Tag Archives: Ewood Park

Brentford, Blackburn or Nottingham Forest? Who will win (or lose by less)?

6 May

This is it. The last weekend of the season with so much excitement still to come. And that’s just off pitch where the club have asked fans to dig out their retro shirts to mark the occasion of our current crest (badge) making one final appearance before being retired. Then there’s the small matter of Mark Warburton and Nottingham Forest hoping Brentford can do them a favour when Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Griffin Park. With Birmingham City still not safe either, live on TV we’ve Sunday’s relegation shootout.

So what will happen? Will Brentford take the foot off the gas and Blackburn survive? Can Forest get the home win they need and hope their goals are sufficient? Both they and Rovers are locked on the same points and so if they match each others results, it comes down to goal difference. Which is currently -13 Forest and -14 Rovers. It could even turn into a case of whoever loses less heavily stays up.

And I have to say that because I fully expect Brentford to win. We’ve a chance to get up to 8th place, which would be one better than last season. Then again, for that to happen it means we need  to rely on victories for both Rotherham United and QPR. We’ve got to be realistic here.

But a win for the Bees, something that is in our hands, will see us surpass last season points total by two. That alone will be incentive for Dean Smith and a team that I fully expect to be focussed on going out in style.

I feel for the Nottingham Forest and Blackburn supporters in their having to rely on another result. Moreso, from teams who they may think are already on the beach or, in our case, at the Player of the Year awards that are taking place later on Sunday night. However, I refer you back to season 2014/15.

This was Brentford’s first in the Championship and Mark Warburton was looking to go out in style. Despite a little wobble towards the end, the Bees went into that final weekend needing to beat Wigan Athletic then rely on a slip up from Derby County or Ipswich Town in order to make the play offs. The Rams were home to hapless Reading and needed just a point to secure their own spot. We’d beaten the Royals a week earlier and they looked awful. Ipswich were on fire though and, likewise, avoiding defeat was all they needed.

On an incredible afternoon, BOTH results went our way. Despite taking an early lead at Ewood, the Tractor Boys were eventually reigned in and went down 3-2. As for Derby, they missed an early penalty and hit the self-destruct from that point. A 0-3 home loss to a bang average team with nothing, absolutely nothing, to play for was as unexpected as it was hilarious.

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Post Wigan: Err. You know that holiday? Well, Derby and Ipswich have both lost.

The point being that strange results can happen. That the team who appear to have nothing to play for on paper won’t just switch off. We’ve definitely been the beneficiaries of this fact in the past.

However on Sunday, and I take no pleasure from this prediction, my gut feeling is that Brentford are going to be the executioners. We’ve more than just pride to play for. For Blackburn Rovers to stay up, it’s going to have to rely on Nottingham Forest losing by more than they do.

Then again, as has been said many times, I’m just the numpty on the terrace. Take results based advice from these pages with a huge dollop of caution. Indeed, given the aforementioned favour they did us, there’s a big part of me that hopes Blackburn losing by less than Forest is the way this one plays out. Everybody in TW8 can go home smiling. Especially if Rotherham and (something I can’t believe we need or want to happen) QPR also win.

Then again, there’s the Mark Warburton factor. A hero to many at Griffin Park, could we take any pleasure from putting a nail in his Championship coffin? Perhaps it’s not one to overthink. Let’s just go out and let the football do the talking – whatever will be will be.

Besides, there’s more to think about off field. I make no secret of being a kit nerd and the club putting out this challenge to supporters has got me intrigued.

Just what could we see? What will the fans’  ‘favourite’ be? Does anybody even own that wonderful Hummel-lite version from 94-95; our first to feature the current crest (badge)? Is there a Samvo shirt out there that still has the sponsor intact rather than having disintegrated the first time it went through the washing machine?

On a personal note, I’ve whittled it down to a choice of three. Or four. But there are more than a few stunners to pick from.

Being fortunate enough to take part in filming an episode of Britain’s top rated day time TV show Bargain Hunt yesterday, both the Bees and the kit obsession made it into that really awkward chat bit at the start.

And that bit, when the show goes out, is quite likely to be the highlight. Let’s just say it’s a lot harder than it looks ‘playing’ live rather than when you watch from home.

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Just some of the shirt choices – although current crest (badge) only

Likewise, subject to any last minute editorial decisions then I gather the match day programme will feature a very special top ten.  Although after last weekend’s Brian Guest affair at Fulham, which the club knew nothing about in advance, we probably shouldn’t take anything on that front for granted.

So if you haven’t done it yet, why not have a root through the back of the wardrobe and see what you can pull out? Whatever your thoughts on the current crest (badge) why not help see it off in style?

The next time we all get together, there’ll be a new design in place….

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Coming soon. To a shirt near you….

Nick Bruzon 

 

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The good, the bad and the ugly. Bees miss out, fans rally round Manchester United man and birthday wishes. A week in football

20 Nov

Brentford went down 3-2 at Blackburn despite Scott Hogan grabbing the first of his brace quicker than most people can spell antidisestablishmentarianism. Newcastle United are now 9 points clear of third place whilst Dwight Gayle, also with a brace as Leeds were despatched 2-0, occupies the penthouse suite at the Championship leading scorer hotel (i.e. he’s number 1). Norwich City made it four in a row – defeats that is. Their ignominy being compounded by this being at the hands of Ian Holloway and his QPR side who now sit a point ahead of our super Bees. At the bottom, it’s business as usual. Blackburn, Wigan and Rotherham continue to make up the final three.

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

As ever, we start with Brentford where defeat at Ewood Park was hard to swallow. Despite Scott Hogan making it 9 and 10 for the season, those expecting us to ‘bounce back’ after Fulham were left ruing a lost chance. Indeed, it seems we’re struggling against the less fancied teams.

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That said, away from the action it was good to see Beesotted main man Billy Grant find the pub in Blackburn. Presumably, those aren’t wasps?

billy-grant-blackburn-bees

Talking of which, (and this really IS the last comment on the crest confusion) anybody thinking our new logo looks like a wasp may want to refine their opinion. Or start supporting Alloa Athletic. Now THIS is a wasp (with thanks to @sarangipani for this spot).

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As a final Bees related though, Bernard Quackenbush just can’t let this one go. And rightly so, quite frankly. This time, the normally accurate BBC being the ones to feel his ire.

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Instead, the main story of the week has been the furore surrounding Manchester United and England man Wayne Rooney. Regular readers to this page will know that the Old Trafford outfit are frequent visitors (largely thanks to the black humour in their ongoing struggle to pick up where Sir Alex Ferguson left off). Yet, for once, I must spring to Rooney’s defence.

Seriously, what a fuss over nothing. What a ridiculous attempt by the press to once again knock the England team and kick the players that they’ll be the first to be fawning over when something goes well. It all started when he was photographed at a wedding party and then made to apologise like a naughty schoolboy….

wayne-rooney-statement

Fortunately, most people could see through the sham. From the Brentford angle, none other than Bluetones guitarist Adam Devlin and Irish international Alan Judge were quick to weigh in with their thoughts. The former being first out of the blocks with a double whammy.

 

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Manchester United legend Phil Neville also added his own voice to proceedings in defence of his former team mate.

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But it wouldn’t be the weekly round up without mention of Manchester United failing to hit the heights.  With local rivals Manchester City winning on the road at Crystal Palace thanks to a brace from Yaya Toure, the Telegraph were quick to post the following statistic.

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Elsewhere, the peril of wearing ludicrous luminous kits was highlighted – quite literally.

neon-kit

We’ve spoken this week about the ongoing fall out at Charlton Athletic. Following a group of supporters confronting owner Roalnd Duchatelet in his home town of St. Truiden on the occasion of his 70th birthday meal, the Addicks were taking no chances this time around.

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‘Football on 5’ host George Riley put us in mind of one of the most favourite football cliches whilst preparing for the weekend’s show.

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With it , a cheap excuse to crowbar in another look at ‘the wellness scale’ of typical shot methods. I love this but can take no credit for producing what is a work of genius.

 

Wellness scale

Those of us who didn’t make it to Ewood Park were later afforded the opportunity to watch another 3-2 game. Namely, Tottenham’s home win over West Ham on Saturday night. Like our own game, the visitors took the lead before a soft penalty turned the scores.

BBC Radio London man Phil Parry was on hand to witness the action, where our own Billy Reeves laid down a gauntlet.

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And the answer, according to Billy today, saw the Children In Need coffers swelled further thanks to the ding-dong antics on BBC Radio London.

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They weren’t the only station reporting on this one, obviously. Ian Moose from Talksport was also present for another combo of commentary, banging on about pies and referencing ‘my good friend’ (insert name of player) – the regular form if his social media feed is to be believed. Mr Moose’s address book must be fit to burst whilst I dread to think what his birthday card bill is.

Friendship couldn’t get in the way of the result, however, as West Ham lost out at the death.

moose-post-spurs-3-2

And finally, on the same subject, regular followers of the Twitter scene may be aware of Ian offering what seem to be daily birthday wishes to one of his good footballing friends. Shameless name dropping or simply a public service keeping us abreast of all matters age related?

So it’s time for Ian’s football friend birthday of the week.  In a column that sees us looking at Manchester United, it is perhaps appropriate that this week Ian offers birthday wishes to his friend : Paul Scholes.

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Nick Bruzon

Bees come a sloppy second to Blackburn. Get me out of here…

20 Nov

Blackburn Rovers 3 Brentford 2. The scoreline does’t even begin to sum up a frustrating result after the Bees had taken the lead with barely half a minute of the game gone. That we then conspired to present our hosts with three goals (and no complaints about them for taking their chances – you can only put away what is in front of you) is something out of character with the Bees and hugely disappointing.

Equally, though, with still almost an hour to play at 3-2 down Brentford had plenty of time to salvage something. Instead, the records will show that we managed 3 shots on target all game.

Listen, I’ve no issue with holding up my hands and knowing when we’ve not deserved a thing. Look at our last home game, against Fulham, and then look away fast. There was no creativity and nothing to inspire. At least this time Dean loaded his team for attack, gave Romaine Sawyers a break for the first time this season and it paid immediate dividends. Lasse Vibe releasing Scott Hogan who sprung the offside trap and ran clear on goal to make it 1-0 Brentford after a mere 33 seconds.

Likewise, Hogan’s second, to level things up at 2-2, was the culmination of a beautiful move around the Blackburn midfield that ended with the striker taking his total to ten Championship goals for the season. With parity restored at 2-2 after just a half hour, and headline writers preparing the phrase ‘goal fest’ surely we were back in the driving seat? But no. Sloppiness followed just as sloppiness had preceded.

Sam Gallagher had been earmarked as the man to watch prior to this one but it was Danny Graham who took advantage of the huge holes in the Brentford defence to equalise on the quarter hour. It was marking that would have embarrassed a league two club, let alone a tier two Championship team, and the goal machine made no mistake. Five minutes later, he’d doubled his tally and given the home side the lead from the penalty spot. It looked a pretty innocuous challenge on the TV in what were slippery conditions – just check out the skid marks – but referee Chris Kavanagh had no hesitation and the penalty was dispatched perfectly.

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Bees hit the skids – did snow trail make it look worse than it was?

As for the winning goal though. The tales of Brentford centre-backs putting it past their own goalkeeper are legion. I’m not going to moan at Harlee Dean – the defensive o.g. has happened so many times before and will no doubt happen again. Indeed the biggest crime was even giving the ball away in the first instance, with the Bees in a very safe position on the half way line and taking it forward. Suddenly we were under pressure and paid the ultimate price as the ball was swept into the box.

Those of us watching back home could only mutter under the breath as this one popped up on the Sky Sports scrolly thing. Those of us wearing anoraks could only smile at the thought of Renton scoring in Edinburgh. At least one team displaying a lust for life there.

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The highlights of this one are on Sky now. Alternatively, if you prefer to see whether Mark Burridge and the team can salvage anything from the game, then there are double length highlights on Bees Player now we’ve got past the 12pm curfew.

Is it any better with Mark at the helm?

As for any more of an in-depth report,  regular readers know the drill. The BBC, Brentford official or Beesotted are your places. When even official lead with : Lasse vibe on “sloppy” defeat to Blackburn Rovers then it’s fairly safe to know what you are going to get.

Besides, yours truly wasn’t even allowed anywhere near Channel 5 for the highlights last night, with the remote control having been commandeered for watching Carol Vordeman (who seems to have been rebuilt more than the Brentford defence) and Danny Baker subtly attempting to wind up a daytime TV property ‘expert’.

An act which, if we’re being honest, they largely succeeded at under the watchful eyes of Ant and Dec. If only we’d had such acumen but alas it wasn’t to be. Then again, the thought of Harlee making a meal of pig’s anus or Sam Saunders standing in an oversized fish tank with an eel merging from his shorts are not the sort of images I particularly want so perhaps we park that analogy here, with apologies.

Can there be any positives from that? And by which I mean the Blackburn game rather than ‘I’m a celebrity’… ? Well, you have to start with two wonderfully taken goals. Scott Hogan is now in double figures in the Championship, level with Glenn Murray and just one behind Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United.With the Repulic of Ireland reportedly sniffing around, he is very much the ‘man of the moment’ in the Championship. January could be stressful..

Equally, at least, we can sleep that bit easier knowing that the media team won’t be dusting off the #Novemberkings moniker which was so cringe worthily chucked around during our first Championship season.

Beyond that though, it is a case of slim pickings. On a snowy day we weren’t even granted that rare treat of an orange ball. Instead, the mid-winter yellow version is deemed sufficient and I fear that really could be it now for this nostalgic favourite. Unless, of course, the FA Cup can produce something magical.

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Is the combination of snow and orange ball now a thing of the past?

So what next for the Bees? A win would be nice, for one thing. That wonderful victory over QPR has been our only real bright spark in a 7(seven) game run that has otherwise seen four defeats and two 0-0 draws.

Tablewise, we are now just into the bottom half. Five points shy of the play-off zone and six ahead of the basement clubs. With Blackburn, Wigan and surely doomed Rotherham United (already 11 points and vastly inferior goal difference off safety) still occupying those places, that’s not even a situation worth contemplating .

Yet, equally, complacency won’t win you games or keep you up. Look at Newcastle United last season. And Aston Villa. No club is too safe or too big to go down. Keep losing and that’ll happen. Not anything to worry about for now, that’s for sure, but a swift return to winning ways will be a good thing.

As the interview with Dean Smith on Brentford official noted:

Next Saturday The Bees return to Griffin Park to host Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City with Dean saying that he wants to see a response after consecutive losses.

“Next week’s game takes on extra importance because, after back to back defeats, we have to bounce back,” said Dean. “

Never a truer word and so important it had to be mentioned twice..

Nick Bruzon

Harlee offers an alternative to going again. Dean conjures up strange images.

18 Nov

Footballers, eh? Normally the first to come out with anodyne soundbites about how the boys did well well or that despite the defeat (for which we apologise to the fans – it wasn’t good enough)  ‘we go again’. But with Brentford heading into Saturday’s game with Blackburn, club captain Harlee Dean has given a really interesting, and honest, interview on ‘official’ as part of the big match preview.

Talking about his own performance, current form, team mates and, of course, the threat posed by Blackburn it recognises our own, what we’ll call, ‘blips’ .

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Harlee speaks to the press on Thursday

Fairplay to Harlee. I’m not normally one for these interviews. If nothing else, the technique of previewing what a player is about to be quoted on and then quoting it , often verbatim, still rankles. This one has a classic example and does make me wonder if we have problems with the required ‘word count’:

Harlee, who has missed just two games all season, feels that a mid-table position is where The Bees deserve to be based on the opening 16 games of the season but has aims on being much higher.

“I feel the team should be where we are but we could be a lot better,” said Harlee.

But it is a small gripe. It’s great to hear our captain being so open, so honest and saying what we can all see. The question now is one of how we follow up these words. As he notes:

“The boys will be honest that a few of them have been good in spells and then dropped off…..  We can easily do it but we all have to be consistent, not just for one game or for 135 minutes, but for two, three, or four games in a row and see where it takes us.”

If you haven’t read the full interview yet, you can find it on ‘official’. Alternatively, the whole piece is on the Brentford YouTube page which you can find below.

Harlee. Great words, great jumper 

Dean Smith also gave his press conference, where ‘official’ began by telling us he is expecting Blackburn to offer both “a tough test” and a “stern examination”. I had to double take on reading that opening gambit. Visions of daleks gliding onto the Ewood Park pitch were soon dispelled upon noting it said stern examination rather than extermination (and with it, the photoshop imagery hit the ‘trash’ folder). That’s what writing this nonsense so early in the morning does to you!

Like Harlee, Mr Smith also noted that “The consistency element is something that we are working on.” Certainly the right mantra and let’s hope it sinks in. Consistency , consistency, consistency. Repeat it enough and, like saying Candyman, Candyman, Candyman into the mirror – will it magically appear?

On Saturday, we find out.

And if you’d like to read more, Dean’s full interview is also available on Brentford official.

In the meantime, the thought of Doctor Smith and the Daleks has been niggling. Here’s hoping Blackburn can be exterminated on Saturday (in the nicest possible terms).

dean-dalek

Nick Bruzon

Brentford walking into weekend protest at Blackburn as Charlton crank theirs up

17 Nov

Blackburn Rovers v Brentford. By rights we should be talking about Gary Blissett sending the Bees into a 1989 FA Cup quarter final against Liverpool or Jota sending Mark Burridge into near meltdown as he scored ‘that goal’ (#Burridgegasm). Instead, it seems that this Saturday we could be walking into the heart of a maelstrom with a supporter protest being planned against club owners Venkys. Like Charlton Athletic fans before them (and stick around to see how they took things to the next level at the weekend) it is another protest against an ownership that is deemed to have run a once successful club to the brink of disaster. And then pushed it over the edge.

Any excuse to take a look at this one again

The Lancashire Telegraph is reporting this morning how fans plan to raise red cards on both the 18th and 75th minute – a reference to the club’s formation in 1875 prior to their becoming founder members of the football league – as a sign of their dissatisfaction with team performance and the club’s rising debts.

Will this affect Brentford? Will it play into our hands ? Will we be able to get back to winning / goalscoring ways against a team who have been  rooted in the bottom three for what seems like most of the season ? Or could it even inspire the home side to up their game?

Who knows. What I can say is that it certainly puts our own ‘problems’ in perspective. In Matthew Benham and the current board, we have an outfit making no secret of the fact that the club is looking to be run in a financially sound way. For sure, the glut of sales / departures alongside Mark Warburton were tough for many to swallow but nobody could deny a subsequent Championship finish of 9th was a false or unimpressive position. The table doesn’t lie,

As recently as our last game, the Bees were a win away from hitting the play off zone. Sadly, we capitulated against Fulham with a, frankly, woeful performance that saw the Cottagers finally record a win against us at the fifth attempt.

Our biggest supporter dissatisfaction is currently in regards to the new club crest and, whilst all observations pro/against equally valid, it’s hardly in the Blackburn / Charlton category of doom and gloom.

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I love the nod to the past in our new crest

As for Charlton, just when things couldn’t get any crazier at the Valley supporters took matters further into the hands in the ongoing protest against owner Roland Duchatelet. They visited his home town of St Truiden on the weekend of his 70th birthday with the intention of handing out leaflets to outline their concerns.

Not only did they do this but, likewise, stumbled across the man himself enjoying a birthday meal as his team went down 3-0 at Swindon. The Coventry Telegraph is amongst those with the story whilst you can see the video footage below.

For all that Brentford fans may be unhappy about certain aspects of life at Griffin Park, things could be an awful lot worse.

Charlton fans take protest up a notch.

Nick Bruzon  

Move along, nothing to see here (especially for travelling fans)

12 Nov

Welcome back, Brentford fans. The Last Word has had a few days off as I’ve been concentrating on MK Dons (I suppose somebody has to) ahead of their visit next month. And what a few days it has been. We’ll be bang up to date with the Burnley TV announcement which has followed what could, politely, be called a period of ‘managerial upheaval’. Chris Ramsey at QPR – gone! Kit Symons at Fulham – gone! Gary Bowyer at Blackburn Rovers – gone. And all this hot on the heels of Guy Luzon at Charlton going before most fans had even left South-East London last month.

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

As I said after Ramsey’s departure, I take no pleasure in seeing anybody lose his or her job. Those sentiments still hold true. We’ve been through it ourselves already this season when the Marinus experiment (something that even now sounds like the sort of prog rock band BBC Billy Reeves might listen to whilst compiling a match report) came to a somewhat premature conclusion.

However, what is interesting to note is how soon these dismissals came after the respective teams had played Brentford. Blackburn dismissed Gary Bowyer after our 1-1 at Ewood Park, Luzon had gone within moments of Charlton being hammered 3-0 by the Bees at the Valley whilst at least QPR gave Chris Ramsey one more game after they’d lost to us. Then swung the axe.

Is there anything more to this than coincidence? Are Brentford still viewed by others as the yardstick of mediocrity? And, as such, failure to beat us is deemed to be the final straw on the proverbial camel’s back?

Anybody who saw what we did last season would be a fool to subscribe to that theory. Likewise, those who have troubled to actually look at what we have done this time around, especially under Lee Carsley. But people are very much set in their ways and attitudes, choosing to sneer about ‘stats’ and still laugh off Brentford as some insignificance of minor irritant – much like a mosquito troubling a T-Rex.

And that’s just the way I like it. We’ve now got international break where, subject to injuries, the likes of Alan Judge and Lasse Vibe could be on duty whilst John Swift has been called up for the England U-21s. Instead, those outside TW8 will no doubt overlook all this, which suits me fine.

Forget ‘Little old Brentford’ (urghh). Forget ‘#BigNewAmbitions’ (please, can we all forget about that). Move along, there’s nothing to see here. Let people ignore us or dismiss us. We’ve got ten days to drift into the back of peoples’ consciousness once more and continue our discreet push up the blindside of the Championship table. Moreso, with the likes of Jota and Sam Saunders pushing for selection, we’ve only got more opportunity to spring a few surprises.

Jota's Instagram account gives encouraging news

Jota’s Instagram account gives encouraging news

And then Sky TV has come along to promptly ruin things for us with that rarest of things – a televised Championship game that doesn’t involved Leeds United. Instead, our game at home to Burnley has now been brought forward to Friday January 15th at 7.45pm.

From a timing perspective, this one is a nightmare. Saturday 9 January (subject to TV, of course) sees the FA Cup third round. We then entertain Middlesbrough on Tuesday night – a huge challenge in it’s own right given recent form between our respective teams – before lining up against Burnley just three days after that.

It’s always a busy time of the year, no question, but purely from a fitness perspective to deny ourselves that extra night to recover can’t be a great thing. Middlesbrough and Burnley are at the business end of the table for good reason. They’ll be tough enough opponents as it is, without things being made any harder for us by powers outside of our control.

Then there are supporters. Not all of us have the luxury of living in West London. Whilst many do, there are a lot of Bees for whom the trek to Griffin Park is a carefully planned ritual. As one terrace observer put it to me last night, “It’s annoying. I can pull the ‘leave early/work from home’ thing every so often but twice in a week is now book a holiday or choose a game I’ll have to miss.”

@Gandalf3819 was equally frustrated on Twitter last night, adding, “That’s great, another game missed because some of us do shift work! Talk about selling our soul!” This was promptly followed by a hashtag that I don’t think the club will be using on the next marketing campaign.

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Look. I have no doubt we’ll be told that this is totally outside of our control but, equally, I’d be interested to hear how hard we have fought against this. Or, indeed, does the club actually believe that it is in our own interests – after all, we do get increased revenue from the TV money.

With success comes TV money and the price of that is fixture upheaval. Just imagine what would have happened had we actually made it to the Premier League this season. I accept all that but did it really have to be that weekend?

The fans could be paying out for three games in a 7(seven) day stretch immediately after the Christmas and New Year period. A problem further compounded by the fact that Season Tickets don’t cover the FA Cup.

As for the players. Well, our squad may be big but it is notoriously fragile. One New Road wag asked me last week if Lewis Macleod is actually made out of balsa wood, following his latest setback for the development squad. The prospect of three games in such close proximity is one that must have the medics quaking and the recovery coach (I’m sure we must have one) filling the ice bath already.

Hey, it could just be me and, actually, people welcome this. That’s football and this is my opinion. However, I’m keen to see if the club or even BIAS, the independent voice of Brentford supporters, make any further comment.

Moving on, I mentioned MK Dons and their temporary role in shutting own the Last Word at the top end of this column. Well, my focus on them has been in regards to the ‘kit obsessive‘ article that appears in the matchday magazine. Specifically, as they’ve presented a challenge even bigger than facing Middlesbrough, Burnley and Team X over the space of a week. From a kit article perspective.

Whilst other clubs have afforded us the luxury of over a century worth of shirt design to select from, with MK we have just over a decade.

A mere 11 home shirts since they forced their way into existence has made it somewhat of a tougher challenge than normal. But after trawling through a back catalogue skimpier than Britney Spears swimsuit, we’re there.

And I think you might like this one. Well, I hope you might like this one. You might like this one.

On December 5th you can make up your own minds. Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon

Who is top of the local pile as our favourite 7(seven) returns?

8 Nov

A point for Brentford following the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers was sufficient to keep us top of the West London Championship pile, above both Fulham and QPR. The former, in particular, being on the wrong end of a 5-2 home hammering c/o Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson’s Birmingham City (stop sniggering at the back). And with another ‘nil points’ for Chelsea in the Premier League, the West London football demographic has a wonderful look to it as things stand.

But it’s the Championship, and Blackburn Rovers, where we need to give specific focus. Lee Carsley’s ‘men in black’ made it 13 points out of a possible eighteen with a result that now sees clear air between Brentford, Fulham and QPR.

Come for the style; stay for the point. Next stop, the C&A catalogue

Come for the style; stay for the point.

It was a game that saw the Bees take the lead via Lasse Vibe, despite the expected absence of Alan Judge and the enforced substitution, on a stretcher, of Marco Djuricin after just 23 minutes. John Swift, who only moments earlier had been singled out by BBC Billy Reeves as being ‘outmuscled’, played a delightful through ball that split the Blackburn defence like a Samurai dissecting a watermelon . With a sword. Of the Samurai variety.

Vibe got on the end of it to run at Jason Steele in the Rover’s goal. Steele, like Wigan Athletic’s Max Power, somebody with a name that puts me in mind of a sauve 60’s TV detective duo. Roll neck jumpers and adventure are never far away. Neither are goals, as Vibe made no mistake, chipping it past the ‘keeper for 1-0 Bees .

However exciting the moment, it was a lead that wasn’t to last long. Tom Lawrence with an effort that could be called speculative, at best, equalised for the home team.

It was a cross-cum-shot from well outside the box that seemed to creep through everybody, turning more from cross into shot before eventually becoming the quintessential example of a ‘stealth goal’. Neither Rovers nor Bees attempted to put a foot, or other body part, in the way. With David Button scrabbling for it, the scores were levelled up.

And that’s how things stayed. Being honest, we’d all have taken a point before hand although there was a genuine feeling of disappointment from several quarters. Personally, I was just pleased to see Harlee not having to tweet about ‘going again’ at full time and, instead, bigging up the return of Sam Saunders.

With 18 minutes game time now under the belt, not to mention looking resplendent in the new all black ‘third kit’, Sam’s presence can only give another attacking option to the Bees in the coming months. What an unfortunate time for international break to hit us again although, on the flip side, it may allow Marco Djuricin time to recover.

Still, I’m just buzzing to see Sam back in action. Having been with the Bees since 2009 after signing from Dagenham & Redbridge with Danny Foster and Ben Strevens (now at Eastleigh, for the record) he has long been a fan favourite – as much for his ability as anything else. Seeing him back in action will be a huge lift for the supporters, the players, the management and our free kick coach.

Mark Burridge provides croaks, sorry, erm.. comms

Elsewhere, Fulham weren’t the only team to ship five as Ipswich Town hit the same amount past hapless Rotherham United. Even Jonathan Douglas got in on the act with a 20 yard effort. As one terrace wag later suggested, “It was good to see him score with a stunner on the pitch, for once”.

QPR laboured to a 0-0 at home to Preston North End although, at least, had the novelty of something called a ‘clean sheet’. Indeed, Fulham have now shipped more goals than the Loftus Road outfit. The Cottager’s 28 has only been surpassed, if that is the word, by the aforementioned Millers (whose form seems even worse than that of Chelsea) on 33.

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

The BBC table shows clear air between us and our local rivals

Still, that’s their problem. Brentford are back in pole position to be crowned Kings of West London Championship football. Could a fourth team be joining us next season? Or will Chelsea even end up getting leapfrogged?

It’s not that the Blues are too good to go down. More that there are simply worse teams than them in the vicinity of the dropzone. On current form the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will do a better job of ensuring top flight safety for Chelsea than Jose Mourinho could hope to do..

Still, Chelsea are up there. We aren’t. Yet.

But, as ever, it shows that anything is possible in football. To coin a phrase, you just need to Beelieive.

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

Nick Bruzon

Mark Chapman gives strip tease as Bees prepare for Blackburn

7 Nov

I’ve had Will Smith stuck in my head for the last 24 hours and it’s not a good thing. Whilst most sane Brentford supporters will be getting ready for the trip to Blackburn Rovers and wondering if we can bounce back after the midweek defeat to Hull City, my mind has been elsewhere.

I blame deputy head of Media and Communications, Mark Chapman. In a good way, mind you. He published a story on the official site yesterday announcing that we’ll be in a new third kit and one which, for the Blackburn game, will have the additional detailing of the Royal British Legion poppy.

And so instead of looking at those normal pre-match points – of which there are many – I’ve been focused on trying to oust, “Here come the men in black” from its unholy place as the current ‘earworm’. And, at 6.45 am on Saturday morning, it is a challenge that still shows no sign of being successful.

Here come the men in black etc etc etc

Here come the men in black etc etc etc

All of which is providing somewhat of a distraction. Then again, the regular reader of this site or the matchday programme (where ‘the last word’ may have been dumped by powers outside of my control but I still get to annoy you with ‘kit obsessive’) will know about my fascination with all things ‘kit’ related.

This brief teaser we’ve been offered as to the latest effort has certainly piqued my curiosity. Moreso, because it won’t, officially, be for sale to the general public or fanatics. That said, anybody feeling particularly generous will be able to bid on the Blackburn matchday shirts to raise money for the aforementioned British Legion. It is a wonderful cause but at this time of year it may, sadly, be a gap that remains in my collection.

I’m not, generally, a huge fan of black shirts. Specifically because the Bees should play in blue as our away colour. Then again this is a third shirt. Moreso, from the glimpse given, is looking like one that could be really quite special. With a hint of the silver last seen in our special shirt to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, it looks like it could be something to potentially break into our top five ‘away’ kits of all time.

Brentford - unbeaten in silver

Brentford – unbeaten in silver

And enough with the shirt.

Getting back to all matters Blackburn related, the main question that Brentford fans will be wondering is whether Alan Judge will put in an appearance against his former club.

From what I’ve read, it would seem unlikely that October’s Championship player of the month will appear but one can live in hope. Besides, if the team can match the same heights and intensity as seen on Tuesday against Hull (at least, until the Tigers turned it up to 11) then we have every chance.

Hull, somehow, raised their performance one better than the maximum 10

Hull, somehow, raised their performance one better than the maximum 10

Moreso if we get the chance to look at Sam Saunders. He was on the bench during the week and I’m itching to see Sam involved at some point. If nothing else, our much-touted dead ball coach hasn’t had too much success from free kicks so far this campaign. As one terrace wag is forever noting, “I hope he’s not being paid on commission”.

Then again, if the man who elicits that most favourite of phrases whenever the referee whips out his can of shaving cream – “And this is Saunders territory” – is playing then there could be food on the table once more, Chez free kick coach.

One man who won’t is Lewis Macleod. As Kevin O’Connor’s development squad recorded their fifth successive victory on Friday, Lewis lasted just thirteen minutes before being replaced by Josh Laurent. The article on the club site includes the explanation from Kev that, “It was just precautionary really….He said he felt a tiny twinge; we’re not taking any chances with him, so we took him off.”

And as a final thought, I was going to stick up the Will Smith video but, frankly, I’m not that cruel. And besides, thinking about Sam Sunders for the last 15 minutes (in a footballing sense) has proven somewhat of a pleasant distraction. So instead, I’ll take you back to last season’s game and Jota’s wonder goal in our 3-2 victory at Ewood Park.

The phrase ‘Burridgegasm’ was one coined that day and which has stuck ever sense. Then again, when you see the video and hear the comms, we can understand why.

Let’s hope they’ve finished mopping up in the Blackburn press box.

With club hero Ben Burgess and the aforementioned Mark Chapman joining Mark Burridge in the Beesplayer commentary box, I know where I’ll be at 2.30 today.

Enjoy the game.

Nick Bruzon

Was this the craziest day in Championship history? (pt.1)

3 May

Fifth!! Not only did Brentford steamroller Wigan Athletic to book their play off spot against Middlesbrough but with both favours being granted – Blackburn Rovers beating Ipswich Town 3-2 and Derby County being spanked 3-0 by Reading at the iPro – it has seen us finish with only four teams above us in the final Championship table.

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 on.

Cancel the flights to Vegas on Friday - we're busy

Cancel the flights to Vegas on Friday – we’re busy

Tarks hangs up the shooting boots (for now)

Tarks hangs up the shooting boots (for now)

What a result! All to play for with just 8 games left

18 Mar

What a result for Brentford! A 3-2 win at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night, after twice falling behind, underlined a stunning determination to keep on pushing for a promotion that nobody outside of TW8 probably believed possible at the start of the season. With Derby County, Bournemouth and Norwich City all dropping points, the table is still just too tight to call. However, the key fact remains that with just eight games to go, the Bees are in the play off spots and two points off fourth place.

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 on.