Tag Archives: Columbo

With Brentford in a Field of Dreams (sorry) here’s one turkey from Christmas past before Cardiff on Boxing Day.

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all that. Brentford are preparing to host Cardiff City (for whom Sol Bamba – a terrace songsmith’s dream if there was one – will be missing) whilst Rangers fans will be crying into their sprouts at the prospect of no Jota under the tree. As for Matthew Benham, will he be the beneficiary of a £15million gift from West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa or even Reading in the New Year sales? This, of course, being the current suggested rate for a Scott Hogan.

Reading have probably got more chance of picking up Hulk Hogan than Scott. Why would he need to even consider going there? Besides, with the Royals already baulking at the prospect of having to pay £9million (as has been reported in the Birmingham Mail), adding another 6 to that is going to be well beyond their particular ball park.

reading-hogan

There’s more chance of Hulk than Scott

That is if we even sell in the forthcoming window. Eventually, of course, it will happen. Nobody is that naive whilst the simple mathematics of ‘one club players’ so rarely being a thing these days make it inevitable at some point. Yet in the short term, the tantalising prospect of seeing him and a returning Jota on the same pitch is one I’m still holding out hope for in the second half of this season.

Still, all that is to come. We have the festive games against Cardiff and Norwich City to before that. Scott will surely be the first name on the team sheet (unless he has a sick relative), closely followed by Tom Field. The left back “delighted” at having just signed a contract extension that will see him at Griffin Park until 2020.

For all that Scott is doing it at one end, few could deny the wonderful start that Tom has had to his own Brentford career. From a home debut agasint Fulham where his call up was so unexpected that even supporters were asking ‘Who?‘ when they saw his name on the team sheet, to a recent run in the side as Dean has switched to a three centre back system supported by Tom and Maxime Colin. It is no coincidence that we are yet to concede a goal in the League whilst Tom has been on the pitch.

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Tom in a field of dreams. A pun so bad we made it twice

Prior to all of that we have Christmas day ahead of us. Preparations here are remarkably under control with all shopping done (for once). Already I’m dreading that Columbo moment around 3pm when Mrs Bruzon asks for “ Just one more thing…..” from a by then heaving, and empty shelved, supermarket. So until that happens, here’s one we’ve run before but probably deserves another airing.

It is a story that, if being honest, I had completely forgotten about until an article in The Times a few years ago from none other than Mark Clemmit.

Mark, of course, is better known as Clem, the ever popular roving reporter for BT Sport and formerly of the BBC Football League Show. There, his own performance was the subject of a season long analysis in 2014/15 as to whether there is any support for many supporters’ long held belief that he ‘jinxes’ whichever team he follows. Specifically, that the team covered by the man with the mic that week would, at best, pick up a point. Indeed, by season end Clem teams had only tasted victory 7(seven) times out of 30

But we digress. The jinx factor aside, it is fair to say that Clem remains an endearing and well-respected pundit. Aswell as his TV work he has also been a prolific writer over the years and it was for the aforementioned paper that he chose to talk about Brentford a few years back. Or, specifically, what we tried at Christmas 1983

To me, 1983 doesn’t seem that long ago. Knight Rider, Blackadder and the A-Team graced our TV screens whilst big hits at the cinema included Return of the Jedi and Octopussy. On the football pitch, Stan Bowles was strutting his stuff for The Bees whilst Bob Booker was halfway through his first spell at Griffin Park.

That said, given as Bob made his final appearance for us in 1993 that doesn’t really narrow it down, such was the three-decade spanning length of his Brentford career. Even Roger Moore only lasted as Bond for 12 years although for all that I love his time in the role, even I have to step back in slight disbelief at the image, from the official movie poster, of 007 casually standing on the tail of a speeding aeroplane as he tosses a bad guy to his doom.

Octopussy

Roger’s wing walking (top left) a highlight of 1983

But the point being that, to me at least, 1983 still seems very vivid in the mind’s eye. As such, I was intrigued by the gem that Clem had unearthed, pertaining to Brentford’s Christmas fixture list. The ever-progressive club had, at one point, looked to revive an old festive tradition and arrange our game with Wimbledon for 11am on December 25th.

It seems madness now but not as crazy as the reasoning, given out by the Press Officer at the time. It was an attempt to get back to, and I quote, “The old idea of men going to football whilst ladies stayed at home to cook the turkey”.

Seriously? Was this just Clem having a joke at the expense of Brentford fans? Seemingly not. A quick trawl of the interweb reveals this gem elsewhere whilst, more importantly, it is directly referenced in the excellent “100 years of Brentford” book.

After protests from both sets of fans the game was rearranged for Christmas Eve and we promptly lost 3-4 in front of 6,689 fans.

Their numbers, presumably, bolstered by women who had been unchained from their cookers.

Here’s hoping for a better result on Monday against Cardiff City. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

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What can we expect after midweek shock ?

24 Oct

Brentford travel to Charlton today hot off the back of those two successive wins – against Wolves and, previously, Rotherham – that have seen us finally start to climb the Championship table. Charlton meanwhile, as was noted in yesterday’s column, go into the game hot off the back of two shots on target over the same period.

With the Addicks nestling in the relegation zone and, seemingly, Brentford now freed from the shackles of our early season problems, we even go into this game as slight favourites. That’s not me being overconfident but simply a fact quoted by my online bookmaker who, should Mrs. Bruzon be reading, I use purely for research purposes only.

Don't shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

Don’t shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

But then you can understand why, as a neutral, they have adopted this view. Recent results have seen Brentford get to within 7(seven) points of the play offs whilst a win at The Valley will bring us just two points off the 19 we had at the same time last season – 13 games into the campaign.

Charlton, meanwhile, seem to be very much on a Luzon streak. They’ve been beaten 6 times in their last ten games, scoring just 8 goals over that period.

Whilst it sounds good (on paper), I won’t be putting the deeds of the house on an ‘away’ win. All the stats in the world count for nothing on matchday if you take victory as a given and I just don’t believe the hype. Surely Charlton can’t be that bad and something has to change at their end? Likewise, it was only a few weeks ago that the Dijkhuizen / Hendriksen era came to an end and the team started to look at getting back on their feet.

Are we steady yet? No, if I’m being honest. Absolutely the signs are there and Lee Carsley is making all the right noises – plenty of positivity tempered with an acknowledgement of improvement areas.

Indeed, the win against Wolves on Wednesday is something that should fill us with confidence – a commodity that money just can’t buy, no matter how many millions you have in the bank. Talking to long time Last Word correspondent and Wolves fan ‘Rustymini’ after that game, he was sporting enough to note: ”Brentford thoroughly deserved their win. Far more lively and far more structured”.

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Those of us who had the misfortune to sit through Burnley (a) or some of the first halves under Marinus (and I’ve struck the Oxford result from the record) would struggle to comprehend the concept of ‘lively’.

That said, its one I’m loving the sound of and can’t wait to see first hand today. Next stop, Charlton. See you there.

And, doing my best Columbo (kids, if you need to ask, go and watch some – now), just one more thing.

If you haven’t seen the update from last night’s academy game (a 2-1 home win over Bristol City) then prepare for a treat. Not only did it feature more Sam Saunders but, as excitingly, Lewis Macleod. And, when he can stay away from the twigs, just take a look at what he can do….

What a finish…

Nick Bruzon