Tag Archives: Euro2016 blog

As the EURO winners show, what would be our Phoenix From The Flames ?

18 Jun

With EURO2016 now fully underway, Friday’s games saw Spain crank things up a notch and Croatia lose it – on and off the pitch. With much of what involves the England fans dividing opinion and generating some very contrasting views from those ‘on the ground’, there was no doubting what we saw on our TV screens yesterday. Plus, in an effort to blow away the current glut of Griffin Park tumbleweed, we have Brentford thoughts, updates and pictures.

First up, Croatia. 2-0 up and cruising against the Czech Republic, not only did they throw it away to be held 2-2 but their ‘fans’ have, surely, lined them up as the next nation to be given a suspended disqualification alongside Russia. This, after a shower of flares and firecrackers descended onto the pitch from the Croatian end as the game reached it’s denouement.

Combined with fighting amongst their own fans, they were ugly scenes that also saw one steward lucky to escape injury as a device went off in his face. Slaven Bilic, talking as part of the ITV panel for the Spain game, attempted to quantify it with the observation that “There are many fans who are against the FA”. That these are protests against a perceived Zagreb bias in Croatian football.

I can’t comment either way on that. My knowledge of the wider problems in European football extends about as far as when Gibraltar’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Belgium is going to take place. But what I can say is that, like the flare launched at England fans during the Russia game, one can only wonder again how security – with France on its highest state of alert – is working? Moreso, just what can UEFA do, if anything, to stop what should have been a wonderful tournament (and still can be) turning into one which will as much be remembered for all the wrong reasons?

As for Spain, a second clean sheet and three goals against Turkey saw them step up an ominous gear. Wth many people’s favourites France leaving it late to record their second victory, the Spaniards by contrast made their six points look simple. After 61% possession, 707 passes and 18 shots (although with goals to match those stats)  they’re already in to 10/3. Forget patriotism – grab that price whilst you can.

Just one other observation on the Spain game, which comes courtesy of Jamie Lovell (@jtlovell1979 ) on Twitter. I can’t take the credit for this but he put into words, wonderfully, the exasperation many of us were suffering from at the hands (or voice) of co-commentator Tony Pulis.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 08.17.49

For me, Clive

Look positive Jamie, at least it wasn’t Glenn Hoddle

Ok, back home and Brentford. I took a stroll past Griffin Park yesterday and couldn’t resist the chance to stick my head over the wall. I have to say the pitch is looking wonderful already.

Granted, the club took the steps to dig it up as soon as we’d played our last ‘home’ game ( if I recall, some sort of thrashing administered to Fulham, wasn’t it?). That, following the pitch-gate shocker at the start of the season.

But, you have to say, credit for what seems to be a job well done already. Here’s to seeing how the Bees perform on it when Championship action recommences in August.

Griffin PArk June 2016

The pitch is looking luxuriant

And when it does, Brentford will find themselves joint 7th (seventh) favourites for the title. Checking my online bookmaker for research purposes this morning, this odds are now up and we’re priced 20/1.

Somewhat stingy for a team who, by our own head coach’s admission, were in a relegation scrap as recently as March? Or easy money for a team who have rediscovered the way to goal via Scott Hogan and those signings who have now ‘bedded in’ to the side? Either way, this is how the bookies see the Championship at present.

And finally, Euro ’96. Kind of. With the football in everybody’s faces at the moment, even the radio is getting in on the act. You can’t move on Absolute Radio at present for World in Motion or Three Lions. Which is no bad thing.

The latter, especially, bringing back all sorts of memories. And not just about how terrifyingly bad David Baddiel was at singing. Seriously, that was the best take?

But talk on the subject amongst some of my Brentford supporting friends led from there to the TV show from which it sprang, Fantasy Football League (of course, co-hosted by Frank Skinner). In particular, the ‘Phoenix From The Flames’ segment in which a famous moment from footballing days gone by would be recreated on a council pitch, featuring the original protagonists.

Specifically, conversation got onto the topic of which Brentford moment would we recreate? Perhaps with the wonderful Sean Ridley and Jo Tilley in the Baddiel and Skinner roles ?

That penalty’ is perhaps too obvious Besides, having not really been discussed in the media after the event, people might not remember. Other topics for consideration included:

Mike Grella destroying Bournemouth; Jota v Fulham; Paul Hayes and Will Grigg being less than on fire when taking home debut penalties; promotion v Preston; Gary Blissett knocking Manchester City out of the FA cup and inciting a banana wielding pitch invader; DJ Campbell giving Gary Breen nightmares.

In the end, though, we settled on cup action. Against Everton. Richard Lee’s penalty saves were the highlight for many but, equally, the pre-game footage of the respective club mascots still gets a watch every now and then.

Whilst the respective kids must be close to teenagers now, that would almost add to the recreation. That said, I’m not sure if we could afford Leighton Baines’ appearance fee.

Could this be recreated, Phoenix style?

Until then, here’s to a weekend of six games and, hopefully, some more magical moments.

Nick Bruzon

A real Löw point for EURO2016. But we have some inside men

13 Jun

We don’t do the serious stuff on these pages. It’s normally just a bit of nonsense about Brentford, perhaps with a bit of the national team thrown in. With Euro 2016 alive and kicking (quite literally) I couldn’t bring myself to do it yesterday. The scenes from the Russia fans and the attacks on England supporters, with the obvious and somewhat familiar retaliation, have left a rather sick feeling in the stomach.

More to the point, I’m not there. Who to believe? What to believe? A vile English minority or self-defence?

The media have been quick to jump on the England hooligans  ‘shaming a nation’ bandwagon. Perhaps true, to an extent, but the more you read the more it sounds a bit different this time.

Gangs of French ultras roaming the streets starting unprovoked attacks on those English fans they’ve targeted. Russian thuggery. A flare gun fired at England supporters during the 1-1 draw on Saturday night (there was a game, by the way). A flare gun? Amid all the terror alerts and security. After all the violence. How on earth do you get a gun of any description into a stadium?

Talk of reactive French police. Police who had taken no advice beforehand and then waded in indiscriminantly afterwards.And come 2018 we’ve got a World Cup in Russia

All in all , whoever you believe to be at fault, some pretty depressing scenes and thought provoking stuff.

Thankfully, for us Brentford fans we have our two ‘inside men’ on the scene. Billy Grant and Dave Lane from Beesotted are out in France, trying to enjoy the football but also doing their domestic thing, continental style.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 05.55.48

Have selfie stick, will travel

Armed with nothing more than a selfie stick, a camera and a laptop they are keeping the website running and bringing us regular reports on what is really going on. And there are some pretty shocking scenes.

Great work , chaps. Please keep it up. Here’s hoping you’ve got a happier story to report soon. And in the meantime, for those who haven’t seen it their update on the trouble in Marseille is here. The video is close to a million hits already. Understandably so.

So what else have we learned so far? Never shake hands with Joachim Low. He was caught doing the old ‘scratch and sniff’ during last night’s Germany v Ukraine. A game the Germans took 2-0, for the record.

Did the Ukraine manager shake hands at full time?

Will Grigg isn’t on fire. Despite being one of several ex-Bees involved in the Poland – Northern Ireland squads, the Poles ran out 1-0 winners. And it seems that Stuart Dallas hasn’t got the memo about #Beardclub having been disbanded. He’s looking less hipster and more Rasputin these days.

Tonight sees the first chance of that classic tournament line, “And for those of you just coming in from work, the score is…” being trotted out. The game : Republic of Ireland v Sweden. the place: BBC1. Expect that to be used at about 6.15pm tonight . Despite the score being clearly available in the top left hand corner of the screen .

As for Brentford news, well the tumbleweed continues. The most I can do is guide you towards eBay where there are a number of unusual Bees shirts on sale at the moment (and none of which this kit nerd will be bidding for on pain of death – not literally, but season tickets don’t pay for themselves).

Alternatively,The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. Should anybody want to go over this nonsense, relive these moments once more and remind ourselves of the pain induced by Stroud and the fallout from that penalty’ you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same. We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Bruzon