Tag Archives: David Webb

Almost 50 years on, old rivalries are about to reignite

29 Oct

This time tomorrow, Brentford fans will be preparing for our first West London derby of the season as QPR visit Griffin Park. And if it’s anywhere near as exciting as last season’s, we could be in for a treat. Two wins and six points against Fulham, including the 4-1 thrashing administered at Craven Cottage, have only served to whet the appetite for another game against local rivals.

4-1, and four of the best goals you'll ever see

4-1, and four of the best goals you’ll ever see

The Fulham games were, of course, incredible. But deep down many Brentford fans were also hoping for the chance to test ourselves against QPR. Geographically closer (there’s 4.4 miles between our grounds, compared to the 5.4 that separate Fulham and Brentford) they are seen as our rivals for that reason alone.

Then there’s Martin Rowlands and his infamous ‘badge kissing’ in front of Bees fans when the (then) club hero swapped Griffin Park for Loftus Road after five seasons. I guess some people have to get their kisses where they can although it is something we’ve never forgotten, right up to his recent appearances for Leyton Orient.

However, for the older generation of Bees fans, there is much more historical significance. The 1961 sale of goal machines Jim Towers and George Francis, who had managed just shy of 300 between them, hardly helped matters. Interviewing Jim a few years ago, he admitted, “I didn’t particularly want to go to QPR. Why he (Malky McDonald sold me and George, I don’t know.”

Club legend, Jim Towers

Club legend, Jim Towers

But it was the near takeover in 1967 that, even today, sees the main reason for that fierce rivalry – at least, from our perspective. Had it gone ahead, QPR would have sold Loftus Road to the council, bought Griffin Park (for a profit), moved in and Brentford Football club would no longer have existed. But for a press leak, the Bees fans springing into action and an emergency loan – things could have been very much different today.

I can’t imagine, as a supporter, how that must have felt. Of course, we’ve had our scrapes with that sort of trouble in recent times. The disaster of the David Webb era. Narrowly avoiding bankruptcy and financial collapse after Ron Noades’ stint as owner. Then the efforts of supporters’ trust Bees United that saw the fans pull the club back from the brink and eventually become majority shareholders in Brentford FC before Matthew Benham eventually rode on to the scene.

But reading about the proposed ‘takeover’, and I am sure there will be a lot more eloquent talk about it over the next day or so, things really were that close to many us supporting another team altogether.

Supporters rally round in 1967

Supporters rally round in 1967

Let’s be honest, we’ve had some cracking games against Fulham in recent times. The 1-0 at the Cottage followed by a pre-Peterborough 4-0 humping when we won the old third division title. Stuart Dallas doing his thing away from home after Jota had wrapped up the points at the death in the home game last time out.

Those against QPR have been much more turgid. We’ve crossed paths six times from 2001 – 2004 and not since. Those six games have produced a mere eight goals, four draws and two defeats for the Bees. It has always been a horrible match for the neutral and, at times, a painful one – Mark McCammon blazing over from point blank range, anyone?

Yet, equally, it has always been a game with a unique atmosphere.

As Jim Towers himself went on to say when asked what was THE game? “QPR. For me, and George, it was more than a local derby. We WANTED to win and to beat them more than anyone. Over the years, I don’t think QPR came off too well and perhaps that’s why they took a liking to us and bought us. We had a very good record against them. It was the special one.”

Who am I to argue?

Nick Bruzon

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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 

Brentford pass their Reading test

5 Oct

Well that was tense for a while but in the end Brentford secured another league win, this time at the expense of a Reading side whose second half performance made the game an awful lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

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

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

Reading, Cureton and Evo stir the full range of emotions.

3 Oct

Reading visit Brentford on Saturday for a game that reignites the strongest of feelings, almost 15 years after their end of season trip to Griffin Park saw one team promoted to the Championship and the other leave with their players and fans distraught.

For those of you for who the memory of ‘that penalty’ against Doncaster is still a fresh one, this was a totally different pain.

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

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

Saucer of milk for table two? Rotherham open door for Brentford and Wolves.

12 Apr

Rotherham United manager Steve Evans cut a bitter figure as Brentford and Wolves saw their promotion chances increase significantly following his team’s stalemate with Bradford City on Friday night. Six more points will do it for Brentford whilst Wolves need a solitary victory.

Evans clearly wasn’t a happy man after a game played out in front of Sky TV and which featured our very own Natalie Sawyer in the punditry hot seat. He stropped off straight down the tunnel at full time before re-emerging to moan at the cameras in the obligatory post-match interview.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.