroe Islands, saw the home side take the lead at their Victoria Stadium before, eventually, capitulating.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the result but the occasion. That, and the worst free kick you will, I am prepared to bet, ever see.

Former Manchester United and Stoke City star Danny Higginbotham, who has suddenly remembered he is Gibraltarian, was the man charged with executing a routine set piece just before the close of the first half. I won’t ruin what happened next; suffice to say that even Jonny Wilkinson would have been going some to match this.

You can find it here, after 01.17.10.  I’m sure Danny will blame ‘the wind’.

Higginbotham takes aim at the runway..

Higginbotham takes aim at the runway..

That’s not to belittle the GFA – from small acorns mighty oaks grow. Besides, The Faroes also struggled in the conditions as you’ll see five minutes earlier on the same video. Whilst the penalty they missed wasn’t, quite, up to Higginbotham standards it wasn’t far off.

As for Brentford, well I suggest you stick to @Bessotted for the match update this weekend. I didn’t travel and haven’t even seen the ‘highlight’s on the Football League show.

Hopefully, their service will be up to its usual standards, assuming Billy the Bee has now been able to compose himself sufficiently to write up his notes.

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Come on Billy – was it THAT bad a game?