Tag Archives: Jimmy Hill

Vibe has Bees buzzing at Norwich as QPR plumb new depths.

22 Dec

Well this has been a somewhat bizarre evening. Onfield, it was spent listening to Brentford dismantle Norwich City. If ever there was a polar opposite to last season’s 5-0 humbling at Carrow Road it was this as a brace from Lasse Vibe gave the Bees a first half lead that never sounded in doubt. Not even late on when Nelson Oliveira pulled one back with four minutes of injury time to go. Off field, Queens Park Rangers were doing their very best in the ‘how to make friends and influence people’ stakes after a quite blatant dig at the Bees on the programme cover for Saturday’s impending defeat by Bristol City.

Who’d be a programme editor or work in a club comms role? Thankfully, poor form in that field not something Brentford have to worry about at the moment. Sadly, the same can’t be said at the other end of the 237 bus route following the release of QPR’s matchday magazine ahead of the weekend visit from Bristol City. Clearly visible alongside a gaudy picture of Ian Holloway is an extract from a historic newspaper. Specifically one recognising the Loftus Road mob’s attempt to put us out of business in their ultimately doomed takeover attempt.

QPR programme Holloway

Ian Holloway and old news on the programme cover

Why would QPR do this, if not a thinly veiled attempt to stick two fingers up at their local rivals? I have to be honest, the gut reaction was to laugh. Genuinely. From a fanbase that claim to have no interest in us, this certainly suggests otherwise. Was it small penis syndrome? Jealousy of recent form? Inferiority? Insecurity? Ineptitude? Whatever the explanation, it immediately parachuted us into moral high ground. It immediately made the hoops look pathetic.

Memories of this period in our history are still very raw. Just look at the stories that were told at the recent 50 year commemoration of these events. Of how supporters came together in the face of adversity. Of how we stood our ground. Raised funds. Came together and saved our club.

So for our failed aggressors to highlight this, just weeks after once more failing to beat us in their own back yard, was at best odd and worst a cheap publicity stunt. There was just no need. Has the recent run of poor results against Brentford got to them that much?

50 years on, who now has the upper hand?

But then Ian Taylor, their head of Media & Communications, took to Twitter with an explanation and an apology. Albeit one that was about as sincere an act of contrition as South West Rail attempting to placate passengers via one of those tedious, automated announcements. Apparently, and I quote, ”We certainly didn’t set out to incite with tomorrow’s ‪#QPR programme cover – I’m sure the likes of ‪@markdevlin7 & ‪@chriswickham1 would vouch that this is not our style. Thanks and apologies for any offence caused

He goes on to add how, “We are picking out the key moments from out time at LR. This isn’t about inciting anyone – just charting our history at LR in chronological order. We apologise if this has caused offence, but this really wasn’t our intention. Earlier in the season, for our EFL Cup game, we paid tribute to Peter Gilham and Ryan Woods in the programme, wishing them our very best.”

Bulsh*t. Was that seriously the BEST justification they could come up with? If recognising a centenary in their stadium was the intention, they could have picked anything . A promotion or cup final. Perhaps even a game in the Premier League. Incredibly, they’ve done all these things – although helped massively by breaching FFP rules (hmm – when WILL that fine be paid?). Instead, they went for the most inflammatory ‘key moment’ in the last 100 years to grace the front cover.

We’re expected to believe this was nothing more than coincidence? The words Jimmy and Hill spring to mind. What next Ian, did the dog eat your homework? The lightweight explanation being given apparent justification by the fact that they were nice about us when two of our most important people were in as low a personal place as one could ever imagine being.

JS40283084

Jimmy. Hill.

No doubt this is all a publicity stunt to get people talking about their publication. From that respect, well done. But if those are the lengths you need to stoop to in order to get attention then it’s a desperately sad way of doing so.

Instead, let’s focus on a wonderful 2-1 win for the Bees. Norwich City away was never going to be an easy game. Moreso on a Friday night with Christmas at the forefront of many supporters’ attention. Now, we move up to 11th and clear of both our West London rivals. Highlight of the night being the pass form Romaine Sawyers to set up Lasse Vibe for the second. It was ridiculous; sublime; filthy; outrageous. Take your pick. Words can’t do it justice. Even on smudgy twitter vision it looked magnificent.

Roll on Saturday morning and the full fat Burridge version of the highlights. I can’t wait.

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Is bruised banana the worst of football’s rotten bunch? Or just unfortunate?

23 Mar

Apologies in advance for a headmasterly (is that even a word?) introduction – we will get to the football shortly. However, it’s all been a bit lively on these pages in the last few days. And by lively, I mean really quite sad – certainly in terms of the commentary being posted by a couple of, alleged, Brentford fans in response to several of the columns and the subsequent opinions of other supporters who had taken the time to write in.

I know things are frustrating on the pitch at present but I’m absolutely baffled by the motivation of these two brave keyboard warriors dripping nothing but poison, schoolyard insults and unquantifiable jibes. Are they really that bored?

Actually, and you may not believe this, it doesn’t bother me personally. I’ve heard a lot worse over the years. But it may upset others. More importantly, I detest bullying and people whose agenda seems nothing but setting out to antagonise or try causing upset whilst hiding behind the facade of a false name and computer screen. Jealousy? Bitterness? Problems at work? Small penis? Who knows?

Regardless, the point remains that any contributor remains welcome. Just please be aware that insulting fellow supporters, accusing them of being a&$eholes (or worse), and making unfounded allegations of racism and homophobia, amongst other things, may well result in such posts being deleted. And I must apologise again for sounding all ’teacher’ but there’s been some pretty desperate stuff these last few days (most of which has now been removed).

But with that out of the way, back to normality. Of course, the International break has caused the cancellation of Championship football for two weeks and, being honest, options are slim for Wednesday night. Personally, I’m fortunate enough in having the Gibraltar v Liechtenstein game to look forward to but, this aside, there is meagre fare on offer.

Even then, the football isn’t a guaranteed. Mrs Bruzon has been threatening to use this perceived gap in the football calendar to catch up on the DVD collection. The thought of having to sit through Colin Firth or Hugh Grant’s greatest hits is one to make even Slovenia v Macedonia seem a more palatable option. The possibility of being force fed the pair’s ‘bumbling romantic’ routine in ‘Four weddings’, ‘Love, Actually’  or ‘Bridget Jones’ (that one’s more Firth than Grant playing the ‘slightly awkward around girls’ role))  is making me queasy.

Likewise, there’s only so much of that nonsense out of ‘Notting Hill’ I can stomach (although if anybody is ever in the area for real, The Porchester has a menu to die for).

nottinghill_____1

Notting Hill – full of drivel. Give me football any day

So, instead, it’ll be a compromise of letting Mrs B. enjoy Hugh whilst yours truly starts work on the next few ‘kit obsessive’ articles for the official matchday programme. But with the Bolton game still two weeks away, there’s plenty of time to get those ready.

As such, I thought I’d look to recreate that column here – as a one time only ‘special’ . And not so much focussing on a specific opponent but, instead, the 91 other clubs that Brentford may find themselves playing subject to promoting or relegation.

With that in mind, just what are the ‘all time best’, ‘the worst’, the ‘classic away’ and ‘the unfortunate design’ amongst football shirts across the history of English football fashion? How do you reduce this down to four shirts and moreso, when the Bees aren’t included (for now).

The answer has to be one of just going with the gut. What is the first one that springs to mind? So without further ado, using no more scientific methodology than my own personal opinion, they are….

The best: Hull City. (made by Matchwinner). Home 1992-1993. Sometimes, words are just not enough. You can only admire the audacity and sheer, unadulterated, genius that saw Hull try to interpret their ‘Tigers’ nickname into the team’s playing kit.

But it wasn’t even discreet – the footballing equivalent of Bet Lynch (kids, ask your parents).

In probably the most iconic of all the Matchwinner designs (and they’re a manufacturer who have had some standouts) Hull went for a full on tiger stripe effect. This was less a subtle nod towards their nickname and more a no holds barred attempt to create one of the most loved/loathed shirts in football history.

Incredibly, Matchwinner’s contract was cancelled midway through the following season and awarded to Pelada. However, with the company refusing to hand over the design spec, their replacements had to produce a new version – a strange, brown affair that was very much the runt of the litter. Then again, how do you top perfection?

Hull City 1992-93 shirt

The best football shirt of all time

The worst: Coventry City. (made by Talbot Sports). Home 1981- 1984  There wasn’t much that Jimmy Hill didn’t try to innovate in football and his stint as Coventry’s Managing Director was no exception. Indeed, such was his creativity that he made Hull City AFC’s Doctor Assem Allam look like a rank amateur in the rebranding stakes.

1981. Coventry had just announced the football league’s first club sponsorship deal with local car giants, Talbot. Yet in an audacious bid to work around the (then) ban on shirt advertising, Hill tried to get the team renamed Coventry Talbot.

Not surprisingly, this move was rejected so, instead, he simply had a home shirt designed that featured their ‘T’ logo as an integral part of the design. Worse than that, he continued the design onto the shorts. It was immediately banned from television and consigned to football’s home of infamous design.

coventry Talbot

The worst ever kit?

The classic away: Coventry City. (made by Admiral) 1978-1980  Even now, I don’t know if this qualifies as being touched by the mark of genius or insanity. Whichever, you can’t deny it’s  eye catching.

The Admiral away kit from the end of the 70s shouldn’t work. Indeed, it is often voted as the worst kit of all time in supporter polls. Bedecked in chocolate brown with white piping that continued from the shirt all the way down the shorts, it really is an oddity. Yet one that is so odd it’s stunning. Genuinely . Even that most heinous of kit crimes, continuing the shirt design onto the shorts, somehow works here.

coventry brown

But with the bad also comes good

The unfortunate design: Arsenal. (made by Adidas) Away 1991-1993.  Affectionately dubbed the bruised banana, this mixes the traditional Arsenal yellow with a series of interlocking chevron stripes that make this one seem as though it belongs more at the bottom of a fruit bowl.

Personally, I think this banana analogy has always been a tad harsh If anything, this looks more like a plain yellow shirt that has been run over by a JCB and left a somewhat unsightly tyre print.

arsenal1991-1993_zps5c9162f0

Tyre print? Rotten banana?

And if you’d like to read more… over the next month or so the match day programme still has kit obsessive articles to come on Bristol City, Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers and, of course, Fulham.

Enjoy. Please. And if you don’t, just remember this is only a bit of fun.

Nick Bruzon

Just what are people saying about us? Can you solve a mystery?

5 Feb

Brentford travel to Brighton for this evening’s ‘trial by TV’. Keith Stroud is the ref. Red cards. Sheffield United. A flamboyant flourish. 2015/16 season stats of 134 yellows and 8 reds in 31 games. Regular readers know the drill by now so I won’t overly elaborate. Instead, the inevitable rabbit hole of the Internet has led me to the Bees via Manchester City, Watford and the entire Premier League.

Keith Stroud montage

Keith Stroud – we all know the drill

I can’t take the full credit for this one. Checking around the BBC this morning to confirm we really did have Mr. Stroud ‘in charge’ (I laughed, too) I stumbled across a feature they had published on the most ‘searched for’ questions about Premier League clubs. Thanks to the predictive nature of Google (other search engines are, apparently, available) it is a simple enough exercise to undertake but an intriguing one.

Questions on the search include:

Why do Sunderland A.F.C fans hate Jimmy Hill?

Why do Watford have a moose on their badge?

Why do Manchester City fans boo the Champions League anthem?

image(3)

Jimmy Hill – so popular he even appeared in an 80’s computer game

The BBC piece has many of the answers, too.

I can’t imagine anybody would think ill of the late, great Jimmy but, as ever in football, there is a reason.

Watford’s moose isn’t. A misconception which even this kit fanatic had previously made. The only moose you’ll find at football stadia goes by the name of Ian and is usually located in the canteen rather than on a shirt.

As for Manchester City and the Champions League, the BBC don’t resolve that one although I’d imagine the answer is simply because they weren’t allowed to buy it. Certainly, that seems the solution to any other on-field issue they face.

But fascinating though this all is, the story doesn’t delve into the Championship. So I thought I would take a look at what the world outside of TW8 wants to know about Brentford.

And here it is…

Why do did Brentford

The big questions on the Bees…

Primarily, this has thrown up more questions than answers. Why do people think we sacked Warbs? Just how has that Cameron Diaz story got so huge ? Where do we start in trying to answer the one about the Loftus Road mob?

I’ve said my piece on the Diaz affair many times – if anybody wants to know what happened you can find it here – whilst the QPR one has more possible answers than Nick Proschwitz scored goals . As for Warbs, I guess it just highlights how ludicrous those outside of TW8 believe our mutual parting of the ways was.

But sitting here this morning, I’ve realised I haven’t got a clue to the ‘Hey Jude’ question. Like ‘Oldham’s song’, it is one we sing pretty much every game and, whilst I’m not a huge fan (the FA Cup bus back from Chelsea put paid to that), you still need to join in with a club anthem.

There’s no finer sound than Peter Gilham bellowing, “Na Na Nah, Nah Nah Na Naaaaaaa” down the microphone. Our ever popular matchday host looking to inspire a second half atmosphere just prior to the players running back out in one of those ‘do or die’ fixtures.

Which is all well and good but why? Can anybody shed any light on this one? Of course, I could just dive in and ‘Ask Jeeves’ (does that even exist anymore?) but it doesn’t seem right. Besides, the very first link I did press came up with two theories:

1: a player was dumped by a woman of that name in the 60s, 2: Brentford supporter “Indian Joe” replaced “Brent-ford” in the chorus.

So instead, if anybody can explain why or when this all started I’d be eternally grateful? Answers on a postcard or back of an envelope, marked ‘Jude’. Failing that, there’s the ‘comments’ box.

And finally, if you need something to fill the time on your journey down to Brighton today, could I recommend the latest Beesotted podcast ? Featuring Dave and Billy (Grant, not Reeves), along with guests Gemma Teale, Matt Allard and the brilliant Nathan Caton it looks at, amongst other things, the Leeds game, the transfer window and the comedy moments of the season. Plus, of course, the game at the Amex.

Nathan is always good for a laugh – no bad thing for a comedian – and his observations on Steve Evans certainly made me smile.

Enjoy the podcast. Enjoy the game. Here’s to three points.

jeeves

Can anyone help?

Nick Bruzon

Terriers left chasing the ball as Brentford remember a legend

20 Dec

soccer-memories-hillBrentford may have thumped Huddersfield Town 4-2 yesterday but it was a game that very much played second fiddle to Jimmy Hill. As news of his passing at the age of 87 spread around the football world, the terrace was awash with talk of this former Bee (who featured 87 times between 1949 and 1952) and his myriad accomplishments in the game.

Three points for a win, abolishing the maximum wage, TV punditry (he is acknowledged as being the first to introduce a panel, for the 1970 World Cup) and the first electronic scoreboard are amongst things credited to Jimmy.

Then, of course, there‘s his work as a TV presenter (primarily ‘Match of the Day’), his own forays into management, roles as a director and even a chairman.I could go on.

Suffice to say we’ve lost somebody whose influence on the game is still felt today whilst, for us terrace supporters, Jimmy was somebody we grew up with in our front rooms every weekend. We watched him, we listened to him, being honest we sometimes got annoyed with him but ultimately his opinion was one we always talked about.

Rest in peace, Jimmy.

But if Jimmy was very much one for pushing the envelope, yesterday’s opponents are a team currently trying to return to their former glories of top-flight success. The 1920s and 1930s saw them as one THE teams to beat but these days I’d imagine most fans would settle for staying in the Championship.

And after a minute’s silence in honour of Jimmy Hill (impeccably observed, for the record), Brentford and the Terriers locked horns. Thirty minutes later and it was effectively dead as a contest with the Bees having stormed into a 3-0 lead.

IMG_5571

View from the terrace – a minute’s silence for Jimmy prior to kick off

Sergi Canos got the first, after a sustained period of build up in which John Swift (also aided by a fortunate ricochet) was key. It was a delightful finish from just inside the box after Swift had threaded the ball through. The Liverpool loanee turned his man on a sixpence and fired home. 1-0 and not even five minutes on the clock.

Fifteen minutes later and the lead was doubled by Lasse Vibe who hit an absolute screamer past Jed Steer in the Huddersfield goal. ‘Worldly’ and ‘Thump’ were the first two comments on my social media timeline from the usual observers but even they fail to do justice to the power, precision and technique employed by the Danish international. It was an absolute screamer.

What a goal. What a fantastic goal,” exclaimed Mark Burridge on the Beesplayer commentary (and whose YouTube highlights are now online). I couldn’t agree more.

What a fantastic goal, indeed

Equal credit must go to James Tarkowski, whose defence splitting pass left Vibe onside and clear. Aside from this, he and recalled partner Harlee Dean (Jack O’Connell can perhaps count himself unlucky) had a quiet first period. Buzz and Buzzette could have played there and the score would have remained the same.

The third came via the boot of Alan Judge on the half hour. A low free kick taken from close to the touchline, and well beyond the area of what is commonly known as ‘Saunders territory’, eluded attackers and defenders alike to drift straight in. 3-0 on thirty minutes and game over.

Huddersfield gave us a scare scoring immediately into the second half. ‘Old’ Brentford would probably have gone on to concede another on 75, leaving us a squeaky final quarter hour. But, instead, we went down the other end and restored the three-goal cushion.

Alan Judge was, perhaps fortunately, deemed to have been fouled in the box. But the ref’s decision stood and the Irishman made no mistake from the resultant spot kick for 4-1.

back of the net Judge

View from the terrace – Back of the net !! (quite literally). Judge makes it 4

By my calculations, that now makes him the leading provider of assists in the top four divisions of English football. Yesterday’s article talked about how he, Matt Ritchie and Cesc Fabregas were all level on 20 since the start of last season. But with neither Premier League player providing a killer through ball or penultimate touch, I reckon that should now put Alan clear.

The other point of (personal) note from yesterday’s column was my own comment that, “I can’t envisage another 4-1, although that would be nice”. On a day when we remembered Jimmy Hill, it was just another reminder of how little most of us know about football punditry.

In the end, it wasn’t quite 4-1. Nakhi Wells pulled another back for Huddersfield whilst Jota and the impressive Max Colin also had chances to push the score beyond 4 and close to those mythical brackets that go with 7(seven) goals.

One day Brentford. One day.

Instead, the Bees move up to ninth and just two points off the play-off zone. With the busy Christmas period now upon us, the next few weeks could really see if Brentford have the ability to push on and emulate last season or if this will be a campaign of consolidation.

With Alan Judge on such form, Lasse finding the net and the likes of Sam Saunders, Josh McEachran, Max Colin and Jota back in selection contention could we start to dream the impossible dream?

Next up sees us at home to Brighton and Hove Albion who, of course, lost their unbeaten record after going down 3-0 to Middlesbrough yesterday. With the Bees scoring 8 in our last three home games, we have every opportunity to inflict two in a row on the Seagulls.

Can we do it? See you on Boxing Day to find out.

Until then, why not go to google and type in ‘Jimmy Hill’ ?

Visionary. Pundit. Footballer. Fashion Icon. Truly, there was nothing he couldn’t do.

Jimmy, you’ll be missed.

JS40283084

Nick Bruzon

 

Brentford mourn Ken Horne – a true Bees legend

3 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken - as featured on the official site yesterday

Ken – as featured on the official site yesterday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken has his eye on the ball

Ken has his eye on the ball

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

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

It was a pleasure to play in those times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Bruzon

Can Matthew Benham prove Clem wrong? Dr Evil??

12 May

With Brentford and Middlesbrough preparing for the return leg of their Championship play off, I saw an interesting piece in The Times yesterday from Mark Clemmit aka Clem of BBC Football League show fame. A well known Middlesbrough fan himself, he used the column to give his own opinions on Matthew Benham’s commitment to the well documented statistical model he intends to implement at Brentford next season.

Regular readers will know of my admiration for Clem’s reporting technique and the somewhat light hearted approach to statistical analysis that had been undertaken in the weekly ‘Clemwatch’ feature. Long regarded as the harbinger of doom by football supporters, he only saw the team he selected for feature on that evening’s BBC show win 7 (seven) times all season.

Clem finished his season at Watford - who lost the title in the 90th minute

Clem finished his season at Watford – who lost the title in the 90th minute

It was, as such, somewhat ironic to see him casting his oar into the murky water of statistics in an attempt to analyse Matthew’s plans. Although not as ironic as the fact that he was reportedly at Griffin Park on Friday, overseeing the home team fail to record a win. Again. That said, I’m sure Clem would take it as his beloved Middlesbrough chalking up another victory, regardless of his presence.

Regardless, I’d certainly recommend you try and get hold of this article if possible. And if Mark Warburton is reading, certainly a nice one to add to his future CV. Whilst acknowledging the success, so far, of ‘the model’ for FC Midtjylland in Denmark, Clem certainly seemed to land on the side of the traditional managerial structure over key performance indicators and mathematical analysis.

Fairplay to Clem for trying to balance this out, although his description of Matthew’s Smartodds HQ as “A cross between a giant dealing room and (from the Austin Powers movies) Dr Evil’s underground lair” was one that put all sorts of confused imagery into my head. If for no other reason than who would have been Evil’s mini-me and who his number 2?

Is Matthew Benham's HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil's lair?

Talk to the hand. Is Matthew Benham’s HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil’s lair?

Ultimately, nobody knows how this is going to pan out. Mark Warburton could be making a huge mistake in walking away from, potentially, the most progressive move in English football since Jimmy Hill proposed ‘three points’ for a win. I can say one thing though, Warbs will be doing his level best to make sure that the model is road tested in the Premiership. He has shown the fans and the team nothing but the most impressive personal performance since the news broke and , I have no doubt, that will continue.

Friday night will see our biggest game, to date, in living memory. And if you wanted even more intrigue, I saw a statistic that said Middlesbrough haven’t lost an evening game at the Riverside in six years. I have no idea if that is true or urban legend but, regardless, nobody can doubt the calibre of the opposition.

Given how much this game is worth, I’m sure the jinx-conscious amongst us will hope that Clem is in attendance once again. Moreso that Matthew, Warbs and the team give him plenty more to think about.

As we saw in last night’s game between Swindon and Sheffield United, which finished 7(seven) – 6(so close) on aggregate, anything is possible in the play offs. On Friday night, we find out what happens in this one.

Shirt Heaven or Hell – from the original Doctor Allam

21 Mar

Coventry City visit Brentford tomorrow, with the Bees only a point adrift from the top of League One following a set of recent results which have gone very much in our favour. And with Wolves due to play at Sheffield United in the early kick off, by the time our second half begins Brentford will know exactly how significant three points, should we get them, will be

I’m very much excited about our game and the visit of Coventry City – a side I’ve always had a soft spot for. Growing up in the late 70s they were always a top flight outfit and, very much, a household name.

In my eyes this was as much for their status as some of the more unique kits they sported. Even now, I don’t know if these qualify as a mark of genius or insanity but you can’t deny they are eye catching.

The Admiral away kit from the end of the 70s, in chocolate brown with piping that continued from the shirt all the way down the shorts is often voted one of the worst kits of all time. A tad harsh, coming from decade that fashion is universally accepted to have bypassed.

Image

Is it really deserving of its reputation?

However, it was the 81-84 home kit, that really takes the biscuit as Managing Director Jimmy Hill (yes, him) made Hull City AFC’s Doctor Assem Allam look like a rank amateur in the rebranding stakes.

Coventry had just announced the football league’s first club sponsorship deal with local car giants, Talbot. In a bid to work around the (then) ban on shirt advertising, Hill tried to get the team renamed Coventry Talbot.

Not surprisingly, this move was rejected so, instead, he simply had a home shirt designed that featured their ‘T’ logo as an integral part of the design. It was immediately banned from television.

Image

Hull’s Doctor Allam has nothing on Hill

Getting back to things Brentford related, I’ve used this column to big up our favourite BBC London and sometime Beesplayer man before. It’s here if you want to see it and I won’t overly repeat myself.

However, whilst trawling the interweb this morning I have discovered something (below) which has set my mind racing as to the potential possibilities. Who wouldn’t want a promotional set of postcards, inspired by the sayings of the commentating legend?  We all have our favourites, and no away game to some God forsaken Northern outpost would be complete for Beesplayer listeners without ‘Tea and a wee’ or ‘Our friends at radio’

And whilst the modern day Billy Reeves has an obvious namesake, who would fill the shoes of his versatile companion … the girl with the rubber face?

Image