Tag Archives: Holland

There is no Plan B. We’ll be in the Premier League in three years

24 Sep

Tonight we’re live around the world”. Not my words but those of compere Peter Gilham on Thursday evening as he introduced the latest Brentford fans’ forum at Griffin Park. The event gave supporters their first chance to quiz head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen, co-directors of football Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles, Chairman Cliff Crown and Chief Executive Mark Devlin on all matters Bees related. But what did we learn?

Primarily, what a great club Brentford is. This is something those of us who are bit ‘longer in the tooth’ are well aware of but, equally, it’s nice that some things don’t change. No question was off limits as fans were, once again, given the chance to voice their opinions to those whose actions shape so much of our lives as Brentford supporters.

So, to the salient points from almost two hours of Q&A:

The future: Rasmus noted that our short-term aim was to finish better than last season. Whilst still our target, we need to be realistic and look at the injuries. His fellow sporting director Phil Giles added, “We can’t even predict when Maxime is going to be back.”

Injuries: Marinus made the assertion that despite the large number of these, it was primarily down to bad luck rather than, for example, anything specific to the training regime. As he added “They’re all different. If we had five hamstring injuries then, yes”.

Despite the injuries, he backed his stance to leave us short on the bench for the Middlesbrough game (where, of course, we only named six subs, including two goalkeepers). The youths weren’t picked because, “You have to deserve it. At that moment there weren’t youngsters who deserved to sit on the bench

On the difference between English and Dutch football, Marinus has been surprised, “It is so quick it’s unbelievable”. Indeed, he got one of the biggest laughs of the night with the follow up comment that, “Last Sunday I went to Excelsior – Ajax and it was really boring”.

Stat based recruitment: Rasmus gave a long explanation on the subject. Effectively that it starts (and ends) with football-based decisions around what we need to take the club to the next level.

Whilst it then goes to the stats guys to conduct the next level of search, they filter it down to 3 or 4 names who then become the subject of traditional scouting techniques once more. “When you read the media you get the impression at the training ground its just robots walking around – that’s not the case.”

And talking of new talent, what about Sergi Canos? Whilst clearly a stunning prospect, he’s a player Marinus prefers to ease in to the action. After ten minutes against Leeds, he admitted, “I’m killed, gaffer”. That said, Marinus is looking to give him a couple of weeks to see if he’s ready to be used from the start.

The flipside being the older heads, in particular Jonathan Douglas who was the subject of one glowing supporter tribute. Phil admitted, “He WAS a popular player, as was Moses, as was Andre. I thought we’d replace him and we did, with Josh.” Aswell as singing his praises, Phil added, “ We’ve got a replacement who is ten years younger

The Lionel Road project sees ongoing progress. The CPO enquiry has been held and, whilst Cliff was happy with how that went, a decision is not expected until the end of the year. All being well, we’ll be on site by March/April of 2016 with the subsequent build taking two years.

He concluded this segment with the aspiration that, “My aim is to play our first competitive match at the start of the 2018/19 season. Hopefully in the Premier league.”

And so to THE key question of the night: “Marinus, will you ever give us a wave?”

Whilst it may require Roy to give him a nudge, the rest of the answer suggested this will indeed by forthcoming, along with a further explanation given for his apparent reticence to do so. “When I’m analysing the game, I don’t hear what you are singing. There are lots of supporters at away games – I’m not used to it. But I know how it works now…”

For me, one of the most telling (and passionate) answers was from Mark Devlin when it was suggested that, perhaps, the club was losing touch with the traditional fanbase. He was at pains to point out this was not the case and, more to the point, genuinely couldn’t even see any evidence of this taking place. He confirmed, “I am committed to the club, the community, the traditions and staying close to the fanbase.”

The example of season ticket prices, regardless of had we reached the Premiership, was cited – this a point that Cliff later reinforced, saying that given all the revenue streams from the Premiership, Matthew Benham certainly wouldn’t be looking to take advantage of the fans that way.

Whilst the club are definitely on the up and not ”The ugly cousins of West London anymore” , the challenge is to try and replicate our family feeling at the new stadium. As Mark observed, “You guys are the heartbeat of the club.

But it was Rasmus who really nailed it at the end of the night with the blunt but bold statement, “ It is not an option to not be in the Premier League. It has to happen in the next three years…. At the moment there is no Plan B. we’ll be in the Premier League in three years.”

Fighting talk or fantasy? There’s only one place to find out. And it begins again on Saturday at Griffin Park.

Thanks again to all involved for the opportunity to attend and hats off to Brentford FC for their ongoing willingness to engage supporters.

Nick Bruzon

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Brentford mourn Ken Horne – a true Bees legend

3 Sep

I was saddened to read the news about Brentford legend Ken Horne yesterday, after the club announced he had died at the age of 89. I never saw Ken play ; his time at Griffin Park through the 1950s after signing from Blackpool being somewhat prior to my own love affair with the Bees. However, I was fortunate enough to meet him back in 2010 for a ‘Where Are They Now’ interview that would later appear in the matchday magazine

Along with fellow team mate Jim Towers, Ken gave one of the most fascinating insights into life at Brentford in the 50’s. It’s fair to say that football was a lot different back then to the game we know today whilst other aspects, such as rivalry with QPR or suspicion of match rigging, were present even then.

Ken, who came over as a genuinely nice guy and warm individual, gave a remarkable account of his time as player. From the early days at Blackpool after the Second World War to his career at Brentford.

Extracts from the interview, which was conducted alongside his wife Joyce, are reproduced below.

Ken on first playing football after the war: “I had no ideas of being a footballer. I was brought up during the war and was thirteen when it broke out. By the time I was fifteen /sixteen I had become a member of a youth club. They had a football team and wanted to play but had no one to play as all the men were away. So we used to get on our bikes and arrange matches with prisoners of war and also RAF teams. We used to play the Italians and then have a cup of tea with them behind the barbed wire. Also the Germans but it was bit different as with them they had all the guards on the gate.”

They enjoyed a game of football and we’d sit down and have tea with them. The Italians were actually allowed to walk around the town. They had big patches all over them but we all knew they didn’t want to go back and fight! They knew when it was good here; they were fed and would go in the pubs and everything. But with the Germans all the sentries were on duty with the guns as soon as you walked through the gate. It was a different atmosphere but a great experience.

Often when we were due to play the RAF teams we’d get it cancelled. Then you’d read the news and see they’d been out over Germany during the night which is why they couldn’t play us.”

Ken on his trial at Blackpool: “ I thought it was a trial, all the young players talking to each other. I didn’t know who we were playing but it turned out to be Burnley A. Mid way through the second half I took the ball form the goalkeeper and took it on, right through where I slipped it to the centre half, it got back to me and I put it through the goalkeeper’s legs. They all mobbed me and I asked them afterwards, why does everyone know one another? “

He was told, “ They’re all professionals here and you’ve just scored the winning goal that’s given them the league.” He signed for Blackpool !!

Ken on Stanley Matthews: .”. I’d only ever seen him on cigarette cards so you can imagine what it was like. Even driving through Blackpool everyone was waving. I was a lad from the country and here I am sitting alongside the great Stanley Matthews.

He came and played in my benefit match at Brentford. It was all internationals we played against. It was a hell of a crowd and we even got a quarter of an hour live on television, which had never happened before in an evening programme. I went in to the dressing room afterwards, because I knew quite a lot of them.

I went round to thanks them all for coming and Stan said to me, ‘Ken, would you mind cleaning my boots.’ This is absolutely true. I took them out and just dusted them. “ Infact, Stan had made a real effort to participate in the game.

”He’d been training that morning and had come from Blackpool. He had a mac and pulled out a newspaper, wrapped his boot up and put it in his pocket then did the same on the other side. He went back that night on the sleeper train.”

Ken as a player : “When I came down to Brentford I’d never played full back before but we’d been a bit shy in front of goal so they moved Fred Monk from right back to centre forward and I stepped in there. He scored in eleven consecutive goals and we went on a wonderful run.”

It is at this point that Joyce joins in and gives her opinion. “He’d never be on the field now, he’d always be red carded! Lethal but legal He tackled hard and it used to be man, ball, everything.”

Ken concurs, “ I was a little bit……aggressive. One thing I was proud of was that I played at Brentford for eleven years and never, to my knowledge, got barracked. The crowd used to barrack quite a few of them.

I did get booked once at Bristol Rovers in a reserve game, where I was captaining and Tommy Lawton was the manager. The linesman was terrible and I was having a go at him all the time, trying to get the rest of the team playing and gee them up. Right at the end the ball came to me as the referee’s whistle went. I thought to myself, I’ve had enough, and fired the ball straight back into the crowd.

I ran off and as I was going down the tunnel and felt a tap on the shoulder from the referee who said he had to take my name and report me for ungentlemanly conduct. The linesman had told him that I hit the ball straight into the crowd.

I went in to training later that week where Tommy had received a letter from the FA. I told him it was true and said I would own up to it. No you don’t’ he said, got his pen out an put this reply to the F.A…

‘Just as the final whistle blew, the ball landed on my foot and as I was making the clearance it skewed off into the crowd, If I have caused any problems to anyone I do apologise wholeheartedly. It wasn’t intentional and would never happen again”

I signed it. We got away with it! That’s the only time I’ve been booked and”, he deadpans… “I don’t know why”,

Ken - as featured on the official site yesterday

Ken – as featured on the official site yesterday

Ken on the climax to the 1957/58 season – the old third division South and North, with only one team going up from each. The Bee’s final game was at home to title rivals Brighton.

“It was between them and us. I’d hurt the top of my foot and didn’t think I could play but had a pain killing injection. It was a really good game with almost thirty thousand there that night and I was so pleased to get though without any pain. We’re running off the field when Ian Dargie comes along, slapping me on the back and jumps straight on top of my foot. I couldn’t walk.”

However, Brentford held on to a 1-0 victory meaning Brighton had to win their last game, against Watford, to take the title.

“Jimmy Bowie, a betting man, went to Watford and said (so he claimed) we can offer you money to go out and beat Brighton for us. Jimmy named his price and got told – ‘We get more than that for losing to Brighton’. There was a lot of trouble after that match with the Watford captain. There was a lad making his debut for Brighton and Meadows, who was captain of Watford and who Jimmy had spoken to, was marking him. This lad was making his debut and scored five goals. In the first half.”

For the record, a subsequent probe by the Daily Mail the next season confirmed that some Watford players had taken a payment to let Brighton win but by that stage it was too late…

Ken’s career highlights: Brentford’s 1951 trip to play the Dutch international team.

“We flew from Heathrow on KLM and stayed there five days. We played n the Olympic stadium and we were better than them. The Germans had taken over Holland during the war so they were getting back on their feet. They wanted a good run out and so we gave them one. We were better than them although drew one all. It was a lovely trip, we gave them a very good game and they were happy; even gave us a reception and presentation afterwards.”

These days surely even the most loyal Brentford fan would struggle to cope with the concept of them outplaying the Dutch national side.

“1955 when we played Newcastle in the cup. We lost but they went on to win the cup and it was that last time they did so. We lost 3-2 but gave them some game. Johnny Rainford was brilliant that day. You’d have thought he was the first division player. He was playing against some famous players. Well, we all were. Kenny Coote was left back and he was up against Jackie Milburn and I was playing against Bobby Mitchell who was a Scotland international. All we heard all week was ‘ if you two can stop the two wingers we’ll do alright’. I think we did our job quite well.”

Ken has his eye on the ball

Ken has his eye on the ball

Ken on his teammates: Kenny (Coote)was such a nice fellow and such a good player. Quite honestly I think he was too good for us and it’s a pity he didn’t go higher.

I was also very friendly with Tony Harper who played just in front of me. He was wicked. He just never stopped running. He was everywhere, like Rooney. He and I had such a good understanding and he was such a nice fellow too although you wouldn’t think it when he was on the field. Very tough

It was a pleasure to play in those times.

That was the best team I played in. Ron Greenwood, Jimmy Hill, Billy Dare. It was a good side and hardly changed for weeks. I played about eighty games alongside Ron Greenwood. He was wonderful to play with. He used to make you play football and get it down, because sometimes in our day it was a lot of hoofing it but Ron wanted it played on the deck all the time and did so. He was really good to play with.

He was coaching, even in those days doing his coaching course already. Walter Winterbottom thought an awful lot of him, even then. My peg in the dressing room was alongside his so it was like we did everything next to each other.

Ken on playing QPR: They had a clever little winger called Ernie Shepherd. He was a good player but didn’t like me at all and he didn’t like tackles! I’m playing on the side where it was (then) all terrace and you’re very close to the people leaning up against the fence. They used to hate me over there and were all giving me the bird. About an hour through the game the ball went out for a throw in. I bent down to get it, looked up and they’re all going “you dirty so and so”. I looked up with the ball and just said to them “Has anybody seen Ernie Shepherd this afternoon?” After that they were all applauding me.

Not only did he manage to silence the Ranger’s fans, but even their children were loyal supporters, as Joyce elaborates. “ I used to take our eldest daughter who was only two and ever so good at the football. They were all calling out “You dirty bugger, Horne”. All of a sudden she stood on a seat and says, “That’s not a bugger, that’s my daddy”

After that the crowd all round us were all saying “Come on daddy” .

Ken gave a wonderful insight into life as a footballer in the 1950s

Ken gave a wonderful insight into life as a footballer in the 1950s

Nick Bruzon

Harlee Dean hit in face with a fish

7 Jul

Thank you, Harlee Dean. With Brentford currently borrowing the X-Factor theme, he has also joined in on the homage to ITV scheduling.

Harlee seems to be turning himself into TW8’s very own Harry Hill with his own take on ‘You’ve been framed’ . He’s already had a major hand in the Sam Saunders car wash video (three marigolds and not much else).

However, this time he turned the table on himself with the announcement on twitter late Sunday night, of a fish-slapping contest with Will Grigg.

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish....brave!!

One on one with Will Grigg and a fish….brave!!

Hmm, surely not? But that’s exactly what happened. I have my fingers crossed that the full, unexpurgated version make’s Peter Gilham’s tour diary.
Until then, you can see the video here.

Harlee’s a brave man – there’s no way Will Grigg was going to miss the target from a yard out and sure enough…

Seeing something like this is a great way to start a Monday morning that had already seen me put into an immediate foul mood by Richie Firth on Absolute Radio. Christian O’Connell’s sidekick just had to go and give further mention to Tim Krul and his ‘classless’ performance against Costa Rica on Saturday night.

I had a moan about Krul yesterday and was immediately contacted by Bernard Quackenbush, who noted an obscure Doctor Who reference as the reason for the the Dutch victory. He could be on to something, you know (see below).

Whilst Krul still has me annoyed, Harlee’s taking a fish to the face has helped return things to a better…plaice

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14, amongst other things) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

DW & the power of Krul

Was it the power of Krul?

Moses gets a chance to ‘celebrate like’ etc etc as Bees play numbers game

28 Jun

The flurry of transfer activity at Brentford this week as we prepare for life in the Championship has got me thinking. What is the protocol when recruiting a new player? That is, once the niceties of negotiating terms, signing contracts and posing for a photograph with the shirt are done away with?

Specifically, how does he choose his squad number? Indeed, does that even form part of the contract talks or is it simply handed down by the manager from the pool of available ‘spares’?

And would the current squad get first crack at any new opening? With Clayton Donaldson heading to Birmingham City (although, like Marcello Trotta, his profile still remains in the ‘team’ section on the Bees website) that coveted number 9 shirt is now available.

New boy Moses Odubajo, who was announced on Friday as having joined from Leyton Orient has already bagged number 10. Rumoured to be for a fee over GBP1million, per the East London press, this is great news. Who knows if the sight, and Russell Slade’s subsequent talk, of those ‘FA Cup like celebrations’ helped sway his decision?

One would presume that yesterday’s other new signing (announced along with contract extensions for David Button and Stuart Dallas), the free scoring Andre Grey from Luton Town, has his sights on that vacant ‘9’.

Was it a wasted opportunity for the likes of Alan Judge (18)? Could James Tarkowski (26) and Adam Forshaw (4) have negotiated between them to give the central defender that position’s traditional 4? Indeed, does it even matter to players or are they the superstitious sort that, once allocated a number, keep it until they leave a club (or beyond)?

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Does a squad number make a difference?

Obviously, it makes no real difference to what happens on pitch but, whilst I’m all for progress in the game, I’m ‘old school’ at heart. Seeing a team line up numbered 1-11 gives me a certain reassurance that it ‘looks right’. An additional little ‘good luck’ omen (to sit alongside the lucky shirt, magic pants and pre-match pint). Or perhaps I just have OCD?

Watching the (so far) all-conquering Netherlands in the World Cup they have achieved this feat despite the permutations possible in a 23-man squad. Has their manager Louis van Gaal (real name: Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal) just ‘got lucky’? Or has he had the balls to name his first choice starting XI well in advance and then allocate 12-23 amongst the rest?

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The all conquering Netherlands team , numbered 1-11 on the BBC website

I can only hope it is the latter and if so, whilst I don’t care a jot about the tribulations at Manchester United, then self-confidence of that nature is sure to work wonders after the debacle of the David Moyes era when he arrives at Old Trafford.

Still, for Brentford fans, they are opponents’ for 2015/16. This season, let’s concentrate on getting out of the Championship.

Forget ‘survival’ – I’m aiming high. And with Matthew Benham’s cryptic clues now being unravelled (they were obvious, really…), we are certainly putting together a young, exciting and attacking squad to start that charge.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

‘Chiles understudy’ sees Spain given a real clogging.

14 Jun

The World Cup exploded into stunning life on Friday. Brazil’s lucky win over Croatia seemed a distant memory after the Netherlands devastated Spain – leaving them bloodied and bruised, like a gored matador awaiting the fatal blow. Much as I love Brentford, and can’t wait for their foray in the Championship, this was the standout match from three games of truly world-class football we could only aspire to.

As ever, if you want the match reports (or the highlights) then read the BBC. For me the salient points of the day’s activity were:

ITV, who I had lambasted yesterday, redeemed themselves somewhat with first use of World Cup favourite, “For those of you just coming from work, the score is”. Sadly, I was still coming home from work, so missed this moment although am reliably informed that 6.25pm was the time; Mexico – Cameroon the game. For the record, a 1-0 win for the Central Americans.

Unfortunately, their oversized score graphic doesn’t seem to have shrunk any overnight and still takes up more screen space than Adrian Chiles. Please ITV, slim this down a bit or, at the least, move it more into the corner.

The BBC then had their turn and seem to have taken the very short-term view with their choice of panel. How they must have laughed a few months ago, at the thought of using Rio (Ferdinand, that is) in Rio (de Janeiro).

Sadly, nobody back home was laughing at his continual name-dropping. I didn’t realise, and you may not have caught this, but apparently he used to play for Manchester United

As one correspondent put it to me afterwards, he has “All the screen charisma of an 18 wheeler lorry reversing very slowly around a corner”. An ironic statement, given that’s much the same as his defensive turning circle

Still for all the downside of Rio (who looked positively distraught at having to stay behind afterwards to answer Facebook questions whilst, presumably, the rest of the panel went out for a few cold ones), the BBC had the pick of the games.

Spain 1 Netherlands 5. The Dutch masters (sorry) obliterated Spain, the highlight for me being Robin Van Persie’s exquisite header to level things. If ever you wanted to see footballing perfection then this was it.

The timing, the run, the dive, the connection and the precision. It makes you wonder if David Moyes might still be in a job had he got this sort of form out of the Manchester United man last season.

Then there was more use of the referee’s spray paint (isn’t this just shaving foam?). Whatever it is, I love this idea although am waiting for one of them to ‘go rogue’ and start freestyle art on the pitch.

Proceedings were rounded off with Chile racing into a 2 goal lead against Australia before allowing them back into the match. The Aussies, presumably put off their game by the awful kit they’d been forced to wear – the rather camp looking combination of tight yellow shirt/shorts and long white socks.

Whilst Chile held on to win 3-1, it was a much tighter, and more exciting affair, than it had any right to be after the Australian ‘no show’ for the first fifteen minutes.

That was Friday. Today sees the first outing for England, who play Italy on the spray painted (green, not white) pitch of Manaus. It promises to be an exciting day of football although, after the fifteen goals from the opening four games so far, I’m betting Roy’s boys will bring these back down to earth with a 0-0 bump.

But don’t listen to me – as somebody much wiser than me pointed out last night, my twitter observations are much akin to a #Chiles-understudy. And, to be fair, he’s probably right.

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Referees ‘paint’ – comes in three sizes