Tag Archives: Florida

Where’s Will-y ? Is it an S.O.S from TW8?

18 Jul

Brentford kicked off their warm up for football in The Championship with a trip to Boreham Wood last night. The 253 who attended were treated to a 3-1 win for the Bees and had the added advantage over TW8 residents in not being blasted with Kew Gardens’ Abba concert.

In a marvellously ironic gesture of neighbourly relations from the World Heritage site, the sounds of their open air show reached Griffin Park, and beyond, in a note perfect recreation of what it must be like to be stuck inside of Alan Partridge’s head.

On pitch, it was always good to hear Kevin O’Connor open the scoring from the penalty spot. Mr Reliable’s strike from 12 yards (although he’d probably nail one from 18) was definitely music to my ears.

The other point of note was that, according to Billy Reeves twitter feed, Sam Saunders and new boy Alex Pritchard were in attendance but there was no sighting of Will Grigg. Even the non-playing David Button had, reportedly, been spotted . And this in a game where 23 players were in the squad.

The last time we’d heard of the Northern Ireland International, he was slapping Harlee Dean in the face with a fish. So where was Will last night ? An injury in training or had he ‘gone to the beach’, Simon Moore style ?

Was Will injured, in disguise or 'at the beach' last night?

Was Will injured, in disguise or ‘at the beach’ last night?

Bristol City have been amongst a number of clubs reportedly interested in our man over the summer and so could a move, loan or otherwise, be in the offing? Given the Bees already thin forward line, I’d hope not. And if for no other reason than I think Grigg still has the potential to find the form that caused us to sign him from Walsall aswell as earning selection for his country.

The flipside, of course, (and remember that this is all pure speculation) is that Mark Warburton is clearing the decks ahead of any further new signing. The names of Scott Hogan and Patrick Bamford (Rochdale and Chelsea, respectively) have been doing the rounds for a while but are these simply the result of wishful thinking over a quiet summer? Or is Matthew Benham firing up the cryptic clue generator once more?

Is Will going to ask Warbs to ‘Take a Chance on Me” or will the Bees be spending the “Money, Money, Money”?

Either way, I’m sure we’ll learn more over the coming days.

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

 

Dear Kew Gardens – in future, please limit your Abba to repeats of Alan Partridge .

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of pre-season

11 Jul

Championship. Championship. Here come the Bees in the Championship”. Not my words but those of Billy Reeves and Bee Faction in their promotion celebrating, ‘Hey Brentford’ song. Still available on free download, this terrace anthem has been my earworm for most of the summer.

And thankfully so, with the gap from promotion to the Championship an excruciating wait. Fortunately, this has been just one of numerous distractions to keep me occupied.

Some bad : the departure of Clayton Donaldson, the leak of the away kit and the most cringeworthy tweet to ever come out of ‘official’ channels. I have no idea who ‘drives’ @brentfordfc on Twitter but the reaction to the phrase ‘#trophyfriends’ was one of almost universal embarrassment.

Please - NEVER again

Please – NEVER again

Still, that was very much the thin end of the wedge and there have been more positives to focus on than I could shake a stick at.

So here they are: the top ten moments of the close season

10: The play offs. An odd place to start, especially given our track record, but wasn’t it great to watch the annual torture session at the W place with so much direct interest for Brentford? Who from Rotherham or Leyton Orient would be joining us next season and who would suffer that ultimate kick in the knackers? Likewise, could Uwe do us a huge favour and keep the Loftus Road mob in the Championship.

In the end, it was Rotherham who celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup and Wigan Athletic who will be visiting Griffin Park for the final game of 2014/15

9: Pre-season friendlies. A complete contrast to last season where, instead of a full priced game against a Celtic reserve side, whose support were allowed free reign of Griffin Park, we’ve got visits from the continent. There could even be a smattering of World Cup stars present as both Nice and Espanyol visit, with tickets starting form as little as £5 for adults. Great work.

8: The World Cup. Putting England to one side, it has been a stunning diversion from the pain of pre-season. From the second day destruction of Spain by the Netherlands right up to the hosts being on the wrong end of a 7(seven)-1 semi-final bracketing, this has really been captivating stuff. The likes of Algeria and Costa Rica have helped demonstrate that cup football is one of the most exciting sports on the planet – moreso when there is this much in such a short space of time.

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

7: Diaries. Peter Gilham’s tour diary is always a great read. A fascinating view behind the curtain as to what really makes up a pre-season training camp – for both the players and the backroom staff. Moreso, it’s a sign that the campaign is almost upon us.

Always a great read

Always a great read

6: The roof is finally covered. At last. They squatted in TW8 for longer than the Kew Bridge ‘Eco village’ but Qatar Airways have finally been evicted from the roof of the Bill Axbey stand on New Road. We await news as to who replaces them with intrigue.

Going.Going.Gone

Going.Going.Gone

5: Team morale. It seems stunning. What goes on tour doesn’t necessarily stay on tour, when it comes to Brentford. Sam Saunders car wash, wearing nothing more than flip flops and three marigolds, and Harlee Dean being slapped in the face with a wet fish by Will Grigg are both videos I never thought I’d see. But am very glad I have

4: That moment when news sources recognise us. We know we’re a Championship team but others, outside of West London, are not always so quick to keep tabs. So when the likes of ‘News now’ move the Bees to their Championship page or the BBC have us as sitting in the new League table, it put a little tingle up the spine

3: Ticket prices. These increased, but marginally. The price rise was a token one and nowhere near the amount I would have expected from a club with a limited capacity (relative to our rivals) and now playing in a higher division. This really was a bold decision and they have been instantly rewarded with over 5000 sales. Thank you!

2: Mark Devlin’s strip tease. Of course, I mean the teaser campaign that has led to the unveiling of our home kit. I liked this idea – despite my desperation to see the ‘full reveal’ – and we’ve been rewarded with a great shirt. The away shirt, in particular, aside from the cracking design spec, achieves that rare feat of making the stick on sponsor’s logo look marginally acceptable. And when that happens, you know something good must be happening.

The family friendly strip tease

The family friendly strip tease

1: The Fixture list. If there was one thing to crank up excitement about next season, it is the moment when the fixtures are revealed. Away trips can be planned, Christmas is saved with a home fixture on Boxing Day and Uwe visits on the last day of the (hopefully) regular season. Oh, and there’s a return of the derby against Fulham

And if you need any reminder of how we got here, ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Harlee Dean hit in face with a fish

7 Jul

Thank you, Harlee Dean. With Brentford currently borrowing the X-Factor theme, he has also joined in on the homage to ITV scheduling.

Harlee seems to be turning himself into TW8’s very own Harry Hill with his own take on ‘You’ve been framed’ . He’s already had a major hand in the Sam Saunders car wash video (three marigolds and not much else).

However, this time he turned the table on himself with the announcement on twitter late Sunday night, of a fish-slapping contest with Will Grigg.

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish....brave!!

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish….brave!!

Hmm, surely not? But that’s exactly what happened. I have my fingers crossed that the full, unexpurgated version make’s Peter Gilham’s tour diary.
Until then, you can see the video here.

Harlee’s a brave man – there’s no way Will Grigg was going to miss the target from a yard out and sure enough…

Seeing something like this is a great way to start a Monday morning that had already seen me put into an immediate foul mood by Richie Firth on Absolute Radio. Christian O’Connell’s sidekick just had to go and give further mention to Tim Krul and his ‘classless’ performance against Costa Rica on Saturday night.

I had a moan about Krul yesterday and was immediately contacted by Bernard Quackenbush, who noted an obscure Doctor Who reference as the reason for the the Dutch victory. He could be on to something, you know (see below).

Whilst Krul still has me annoyed, Harlee’s taking a fish to the face has helped return things to a better…plaice

‘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.

DW & the power of Krul

Was it the power of Krul?

Will these strikers hit the right notes in the Championship?

5 Jul

Another day, and another ‘local rag’ rumour shot down (See also: ‘Bees boss plans double swoop’, which appears more often than a Keith Stroud yellow card) as, rather than Brentford, Callum Wilson will be plying his trade in the Championship for Bournemouth next season. With the fee reckoned to be £3million (or 1 x Lewis Grabban….) the deal to take him from Coventry was confirmed on Friday.

If true, then even if Warbs had been looking at him one could only presume a transfer of that size being well out of our range – certainly without Grabbanesque sales – and nobody wants to see our prize assets leaving. Especially not before a ball has been kicked.

Still, with Northern Ireland International striker Will Grigg as the only front man on the Brentford books with regular league experience, it does beg the question as to if anyone else will come in (are you reading, Marcello?).

Of course, the untapped potential of Andre Grey is a wonderful option for Warbs to have up his sleeve. I’m intrigued to find out if the leap from Conference to Championship will be a giant chasm or a simple step for the free scoring goal machine? If what we’ve heard and seen about this young man is correct then the smart money has got to be in the latter camp.

One thing we do know about Andre is that he can’t sing. Although, to be fair, that’s a trait common to footballers in general. And you can see this on the clubwebsite at the moment where visitors have a double treat.

First up, is the next installment of Peter Gilham’s tour diary. Another fascinating read as to life on the pre-season tour. I was particularly curious about the Florida weather of which, by breakfast time, we have been told, “already the temperature was in the 1930s.”

Art deco conditions and storm clouds gathering across Europe? Still, if it means the Bees preparing to jump to the top flight (a feat we last achieved in 1935) then I’m all for that.

And as for the singing, well it’s not just PG’s diary that we are being spoiled with. The club have taken thing to Ambassadorial levels of excellence with the launch of Brentford X-Factor.

As you may be aware, any new members of the Bees set up have to perform a song on tour in front of the established staff. Not only has this fine tradition continued but the evidence is now on line. More importantly, the ‘singers’ are looking for you to ‘vote’ them through to the next round in a X-Factor style vote. Albeit through the medium of twitter, rather than premium rate phonelines.

Brentford X Factor

Thankfully, it is the fans who are the judges…

I think it’s a great idea and, if you can cover your ears long enough, the link to the videos and votes is here on the clubwebsite. I’ll say one thing for Andre, he certainly doesn’t lack confidence

 

And just catching up on a few points from yesterday, given the article on Peter’s diary, I was contacted by Andrew Cooper (Hong Kong Bee) who has noted: “I was pleased to see PG calling his diary Letter From America. There’s a missed oppo here… “Donaldson no mooore. Norris no mooore. Trotta no mooore. Saville no moore.”

I also posed the question that with Nice due to visit Griffin Park later this month , and their goalkeeper David Ospina of Colombia playing against Brazil last night, it would be a wonderful opportunity to see who could put most goals past him – Will Grigg or Brazil International, Neymar?

Neymar promptly drew a blank and, despite his team winning, the local hero has also been ruled out of the World Cup with injury.

Will – over to you to go one better (just not the injury, please).

‘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.

Nice work PG as Norris chucks Bees

4 Jul

And relax. After a two day break the World Cup is back tonight. Fortunately, there has been plenty to keep us occupied in the last day or so – and not just at Brentford but everywhere else from Gibraltar to Florida and beyond.

Starting with the Bees, the big news for me was not the announcement of our home friendlies against Nice and Espanyol. That said, these are both very exciting fixtures against teams in their domestic top flights and are sure to be a stern test for Brentford. I’d imagine there’ll be big crowds at each (let’s hope the ticketing arrangements are done differently to the Celtic affair) whilst I’m particularly intrigued by the French visit.

Nice’s goalkeer is David Ospina who, of course, is currently plying his trade in the World Cup for Colombia andis due to play this evening against Brazil. It will be very interesting to see how he fares against Brazil international striker Neymar and then compare this to the performance of Northern Ireland International Will Grigg. I’m banking our man will score more than the, so called, “poster boy of Brazilian football” (© everywhere) .

Neither was it the announcement that Luke Norris has turned down a contract offer at Griffin Park and, instead, chosen to join the home for retired Bees (not Wycombe Wanderers) at Gillingham. Good luck with that, Luke.

It’s a shame he’s chosen to leave as, one would have thought, the challenge of breaking into a Championship side would have been a huge lure. However, I’m sure he has his reasons. For us, it will be interesting to see what happens next with Brentford’s dwindling attacking options.

For me, though, THE news was something I’d hoped for in the previous article – the return of Peter Gilham’s tour diary. You can find this, here, on the official site as PG keeps us up to speed with the latest news from our training camp in Florida. I won’t ruin the surprise, suffice to say that I’ve learnt a fascinating fact about footballer’s ‘flight socks’.

Coming soon to a bookshop near you?

 

Top stuff, Peter. I’m glad it’s back and I’ll be staying glued. Keep up the great work.

Away from Griffin Park, it is incredible to think that despite ‘pre-season’ barely underway and the World Cup only at quarter final stage (or, ‘the round of 8’ as FIFA would probably call it), qualifying for European competition has already begun.

Last night saw former Bees Shaleum Logan and Niall McGinn both on the score sheet as Aberdeen beat Daugava Riga 5-0 in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

However, this was a mere appetiser for the main European story and it is here I must apologise to Lincoln. Not City, now of the Conference Premier, but Red Imps, the champions of the Gibraltar Premier Division.

Regular readers will know of my Gibraltarian heritage and fascination with all things ‘Team 54’ (being the name by which our national side became known as they, finally, became UEFA’s newest members in May 2013). It received several columns over the course of last season and, indeed, I’m hoping to travel to Germany this November to see them in UEFA qualifying action.

However, Wednesday night saw the Lincoln Red Imps become the first Gibraltarian team to begin a Champion’s League qualifying campaign where, despite taking the lead, they were eventually held 1-1 at home by HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands.

Whatever the result, this was an event of huge footballing significance and so I apologise for not mentioning this yesterday. Well done Lincoln – now finish the job on the return leg. The lure of a tie with Partizan Belgrade awaits the winners!

Similar congratulations to College Europa, for an equally historic moment last night. Despite going down 0-3 in Liechenstein to FC Vaduz, they’ll be sure a big crowd as the Europa League makes it’s debut in Gib for the return leg.

Who knows where this will all lead but I’m already looking forward to that moment in a few years time where Peter Gilham’s tour diary comes from a Champion’s League qualifier from ‘The Rock’.

Stranger things have happened……

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14 and a smattering of ‘Team 54’ ) – 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.

 

Chuck jeans

Farewell to Luke ‘Chuck’ Norris – man of ‘action’

Matthew Benham goes shopping as Bees go abroad

3 Jul

It was all go at Griffin Park yesterday as Brentford news appeared quicker than a Keith Stroud yellow card. Matthew Benham led the charge, with the announcement that he has become the majority shareholder in Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland.

The Danish outfit, who finished third in the top flight last season, bear a number of similarities with the Bees – notably a strong academy programme, an 11.800 capacity stadium in their MCH Arena and a record that sees them always finish as runners up in major finals.

Matthew is quoted as saying that the two teams will be run independently (no bad thing given their supporter’s club is ‘The Black Wolves’ – I’ve seen enough of the Wolves last season to need some downtime) and you can read the full BBC story, here. Where this will lead, who knows but if Matthew’s tenure brings half as much success and excitement as it has done at Brentford then the Danes are in for some good times.

Back in TW8, the ticket office were proud to reveal details of the 5,000th season ticket sale, with supporter of 30 years, Louis McCubbin, being the man at the right place in the queue. He received a commemorative shirt for his trouble along with a mixed bag of comments on social networks.

Personally, I think that to have sold out over half of Griffin Park (home section) before a ball has even been kicked in anger is a fantastic achievement. The club could have put a massive hike on season ticket prices but chose not to – much to my surprise and pleasure.

So what if one supporter gets recognised? For me it is all about the significance of the achievement rather than an individual. Personally, I bought my season ticket on day one and for no other reason than to make sure I had a place when the next chapter of the Brentford story begins.

Abdi, Louis, Mads and Mark (l-r) celebrate the big 5-0-0-0

Abdi, Louis, Mads and Mark (l-r) celebrate the big 5-0-0-0

And as for that team, they are now in Florida having reached Tampa last night for their training camp. Harlee Dean’s ‘one word weather report’ was ‘HOT’ whilst who could forget the electrical storm as England warmed up for the World Cup campaign in Miami last month? It certainly could be hard work in those conditions.

Welcome to Tampa

Welcome to Tampa

Previous trips to Germany and Norway have seen Peter Gilham’s tour diary. So far (6.30, Thursday morning) this is yet to appear on the clubsite but, given the time zone, understandable. However, I’m hoping we soon get the chance to start reading what are always an amusing and enjoyable series of articles.

Whilst I have no doubt that this tour will see the players acting as responsibly as on previous ones, it did get me thinking about what happens when Brentford trips go wrong. Specifically, the first team ‘holiday’ that took place after we’d defied expectations (to the point the players had already booked a summer escape) to reach the final of the 1985 Freight Rover Trophy against Wigan Athletic.
Interviewing Danis Salman a few years ago, he described this saying:

“We’d already paid for the holidays out of our pocket and but it was going to be not even a week after we came back before the final. I turned around and said to the boys – we’ve got to cancel the holiday. You know what’s going to happen; we’ll go out to a hot country, and come back just a few days before a final a Wembley. I was the only person that had that view and was getting slaughtered. I just thought – this is our one chance, and the supporters, to go to Wembley and a have a great time.

We’d already played against Wigan – home and away – and I think I’d scored against them twice that year. But no, no – they wanted to go on holiday and yeah, true to word we got on holiday and had Chris Kamara, Terry Hurlock, myself. We had a good team that year but went out every day for a week.

We got beat three-one.

I have no doubt that the hardest that the lads will push the social side on this trip will be Sam Saunders topping up the tan. As Danis went on to add, “Modern day football would probably be totally different”.

As soon as the club’s ‘Adrian Mole’ gets writing, we’ll find out……

‘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.