Tag Archives: Guy Luzon

Bustin’ makes me feel bad. Will Saturday be more Riley than Winkleman?

4 Mar

Brentford take on Charlton this Saturday, hoping for more of the same after cruising to a 3-0 victory at the Valley back in October. That result saw Addicks manager Guy Luzon, erm,  losing his job immediately afterwards and the Bees put in as one sided a performance as we’ve seen all season – even moreso than Wolves last Tuesday .

It was a game which had been completely at odds with Luzon’s first matchin charge of Charlton, their 3-0 win over Brentford that came at the height of last season’s Village-gate affair. That was a woeful performance from the Bees which, despite Warbs denial at the time, seemed to suggest a squad in disarray with just one thing – their manager’s future – as a point of focus. Thankfully, the Bees picked themselves up from that and confounded the expectations of most onlookers to make the play-offs. Where normal service resumed .

bees fans leave charlton shit 2

Last season, Village gate saw a real low at Charlton

And, of course, we couldn’t take this briefest of looks at recent encounters without a nod to Tommy Smith. It was he whose late equaliser secured a point in our first ever Championship game – the season opener at Griffin Park back in August 2014. How the place erupted and then gasped as Alan Judge almost stole a late winner, hitting the crossbar with a freekick taken deep in Saunders Territory.

So in 18 months our three games have turned out as D,L and W. What will it be on Saturday?

Dean Smith spoke yesterday in an article on the official site where they did their wonderful trick of warming us up for the quote by giving us the quote, noting: Dean said the only target for the team between now and the end of the season is to win as many matches as possible. If anybody was in any doubt, the next line proved this as readers were advised, “We don’t want to target this or that but our aim is just to finish as high as we can and to win as many games as we can,” said Dean.

Dean went on to add that he hoped to “get that winning mentality back” . It looked like that might happen after the Wolves game before normal service resumed at Rotherham United. 2 wins out of 11 in 2016 are a poor run for Dean and I would question that to get something back, does he not have to have had it in the first instance ?

Then again, if we play like we did against Wolves anything is possible whilst Charlton’s confidence must be as low as that of the team behind the forthcoming Ghostbusters movie. The trailer for this being universally panned upon release yesterday and the unfunniest thing I had the misfortune to sit through all week. At least, until I saw Claudia Winkleman standing in for everbody’s favourite mathematical model, Rachel Riley, on ‘8 out of 10 cats does Countdown’ last night.

How can it be THIS bad?

Still, it has been a week generally filled with more disappointment than a post match press conference for the development squad (whatever the score, the interviewee always seems ‘disappointed’). Ghostbusters and Winkleman aside,  Saturday saw that game at Rotherham United whilst Sunday saw the worst ever James Bond theme, Sam Smith’s title track from the otherwise excellent Spectre, pick up an Oscar. This, an effort so bad it had ousted Madonna’s ‘Die another day’ from the bottom of the ‘Best Bond’ list yet here it was being honoured in the most public of fashions.

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. As Dean Smith would recognise, performances don’t always get what they are due. Let’s just hope that tomorrow we do what, honestly, we should. With a trip to Loftus Road the following weekend, we need everybody brim full of confidence.

Fingers crossed that Saturday is more Rachel Riley than Claudia Winkleman.

The brentford mathematical model final

artists impression of a mathematical model etc etc

Nick Bruzon

Move along, nothing to see here (especially for travelling fans)

12 Nov

Welcome back, Brentford fans. The Last Word has had a few days off as I’ve been concentrating on MK Dons (I suppose somebody has to) ahead of their visit next month. And what a few days it has been. We’ll be bang up to date with the Burnley TV announcement which has followed what could, politely, be called a period of ‘managerial upheaval’. Chris Ramsey at QPR – gone! Kit Symons at Fulham – gone! Gary Bowyer at Blackburn Rovers – gone. And all this hot on the heels of Guy Luzon at Charlton going before most fans had even left South-East London last month.

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

As I said after Ramsey’s departure, I take no pleasure in seeing anybody lose his or her job. Those sentiments still hold true. We’ve been through it ourselves already this season when the Marinus experiment (something that even now sounds like the sort of prog rock band BBC Billy Reeves might listen to whilst compiling a match report) came to a somewhat premature conclusion.

However, what is interesting to note is how soon these dismissals came after the respective teams had played Brentford. Blackburn dismissed Gary Bowyer after our 1-1 at Ewood Park, Luzon had gone within moments of Charlton being hammered 3-0 by the Bees at the Valley whilst at least QPR gave Chris Ramsey one more game after they’d lost to us. Then swung the axe.

Is there anything more to this than coincidence? Are Brentford still viewed by others as the yardstick of mediocrity? And, as such, failure to beat us is deemed to be the final straw on the proverbial camel’s back?

Anybody who saw what we did last season would be a fool to subscribe to that theory. Likewise, those who have troubled to actually look at what we have done this time around, especially under Lee Carsley. But people are very much set in their ways and attitudes, choosing to sneer about ‘stats’ and still laugh off Brentford as some insignificance of minor irritant – much like a mosquito troubling a T-Rex.

And that’s just the way I like it. We’ve now got international break where, subject to injuries, the likes of Alan Judge and Lasse Vibe could be on duty whilst John Swift has been called up for the England U-21s. Instead, those outside TW8 will no doubt overlook all this, which suits me fine.

Forget ‘Little old Brentford’ (urghh). Forget ‘#BigNewAmbitions’ (please, can we all forget about that). Move along, there’s nothing to see here. Let people ignore us or dismiss us. We’ve got ten days to drift into the back of peoples’ consciousness once more and continue our discreet push up the blindside of the Championship table. Moreso, with the likes of Jota and Sam Saunders pushing for selection, we’ve only got more opportunity to spring a few surprises.

Jota's Instagram account gives encouraging news

Jota’s Instagram account gives encouraging news

And then Sky TV has come along to promptly ruin things for us with that rarest of things – a televised Championship game that doesn’t involved Leeds United. Instead, our game at home to Burnley has now been brought forward to Friday January 15th at 7.45pm.

From a timing perspective, this one is a nightmare. Saturday 9 January (subject to TV, of course) sees the FA Cup third round. We then entertain Middlesbrough on Tuesday night – a huge challenge in it’s own right given recent form between our respective teams – before lining up against Burnley just three days after that.

It’s always a busy time of the year, no question, but purely from a fitness perspective to deny ourselves that extra night to recover can’t be a great thing. Middlesbrough and Burnley are at the business end of the table for good reason. They’ll be tough enough opponents as it is, without things being made any harder for us by powers outside of our control.

Then there are supporters. Not all of us have the luxury of living in West London. Whilst many do, there are a lot of Bees for whom the trek to Griffin Park is a carefully planned ritual. As one terrace observer put it to me last night, “It’s annoying. I can pull the ‘leave early/work from home’ thing every so often but twice in a week is now book a holiday or choose a game I’ll have to miss.”

@Gandalf3819 was equally frustrated on Twitter last night, adding, “That’s great, another game missed because some of us do shift work! Talk about selling our soul!” This was promptly followed by a hashtag that I don’t think the club will be using on the next marketing campaign.

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Look. I have no doubt we’ll be told that this is totally outside of our control but, equally, I’d be interested to hear how hard we have fought against this. Or, indeed, does the club actually believe that it is in our own interests – after all, we do get increased revenue from the TV money.

With success comes TV money and the price of that is fixture upheaval. Just imagine what would have happened had we actually made it to the Premier League this season. I accept all that but did it really have to be that weekend?

The fans could be paying out for three games in a 7(seven) day stretch immediately after the Christmas and New Year period. A problem further compounded by the fact that Season Tickets don’t cover the FA Cup.

As for the players. Well, our squad may be big but it is notoriously fragile. One New Road wag asked me last week if Lewis Macleod is actually made out of balsa wood, following his latest setback for the development squad. The prospect of three games in such close proximity is one that must have the medics quaking and the recovery coach (I’m sure we must have one) filling the ice bath already.

Hey, it could just be me and, actually, people welcome this. That’s football and this is my opinion. However, I’m keen to see if the club or even BIAS, the independent voice of Brentford supporters, make any further comment.

Moving on, I mentioned MK Dons and their temporary role in shutting own the Last Word at the top end of this column. Well, my focus on them has been in regards to the ‘kit obsessive‘ article that appears in the matchday magazine. Specifically, as they’ve presented a challenge even bigger than facing Middlesbrough, Burnley and Team X over the space of a week. From a kit article perspective.

Whilst other clubs have afforded us the luxury of over a century worth of shirt design to select from, with MK we have just over a decade.

A mere 11 home shirts since they forced their way into existence has made it somewhat of a tougher challenge than normal. But after trawling through a back catalogue skimpier than Britney Spears swimsuit, we’re there.

And I think you might like this one. Well, I hope you might like this one. You might like this one.

On December 5th you can make up your own minds. Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon

“Is there anything he cannot do”? Judge inspires brilliant Bees

25 Oct

Not my words but those of Channel 5 ‘Football League tonight’ commentator Paul Walker to describe Alan Judge. That, after Charlton Athletic had been walloped 3-0 by a resurgent Brentford team for whom the Irishman, as last weekend, was chief destroyer. With two assists and a goal that sent Charlton to another defeat (and saw their head coach Luzon his job at full time), it’s no wonder that clubs such as Swansea City and Bournemouth are rumoured to be interested in a player who is very much our man of the moment.

Those present at The Valley witnessed, the first fifteen minutes aside, as dominant a performance from Brentford as one could hope for away from home. Being quite honest, Charlton had more than enough chances to have taken an insurmountable lead during an opening spell that saw them cut us open like a hot knife through a Swiss cheese.

Simon Makienok, coming over like a cross between Max Zorin and Andy Carroll, won’t enjoy watching the play back of that one. Thankfully, rather than a goal hungry Bond villain, we were looking at somebody with the finishing skills and positional awareness of Nick Proschwitz. And having failed to take their opportunities, Charlton paid the ultimate price.

Max Zorin - crowbarred excuse

Max Zorin – crowbarred excuse

The first for the Bees came via the head of John Swift. That man Judge sending over an inch perfect cross from the right which the on loan Chelsea midfielder made no mistake with. It was all made to look far too easy thanks to the precision of the delivery and the technique used to connect. But better was still to come.

Alan McCormack, but for a couple of inches, would have had a contender for goal of the season. Running onto a pass from Marco Djuricin, he hit it first time from 25 yards, only to see it rebound off the underside of the stanchion. It had the away crowd on their feet, cheering a certain goal as Stephen Henderson was left flapping at air. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but if the first half saw Brentford end on top and with a slender lead, things continued to accelerate in the second.

Judge turned from provide to poacher, curling a beauty past Henderson from the corner of the box for 2-0 to send Bees fans bonkers. It was a finish to rival the best of any he has scored and will only highlight further the talent this man has. Judge has always been quality but the step up in his game this season, when all around have struggled at times, only gives more evidence as to why the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea are being linked with him.

I love Lee Carsley’s approach. Rather than sit on 2-0, Brentford carried on pushing. Lasse Vibe made it three, becoming another beneficiary of Judge’s perfect delivery. DHL could learn a lot from this man, such was the quality. Picking up the cross-field ball, Vibe beat Henderson at his near post from just inside the box to wrap things up with minutes left on the clock.

Not even Brentford could cock it up from here” said one terrace wag and, sure enough, we didn’t. At one point it looked as though Harlee might even have made it four, coming close with his head from a dead ball.

View from the stand - Harlee almost makes it four

View from the stand – Harlee almost makes it four

Judge will, rightly, get the headlines but what pleased me so much was the all round team performance. Nico Yennaris looked assured at right back whilst Jake Bidwell continued to probe down the left. Ryan Woods’ vision and passing looks like he will be another with the potential to play at a higher level whilst Alan McCormack bossed the midfield.

Even David Button had one of his ‘heart in mouth’ sweeper moments that saw him break out of goal to round not one but two Charlton players before playing it out. Rush of blood to the head or just further evidence of the confidence sweeping through this team?

Nine points, 7 (seven) goals scored, just one against and two clean sheets from our last three games show that whatever had been bothering the camp (don’t start…) now seems a distant memory. Lee Carsley has the players enjoying their football and, as importantly, so are the fans.

The goals were stunning, as was the vast majority of the performance. Even the Beesplayer team hit all the right notes – but then any commentary which includes a denouncement of Mexican waves and supporter bands will only ever meet with approval.

Great comms, as ever, from Mark Burridge

I feel for Charlton, genuinely. Nobody likes to see a team in this predicament and I’d thoroughly recommend a read of the Charltonaesthetic blog, to give a beautifully worded account of things from their perspective. If this page is the cheap knock off, then ‘aesthetic’ is very much the Bayeux tapestry of football wordsmithery (is that even a word?)

A disgraced Luzon crabs in and out of his hiding cave like an insidious Megadrive villain….. As the crowd stand and boo the decision, a collective consciousness drops and we realise we’re all embroiled in the Roland Prison Experiment. Left in charge, how far out of control will Luzon’s radical decisions spiral? What lengths will fans go to protecting fellow inmates Charlton from further harm? It’s a dastardly scheme for sure.”

That’s a talent in writing I can only admire, so please do go and enjoy the full article.

The players were in jubilant mood on social media after the game, most of who were bigging up Alan. Yes, he deserves every plaudit but so do all the others.

Harlee, Tarks, Lasse and the rest of you. Thanks for a great day out and reminding us just how good this team can be

Now, if we could just do the same on Friday night…..

Back to school for Charlton - but not at a water based college

Back to school for Charlton – but not at a water based college

Nick Bruzon

What can we expect after midweek shock ?

24 Oct

Brentford travel to Charlton today hot off the back of those two successive wins – against Wolves and, previously, Rotherham – that have seen us finally start to climb the Championship table. Charlton meanwhile, as was noted in yesterday’s column, go into the game hot off the back of two shots on target over the same period.

With the Addicks nestling in the relegation zone and, seemingly, Brentford now freed from the shackles of our early season problems, we even go into this game as slight favourites. That’s not me being overconfident but simply a fact quoted by my online bookmaker who, should Mrs. Bruzon be reading, I use purely for research purposes only.

Don't shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

Don’t shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

But then you can understand why, as a neutral, they have adopted this view. Recent results have seen Brentford get to within 7(seven) points of the play offs whilst a win at The Valley will bring us just two points off the 19 we had at the same time last season – 13 games into the campaign.

Charlton, meanwhile, seem to be very much on a Luzon streak. They’ve been beaten 6 times in their last ten games, scoring just 8 goals over that period.

Whilst it sounds good (on paper), I won’t be putting the deeds of the house on an ‘away’ win. All the stats in the world count for nothing on matchday if you take victory as a given and I just don’t believe the hype. Surely Charlton can’t be that bad and something has to change at their end? Likewise, it was only a few weeks ago that the Dijkhuizen / Hendriksen era came to an end and the team started to look at getting back on their feet.

Are we steady yet? No, if I’m being honest. Absolutely the signs are there and Lee Carsley is making all the right noises – plenty of positivity tempered with an acknowledgement of improvement areas.

Indeed, the win against Wolves on Wednesday is something that should fill us with confidence – a commodity that money just can’t buy, no matter how many millions you have in the bank. Talking to long time Last Word correspondent and Wolves fan ‘Rustymini’ after that game, he was sporting enough to note: ”Brentford thoroughly deserved their win. Far more lively and far more structured”.

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Those of us who had the misfortune to sit through Burnley (a) or some of the first halves under Marinus (and I’ve struck the Oxford result from the record) would struggle to comprehend the concept of ‘lively’.

That said, its one I’m loving the sound of and can’t wait to see first hand today. Next stop, Charlton. See you there.

And, doing my best Columbo (kids, if you need to ask, go and watch some – now), just one more thing.

If you haven’t seen the update from last night’s academy game (a 2-1 home win over Bristol City) then prepare for a treat. Not only did it feature more Sam Saunders but, as excitingly, Lewis Macleod. And, when he can stay away from the twigs, just take a look at what he can do….

What a finish…

Nick Bruzon