Tag Archives: club

Who wants it most? There’s all to play for in West London today.

29 Apr

What a few days. There have been awards, goal of the season and of course a game or two coming up with Saturday seeing a huge day for West London football. Brentford travel to Fulham, hot on the heels of last weekend’s 3-1 win over QPR. It was an encounter which saw Jota’s latest stunner wrap up the points in a game where, at times, we played some quite sumptuous football yet at others Dan Bentley and the linesman kept us in it. However, the net result was anther three points for the Bees and QPR still flirting with relegation. As for Fulham…..

Well, what can you say? They are in with a very real chance of making the play offs, as it stands, and have even finished above Brentford for the first time in three seasons. The table doesn’t lie and they’ve slowly reeled in Leeds United et al to finally break into the top 6. A derby day win for them will all but mathematically see that play off spot guaranteed, with the gap to 7th (seventh) currently 3 points and +13 goal difference.

But Brentford have their own motivation. Fulham’s win at Griffin Park earlier this season was as decisive as a 2-0 scoreline could be. Much as it pains me to admit, they were one of the better teams to come to this part of West London and we were very much left in second place that night.

Equally painful, it saw their first win over us since both teams returned to the Championship – albeit from different directions. Prior to that one, 2014/15 had seen Jota do his thing in the last minute at Griffin Park and that screamer from Stuart Dallas very much the pick of the bunch in a 4-1 rout at The Cottage. Last time out, only an errant linesman denied us all three points away from home with Jota ruled offside as he headed it in for 3-2. The return fixture saw the season come to an end in some style – Tom Field making his debut and Sam Saunders getting us of to a flier as we were three goals clear by half time to comfortably wrap up the points.

View from the stand - Stuart Dallas celebrates doing that thing.....

View from the terrace – Stuart Dallas after doing that thing at The Cottage…

The Bees were crowned Kings of West London. Again. Then this season happened. With David Button between the sticks, Fulham have had the honours.  A return to winning ways will be very much the requirement. The possibility of a nil points against these neighbours, moreso given such strong previous form, is just not on the agenda.

Then there’s the current table. The Bees are just two points and one place off last season’s points total with the potential to finish a place higher than our previous 9th. What a wonderful incentive to go for it. And that’s without pooping a party.

For the last month or so it has become apparent that Fulham are heading upwards. Crashing this one and doing Leeds United a favour, no matter how distasteful that might seem, is a very real possibility and has long been something many fans have been aware of. Now the game is here and that chance is available for both teams. Who will take it? At 3pm we find out….

As for QPR, they host fellow bottom six side Nottingham Forest still needing two points to guarantee safety (third bottom Blackburn, needing two wins themselves, have too close a goal difference for a draw to be sufficient). With Rangers in freefall, current form of LLLLLL leaves them with nobody to blame but themselves for their predicament.

Much as the situation is a novel one, they won’t go down. Birmingham City are just horrific whilst Blackburn still need six points from a season that concludes with a trip to Griffin Park That said, wins today for Mark Warburton, Birmingham and Blackburn could make the final round of games very interesting indeed.

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Can Fulham make the play offs, Brentford beat last season or QPR stay up?

All that of course is to unfold later today. However, there’s been plenty to keep us intrigued over the last few days. Alongside the Player Of The Year vote, supporters are now able to nominate their winner for goal of the season.

Oh, wow. If picking POTY was tough then this is another level of hard. I struggled to draw up a shortlist, let alone select a winner. They are, all ten, corkers. The build up play and finish for Josh Clarke v Reading, Nico’s piledriver in the Birmingham City game, Lasse Vibe finishing off the most incredible run from Sergi Canos at Forest or Jota’s recent pair against Derby County and QPR.

In the end, it’s just been an excuse to watch the video again. And again. The level of Burridgegasm also being an added help. The more excitable our commentator par-excellence gets, the better the goal seems to be has become a handy yardstick when trying to rank these in some sort of order.

In the end, I’ve voted. It had to be Jota. It had to be QPR. Derby County was that close and I’ve swung back and forth between the two of them yet, in the end, the way he collected Nico’s wonderful pass was the deciding factor.

That’s my opinion. Yours will quite likely, and quite rightly, be different. All we can say for sure is that whoever gets it will be a worthy recipient. You can see the video below and vote here.

Which is top of the pile?

Next up, awards. It was a double celebration for the club yesterday as the EFL have awarded us both their Family Excellence Award for the 2016/17 season aswell as the Friendliest Club Staff Award. Particular recognition has been given to both the ticket office staff and the stewards in the family enclosure.

One can’t begin to stress how deserved these awards are. Part of the pleasure in supporting Brentford FC comes from our wonderful family atmosphere. The club, players and staff cannot do enough for supporters – of all ages. The ‘meet the players’ pre-season event and Junior Bees Christmas party are staples on our calendar whilst who doesn’t get excited, young or old, when receiving a high five or fist bump from Buzz and Buzzette?

pay what you can Buzzette

Buzzette always makes time for fans – of all ages

The players and staff never fail to stop for an autograph or photo  – whether in the ground or in the street – an attitude that courses through all echelons of club. We’ve had supporters heavily involved in the kit launch this season whilst the care and attention shown to the match day mascots is just staggering.

What could have been quite an intimidating experience for a three year old – walking out in front of over 10,000 supporters – turned into one of the best days of his life. Big thanks there, again, to Harlee Dean and apologies once more for the lollipop covered hands you had to hold walking out (that’s HB, not me).

HB Harlee and Dan

The smile says its all (apologies again for the sticky fingers)

Then you’ve got kitman Bob Oteng. His own BBgiveaway is the stuff of legend but even outside of this he is a cult figure among Bees fans. His reaction to those who regularly sing his name at away games as he goes where he wants on the visitor’s pitch is always wonderful. Even the likes of Chief Executive Mark Devlin, Chairman Cliff Crown or Mr Benham himself consistently take time to respond to and interact with fans on social media.

As for the ticket office staff ! Special mention and rightly so. We’ve all had some form of interaction with them. We all know just how incredible the level of service they offer is . We all know how consistently friendly and helpful they are. Doing what could be deemed a somewhat stressful job – given how demand often outstrips supply – isn’t something I’d be able to cope with.

I could go on. But instead, why not read the official take on the awards which you can find on Brentford ‘official’?

And finally, Billy Reeves & Grown Men In Tears have closed the door on the Welcome Home, King Jota charity single. The video has come down from YouTube and the song is no longer available for download.

The net result has been a donation of £350 for Prostate Cancer Research. As Billy noted himself on Twitter yesterday, “not bad 4 an arvo’s fun

Not bad indeed, Billy.

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Billy shares the news, and the love, yesterday

Nick Bruzon

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Noooo! Fulham have only gone and done it.

17 Feb

Brentford have a day off on Saturday. FA Cup capitulation at the hands of Chelsea (a game where we put in a performance that was very much the Murray Jones to their Dean Holdsworth) sees us now kicking our heels. Just a few miles up the road, however, near neighbours Fulham are in cup action. They entertain Tottenham on Sunday.

It is a game which made me sit up and take notice yesterday, but for a very wrong reason. At a time when Donald Trump is beating all comers hands down in the apparently deranged stakes  (his explanation of what uranium is has me intrigued, yet genuinely terrified, about what his next bit of amateur science might be), he seems to have a rival. The Fulham club shop.

Bear in mind this is the club that has already brought you ‘The Neutral stand’ and ‘The Gin bar’. A club who introduce ‘clackers’  and ‘giant foam fingers’ to try and help the home fans generate some atmosphere. Then, of course, there was that business with the Michael Jackson statue. Yet even by their previously odd standards, they have now gone ‘full Trump’.

What is the most scorned thing about modern football? Tourists on a day trip to Chelsea or Old Trafford? Grown men in full kit on a match day ? ‘Hilarious’ shirt names (I 8 Spurs etc  I don’t, for the record)? Selfie-sticks?

All are bad and yet one thing still transcends them all. The half and half scarf. There is no logical reason as to how this has sprung up or why any football fan of sound mind would buy one. Who wants memorabilia celebrating another team? Who wants to wear the opposition colours? Let alone in this most happy-clappy of styles? Over priced and cheaply produced tat. Something so offensive that no self-respecting club has even embraced previously. Up until now these abhorrent items have only been available from the street hawkers.

Up until now being the key phrase. Because, of course, Fulham have stepped forward. With this. Officially. In their official club shop.

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I may be late to this party but I don’t care. Irony goes full circle as Fulham break the fourth wall. Get your official half and half scarf. This has to be a joke? Surely? Would any self-resecting club really do this ?

Part of me hopes that Matt Jeffrey is just a fake twitter ID, playing a very long game in order to spoof the hapless Cottagers. Yet with over 1500 tweets already, and seemingly all the right credentials, he looks legitimate. And he is encouraging his Fulham fans to wear a Spurs scarf. Or, at least, half of one.

You know what, I hope they win. Genuinely. For no other reason than one can’t even begin to imagine what their marketing team will dream up for the quarter finals.

Half and half shirts, here we come….

Nick Bruzon

Lewis will stay another day. How about Scott as Santa Saunds does his thing and FA get heavy

21 Dec

Well that was a day of seasonal good news. Brentford were very much in the festive mood as Lewis Macleod was given a contract extension despite his long term injury whilst down the road at West Middlesex Hospital, the squad were very much doing their own ‘Santa’ thing. Not so seasonal, but of equal interest to Bees fans, was the five match ban handed out to Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United for racial abuse. This, given a similar punishment suffered by our own Alan McCormack back in October.

First up though, the positive news. Brentford have shown many times how we look after our own. There  is the well documented way that Scott Hogan was treated during his own lengthy recovery period (18 months out) after suffering that awful injury just a few games into his Griffin Park career. First class medical treatment all the way and a contract extension were the order of the day as the club showed huge faith in a player who has since began to pay that back in bucketloads.

Scott’s goalscoring record is such that there is genuine worry amongst the Bees faithful we’ll be cashing in come January. He went on that stunning run towards the end of last season as he edged his way back to full fitness whilst now, only Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United sits above him in the scoring charts. Imagine those two together. Actually, don’t. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Then there was the contract extension offered to Jota as our talismanic midfielder (if Sam Saunders was Spanish….) was allowed to go back to Spain on loan, for personal reasons. Who could forget his letter to supporters at the time where he promised that , “This isn’t “goodbye” but more of a “see you later” ? Who could forget our own signal to the player in offering him a contract extension despite the fact he was moving away from Griffin Park – albeit a move that, despite our deepest fears, one still hopes remains a temporary decision.

And now Lewis Macleod has become the latest beneficiary of Matthew Benham’s backing of his players as the former Rangers man has been give a year’s contract extension which will see him tied to Griffin Park until the summer of 2019. This, despite like Scott at the time of his injury, barely a handful of appearances since joining the club and the youngster now facing a long period on the sidelines.

When the road to recovery must seem long and torturous, with no guarantees at the end of it, one can’t begin to imagine what a boost this faith in individuals must be. At a time when all around are getting on with what they do best – playing football – to see how much we value those on the sidelines and are prepared to make such a public statement of belief is a huge, huge thing. We’ve done it in thee past and no doubt will do it again.  Here’s hoping for a Hoganesque payback when Lewis is fully fit.

It was interesting, also, how he got into the festive spirit by emulating one time Christmas chart toppers East 17. The boy band, of course, occupying the penthouse suite at the hit parade hotel back in December 1994 with their ‘Stay Another Day’ single.

Despite being number one at Christmas, rather than an actual Christmas record in the vein of Slade, Wizzard, Coldplay or Shakin’ Stevens (whose own effort is not only the best Christmas song of all time but the best pop single. Ever), the band’s use of fake snow and furry parka jackets in the promo video now sees them embedded deep into festive culture. (See also: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – The Power of Love. Not a Christmas record yet still now considered one based upon the time of release)

As such, it was great to see Lewis getting involved with his own choice of seasonal attire at yesterday’s contract signing. As ever you can read the full story, with the proper photographs, on ‘official’.

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Next up, Sam Saunders. Can he do anything wrong? No, being the answer as the ever popular midfielder was amongst those who made the trip to West Mid to hand out Christmas presents to children on the Starlight Ward. The pictures and the comments from the players on Social media spoke for themselves and showed, yet again, just how much this club does for our own local community.

One can’t begin to think what it is like for these youngsters to be in hospital at any point, let alone during the Christmas season – a period that traditionally sees celebrations at home and time spent with friends and family over the prolonged school holidays. As such, a gesture of this nature is one that can only be very well received. Wonderful work from all at Griffin Park. Yet again.

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From the positive to the not so. The story of Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey being given a five game ban for what is described as : “Aggravated Breach as defined in Rule E3(2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality” is one that hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst our own support.

Of course, we have our own parallel with the five game sentence handed down to Macca back in October after he was found guilty of : Using abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official in the 52nd minute of the game against Cardiff City on 19 April 2016, contrary to FA Rule E3(1) . Moreso, given his offence was, “An “aggravated breach” as defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference to gender.

Back then this column wondered : This is a huge ban and if nothing else Alan would seem to be patient zero when the FA have decided to clamp down hard. Yet, also, they’ve now drawn a line in the sand which I’ll be very keen to see how strongly they enforce ongoing.

And here is your answer. Another breach of rule E3(2) and another five game ban. If players were operating in a new environment about what is deemed acceptable before, there can be no doubt now. Speak in such a manner towards officials or fellow pros – pay a very heavy penalty.

From an on-pitch perspective, it means Shelvey will be missing when Newcastle United come to Griffin Park for the televised game in January 16th. He’ll be a huge loss to the Magpies, if his performance on our own trip to the North-East was anything to go by. At one point it looked as though he was going to inspire a Geordie bracketing as the home team set off at 100mph, with the Bees caught cold in the starting blocks, and Shelvey providing ‘assists’ for fun.

I can’t pretend to take any pleasure from a story of this nature on a day of such seasonal goodwill. But, at the same time, it would be hypocritical not to realise what a helping hand it offers us. Knowing that Newcastle will be missing one of their danger men, and the architect of our own downfall last time out, when the battle of the Championship’s leading scorers takes place.

Still, all that is some time off. For now, we’ve got Christmas to look forward to and the hope that Scott is still a Bee by the time that game takes place. I’ve no doubt our faith in the player will be rewarded come January…..

Nick Bruzon

Brentford are top of the pile when it comes to Christmas

7 Dec

Here’s a thing. Brentford FC is brilliant. And that’s a fact. Whatever is happening on the pitch – win, lose or draw (the result rather than the early 90’s pictionary aping TV show fronted by Danny Baker) – nobody could deny that when it comes to family, The Bees are top of the pile.

Last night saw the now traditional Junior Bees Christmas event at Griffin Park. As ever, the first team squad were in full attendance along with Head Coach Dean Smith. As ever, they were nothing but welcoming to those youngsters out to meet their heroes. And possibly the mums and dads, too!

One could have been forgiven for perhaps imagining a slightly jaded mood after Saturday. Far from it. The place was rocking to the tune of Christmas carols as the squad signed autographs and hosted all manner of party games.

Giant Jenga with Romaine Sawyers? Snowball toss with Yoann Barbet and Maxime Colin? Daniel Bentley and Jack Bonham amongst those at the child friendly version of ‘beer pong’? It had them all, and more.

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Sam Saunders and Ryan Woods were holed up in the clubshop at the table usually reserved for Greville’s book signings. Harlee Dean was running the fitness machine challenge whilst none other than Alan Judge and Alan McCormack were amongst those to be found in the home dressing room. Oh for a repeat this weekend.

But whoever the kids met and wherever you went, to a man the squad were nothing but brilliant. Signing player cards and posing for photographs with everybody. My own son was in tears at the end, “Nooo daddy. I don’t want to go home.

Sadly, there was no Jota shaped parcel under the giant Christmas tree on the Braemar Road forecourt. However, there’s always December 25th for that to happen. Come on Santa, I have been good this year.

In all seriousness though, whilst it’s easy to knock the team when results don’t go as expected one can’t help but be impressed by the positive vibe on display last night. And that was just Lasse.

Saturday is another day and another chance to get back to winning ways. Thanks to the smile on my lad’s face last night and this morning’s request “To take my Bees hat and badge to nursery to show everybody” (him, not me – I’ve still got a cupcake from the cake stall), I’m going into the game with a renewed sense of optimism and pride.

Great job, Bees. Thank you. Now let’s go do it at weekend.

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Dean welcomed all

Nick Bruzon

What does Brentford ban tell us about FA? And ourselves?

22 Oct

Brentford v Barnsley. It should be a huge game for so many reasons. It will be a huge game for so many reasons. Yet, at the same time, one can’t help but feel it has been somewhat overshadowed by Friday’s news about Alan McCormack. Specifically, for anybody who has been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, that the midfielder has been awarded a five match ban (amongst other punishments) after being found guilty of using abusive language towards an official against Cardiff City back in April.

In typical vague fashion, the FA Statement simply says that he, “Used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official in the 52nd minute of the game against Cardiff City on 19 April 2016, contrary to FA Rule E3(1). ”That it was what they deem , “An “aggravated breach” as defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference to gender.

The response from Brentford was an equally factual one, acknowledging the punishment whilst adding, “We are awaiting the written reasons for the verdict and neither the player nor the Club will make any further comment on this matter until they have been received.

What he has been found guilty of saying remains, officially, a secret. There are enough theories out there in cyberspace without wishing to warrant further conjecture on that subject.

All we know for sure, is that the ban takes immediate effect, starting with today’s game against Barnsley and including the local derbies against Fulham and QPR amongst those in the period.

So…. OTT? Fair? Is Alan a foulmouthed pig or was it something said off the cuff under the pressures of a live game environment and totally out of character?

The answers to the first two remain a matter of individual opinion whilst only the player himself could answer that last one. Everybody who watches him knows how much Alan wears his heart on his sleeve when playing for the Bees. How badly he wants to win. How much the opposition must fear him. How much he is a firm fan favourite.

Regardless of whether it is out of character, and it’s easy for me to say this from my safe position as numpty on the terrace rather than somebody in a live game environment, you can’t get away with abuse these days. And rightly so, quite frankly.

This isn’t the ‘70s when homophobia and racism were deemed acceptable. When the idea of a woman playing football was seen as something laughable. That she was somebody who belonged in the kitchen and ’the other room’ (although the President of Nigeria begged to differ last Friday).

Like it or not. Out of character or not. The FA are doing their level best to engender an attitude of respect amongst players and supporters. They have been for some time. Fans know this. Managers know this. Players know this. Attitudes have changed for the better amongst so many although, sadly,  others are still dragging their knuckles through the ground.

Has Alan been made an example of? How has this suddenly come to light in October, from a game that took place in April of last season? When the player wasn’t even booked at the time. Surely one of the officials would have reported this to referee Stuart Attwell? How have the FA now heard about this and from whom?  Yet, at the same time, if it did happen then they have no choice in having to take follow up actions.

This is a huge ban and if nothing else Alan would seem to be patient zero when the FA have decided to clamp down hard. Yet, also, they’ve now drawn a line in the sand which I’ll be very keen to see how strongly they enforce ongoing.

At the same time, if this is a path they are going down then further clarity on what happened and how would probably be no bad thing from the FA. Just so that there is no doubt as to where that line is – for players and fans.

The reaction of supporters seems to be, largely, that the player has done the wrong thing. That the ban is a heavy one and that we’ll all miss him on the pitch. Massively. Yet also there are still a few who seem to think that this sort of behaviour, whatever the catalyst, is acceptable.

That, for me, is the saddest thing about all of this. They’ve had the benefit of time to think.

Quotes I’ve seen from supporters on social media include:

Bullsh*t. It’s a man’s game . She needs to grow a set, or officiate womens’ games.

The punishment is totally disproportionate and smacks of political correctness

All the whiter than white males condoning @almc16 ?? Get a life? Something said in heat of moment in a game of football – support our player.

It’s an attitude we still see in patches in the stands. Only last weekend at Newcastle one of my friends, as a reaction to politely asking the group behind him to stop using homophobic language was told, amongst others things: “F@ck off, you que*r c@nt” and  ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s football’ 

It’s football?! It’s. Football.

Wow. As though that’s any justification for hurling abuse that won’t even be heard by the players and officials it was directed at. That doesn’t even have the ‘excuse’ of being uttered by somebody on the pitch who would have been in the heart of any incident.

We all shout at the ref, at players and even at each other sometimes.The clear difference being we don’t all shout sexist, homophobic or insulting abuse.

Thankfully, this attitude is something very much in the minority at Brentford. At least, that’s the way it seems to me. Only on Thursday, the club joined the EFL in their campaign to stamp out anti-social behaviour in the stands.

Ironic? Coincidence? Pre-emptive? Whatever the timing, as somebody who brings a three year old to home games at Griffin Park it is something that can only be endorsed.

Equally though, it’s something that by and large I think we already do really well on.

We’ve got a great family at Brentford. I’m proud to be part of a club where supporters do get along and, whilst getting caught up in the heat of the moment, don’t normally cross the line.

Whatever the ins and outs of this case, and I doubt we’ll ever know the full facts, it seems clear we’ve moved into a new phase of football. Abuse officials – pay the punishment.

Will the FA have the guts to see this through?

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The club and EFL have joined forces

Nick Bruzon

3,999 down. 1 to go. Who would you start on Saturday?

19 Oct

Brentford bounced back from Saturday’s loss to Newcastle with what sounds like a hard fought 0-0 draw at Derby County. And that was just for the spectators.

Official would later describe it on Twitter as “A resolute defensive performance” ; Dean Smith told the BBC that,” I thought our performance was very good, very disciplined and the intensity of pressing in our half was very good”.

Three shots on target each tells its own story but all of this is no bad thing. Would you have taken a point prior to kickoff?

Absolutely I would have. If 0-0 was the price then fair enough. Football is as much about defending as it is attacking. Indeed, the Bees remain just outside the play-off zone going into our 4,000th league game on Saturday against Barnsley.

I wasn’t there for this one. I didn’t even have the luxury of Beesplayer or even Sky Sports news this time around.  So don’t expect any form of match report . As ever, Beesotted, the BBC or official are your places. The latter using their first paragraph (yes, we have them this season) to set the tone in describing the game as “a fine defensive display”.

I’m not complaining. Newly revitalised Derby was always going to be a tough place to visit. Moreso, coming off the back of the weekend’s exertions. And it was nice to see things mixed up in midfield – Sam Saunders and Sullay Kaikai both starting this one in an attempt to break down an opposition defence that had only conceded once in the previous three games. Make that four now.

Yet the same goes for us despite enforced changes. With skipper Harlee Dean suspended, the combination of left back Yoann Barbet, John Egan, Andreas Bjelland and Maxime Colin shut out the Rams. Daniel Bentley reads as though he was up to his usual high standards as Brentford made it a second clean sheet (and 0-0) in three games

All of which presents Dean with a selection poser going in to the Derby game. Does Harlee walk straight back into the side? Does he give the pairing of Bjelland and Egan another run out together? Personally, I’m all for rewarding form and if the new partnership coped as well as we are reading, then why not give it another go?

Certainly that was the attitude Dean showed after the 4-1 tonking of Reading. Ryan Woods missed that one following his yellow card at Aston Villa yet so well did the team play despite his absence that the Ginger Pirlo then had to sit out his next available game, Wigan, on the bench.

Then again I’m not the manager, head coach, whatever. I’m just the numpty on the terrace. What goes in midfield may not translate to the defence. Could we deny the skipper the opportunity to start on such an auspicious occasion? Indeed, should we given the performance against Derby?

What would you do?

HB Harlee and Dan

Will Harlee be leading the team out on Saturday?

Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. A week in football

15 Aug

Brentford have beaten Ipswich Town. Nottingham Forest await.  Aston Villa finally recorded a ‘w-i-n’. Something so rare it needs to be spelt out for confirmation that it really did happen. Newcastle United join Leeds in flirting with the relegation trapdoor whilst their latest conquerors, Huddersfield Town, join Bristol City and the Loftus Road mob join at the top of the table.

That’s the first two rounds of Championship action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the first of a new, regular feature for a Monday morning we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

We’ll start off at Griffin Park, naturally, where aside from the Bees recording that fine win there have been a few other things to keep your eye on.

Just how many phones mobiles does Josh McEachran actually own? And if just the one, why does he need so many personalised cases?

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The Last Word isn’t the only one to have new, regular features . Over at Beesotted, the team have launched their latest, resplendent with it’s own hashtag (Billy, you know how much we love those on these pages).

Following on from a wonderful season opener with Kitman Bob (the club are so lucky to have somebody who interacts with the fans as openly as he does) it is the turn of Carl Hutchings to …#HangTheBeeJay

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Dave, Billy and the team always provide great listening. This new bitesize feature is no exception. You can get it here for a quick blast on the way to work

There’s a new member to the Brentford family where the LGBeeT group have just launched on Twitter. In their own words, “We are LGBT+ Brentford FC fans – Join us, you don’t need to be LGBT, all friendly Bees fans are welcome!

Good luck guys. I’ve signed up. And I’m loving that 21st Century Funky Bee. Whilst there’s only one true Funky Bee, this comes a very close second. Somebody should stick it on a T-shirt.

In the meantime, anybody wishing to take a look and add to your ‘follow list’ can do so here.

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Move over Buzzette. There’s a new Funky Bee in town

Next on the Brentford front, we seem to have a few amateurs in the club shop. And Harlee Dean. Not on the playing front but more in the modelling side where the club’s decision to include supporters in the new shirt campaign has seen the next phase revealed.

This is included not from any narcissistic purpose but simply to highlight the stunning work the club did in their pre-season work. What great touch involving the fans in the reveal and publicity shots for our new shirt. Thank you again.

Brentford club shop

And finally in Brentford opinion, just how nice was it to have football back at Griffin Park?

Truing the corner of Lateward Road to see the fans enjoying the prematch atmosphere outside The Griffin always puts a little spring in the step. Ipswich provided great value, as ever. Here’s to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

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Where’s Wally? Spot the Brentford fan

Away from Griffin Park, there has been just as much ‘other stuff’ happening.

Aston Villa seem to have forgotten they are now in the Championship. A gold medal to @Swan_1878 for putting the Villa Park outfit firmly back in their place.

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Leeds United supporters are already worried they might not be in the Championship for much longer.Fortunately, there’s always somebody else to rely on.

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Whilst down in League One, Charlton continue to make friends and influence. Aston Villa weren’t the only club to be put in their place this week. Whilst they were simply the beneficiaries of their own ego and a quick witted observer on Twitter, Charlton were owned by Cheltenham Town. On and off the pitch.

As the Addicks crashed out of the EFL Cup, the Cheltenham programme editor but his balls on the line to publish what so many supporters feel.

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Then, just when it couldn’t get any worse for Charlton. It did.

And to compound the felony, they shot themselves in the foot with the leaked letter about behavioural contracts for supporters having the temerity to criticise the club on social media.

Fortunately, our own Chief Executive Mark Devlin has already confirmed this is not a route we’ve ever even considered.

Sanity prevails at Griffin Park.

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If it worked for Tony, could it work for Bob ?

3 Aug

With the season just a few days away, there was good news for Brentford fans yesterday c/o new club sponsors 888sport. Free coach travel to the likes of Aston Villa, Derby County and Bristol City will be the order of the day. There was equally good news for those with an interest in the Bees kit (please, stay with me) as they also released a video “showcasing the Club’s unsung hero, Bob Oteng, the First Team Kitman

Bob is the big dog. He’s probably the most revered, the most celebrated  kit man probably not only in English football, probably European football, probably touching across America.” They aren’t my words, although I’d agree with them, but those of club masseur, Chris Domoney. And with them, the tone for the short film is set.

There can’t be many who haven’t seen it yet but , should you be in the dark, then it’s available below.

Whilst Chris goes on to make the (surely) tongue in cheek comment that , “There is an annual Bob festival in Colombia where once a year people dress up in Bob the kit man masks…” it did get me thinking about away trips. And I’m not alone.

Bees Player commentator par-excellence Mark Burridge took to Twitter to suggest,  “How about an away game with @ganodecafe10 ‘ face masks’ @Beesotted – you guys are good at this stuff! “. A legend amongst Brentford fans and anything but unsung (at least, in TW8, where his BBGiveaway has fans gripped every weekend) what a way to further add to his legendary status? Mark, Beesotted – over to you. Just name the date.

If this was to happen, it wouldn’t be the first time, either. Amongst the Brentford fans attending Saturday’s Tony Craig testimonial at Millwall were four Tony Craigs. Or, at least, four fans in the aforementioned style of headgear. If it worked for Tony then surely it can work for Bob….

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If it worked for Tony, could it work for Bob?

And talking of away games (seamless, just seamless) the club announced what it described as “An unprecedented start” to our relationship with the new chief sponsor. Namely, free away travel to several games this season. With the Aston Villa trip, and the prospect of a new ground, now on a Wednesday night this will certainly take a lot of the pain out of that one for many supporters.

I love the travel aspect of an away trip normally. Frankly, the 90 minutes of football is quite often the least enjoyable aspect of a great day out. But a midweek trip, with holiday time at work nothing but a fleeting memory, means that games late in the calendar year do present more of a logistical challenge. This, before you even look at the cost of train tickets.

So the prospect for a free coach direct from Brentford to Villa Park and back again is an offer that, I am sure, will only be very well received. Thank you.

Full details are on the club site.

Nick Bruzon

Crunch. The sound of the PR machine moving in to gear.

3 Oct

A day before our trip to Derby County, co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen has ‘exclusively revealed’ more to Brentford supporters about why Marinus Dijkhuizen was replaced as head coach on Monday morning and, equally, the comments made by short-term replacement Lee Carsley after the defeat to Birmingham City.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the video by now – it’s at the bottom of this article for anybody that hasn’t. Likewise, it has been pretty much paraphrased by the local press – copy, past, no opinion, free column – so I’ll save you trawling through the full re-write in print.

Rasmus reveals 'all' on YouTube

Rasmus reveals ‘all’ on YouTube

However, for me the salient point was more what wasn’t said. Given we’ve had the best part of a week to put some positive spin around the news, following the vacuous statements released when the news first broke, I was hoping for more.

I’m not (totally) stupid. There was no way the club were going to air all their dirty laundry in public (that’s a metaphor, I know that kitman Bob Oteng does an excellent job) but to leave us hanging like this just causes more questions. Indeed, the stage was all set for a big reveal when Chris Wickham cut directly to the chase and asked the obvious question, “Why did we feel a change of head coach was necessary?

Along with admitting the club had made a mistake, Rasmus told him, “There were some fundamental approaches at the training ground that didn’t work to the level we expected…it hasn’t improved to the level we want to. In the end we felt the right decision was to make a change rather than protect something we didn’t really believe was going to work

Although he reinforced this point again, adding, “I completely understand how it looks. It wasn’t a decision based on eight league games but three months of training“, there was no explanation as to what the actual training ground problems were. Further, there was no attempt from Chris to get these answers.

Was it the spate of injuries? Were the players being forced to go on three hours of running around the pitch? Did Marinus not bother turning up? Was it limited to playing football manager on the PC? (crappy stats based joke).

The club have embarked on a new direction, something that was made clear as early as last February. Understandably, it’s has been a tough enough sell to get all the fans to accept this change in approach as it is. Frankly, the model is not one we are used to. So when the approach is deemed not to have worked, to not really elaborate on why is very much a missed opportunity.

Whereas Billy Reeves, the master of gentle probing, would have pushed on here, Chris / Brentford official (he may well have had a line to follow) seemed content with that and moved on to the subject of Lee Carsley. Specifically, his comments on Tuesday where he said he hadn’t put his hand up for the job and didn’t want it permanently

Here, at least, Rasmus told us what we expected to hear, and what should probably have been made clearer on Monday/ explained differently on Tuesday, “We always knew that Lee was not going to be a permanent option. He made that very clear to us when we started talking and we respect that but we feel we have a job to do in the short term and he’s the best man to do that….. In hindsight we could probably have dealt with it a bit better and we always knew Lee wouldn’t be our permanent solution”.

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

As I noted last time out, this isn’t a pop at Lee. I stand by that. Things can be taken out of context or said in the heat of the moment. Moreso, by somebody stepping in at the 11th hour. But, equally, we have an experienced backroom staff who, yet again, move with all the speed of Jonathan Douglas (certainly at the end of his time here) tracking back into midfield after a run up pitch.

I really thought we might have learned something from the football village. Likewise, and I need to be clear, I know we aren’t going to reveal everything. Much as I’d love if the club would, I’m just not that naïve. But surely there has to be a happy medium?

Even though Rasmus did go on to apologise to the fans and admit we should have handled things differently. I just don’t know why we failed to do so. It’s not hard. Surely?

The ironic thing is that we’ve been so good at straight talking in the past. The fans’ forums in particular being a place where questions have been answered to a surprisingly in depth, and honest, level. As such, to remove Marinus just three days after he and Rasmus had spoken openly to the fans smacks as a very much lost opportunity for us all to be able to put this to bed.

Instead, supporters will likely draw their own conclusions and mutter about conspiracies in the timing or being kept in the dark. And that’s the last thing we need right now. Derby County are going to be tough enough opponents as it is, without the fans on side.

It’s equally frustrating because pretty much everybody passing through the turnstiles has nothing but admiration and respect for Matthew Benham and what he has done for this club. The amount of money he has pumped in to, firstly, save us but then put the club on the path to hitherto unseen excitement has been nothing short of incredible.

We all know the stories of potential mergers, Dave W£bb, Ron Noades, bucket collections, Bees United and BIAS. Matthew has come in and done the hard part (investment) to a level that still makes me pinch myself.

It’s just a shame that those working around him can’t always do the easy part (talking to the fans), to the same degree. After all, with no fans there is no club. It’s just a team in an empty stadium.

That said, when it comes to 3pm I know full well that those lucky enough to make it up to Pride Park will do nothing but roar the Bees on. I’ll be shouting at Beesplayer for this one.

Hopefully for all the right reasons.

Here's hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Here’s hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Nick Bruzon

Here’s the full video, for those who haven’t seen it 

New look, new sounds and new hashtags as club get it right

18 Sep

Brentford play Preston North End on Saturday and it seems that, in the build up to the game at least, there are plenty of changes at Griffin Park. In what seems to be partly a response to the recent ‘match day experience survey’, the eagle eyed amongst you would have spotted all manner of new things in place for the weekend.

First up, the Braemar Road forecourt rebrand is now complete. The BRENTFORD FC Stingray font is gone and the new lettering is in place on the repainted main stand. Along, thankfully, with a club badge.

The club revealed their new look on Thursday

The club revealed their new look on Thursday

We’d had our suspicions as to how this was going to look during the week after chief executive Mark Devlin noted on twitter that, ”You won’t be surprised to learn that it will be in keeping with the new brand guidelines”. Whilst a phrase such as ‘new brand guidelines’ is normally one that strikes the same feeling of doom as “rail replacement bus service” or “Coming up next on BBC one, the Eastenders omnibus”, I have to say that this really bucks the trend.

Well done Brentford. The club has come up with a smart, new look. Certainly, much better than the somewhat dated, quasi-futuristic Stingray lettering that had aged as badly as Keith Richards. Whilst the stripes I had thought might also return are still absent from the paintwork, the all red look is still a great one.

Keith Richards - the musical equivalent of Stingray font

Keith Richards – the musical equivalent of Stingray font

As for the Preston game itself, first up is your chance to play DJ. The club has started to ask fans what music they would like to hear on Big B Radio. (This is assuming people can hear it – I note, also, they are currently asking for feedback on the new PA system). However, it’s something I’ve written about many times before. There’s no excuse for Barry Manilow at football – unless it’s Bermuda triangle (I don’t mean the defence) and, whilst I fully appreciate you are never going to please everybody, this is still a great way to try.

And, read this next bit carefully…. We have a hashtag that actually seems fit for purpose.

#BeeTheDJ does what it says whilst adding a nice bit of punnery. After the debacles of #trophyfriends and #bignewambitions (which, thankfully, appears to have been quietly shuffled off) another sign that the club do listen.

Don't take my word for it. Check out the Twitter hashtag

Don’t take my word for it. Check out the Twitter hashtag

But wait. Like an advert for cheap kitchen knives, there’s more. Centre Circle Challenge is back. Kind of.

I loved this event in the past. A home and away supporter would demonstrate who had the least bad kicking skills as they attempted to hoof the football as close as possible to the spot in the middle of the meridian line. All, of course, accompanied by the wonderful commentary skills of Peter Gilham – woebetide anybody with two left feet.

After an absence of a few seasons, this has been rebranded and now returns as ‘Bees Bowls’. From reading the blurb on the clubsite (and you can also apply to participate) the end goal appears the same – closest to the centre spot wins.As somebody who has formerly taken part in CCC with mixed fortunes – both reaching the centre spot aswell as falling flat on my backside in the tipping rain – I can only recommend this as being a great fan activity and would encourage supporters to give it a go.

Apart from being tremendous fun, it’s not often the Brentford family get a chance to grace the Griffin Park surface.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Nick Bruzon

It IS great fun - get applying

It IS great fun – get applying