Tag Archives: Gillingham

Sawyers, Egan, Bentley all IN. And a return for Andy Scout

2 Jul

Well that was some day in TW8. Brentford boss Dean Smith embarked on a triple transfer swoop that has sent the fans into overdrive whilst, no doubt, earning further friends at Walsall. Romaine Sawyers IN. Daniel Bentley IN. John Egan IN. Oh, and then there was the small matter of captain Jake Bidwell joining QPR. There’ll be a separate piece on that one but, for now, we’ll simply say “good luck” and politely leave it there.

We’d all heard the rumours. We’d all scoured the local press looking for some crumb of Brentford related news in the lean summer months since the season ended. These names have been doing the rounds for some time but, being honest, did we expect to get them all? On day 1?

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Official twitter has a triple transfer montage

More to the point, how did the local press get it so right this time? And for so long? I’ve long been scornful of a rumour mill that seems as much miss as it is hit. Throw enough mud and some will stick. However, on this on you have to say ‘hats off’ for calling them all, including the news about Jake, spot on.

This is nothing but stunning. Sawyers and Egan were both in the League 1 team of the year last season, an honour Bentley had the season previous as Southend got promoted via the play off final. That, a game Sam Saunders will remember (although perhaps for the wrong reasons) after injury forced him to leave the pitch quicker than you could say “And this is Saunders territory”, just seconds after kick off.

What does this all mean for the rest of the squad? Egan is a centre back and with Harlee Dean, Jack O’Connell, Andreas Bjelland and Yoann Barbet could somebody else be moving on? Might Dean be moving to a formation with three central defenders? Or is it a case of him having to try and keep a lot of players very happy with a place on the bench? Either way, this level of competition can only be a good thing.

As for Daniel Bentley, he comes very highly rated and there is a genuine sense of excitement at his joining. The obvious question is if he will be in line to support or replace David Button. In my eyes, he ran Alan Judge oh so close for player of the season last time out and helped keep the good ship Brentford afloat when things were, shall we politely say, going through a bit of a rough patch on field.

Reading the press release, Phil Giles has noted that, “As it stands all three goalkeepers, including Jack Bonham, will be competing to be first choice goalkeeper against Huddersfield on the opening day of the season.” Whilst I have no doubt that is true, as it stands, I can’t believe having al three on our books will be a long term option. Will David sign the new contract he has been offered? Will Daniel have to be content as an understudy at first? Or will it be a case of Bentley & Bonham being our goalkeeping 1-2 as we head into 2016/17?

Then there’s Romaine Sawyers. He earned plaudits all last season and no more so than as Walsall dumped Brentford out of the FA Cup in the game we don’t talk about. They deserved it that day and he was wonderful. With John Swift back at Chelsea, Sergi Canos back at Liverpool and Jota still on his ‘loan’ in Spain there’s certainly room for an attacking midfielder.

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Romaine sports the signing scarf

Yesterday was nothing but brilliant.

Off the field, it was also confirmed that Andy Scott is now back at Brentford in an official capacity, as Chief Scout. Whilst Matthew Benham had previously alluded to his work for us, Andy is now fully on board with Phil Giles noting “I have been working with Andy over the last year or more, and he has been invaluable in identifying players and providing detailed scouting reports on all of our targets.

Andy, if you are reading then congratulations. It’s great to have you back. I’l never forget those goals or that night against Everton. Now, if you could hot foot it up to Liverpool and start compiling a dossier, there’s a chap called Sergi I think you might like to take a look at……

Nick Bruzon

And finally…. :  Andy, Daniel, Romaine or John, If you are reading ( you aren’t)  The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs about the club you are joining then  you can do so now.

Its been a wonderful three years. Here’s to more of the same over 2016/17. Thanks, as ever, for reading

Is the transfer klaxon about to go off? Which way?

1 Jul

Is Jake Bidwell leaving Brentford for QPR? Another two days of rumours going into overdrive suggest July 1st could see a move go through. Is there any substance to them? Who knows? For me, its all about the door swinging the other way and the latest issue of ‘The Buzz’ newsletter. Specifically, the feature on Josh McEachran where the fact his picture was one sporting a Chelsea shirt wasn’t the main talking point from the article.

Perhaps they got confused with our away kit” noted one New Road observer in an attempt to explain why Josh wasn’t photographed in red and white stripes. Whatever the reason, ‘The Buzz’  continues to excite when it hits the inbox. And no more so this time around from the throwaway line at the end of the article…..

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Does this mean we can expect transfer news today? Will it be one of the hotly tipped trio of John Egan (Gillingham), Daniel Bentley (Southend United) or Romaine Sawyers (Walsall) ? Could we even be living in dreamland and harbouring secret hopes of a return from Liverpool for Sergi Canos?

With the fee for Canos being reported as £2.5m, surely that has to be way beyond our wildest dreams. It would need more than selling Jake Bidwell to cover that one. Chuck in Alan Judge, David Button and Harlee Dean before the numbers even started to crunch.

Then again, all I can do is speculate. The closest I get to being a source ‘close to the club’ is walking my son to nursery past Griffin Park each morning. However, probability suggests that any available expenditure will be spread out over a number of players rather than most of the eggs being chucked in one basket.

If there is to be disappointment about Jake to QPR, or anywhere else, hopefully the blow will be softened by this implication of inward news. Interestingly, Wikipedia had Romaine down as a Brentford player on Thursday evening although, equally, we all know that is hardly a reliable means of confirming anything ahead of the facts. Had somebody been a bit premature on the updates or is it simply a terrace wag indulging in a spot of high jinks?

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Last season saw a lot of people upset about the huge turnover to a squad which almost reached the Premier League. Understandably so – football is an emotive game and these players had got us to where we finished on merit. Moreso when the new recruits took their time to bed in (much like that pitch). Again, understandably so, although it would be fair to say that some of them are now absolutely nailed on starters. Likewise, don’t forget the FFP related reasons that necessitated those sales.

Besides, nobody could deny we finished in some style. Ninth place, and clear of both QPR and Fulham, was a stunning denouement to the campaign. Moreso with that wonderful return from injury for Scott Hogan. Has that late run masked early / mid season ‘challenges’ or will we pick up where we left off? Either way, expect a further changed squad with that restructure seemingly set to start.

Is Jake Bidwell going? Is Romaine Sawyers coming ? Or, after May’s somewhat random suggestion about Josh going back to Chelsea (which Dean Smith dismissed saying “I have heard nothing at all about this. Is that to help him with his treatment?“) could the biggest transfer clue be right under our noses…..

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IS Josh going back to Chelsea? No.

Nick Bruzon

Life after Manish – Football League Tonight crashes on Channel 5 launch

9 Aug

Channel 5 launched their brand new Football League highlights show on Saturday night and it’s fair to say that the reaction has been universal. As an act of bringing fans together, they achieved the impossible as supporters of Brentford, Ipswich Town, Wolves, Hull City, Leeds United – infact just about every league club you could mention – took to Twitter to vilify 5’s new ‘Football League Tonight’ Show.

Quite literally, where do you start? When it was announced that Manish, Leroy, Clem and the rest of the BBC team would be losing the highlights package after 6 years nobody could have imagined what we’d be left with. Indeed, the much trumpeted announcement of a 9pm start time had many of us lightweights genuinely pleased. No longer would the League highlights be an afterthought tagged on catch those who had fallen asleep during Match of the Day.

To make this worse, the choice of Saturday night viewing is a normally awful selection. Something involving Ant and Dec; a singing competition; Casualty. BBC2 at 9pm was screaming out for Clem yet we were forced to wait up until gone midnight for the chance to catch our team in action.

Clem  - much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

Clem – much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

But where the BBC lost out in terms of timeslot, they had everything else spot on. A charismatic host; great pundits; genuine humour from Leroy ; a decent amount of match action; Clem doing his thing up and down the country (and the regular reader knows there’s enough material on that topic to fill a book….)

Most importantly though, they had good highlights. In order.

Words cannot describe just how bad Channel 5’s replacement was. It got off to a fantastic start with a 9pm kick off and that’s about the only positive thing you can say about the show. Despite the potentially decent pairing of George Riley and Kelly Cates, the rest of it was a jarring car crash of a show that made me yearn for Clem.

Football highlights aren’t a hard thing to get right. Show the games in some sort of order and give some interesting analysis. Yet 5 threw that concept out of the window and left us with what was, quite possibly, the worst attempt at a football show since Colin Murray was let loose on us.

The show switched back and forth between divisions in a bizarre manner that suggested the running order had been picked out via car keys in a bowl. The studio audience (why? why? why?) stood around looking awkward yet when one was asked a question, they’d forgotten to even have a microphone ready.

Take me out - please

Take me out – please

The garish and cluttered set looked as if it had been designed by a school kid on day 1 of work experience whilst low budget rotating ‘league ladders’ resembled something left over from a 1970s episode of Blue Peter. And then there was Martin Allen…..

Usually good for a quote, the former Brentford and Gillingham boss didn’t even seem sure of what was going on (much like the audience). “We’ve got Millwall. I think they came down from the Championship” he opined at one point although did provide just one of many moments of unintentional comedy when George invited him to give some opinion on a goal his side had conceeded.

Here you go then, talk me through this” was met with some nervous laughter and the eventual reply “What do you want me to say?”

I could go on. We’re stuck with them for three years but the problems aren’t hard to fix. Show the games, in some sort of order. Cut the studio audience; give us some decent analysis. Just cut to the chase and show the bloody action rather than a level of banter that makes Jeremy Kyle look like Panorama.

When the producers saw that the show was trending on Twitter, they must have been ecstatic, until they read some of the comments. And here are just a few….

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Manish FLT

Nick Bruzon 

What do you want? Information.

16 Feb

I can’t take credit. Looking through twitter on the way home I saw the intriguing suggestion from Tony Cross (well worth a follow on @Lokster71) that there was a crossover sketch between Brentford and TV’s The Prisoner just waiting to happen.

And he’s right. I just hadn’t appreciated, almost fifty years since the cult classic first aired, how appropriate those opening scenes are. With Brentford fans waiting for the much promised ‘statement’ in regards to the managerial situation, on Monday the club website remained frustratingly devoid of information whilst the fans begged the question, just who is number one?

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.

Woeful week sees Bees lurch from crisis to debacle

15 Feb

A dreadful week for Brentford off field ended in calamitous style on it. Instead of consolidating our play off spot and, even, aiming higher we’ve slipped to 7th(seventh) place after this woeful defeat to a Charlton Athletic side who hadn’t won in three months prior. This, following the loss to Watford on Tuesday, has compounded a ludicrous five days where the performance at The Valley was every bit as embarrassing as ‘that statement’ and the subsequent tumbleweed out of Griffin Park.

This isn’t a question about the ‘support’ of Matthew Benham.

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.

A big Bees crowd were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The Bees fans were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The stuff of dreams or nightmares?

13 Feb

As Brentford prepare for the trip to Charlton Athletic, the future of manager Mark Warburton (whether short or long term) remains no clearer. The only thing we can say is that he won’t be going to QPR, at least this season. Loftus Road chairman Tony Fernandes has now followed up the announcement that he had got his ‘dream manager’ by revealing the appointment of caretaker Chris Ramsey until the end of the season. Truly, the stuff of dreams.

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.

The latest managerial updates provide stark roundup

12 Feb

A day spent rooting through the detritus of Brentford’s defeat to Watford on Tuesday night and all the fallout from the club’s statement regarding Mark Warburton ended with little satisfaction and even more mystery. Indeed, with Aston Villa sacking Paul Lambert and QPR failing to appoint Tim Sherwood (a man linked with more vacancies than The Bates Motel) the managerial merry go round seems set to gather pace.

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.

Sacking, Stroud and statements. Another quiet day at the office

11 Feb

We’ll get to Brentford – Watford in a moment but can only start with yesterday’s speculation around Mark Warburton and the utterly bizarre statement issued by the club in regards to his situation. This, after Matt Hughes in The Times reported he is due to be sacked at the end of the season – even if the Bees reach the Premiership

I’ve read some gumph in my time (including most of this blog site) but this really tops the lot. As a means of providing clarity and reassurance it was about as effective as Keith Stroud in a decision making process.

Written in some form of quasi-legalese, I almost wondered if something had been lost in translation as this was being dictated to the communications team. The wording, grammar and punctuation were so badly structured that I can’t imagine even our staff of being able to deliberately produce something so poor off their own backs.

Perhaps there was a crackling phone line from not Spain that caused the statement to include the analogy (and the rogue commas aren’t mine): “Football is sometimes called a village, and in any village, gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, whether or not such rumours are true.

East Horsley and Chalfont St Peter are villages (although I have no idea if either are hotbeds of rumour and gossip). The global game of football, even at its most metaphorical, is not. The whole thing was so odd I had images of the media team and back room staff trying out as construction worker, cowboy, traffic cop etc in a Village People tribute video. And that’s not a good place to be.

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

By the time it appeared, of course, the horse had long since bolted with the story being picked up far beyond its original source in The Times and shared by, amongst others, Ian ‘Broadcast Moose’ Abrahams on twitter (the journalist taking a rare break from looking at the pre-match catering on offer in Premiership press rooms). Certainly, his reveal of the story with this cutting was a rather rude and somewhat unexpected means of starting the day for many.

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

The club’s effort was what one terrace observer would later describe as “A kamikaze press release” whilst The London Evening Standard called it “confusing” . The rather bland statement that, “Brentford FC do want to confirm that Mark Warburton remains our manager” did nothing to put anybody’s mind at rest. Rather than the chance of locking up fourth spot or beyond, all anybody was talking about was if we’d even have a manager by kick off.

Ultimately, Matthew Benham has done nothing but right by the club and, whatever the trigger or outcome of this story, I can’t believe anything will happen to change this. Mark Warburton and the team have done fantastically well but managers do come and go.

The lack of any commitment in the club statement only serves to make me think that a parting of the ways is inevitable but what is not clear is whether this is through Mr Warburton’s choice (with QPR reportedly sniffing around) or the club’s.

Crazy? Probably. But on a day which started with so much promise, to go into our biggest ‘must win’ match since the last ‘must win’ match on the back of such uncertainty was as much a mood killer as realising that really was Keith Stroud leading out the teams.

The irony of ending yesterday’s article with the line “The Bees are on fire and it’s going to take more than a referee going rogue to stop us getting three points” has not been lost. Take nothing away from Watford who, but for the heroics of David Button in goal, could have run riot.

However, it’s easier to do this when you are playing against ten men following Jake Bidwell’s sending off. It was a decision which seemed about as robust as a Griffin Park press release and one which produced a similar reaction from the crowd. Watching back on TV afterwards, I am still baffled how he came to the conclusion of ‘straight red’.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

It’s a good thing we loaned our new left back, Jack O’Connell, to Rochdale earlier that afternoon. Could we see a James Tarkowski style quickstep back down to West London, akin to the centre back’s ‘return’ to Oldham last campaign, should the inevitable appeal prove unsuccessful?

Despite this set back, Warbs refused to bring on an extra defender (presumably because nobody else can play there) and just went for it. He was rewarded with a stunner from Andre Gray who, despite looking like he had taken three touches too many, blasted powerfully past Heurelho Gomes from the acutest of angles. The celebration of the players, to a man mobbing Mark Warburton, told us everything we needed to know about the day’s earlier news.

The players show just what Warbs means to them

The players show just what Warbs means to them

1-0 and with the crowd rocking, Mr Stroud did his very best to recreate the Bramall Lane farce (four pens and three red cards) he so infamously spannered two seasons ago by awarding a penalty to Watford. Jonathan Douglas, under minimal pressure, was adjudged to have handled in the box although would later tell Billy Reeves, “I didn’t want to head it back to them, I wanted to chest it. It came off my shoulder”,

No worry. David Button dived low to his left to smoother Troy Deeney’s spot kick and preserve Brentford’s slender lead. But despite Brentford refusing to park the bus, Middlesbrough style, we were eventually undone by a brace from Odion Ighalo .

In truth, it was always coming as Button, my man of the match, did his level best to keep Watford out before being beaten with just over twenty minutes left. You could see what that goal meant to rival ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes. Sporting an uncanny resemblance to Anton LaVey but celebrating more like Anton Du Beke on MDMA, he launched into a display of pirouette laden fist pumping that wouldn’t have been amiss in an Andy Murray – Tim Henman tennis match.

As for the winner, his celebrations (like he’d won the FA Cup) showed just what a huge three points that was for Watford as they overtook the Bees to occupy fifth place in the table.

Well played to Watford who kept going until the very end. For me, the result was just the final nail in a day that will be long remembered, and probably for all the wrong reasons. Even Leeds United managed a win that means they are now a mere 17 points behind the Bees.

What will come of the Warbs’ saga, I have no idea. Will anything become clearer today or will it all be swept under the carpet until the end of the season? My own personal preference would be for Mark to stay and something a bit more positive be released from the press team.

Every call Matthew Benham has made since becoming involved in the club has been a good one and whatever his plans (should he even have any) around Mark are his business. Likewise, I’d back him to the hilt.

However, I’d also hope he is aware of the respect and love the team seem to have for the boss and the passion that inspires.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

 

Irony strikes but can a leopard change his spots?

10 Feb

Brentford host Watford tonight in a game where three points will see us ‘officially’ safe and past the relegation high water mark of 54 seen in 2012/13. More importantly, with Championship leaders Bournemouth hosting Derby County, something has to give at the top end of the table. And, with the Hornets currently occupying the final play off spot, a win for the Bees will have the more noticeable effect of starting to see some real clear water between us and the rest of the chasing pack.

Back in September Brentford travelled to Vicarage Road and went down 2-1 in a game where a soft penalty and a stunning goal from Matej Vydra were enough to render the (temporary) equaliser from Jonathan Douglas as meaningless.

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.

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage - those days are in the past

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage – those days are in the past

Does historical form count for anything (even on Soccer AM)?

28 Dec

Brentford travel to Wolves today looking to get back to winning ways after the Boxing Day blip against Ipswich Town. It will be our fourth encounter with Wolves in less than thirteen months and our third this year against the team who, of course, we went neck and neck with last season.

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.