Tag Archives: Jake Bidwell

The calm before the storm is now available. Musical perfection awaits.

21 Apr

We’ll keep this brief today. With Brentford due to host QPR in the first of our back-to-back West London derbies (the trip to Fulham coming next Saturday) there’ll be plenty to talk about over the next week or so. Indeed, there’s already been plenty said about this one already.

To summarise recent events: Ian Holloway and that woeful prediction, Jake Bidwell, the Bees winning 2-0 at Loftus Road in October, LLLLL (being the QPR current form guide) and a league table that sees us 10 points ahead of the neighbours. That’s of course before we even recall what happened 50 years ago.

There’s been plenty said about this already

All that’s for Saturday. Today sees something which in its own right is as important as the derby. No less an occasion than Billy Reeves, Adam Devlin and Richard Archer releasing their debut single as Staines supergroup Grown Men in Tears.

Yes, the  wonderful ’Welcome home, King Jota’ becomes available to download today. For one week only. By the time we play Fulham, it will be gone.

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Grown Men in Tears. Archer, Devlin, Reeves (l-r) c/o The Jolly Baker, Ashford

Regular readers (should such a concept exist) may recall we spoke about this earlier in the week. That was then. This is now. And you can get it from 9am today for just 79p. Even better, the money isn’t going into the pockets of this Bluetones/Hard-FI/too much to mention power trio but , instead, towards Cancer research UK.

Do something brilliant for a wonderful charity. Download something brilliant for your iPod or other MP3 player. You can give it a spin below but who wouldn’t want to keep this forever? Rather than ordering a bag of pork scratchings with your pre-match pint tomorrow, why not put the money to better use and click ’download’ via Billy’s twitter account?

who doesn’t love a montage ?

Nick Bruzon

Get a plate, a knife and a fork. Add some words. Start eating.

19 Apr

Sometimes it’s just too easy. The inevitable ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ of blog columns arrives as Brentford gear up for Saturday’s home derby with QPR. Whilst Fulham may have finished above us for the first time in three seasons (although there’s still much more to come on that front), once again the Bees will finish the Championship campaign clear of the not so super hoops. With just three games to go we’re 10 points ahead – Brentford on 60 to our neighbours’ 50.

Poor Ian Holloway. Whilst it looked at one stage as though he might turnaround what had become very much a damp squib of a season, normal form has now returned. Rangers’ current record in the league reads: LLLLL and , mathematically, they still aren’t safe. Only six points separate them from third bottom Blackburn Rovers. Themselves, a team who will no doubt be going hammer and tongs for a victory when they visit Griffin Park on the final game of the season. What an awkward one that could end up being.

But if the chance to go 13 points clear of the Loftus Road outfit and push them ever closer to the trapdoor wasn’t enough inspiration for Brentford this Saturday, there’s more. Much more. Whilst one can only have huge respect for all Jake Bidwell did at Griffin Park, moreso in a week that marked the three year anniversary since our ascension from League One, how good to show him he made the wrong call? If only for that #Jakejoins hashtag.

Indeed from out of that move we’ve not only seen the true emergence of Tom Field but, as excitingly, Rico Henry recover from injury and show just how the statistical model helped pick another former Dean Smith player. To have two such comfortable looking left side players really is a rare luxury and one that has provoked intriguing discussion as to just who should start in the full back berth.

Then, of course, we’ve got the chance to do the double over the neighbours. A 2-0 win for Brentford at QPR back in October was one that saw Romaine Sawyers hit an absolute screamer to double our lead. Writing about that one at the time, it was noted on these pages that : “”Sure, the QPR defence looked holier than the Pope (and were about as benevolent) but you still need the technique to put it away. What. A. Finish.

“The look on his face before he hit it”, opined one terrace wag to me, “you just knew what was going to happen”. And sure enough, it did.””

More of the same would be just wonderful.

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View from the terrace – the net starts to bulge from Romaine’s rocket

But, of course, the biggest incentive of them all is ‘that column’, written by Ian Holloway in his pre-season guise as a pundit for Sky Sports. In it, he tipped Brentford to be relegated, saying we’d finish 23rd and incorrectly claiming we’d punched above our weight under Warbs.

“ Brentford are regressing. Mark Warburton got them punching above their weight. They still haven’t replaced Andre Gray and Alan Judge will be missing for the start of the season. They could be in trouble.”

Sorry, Ian. Punching above our weight? Regressing? The table doesn’t lie. It didn’t then. It didn’t under Dean Smith last year when we finished above both Fulham and QPR in the table (despite the early sale of Gray and the injury enforced absence of the Judge). It certainly doesn’t now. Brentford sit in 11th place. QPR are down down in 17th and still looking down the barrel of relegation.

I’m not Dean Smith. I’m just the numpty on the terrace. But even I can predict what his pre-match team talk might be on Saturday afternoon . Something Twitter correspondent Luis Adriano also noted might be making an appearance.

I can’t wait for Saturday. A West London derby is always a great thing but to have two of them back to back (of course, the trip to play off chasing Fulham is the following week) is a rare treat.

Here’s to a repeat of October. For more than one reason….

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I’m sure this was full earlier? Still eight minutes to go

Nick Bruzon

If Sunday was brilliant (and it was) Tom’s tweet was anything but

7 Feb

We’ve spoken about the good stuff from the weekend already . Brentford were desperately unlucky not to take all three points at home to Brighton in a performance that gave huge cause for optimism. Six goals and four points since the day Scott Hogan was sold to Aston Villa, Jota destroying all comers on the right, Sergi Canos back in the team and Harlee Dean looking as though he could go on and play for England, such has been the enormity of his performances as part of a reintroduced back four. Dean Smith has finally shuffled his pack and the result has been some mouth watering football.

This is all good, very good. A fourth season in the Championship awaits and our sights must now be on a top ten finish. All this, of course, before the likes of Alan Judge, Rico Henry and the returning Lewis Macleod have even set foot in the team.

Yet one thing is still bugging me from the Brighton game. A post match tweet from Tom Field that really took the sparkle off a near perfect performance for Brentford (the final twelve seconds aside) .

Ordinarily these things contain such anodyne statements as ‘unlucky out there today’ , ‘apologies to those who travelled’ or the dreaded ‘we go again’. And that’s when we lose. Victory is the cue for outpourings of positivity from players and supporters alike. Heroic performances, such as on Sunday, likewise. So what on earth prompted this?

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How could anybody come out of Griffin Park and give abuse to one of our own players?  A player who has been nothing but incredible from his home debut, chucked into the lion’s den of a West London derby at home to Fulham. A West London derby in which he kept a clean sheet and was instrumental in two of the three goals Brentford scored.

Tom has barely put a foot wrong since that moment and has made the left back position his own this season, despite his tender years. He’s a player who, if we’re being honest, not many people had even heard of when he was thrust from the youth team to the first team name for that 11th hour debut.

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Academy graduate Tom Field made a wonderful debut against Fulham

Keeping Anthony Knockaert in his back pocket was no mean feat at the weekend, either. Tom really has been one of the bright lights in a season that, if we’re being equally honest, has been a somewhat up and down one for the Bees.

Players have off days. They don’t get abused. Yet Tom had a great game on Sunday. They all did. So what on earth would cause a handful of numpties to decide this was an appropriate means of marking a wonderful performance by Brentford? What amount of prematch WKD blue consumption could legislate for slagging off one of your own players after this incredible game? Were they just Brighton fans in disguise?

Whatever the reason, I really hope these morons have had a long hard look at themselves since. And yes – if this is a bit patronising then so what. Frankly, Tom deserves better from our fans. Much, much better. Thankfully, just about everybody else is in agreement . Replies to ‘that tweet’ have been unanimous in their opinion and support.

I’m hoping Tom realises this and appreciates just how much the fans are loving what he does out there. We all have a moan from time to time. Whether about certain players , the manager, the directors of football, stats etc. I’m surprised Rasmus doesn’t bring an umbrella to games (when he is here) such are the voluminous amount of comments aimed in his direction at times.

That’s part of football and is often justified. But not this time. It was something as bizarre as it was incorrect .

Tom, if you are reading, just know that everybody at Griffin Park has your back. Keep up the great work. Keep on doing what you do. Keep on accelerating your growth as you are and, surely, one day it won’t just be Harlee we might see in an England shirt.

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Nick Bruzon

Is Ian wrong, again? Can we do it? Newcastle v Brentford is here.

14 Oct

Just one more wake up until the weekend and the return of Championship football for Brentford. With it, the much anticipated trip to Newcastle United and our chance to catch up with the Magpies in the heart of the play-off zone should we get three points. Should….

International break is always a tough time. Much as I love following the football fortunes of Gibraltar, it has been another period of little satisfaction. Results wise, that is. 0-4 and 0-6 losses to Estonia and Belgium, the latter seeing Christian Benteke record the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history, have given plenty of time to think things over on the domestic front. As for England, that’s a whole other world of pain.

So whilst Saturday’s game has always been a standout fixture on the calendar with (cliché alert), the game at Newcastle one of the first we looked for when the fixtures were announced, the long wait through a barren international weekend has given even more food for thought.

Everybody is saying to treat it like another game, myself included. That’s right, of course. Play the team, not the occasion. Yet, at the same time, one can’t help but be swept up with the moment. For a club that have, until recent years, been more accustomed to playing the likes of Newport than Newcastle there is an enormous swell of pride at where we are now.

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The last time we played Newcastle in the league, Phil Holder was the Bees boss

I’ll doff my hat to statistical guru Luis Melville when he proves me wrong but I can’t imagine we’ll have played in front of a crowd this big before. Whether in modern times or ever. The attendance at the W place for the 2012/13 play-off final was just short of 42,000 whilst our FA Cup quarter-final with Liverpool in 1989 was just over.

The flip side of this being that we thoroughly deserve to be where we are. This, our third season in the Championship, is the result of an awful lot of hard work on and off the pitch. Much of it unseen. Finishes of 5th and 9th have been no flukes, despite the many challenges we have faced – including those of our own making.

Yet still people sneer and write us off. Ian Holloway started the season by describing us as a club that were regressing, promptly tipping us for relegation. How wrong that one has proven so far as, instead, Brentford find themselves in 7th(seventh).

Indeed, so far have things changed that yesterday he used his Sky Sports column to predict we’ll win the game!! Indeed, he even held up his hands to admit, “I jumped to conclusions at the start of the season when Brentford couldn’t keep hold of their good players like Jake Bidwell. I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction. Dean Smith and the squad are proving me wrong. Good on them.

With Newcastle already having lost at home to Wolves and Huddersfield Town in the league, their last outing at St.James’ Park saw that epic 4-3 win over Norwich City. Yet even that one saw them going into injury time 3-2 down.

And with Scott Hogan having just scooped the Championship player of the month  award for his own goalscoring feats, could Ian be onto something?

The bookies don’t agree. Club sponsor 888sport have us at 21/4 to win. In real terms that means – put £10 on; get £62.50 back. Too good to be true? Free money? Or do the bookmakers know what they are talking about?

At 3pm on Saturday, we find out.

And if you’d like to read more, Ian’s full piece can be found here.

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Do 888 know something we don’t? (other bookmakers are available)

Nick Bruzon

Bees a Royal pain as Sam abdicates on a night of goals and glory.

28 Sep

After a day where the majority of the footballing world were talking about Fat Sam leaving the England job ‘by mutual consent’ (definitely not sacked. Just to be clear. Not. Sacked) one would imagine that outside of TW8, Brentford thumping Reading 4-1 will quite likely be low on most people’s topics of discussion this morning. Which is a massive shame because the victory, which saw the Bees rise above the likes of  Newcastle United to fourth place in the Championship table, was one to savour.

Even now (Wednesday morning, 6 a.m.), I’m speechless. The questions going in to the game were how would Dean Smith rebuild his midfield whilst, at the same time, countering the perceived attacking threat from a supposedly rejuvenated John Swift? Didn’t they get answered in some style?

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Reading’s lurid kit was about as awkward as it got for Brentford

Quite frankly, victory by a mere three goal margin flattered Reading. Brentford were simply magnificent in their attacking play. With Lasse Vibe sitting up top alongside Scott Hogan it marked a change in set up, at least to my untrained eye, that looked more like a traditional 4-4-2 formation.

It was one that reaped rewards. The combative Alan McCormack, who would eventually leave the field of play to a  standing ovation, bossed the centre of the park. Man of the match Josh Clarke had a night he will never forget, tearing down the flanks and running Reading ragged. (Round and round the ragged Reading the rugged rascal ran?).

The opening goal and an assist for Max Colin to make it 3-0 were the least he deserved after a true coming of age performance. Josh has impressed when he has featured but this was something else.  If ever there was a gauntlet thrown down to Dean Smith to give him a permanent starting berth then here it was.

As for the other Josh, McEachran, thankfully the stretcher used at Wolves seems to have been purely a precautionary one. He replaced the aforementioned Macca and set up Scott Hogan for the fourth. The exquisite ball through the Reading defence cutting them open as easily as a manger earning £400,000 for two hours work. Allegedly.

In between this and Josh’s opener, Lasse Vibe grabbed the second just before half time with Colin’s effort making it 3-0 within an hour. A game which had never been in doubt from the moment it kicked off was now secure in all but final score. Even Yann Cormorant’s second half penalty proved to be little more than the stereotypical consolation goal.

How it was only four I still don’t know. Hats off to Dean Smith and his team for a display of simply scintillating football. One move at the death came close to producing goal of the decade at Griffin Park.

A wondrous cross field ball from Romaine Swayers picked out Max Colin from fifty yards out. The former Walsall man then moving forward to take an equally delicious return pass before freeing Sullay Kaikai. Oh for the subsequent strike to have found the back of the net rather than the gloves of Al-Habsi in the Reading goal.

I make no apologies for bigging us up. It really was that good a display from the Bees. Let’s not be blind to the fact that Reading had their chances too, hitting the post twice in a game where they could have taken the lead. Yet even when chances did come, Daniel Bentley was on hand to keep the Royals at bay.

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View from the terrace – Annette Curran grabbed this one of Daniel doing his thing

The perceived threat of Swift was snuffed out  (although presumably he still got paid) whilst for all the visitor’s 63% possession the only true stat that counted was the one which read: Goals. And the Bees owned that by 4 to 1.

With the Championship now ten games old, the table has officially ‘taken shape’. And what a shape. There’s another home game to follow on Saturday, this time against Wigan, and with it the perfect way to set ourselves up (in a footballing rather than a financial sense) for the International break.

As QPR(a) goes on sale to the first category qualifiers today, let’s hope the team in the ticket booth are ready to take a few phone calls. It was always going be THE away game yet with spirits high, and the Bees already five points clear of the not so super hoops, expect them to fly off the shelves.

What a shame Jake Bidwell won’t be playing in that one. Our former captain now expected to be out for anything from two to four months (depending on which source you read) following an injury in their 1-1 at Burton. Here’s hoping it is nothing too severe. Whatever your thoughts on his move, nobody likes to see a player hurt.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Why not enjoy last night once more. On a day that began with stories of Sam being ‘stung’ by the press in a restaurant, it ended with the Bees stinging Reading in the backside.

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Maybe a slightly more modest restaurant these days

Nick Bruzon

Time for an annihilation? It’s already happened. Twice. Newcastle set the standard ahead of our Villa Park trip

14 Sep

Brentford travel to Aston Villa tonight knowing victory will take the Bees into the top six following last night’s opening games in the current round of Championship fixtures. Newcastle United hammered hapless QPR 6-0 at Loftus Road to retain second place whilst, over in the Champions League, Barcelona went one better and attained those legendary brackets as Celtic came home on the wrong end of a 7(seven) – 0 humping.

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How’s that going?

If Brentford are to have any genuine aspirations for ‘automatic’ then ordinarily we shouldn’t take any real pleasure from seeing a team we need to trip up, winning so heavily. Frankly, Newcastle United are just about everybody’s tip for the top (although I’ve called Norwich City – erm…). Even Ian Holloway.

Yet there was something wonderful about watching Newcastle  go further and further ahead as the goals poured in against QPR. There was something wonderful about all the pre-match bluster on twitter from the Loftus Road mob come crashing down around their ears.

At one point, it was neck and neck between them and Barcelona as to who would reach brackets first. With Celtic also 6-0 down, could there have been a double bracketing? Indeed, what is the collective term for brackets? Many thanks indeed to Carey Paton for her excellent observation that, surely, had both games ended  7(seven)- 0 then it would have been  – a plethora pf brackets.

But I digress. As ever. From sitting just above the Bees on goal difference in 7(seventh) place going into the game, there is now clear air between Brentford and a QPR team who have slithered down to 14th. Can we take further advantage of this at Villa Park tonight?

Well, the main build up piece went up yesterday although if you’d like to read more…. it can be found here. Yet one of the questions posed was whether Dean Smith had given Roberto Di Matteo’s team talk for him?

Specifically in his quote of “They have had a big turnaround and I am not sure that confidence is fully back yet. There has been a big change around in players but they have only won one game out of their six so far. Hopefully it is the right time for us to play them.”

This, of course, part of a much broader and very warm interview in regards to Aston Villa and the family connection he shared. Yet, taken on its own, who knows what effect it might have, or if this could even backfire? My own feelings remain the same – it’ll be tough but it’ll be close. And I think at 4/1 Brentford remain just too good value. Then again, before anybody goes and puts the mortgage on an away win, please remember I am just the numpty on the terrace.

Yet if the Brentford head coach might have given Aston Villa a hand in the motivational stakes, have the Birmingham Mail also done the same for him?  A brief opinion piece entitled  : Aston Villa v Brentford: Time for an annihilation? appeared on line as part of the big match build up.

It’s here if you really want it, a snippet designed to lure you in (yes, I bit – deploy the fishing rod emoji) the jist of which being that Villa are, currently, creating lots of chances.

Quite likely. And, regardless, this was always one of the fixtures marked down as a potential potato skin for the bees. Yet if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last season or two it is that possession, chances and stats don’t win games. Taking opportunities when they arise and, erm, scoring goals is all that counts for those looking to take home the points. Blindingly obvious, perhaps, but our trip to Brighton on Saturday showed, yet again, how true that is.

Brentford played wonderfully, the second half especially. Nobody who was there would deny that. Yet it was as much our resolute defence against over-elaborate and profligate hosts as it was taking the goals when we could that won the game.

Can we ‘go again’ tonight? Or will the Birmingham Mail have called it correctly? Who knows but I’ll certainly be amongst 2,000 Brentford fans at Villa Park to find out.

The other question to come out of yesterday’s article was in regards to the picture of Ian Holloway.

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Ian Holloway – lining up against…?

Specifically, who were the team playing against Bristol Rovers? The gut reaction was that it was Peterborough United and their infamous ‘pizza shirt’ .  And, indeed, it seemed it was. Yet they weren’t alone in wearing a template that is a regular entrant to the ‘worst shirts of all time top tens.

A little bit more digging on the internet has revealed that Scunthorpe United also ran out in the same design.

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It’s bad enough seeing them in a shirt with anything but Rainham Steel on the front – as engrained a part of football folklore as orange balls in the snow or brackets. Yet to then compound it by wearing something that looked like it had either been served up in a cheap Italian restaurant, or just regurgitated, is all kinds of wrong.

Then again, I’ve a soft spot for Rainham Steel. They are an iconic name amongst football supporters of a certain age and I know I’m not alone. Comedian Dave Gorman uses them as the barometer of exactly what it means to be a football supporter.

Yet Mr. Gorman, in his book ‘Too Much Information’, says it so much better than I could ever try to. We’ve seen this before but sometimes things do bear repeating.

Dave Gorman

The test of a real football fan (or just a kit nerd)

Nick Bruzon

A great deadline day. And how often do we say that?

1 Sep

So that’s that. The transfer window has slammed shut (TM) and Brentford could, arguably, be said to be stronger coming out of it than we are going in to it (somebody should use that one). Winger Sullay Kaikai comes in on loan  from Crystal Palace whilst left back Rico Henry joins former Walsall team mate Romaine Sawyers, signing on a massive five year contract. Newcastle United, Leicester City and Hull remain disappointed (at least from a Bees perspective) as our out door barely even creaked.

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Sullay Kaikai on ‘official’ – now THAT’s a signing photo

Let’s not forget, either, that the aforementioned Sawyers was just one of several summer acquisitions alongside John Egan, the already wonderful Daniel Bentley and, erm, Emmanuel Ledesma. Still, as Meatloaf once sang…

Time will tell just how good the new acquistions prove to be, of course. But as Phil Giles mentioned on the subsequent Bees Player video, “ The two lads we brought in at the end of the window are player we’ve wanted to bring in for a long time,” adding “the most important thing is to get the right player. Not just any player”.

From a personal note, I work with a Crystal Palace supporter who certainly seemed excited about the potential that Kaikai offers. With Dean’s long shared desire for widemen known to all, could Sullay provide a missing piece in his strategic puzzle?

Phil provides his transfer update

As important , though, is not just the out door but the news about Ryan Woods. Of those who left, there were no real additions to those names we were already familiar with – Jake Bidwell, David Button and Jack O’Connell being the notable summer departures. But with those players being replaced by younger models with stunning reputations (and in the case of Bentley an already fantastic start to life at Griffin Park) along with the return from injury of Andreas Bjelland, is anybody still angry (destination aside) about the situation surrounding those wantaway players who have now left?

As for the rest, the strange case of Emmanuel Ledesma is one that is, perhaps, best consigned to the pages of history. Move along, nothing to see here. A man who had more trials than OJ Simpson, he finally signed only to leave almost immediately for Panetolikos – themselves, a team sounding like the knock off version of Panathinaikos. So much so that I had to double take on just about every aspect of that story.

Alan Judge is still a Bee. The rumours surrounding the potential move to Newcastle United proving to be nothing more than that – rumours. Likewise, Scott Hogan remains at Griffin Park despite the supposed interest of both Hull City and Premier League champions Leicester. Given the £70million they eventually splashed, nothing would have surprised me.  And, of course, don’t forget Jota is still hanging in there. Just

Like Daniel, the other player to get off to a flying start this campaign has been Ryan Woods. The pair of them have divided up the MOTM honours between them and so the news that our ginger Pirlo has signed a four year contract is nothing but brilliant. Surely, we have a future Brentford captain in the making and so for Ryan to commit to the club is wonderful.

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Ryan Woods signs his extension – is that really a contract?

With no loan window in operation now, the one obvious area where we would seem to have a potential gap remains up top. Can Scott Hogan do it all on his own? Is Philipp Hofmann ready to step up and bang them in? Is the strategy one of goals coming in from all positions? That, certainly, something that worked last time out with Alan Judge in particular filling his boots.

The other point of note about deadline day gaps is one directed at our owner, Matthew Benham. Sure, he may have splashed out an amount of money well beyond our wildest hopes and expectations. Likewise, I can only doff my hat in admiration at his plans around building a new stadium? And yes, the new look team sounds wonderful.

But,but, but. Amongst all the brilliance, one question remains. Where were the cryptic clues yesterday? A bit of Kajagoogoo or some Barry Manilow would have rounded off the day a treat.

Still, if that’s the best we’ve got on the ‘negative’ side (and I use that word in the most ‘tongue-in-cheek’ terms) then something must be going well.

A great deadline day. And how often do we say that?

Nick Bruzon 

Is Callum best for the Bees ?

28 Jul

Are Brentford going to announce the loan signing of Leicester City left back Callum Elder today from under the nose of Peterborough ? With Dean Smith having made no secret of his desire to replace Jake Bidwell following our former captain’s departure for QPR, the story is one which has been very widely reported.

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Whilst, ordinarily, the rumour mill is one which has been dismissed on these pages (with the exception of crystal ball wielding Beesotted), this season has seen it offered new found respect. That, following the widely predicted triple transfer swoop which saw the Bees boss snap up Romaine Sawyers, John Egan and Daniel Bentley in recent weeks along. Let’s not forget, also, the much touted departure of Jake.

If this latest story also proves correct it will see a long standing vacancy being filled. Left back has always been a position where cover has been, what we’ll politely call, thin. So much so that last season saw previously unknown Tom Field placed from the (then) Development Squad to make a wonderful debut in the 3-0 humping of Fulham.

Whilst Tom looks like he could be a stunning long term prospect, to heap it all on his young shoulders would be an enormous amount of expectation. Nobody can do it all on their own over an entire season – certainly in the outfield positions – let alone a relative newcomer. As such a new signing in this position has been one of the most widely anticipated moves of the summer.

Callum has yet to make his first team debut at Leicester but is already an Australian U-20 aswell as having featured in 18 games loan at Peterborough last campaign. Indeed, The Posh were hoping to retain Callum this time around but, with the player having signed a new contract at the Premier League Champions, director of football Barry Fry would seem to have had his heart broken.

It’s an exciting move for Brentford if the story plays out. Reading the sources, it certainly sounds accurate. This one has quotes and everything. The only thing missing is the description of Callum as a ‘starlet’. Surely de rigeur for any young international prospect? See : Liverpool starlet Sergi Canos.

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The former Bee (and Liverpool starlet) will be plying his trade for Norwich

Lets hope that other Leicester rumour currently being suggested – any potential move of Scott Hogan being treated by all and sundry as rubbish  – is equally accurate.

And finally, if you’d like to read more…. No, not the e-book. Infact, the team at Beesotted have just published the first of their season previews. Featuring the thoughts of several bloggers and podcast contributors , it is a light hearted look at the best and worst of 2015/16 along with our aspirations for 2016/17.

You can read that one here.

Nick Bruzon

Matthew Benham’s letter to fans – the verdict

22 Jul

Wow. With Brentford fans still talking about the sales of David Button to Fulham and Jake Bidwell to QPR, Matthew Benham caught us with a stunning surprise right (or should that be, write?). Yet again our owner proving he is the master of the unexpected but utterly welcome with yesterday’s open letter. Brutally honest, frank, revealing and optimistic as Matthew wrote to supporters with his thoughts on last campaign along with his hopes for the future.

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We want to be in the top six and we will see where we can go from there”. Boom. That was some opening and an aspiration for sure. Talk about set your sights high yet, at the same time, if we start this season like we ended the last one then absolutely no reason why not. Moreso given the new signings, “They are high-quality players, young and hungry and for all three there was unanimous backing from everyone in the recruitment process to sign them.”

We’ve been in the territory of ambitious hopes before. I still recall Rasmus telling us in September how the Brentford squad would get stronger each transfer window. Honestly, could we say that had happened when the January window closed?

At the time, no. Yet nobody can deny the players that did come in have grown, developed and are arguably performing much, much better having had games under their belt. Any club would do well to replace an Andre Gray but Scott Hogan has certainly picked up the baton and run. Goals were going in for fun. Moses Odubajo looked a huge loss but I love Max Colin – a player Matthew acknowledged himself was one of the odd ones to hit the ground running

Yes, we’ve had  to make some sales this time around. Inevitable but I can’t wait to see how those new players bed into an now established squad. Of course, we don’t know what else might happen before the summer window ’slams shut’ but, for now, the changes don’t seem anywhere near as wholesale as last time out. More to the point, they seem a lot more positive – at least in terms of potential and excitement for those coming in.

Of course the owner wants to big us up, to try and engender optimism. I get that and it’s natural. But, equally, there was  an undercurrent of almost too much honesty in there. That’s no bad thing – quite the opposite. We’ve all got eyes and we could see what was happening out there at times. Likewise, we’ve moaned on these pages about the lack of such an approach or fan comms in the past. It’s more that it was just so unexpected.

This time last year there wasn’t a lot of direction or organisation. I don’t blame anyone, it happened” and “We did change too much at once as well but I like it a lot that it’s stable this year” were just two of the lines to really jump out (see, also, talk about KK and the closure of the Academy). If you want to set yourself up to be criticised then here’s the ammo. Yet, to be honest, as supporters we could see this and we knew it too. Fair play for Matthew holding up his hand.

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The FA Cup dream was over after a rubbish afternoon

Personally, I’d have been disappointed had there been no recognition for some of the low points in a campaign that included the Marinus experiment, pitch gate, the FCM parade in our Walsall cup debacle and then the infamous 4-6-0 formation in the no show at QPR . Matthew didn’t need to highlight our flaws but that he has, and that they are recognised, is infinitely more welcome than his ignoring them. He could have hidden but he didn’t and this, for me, was probably the most telling point of the entire letter.

On the new stadium, there was a teaser of an update with the admission that: “We are close to taking another big step forward. Hopefully there will be news in the next few weeks”.

Nobody could deny that Lionel Road has been a long process, for numerous well documented reasons. However, with Brentford about to begin their third consecutive Championship season as a terraced club, here’s hoping for something else to cheer about on that front. The clock is ticking

I did find Matthew’s closing comment of “I don’t like it when fans sing my name though, I wish they would stop. It’s not for me” equally interesting. As somebody who normally keeps quite a low profile, to write his letter was an unusual (albeit welcome) step. To make this admission must have been a tough one.

If nothing else, supporters just want to recognise and thank him for what he has done. Then again, if we respect the man that much then perhaps one to drop from the repertoire for now.

If Matthew spares us goal music the least we can do is spare him a song !

Is everything as good as it could be at Brentford? No. If it was we’d be celebrating a Premier League title now, having gone up against Middlesbrough in the play offs and then beaten Leicester City to the title last season. But, it IS exciting.

Just to be starting a third successive Championship campaign after so long in the doldrums and coming ’so close’ gets my spine tingling. As somebody who has been coming to Griffin Park since 1979, to be in with another attempt at breaking into the top flight is one that genuinely excites and baffles me. Historically, our default mode is mid-table or sniffing around the trap door to tier 4.

Let’s be honest. There were a lot of things that made no sense last season and frustrated us. We’ve been there, done  it and you could write a book on the subject. But far be it from me to waffle on about that any more. That’s a job for others.

It’s a new campaign, a new start and I’m full of new optimism. Forget the hashtags and slogans. Just keep the straight talk coming.

Bring on Huddersfield Town…

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Nick Bruzon

What’s not happening at Liverpool is the real story

8 Jul

A few days of domestic calm have been followed by more stories about Brentford now doing the rounds. Jack O’Connell to Sheffield United and Alan McCormack to Southend United are the latest. I have no idea how accurate these are but, for now, we probably need to show the rumour mill a little bit more respect given the success rate that saw that triple transfer swoop and Jake Bidwell’s departure for Loftus Road successfully called. For me though, I have more interest in what is happening at Liverpool. Or, rather, what isn’t happening at Liverpool.

Despite the BBC reporting on Tuesday that the Anfield club have accepted a bid for Sergi Canos from Norwich City, at the time of writing (6am, Friday) there is still now news as to whether he has even had a medical with the Norfolk club.

Likewise Bristol City boss Lee Johnson, who is also courting the Spanish wunderkind, has been forced to admit to the Bristol Post, “It’s a player we’re interested in – that’s no secret” adding… “but a lot of things have got to go on to be able to get that one through.”

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Sergi – oh, to see more of the same

Aside from the lack of basic respect – “he’s a player”, surely the choice of phrase –  does this suggest Sergi is not overly keen on move to the West Country or East Anglia? Could we yet see him back at Brentford, even if on loan? £2.5million is a hefty amount in anybody’s book and something Dean Smith acknowledged as “beyond us” . Yet, given how well he fared last time out, might Liverpool also find it in their longer term interests to allow the player to continue his growth whilst escalating his long term value?

Look, it’s probably just wishful thinking and let’s not forget that Liverpool’s current valuation has been met.  Yet having seen what Sergi did at Griffin Park last season, should he not wish to make either of those moves then I can only live in hope. Moreso, given that other story currently out, via Tim Street in Get West London , about Dean Smith looking to get two more wingers

As for those O’Connell and McCormack stories, nobody could deny centre back and centre midfield are somewhat crowded these days. mores with the return to fitness of Andreas Bjelland. That’s going to be  case of ‘watch this space’ and we can discuss more as/if these gather any pace.

Back at Griffin Park, could we get a shirt update today? Following the announcement out of Brentford ‘official’ on Wednesday, does this now constitute ‘the coming days’…? Or is that just further wishful thinking from yours truly?

Kitman Bob, Mark Devlin, Mr. Benham. Any chance of giving the fans a look ?

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Are we now in ‘The coming days’ ?

Nick Bruzon

And finally…. :   The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs (especially about Sergi’s time at Griffin Park) then  you can do so now.

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