Tag Archives: fourfourtwo

Can Lasse grab another pizza the action at Cardiff ? Brighton do Bees a favour.

8 Apr

Brentford travel to Cardiff City today. Brighton retook the lead in the Championship from Newcastle after despatching the Loftus Road mob last night (and do us a potential favour at the same time). And FourFourTwo magazine have published their list of the match day experiences at all 92 league grounds, ranked in order from worst to best . Coventry City, look away now.

First up Brentford. And we’ll keep this brief – I’ve got a train to catch. The trip to Cardiff represents an excellent chance to continue our rise up the table following three straight victories. The latest, our 2-0 win over Leeds United on Tuesday night, being one of the most complete Brentford performances seen in recent times. It really was that good. Romaine Sawyers, Harlee Dean, Sergi Canos and Lasse were amongst those taking the headlines but, in truth, we were wonderful to a man.

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Jota watches the action unfold against Leeds on Tuesday

The flip side to all of this was injuries to Nico and Ryan, which makes both of them unlikely to start today. Alan McCormack and KK being the obvious replacements and, if supplemented by Jota along with the aforementioned Sergi and Romaine that will still make a formidable five.

Expect an unchanged defence from Tuesday (Clarke, Barbet, Dean and Rico) with Dan Bentley between the sticks and Lasse leading the line. That is, on the assumption he hasn’t got his fingers burned in a little Italian restaurant. At Brentford Lock. I think it fair to say he’s more than earned that midweek pizza.

With Brighton condemning QPR to another notch in the ‘L’ column last night, Brentford remain 6 points above our West London rivals with today’s game to come. Victory could see us rise as high as ninth although, of course, it won’t be easy.

Dean Smith’s press conference on Thursday included the very telling observation that, “ “Neil Warnock teams are very difficult to beat. He has them well organised and they will be up for every game.”

There’s no doubting Mrs Doubtfire has the Bluebirds flying once more since their early season flirtation with the lower end of the table. It won’t be easy but the chance to draw further ahead of QPR and close in on both Fulham and last season’s 9th place finish is a huge lure. Can we do it? See you at the Cardiff City stadium this afternoon when we find out.

And for those of you travelling, it you’d like some reading material for the journey (no, not the book i although if you would like to read more about the last three seasons…….)   then could I suggest the online version of FourFourTwo magazine. Specifically, the aforementioned stadium guide they published this week.

Whilst, admittedly, being somewhat out of date it does hit the mark in most places. Certainly, I’d baulk at our performance relative to some of the soulless enormobowls we’ve had the pleasure of visiting this last few seasons. After all, this is a survey of match day experience rather than stadium quality.

Then again, if ever the Lionel Road team need some inspiration then here is a chance to see what the magazine deem the best and worst in English football.

Enjoy

Nick Bruzon

From the best to the worst in football’s role of honour. Plus a new favourite site.

21 Mar

Whilst there were some Brentford fans upset about the recent sale of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa, one would hope that those concerns have now been dispelled. Ably abetted by the two amigos on the flanks, a rejigged formation and a great Dane up top, The Bees have money in the bank and 25 goals in the 11 games since the Scott moved to Villa Park. Things could have been a lot, lot worse as we’ll look at momentarily. At the other end of the field, there was great news for John Egan who was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with Wales.

Nobody could doubt John’s performances this season. At one point he was neck and neck with Scott to be our leading scorer whilst, more importantly, has forged a wonderful partnership with Harlee Dean at the back.

Brentford ‘official’ share the great news on social media

I don’t envy head coach Dean Smith having to crowbar the pair of them, Yoann Barbet and fellow international Andreas Bjelland into his team. Perhaps the quality at his disposal goes someway to explaining our mid-season persistence with three centre backs. It was a valid attempt but one which persisted for far too long as it became clear it wasn’t working.

Yet, and with the greatest respect to Yoann and Andreas, John and Harlee are – at least in my opinion – our absolute nailed on first choice centre backs. Harlee has been magnificent this campaign and, along with Dan Bentley and John Egan, remains in my top three for player of the season. Although had Jota returned a month or two earlier then that competition would be an even stiffer one.

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Jota – c/o Sky. Imagine if he’d come back earlier…..

So news of John’s call up yesterday was one that is thoroughly deserved but has only been a matter of time. John, if you are reading (unlikely, let’s be honest) congratulations. As for Harlee and Dan, give it another season or two playing like this and their matching him on the International scene, for England, is well within the bounds of credibility.

Next up Twitter. A popular subject on these pages for many reasons. Ease of use, interaction with the actual players, Kitman Bob and his BBB giveaways, banter with fellow fans and the most immediate means of learning news updates are amongst the many reason for the site’s popularity here.

For Brentford supporters, there’s a recent addition to our family of familiar faces (© the Middlesex Chronicle big book of ’80s alliteration) out there in cyber space. Brentford Bot.

In their own words, “Judging Positive and Negative mentions of Brentford“.And that’s about all there is to it. But very, very well executed, often deadpan but sometimes laugh out loud funny and showing a tireless dedication to keeping the Bees family updated. I’ve no idea who the power behind the Bot is, but it’s well worth a follow. You can find @BrentfordBOT here.

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Brentford Bot does his/her/its (?) thing

Ok – striker sales. We talked at the top end about the departure of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth need no reminding of what has happened in the past – Nicky Forster, Carl Asaba, Gary Blissett, Robert Taylor, Dean Holdsworth, DJ Campbell and even Andy Scott are amongst those who have been sold in their free scoring prime. Goals aside, the other thing connecting these players was their lack of a like-for-like replacement.

To be fair, how do you replace the likes of Deano, Bliss or the FT index? Even for the player, following a fan favourite and goalscoring legend must be thankless task. Yet when this goes wrong it can be truly horrific.

FourFourTwo magazine have just started to publish their list of every league club’s worst ever player. The initial instalment, in a series which is now running daily, runs from Accrington Stanley up to Bury, taking in the likes of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and of course Brentford along the way.

On the Bees front, it feels somewhat awkward badmouthing one of our own yet for whatever the reason we’ve had some players over the years who really haven’t shone. Past their prime, over weight, over rated or just really, really bad. It happens. It happens to every club. So when FourFourTwo approached yours truly for the name of the Griffin Park protagonist, it was one that eventually came about as a result of a public vote. Too much power should not lie with just one man.

It was a top five that included, in no particular order : Nick Proschwitz, Paul Davis, Murray jones, Neil Shipperley and Steve Claridge. Yet in the end the ‘winner’ was a clear one.

And you can find out who, here…

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Nick Bruzon

Bees fan Tom emulates Newcastle. Brentford badge continues to go national.

16 Nov

The dark part of International break. Perhaps it was the fact we last played on a Friday night but this one is dragging. The friendlies have finished and we’re now hanging out for Blackburn away on Saturday. Of course, we’ve had all the news and views about the new club crest to keep us occupied but yesterday it made national radio. Specifically, supporter Tom Lonnen whose new tattoo, and the timing of it, put one in mind of Newcastle United supporter Rob Nesbitt back in 1995.

Readers may recall how Nesbitt treated himself to a thigh length homage of the free scoring striker, only for the Toon hero to join Manchester United the very next day.

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Well, now Tom has joined those ranks – at least in terms of timing if not size. Whilst some fans are still banging the ‘wasp’ drum, a story broke on the Christian O’Connell Absolute Radio breakfast show yesterday about our new badge.But there was no wasp related element (probably because it looks like a bee).

Regular readers / listeners may be aware that, of course,the Bees have featured on Christian’s show before. Primarily when the DJ interviewed Cameron Diaz during the promotion for her Sex Tape film and put the question to her as to whether she really was a fan of Brentford. The answer to that one can be found here.

Instead, yesterday’s news involved sports presenter Faye Caruthers sharing with the nation the story of how Tom had got a tattoo of our current bees on the inside of his bicep, just days before the new club design was revealed.

Fair play to Tom, he has given his thumbs up to our new design as his own tweet from earlier revealed. Moreso, given that but for a bit of warning he may have chosen a different way to honour his team.

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And at least he doesn’t have to revert to Rob’s subsequent technique of having his own ink redesigned as another Newcastle legend (and former Bee), Les Ferdinand. If you’d like to hear more, the podcast of yesterday’s show can be found here – with Tom’s moment of fame coming about 35 and a half minutes in.

The other tattoo news you may have seen surrounds a very unusual piece of work and another homage (twice on one column, sorry) to a club hero. Sometimes, words aren’t enough. I’ll let the picture do the talking.

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For those of you despairing about the new club crest then this is well worth a look. FourFourTwo magazine have just published their list of the 17 weirdest club crests in world football. There’s not a Bee in sight (although a couple of bunnies). Trust me, things could be a lot worse. Imagine any of these on your shirt.

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And if you’d like to read more, the full article can be found here… 

But we’ll end with tattoos. It’s not just Brentford or Newcastle fans who have had their issue with unfortunate inkings. From 17 weird badges to 16 woeful tattoos. This one is a few years old but until we can get back to the proper football, why not enjoy the worst of football body art.…..    

Nick Bruzon

Do derbies get any bigger (but who’s Staying Alive?)

29 Apr

Whilst Newcastle United v Sunderland could well be one of the big derbies in next season’s Championship (unlikely though it seems look at the table – it doesn’t lie), 2015/16 draws to a close with what is one of the most hotly contested local rivalries that our division currently has to offer. It’s only Brentford v Fulham !

Our final game of the campaign at Griffin Park sees a visit from a Fulham side who have only picked up 1 point out of a possible 9 against Brentford since our paths have crossed once more. And even that was only thanks to a wayward linesman denying Jota a late winner that was subsequently proven to have been onside when we played away in December.

Jota onside v Fulham

Jota WAS onside at Fulham (thanks, Channel 5)

The Bees have found the back of the net 8 times in those three games and so couldn’t have picked a better time to welcome back Lasse Vibe and Scott Hogan. This, after the pair were both rested for the trip to Hull City (move along, nothing to see here) in midweek.

Indeed, at one point it seems as though this might even have been the ultimate survival battle for both teams. However, a resurgent Brentford have stormed up to 10th whilst ongoing ineptitude from MK Dons, Charlton and Bolton mean that Fulham have had the hard work done for them.

Regardless, it still promises to be a more than spicy encounter. Derby games always are and the Cottagers will not doubt be finally hoping to get one over us. Make no mistake though, Dean Smith will know exactly what this means in TW8 and will be looking to sign off in front of the home fans with nothing but three points.

On a personal note, it’s the final ‘kit obsessive’ article of the season in the match day programme. The feature won’t be back next campaign for the simple reason that we’ve already ‘done’ most of our opponents. That’s not to say there won’t be a few one off specials on those newcomers to the Championship.

Without wanting to give too much away about tomorrow’s feature, I did stumble across something interesting whilst looking into the Fulham back catalogue. Were those black collars and white shirt the unlikely inspiration for John Travolta, whose ’Saturday Night Fever’ came out just after the Cottagers had reached the 1975 FA Cup final….

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Love those collars..

The other reason to mention Newcastle United and Sunderland at the top of the article was, specifically, because FourFourTwo magazine are currently running an online article featuring the 50 biggest derbies in world football. This North-East rivalry is included although, with only the top ten to go and London already featured with Arsenal v Tottenham, there is no sign of the Bees. Yet.

Could we still feature? Having already gone through some huge names I’d suggest it unlikely, although I still live in hope. Still, if that’s a disappointment , one other positive is that the part on Southampton v Portsmouth (which ranked higher than both the Tottenham and Newcastle encounters)  does not include a picture of John Westwood.

It’s wonderful that they’ve not bowed to the almost contractual obligation of having to accompany any feature on the South Coast club with a picture of the fright wig, stove pipe hat, engraved teeth and bell of self-appointed ‘Mr Portsmouth’. I’m sure he’s a ‘character’ but he’s one I’ve no desire to see, hear or smell any more of than we’ve already been exposed to over the years.

And finally, it’s our last look at Kitman Bob and his BBGiveaway. Who knows what he’s going to test us with tomorrow but with a huge roll over prize on offer, including the incredible one-of-a-kind signed shirt, I can only hope it is something special.

Tuesday night saw supporters given the wonderful challenge of having a selfie taken with Peter Gilham. How can that be topped? Knowing Bob, very easily 🙂

Keep an eye on his Twitter feed today and tomorrow to find out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Bob has been an absolute legend this season and such a credit to Brentford football club.

Thanks, Bob ! I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve….

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This stunning prize is still up for grabs, c/o Kitman Bob

Nick Bruzon

From Manchester City fan to Brentford legend

3 Mar

Money can’t necessarily buy you success. Of course, at Brentford having the sort of finances available to the likes of the teams at the top end of the Premier League is just a pipe dream. Yet it made last night’s results all the more interesting as this most captivating of top flight seasons continued. Despite their mega-millions, Manchester City (at mid-table Liverpool) and Arsenal (hosting relegation candidates Swansea) both lost against opposition they’d have been expected, on paper, to breeze past.

The flip side to this is that when you are operating on a reduced budget, unearthing that game changing player is a truly joyful experience. And this is where Brentford come into the equation. The previous column looked at, amongst other things, the FourFourTwo magazine survey on your club’s ‘cult hero’ over the top four divisions.

It is genuinely a fascinating read (my own contribution aside) with the results, being published on-line now showing clubs A-M. Starting with Accrington Stanley, it has so far gone through Brentford, along with the aforementioned Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City to the point they had, at the time of writing, got as far as Morecambe.

So few of these players are the big money signings making the headlines today but each have their special place amongst the fans. And the reason for mentioing this again was, specifically, the chance to talk a bit more about Brentford. Or, rather, our own nominee – Gary Blissett.

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All time cult hero, Gary Blissett

Given the constraints of the Four FourTwo site, somebody like Bliss (not to mention those who ran him close when the question was put out there on Facebook last month) deserved more than the 100-150 words available. So here is the full, unexpurgated version.

Gary Blissett – cult hero

Where do you start when looking for a cult hero? For a team like Brentford, where the trophy cabinet is more an aspiration than anything else, most people outside of TW8 probably know us for the sort of thing that would make TV’s “What happened Next…?” rather than the record books.

Goalkeeper Chic Brodie having his career ended by a runaway dog. Millwall fans throwing a hand grenade onto the pitch (November 1965, for the record). The failed takeover bid by QPR that would have seen Brentford cease to exist and our bitterest rivals move into Griffin Park. Eight play-off defeats out of eight (the least successful of all English teams when reaching football’s ‘final four’).

Then, of course, there was ‘that penalty’ in the final minute of the final game of 2012/13. A winner takes all encounter with promotion rivals Doncaster Rovers.

Only one team could make it to the Championship and, with the scores locked at 0-0, the Bees were awarded a 90th minute spot kick. The subsequent tussle for the ball involving club captain Kevin O’Connor (approaching his 500th game), and Marcello Trotta (on loan from Fulham, of all places) is one as familiar as the Italian’s subsequent effort thudding off the crossbar and, with Bees players prostrate on the ground in despair, our opponents going down the other end where they scored to secure promotion and the title.

That’s how we do things at Griffin Park. Glorious failure being as familiar a taste as the pre-match hot dog. Yet when we do win things, it makes them all the sweeter. Every now and again it happens. And even when we don’t, we still have a lot of fun along the way. Thanks, largely, to those figures you’d label as Cult Heroes.

Big John O’Mara who, in his first season, scored 25 goals in 40 games. Centre back Peter Gelson, who made 471 appearances in a Griffin Park career that stretched from 1960 to 1975. The legendary Jim Towers and George Francis aka The Terrible Twins. Playing together for most of the 1950s, they still remain (respectively) the club’s first and second highest all time goal scorers.

Hard as nails players such as Terry Hurlock, Terry Evans and Martin Grainger.

Long serving players Jamie Bates and Kevin O’Connor.

The skilful wing wizards like Andy Sinton and Neil Smillie.

Those who just seemed to exude personality and had the crowd eating out of their hand – Allan Cockram, Lloyd Owusu and Marcus Gayle (just don’t sing that song near your granny).

Modern day heroes including Jota – the last minute goal being his own personal calling card. Toumani Diagouraga – “Toumani scores, we’re on the pitch” went the Ealing Road. He’d last done it in March 2013 and we had to sit through another 111 games without him troubling the scorers before he was sold to Leeds at the end of January. Less than 40 minutes into his full debut….

Or how about Sam Saunders? The perma-tanned wing wizard (and former tube worker) so beloved of fans that most would allow him to ‘have relations’ with their wives, if the terrace chant is to be believed.

But when it comes down to it, there can be only one winner. The moustachioed legend that is Gary Blissett. aka ‘Bliss’.

79 goals from 223 league appearances (105 from 291 total) in a 6 year career from 1987-1993 don’t even tell half the story. His brace against boyhood heroes Manchester City in the 1988-89 FA Cup fourth round sent Griffin Park into meltdown as the Bees earned a 3-1 passage into the fifth round. There, Bliss repeated the feat as his late pair at Blackburn Rovers helped Brentford to a deserved 2-0 win. Sadly it wasn’t to be in an Anfield quarter final as the Bees bowed out despite giving all-conquering Liverpool (kids, ask your dads) an almighty scare.

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Bliss does the business against his beloved Manchester City

His defining goal was probably the final game of the 91/92 season. With the Bees having won the previous five on the spin, including a 4-0 demolition of Fulham, we travelled to Peterborough knowing a win and some good fortune could make the impossible, possible.

Bliss was the man who popped up with a first half header as we then sat through an awful lot of ‘squeaky bum time’ for a famous 1-0 win. With other results going our way, including a shock defeat for a Birmingham City side that Saint & Greavsie had earlier congratulated on TV for winning the League, we snuck up the blind side and became Champions. Sometimes, it happens.

Gary was an ever present the following season as, despite the sale of strike partner Dean Holdsworth, his goals almost kept us in English football’s second tier.

But there was more to Gary than short shorts, a luxuriant ‘tache and goals, goals, goals.

A wannabe goalkeeper, he was the man who donned the gloves during a Championship game with Southend United after injury, and no spare on the bench, meant we got to enjoy that wonderful moment where an outfield player goes between the posts. Bliss promptly ignored every piece of advice being shouted to him by youth ‘keeper Ashley Bayes and kept a clean sheet.

But it was his red card at Craven Cottage after what we will politely call a ‘coming together’ with Fulham ‘keeper Jim Stannard that is a moment as popular with Bees’ fans as that goal at Peterborough. Bliss left the field to a standing ovation in a game that showed us the West London derby meant as much to the players as the supporters.

All the money in the bank can’t buy a player like Bliss. The £60,000 we paid Crewe back in 1987, even now, still seems like the bargain of the century.

Like Marcus Gayle and Allan Cockram, Bliss still visits Griffin Park. Catching up with him briefly in the week, he told me, “ I follow every game and after my beloved City Brentford are of course the team I want to see succeed more than any other team or club in the world.

I am sure MB will have Plan B, C, D and more and will one day be playing at The Ethiad IN THE LEAGUE

For those amongst us feeling slightly down about things on the pitch this year, these are surely words to put your trust in. If a demi-God such as Bliss believes, then that’s all the inspiration we need .

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Gary still features in the Junior Bees Top Trumps (style game)

Nick Bruzon

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.

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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.

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Bliss – a hero to many. Then and now

Nick Bruzon

Title contenders handed massive boost (as Football League can’t count)

5 Apr

Brentford prepare for their game with Notts County today having been the beneficiaries of some stunning news courtesy of Wolves. Kenny Jackett, the man in Molineux hot seat, has been named Football League manger of the month for March.

You may have seen the column only yesterday on the ‘omens’ and then this story came along to blow it out of the water. Whilst Jackett is deserving of this honour, nudging out Warbs and Brentford in the process, jinx obsessed football fans up and down the land wax lyrical about the ‘inevitable’ defeat that follows this award.

Could play-off contenders Peterborough help provide a further demonstration of this today? Well, as one of my regular correspondents from ‘the dark (and gold) side, ‘Rustymini’, put it: “Kenny Jackett has won manager of the month for March. That’s it then, season over. We’ll struggle to get another point.”

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Sixteen into eleven won’t go

2 Aug

The League campaign is finally here and I cannot wait. So much so that I finally cracked and went to a ‘pre-season friendly’ on Tuesday night.

I’m not, normally, the world’s greatest fan of these fixtures. They’re a little tease that struggles to properly fill the void of close season. Despite looking and sounding like the real thing, it somehow lacks punch. The footballing equivalent of alcohol-free beer. However, lured by an unexpected ‘green card’ from home base, the warm summer weather and our opponent’s recent transfer activity I decided to give it a shot.

The opposition – Cardiff City. Like Celtic reserves and Millwall before them, another higher level outfit and a really strong test. However, that’s where normal service ends…..

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.