Tag Archives: Jake Reeves

As Chelsea look ahead to the fifth round and Liverpool, why Brentford will cause the mother of all upsets.

28 Jan

Saturday morning. 8.15am. The (now) ‘lucky’ tinfoil FA Cup from the 5-0 victory in the third round has just come out of storage whilst over on the TV Captain Barnacles, Kwazi and Peso are having another underwater adventure. That’s HB, not me, watching Octonauts and oblivious to the fact that today’s decreed ‘naughty team’ (a title bestowed upon anybody to line up against Brentford), are none other than Chelsea – the current Premier League leaders and one time Champions of Europe.

Oh yes. Its FA Cup fourth round day and Brentford go into this one with absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve been written off by just about everybody already whilst our own fans have, genuinely, no idea if the club’s leading scorer and one man goal machine, Scott Hogan, will start, be on the bench or have received a phonecall from his agent advising him that a buttock spasm has returned or his hamstring looked a little tight in Friday’s training.

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Just what is Scott’s number?

Nobody expects us to do it today. Mark Lawrenson and his team of guest pundits A.dot (no idea) and Adele (not that one ) from BBC radio have all tipped us to lose without scoring. Even the most tight fisted of bookmakers has us at 11/1 to win; the most generous 18/1. Chelsea, on the other hand, are 2/11 to win . Understandably so, given their wealth, their talent and their excellent start to the Premier League campaign. Chelsea lead the table by a country mile and specialise in clean sheets.

The nightmare of 2015/16, where José Mourinho proved less than ‘special’ as he lead the Blues to the edge of the relegation zone before being dismissed half way through the campaign, now seems as distant as it was unlikely. Only their failure to qualify for Europe in a season when even Spurs reached the Champions League group stages serving as a reminder of how much they had slipped last time out

Yet despite the calibre of our opposition there is room for massive hope and massive optimism. With games against Liverpool and Arsenal (genuine titles contenders and Arsenal, respectively) in the coming week you can expect an element of squad rotation. A Tuesday night trip to Anfield, where the home side will be looking to reel in the league leaders, must surely be seen as more of a threat and priority? Could an unfamiliar line up have trouble in making a cohesive unit?  With many changes predicted,  we are already boosted by the news that one man brick wall Thibaut Courtois has been replaced by ring rusty Asmir Begovic between the sticks.

There’s the atmosphere factor.Brentford sold out all 6,000 tickets within two days. nom matter what your views on the sale technique employed, expect there to be nothing but deafening noise from the Shed End. And that’s just when David Luiz puts in any form of appearance. Nobody in TW8 has forgotten about Jake Reeves.

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Nobody has forgotten…

What about the magic of the cup ? It was only two years ago that League One Bradford City humped Chelsea 4-2 at this stage of the competition. At Stamford Bridge. This, despite going 2-0 down in 38 minutes and playing against the likes of Cech, Drogba, Cahill, Oscar, Hazard and Fabregas – amongst others.

Then of course, we’ve our own recent fourth round encounter with the Blues. 2013 saw us hold Chelsea 2-2 at Griffin Park and for the entire first half of the replay until, eventually, form told.

Whilst they are few and far between we’ve had our own share of giant killing over the years. Sunderland, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers are the names that spring immediately to mind whilst had we just conceded four goals less and scored one at Anfield then we’d have beaten Liverpool and reached the 1989 semi-final.

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Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round – January 1989

Yet, for me, the most telling sign for optimism are the Chelsea fans at work who, to protect their identities, we’ll simply call ‘Andrew’ and ‘Dave’. They go into this one knowing they can’t win. Apart form on the pitch. If Chelsea do manage to get past us it will be what everybody expected. But if Brentford do what I genuinely expect, there will be nothing but a very sheepish journey into the office on Monday morning and bragging rights secured for the next few months.

That alone is reason to go for it today and I can’t wait. however you travel – tube, bus, Routemaster or even on the river cruise – be safe and have fun.

But most of all, come 3pm let’s be loud. Very loud. There’s a fifth round draw to look forward to. And Brentford WILL be in it.

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The lucky cup has been touched by Buzzette. What better omen do we need?

Nick Bruzon

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Happy with the cup draw? A chance for payback awaits.

10 Jan

The FA Cup fourth round draw has been made and Brentford will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It is a draw that immediately evoked memories of the same stage back in 2013 where only a late equaliser from Fernando Torres kept The Blues alive as they forced a replay following a 2-2 at Griffin Park.  That second game was a much more one sided affair as 0-0 at half time turned to 4-0 in favour of a Chelsea side who would eventually make it all the way to the semis before coming unstuck against Manchester City.

Just yesterday morning when writing about the forthcoming draw, it was noted on these pages: Trumping the likes of Manchester City and Sunderland whilst running Southampton and Chelsea more than close. Oh, for a chance to do it once more.

Ask and you shall receive. If only wishes were always granted this easily.

Saunders territory Chelsea

We faced Chelsea back in 2013. 2-2 at Griffin Park

Back then, Chelsea were Champions of Europe although that’s a far cry these days following last season’s failure to even make the Europa League (10th, wasn’t it – so not singing that song for the next few weeks would be nice). That said, nobody could deny they’ve taken the bull by the horns this time around with Antonio Conte at the helm, Diego Costa scoring for fun and their defence a fantasy football manager’s dream. Another clean sheet? Don’t mind if I do.

Brentford, on the other hand, are holding our own in the Championship but consistency is probably still the biggest challenge. With rumours about Scott Hogan’s future circling daily like vultures just waiting to feast on a carcass, could our star man even be wearing the red and white by the time we make the short trip down the road for another West London derby.

Indeed, this must be the first time in some time that we’ve played games against Fulham, QPR and Chelsea all in the same season.Where’s Luis Melville when you need him to dig out the stats on the last time that happened? (Luis, if you are reading…..).

We haven’t got a chance? Or have we? Could that cup magic deliver another wonderful story?

I have no doubt the away end will be sold out. We took 6,000 Back in 2013 and surely similar numbers will travel this time, ticket allocation permitting. Certainly the Bees will inject some atmosphere into what felt very much like a library last time out (watch out for those ‘official flag wavers’) whilst I’m sure David Luiz will warrant special attention.

Nobody at Griffin Park has forgotten what happened to Jake Reeves in the replay as the youngster came out on the wrong end of an assault (won’t dignify it with the word ‘foul’ or ‘challenge’) from the Brazilian.

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That is, of course, if Luiz and the rest of Chelsea’s first team even play in this one. With the FA Cup falling down the pecking order for many of the, so-called, ‘big’ clubs might we see a less familiar line up? Even John Terry played on Sunday against Peterborough (before being promptly red carded).

Likewise, the tie only comes a few days prior to The Blues’ trip to Liverpool for a game with  a team who are currently their closest rivals for the Premier League title. Is it wishful thinking to imagine that could play into our hands? That minds will be focussed more on that than a cup tie with a Brentford team who, on paper, they should win the floor with?

Let’s hope so. As we all know ‘on paper’ counts for nothing in this sort of game. Last time out it took Chelsea over two hours of football before they were finally able to take the lead against the Bees whilst let’s not forget the fourth round 2015. Bradford City, of course, coming from 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge to eventually emerge with an incredible 4-2 victory.

Being honest, the only slight down side to all of this is feeling a little disappointed that we’ve been denied the opportunity to visit a new ground. With all due respect to Chelsea, we’ve been there and done that. Until the Bees are regularly competing in the Premier League (one day, one day) then these sort of games are the only chance we get to mix it with football’s biggest names. Wonderful though another trip to Stamford Bridge will be, the chance to play one of the Manchester teams or even the likes of Arsenal would have been incredible.

Then again, there’s always the fifth round for that.

See you there. I can’t wait.

Nick Bruzon

Brentford relax as QPR & Manchester United clash

15 Sep

Brentford fans were able to take it easy on Sunday, basking in the satisfaction of another three points at the weekend (Brighton being the benefactors). With Norwich City next up, a win on Tuesday night will take us above the, currently second placed, Canaries and the returning Lewis Grabban. That’s one to look forward to tomorrow but for now I need to complete the weekend review with the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ decision that was Manchester United v QPR on Sky.

Specifically – two questions. First up, who to cheer for? Manchester United had, prior to this game, actually endured a worse start under Louis van Gaal than they had under David Moyes. As somebody who supports a team traditionally seen as an underdog, there’s always a particular pleasure in seeing the larger clubs come a cropper. And in England they don’t (Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal aside) come much bigger than United.

Last season’s spectacular fall from grace was a thing of beauty for all of those outside of the Home Counties and Greater Manchester to behold. The traditional United fanbase stunned by their team’s unprecedented self-destruction as even Europa League qualification evaded them.

So when things continued in the same vein this campaign, I won’t pretend I wasn’t pleased to see more of this. Cripes – even Will Grigg managed to rediscover his prolific shooting boots against the Red Devils. But then Louis went shopping and normal service looks like it has been resumed – well, it was fun whilst it lasted.

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

But if we didn’t cheer for United then the alternative was the Loftus Road mob. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d willfully hope they won. No offence to any QPR fans who may read but, like Fulham, a victory over our West London neighbours is always one to savour. Any sign of our geographical rivals tripping up is a moment to appreciate how good life can be.

So in the end, it was one of those where you just sat back to see what the footballing gods throw at you. With United meting out a 4-0 thrashing that, at one point, looked like it was heading towards those fabulous brackets that come with 7(seven), it’s fair to say that this Brentford fan was left happy with the outcome.

Second question. United play in red shirts, white shorts and black socks. QPR play in (predominantly) blue and white shirts, white shorts and white socks. In theory, this shouldn’t have presented any kit clash beyond, perhaps, a switch to blue shorts.

So why, short of some Fergiesque excuse about being unable to see each other against the crowd, did the visitors need to don their third kit? Moreso as it is almost identical to the home version. Socks and shorts are both white but the shirt simply drops the blue.

It seemed a totally unnecessary exercise in justifying a superfluous third kit. One for the marketing men to answer. Still, if they carry on with results like this then there may be a rather hefty fine to pay. Going to need to shift more than a few extra shirts to cover that one.

Interestingly, Brighton’s blue and white didn’t seem to present any problems against our red and white in the weekend game. With the club now posting their YouTube highlights, you can savour that fine win once more (and see how two teams cope with a non-existent kit clash).

 

View from the terrace - there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

View from the terrace – there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

Seagulls left following the trawler as Clem works more ‘magic’

14 Sep

Brentford sailed into the Championship play off zone after a thrilling 3-2 win over Brighton. In a performance considered by most to be our best since going up, the Seagulls had to be content with scraps as the trawler marked ‘S.S. Brentford’ left Brighton floundering in her wake.

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 along.

Despite Exeter City dropping two points, Clem's form still remains better than that of Fulham

Despite Exeter City dropping two points, Clem’s form still remains better than that of Fulham

Bees set for Brighton as Liverpool stars reveal shocking 80’s taste

12 Sep

Championship football is almost back with us. Tomorrow sees Brighton visit Griffin Park as Brentford finally get the chance to resume competitive action and, potentially, move even further ahead of Fulham. With the gap already 7(seven) points, a victory over Brighton combined with Reading doing the needful over The Cottagers would see this grow to double figures.

Of equal statistical interest is the chance for Brentford to attain their highest league placing in 60 years, should we move one more place up the table. If my maths are correct, The Bees’ current position of eighth equals the previous benchmark, set in the 1950s (and, briefly, in 1992).

Brighton are no mugs, of course. Having reached the play off semi finals for the last two seasons (the results being a pain that Brentford fans know only too well) they’ve now started to find their legs as another attempt on the Premiership begins.

Despite losing their opening two fixtures they’ve put a little run together that sees them just a single point behind The Bees. It won’t be easy tomorrow but with the International break, at least, giving us the chance to help with a few injuries, I’m confident we can continue where we left off last time out.

If nothing else, there’s the prospect of Betinho. The signing of the Portuguese U21 took most people by surprise and I’m just itching to see what he can do as Warbs’ continental revolution continues.

The signing of Betinho is officially  announced to the world

The signing of Betinho is officially announced to the world

The second part of today’s column requires you to look elsewhere as a series of 1980’s photographs have been collated, most of them featuring Liverpool players, showing footballers relaxing in the opulence of their mock-Tudor mansions

Have you ever wondered what Graeme Souness would look like, trying out as an extra on Miami Vice? Are you curious as to what Phil Neal wore in his snooker room? Want to see Kenny Dalglish – international man of business?

In that case, I can only implore you to take a look at Steven Bloor’s Guardian article about ‘1980s footballers at home’. Featuring everything from Pat Jennings posing awkwardly by the fireplace in a cardigan/action slacks combo to Trevor Brooking taking the world’s first ‘selfie’, you can find the picture gallery here.

Aswell as the Liverpool connection, there’s even a few Bees in there, with Terry Butcher and Kenny Sansom featured.

Enjoy !!

 

Kenny Sansom - in more tasteful gear than seen in the Guardian article

Kenny Sansom – in more tasteful gear than seen in the Guardian article

Could this be the ultimate Championship Sprint?

11 Sep

Whilst, of course, Buzz and Buzzette at Brentford would never stoop to such levels, I love a bit of ‘when mascots go wrong’. From Wolves to Bristol City; Dunfermline to Swansea and Millwall, you still can see the column (and, more importantly, the videos) on the best of mascots getting ‘carried away’ earlier on this site.

But putting the odd bit of bad behaviour to one side, my other favourite piece of mascot related action is their Grand National. This annual race between the mascots of our football clubs, along the final furlong of Huntingdon (and more recently, Kempton Park) race course has been up and ‘running’ since 1999.

But what was, initially, a fun event for charity when it started has met with controversy in recent years.

2001 saw winner Freddie the Fox disqualified when it transpired that beneath the suit was hurdler Matthew Douglas – a semi-finalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2010 many clubs boycotted this after more ringers had made appearances and the field become opened up to ‘mascot’s from any walk of life. There have been streakers and even athletes in running spikes rather than the novelty oversized football boots so beloved of our anthropomorphic friends.

The 2005 event included Buzz (aswell as some non football mascots)

 

These days, there seem to be numerous variants of the mascot race. A quick search of the interweb reveals the Mascot Grand National (open field) still takes place with this years event due to be at Kempton Park . The Sue Ryder charity also hold a ‘Gold Cup’ but, again, this is an open field.

Thankfully, the ‘football only’ mascot race has made a resurgence. Again, for charity, with an event held in 2012 raising funds in the fight against prostate cancer. However, even that ended in controversy when Chaddy the Owl of Oldham Athletic (initially third) and Mr Magpie in fourth had to have a rematch after Sky cameras produced sufficient evidence to call the initially declared podium places into doubt.

Even worse, as the footage of this event shows, neither Buzz or Buzzette seemed to be involved in the action

 

So today I’m appealing on two fronts:

Firstly, to the Football League. Despite the 2012 event clearly taking place , I can’t see any evidence of a 2013 or 2014 race. Hopefully this is just down to my poor interweb skills rather than the event being officially terminated. Regardless, please announce a date and get this back in the public eye.

Secondly, to Brentford. Should the event reappear on the calendar then please can we ensure Buzz and Buzzette are involved. Even if it needs an on-pitch qualifier at Griffin Park to see who will go forward to represent the club.

Forget the tedium of sponsored walks. Who wouldn’t give funds to a good cause to see Buzz or Buzzette and the rest of our football league friends going head to head at Aintree?

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans - of all ages

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans – of all ages

QPR to be kicked out of the league?

10 Sep

It’s a headline that might have Brentford fans celebrating like we’ve won the FA Cup if it turns out to be true. Could QPR really end up in footballing limbo ?

Well, if you haven’t seen the BBC football page then it is a very real possibility, should the losses from the Loftus Road mob’s promotion season match the £65.4m in 2012-13.

Such is the price for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations that refusal to pay any fine (reckoned to be up to £54m if that condition is triggered) could see the club barred from League competition. As Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey told the BBC, “Theoretically that is the position”.

You can read the full story on the BBC home page, here.

The 237 - leaving Brentford on a road to nowhere?

The 237 – leaving Brentford on a road to nowhere?

Would this be a good thing? The positive message that the League won’t stand for clubs just trying to buy their way to success, at the risk of bankrupting themselves and outgunning their rivals with money they don’t have, should be applauded.

But I’d actually hate to see them go. A healthy rivalry between two clubs can only be a good thing, as was seen with Wolves last season. All the better when that club is on your doorstep as Brentford fans know, having renewed relations with Fulham once more.

The other thing to remember is that the League are powerless until such time as Rangers are relegated. Having scraped into the Premiership with virtually the last kick of the play off final they aren’t, currently, in the dropzone. Instead, they are a whole point above it and face a trip to current whipping boys Manchester United on Saturday.

That said, should they prove the critics right and go straight back down then it will put the Football League in a very interesting position. I’d imagine the best we can hope for is probably an instant demotion or hefty points deduction.

Unless, of course, Mr Fernandes puts his hand in his pocket and coughs up.

Fulham show just how amusing a local rivalry can be

Fulham show just how amusing a local rivalry can be

England. Fine on pitch; comedy off it. But not The Bees

9 Sep

It’s now ten days since Brentford last tasted Championship action, the 2-0 win at Rotherham, and with another 4 sleeps until Brighton visit Griffin Park I’m going up the walls. The EURO qualifiers have given partial respite but I still can’t get into these with the same passion as a domestic campaign on the doorstep.

Last night’s England game was an exact case in point. The team played well and deserved their 2-0 win. This wasn’t the ‘bore draw’ that many predicted and means they have, almost certainly, already qualified from the easiest group since records began.

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 along.

Matthew Benham and Roy help lift the mood as Gibraltar are bracketed.

8 Sep

Very much a day of mixed emotions yesterday as former Brentford goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny (now plying his trade with Arsenal) kept Gibraltar at bay in their EURO 2016 opener against Poland. And by kept at bay, I mean barely had a look in as the boys from the Rock were on the wrong end of a 7(seven) – 0 bracketing.

Despite an even first half, it ended up being the sort of rout that nobody likes to see. It took Brentford owner Matthew Benham, who had earlier given a positive reaction to the ‘hot seat’ idea for Lionel Road, to fully lift my post match gloom with another view of one of his favourite football headlines.

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 along.

Lionel Road plans form as Gibraltar arrive on the Euro stage

7 Sep

No sooner had Brentford fan (or not, as it transpired)Cameron Diaz broken my heart this week than an idea has formed which could help bring her back into the fold. First, though, EURO 2016 qualifiers and if you aren’t bothered seeing Germany get brackets (seven) against Scotland then Sky Sports 3 has Gibraltar making their tournament debut on Sunday night.

The boys from The Rock have a ‘home’ fixture against Poland in a hugely significant game after finally becoming UEFA’s 54th member last May. I use ‘home’ loosely – the game will actually take place in Faro, Portugal – but it still promises to be an emotional experience for players, travelling supporters and those watching on TV.

It is a shame, from one respect, they’ll be rattling around a half empty stadium when a trip from Gibraltar to London would likely have been just as cost effective (thanks to the wonder of charter flights) and would have seen any number of stadia up for the task – international football at Griffin Park, perhaps?

But I digress – in a Group D that also sees World Champions Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the pool minnows, Scotland, it could be a fascinating qualification campaign. The smart money will be on Germany to walk it, of course, but I’m backing Gibraltar to pull off a shock this evening. And at 33-1 with some bookmakers for the win, worth a few quid…..?

Getting back to domestic matters, this week Cameron Diaz declared that although she wasn’t aware of The Bees existence, now that she is she’ll look into us.

As such, what better chance for the club to spring into action? To be quite honest, when it was announced last week that she’d be in London on a promotional tour, I’d have assumed the marketing and media chaps would have been all over it, anyway.

A new home shirt with ‘DIAZ, 9’ winging it’s way to her? A tour of Griffin Park? Perhaps an interview with Chris Wickham for Beesplayer?

But, it’s not too late. One thing I discovered whilst writing last season’s columns/book was an interesting fact about Swiss football. Whilst most people know that the home of domestic side ‘Young Boys’ is the ‘Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf’ what you may not be aware of is a unique feature – the, so called, ‘Hot Seat’.

The stadium has a solitary red chair amongst the other 31,999 black and yellow ones. It was the first one installed in the new ground (opened in 2005) and you can’t buy a ticket for it. Instead, a notable personality – usually linked to the club – sits there.

I love this idea and, as I’ve said before, think it would be fantastic if Brentford could try a similar scheme at Lionel Road. 19,999 red and white seats, and then one in a unique colour – or perhaps even yellow/black stripes?

In our case, the occupant could range from a deserving supporter to a local dignitary or ‘celebrity’ fan. (If nothing else, there’s a free programme article out of it every week).

And if we go down the latter route then what better guest to invite to use this ‘hot seat’ than Cameron Diaz? As Paul Davis told me on Twitter, “At least now we are on her radar”.

Mr. Benham, if you are reading (you never know) then how about it?

But even if Cameron does come good, she’s still down (down) the pecking order behind Rhino out of The Quo or Dean Gaffney.

Bees fans montage updated

Should Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Nick Bruzon