Tag Archives: fourth

A historical hat-trick awaits in the League Cup. But which way?

19 Sep

We’ve a return to league cup action tonight with Brentford looking to put what management see as the bad luck but wonderful performances in the Championship behind us and reach the fourth round of this tournament.  If so it would, incredibly, be just the third time ever. Standing between us and, even more incredibly, a draw that will take place at a normal time on a normal channel (Sky Sports news , following the Manchester United v Burton tie) are Norwich City. But can we get past the Canaries to reach a place we’ve been to only twice before ? For the record, 1982-83 and 2010-11 : losing at Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City respectively.

Well, if ever there was incentive to go for it then it has to be tonight. Putting aside our previous form in this tournament, victory would see us into the last 16 of a trophy where the unfancied teams have, historically, had a little bit more success than in the FA cup. Who could forget Bradford City (of league 2) getting all the way to the final in 2012/13 after beating Arsenal en route, Swindon lifting the silverware in 1969 (agasint Arsenal) , Luton doing the same in 1988 (also: Arsenal) whilst the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have lost to lower league opposition on more than regular basis.

Yet for Brentford to find themselves in Wednesday night’s draw with a chance to do the same, first there is the small matter of Norwich City. It would be fair to say that last season’s Championship fixtures were amongst the most disappointing of all those games we played. Coming amidst a woeful run for both teams, the Bees didn’t even attempt to dial in performance as we were thrashed 5-0 at Carrow Road in early December. It was the proverbial game where we lucky to get nil and, it would be fair to say from anyone who had the misfortune to sit through it, that this really was one of the low points in an otherwise exciting season.

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So bad at Carrow Road last season that 1 on 3 outside the box became a penalty and 2-0

It was a performance only matched in the return fixture at Griffin Park on New Year’s Eve. That one finished 0-0 in a game where both teams were lucky to get nil. Even the prospect of sneaking out early to watch Mrs Browns Boys and Jools Holland bringing Roland Rivron out of cold storage for the annual ‘hootenanny’ seemed tempting at one point. Well, it didn’t. Nothing is that bad but this game did run it awfully close.

Yet from that point the Bees exploded into form. Despite rumours of Scott Hogan’s departure we started to get the wins and the performances in. The FA Cup against Chelsea aside. That one was less Mrs. Brown’s Boys and more Len Goodman’s Partners in Rhyme (and if you haven’t seen that one yet then please, don’t. Bad doesn’t even begin to describe it. Think budget level Catchphrase on acid with Len channeling the worst of a bad dad wedding speech).

Hogan even managed a goal against Birmingham City before injury his buttocks, apparently, and finally moving to Aston Villa.

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Mrs Brown. If December was bad, NYE wasn’t much better

Could we emulate the same tonight? Could the cup help motivate a Championship campaign where despite the efforts of the team and the self-belief of our head coach, results are not going as one would hope. Could this be the perfect fillip going in to Saturday’s bottom two clash with Bolton Wanderers? Reaching the fourth round, let alone a tie with likes of Manchester united, Arsenal or even Birmingham City – that latter one for more reasons than you could shake a stick at – would produce a fantastic buzz around Griffin Park at a time when perhaps it may come in handy.

Personally, I’ll be happy just being able to watch a fourth round draw without the need for an intravenous drip of double espresso (with an s, there’s no x . Restaturants, try using a dictionary) to help me through the night.

But for that to happen then we need to win tonight. Given we’ve only done this twice before in our entire history then let’s not take anything for granted. Indeed, I saw a stat yesterday (thanks to Jonathan Burchill on twitter) that said we’ve only even reached the third round three times. Burnley (1960) and then who else but Norwich City (19968 and 1991) as the teams to halt our progress.

Either way there’s going to be a historical hat-trick tonight. Will it be our third trip to the fourth round or a trio of Canary infused defeats at this stage?

At 7.45pm, we find out. See you there.

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Espresso for the draw? Give me expressb. Or preferably just Sky

Nick Bruzon

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As Chelsea look ahead to the fifth round and Liverpool, why Brentford will cause the mother of all upsets.

28 Jan

Saturday morning. 8.15am. The (now) ‘lucky’ tinfoil FA Cup from the 5-0 victory in the third round has just come out of storage whilst over on the TV Captain Barnacles, Kwazi and Peso are having another underwater adventure. That’s HB, not me, watching Octonauts and oblivious to the fact that today’s decreed ‘naughty team’ (a title bestowed upon anybody to line up against Brentford), are none other than Chelsea – the current Premier League leaders and one time Champions of Europe.

Oh yes. Its FA Cup fourth round day and Brentford go into this one with absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve been written off by just about everybody already whilst our own fans have, genuinely, no idea if the club’s leading scorer and one man goal machine, Scott Hogan, will start, be on the bench or have received a phonecall from his agent advising him that a buttock spasm has returned or his hamstring looked a little tight in Friday’s training.

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Just what is Scott’s number?

Nobody expects us to do it today. Mark Lawrenson and his team of guest pundits A.dot (no idea) and Adele (not that one ) from BBC radio have all tipped us to lose without scoring. Even the most tight fisted of bookmakers has us at 11/1 to win; the most generous 18/1. Chelsea, on the other hand, are 2/11 to win . Understandably so, given their wealth, their talent and their excellent start to the Premier League campaign. Chelsea lead the table by a country mile and specialise in clean sheets.

The nightmare of 2015/16, where José Mourinho proved less than ‘special’ as he lead the Blues to the edge of the relegation zone before being dismissed half way through the campaign, now seems as distant as it was unlikely. Only their failure to qualify for Europe in a season when even Spurs reached the Champions League group stages serving as a reminder of how much they had slipped last time out

Yet despite the calibre of our opposition there is room for massive hope and massive optimism. With games against Liverpool and Arsenal (genuine titles contenders and Arsenal, respectively) in the coming week you can expect an element of squad rotation. A Tuesday night trip to Anfield, where the home side will be looking to reel in the league leaders, must surely be seen as more of a threat and priority? Could an unfamiliar line up have trouble in making a cohesive unit?  With many changes predicted,  we are already boosted by the news that one man brick wall Thibaut Courtois has been replaced by ring rusty Asmir Begovic between the sticks.

There’s the atmosphere factor.Brentford sold out all 6,000 tickets within two days. nom matter what your views on the sale technique employed, expect there to be nothing but deafening noise from the Shed End. And that’s just when David Luiz puts in any form of appearance. Nobody in TW8 has forgotten about Jake Reeves.

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Nobody has forgotten…

What about the magic of the cup ? It was only two years ago that League One Bradford City humped Chelsea 4-2 at this stage of the competition. At Stamford Bridge. This, despite going 2-0 down in 38 minutes and playing against the likes of Cech, Drogba, Cahill, Oscar, Hazard and Fabregas – amongst others.

Then of course, we’ve our own recent fourth round encounter with the Blues. 2013 saw us hold Chelsea 2-2 at Griffin Park and for the entire first half of the replay until, eventually, form told.

Whilst they are few and far between we’ve had our own share of giant killing over the years. Sunderland, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers are the names that spring immediately to mind whilst had we just conceded four goals less and scored one at Anfield then we’d have beaten Liverpool and reached the 1989 semi-final.

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Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round – January 1989

Yet, for me, the most telling sign for optimism are the Chelsea fans at work who, to protect their identities, we’ll simply call ‘Andrew’ and ‘Dave’. They go into this one knowing they can’t win. Apart form on the pitch. If Chelsea do manage to get past us it will be what everybody expected. But if Brentford do what I genuinely expect, there will be nothing but a very sheepish journey into the office on Monday morning and bragging rights secured for the next few months.

That alone is reason to go for it today and I can’t wait. however you travel – tube, bus, Routemaster or even on the river cruise – be safe and have fun.

But most of all, come 3pm let’s be loud. Very loud. There’s a fifth round draw to look forward to. And Brentford WILL be in it.

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The lucky cup has been touched by Buzzette. What better omen do we need?

Nick Bruzon

Don’t give in to the Dark Side. An apology

4 May

This should be a time for celebration. Brentford fans know what I mean. Instead, I’m angry again as Star Wars, the second best film franchise of all time (nobody can top ‘Roger’ era Bond) sends me to the bitter depths of despair. So angry it’s not even a football article today.

Yes, it is the fourth of May.

I apologise in advance for repeating a lot of what I’ve said before. I love Twitter but today it’s being given a wide berth. Sci-fi geeks and lovers of crap jokery everywhere have, already, began infecting my social media timeline with the hilarious ‘May the fourth be with you’ comment.

Even now, writing those horrible, horrible words, I can feel a little bit of sick rising to the back of my throat.

Please – I beg of you – it’s not too late. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, its not original and using this weak, weak pun does not make you into some 21st Century Oscar Wilde. I love bad wordplay as much as the next man but this limp ‘gag’ forsakes humour for twee. And those are two fields which are a world apart.

It’s the sort of ‘joke’ used by people who find The Krankies or ‘Big Mouth Billy Bass’ ( ‘Take me to the river” – don’t tempt me) the height of cultural sophistication.

So this fourth of May, if you really want to enjoy Star Wars then stick on The Force Awakens or Return of the Jedi. Perhaps fast-forwarding through any Ewok related content.

Just don’t. Use. That. Phrase.

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Referee Salisbury plain as Hornets sting Bees

1 Oct

What can you see about that? Well done to Watford for taking their chances and taking all three points. Bad luck Brentford for playing, at times, some scintillating football and coming close to a draw that, on the balance of play, would have been the least we deserved.

That said, “Bad luck, well played and scintillating football” count for nothing if you can’t convert….

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 along.

Watford – what were they thinking?

30 Sep

With Brentford travelling to Watford tonight, it’s time for a return of the semi-regular series : ‘What were they thinking’ – a look at the best (and worst) of our opponent’s shirts. You can find the regular pre-match column here but for those with an interest in all things ‘shirt related’ then read on.

As ever, the selections have been made by no more a scientific method than personal opinion. The four categories remain: The best; The unfortunate design; The worst; The away kit.

So without further ado, let’s crack on.

The best : 1982 – 85 Made by Umbro ; sponsored by Iveco (Industrial Vehicles Corporation – I’ve checked ). This ditches the collars, only a good thing in a shirt, and is probably best associated with the 1984 FA Cup final. Combining the yellow, red and black used since the mid-70s it is a simple classic.

A classic shirt - the shorts, perhaps, best forgotten

A classic shirt – the shorts, perhaps, best forgotten

The unfortunate design : 1985-88 Made by Umbro ; sponsored by Solvite. Nothing much wrong with this, in theory. However , a decent yellow shirt is let down with the supplementary red / black emblazoned across the front of the chest in a gauche stripe that looks like two Inter City 125 trains crossing at high speed.

Sponsor free version - complete with High Speed Trains

Sponsor free version – complete with High Speed Trains

 

From Euston to vicarage Road

From Euston to vicarage Road

The worst : 2013-14 Made by Puma ; sponsored by 138.com . Bang up to date for this Puma (who else?) effort that not only ditches the red (save for the sponsor’s logo) but then paints a wave-like black yoke across the shoulders. However, the unforgiveable offence is turning the club crest into a monochromatic neon yellow affair. I am not a-moosed.

Where's the red? What have they done to the badge?

Where’s the red? What have they done to the badge?

The away shirt : 1994-95 Made by Hummel; sponsored by Blaupunkt. Hummel made some classics for Brentford and they’ve done it again here. I don’t know whether to recoil in horror or embrace their audacity. So bad it’s fantastic. Best described as a kind of soft-focus fuzzy bar code effect.

A Hummel away shirt to rival our own 92-93 version

A Hummel away shirt to rival our own 92-93 version

Who will sting who as Bees take on Hornets ?

30 Sep

Brentford travel to Watford this evening in a game that has now been declared a sell out for Bees fans. But with both teams in buoyant mood and flying high in the Championship, the Vicarage Road club were rocked by the resignation of their manager yesterday.

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 along.

Star Wars fans – please note. New cast; old ‘joke’

3 May

Dear Star Wars fans.

I love the same film series (Jar Jar Binks and Yoda aside) as you do and one day look forward to watching these with my son. I still have a Millennium Falcon toy somewhere in that attic although sadly, no original packaging and I am, genuinely, excited about the prospect of the next film in the series.

The recently published story about Episode 7’s cast, and the news that filming is imminent, has set internet nerds into meltdown. But, sadly, with every bit of renewed interest in the trilogy there is a downside – and more so at this time of the year.

This Saturday is the third of May. On Sunday as I, and most sane people know it, will be the fourth of May.

Instead Sci-fi geeks and lovers of crap jokery everywhere will, no doubt, be infecting my social media timeline with the hilarious ‘May the fourth be with you’ comment.

Even now, writing those horrible, horrible words, I can feel a little bit of sick rising to the back of my throat.

 

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Even the good people at Lego are joining in

Please – I beg of you – it’s not too late. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, its not original and using this weak, weak pun does not make you into some 21st Century Oscar Wilde. It’s the sort of ‘joke’ used by people who find The Krankies or ‘Big Mouth Billy Bass’ ( ‘Take me to the river” – don’t tempt me) the height of cultural sophistication.

So this fourth of May, don’t play into the hands of the Globex Marketing corporation and further promote their Sci-Fi wares. If you really want to enjoy Star Wars then stick on Return of the Jedi, perhaps fast-forwarding through any Ewok related content.

Just don’t. Make. That. Joke.

Big Mouth Billy Bass – how we laughed.