Tag Archives: friendlies

Forget Clifton. Brentford – Crystal Palace is a friendly that offers Moore

1 Aug

With Brentford due to entertain Premiership side Crystal Palace on Saturday in our last warm up for life in the Championship, it does beg that perennial question about friendlies – What is the point?

This is where the distinct difference between games at International and club level becomes more apparent (and I don’t mean in terms of player quality, with England’s World Cup showing making them very much the poor relations on that front).

I’ve long ranted about these – certainly when it comes to England. Despite looking and sounding like the real thing, they suffer from a total lack of punch. The footballing equivalent of alcohol-free beer or any James Bond film that doesn’t star Roger Moore.

Plus, internationally, you have the added pain of Bernie Clifton and his alleged supporter’s band…

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.

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.

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’