Tag Archives: Jack Bonham

What next after a super Tuesday?

15 Jul

Brentford have played their first game under Marinus, Birmingham City (second up at Griffin Park this season) have launched a stunning new kit and Will Grigg has joined Wigan Athletic. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe Matthew Benham’s other team, FC Midtjylland, were in Champions League action against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

First up, though, Portugal where two Brentford teams (the line up changed at half time) cruised to a 3-0 victory over SC Farense. With only Chris Wickham’s match report and Twitter to rely on, I’m not sure how much we can take from this. Likewise, in a game where 22 Brentford players were used.

Certainly, it seemed comfortable and, as Chairman Cliff Crown noted on twitter at half time, the only thing Jack Bonham caught was a tan – a reference to our dominance rather than his ability. Which, by that logic would then make Sam Saunders a world-class goalkeeper.

Chairman Crown bought comms and match action via Twiter

Chairman Crown brought comms and match action via Twiter

Despite us changing the line up at half time, notable absentees included Andreas Bjelland, Josh McEachran and David Button (read what you will into any of that) but good to see Marcos Tebar get a run out. As interesting was the description of our line up in the aforementioned report as a 4-3-3 throughout with two deeper lying midfield players but their wide attackers pushed high up the pitch.

Sunday at Boreham Wood and then the following Saturday at home to Stoke City give Bees fans, barring a small hardcore who made it over to the Algarve, their first chance to see this in action. I can’t wait.

One player who won’t be there is Northern Ireland International Will Grigg, who has joined Wigan Athletic for a fee rumoured to be GBP1,000,000. Club owner Matthew Benham took to Twitter to offer him his best wishes, saying: “v unlucky in 13/14 with intl call ups, niggling injuries and the form of Marcello, still scored vital goals for us though. Then had a great season at MK last year”

Will seemed an excellent signing, on paper, for Brentford and got off to a flying start with a brace, and a missed penalty, on his home debut against Sheffield United. Sadly, things went downhill from there and a record of 5 goals in 34 games tells its own story.

View from the terrace - Will was denied a home debut hat trick

View from the terrace – Will was denied a home debut hat trick

That said, as he has proven with both Walsall and MK Dons, he can certainly find the net at that level and so who knows just how well he’ll do in future. Good luck, Will.

From our own perspective, it does present an interesting problem as it leaves Brentford with Andre Gray as the only recognised striker on our books (although you could have said the same last season given the way things worked out for Nick Proschwitz). Will Matthew be flexing the chequebook, scouring the European lower leagues of even promoting from within?

The youth team are chomping at the bit whilst we’ve more midfielders than you could shake a stick at. Could Jonathan Douglas or even Harlee Dean (who has been pressed into emergency action before) prove a statistical enigma that nobody had considered previously? Whilst it would mean they were pulled from their traditional positions, competition in those slots is already sure to be tough with some quality players joining the club.

Whilst the Dougie/Harlee suggestion is, perhaps, too far a flight of fancy, stranger things have happened. With four weeks until the big kick off (™), expect more news on that soon. One thing’s for sure, Andre was desperately crying out for some support last time out and I don’t expect us to make the same mistake this time around.

Although we won’t be seeing Will at Griffin Park in league action this season, barring an 11th hour transfer then Clayton Donaldson will be back with Birmingham City. And, it has to be said, he’ll be looking good.

The St. Andrews outfit launched their new kit last night and it is a stunning effort. Whilst the club were keen to point out it harked back to their 1875 incarnation as Small Heath Alliance, the universal reaction was – Thunderbirds. Let’s hope Clayton isn’t pulling the strings for them when they visit.

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

Finally, the Champions League. David certainly met Goliath last night as Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar travelled to Danish Champions FC Midtjylland for the first leg of their their second qualifying round. There can’t be (m)any Brentford fans unaware that Matthew Benham owns FCM whilst, on a personal note, my own Gibraltarian roots do mean this column is often peppered with references to football life in UEFA newest member.

Indeed, the build up to last night’s game saw the local Gibraltar Chronicle offering Matthew’s Bees a promotion and Premiership place we haven’t, yet, earned.

If only

If only

The final score saw the Danes run out to a narrow 1-0 win, as both Kyle and Lee Casciaro came close for the visitors in the final few minutes. With the return leg to come next week on the Rock, this is anything that the foregone conclusion it looked like when the draw was made.

Could the Gibraltarians cause the shock of the season before league action begins? We’ll keep you posted.

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Nick Bruzon

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As ever, should you want to read more about  Brentford  (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums from the last two seasons are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship, through the eyes of a supporter.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re just another way to get through a few days over the summer as we wait for any more transfer news to be confirmed and the season to start.

The Ten things that have defined this season (so far….)

4 May

With the dust still settling on the stunning events of the weekend as Brentford beat Derby County and Wolves in the race for a play off place (where, of course, we start proceedings against Middlesbrough on Friday) this column has been handed over to a guest contributor.

Long time Bees fan fan and regular Last Word reader Justin (@BeQuietJustin on twitter) outlines his ten things that have defined Brentford’s 2015/16 campaign to date. So without further ado, here are his thoughts….

That leak – February’s main item of club news was that Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham couldn’t reach agreement about the backroom direction of the club which ultimately meant Warburton would leave at the end of the season, coinciding with the end of his contract. This was reported as a sacking by some extremely lazy journalists in the national press and The Football League Show’s Steve Claridge doggedly insisted that the news was the reason behind any time Brentford didn’t win convincingly in a division they’d only just been promoted to.

The fans’ chanting of Warburton’s name during games, and the players’ celebrations with the manager after Andre Gray’s opener against Watford, showed that those a little closer to the club were unfazed by the largely unwarranted media nonsense.

Warbs  - there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Warbs – there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Signing woes – This season brought with it half a team’s worth of interesting signings, many of whom were either injured on arrival or ended up that way.

Scott Hogan was hoped to be the eventual number one striker but picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury after playing a mere 30 minutes. Everton loanee Chris Long contributed four goals in some admirable performances with raw willing and talent before being sent back to his parent club for injury assessment and exacerbating the problem in a youth cup game.

The Championship-experienced Nick Proschwitz had potential but his finishing soon left fans recalling such legendary names as Clyde Wijnhard and Murray Jones. Exciting Sporting Lisbon forward Betinho apparently did not adjust well to the English game and disappeared from the matchday squads after playing just 13 minutes.

On top of all this, bright Rangers signing Lewis Macleod’s recovery from a hamstring injury was set back by falling down a rabbit hole and tripping over a twig. Make your own jokes about Brentford’s diminutive central midfield. With even one more fit and in-form striker this season, Brentford may well have been automatically promoted. On the other hand, the players have sometimes engineered their own downfall with some noticeable…

Defensive dithering – The new footballing way at Brentford dictated that no longer would we be pumping a long ball over the top for the big striker to knock down to the little one for a shot on goal. Methodical, patient, possession football in the vein of the Spanish national team was the new style and that brought with it a reduction in long goal kicks. Playing out from the back, enabling the defence to link with the 5-man midfield and draw defensive lines out of position, was something very few expected to see from a League One team and this was refined further this season.

However, it also brought with it a fair share of head-in-hands moments, with goalkeeper and defenders seemingly unaware of what was going on around them at times. Numerous occasions brought a short pass to a defender and back to David Button for him to hurriedly lump the ball up the field under pressure when it would have been easier to clear the lines properly and take a standard goal kick.

While the lack of height further up the pitch dictates that wasn’t always the right idea, the high-risk insistence of playing out from the back has resulted in defenders being robbed and conceding goals. Of course, nobody’s perfect, and it would be remiss to highlight the bad side of playing out from the back without mentioning…

David Button – Where would we be without some of David’s fantastic goalkeeping? The spectacular double save at Carrow Road has to be a major contender for save of the season, closely followed by great performances at home against Bournemouth and Watford, among many others.

View from the terrace - David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button  it,

View from the terrace – David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button it,

With Richard Lee’s recurring shoulder injury ultimately leading to him announcing his retirement and subsequently going on loan to a team whose name escapes me, fans were understandably concerned about what would happen in the event of David’s injury or suspension. Jack Bonham looked comfortable in his single appearance against Brighton in the FA Cup, with defensive lapses giving him little chance against two late goals, but the young number two (technically, three?) wasn’t required further.

A testament to goalkeeping coach Simon Royce, David’s kicking and speed off his line have both improved greatly over the last couple of seasons to match his outstanding shot-stopping ability. He pulled off a fine point blank save at 0-0 to help the team on their way to…

Brentford 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – More money and an established, Championship way of thinking and playing saw Wolves romp home to the League One title last May, finishing 17 points clear of the playoff positions. This game relatively early on in the season was seen as a marker to determine how Brentford would cope in the division against supposedly ‘bigger clubs’.

An emphatic victory rounded off an excellent November consisting of five wins from five games, spawning the infamous #novemberkings hashtag on the club’s Twitter feed. At the end of the regular season, it turned out that this was the result that counted. A 1-0 win for Brentford would have put Wolves in the playoffs and Brentford 7th on goal difference. (editor’s note: (seventh)).

View from the terrace - Wolves perfected their 'kick off' routine at Griffin Park this season

View from the terrace – Wolves perfected their ‘kick off’ routine at Griffin Park this season

A footnote to this game was ex-Bee George Saville, who did not look up to the part having signed permanently for Wolves from Chelsea. I thought George was too indecisive and lightweight last season to make it with Brentford. He failed to impress at Wolves and ended up on loan at Bristol City, registering only 15 total appearances. This match included a brilliant goal in which the entire Wolves back four was taken out of the game in one swift move by…

Andre Gray – Essentially our only true striker this season, Andre massively outperformed early expectations in which he was thought to be playing second fiddle to Scott Hogan. Having jumped up three divisions from the Conference, there was cautious optimism among fans, tempered with a generous helping of wondering where the goals would come from if Brentford were to have a hope of staying in the division.

With Hogan’s early injury turning out to be worse than initially thought, all eyes fell on Andre. Often having to deal with being wrestled, pulled back and kicked to bits by huge defensive lumps, with officials consistently failing to see what 10,000 fans clearly could, Gray has held his nerve, scored 17 goals, set up numerous other chances for his teammates and played a massive part in…

FourFourTwo-2Thumbing our collective noses at the experts’ pre-season predictions – The pundits certainly hadn’t been paying attention to Brentford’s style of play in the previous season and gave them very little chance of making a dent in the Championship promotion race.

As we’ve seen numerous times in the last couple of seasons, underestimate this team at your peril. The most infamous pre-season prediction was that of FourFourTwo magazine, who got numerous things very wrong in their proposed final table (left).

Toumani Diagouraga – Another of my shortlist for the player of the season award. After being farmed out on loan to Portsmouth for eight games last season, many fans suspected that would be the last we saw of the composed, unpredictable midfielder at Griffin Park.

Toumani fought his way back into a midfield that looked like it would never be able to accommodate him due to other players’ performances and has put in 41 appearances so far this season, including numerous man of the match displays. He has been an absolute pleasure to watch, specialising in breaking down attacks with seemingly telescopic legs and twisting opposition players into knots with some brilliant yet, at times, utterly baffling footwork.

Alan Judge – My player of the season. Alan missed games in January and February through injury but it was clear how much we missed his creativity in his absence. Taking over the Sam Saunders mantle as the midfield playmaker, Alan finds space in the centre circle with driving runs to assist or take shots on goal and can spread the play to the wings with ease.

Many Brentford fans have no idea why Blackburn froze him out of their squad, presumably because at only 5’7” he’s not tall enough for their style of play, but their loss is our huge gain. Alan can also strike a sweet free kick, with Good Friday bringing a particularly memorable one…

Bees up, Fulham (almost) down – Perhaps not the biggest thing to happen in the grand scheme of this season, but an emotional choice and an away day that most fans had been looking forward to since the minute the fixtures were released.

Doing the league double over one of our fiercest local rivals showed how far the club has come. From being easily rolled over 5-0 in 2010’s pre-season, to a late home winner and comprehensively spanking that lot down the river in their own back yard, this pair of results gave the long-suffering Bees faithful yet another reason to be proud of what the club has achieved this season.

It’s not over yet, but we have more than enough to celebrate. Here’s looking forward to August, no matter which division Brentford are in!

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

In a week of break ups, Richard Lee tops the lot

27 Mar

It’s around this time of year I start thinking about those April 1st headlines that will, inevitably, hit Brentford related media sites. The blue and white hooped away shirt. The emergency loan signing of Martin Rowlands. Buzzette caught in flagrante delicto with Billy the Badger from Fulham.

But making my way home on Thursday night, the Internet was buzzing with a story that made me think the only possible explanation had to be a media team related ‘faux pas’. Surely one of them had erroneously hit the ‘publish’ button and released this year’s ‘April Fools joke’ prematurely?

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Richard Lee announces retirement – exclusive interview

2 Jan

Since summer 2010, goalkeeper Richard Lee has been a permanent fixture in the Brentford squad. Such is his experience that only Toumani, Kevin O’Connor and Sam Saunders have been here longer. However, as you may have seen this morning, the club have announced that Richard is set to retire at the end of the season (something he confirmed on his own blog site yesterday).

Brentford's number 1

Brentford’s number 1

Indeed, Richard was recently the subject of an excellent article on the BBC website in regards to the role of a ‘back up’ goalkeeper which hinted at this, including the somewhat telling line, “injury problems have all but resigned him to retiring at the end of the season”.

The Last Word was fortunate enough to catch up with Richard this week to find out more about this news and whether Brentford fans should be bracing themselves for a tearful farewell.

In an honest and open interview, he gives his perspective on just what has prompted this decision aswell as sharing several highlights from last season and his broader career.

Richard, we’ll get to Brentford shortly but firstly I have to ask. Retirement – what has prompted this decision? Is it simply down to injury? Injury has certainly played a role as it has affected my enjoyment of the game. I now link pain to playing football which in turn has knocked both my confidence and motivation for the game.

I’m struggling to reach the heights of years gone by so think it best to call it a day. I made this decision in September and discussed it with the BFC staff then, who have been great but I haven’t really discussed it with anyone else.

Has the form of David Button played any part in this? No not at all. I’m really close with David and have been delighted to see him flourish in the way that he has. My battle has always been with myself, not a competing goalkeeper.

Are you currently fit enough for selection? Given retirement is now on the cards, Brentford fans would, I am sure, like the chance to say farewell. Yes I am, I’ve trained most days for a while now as well as having played a few development games so I am available for selection. Of course I’d love to get the opportunity at some point to say a proper farewell.

The BBC interview also included a quote from you saying ,” Part of me did become used to being a number two. It’s an easy role “. Whilst it may have been ‘easy’, I can’t imagine it was a very palatable one relative to playing. How keen have you been to get back into the team? That’s my one disappointment in my career, I haven’t played enough football.

I never consciously meant to do this but often if I had a dip or made a mistake I didn’t deal with it at all well and soon found my way back to the bench. The crazy thing is that as soon as I was out of the team I was always then really keen to be back in it!

Away from Griffin Park, you’ve already played at a higher level but given the buzz around TW8 at the moment, you must still be chomping at the bit to taste Championship action with Brentford? This season’s been incredible so far, the way in which we’ve outplayed some massive clubs and to be in the play-off spots heading into the new year is a compliment to everyone involved at BFC. I am disappointed that I haven’t yet been able to play with this particular team and if the opportunity does come then of course I’ll give everything I have to aid the team in any way that I can.

What is the atmosphere currently like in the dressing room and how much can you join in on matchday? There is an air of excitement. Ordinarily on a match day I’ll be in the changing room prior to kick off speaking to a few of the lads individually, in particular David Button and trying to help wherever I can but there is only so much you can do. More often than not I then go and help Mark Burridge on BeesPlayer, something which I’ve really enjoyed doing.

Do you have any desire to stay involved at club level after the season ends, for example in a coaching role, whether at Brentford or elsewhere ? I want to be involved in football for sure but I don’t think full time coaching is for me. I’ve got my goalkeeping business (www.gkicon.com) that allows me to coach goalkeepers on a regular basis and I’ll no doubt give this more time. To be honest I’ve always loved the idea of spending a lot of time working for myself so intend to do this.

Aswell as the BBC interview, we’ve also seen your recent interview with Ben Foster on Sky Sports and, of course, you’ve popped up on Beesplayer several times. Is a role in the media your next career step and, if so, where do your preferences lie in regards to that – presenting, punditry, analysis etc ? I would love to do that however I’m appreciative that it’s a very competitive world and I’m not a household name, so I wouldn’t have the ability to walk into a well paid role in media.

I have however gained a degree in media over the last couple of years so I’m hoping that will help me delve into that world. My dream job would be in regards to analysing goalkeepers as there’s no one that does this to a high level at the moment. However I’m not sure if anyone’s looking for a pundit who focuses specifically on goalkeepers!

You have also written a lot – the Daily Mail column as well as your book, Graduation, spring instantly to mind. What can we expect from you next in this field ? This will depend on opportunity. I do enjoy writing so am open to something that offers me the chance to do this. I’d like to contribute to my blog (www.dickielee.net) more often but this is something that depends on free time.

If not (or aswell as) the media, where do you see your future lying? You’ve always been somebody with your fingers in many pies and I can’t imagine this will change ? No it won’t, I like the idea of a varied lifestyle and my business ventures offer me this (www.dickielee.com). I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of taking an idea and forming it into a profitable business, it’s something that really challenges me and gives me a buzz. It’s something that I’d like to help others do too.

When we spoke last time, you pinpointed the Everton cup game as the highlight of your Brentford career, to that date. Did being part of the promotion winning squad surpass it or is it really just about being on the pitch? The experience of last season was incredible, to have been involved in such a talented, driven and committed squad was something truly special. Any footballer will tell you that your biggest memories in football will always been memories of games you played.

I sat on the bench for Ben Foster in the Premier League 26 times yet I don’t remember a single scoreline. However I could tell you all about the 11 games I did play in specific detail.

And looking back over your entire career, what would you say was THE standout moment? It would have to be the moment Jagielka hit the post in that Everton game. In that moment everything changed and I’ll never forget running away in celebration whilst it seemed everyone at Griffin Park was flooding onto the pitch.

I’ve never had a high like it, incredible. In terms of the size of game then I’d say the FA Cup semi-final for Watford against Man Utd is the biggest game I’ve played.

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Is there anything you WON’T miss once you stop playing? As mentioned earlier I won’t miss the pain I associate with it and I’m also looking forward to taking a holiday in any other month than June!

What do you see as the difference in managerial styles between Uwe and Mark Warburton? A lot of it comes down to emotional intelligence. Both have plenty of strengths however I think Mark is calmer and doesn’t allow events on or off the pitch to distract from the bigger picture.

He’s put a process in place, he’s following it and building something special. Uwe was excellent in terms of his attention to detail and was incredibly passionate, this most of the time was a good thing but sometimes his passion was misguided which would often alienate him.

After the defeat at Stevenage last season, Uwe ‘had a chat’ with the team after the game in which he subsequently told Billy Reeves, ”At times you think things are clear, 100 percent clear to the players and maybe, in truth, its not always like that.” What did he say and do you think that was the catalyst for the subsequent success that campaign? In hindsight it was an important talk. A lot of ‘home truths’ were said by all the players that day and we knew it was a pivotal point of the season. Uwe got a lot off his chest and likewise many of us got a lot off our chests, it was certainly a heated debate! At that point in time we were heading for mid table mediocrity however I have no doubt that talk helped spark the run we then had.

Uwe gives a very honest interview to Billy - the rest is history

Uwe gives a very honest interview to Billy – the rest is history

You got back into the team last season following David Button’s red card at Bradford City. Despite what I thought were a good run of results, he quickly reclaimed his place. How did that affect you? Yeah, we won 3 of the 4 games I played and there was one point after the Bristol City game where I was aware that the gap between us was very close. I thought I’d keep my place after that game but it wasn’t to be. David grew after that experience I believe and never really gave me a look in thereafter.

How good was it ‘celebrating like we’d won the FA Cup’ after the win at Leyton Orient? The buzz in the changing room after that game must have been incredible? It was, I remember never have been so nervous on the bench for a game! Especially when we went down to 10 men but we were excellent.

And yeah, the feeling in the changing room afterwards was a special one. We knew the job was far from done but that was a huge step towards our goal.

Richard, you are the manager. If you could pick a team out of all those players who have played alongside you since you joined Brentford in the summer of 2010, who would be in the starting XI? In terms of quality it would undoubtedly by the current team. Something else I’m thankful for is that I have formed many strong friendships during my time here, in particular with Kev O’Connor, David Hunt and Simon Moore.

As with any working environment it’s the people who make it special and I feel really fortunate to have worked with so many great people. I’ve also had some really understanding staff too which has certainly helped me prolong my career, these people include Simon Royce, Neil Greig and Richard Clarke in particular.

Given the unique nature of the goalkeeper’s shirt relative to the rest of the team, do you have any input into the club’s choice of design spec? Ha, no unfortunately not.

And what did you think when you saw this season’s choice? Erm…….

And finally, when things do come to an end (playing wise) this season, will there be a testimonial game? I can’t imagine there’ll be anything like that. To be honest I’m aware that hundreds of footballers finish their football career each season and I’m no different. I’ve just decided to make a definite decision in advance.

However I do want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Brentford FC for such fantastic support after my shaky start! It’s been an awesome journey. To have received the amount of kind messages and tweets that I have over the passed few days has touched me and I’m so appreciative for that.

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Exclusive interview – Richard Lee talks back

24 Oct

ImageBrentford goalkeeper Richard Lee surprised supporters on Sunday night when he published a series of comments on ‘Twitter’ after several unfounded rumours appeared on message-boards regarding his alleged attitude and fitness. ‘The Last Word’ was fortunate enough to catch up with Richard ahead of this weekend’s ‘pay what you can’ game where he was happy to respond to those comments in full, aswell as talking about everything from David Button and Simon Moore to the team aspirations and his own interests when not playing football.

You took to Twitter on Sunday night to respond to rumours about your attitude (i.e. allegedly ‘not bothered about being substitute’) and fitness. What drove you to do this – it seems quite an unusual step, given the huge amount of rumours that circulate in cyberspace? I’m not normally one to respond to rumours, but I was aware that one or two of these rumours had started to gather momentum and naturally I was keen to dispel them. That’s one of the great things about Twitter, it gives you the opportunity to put your side across and hopefully in writing the things I did I was able to make my position clear.

And, for the record, ‘rumours’ you are happy to scotch? Presumably you are chomping at the bit to get back into the Brentford starting XI on a regular basis? I absolutely want to play. Last season was a write off personally. I was never fit enough to play from August 2012 onwards with my shoulder, but had agreed that I would make myself available for the season as a back-up and put my operation off for as long as possible – in the end I only made it to March before the shoulder went completely. I’m now fully fit so my position is completely different. I want to play and help Brentford succeed.

What do you think you’ll have to do to impress Uwe enough to achieve this? I‘m aware of what he wants from a goalkeeper and this is the main reason I’ve turned my garage into a ‘goalkeeping gym’! I’m really happy with much of my game but have a few areas that I wish to really nail down in order to fulfill the ideal of what he believes a goalkeeper should be. Naturally with the modern game being what it is, distribution for a goalkeeper is now vital. I’ve seen big improvements here but intend to take this a step further this season.

How good is your relationship with David Button?

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

“The maddest game of football that ever existed”

9 Aug

Not my words, but those of BeesPlayer’s Mark Burridge after last season’s promotion showdown at Brammall Lane between Brentford and Saturday’s visitor’s, Sheffield United.

The game – which finished 10-9 to United (in terms of players left on the pitch) and 2-2 (in terms of goals) – was, quite literally, the match that had it all. Four spot kicks; three red cards; the Dave Kitson guide to sportsmanship and fairplay; a successful Marcello Trotta penalty (that’s not a typo); and the infamous Mr Keith Stroud as the man in the middle (file alongside Biggar, Atwell and d’Urso in the volume labelled: ‘incompetent’). That’s before you even look to factor in Bradley Wright-Phillips’ ecstasy inducing last minute equaliser that sent Bees fans home delirious and stopped United’s season dead in its tracks.

Can the weekend’s game come anywhere close to that?

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.