Tag Archives: GPG

Liverpool, Manchester United and Christian Eriksen latest plus the video to make our eyes light up.

18 Jan

Another day in the non-stop rollercoaster ride that is Premier League life. Brentford have done with Liverpool and we’re now set to host Manchester United . There’s FA Cup news out of Everton plus more midfield news than you can shake a stick at with Christian Eriksen of Denmark being just one of the names out there at the moment. 

Could we actually do this?

Which, with all due respect to Liverpool and Manchester United, needs to be where we start. The GPG have had the story building for over a week but now the rest of the world seems to have caught up with this. The BBC and several newspaper sites confirming that Brentford have been in touch with the Danish midfielder who has been released from his contract with Inter Milan. Serie A rules not allowing the sort of pacemaker which he has had fitted following that terrifying moment over the summer at Euro 2020.  

109 international caps. A pedigree in domestic football that also takes in Ajax and Spurs. 36 goals for his country from a variety of midfield positions. There are no words needed to describe his talent and word on the street is that there are a number of other top flight clubs looking to sign him. However, the actual word out of TW8 being that talks HAVE taken place between Brentford and the player about a six-month deal. Now, the inevitable negotiations begin.  

I can’t imagine somebody of his stature comes cheap, that’s for sure. How big a draw the power of Thomas Frank and the other Danes on our playing staff over wages will be remains to be seen. I’m drooling at the prospect of seeing him alongside Christian Norgaard. Chuck in Mathias Jensen for the full triumvirate. Right now, its more the case of hoping Thomas can do his thing to sell the Brentford project to his fellow countryman. 

Likewise, and perhaps more importantly, being hugely grateful that we can even be having this conversation. The sheer awfulness of what happened over the summer needs no revisiting. The despair and panic felt at the time unable to be put into words. And that was just us watching on from back home. It’s not possible to even half imagine how it felt for his team mates and family after he suffered that on pitch cardiac arrest in the game against Finland.

Thankfully, of course, the medical staff and his own team mates worked wonders to bring him back following the emergency treatment administered at the time. Now he’s in wonderful health by all accounts and chomping at the bit to go again – even targetting a place at the World Cup in December.  

That journey has to start somewhere and Brentford are the ones at the forefront of looking to help him take that first step. Could it happen? Will it happen? Is an unveiling before Manchester United too far flung a dream to cling to? Might it all come to nothing? Fingers are certainly crossed with, I have no doubt, much more to come in the coming days. 

The other news to set tongues wagging concerned a player already on our books. With video footage to match. We’ve all seen the pictures of Josh Dasilva in recent weeks but now he’s been in actual match action. You know, kicking a ball and everything. 45 minutes at Jersey Road in a game with Havant and Waterlooville. The comeback is most definitely on and whilst it may take a while longer to be involved in full fat first team action, this is about as big a boost as they come. Feast your eyes on this. 

Elsewhere, we’ve now gone live with the post match player and performance review following the game at Liverpool. Who were the top five for Brentford? Who is ahead in the race to be our season long star man? Who should have been included but missed out? You can find the answers and catch up on that piece, here.

In other news, TAP limits for the FA Cup fourth round tie at Everton have been announced. The figure cited by Brentford ‘official’ means just about anyone who has seen us on the road can take the trip to Goodison Park on Saturday 5th February. Season Ticket Holders with 1200+TAPs will be able to book their guaranteed place from today. 6,000 tickets are, I believe, available and priced at just £15 these are sure to fly off the shelves. If nothing else, it gives a chance to complete the Stanley Park bingo card following Sunday’s game. 

Two for the price of one

Until then though, it’s almost time for another home game. The chance to have played all 19 clubs in the Premier League will finally arrive. Manchester United being the last of the outliers following their 11th hour Covid related cancellation request back in December. How long ago does that feel now? The delay has allowed us to welcome back Kris Ajer and strengthen our goalkeeping options, amongst others permutations. It seems like another lifetime away when we were talking about having to bring out 18 year old Matthew Cox against the Red Devils for his Brentford debut? Perhaps we still will although any change should it come will, surely, be in the direction of Jonas Lössl. 

Today’s press conference will be telling as to both injuries and team selection. Even if it does end up being dominated by talks of another Dane in Christian Eriksen. All that’s to come, of course. For now we need to focus on Manchester United and the chance to pick up another three points. They looked wobbly (the story of the season) against Aston Villa and may well be without Cristiano Ronaldo which, if nothing else, is disastrous news for all the ‘Can I have your shirt…?’ placard makers. 

Could we do it? Will we do it? There’s only one place to be to find out. Lionel Road. See you there. 

Nick Bruzon 

There’s a player return and a deep dive incoming from Thomas.

24 Nov

There’s some cheer in the air from TW8. We talked yesterday, in part, about the forthcoming visit of Everton to Brentford. In part, the referee but as much the visitors’ current list of absences and injuries. Certainly, if their defeat at Manchester City on Sunday is anything to go by. Its not pretty and, actually, scratching below the surface of the names mentioned previously, the list of potential absences seems lengthier. 

Fantasy Football Scout (granted, as official a yardstick as Football League World telling us that “These are the three players your club should buy…..” – Ronaldo, Messi and Haaland. There, saved you the clickbait) currently shows a significant list of doubtful players.

The suggested opposition

Bernard, Broadhead, Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Doucouré, Kean, Mina, João Virgínia, Nkounkou, Rodríguez, Sigurdsson and André Gomes all show as missing. As it stands. Demarai Gray is only rated 75% with Richarlison and Mason Holgate suspended. 

Yet for the Bees, the opposite could be true. In the build up to the Newcastle United game Thomas Frank mentioned how one player was getting closer and yesterday saw that further hinted at on the club’s social media feed.

Whilst Wissa ultimately played no part at St. James Park, Brentford ‘official’ published this photograph on their Instantgram page on Tuesday afternoon. Accompanied by the title, “Yo, Wissa!” And, for good measure, a fist bump emoji. Oh, those crazy kids in the caption department.

Guess who’s back….

Exciting news indeed. His appearances form the bench and game changing goals against both Liverpool and West Ham have already sealed him a place in Bees folklore. Not to mention the accompanying celebration. As with Shandon Baptiste, his absence accompanied the recent glitch in results that ran from Chelsea to Norwich City. Now, this new signing could be back in the mix and there’d be no complaints from anyone around TW8 if this does prove to be the case.

Thomas Frank’s press conference this week will be telling. Whilst I don’t expect him to show his hand (neither Wissa or Matthias Jensen featured in the matchday squad at Newcastle despite suggestions hinting to the contrary in the build up) we may get more of a clue as to whether this was nothing more than a PR photo or a sign that our latest cult hero is all set for another run out.

Perhaps the GPG can offer more of a clue? They were also publishing photos yesterday, posting this one on Twitter that shows Thomas Frank doing his best to channel a submarine commander or the captain of a North Atlantic fishing trawler.

Let’s hope the interview is a deep dive

Got to love that jumper. It’s immense. More importantly, the accompanying message promised further insight into what’s going on behind the scenes:

Excellent evening with a Premier League manager whilst we fired fans’ questions at him. Only at @BrentfordFC. Write up coming “soon”. Thanks to @chriswickham1 for making these things happen with fans and the top, top people at the club.”

Come on Trevor, get that write up ready. I want to know the scoop with Wissa. How serious David Raya is? What Thomas thinks of the season to date? Where does he get his knitwear? No doubt more to follow on this one. The story rather than the jumper. Although if there IS jumper news then all well and good.

Finally, many thanks to those who have been in contact regarding the new player performance feature. Very much a work in progress but it seems to be finding its feet now. Would appreciate any feedback: good/bad/indifferent. Likewise, who do you think should make the list? The latest one is here.

Otherwise, time to baton down the hatches until the Everton build up begins in earnest. That’ll be tomorrow, then.

Nick Bruzon

We’ll do our best to feck them over.

9 Nov

International break but its all happening around Brentford off the back of the Norwich City game. Manchester United tickets have sold out. Hardly unexpected. The GPG now waging war on touts and chancers crying in to Facebook. Newcastle United have a new manager in Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, just time for our visit on Saturday week. On the fitness front, Mathias Jensen has had to pull out of the Danish squad following a positive test for Covid 19 en-route to International duty. With that news being confirmed at Copenhagen airport, the rest of the squad remain unhindered meaning Christian Norgaard avoids isolation for now. What this means on the domestic front remains to be seen but if there is any consolation to be taken, at least this comes at the start of the two week window. Meaning that in theory he may even be back for the trip to Newcastle. That’ll keep the usual suspects happy on social media. Last year’s Sergi fast becoming this year’s Jensen. Groan.

What do you do though? Of course fans need to be able to express their opinions and discuss. The passion and the interaction are an integral part of the game. Yet after last season’s vitriol I thought we’d done with all that. Copious amounts of egg left on face as Sergi did his thing in the face of the morons and has only picked it up even more this time around. The Frank Out ‘campaign’ ending with the only ‘out’ being the club going out of the Championship and in to the Premier league. Now, after four defeats on the bounce the knives are being sharpened in certain quarters. Not that I can imagine the usual suspects are reading (can read) so we’re largely shouting in to the void.

FFS. It’s hardly the stuff of crisis. Overall, the start to the season has been beyond the expectations of just about everyone. Recent form of LLLL doesn’t look great on paper, that’s for sure, but let’s not forget that includes the full frontal assault on Chelsea and the pantomime villain theatrics of James Maddison when Leicester City came to Lionel Road. Both, games where there were the additional factors of obscene clock running down and woeful refereeing. Burnley was, granted, horrific, and Norwich City not much better. But two bad games do not a disaster make. Moreso given we are in the grip of a devastating run of injuries. 

He’s behind you….

As for Mathias Jensen’s form, thoughts on him and other performances were published in yesterday’s player review (which is here). We’ll never know if the subsequent medical update had anything to do with it or, additionally, if ‘The Curse of The Warm Up’ has struck again. As has been observed, everyone who has appeared alongside Stu and Marcus has failed to start the next game due to illness or injury. However, one thing has become clear over the years – Thomas Frank won’t buy into fan led demands for player removal. Or selection. See also Tariqe Fosu who is worshiped as some sort of game changing demi-god by a few whilst just about everyone else is wondering what has gone on behind the scenes to limit his appearances to just a handful of league cup ties.

Moving on to Manchester United, there was an odd (that’s the polite word)  post on Twitter yesterday by one ‘fan’ having a moan about being unable to get a ticket for that game. Whether this was the subsequent ‘joke’ he maintained it was, who knows? An attention seeking clikcbait tweet which required some serious back-pedalling after the obvious reaction or simply a case of nonsense blowing up out of all proportion? What we can say is the visit of Manchester United on December 14th is about as hot a ticket as has ever been seen at Brentford.

A joke. Apparently

And with such demand come the usual touts and chancers. It was always going to happen with the membership scheme eventually being open to all (and rightly so). This isn’t happy-clappy land and you’ll never get a perfect system. There’ always be people who want in on the action or tying to take advantage but the GPG are one the case.

Elsewhere, Trevor Inns has posted a quite to the point message.  

If any one has some spares for the Manchester Utd home game, please tell us about it. 

Especially if on sale above face value.  Twitter. Facebook. TikTok. Anywhere. Let us know.

Brentford Tickets for Brentford Fans 

Already got two that have a rude awakening tomorrow morning!

DM me or admin@griffinpark.org.  

Well said that man. Let’s get as many genuine fans in for these games as possible. F*ck the tourists and the touts. Let’s keep the noise loud and fill Lionel Road with Bees rather than away supporters. Keep this a fortress rather than a library. Here’s to more rude awakenings.

Finally, Eddie Howe. About as telegraphed a move as possible, he’s now in charge at Newcastle United. The only club in the top flight not to win a game after Norwich City picked up their first three points on Saturday, we’re first up for the new era. Howe’s first bite at the cherry. Whether his presence will be sufficient to turn things around this soon remains to be seen. All being well, we’ll have some better news on the fitness front (Wissa would be nice). Even if just at centre back where Zanka (our Urine-son as Match Of The Day called him) going off after just 12 minutes on Saturday added to the casualty list and hardly helped the game plan.

It’s a long way off at the moment and one that will no doubt be bigged up to the max from next week. Whatever your politics or thoughts on the club’s new owners, the focus on a  game that was already going to be under the microscope has only intensified further. All being well, everybody will forget about Bees and a party pooping will be in the offing. 

There wouldn’t be a better time for this to happen, that’s for sure.

Nick Bruzon 

Fine win and Twitter debacle leave delicious amounts of egg on face.

28 Nov

Oh, what a night. Brentford fans are waking up to see the team sitting fourth in the Championship following yet another defeat of QPR (that’s 8 out of the last 10, now). A 2-1 victory where what happened on pitch was as enjoyable as our visitors’ use of social media off it. The not so super hoops left very much on the wrong end of their own self-inflicted Twitter debacle. Mark Warburton’s full time interview captured for posterity and packed with all the whining of a Sccoby-Doo villain just as they are being unmasked. Having lambasted the officials and the 200 supporters we’d apparently smuggled in (did anyone else get the memo about that or was Billy Reeves being his usual, vociferous self?), he may aswell have rounded off his post-match meltdown proclaiming they’d have gotten away with it had it not been for those meddling kids. It was a moment bookended by their earlier ‘crack’ about our Lego stadium. Hmm, that one aged well. The meat in this comedy sandwich being a first goal for Vitaly Janelt and another two (sorry, one) for Ivan Toney which guided the Bees to victory.

And I’d have gotten away with it had it not been for you meddling kids etc etc

Let’s start with the all important stuff, our win. That’s 7(seven) unbeaten and four points off table-topping Norwich City. Only three goals conceded over this period with last night even seeing the novelty value of us letting one in. For what it was worth.

By then, Janelt had already opened proceedings from distance with less than a quarter hour gone. A low drive from some way outside the box left the away side no chance. The defence motionless. Any resistance to our first real opportunity crumbling like an oxo cube as the ball powered through the lot of them, accompanied by cheers that could be heard all over TW8. Presumably. I wouldn’t know. Having not been in the stadium. But it sounded loud on TV. Those seats certainly know how to make a noise.

Janelt, man of the match against Barnsley, looks like another imperious acquisition. The technique to hit that ball first time, from that distance, a quite wonderful addition to an approach that is already making him a fan favourite. Christian Norgaard is still two weeks away from a return and that’s going to make for a very interesting team selection indeed. Can the two of them play together? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Then, something odd happened. With Marcondes having just missed out on the chance to double our lead following a goalkeeping clearance that was about as ropey as they come,  we let a goal in. Not a typo. It happens. And it was a good one. Credit where it is due, the run and cross down the right had alarm bells ringing. The positioning and cool finish of Lyndon Dykes just about spot on. Warburton would, understandably, be purring about this one afterwards. Brentford perhaps disappointed about letting our guests back into this without even getting close to stopping the chance being created. David Raya no real hope of being able to keep it out by the time the ball was hit goalwards. Urghh. What’s a fan to do? Get another beer, wait for half time and go again. 

Then, something even stranger when the teams re-emerged. Remember that ‘formation’ thing up at Stoke City? The thing we don’t talk about involving three centre-backs? Well, it happened again. But this time it worked. Dalsgaard came off to see Pontus line up alongside Ethan and Mads Bech (who we’ll get to shortly). Mathias Jensen replacing Josh in the midfield. How nice to have a Plan B that involves a change in tactics to suit the occasion. How nice to see it work. QPR rendered impotent at a stroke. The game all one way as Brentford once again dominated. Ivan Toney timing his own run to connect with Mbeumo’s delivery perfectly as the lead was soon restored. Except it wasn’t.

Offside” said the fourth official. “Nooooo”, came the cry from our respective homes (and not the stadium where only club officials were present, Mark). It was tight, very tight. But the replay showed that Ivan WAS onside. Just. But marginal seems to be sufficient these days.

We’re all well familiar with the machinations of VAR.  Where even a freeze-framed hand momentarily ahead of the critical defender is deemed fair game to rule out a goal. Where was the blinkin’ technology when it would actually help? (We’ll file that one under phrases not often used and which we’ll probably all be cursing next season as it conspires to spanner us ). 

No matter. It didn’t take long until the pressure built to a legitimate goal for Ivan. Another perfect header. This time it was Marcondes with the delivery. A precise free-kick delivered direct to the Championship’s leading goalscorer. He made no mistake, finishing this one with all the appetite of a child opening the advent calendar and not stopping to think that numbers 1-24 signify days rather than minutes. The chance was snaffled up. The game set in our favour. The visitors devastated. And there was worse to come….

Specifically for Todd Kane, who was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. His assault on Marcus Forss leaving the referee no real choice but to deem the player not fit to stay on the field of play. Down to ten men, Rangers were unable to adjust. Despite five minutes of time added on there was no real pressure, a last second free kick aside. It was calmly dealt with. Oh, to have a Plan B when you need it. 2-1 and a well deserved win. A 19th defeat out of 20 on Friday nights for QPR (thanks to the BBC for that one).

Not to the one we’d predicted

That said, my own take is that we were lucky not to see our own red card. Mads Bech’s errr ‘robust’ challenge on Lyndon Dykes in the first half adjudged to have been shoulder to shoulder rather than the blatant shove which subsequent replays appeared to suggest. Having not been there, I can’t say for sure but watching the highlights I think we might have swerved one there. Move along. Nothing to see. Just makes it all the sweeter that, for once, the good fortune has gone our way to supplement the tactical dominance.

What else is there to say? Well, how about what happened on Twitter? Lesson one on social media – if you are going to give it Billy Big Balls then damn well make sure your team can follow it up. Scoop:  Irony is alive and well over in Shepherds Bush where the team from the Wendy House made this crack before kick off….

Friday night from the L̶E̶G̶O̶ Brentford Community Stadium….  proclaimed QPR twitter. Hmmm. Fair enough. Had that been us, we’d have been cringing. And only becasue you know what happens when you go in like that. Sure enough, payback was delivered in some style. Hats off to whomever was driving ‘Brentford official’ at full time.

Yet the real full time highlight was Mark Warburton’s post match interview. Clearly frustrated, he was blaming everyone but his own team for this one. The ref. The Lino. The 200 fans that we had apparently smuggled in. The full interview is on their twitter feed if you really want it.

For me, Clive, the GPG cut to the chase in style. Enjoy.

That’s it for now. Have a great day and here’s to spending it in the knowledge we’re still winning. Still enjoying this run. Still pushing up (Brentford). Enjoying our best start to Championship life since promotion. Mark, this one’s for you. Ed Sheeran and his Lego house were too obvious. Besides, I much prefer something upbeat to start the morning. Happy Saturday everyone.

Deploy fishing rod emoji and stand back…

Nick Bruzon

Thomas and Trevor play the opposition like a fiddle. No pressure, Leeds….

9 Jul

What else can we say? The shockwaves from a quite magnificent win for Brentford over Charlton Athletic on Tuesday are still rumbling. Not so much about the strength of character and barrel load of guts shown by the team but more due to the predictable yet always brilliant reaction from Leeds United supporters. This time, in regards to Thomas Frank and his whiteboard. And if they were feeling the pressure after that, I daren’t even look at social media following yesterday’s win for West Bromwich Albion against Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. The stress levels in Yorkshire when Stoke City visit tonight could be immense.

There was no column yesterday. A relief for many, no doubt. This was for no more a reason than needing to catch up on some sleep after what had been a brutal yet ultimately exciting evening in front of the telly. Charlton got the early goal – our first conceded sine Joe Ralls found the net for Cardiff City in February (and just pause to think how far back that was)  –  then put down the shutters. The game managed beautifully by The Addicks and Brentford seeing all attempts at creativity stifled. Half time coming and going before we knew what had happened. The clock moving ever onward and the mood in the Midlands getting lighter by the second. And then came the moment which hanged the game. THAT hydration break…..

With games now interrupted for players to take on water at the midway point, Thomas Frank seized his moment. Along with the water bottles, out came his whiteboard and magnets. With the players taking on fluids, an impromptu review of tactics played out in front of our eyes. I say tactics, it could just as easily been an attempt to figure out the seating plan for the coach trip to Derby or decide who was going to take Ian Moose his full time snacks. Who knows what was said… 😉

 

And it was this that sent the Leeds United fans off the deep end. Twitter was awash with salty tears, cries of foul play, shouts of tin-pottery and a swathe of accusations that our head coach was somehow cheating. Hello Mr Kettle. Is somebody feeling the stress? With Brentford sitting just three points behind the Elland Road outfit and four to play, their game at home to relegation threatened Stoke City this evening will be absolutely huge.

The GPG have since released what they believe to be a transcript of the conversation that played out. If you haven’t seen it (surely everyone has) then it is below. And if you have, then watch it again. Quite magnificent. Great work Trevor and symptomatic of how much we are enjoying the wave of pressure that others seems to be struggling with at the business end of the table.

Yet whatever it was that Thomas did say had the desired effect. Man of the match (I presume) Josh Dasilva  creating mayhem down the right. Benrahma coming closer and closer with each attempt on goal before he was eventually felled in the box, picked himself up and made it 1-1 with a quarter hour to go. From that point on there was only one winner. Josh Dasilva saw a shot from distance bounce clear off the top corner as the Bees pushed on. Eventually, Ethan Pinnock grabbing the decisive goal with five minutes to go. A corner taken short (not a typo) was whipped in and rather than provide his customary assist, he went one better and steer it past the ‘keeper with a fine header. Oh. My.

It was a victory achieved in the toughest of circumstances abasing opponents who played a first class game and cause so close to themselves securing at least one point. Charlton gave it their best and will presumably remain safe. A win for Stoke City this evening probably the last thing they’ll be hoping for. 

In the end Derby County were unable to do us, or themselves, any favours last night. West Bromwich Albion swept them aside with all the ease of Ian Moose reaching for a slice of cake at half-time. The Rams at least offering hope ahead of our own visit to Pride Park on Saturday in their looking totally inept .

That, a game I’m dreading for no more reason than Thomas Frank has this morning been nominated for June’s manager of the month award. With Brentford boasting that 100% win record   and cleaner sheets than Danny Baker doing his doorstep challenge, he’ll be doing well to miss out on this one. And we all know what happens next time out should a manager scoop the award.

Then again, we beat the curse of Clem against Wigan Athletic. What’s to say that, should he triumph, we can’t beat this one either? The way Brentford are playing at the moment, nothing would surprise me.

The one thing we can be sure of is that Derby can’t possibly be as anonymous as they were last night. With the play-offs still in their sights, this is going to take everything we’ve got. And I can’t wait. Bring it on.

See you on the couch this Saturday.

Screenshot 2020-07-09 at 06.22.06

Trevor (and Thomas) play Leeds’ fans like a fiddle

Nick Bruzon

Thomas, frank. Bees boss gives magnificent insight on GPG webcast.

10 May

A week on from the final game that never was. Brentford v Barnsley has played out in our heads a thousand times but is yet to take place in any meaningful fashion. Griffin Park is still standing but nobody is allowed in. Players or fans. A scene that is repeated at grounds all over the country, with supporters still wondering how or when football may return. How we’ll go up – automatic or play-offs ? What form will football take? Where will it be played? Might Leeds United somehow fall apart, again? All questions for which there are no meaningful answers, at least in public, although the early morning run around TW8 yesterday saw us still in the thralls of a ghost town. Tumbleweed blowing down the street, bushes growing denser and Gary Neville’s words ( in his guise as co-owner of Salford City) that it is extremely unlikely Leagues One and Two will return this season still ringing in the ears. If true, may that even feed further upwards and what impact would that have on the way the two highest divisions in the country play out?

IMG_5980

Griffin Park still standing – the floodlights still there

Whatever happens, the answers won’t be good. Or, at the least, met with universal agreement. What can you do though? Stay safe. Don’t be a dick. Think of the frontline workers and stay home, no matter how tough it may be or how tempting to venture out in to the sunshine for picnics and sun tan sessions rather than the permissible exercise sessions. The quicker this is all over the quicker we may be able to get back to living our lives in some sort of normality. Without the fear of catching a horrific virus simply because some self-absorbed hipster, to whom the two metre social distancing rules don’t apply,  struts too close to you. See also: pavement cyclists.        

It’s madness. As much the fact that we have hipsters in Brentford these days. But there you go. Unprecedented times ( he says whilst reaching for the Coronavirus bingo card. I would also accept : ‘I trust this finds you well’ and ‘stay safe’ for a full house). Still, wonderful sentiments and a sign that this is the new normal.

None of which changes the fact that football remains way, way off the agenda. At least, the playing side of it. We at least had the consolation of another GPG Lockdown special on Saturday afternoon, with none other than Thomas Frank occupying the hot seat. A huge audience were tuned in to hear his thoughts on the season so far and, as importantly,  what may come next.

Screenshot 2020-05-09 at 15.01.43

Getting ready to go. Cut to Thomas in 5..4..3… 

My word. What a man. What a session. What honesty and openness. What stories and insight. There was talk of Jansson and Benrahama’s brilliance. The acceleration in Josh Dasilva’s game. Ollie Watkins. The defence. Our fitness and injury concerns – all bang on track for the ‘pre-season’ in June. If that is what happens. Thomas explained how he thought the sqard would react and be treated/ used in the final run in. How games might play out. The answer to whether Pontus would have started at Fulham – no, being the decision (albeit fit).

Likewise, talk of his own positives so far. His own approach to the squad, the fans and transfers – where it seems the policy of ‘no dickheads – personality over raw talent’ remains as key as ever. There was discussion about his fellow managers / head coaches and how we had played against certain opponents. Likewise, how we would play if we met them again – Nottingham Forest, anyone? 

Despite being in Denmark at present  – something Thomas confirmed although the obligatory Carlsberg  on his kitchen shelf was a tell tale sign – he remains in daily contact with his players and staff. The attitude sounds Uber-positive and you can tell he is chomping at the bit to get the job finished. To get Brentford into the top flight and who he will call up when that happens.

There were parts that, as he exhorted us, must “stay inside the room” .  It will be interesting to see how much of this , if any, is left on the cutting room floor when the YouTube video is released. Be there or miss out, the message of the day. Let’s hope those who were present return the faith and trust invested in them by this most remarkable of individuals.

It was another wonderful afternoon and something that, whilst we’ve said so many times, needs repeating – only at Brentford. Our approach and our size, where everyone seems to know everyone, makes this possible. The willingness of our top brass to put themselves on the line, testament to the two-way respect that exists. The early season keyboard warriors must have missed the memo for this one or couldn’t get an internet signal from under their rocks.

Dan Suh

The questions continued for two hours plus

Hats off to Thomas. Kudos to Trevor and his team for not only arranging this but then co-ordinating the session. Massive thanks, also, to the fans as without them there’d have been no questions. There was never going to be a danger of that though and, personally, having a list of questions as long as my arm could have listened to Thomas speak all day long. 

The only real disappointment of the session being that Greville’s webcam was in the front room rather than the usual hub of activity and excitement that his his kitchen.

Still, at least he was wearing clothes for this one 😉   

Nick Bruzon

Yes!!!! An incredible afternoon sees dreams come true (for a while).

3 May

What a quite fantastic end to the season. Brentford have only gone and done it. Promotion to the Premier League assured after tonking Barnsley in the last ever game at Griffin Park. A third bracketing of the season, after the 7(seven)-0 win at home to Luton and the same score in the obliteration of Fulham at the Cottage, saw us leave the Championship to take on the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa next season. With us come Leeds United who, despite falling apart (again), had enough in the tank to get over the line. There were tears at the Hawthorns where that unexpected favour from the Loftus Road mob denied them automatic promotion but you have to fancy their chances in the play offs.

Yes, that’s definitely what happened. Our season ending in style. Tears of joy at what we’ve achieved ; sadness at saying goodbye to our home for the last 116 years. Fans coming together as one to celebrate and commiserate. Looking forward to seeing little old Brentford in the top flight. Leeds United still unable to escape from our shadow. Fulham looking enviously towards our part of West London and hoping they may get lucky in the play-offs.

Some people are on the pitch - Juge's penalty v Preston saw a wonderful denouement

Some people are on the pitch.. etc etc

And then I stepped out of the shower. The Championship table is still stuck on: played 37. Nobody able to say they have definitely gone up to join Champions elect Liverpool. A team who have still not, mathematically, taken the crown from Manchester City despite the most blitzkrieg approach to a campaign in living memory. Brentford fans denied the chance to say goodbye to Griffin Park and now not knowing if we ever will.

Yesterday was brutal from so many respects. Our chance denied by these most cruel and devastating of global circumstances. People sitting tight on lockdown as we mostly (say in ; don’t be a dick) play our part in helping to try and stop the spread of this soul-destroying virus. I know what has to be done and of course we’ll obey Lockdown. Yet I’d be lying if I said yesterday was fun. It was awful being stuck inside when the only home I wanted to be in was Griffin Park.

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Reality was soul destroying

I wrote the piece on how that felt yesterday morning. It was a column that, being honest, I had no idea if I wanted to start or even would. The feeling upon getting up was just so awful and only got worse as the morning progressed. In the end, it was a case of downing an espresso or two, sitting at the keyboard and seeing what words fell out. The results are here and were, in retrospect, quite cathartic. 

Sure, they didn’t help me feel any better but the response from our fans was life affirming. Not just the kind words on social media but the fact that it quickly became apparent how so many of us were going through the same thing. Of course, we were all going to be missing out on ‘that’ game but to hear and read people being so open about how they felt was great. 

And I use that word in the loosest sense. Of course, one wouldn’t want fellow supporters to be feeling anything like I did – all that emotion that had been experienced and accumulated since my first game back in 1979 unable to let out in one, final, scream of Brrreeeeeeennnnntttt-fffforrrrrdddd. 

I was flat. Low. All over the shop. The early morning run to the shops, with the selected route conveniently looping around the deserted stadium, making it even worse. It should have been a hive of activity at that point. Instead, Brentford was like ghost town. My mind playing all sorts of cruel tricks, trying to imagine what it would have been like.

I swear Jota winked at me as I limped past the main gates on Braemar Road.

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Regulation exercise saw an early morning run to the shop. Oh, Jota 😦

Yet to read so many of us sharing the same experience and going through such similar emotions was, bizarrely, like some form of cyber-hug. Despite being ripped apart from each other, we’ve never felt closer together.

Griffin Park, Brentford and #FarewellGriffinPark were all trending on Twitter for most of the day as the fans united. Not just to shed a tear but also to share their special memories of a home that we’ll be doing well to see again. Instantgram a sea of glorious images.

It wasn’t easy. It was never going to be. Popular music’s Hard-Fi adding further salt to the wound later in the day by confirming they’d have played their first show together in six years as a means of saying goodbye to the ground. Frontman Richard Archer being a huge Brentford fan, of course. Here’s hoping Adam Bluetone and Rhino from The Quo were also lined up. Brentford-fest – just imagine….

I think if the club had come out and said they were wearing a special kit for that final game it would just about have finished me off. Thankfully they stayed silent on that subject. And most, to be fair.

In part I suspect this was to let the fans ‘grieve’ on their own. Equally, it would have been nice had they at least acknowledged the significance of the day. Perhaps that will come. Perhaps ignoring it was their way of saying we WILL be back.

You never know…..

The other super positive of the day was Andy Scott, who was the latest guest on the regular GPG webcast. My word it was good. Unexpectedly so. Entertaining. Honest. Reflective. Insightful. Like Martin Allen, a man who connected with the fans – not just at the time but even in the answering of every question. It really felt personal.

He was candid about things he’d got wrong. Celebratory about what had gone well. Poignant about Rob Rowan, with lavish praise being poured on a man who the more we learn about the more we realise just what an incredible individual we have lost. What an amazing part of the Brentford family he was. 

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Andy Scott was the latest guest

And he was funny. The story about Kevin Dearden, Ron Noades’ kitchen and a pogo stick one that had me laughing for what felt like the first time all day. As the GPG Twitter feed noted afterwards:

Riveting meetup with Andy Scott. Maybe the best one yet. You couldn’t ask for more from Andy than this. It’s all in there, incl answering @samsaunders7 ‘s questions from last week (at the very end Sam!).

Forget Netflix, this is well worth a 2h15m binge.

And they are right. It was fascinating stuff. Entertaining. You can find it below. Put your feet up, sit back and enjoy.    

Great work,GPG and Andy. Thank you.

Next weekend’s guest promises to be very special. With Trevor unable to name them on the yesterday’s session, given the announcement is going to be made alongside the club next week, draw whatever conclusions you must from the below tweet published this morning…..

Until then, dreams of football remain just that, dreams. Will we go up? Could it be Manchester City and Liverpool at Lionel Road? Whenever that may be.

Might we end up playing out this campaign behind closed doors in neutral stadia, as is being suggested more and more? 

I’d oppose that suggestion 100% if so – just think of the unfair advantage it would give Fulham.

Nick Bruzon

Are these our three most unusual shirts?

21 Apr

Another weekend has gone by and the story is a familiar one. We’ve one last away trip (Stoke City) this Saturday and then that last ever game at Griffin Park, Brentford v Barnsley, on Saturday week. It should be the most exciting of times yet in reality we are all stuck in limbo. There are still nine games left to play and nobody has any clue whether it will be Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion or somebody else who eventually joins the Bees in automatic promotion to the Premier League. Instead, we’re delving that bit deeper into the historical kit bag looking for buried treasure.

Despite the lack of action, everybody has done their very best to keep supporters engaged. We’ve had the weekly GPG webcasts, classic match re-reuns and all sorts on Twitter. Whether the ultimate 5-a-side team, the Leyton Orient promoted FIFA 20 tournament or even last weekend’s World Cup of Brentford shirts. That was eventually won by the current away kit – the one we’ve been wearing for season 2019-2026 (at least, that’s how it feels at the moment). 44% of votes went in favour of this absolute stunner as the nostalgia vote was split three ways between Hummel and a pair of Chads.

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Congratulations, Umbro

We also covered the story of the shirt that never was and even managed to obtain comments from Michael Dobson. A Brentford legend and one of the two youth team players given the somewhat dubious ‘honour’ of revealing that to the world for the first, and last, time.

Screenshot 2020-04-14 at 06.51.22Now, the GPG have tracked down his partner in (fashion) crime, Lee Tunnell, who tells us, “Wow ,where did you find this .Being shouted and screamed at by millwall fans as I had to walk around the pitch and and a few bees fans just shaking their head at me(the kit) in disgust” before adding…. “York city ? I must’ve of associated the abuse we got with millwalls reputation .yeah there was some spitting, I didn’t get any coins tho (I would’ve pocketed em) not sure about dobbo” .

 

Yet it was whilst digging in to this one via the Brentford Big Book Of The 90s , and also helping the research for the World Cup of shirts, that I’ve been reminded of three rarely seen shirts. As a kit nerd with more than a few Brentford shirts in the collection already, these three strike me as possibly the most unusual and rarely seen of anything we’ve worn in recent times. Do they even exist anywhere? Does anyone have one? With a 2004 club shop variant ‘away’ going for over £80 on eBay last week, what price would these even fetch on the open market? Would anybody even care?

For once, we’re not even talking about the legendary Adidas 1980. We’ve all seen that whilst many fans acquired the remake in that brief period before Aztec retro were forced to close their doors. No. For me, Clive, these are the three that are rarer than a Terry Butcher win.

1997-98 Cobra home – long sleeves. The normal shorter sleeved version is nice, no question, although not close to the best ever. However, lengthen the arms and all of a sudden the baggy version takes on a totally different feel. Classy. Timeless. Unseen.

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1994-95 – unbranded – short/long sleeves. The weird, unbranded Hummel style kit bereft of all sponsorship and the chevrons seen on the previous few season’s shirt began to be worn half way through this campaign, alongside Core shorts and socks. This before they then took over in full the following season.

I’m still not sure of the facts behind what happened here (anyone?) this but one thing’s for sure, these don’t feature anywhere these days. Except, perhaps, in the back of a few attics.

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Hummel / Core – a kit oddity

1992-1993 Hummel away – long sleeves. You still see the ‘regular’ equivalent of this geometric hell doing the rounds whilst, of course, the club shop are selling the remake at present. And a quite splendid version it is too, albeit lacking technical sponsor. But has anyone seen the long sleeved version in the last twenty-five years ? A thing of such beauty, you don’t even notice the jarring clash that goes with the accompanying red shorts and socks.

Embed from Getty Images

 

I love it. Does it even exist?

Nick Bruzon

Suit and Tie v THREE Rubber Gloves. Jota reminds us why he was king.

19 Apr

Good morning everyone. Sunday morning in Brentford and we aren’t celebrating promotion or even reaching the play-offs following yesterday’s game with Preston. Which didn’t happen. Thanks a bunch, Covid. Then again, who could have imagined we’d get to mid April and Aston Villa would still be in the Premier League? Here’s hoping they can maintain their position when play resumes. Whenever that may be.

There’s nothing I’d like more than to be reunited with Dean Smith in the top flight – for so many reasons. None more than simply having the chance to cross swords with a man who was nothing short of wonderful when he was at Griffin Park. Not forgetting, either, that Jota is still on their books. A player we were given a timely reminder of on Saturday lunchtime.

Jota 2-2

Faster than a speeding bullet – the Spanish superman was a hero at Griffin Park.

For us Bees fans, at least there is still some footballing distraction. Yesterday saw the Q&A with Jon Varney. I understand the video of that session will be released on Monday. Until then, the very brief summary we put together on these pages contains some of the salient points and can be found here.

One thing that was perhaps under sold in the piece was the next guests. The potential magnificence of that event only hit home upon waking up this morning and the email from GPG admin had hit the ‘in box’. For the that haven’t had it, their Twitter feed has a similar sentiment – albeit in slightly less characters

Suit and Tie v THREE Rubber Gloves. Mr. Brentford v The love of my life (err, to quote the song). The Penalty king v The Free Kick master. First Team Coach v B Team Coach. 

Sam Saunders – up there with Jota and Jay Tabb in my all time favourite Bees. Just about the only former player that H hero worships, and he’s never even seen him play. “Daddy – is THIS Saunders territory?” he’ll ask whenever a dead ball is awarded just about anywhere in the opposition half.

Kevin O’ Connor – the man who has pretty much done it all at Brentford on pitch and is now starting similar from the sidelines. I do wonder who gets the short straw of asking about that penalty ? No. Come on. We’re better than that. Aren’t we….? Well it might be interesting to hear his take on things now that time has, all being well, healed things somewhat.

The GPG twitter feed has all the details you need for our next 3pm kick off. Get onboard for what could well be the best one yet.

Next up, kit. We’ve spoken about the World Cup of Brentford shirts currently playing out on Twitter and today is final’s day. The poll is live and there are four contenders in the running. The runners and riders can be seen below on the link to the final vote although interesting to see both of our (previous) promotion to the Championship kits in there, along with the Hummel fractals and the current away. 

The later, one which Jon Varney confirmed yesterday was a best selling change shirt. I’d also draw your attention to three of the four having a castle badge – draw whatever conclusions you can from that……..

The vote closes this evening. I’ve already gone in – albeit hit the wrong button when the screen did something. And not my fat fingers, honestly.  Urgghh. I’m not unhappy with what I did select but do take care.

And finally, I’d beg some personal indulgence. Whilst Jon Varney was doing his thing yesterday, Sky were showing the greatest EFL games all morning. Amongst their selection was Brentford v Fulham from November 2014. You may recall this one. Harlee Dean fell over for 0-1 before redeeming himself with a blockbuster late on. Then, enter stage right, Jota on 90+2……

At the time H was a year old and has never seen it. He doesn’t even know the score. Nor has Mrs. B, to be fair. Back then, she was at home with him whilst I was going bonkers on the terrace. So a little bit of recording and then we sat back to watch it live.

Come for the punditry on David Button. Stay for the celebration. Complete the sentence, ”and that’s why Fulham…..”.  If only the secret filming hadn’t been spotted.

Oh, Jota. You bloody genius. Even though he hit the low point of Birmingham City (we all make mistakes) he still brings a smile to the face. Even to a boy that didn’t see that amazing moment when it first played out. Thank you.

Have a great Sunday. Enjoy your last day before those of us having to do home schooling get back to donning the mortar board and gown. Stay safe and take care.

Until then, sweet dreams of Sam Saunders and the king. Perhaps not at the same time.

Nick Bruzon

Chief exec confirms Dream Team should return, kit update and stadium news.

18 Apr

Saturday afternoon. 4pm. Brentford fans should be getting ready for a potential promotion deciding second half against Preston North End ( I won’t say in whose favour, given the current state of the paused table) . Instead, all over cyberspace we’re stepping back in time to our victory over the same opposition that saw the Bees finally reach the Championship following the something , something, something penalty against Doncaster the previous season.  And we’ve had to get our main football fix from the morning’s Q&A with Bees Chief Executive ‘Jon’ Reg Varney  – the latest guest in the GPG live webcast hotseat. And the post match celebrations will, instead, be filled with the latest results from the World Cup of Brentford shirts as the polls close at 7pm.

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Jon spoke for a good two hours.

First up, Jon Varney. Just where on earth did two hours go? But enough about the talk through of his career history which opened proceedings. I half expected him to conclude the opening monologue with a Partridge-esque, “Needless to say, I had the last laugh”. Yet, in retrospect, this was the perfect introduction as it gave us mere mortals a peek behind the curtain of a man who has worked in all manner of sporting capacities since leaving school. A man who is a Brentford fan through and through, with name checks to his heroes from the 80s and 90s peppering the conversation. A man who almost didn’t take the role for the simple fact of it interfering with his football weekend. A man who exuded knowledge but, perhaps more importantly, an understanding of what makes the fans tick and how important the club is to us. And vice-versa. 

Following Martin Allen was always going to be a big ask and so fair play to the chief exec for not only stepping up to the plate but then hitting it out of the (Griffin) park. It was captivating. It was emotional. It was honest. It was frank. The questions were broad with nothing really off limits, barring those topics covered off by Phil Giles two weeks ago. Even then, it was more to give everyone from a large audience the chance to get involved. And didn’t we just.

There were updates on the new stadium’s readiness (as good as), test events that were being considered and the preparations / plans for the Barnsley game where we had been in discussion with the Oakwell outfit to limit their supporter numbers in order that more of us could see that last game at Griffin Park. Lionel Road season ticket sales and next steps were covered (payments due for May now looking to be deferred over the three months to July) and even discussion around a relocation for the programme collector’s club. The club was confirmed to be in great financial health over the immediate months and we also talked at length about the possibility of the season being played out behind closed doors. Sadly. 

Should that happen then the list of those looking to don the ballboys’ tracksuit already seems to be growing with even Trevor Inns hoping to pull his Adidas ventex out of the gym locker. Personally, I’ll be going for the ‘mascot’ option. No holding hands with Pontus though – purely for reasons of social distancing. In all seriousness though, should we be unable to attend in person then it seems i-follow will be the way to go.

Yet the big question was one about that perennial favourite on these pages, Sky One’s Dream Team. You may well know the drill in regards to Harchester United (and if not, here’s the main cut and thrust) but Jon’s earlier involvement in the show brought an intriguing possibility to the fore . One supporter proposed that, ”You’ve said how the new stadium gives us new opportunities. You’ve talked about sky and your previous involvement with Dream Team. Could we see the new stadium used to relaunch the show? 

What followed was nothing short of a love letter to the show with the acknowledgment, ”Wouldn’t it be good to get Dream Team back on the screen at the new stadium.” That’s as good as a yes in my eyes. You heard it here first. Well, second after the live chat this morning. Dream Team will return. And it could be filmed at Lionel Road. Possibly.

Certainly, that’s how I understood things. Nothing was actually confirmed. Instead the subsequent elaboration that with football and rugby dominating stadium usage it was unlikely there would be opportunity for anything else was, I can only presume, a cunning smokescreen designed to throw people off the scent.

There was even time for kit talk – that is, when we weren’t hypnotised by Greville Waterman mopping his kitchen floor (never forget when the camera is on). Jon bigged up the wonderful partnership with Umbro and confirmed that next season’s home shirt will be red and white, albeit made of a slightly heavier material than the current version. Adding that he really likes it.

He wouldn’t be drawn on the colour of the away shirt although did confirm that this season’ incarnation was probably out best selling change strip. By contrast, the much loved brown/orange hadn’t sold well. I’m genuinely shocked by this. Who’d have thought that so many fans would have had such strange taste ?

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Greville, the clue is in the word ‘Recording’

Those were the highlights that stuck in my mind. Billy Reeves feed has a great transcript whilst I understand that the full play back will take place in the coming days when the video of today’s event is released. Do take a look. These words won’t do justice to a morning where Jon showed what makes Brentford such a special club. Where the fans are at the forefront of everything. A place where Matthew Benham’s agenda is one that has ‘affordable football’ at the top of the priority list.

Next up is a double header that has the potential to be the best yet – Sam Saunders and Kevin O’Connor. Bring it on. I can’t wait to dip my toes into Saunders territory on Saturday.

As ever, HUGE thanks not just to Jon but also Trevor, the GPG and his team who made this happen. The logistics and behind the scenes stuff to line this up and make it all as seamless as possible are not to be underestimated. Do tune in next Saturday for Sam and Kevin then who knows who might be next up after that….. 

To close out today, have you voted in the World Cup of Brentford Shirts as yet? The Semi-final rounds conclude at 7pm so do feel free to add your opinion. They can be found on Twitter at Brentford In Colour /  @beesincolour.

Here’s The Group of Death to whet your appetite. Enjoy…..

Nick Bruzon