Tag Archives: Doctor

The three favourites for Aston Villa – agree? Will Dean run away and join the circus?

4 Oct

They’ve only gone and done it. After just 123 days in charge at Aston Villa, Roberto di Matteo has been shown the door. With Brentford boss Dean Smith one of those at the top of supporters’ and bookmakers’ lists as a favourite for the role, could he have taken charge at Griffin Park for the last time? Or is somebody else destined for what is less a hot seat and more an electric chair?

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The current runners and riders

To even be discussing this now smacks of madness anyway. Nobody can deny that Aston Villa were one of the teams at the start of the 80s. Thirty-five years ago. But that was then and this is now. To put it into context, Roberto di Matteo was just starting primary school when they lifted the European cup.

Yet despite his pedigree of having already taken West Brom up from the Championship aswell as the not inconsiderable tasks of bringing the FA Cup and European cup to the Chelsea trophy cabinet, this wasn’t deemed good enough for the long term. Doctor Tony Xia, who always puts me in mind of a low budget Bond villain, has eliminated his manager and now starts the hunt for a new one. But who?

Steve Bruce is the bookies favourite. Currently without a club having taken Hull City back into the Premier League, he is both available and has form at this level. But could the Birmingham City factor play a part here. Especially if things don’t go so well?

The football on offer over the last 15 months hasn’t been great and so he’d face a huge challenge in having to make an immediate impact.

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner is the current darling of the Championship. There is no baggage with him and nothing but positivity as The Terriers have defied the pundits to storm it to the top of the table. If there is anything negative to be said it is that the headlines about Wagner always make me think of the one decent act ever to emerge from TV’s X-Factor.

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Wagner – not to be confused with…

Yet why would Wagner leave? Unless, of course, he was voted out. Here is a chance to achieve something special with Huddersfield Town. A well settled team, playing strong football, are already knocking on the door of the top flight. They have loyal support and a great stadium. It would be a huge risk for him to jump ship so soon. One there is currently no need to take.

And so it comes back to Brentford and Dean Smith. A man whose family are Villa fans and who has seen the Bees get off to their best start since our return to the Championship. A man whose run at the end of last season saw us fall just short of the play-off zone.

Yet like Wagner, why would he want to leave a team on the up and so soon into his Griffin Park career? Dean has been here less than a year whilst also endured his own mini crisis at the start of 2016. A woeful run saw us, by his own admission, in a relegation battle. Matthew Benham kept very public faith in his man and it has been well rewarded. Would Dr. Xia have done the same?

For all the jibes that Brentford have endured on social media, our man is going nowhere. And you can quote me on that.

Instead, you have to look further down the list to the likes of Steve Clarke or even Sam Allardyce for the likely candidates. Yet the media circus that Sam would bring has surely ruled him out of any job (this month)? At a time when the club needs some stability he’s the last man to approach.

The trouble would seem to be expectation levels. With Brentford being, undeniably, a small club – albeit one on the up – we’ve seen this all before. Leeds United have been huge on the tinpot cracks since our paths have crossed whilst Wolves were hurling the abuse about their status relative to ours when that fixture returned to the calendar back in League One days. Now you can add Villa to the list.

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Yesterday’s pick of the tweets

But just as balls in the back of the net are the only stat that counts, having once lifted a cup or two in the last century doesn’t give you a divine right to ‘be any good’ now. Frankly, Dean Smith has no need to run away and join the circus. Even if he is asked.

Aston Villa have, without doubt, a wonderful heritage and a magnificent stadium. Yet with patience a commodity in short supply at Villa Park, and the twiterrati having ideas well above their recent form, good luck to whomever gets the role.

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Villa Park – A stadium we can only aspire to

Nick Bruzon

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MK Down and the true price of FA Cup defeat

24 Apr

Bye Bye MK Dons. Brentford racked up yet another win and another hatful of goals on Saturday afternoon to confirm that Karl Robinson and his team will be making an immediate return to League One. There was also that Doctor Who moment during the Manchester United – Everton FA Cup semi which we’d worried about yesterday whilst Kitman Bob is at it again. Yet again.

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Not my words but those ..etc

First up though, Stadium MK. As is the norm the BBC, Beesotted, official site  or other less salubrious pages are the place for proper match reports. Instead, the headline news to trumpet about has to be about a 4-1 win for the Bees.

It was a game that, not for the first time this season, featured brilliant goals from first Sergi Canos and later Ryan Woods (do check these beauties out on the Bees Player highlights package). These sandwiched Lasse Vibe’s 13th of the season before Jake Bidwell rounded things off. His free kick from the touchline, just like the game at Preston, drifting past everybody and into the back of the net.

Mark Burridge is back for another win. What jinx?

Team wise both Sam Saunders and Scott Hogan were missing from the 18 who had beaten Cardiff on Tuesday night. The latter used Twitter to allay the fears of worried fans, saying, “I‘m not injured it’s been planned being managed carefully, don’t forget I’ve been out a while , next season most important thing!

Maxime Colin reclaimed his right back position although Josh Clarke, who had impressed midweek, did get the final half hour. John Swift, gash healed, was an unused substitute.

Only just over a month ago many of, us including our own head coach, had noted that the Bees were in a relegation scrap.Now its been 16 points out of 18 over April. It is a month that has seen 16 goals and five wins out of those 6 games.

As it stands we’ve hit Dean Smith’s tenth spot target and could even end as high as eighth should the winning run continue. Victory in ‘our game in hand’ at Hull City AFC on Tuesday night will see the Bees just one point behind Ipswich Town in 8th and make the ‘manager of the month’ vote a very interesting one indeed.

I’d still say that one is a straight shoot out between Chris Hughton or Aitor Karanka. Their teams have won as many as the Bees this month whilst keeping up the pace at the top of a table that sees the top three all on 87 points with just two games to go. Now that’s pressure !

As a side note, am I alone in having a ‘spellcheck’ that defaults the Middlesbrough manager’s name to Aitor Karaoke ? Now there’s some wonderful imagery. Here’s hoping for a Phil Brown style pitch side singalong as Boro’ go up and fairly leave us in peace after 6 wins out of 6 over the last two seasons.

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Could Chris lift something more valuable?

The other Championship news of excitement saw QPR held by Reading. It means the Bees are two points clear of the Loftus Road mob in the battle to see who will end the season as not just West but all London’s top league club. That Hull game has even more riding on it than our opponents might realise.

Back to the FA Cup. We talked yesterday about the forthcoming Doctor Who ‘reveal’ that the BBC had intended to make during half time of the semi final and, sure enough, it happened. Whilst I’ll leave Bees supporter @Lokster71 to comment on the choice of ‘assistant’  via his excellent ‘Patient Centurion’ blog, I have to say that Gary Lineker handled the obvious disruption well.

Indeed, the BBC anchor giving a quite marvellous post-reveal segue pitch side as he dead panned, “The doctor’s not the only one with a new companion, Dan Walker talks to Lee Martin…”.

The only sour notes to the afternoon were  Manchester United securing a winner at the death. To be fair, I’d have been just as unhappy had Everton done this.

It meant that with the spectre of an additional thirty minutes ‘extra time’ now removed, along with it went the chance of Mrs Browns Boys (presumably the safety net should such a situation have arisen) being pulled from the evening’s schedule. Worse, it meant we got Michael McIntyre sooner.

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Mrs Brown – thanks Manchester United. And Everton

Whilst Lineker scored bonus points for the Dan Walker gag, I did also think his closing “Young Prince / party like its 1999” outro felt a little bit forced and, dare I say it, cashing in on the week’s sad news.

And finally, it seems like every week we’re saying this but Kitman Bob is back on the BBgiveaway. Whilst ‘that’ shirt has rolled over to the Fulham game on Saturday, he announced last night : Buzzing about @BrentfordFC support today. I’m throwing in a  BONUS BBGIVEAWAY Tuesday.  Boots to be given away. Keep looking . Tuesday lunch time

As ever, the place to look is on Bob’s twitter account.

Here’s hoping Sam Saunders is back in the team or my bet is spannered .

Roll on Tuesday.

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Kitman Bob – man of mystery and king of competitions

Nick Bruzon

Who, cares? BBC ‘go again’ but will unbeaten April continue?

23 Apr

Today should be a day of excitement. Brentford have the chance to go above the Loftus Road mob in the table once more (only goal difference separates us now) whilst simultaneously relegating MK Dons. This is immediately followed by the FA Cup semi final between Everton and Manchester United. Yet, yet, yet – the words ‘shoddy BBC Doctor Who crossover’ are lurking to spoil things. Again.

First up Brentford’s trip to Milton Keynes. This is going to be a very interesting test of Dean Smith’s managerial process. One can only assume that, injuries aside, he’ll stick with the majority of the team that continued April’s unbeaten run, making it 13 points from 15 against Cardiff City in midweek.

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The Bees recorded a fine win on Tuesday night

Josh Clarke gave a very assured performance in the position that Maxime Colin has filled with aplomb this season. Yet, with Dean confirming that the Frenchman is “available but we have to just manage him” he has a tricky decision to make. Personally, I’d keep Josh in the side. He absolutely deserves it for his showing on Tuesday whilst, if nothing else, it gives Maxime a bit more recovery time ahead of Hull City and Fulham. Assuming he is even required.

Then there’s John Swift. In his absence, Brentford’s record reads: WWWDW . That’s some difference from the LLLL that preceded it .

The Chelsea loanee has featured heavily this season despite a mixed period of form. When he’s good he’s great; when he’s off the pace well, the less said the better. That’s the price of youthful talent. Yet Dean certainly seemed excited about his potential return when giving his updates to the press yesterday.

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Will we see him back today? I doubt it and, being honest, I hope not. At least, not in the starting XI . That’s not meant as a criticism of the player but more the point that our form needs to be rewarded. Very few players could expect to walk back into a winning team after such a lengthy lay off and, with all due respect to John, he’s not one of them.

That said, I’m sure he’ll be on the bench and from there we see what happens next. Sitting next to him will also be Scott Hogan. Surely it’s too soon for our ‘man of the moment’ to start a game despite the obvious excitement about both his recovery and his form. There’s next season for that. Now, let’s just keep easing him back and setting our watches for ‘Jota time’.

The other point from Dean’s press conference was his observation that, “People talk about a massive turnaround but in my eyes we haven’t played loads better than vs Charlton Athletic or Blackburn Rovers.”

Hmm. Not sure that’s a view which will be shared by many Brentford supporters. “Frustratingly grim” was the two word summary of this one following our inability to even take a point at home to ten man Rovers. I don’t want to overly dwell on that now –  I have eyes, I was at those games, I know what I saw. Let’s just take great comfort in the fact we’ve definitely turned the corner, even if Dean believes it’s just in terms of results.

Ok. The FA Cup. Tonight’s semi-final at Wembley (count the things already wrong in this sentence) between Everton and Manchester United should be one to get the juices flowing. Instead, the BBC have chucked a huge rock in the water. Specifically, by telling us that they’ll be using the game to announce the identity of Doctor Who’s new ‘assistant’.

Please. No. I like Doctor Who (much to Mrs Bruzon’s chagrin) and have what could politely be called more than a passing interest in the great game of football. These are big occasions in each field of interest but to jam them together just seems like some cheap-arsed attempt to boost audience figures. It is one that detracts from both events. To be honest, even making ‘an event’ out of a new cast member for the Sci-Fi classic seems like an unnecessary stunt, anyway.

The BBC have ‘form’ here. During the 2014 World Cup final, they crowbarred the trailer for the then forthcoming new series into the middle of the half-time analysis. It was a horribly awkward moment. Gary Lineker seemed genuinely lost for words as any momentum for the second half was immediately washed away. Even I switched channels to ITV, and for that to happen…

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Not even Rio Ferdinand’s ‘Easyjet’ look could detract from the awkwardness in 2014

I love the FA Cup. Please, BBC . At a time when every season sees further elements of tradition being stripped away from this oldest of tournaments, please don’t demean it any more.

And finally, from Peter Capaldi to another doctor who (sorry) is going to be doing his bit for charity on Sunday. Brentford head of medical Neil Greig, that is.

For anybody not aware, Neil will be taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon where he’ll be running on behalf of Havens Hospices. You can read more about this great cause, and also donate, on his Just Giving page.

Good luck tomorrow, Neil.

And if Scott bangs one in against MK, we know who deserves much of that thanks.

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Neil will be doing his thing tomorrow

Nick Bruzon 

Who is joining (or leaving) today? Matthew is back !

17 Mar

Fire up the old Brentford. Matthew Benham is back. On Twitter that is. Whilst he has already returned after a brief mid-season hiatus, Wednesday saw him teasing us with another spin of the ‘cryptic clue generator’. On a day in which this column bemoaned the Charlton Athletic school of comms, it made a refreshing change to see Matthew at his fan teasing best .

What does it all mean? Of course his use of a video clip is traditionally associated with somebody new coming in to Griffin Park. That said, his clues are as hard to understand and unravel as Claudia Winkleman doing the maths on Countdown. Even when you know the answer.

So what can we learn from this? Is somebody coming in today? Certainly, Dean Smith has been very vocal about his desire to dip into the loan market.But any attempt to translate the sequence has , so far, proved as futile as going into a fierce London derby, away from home, with no strikers in your starting XI.

The clip is the Doctor Knee sketch, from Chris Morris’s series Jam. Soundtracked by Brian Eno, it features actors David Cann & Amelia Bullmore ( best known for playing Sonja,the Ukranian girlfriend of TV’s Alan Partridge  – Don’t get Bond wrong !).

But watching the video for a scripted clue or a lead from one of the main names has, as ever, proven pointless. The only Chris Morris I know, in a footballing sense, is now in his 50s and no longer troubling the good people at Panini.

Then it hit me. What if Matthew has changed his modus operandi and is hinting at something else?   Assuming we aren’t signing a player with an injured knee (when would we ever do something like  that?) this could mean one of two other possibilities.

1 – That Scott Hogan is in line for a recall on Saturday following his well documented stint with the Griffin Park medical team. Has that period officially come to an end? Whilst, surely, too soon might we see him make a cameo from the bench? After all, he has been increasing his playing time for the development squad.

2 – That it may be somebody leaving us. The final scene of the sketch see the patient going through the ‘out’ door. If not the case of Scott leaving the doctor’s surgery, perhaps a departure (player or staff; on or off field) is imminent at Brentford? But who? And replaced by……?

Brian Little in for Rasmus or Phil as co-director of football? A rejig in the comms team? Peter Gilham finally hanging up his microphone?

I can’t see any of those happening and, besides, I’m normally as off target as Nick Proschwitz when it comes to unravelling Matthew’s clues.

Instead, we’ll await any update on Brentford official with intrigue. Then fail miserably to backwards translate

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Chris Morris is now past the prime of his 1988 heyday – playing wise

  Nick Bruzon

 

 

Shirt Heaven or Hell – from the original Doctor Allam

21 Mar

Coventry City visit Brentford tomorrow, with the Bees only a point adrift from the top of League One following a set of recent results which have gone very much in our favour. And with Wolves due to play at Sheffield United in the early kick off, by the time our second half begins Brentford will know exactly how significant three points, should we get them, will be

I’m very much excited about our game and the visit of Coventry City – a side I’ve always had a soft spot for. Growing up in the late 70s they were always a top flight outfit and, very much, a household name.

In my eyes this was as much for their status as some of the more unique kits they sported. Even now, I don’t know if these qualify as a mark of genius or insanity but you can’t deny they are eye catching.

The Admiral away kit from the end of the 70s, in chocolate brown with piping that continued from the shirt all the way down the shorts is often voted one of the worst kits of all time. A tad harsh, coming from decade that fashion is universally accepted to have bypassed.

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Is it really deserving of its reputation?

However, it was the 81-84 home kit, that really takes the biscuit as Managing Director Jimmy Hill (yes, him) made Hull City AFC’s Doctor Assem Allam look like a rank amateur in the rebranding stakes.

Coventry had just announced the football league’s first club sponsorship deal with local car giants, Talbot. In a bid to work around the (then) ban on shirt advertising, Hill tried to get the team renamed Coventry Talbot.

Not surprisingly, this move was rejected so, instead, he simply had a home shirt designed that featured their ‘T’ logo as an integral part of the design. It was immediately banned from television.

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Hull’s Doctor Allam has nothing on Hill

Getting back to things Brentford related, I’ve used this column to big up our favourite BBC London and sometime Beesplayer man before. It’s here if you want to see it and I won’t overly repeat myself.

However, whilst trawling the interweb this morning I have discovered something (below) which has set my mind racing as to the potential possibilities. Who wouldn’t want a promotional set of postcards, inspired by the sayings of the commentating legend?  We all have our favourites, and no away game to some God forsaken Northern outpost would be complete for Beesplayer listeners without ‘Tea and a wee’ or ‘Our friends at radio’

And whilst the modern day Billy Reeves has an obvious namesake, who would fill the shoes of his versatile companion … the girl with the rubber face?

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Dear Hull, if you win the FA Cup celebrate like THIS

18 Mar

There was great work on the club website yesterday where, it seems, the Russell Slade sour grapes when Brentford beat Leyton Orient on Saturday have unearthed a sense of ‘official’ humour. After the unsporting O’s manager had, bizarrely, complained that Brentford “celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup” following our ten man away win against the second placed team, this video appeared on our Official YouTube channel.

Come on, feel the noise

 

I don’t think Slade realises what a colossal own goal he has scored in making those comments.

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.

Brentford Bees 1 Hull Tigers 0. A result I never want to see.

14 Dec

““Hull City. My first Brentford game!! Thanks to Bob Booker for getting me hooked so young.”

Not my words but those of GPG user Robbee74, when I canvassed Brentford supporters for their memories of Bob back in 2010.

It may seem odd to start with another club ahead of Brentford’s game against Oldham Athletic but these are troubled times. For those unaware the owner of Hull City AFC, Doctor Assem Allam, is currently ploughinhg ahead with his decision to change the club name to Hull Tigers. Supporters are, unsurprisingly, up in arms over this and moreso given some of his inflammatory remarks about both them and the reason for his taking this course of action.

Dr. Allam has been quoted as telling The Independent that opponents to his scheme “Can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football.”

Charming. It’s up there with the moment that former Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed said, on deciding to erect a statue of Michael Jackson outside the club’s ground,  “If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world they can go to hell. I don’t want them to be fans.”

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.