Tag Archives: clayton donaldson

Does Madonna know you’re here? Super Sammy does it again.

27 Jan

Oh Sammy Saunders, you are the love of my life. Oh Sammy Saunders, I’d let you…”. etc etc etc.   That’s plenty. You know the rest and this is a family publication. Yet full tribute is due to the ever popular winger who played a starring role as Brentford drew 1-1 with Leeds United at Griffin Park last night in the ultimate game of two halves.

That goal . Oh, that goal. Those watching in the stadium erupted. Those listening in at home on Bees Player, well I don’t know what they did but I can imagine. Picking up the ball close to the half way line, he ran at Leeds. And ran.

Like a modern day Forrest Gump (except enjoyable) nobody could stop Sam as the United defence parted like the Red Sea. And then, when he’d had more time to think about it than anybody wants or needs, he blasted it home into the bottom corner.

Charging straight through on the middle of goal is one of the hardest things to do – certainly in terms of a finish. Just ask Clayton. Much as I loved the big man, he was so much deadlier cutting in from the side or acting on instinct rather than given time to look into the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes.

Yet Sam made no mistake and gave Brentford a deserved first half lead. His link up play with Max Colin down the right flank saw the Bees at their most dangerous as possession was dominated but goals failed to arrive.

And it was his removal from play, along with the arrival of Toumani Diagouraga on the hour, that saw the balance really shift. Leeds pushed and pushed as they were allowed into the game with Brentford unable to penetrate in the gusty conditions. Being fair, the visitors probably deserved their equaliser with the only surprise being that Toums didn’t get it (much to the relief of the bookies).

That it came from a very rare defensive lapse is almost a moot point. That’s football. These things happen and, ultimately, had we wanted the win then you need goals.

image[3]

Toumani makes his debut at Griffin Park as Steve Evans looks perplexed

Yoann Barbet had received glowing reports for his work at Preston on Saturday. Those who saw him in action last night for the first time could only agree. A few days ago I made some hard comments about, amongst other things, the strength of the team relative to last season. I stand by those yet, along with Maxime Colin, Yoann is looking like a fantastic acquisition from the new crop.

Calm, assured and oozing confidence. Tackles under pressure were made with a minimum of fuss and it felt as thought he’d been sitting alongside Harlee for months rather than just a few days.

Fair play to Josh McEachran, too. I though he had his best game in a Brentford shirt by a country mile. The midfield axis with Ryan Woods gives great hope for the future, if they can do this again.

John Swift remains a ball of confusion. For every deft touch and little shimmy was a ball into touch or a missed pass but, in the end, it was one of the old guard – Sam Saunders – who pulled the strings. I’m so pleased for him, too. Regular readers of these pages will know of my own admiration for our longest serving player as Sam showed, yet again, how dangerous a team can be when you run forward with the ball.

We even got a return to ‘Saunders Territory’ as everyone’s favourite number 7 (seven) briefly resumed free kick duties from Alan Judge. That said, I do have to ask what is going on with our ‘dead ball’ coach? Despite more walls than an ice cream shop we failed to find the back of the net. Just give it to Sammy and let him whack it.

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Bees 2 Leeds 2. The score in defensive walls

As for Steve Evans, it would be remiss not to talk about a visit from the ever popular Leeds manager. The Ealing Road were at their most vocal with the larger than life character (I said it was a family publication) being on the business end of most chants.

Does McDonalds know you’re here?” went one. I’m not sure if it was any better than the misheard equivalent that one terrace observer just behind me thought was being sung.

Why on earth would Madonna know he’s here?” was one question I never thought I’d hear asked. Worse, the mental imagery it then conjured up.

Some things are, perhaps, left in the dark recesses of the mind.

Nick Bruzon

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Play off challengers go fo it as transfer rumours begin

2 Jan

Brentford travel to Birmingham City today, hoping to end the festive fixture period with 7(seven) points out of 9. The Boxing Day draw at home to Brighton and the follow up win at Reading, which featured those goals from Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos, has left the Bees in eighth place. We’re already six clear of QPR (well played last night against Hull, btw…), Fulham are out of sight – at the wrong end – whilst a win could take us to within two points of fifth place. But with the transfer window creaking open today, what will we get?

First up, a team in the same position and with the same potential as ourselves. Birmingham City, who are likely to include former Bees Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson, sit one place below Brentford on the same amount of points. 36. A win for them does exactly what it would do for us and so this is a real chance for both sides to steal a march on a play-off rival.

Birmingham after 8 Clayton

Clayton eyes the target – outside of the box.

Despite all the potential of recent weeks, nobody has been able to break into that top 6 but the gap is getting tighter. Previously unbeatable Brighton have now had their vulnerability exposed, having lost 3 out of the last 4. Freescoring Burnley are still showing intermittent form. Don’t be fooled by a pair of 4-0 wins in recent games. These sandwich a 3-0 loss to Hull City and a six game winless streak prior to that.

And today they entertain Ipswich Town, who of course, sit directly below them. Something will have to give there as Andre Gray takes on Jonathan Douglas. As such, today’s game presents a tremendous opportunity for the Blues and Brentford to really close in on that pack of promotion wannabes.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 07.41.32

The BBC  show how tight that chasing pack are

Make no mistake. This team ARE in a race for the play-offs now. I find it an incredible statement to make based on the start of the season but you can’t fault the ability or desire of the Brentford squad. Birmingham are going to see a totally different side to the one they beat 2-0 at Griffin Park earlier in the season.

Lee Carsley’s first game in charge as he attempted to salvage something, anything, from the mess that was the Marinus experiment was a woeful performance. I genuinely hate to be negative about our team but even that, a match originally postponed due to the pitch debacle, met with a summary that included:

The longer the game went on the more heads dropped. Sideways pass followed sideways pass followed backwards pass – think Jonathan Douglas at his most negative. There was no penetration or cohesion as optimistic balls forward were easily snaffled up by the Blues defence….. as at the weekend we conceded in the 90th minute – so there is some consistency. “Not quite as sh*t as Saturday” was the view of one New Road wag after the game. I’d disagree – I thought we were dreadful. Even Lee Carsley would later tell Billy Reeves that, “We went passive with our passing which suited them”.

Still, that was then and this is now. It’s the sort of fixture today where I’d be happy with a point prior to kick off but I‘ve got a funny feeling we could go two better. That said, I’m sure Birmingham City fans are thinking exactly the same.

And if you think you know better than me (let’s face it, anybody still reading does) and fancy getting your hands on a pair of shirts – including the stunning black ‘third’ strip – then head over to Twitter where Kitman Bob is running a fantastic competition. He’s well worth a ‘follow’ anyway, but moreso now given what he is offering one fan…

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 06.41.27

Move fast – what a prize

Get on it quickly.

And finally, January 2nd see the transfer window open for a month prior to the trademark ‘slam shut’ at 11pm on February 1st. As ever, for us Brentford fans, it will be a case of ‘squeaky bum’ time. Whilst I pay little notice to rumours circulating in the local press, one can’t help but be curious as to the Alan Judge situation – his being the name at the forefront of most stories on the subject.

One of THE top performers in the Championship this season, he is sure to be attracting interest from divisional rivals and those clubs currently locked in the Premier League relegation battle (think Aston Villa, Sunderland, Chelsea , Swansea City) or beyond. Jota’s name is never far from the frame either whilst Sam Saunders is out of contract at season end. David Button is pulling out all the stops in goal whilst the likes of Jake Bidwell and James Tarkowski are showing just how much we rely on them.

I could go on. The reason the Bees are where we are is because the team is playing well. Very well. And, as such, your better players are sure to attract more interest. We saw the squad rocked by a series of summer sales as popular players such as Stuart Dallas, Will Grigg, Andre Gray and Moses Odubajo all left Griffin Park for 7(seven) figure sums. It is only natural supporters will be worried about the same thing happening again.

Will that have been sufficient to balance the books or could more be on the way? Alternatively, will Dean Smith have the green light to look at bolstering the squad to form one more in his own image? I’m sure Walsall fans are probably fearing a raid as much as we are.

I’m not a huge fan of this ‘window’ system but, like it or not, it’s what we have. One just has to hope our top brass hold firm, that the books are in good shape and the squad want to continue this push – together.

I read an article on the Telegraph website this morning regarding the top fifty transfer targets for this window. Only two were from the Championship, both at QPR – Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips. Whilst a somewhat blinkered view of the talent available, if we can stay under the radar as long as possible then I’m all for that.

Besides, we‘ve got more important things to worry about. All the concern in the world about who might go counts for nothing until it happens. Let’s not let it distract us from the trip to St.Andrews.

Here’s hoping  we can start 2016 like we ended 2015.

Nick Bruzon

 

Who is top of the local pile as our favourite 7(seven) returns?

8 Nov

A point for Brentford following the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers was sufficient to keep us top of the West London Championship pile, above both Fulham and QPR. The former, in particular, being on the wrong end of a 5-2 home hammering c/o Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson’s Birmingham City (stop sniggering at the back). And with another ‘nil points’ for Chelsea in the Premier League, the West London football demographic has a wonderful look to it as things stand.

But it’s the Championship, and Blackburn Rovers, where we need to give specific focus. Lee Carsley’s ‘men in black’ made it 13 points out of a possible eighteen with a result that now sees clear air between Brentford, Fulham and QPR.

Come for the style; stay for the point. Next stop, the C&A catalogue

Come for the style; stay for the point.

It was a game that saw the Bees take the lead via Lasse Vibe, despite the expected absence of Alan Judge and the enforced substitution, on a stretcher, of Marco Djuricin after just 23 minutes. John Swift, who only moments earlier had been singled out by BBC Billy Reeves as being ‘outmuscled’, played a delightful through ball that split the Blackburn defence like a Samurai dissecting a watermelon . With a sword. Of the Samurai variety.

Vibe got on the end of it to run at Jason Steele in the Rover’s goal. Steele, like Wigan Athletic’s Max Power, somebody with a name that puts me in mind of a sauve 60’s TV detective duo. Roll neck jumpers and adventure are never far away. Neither are goals, as Vibe made no mistake, chipping it past the ‘keeper for 1-0 Bees .

However exciting the moment, it was a lead that wasn’t to last long. Tom Lawrence with an effort that could be called speculative, at best, equalised for the home team.

It was a cross-cum-shot from well outside the box that seemed to creep through everybody, turning more from cross into shot before eventually becoming the quintessential example of a ‘stealth goal’. Neither Rovers nor Bees attempted to put a foot, or other body part, in the way. With David Button scrabbling for it, the scores were levelled up.

And that’s how things stayed. Being honest, we’d all have taken a point before hand although there was a genuine feeling of disappointment from several quarters. Personally, I was just pleased to see Harlee not having to tweet about ‘going again’ at full time and, instead, bigging up the return of Sam Saunders.

With 18 minutes game time now under the belt, not to mention looking resplendent in the new all black ‘third kit’, Sam’s presence can only give another attacking option to the Bees in the coming months. What an unfortunate time for international break to hit us again although, on the flip side, it may allow Marco Djuricin time to recover.

Still, I’m just buzzing to see Sam back in action. Having been with the Bees since 2009 after signing from Dagenham & Redbridge with Danny Foster and Ben Strevens (now at Eastleigh, for the record) he has long been a fan favourite – as much for his ability as anything else. Seeing him back in action will be a huge lift for the supporters, the players, the management and our free kick coach.

Mark Burridge provides croaks, sorry, erm.. comms

Elsewhere, Fulham weren’t the only team to ship five as Ipswich Town hit the same amount past hapless Rotherham United. Even Jonathan Douglas got in on the act with a 20 yard effort. As one terrace wag later suggested, “It was good to see him score with a stunner on the pitch, for once”.

QPR laboured to a 0-0 at home to Preston North End although, at least, had the novelty of something called a ‘clean sheet’. Indeed, Fulham have now shipped more goals than the Loftus Road outfit. The Cottager’s 28 has only been surpassed, if that is the word, by the aforementioned Millers (whose form seems even worse than that of Chelsea) on 33.

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

Still, that’s their problem. Brentford are back in pole position to be crowned Kings of West London Championship football. Could a fourth team be joining us next season? Or will Chelsea even end up getting leapfrogged?

It’s not that the Blues are too good to go down. More that there are simply worse teams than them in the vicinity of the dropzone. On current form the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will do a better job of ensuring top flight safety for Chelsea than Jose Mourinho could hope to do..

Still, Chelsea are up there. We aren’t. Yet.

But, as ever, it shows that anything is possible in football. To coin a phrase, you just need to Beelieive.

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

Nick Bruzon

Plus ça change – new coach; same result

29 Sep

Wow. What can you, actually, say after that? Birmingham City ran out 2-0 winners over a Brentford team beginning their first game under new head coach Lee Carsley. However, it was the anti-performance rather than the scoreline that will stick long in the minds of most home supporters.

Let’s be clear. I hate to sound negative about our team. I’ve supported them through thick and thin for over thirty years but that was terrible. Save for Alan Judge hitting the crossbar late on, and Lasse Vibe shooting straight at Blues’ goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, there were no real chances. But it wasn’t even the lack of attempts on goal that grated but more the general lack of attacking intent or motivation.

A twenty-minute spell in the first half aside, Brentford were non-existent and grew visibly more abject as the game progressed. At least under Marinus we picked up the pace late into games; this was the opposite.

The longer the game went on the more heads dropped. Sideways pass followed sideways pass followed backwards pass – think Jonathan Douglas at his most negative. There was no penetration or cohesion as optimistic balls forward were easily snaffled up by the Blues defence

That said, as at the weekend we conceded in the 90th minute – so there is some consistency. “Not quite as sh*t as Saturday” was the view of one New Road wag after the game. I’d disagree – I thought we were dreadful. Even Lee Carsley would later tell Billy Reeves that, “We went passive with our passing which suited them”.

With a new head coach and a chance for a new start, we’ve stalled in the blocks. Things weren’t always great under Marinus but at least we were starting to see them coming together. The draw at Leeds and victory over Preston were followed by the late defeat against Sheffield Wednesday where, perhaps, we might have snatched all three points but ended up getting stung at the death. This looked like a step backward.

As I’ve said before, we don’t have a divine right to ‘be any good’. I can accept defeat – especially if we look like we want to try for the win. But tonight we were definitely second best against a Birmingham City team who, if I’m being honest, were no great shakes themselves. But you can only beat who you are up against and they did just that.

For the ninth time in ten games we fell behind aswell as, just like on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday, conceding in the last minute – plus ça change.

Positives? I’m struggling to find some. The half time marriage proposal from Buzz Bee (my nominee for man of the match) was the only real highlight. Our mascot’s costume being donned for one supporter to go down on bended knee, before taking the mic to ‘pop the question’.

Doing this in front of almost 10.000 fans whilst dressed as a headless, anthropomorphic bee is surely a moment never to be forgotten. It’s a shame we can’t say the same about the rest of the evening .

Nick Bruzon

Can we just go straight to Plan B?

27 Sep

Mark Warburton may have a Plan B up at Rangers (I don’t know, I don’t follow the Scottish Championship that closely) but he famously didn’t have one at Brentford. Marinus, on the other hand, does but as Sheffield Wednesday left Griffin Park with all three points yesterday, Brentford fans were left wondering why Plan A doesn’t seem to be working.

For the seventh time in eight league games we fell behind before, as we did last Saturday, stepping up our game considerably in the Second half. But unlike the game against Preston, where we stormed back to a 2-1 win, this time it was Sheffield Wednesday who achieved that scoreline – a 90th minute goal on the break from Lucas João being the ultimate difference between the two teams.

View from the terrace - the HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate at that point

View from the terrace. The HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate ….at that point

We can take positives from the way the team played for the majority of the second half, despite being down to ten men. The penalty awarded for James Tarkowski’s foul on Atdhe Nuhiu with less than 40 minutes on the clock saw the giant centre forward stroke it past David Button as well as, eventually, earning a red card for the fit again centre back.

It was a strange decision (the sending off, I mean). Indecisive referee Geoff Eltringham allowing himself to be harangued by Wednesday players before consulting a linesman who, eventually, helped him come to the decision of ‘straight red’. This, despite Jake Bidwell clearly being the last man back between Nuhiu and the goalkeeper.

Nuhiu is the sort of player you’d love in your team. Physical, huge presence and a proper nuisance. And he knew the way to goal – seeing an earlier effort come back off the bar. He went to ground very easily on more than one instance yet Eltringham saw nothing wrong in his game to warrant even a talking to, let alone a yellow, at any point.

Still, if Brentford went in a man and a goal down, they did everything to start fighting their way back into the game. Jack O’Connell had a stunning effort at the back with a number of perfectly timed tackles and challenges. It was a shame he was the unfortunate man in the wrong place at the wrong time for 2-1 as Brentford were exposed, pushing for a late winner.

Likewise, Josh Clarke at right back looked very impressive, especially bringing the ball out of defence. I’d be very interested to see him playing ahead of Alan Mac at some point, with the midfielder returning to that defensive role he’d made his own in the past.

With the Bees pressing, a goal seemed likely and finally it came – from the most unlikely of assists. David Button pushed almost to the half way line to curl a cross-field ball to Alan Judge. It was an exquisite delivery from a ‘keeper whose distribution has been lambasted in the past but the execution from Judge was even better.

A perfect trap and then shot across the goal into the far corner sent the crowd wild. Even the club staff celebrated that one to a fanatical level – a moment captured by the Football League Tonight and Beesplayer cameras.

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

At 1-1 and pushing it looked as though Brentford might snatch a winner that, in the first half, had been the last thing anybody expected. Instead, when the more prudent amongst us might have reverted to Plan A and locked things up to get an unlikely point, we went for it. You can’t knock Marinus’ desire and moreso with Wednesday also down to 10 men at this point.

But with the Bees in the Sheffield box, the ball broke and once Lucas João had picked O’Connell’s pocket, not even the Herculean David Button had sufficient strength to hold back the last minute one-on-one.

It was a bitter blow and moreso, having been given the hope of a route back into a game we had no chance of being anywhere near on the first half showing. Bees stat guru Luis Melville nailed it on twitter late last night with this very telling observation:

Luis's stats remain 'the bomb' (that's a good thing, I believe)

Luis’s stats remain ‘the bomb’ (that’s a good thing, I believe)

The positive is a chance to get straight back into action on Tuesday night against a Birmingham City side that hasn’t won in three (and went down at home to Rotherham United yesterday). The negative is that we haven’t really got a huge element of team choice, given the injury crisis and suspension for Tarks. Will the players have enough in the tank for another 90 minutes – moreso, against a team containing a few familiar faces in Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson?

Away from Griffin Park, the Pele cup took place at the training ground. The great man himself was, indeed, at Jersey Road where Cliff Crown was amongst the fortunate few to meet him. Hopefully they just discussed football, football, football (and, perhaps, Escape To Victory) rather than Pele’s foray into TV advertising. I would.

A moment I never thought I'd see - Pele and the Brentford chairman.

A moment I never thought I’d see – Pele and the Brentford chairman.

And then I did it. Football League Tonight. I sat through the full 90 minutes. Or should that be, stood.

Having previously given the show a good kicking on it’s debut (one which, for the record, I still stand by) it’s been pleasing to see the gimmicks fall away and, over the weeks, Channel 5 giving us a more traditional ‘highlights package’. So when the opportunity came to be an audience member, it seemed churlish to turn it down.

Being honest, I’m impressed. What we tend to take for granted is that this is a live show. Given how soon it is transmitted after the action ends, there’s no real choice but despite the problems they suffered in the opening weeks, fair play for sticking to that element. Moreso, with the ‘random’ element of an audience.

Not as bawdy as Soccer AM but sufficiently different from the Football League Show, they have now fused the better parts of each programme. Kelly Cates is definitely the show’s shining star and the chemistry from George Riley is growing.

The audience interview still seemed a bit stilted (then again, that could just be the price you pay for talking to MK Dons fans) although I do like the idea of this quick snapshot from the ‘regular fan’ aswell as the players – Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday being the man brought in to admit, small consolation, that his team and been lucky to get the win.

As for Adam Virgo – I’m still not sure what to make of him. Part footballer, part Clem, part geography teacher. He’s no Leroy (still my favourite pundit from Manish’s Football League Show) but then again, he’s no Steve Claridge and is looking a lot more confortable in the role

Does it beat the Football League Show? No, not yet. Then again, football highlights shows have been in such a set style for so long that it is a format we’ve had drilled into us. You can’t knock Channel 5 for attempting to break from the norm and, moreso, acknowledge that their initial attempts to do so were somewhat OTT.

Will I watch again? Absolutely. Many of the previous gripes have been ironed out and Kelly, especially, did a great job (catching George with one particular zinger about his age and Top of the Pops). Ultimately, the show gives us what we need – the highlights, in order, with a number of extended games.

It’s just a shame that, with more focus on Brentford, we didn’t see the Bees pick up any points. Still, there’s always Tuesday. It won’t be easy and, being honest, I’m anxious.

Then again, Griffin Park under floodlights is a magical place and, IF we can start that one like we ended this one (the goal aside!) then who knows what could happen….

Mark Burridge certainly enjoys the Judge strike (along with the rest of the video highlights)

Nick Bruzon

Will Moses depart the red’s team as Leeds story confirmed?

2 Aug

Great job Billy Reeves. With all the rumours flying around about Stuart Dallas going to Leeds United and Hull City sniffing after both Moses Odubajo and Andre Gray, his gentle probing of head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen after the Norwich City game officially revealed, for the first time, much of what we already read elsewhere.

First up, Moses. The rumour mill went into overdrive when it was confirmed he wasn’t in the squad for Saturday’s game at Carrow Road. A game that, for the record, saw us go down to a 2-1 defeat. Marinus confirmed to Billy that Moses “Has a clause in his contract and can go away for an amount. Hull City bid that amount last week. He didn’t want to play today, he wants to leave….. He said it’s a big opportunity for me and so that’s why he wasn’t in the squad.

The sideways move didn't work out too well for Adam Forshaw and Wigan Athletic

This picture will make sense if you get the download, below

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

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

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

book 3 and 4 cover

Its all about the kit, man. And the Bees.

Stuart Dallas to Leeds United? Get on your bike.

1 Aug

With Brentford due to play a final warm up at Norwich City today, our team selection could have more significance than anybody realises. With both Leeds United (Stuart Dallas) and Hull City (Andre Gray and Moses Odubajo) coveting several of our bigger name players according to rumour, it will be interesting to see how many of them feature. And specifically because Marinus told Beesplayer last week that this line up would feature 90% of the team he has pencilled in to kick off the season opener against Ipswich Town on August 8.

Much as I am still intrigued by the amount of noise being generated from quote free rumours (with a journalistic, “I understand / “sources close to the club”” being about as ‘solid’ as it gets), reading the comments from Friday’s article the Leeds supporters are convinced that the Stuart Dallas story is nailed on. Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post, apparently, a writer who only deals in certainty when it comes to impending transfers – I guess the journalistic equivalent of our own Beesotted.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

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

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

book 3 and 4 cover

Its all about the kit, man. And the Bees.

Will Matthew , Moses and Andre say “No” to Hull ?

30 Jul

Regardless of the truth, or lack of , around yesterday’s claims that Hull city have been given permission by Brentford to speak to Andre Gray about a possible transfer, it did get me thinking (hey, it happens). Moreso given today’s, currently unsubstantiated, claims that Hull have now bid £3.5m for Moses Odubajo.

As I’ve been saying all summer, the remodeling of Brentford means that we are going to lose fan favourites along the way. Likewise, it is part of being a successful Championship club that our best players are going to attract unwanted attention. Whether genuine inquiries, agents stirring things up or simply newspapers scratching around for stories, it goes with the territory.

No to Hull BeesBut, right now, do Brentford actually need to sell? On the surface the answer would seem to be a categorical no. Both are young, English talent whom I can only see building on last season’s success.

 

 

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

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

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

book 3 and 4 cover

Its all about the kit, man. And the Bees.

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.

Can we make it 21? All to play for on Saturday.

24 Apr

Only one more sleep until Brentford travel to Reading, knowing that whatever happens in the game between Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest, a win for the Bees will see the promotion race go down to the final game of the season when we take on Wigan Athletic. And with Derby County at Millwall this weekend, the Rams are by no means certain of securing a play off place as they take on a team fighting a last gasp battle against both relegation and a Football League panel still dithering over whether to dock Rotherham United any points for fielding an ineligible player against Brighton.

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 on.

Is Warbs a film fan? (and kids, don't smoke)

Is Warbs a film fan? (and kids, don’t smoke)