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In Matthew we trust. Whatever happens over the next two weeks.

15 Jan

Newcastle United left Griffin Park with all three points last night and nobody can deny them that. They scored twice. Brentford scored once. Newsflash: that’s how football works. Yet even in defeat, I woke up this morning (duh-duh-duh-duh-duhh) full of positivity. As, it would seem, have the vast majority of those out in cyberspace. This, despite losing a game and the prospect of our star man on his way to West Ham/other after Dean’s strange decision in regards to team selection.

Thoughts on that were published in yesterday evening’s post match article. Worth a look purely for the ever eloquent views of Bernard Quackenbush in the comment’s section. And Bernard, if you are reading, then that special guest slot remains yours should you ever want to go ‘full fat’ on the column (not a euphemism).

Looking across Facebook and Twitter (other sources are also available) there is a lot of pride out there today at how well Brentford played. There is huge recognition of how well Lasse Vibe performed up top. Perhaps the immediate answer for when Scott is sold is sitting right under our noses. There is huge regret at the fact that Jota couldn’t quite complete his moment of magic in the 90th minute.

If not for the well deserved point that we would have scored but the sheer and unadulterated moment of mutual celebration that the 10,000 home supporters would have shared. Jota. In the last minute. After the Bees had been knocking on the door all second half. Just imagine the sheer ecstasy had he found the back of the net in such circumstances…

Even Mark Burridge has posted on facebook this morning to say that the game, “Was a pleasure to commentate on, Marcus, Mick and I really enjoyed it….had the last minute Jota goal happened then I feel the stadium would have erupted.”

Eruption probably the understatement of the decade.

So it is a morning of regret. But lovely regret. Disappointment yet in the nicest way. Honestly, I’m struggling to explain it properly. We lost. It’s normally the cause for a moan about not creating enough chances and, had we, then things might have been different. But yesterday we played. And we played so well. No pressure Dean, but a bar has been raised after outperforming the league leaders for huge periods.

As for Scott Hogan, well I’ve see some nonsense out there today. He didn’t come out for the second half. He didn’t warm up, his attitude sucks. Allegedly. Utter garbage.

If you want bad attitude then look at Dimitri Payet or Diego Costa. Scott has done nothing but carry on doing his thing when selected. Just look at the Birmingham game when rumours had long been gathering. You can’t blame the player for the manager’s decisions to declare him available, to not start him and then to not bring him off the bench.

We’ll sell him at some point, no question. But once the price is right. Standing outside The Griffin yesterday evening, Matthew Benham and his family walked past. “Don’t sell Hogan…” shouted one supporter . “Unless the price is right” , added another.

The response was immediate: “I’m holding out”. Anybody thinking they’ll get a cut price deal might do well to remember this isn’t the Brentford of old.

We’ll reinvest, but once the players are right (Hello? Operator? Can I have the number for Norwich City please?)  The likes of Tom Field, who had another great game yesterday, and Josh Clarke have already shown we have strength within the deeper squad. Chris Mepham has now had his debut whilst Jota is back and Rico Henry has still to show us what he can do. Alan Judge gets closer to fitness each day although perhaps that is a dream too far? Or is it?

One thing Matthew has shown is he loves to surprise us. Who would ever have thought Marcello Trotta would return after the rarely mentioned penalty incident? Yet return he did as he not only won back the fans after the lowest of lows but his goals then inspired us to that wonderful promotion.

They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup”. Not my words but those of Russell Slade after that incredible Lunchtime at Leyton Orient. Trotta scored the winner that day yet, but for Mathew’s shock decision, we’d never have seen him in Brentford colours again. But for Matthew’s decision who knows what might have happened that season?

1-0 Marcello

Marcello – Matthew brought him back despite everything

Whatever happens with Scott Hogan, anybody doubting the player’s attitude should probably take a step back. Anybody doubting that a decision made will be for the long term good of the club and the team might want to consider how the side has ebbed, flowed and transformed over the years.

Co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, made that famous quote back in September 2015, telling supporters that “The goal is to get stronger after each transfer window”. Being honest, it has never quite felt as though we are stronger in the immediate short term yet this team and this squad keep going.

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Perhaps this is as much through long term injury. As Andre Gray was doing his thing, Scott was undergoing that long, long recuperation. Imagine a team with those two together?  Now we have Rico Henry and Lewis Mcleod out for most of the season. Yet this has given others the chance to shine and I can’t imagine Tom Field giving up his place without a fight once the former Walsall man is fit again.

I’m bored of people getting overly critical about the make up of the squad or our long term direction. And that includes myself. How that squad is managed is a different issue altogether but Dean Smith showed yesterday we have players who can do it.

We came close. We lost. But we impressed. Can Dean get us to go one better? Can we get a repeat of our last away performance when we travel to Wigan next weekend? And then there’s the small matter of Chelsea away.

Whoever is picked, it’s a great time to be a Brentford fan. We’re fast approaching our fourth season in the Championship with a wonderful opportunity to cause an incredible cup upset. I’ve said it before but need to say it again. That’s just bonkers. Moreso, for those of us who have been here for sometime.

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Mike Ashley and Cliff Crown yesterday – Brentford now mixing it with the big boys

Anybody who doubts how far we’ve come just needs to look at yesterday’s match day programme. Part one of Mark Chapman’s piece on the failed takeover attempt by QPR is well, well worth a read to remind ourselves of what once might have been.

I disagree with how Dean handled Scott yesterday. A poor decision. One of the B-team should have been recalled. But I admire his trust in Lasse and how good to see that rewarded.

Who knows what will happen over the next two weeks? It might not be pretty. It might not be pleasing. Yet one can only trust in everything that has gone before and the way we are continuing to build for our long term future.

Now, who’s got shovel ? There’s a stadium to build.

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The programme this season has been quality – credit to Mark Chapman

Nick Bruzon

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Sheer Bliss for Scott

1 Mar

It’s all about the teams south of the river today. With Brentford due to host Charlton Athletic on Saturday, Peter Gilham has been in touch with several supporter groups in regards to a special tribute in that game. Yesterday, meanwhile, Crystal Palace were the visitors for a development squad game that was noteworthy for the long awaited return of striker Scott Hogan. And we have news of a Brentford legend….

But we can only start with Scott Hogan. Nobody needs any reminding of the 18 months he has had on the sidelines, following the horrendous injury (and subsequent recurrence) suffered against Rotherham United early last season. Yet, finally, after what must have seen an interminable wait for the player, he was back in competitive action as Crystal Palace came to town.

And in a script writer’s dream, it took just 7(seven) minutes for Scott to show the Griffin Park faithful what they’ve been missing out on with the striker putting away the opening goal in a game that would eventually finish 2-2. Lasting an hour, Scott has been full of praise for the club’s medical staff and spoke, at length, on the clubsite afterwards.

Scott Hogan

Scott was clearly chuffed, publishing this picture afterwards

Fans were, rightly , ecstatic. Primarily it was just a general outpouring of good will and good vibes all over social media. Nobody wants to see any player go through what Scott has done and so to see him come out the other side of this in such a positive frame of mind has been truly inspiring.

It’s like a new signing” one New Road observer would later note whilst I saw a comment on facebook to say that the first team would be the ideal place to recover his fitness, adding “He can’t do any worse than the three incumbents currently vying for the position of lowest scoring striker in a season”.

A harsh observation or a fair one? Regardless, let’s not pin all our hopes on one man’s shoulders. The enthusiasm is clearly there but full match fitness will likely take a bit longer to come back. That said, just seeing Scott on the bench is sure to be a huge psychological boost for everbody.

The moment arrives

As for the Charlton game, you may have read about the untimely passing of supporter Dean Langford, who was tragically killed in a road accident last week . Peter Gilham has been in touch with Dean’s father and it has been suggested that maybe a minute’s applause in the 24th minute on Saturday, would be the ideal way to pay our respects to one of our own, no longer with us.

Social Media has been awash with tributes to Dean this week. What better way for supporters to show their own respects than joining in on Saturday.

Finally, Cult heroes. It has long been the topic for debate as to who scoops the ultimate crown. When the BBC ran the survey several years ago, Terry Evans came out on top. Would the winner be any different today?

Well, FourFourTwo magazine have undertaken a club by club poll in their online edition and the results are now in. You can find them here . As for the Bees, those visitors to the Facebook ‘Brentford FC loyal’ page have had an inadvertent hand in helping pick our winner, Gary Blissett.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to represent the club in this one and, whilst my decision would have been Bliss, it was nice to see so many other people with a similar viewpoint when the seemingly innocent question was put out there last month.

Congratulations, Bliss. Scott Hogan couldn’t have a better player to aspire to.

Bliss - with Mat Davis

Bliss – a hero to many. Then and now

Nick Bruzon

From storming mad to a storm in TW8

11 Jan

And relax Brentford fans. Before we start to look ahead to Middlesbrough and Burnley, just a quick note to say thanks for all the feedback on social media this weekend. Specifically, regarding Saturday night’s column about the FA Cup against Walsall and the visit of FC Midtjylland. Football is a game that has always polarised opinions (just ask any visitor to the GPG) but the reaction to this one on Facebook and Twitter was amongst the most extreme I’ve ever seen. I have no idea if anybody in the club reads this column but would hope that they at least note this has clearly been an emotive subject for the supporters.

Monday morning. With Middlesbrough due here in just over 36 hours, the rain of the weekend has been followed by an overnight downpour of biblical proportions (is there any other type?) in TW8. At the time of writing (6.30am) it is still tipping down in Brentford. One can only hope that the drainage system is working and the Griffin Park pitch holds up.

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View from the terrace – the rain was constant on Saturday

To be fair, since the farce at the start of the season that saw it needing to be relaid just two games in the surface has been magnificent. Whilst it was clearly greasy on Saturday, I didn’t notice it overly cutting up. However, with another three hours of rain due on Tuesday afternoon according to the BBC, one can only imagine what referee Gavin Ward (oh, joy) will make of things when he carries out his pitch inspection.

I’m sure we’ll be fine but, equally, with conditions likely to be slick it could be a fast paced game. Certainly, I’m expecting a huge reaction from Brentford – both players and fans. Whilst Saturday was absolutely gutting, we are still placed in an extremely interesting position. A minimum of three points this week will see us close in further on two promotion rivals.

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The current BBC table shows how crucial points are this week

It is, being honest, a season defining week. The cup is over but the league is very much alive – if we can do what we know we can do. I’d love to see the likes of Toums, Tarks and the Judge start this one. They were sorely missed on Saturday but the transfer stories doing the rounds may still take this out of our hands

Middlesbrough, of course, are seen by many as some form of bogey team. Three league wins and two play off semi final victories in the last 16 months certainly make Boro’ the form team when it comes to games between our respective sides.

Then again, I don’t pay too much attention to history. Do so and you’ll beat yourself before you even leave the dressing room.

Personally, my only focus is on getting three points. Former Bees promotion hero Adam Forshaw will be down with his new side and whilst it would be nice to show him how we’ve progressed since last season, I’d settle for a scrappy 1-0.

Let’s just hope we don’t give him a half time lap of honour.

Nick Bruzon

KK ‘signs’ but is Bjelland next as the Red Imps draw?

30 Jun

What a Tuesday. Whilst the Brentford clubsite remained silent on the subject of transfers, with the exception of Alfie Mawson joining Barnsley, elsewhere it seemed that there was plenty to pick up on. No more so than in regards to Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Andreas Bjelland, where in the case of the former even his own Admira Wacker team took to Facebook to wish him well on his move. And there was Champions’ League intrigue where Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar faced FC Santa Coloma of Andorra in the first leg of a tie that would see the winners pitted against Matthew Benham’s own FC Midtjylland.

But we start in Austria and that Facebook announcement, confirming what we already knew after Matthew Benham’s video clue followed a leaked photograph on Friday.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

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

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

No Chiles and no smiles but what awaits the Bees?

24 Jan

Brentford travel to Carrow Road today for a Championship encounter in a weekend that is already threatening to spill over into fever pitch levels of excitement. After the tepid pain of the third round, things got off to a bang last night as Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United side were held to a 0-0 draw by League 2 Cambridge United in the FA cup.

It was a stunning achievement and whilst (cliché alert) I can console myself that, at the least, we are free to concentrate on the league part of me was massively jealous that we are next up against Norwich City in the Championship rather than Arsenal in the Cup.

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.

Adrian Chiles and team fall victim to a rogue sprinkler

Adrian Chiles and team fall victim to a rogue sprinkler

Moses gets a chance to ‘celebrate like’ etc etc as Bees play numbers game

28 Jun

The flurry of transfer activity at Brentford this week as we prepare for life in the Championship has got me thinking. What is the protocol when recruiting a new player? That is, once the niceties of negotiating terms, signing contracts and posing for a photograph with the shirt are done away with?

Specifically, how does he choose his squad number? Indeed, does that even form part of the contract talks or is it simply handed down by the manager from the pool of available ‘spares’?

And would the current squad get first crack at any new opening? With Clayton Donaldson heading to Birmingham City (although, like Marcello Trotta, his profile still remains in the ‘team’ section on the Bees website) that coveted number 9 shirt is now available.

New boy Moses Odubajo, who was announced on Friday as having joined from Leyton Orient has already bagged number 10. Rumoured to be for a fee over GBP1million, per the East London press, this is great news. Who knows if the sight, and Russell Slade’s subsequent talk, of those ‘FA Cup like celebrations’ helped sway his decision?

One would presume that yesterday’s other new signing (announced along with contract extensions for David Button and Stuart Dallas), the free scoring Andre Grey from Luton Town, has his sights on that vacant ‘9’.

Was it a wasted opportunity for the likes of Alan Judge (18)? Could James Tarkowski (26) and Adam Forshaw (4) have negotiated between them to give the central defender that position’s traditional 4? Indeed, does it even matter to players or are they the superstitious sort that, once allocated a number, keep it until they leave a club (or beyond)?

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Does a squad number make a difference?

Obviously, it makes no real difference to what happens on pitch but, whilst I’m all for progress in the game, I’m ‘old school’ at heart. Seeing a team line up numbered 1-11 gives me a certain reassurance that it ‘looks right’. An additional little ‘good luck’ omen (to sit alongside the lucky shirt, magic pants and pre-match pint). Or perhaps I just have OCD?

Watching the (so far) all-conquering Netherlands in the World Cup they have achieved this feat despite the permutations possible in a 23-man squad. Has their manager Louis van Gaal (real name: Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal) just ‘got lucky’? Or has he had the balls to name his first choice starting XI well in advance and then allocate 12-23 amongst the rest?

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The all conquering Netherlands team , numbered 1-11 on the BBC website

I can only hope it is the latter and if so, whilst I don’t care a jot about the tribulations at Manchester United, then self-confidence of that nature is sure to work wonders after the debacle of the David Moyes era when he arrives at Old Trafford.

Still, for Brentford fans, they are opponents’ for 2015/16. This season, let’s concentrate on getting out of the Championship.

Forget ‘survival’ – I’m aiming high. And with Matthew Benham’s cryptic clues now being unravelled (they were obvious, really…), we are certainly putting together a young, exciting and attacking squad to start that charge.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

MO, JR or another MT? And two anchors in budgie smugglers.

27 Jun

When Brentford’s Championship campaign kicks off in just over six weeks with the visit of Charlton Athletic, the first XI could have a different look. Of course, this week has already seen Clayton Donaldson head for pastures new at Birmingham City whilst Marcos Tébar has swapped Spain for Griffin Park.

However, lovers of social media would have seen hints from both club owner Matthew Benham and chief executive Mark Devlin last night in regards to further activity.

Mark set minds racing with his late evening announcement that it had been, “Very busy in TW8 today. Hopefully some incoming transfer news in next 48 hours.” No further clues were forthcoming as to who these would be although the popular choice on twitter seemed to be Moses Odubajo of Leyton Orient.

I have no idea where that has come from or how accurate it is but, with Barry Hearn currently in talks to sell up his interests in the club and memories of that play-off final defeat still raw, is now the time the O’s will see their prize assets depart?

Matthew, on the other hand, has swapped the initials for the return of his ‘cryptic video clue’. He posted this YouTube link on his Facebook page last night, along with a similar announcement to Mark’s , as a hint about who could be coming in.

 

Matthew is clearly a very intelligent man. You don’t get to where he has without brains. Sadly, I’m just the numpty on the terrace and struggle with anything beyond a join-the-dots puzzle.

So how Billy Bob Thornton, masquerading as Lorne Malvo in ‘Some Roads’ links to a new signing, I have literally no idea. It could be anyone from Sean Thornton of Bala Town to a return for Jordan Rhodes….. (we can dream!)

To be honest, he could have printed a picture like this as a clue and I still wouldn’t get it. Either way, it sounds very positive news and I can’t wait to see who is next to feature in ‘obligatory photo in jeans and new shirt’ corner.

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Billy Bob Thornton?

And finally, Adrian Chiles put a smile on my face last night. Not in a good way but, at least, one that showed he has a sense of humour. Readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now.

However, the build up to the evening’s World Cup games on ITV, featured his terrifying look behind the scenes at how the light channel and the BBC carve up the televised games between them, as Chiles told us:

“If you’re wondering which second-round games will be shown on the BBC and which on ITV, Gary Lineker and I will strip down to our budgie smugglers, wrestle on the beach and the winner will get first pick.”

I still reckon last season’s Pugil sticks are the way to go.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14 ) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

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Tell me this isn’t, really, how it happens?

 

Feeling down about the Swindon result? Watch this!

14 Apr

Brentford may have slipped to a rare defeat on Saturday – a pain doubled by nearest rivals Wolves securing promotion – but that result is now in the past.

Naturally, there were a lot of disappointed supporters at the time whilst social media really gave an opportunity for some of their feelings to be magnified.

By the same virtue, social media can be a tremendous positive for a club such as Brentford. There’s no way that, in days gone by, you’d have had such immediate access to players (past and present) whilst aswell as the likes of twitter and Facebook you can also chuck blog sites, fan forums and video sharing into the mix.

For the Bees addict there is now 25/7 access to consume as much information and opinion about the team as you want. No longer are we limited to the matchday programme on Saturday afternoon then having to sit tight and wait for either an update on Ceefax or the alliteration fest of Thursday’s Middlesex Chronicle (“Beleaguered Bees Boss” was always my favourite).

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In days gone by, this was it. The youth of today don’t know how lucky they are etc etc etc

And so it was this weekend when a chance crossing of paths with Brentford legend Gary Blissett on Facebook led me to the below video.

I’ve seen it before as, I am sure, have you. However, if anyone is still feeling a bit down about the result from the County Ground then give it a play. And even if you are over it, as I am, then it is still a timely reminder of the prize that can await a great team such as ours.

This may not be up to the quality – picture wise – of the present day ‘official’ YouTube channel but it certainly is in terms of what it shows.

So give it a spin and enjoy. It includes some final scenes that I hope may be played out as soon as this Friday at Griffin Park. Just maybe not the ‘short’ shorts.