Tag Archives: Jordan Rhodes

After shocks in the the cup, could Bees now follow suit in the league?

21 Feb

With all the talk currently about FA Cup upsets – Arsenal beating Sutton United and Lincoln City recording that famous win up at Turf Moor being the pick of the fifth round shocks  – one could be forgiven for overlooking the Championship. Yet it continues to come at us faster and furiouser (is that even a word?) than Vin Diesel in a souped up Dodge Charger. Tonight is no exception as Brentford face the gruelling trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

A midweek visit to Hillsborough really is about as hard as it can get for Dean Smith and his Bees. Despite reverting to a more traditional back four and a much more attacking shape, the problems have now started to appear at the back where Brentford have shipped 10 goals in the last three league games. Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, know that a win tonight will take them up to third place in the Championship table.

Whilst Newcastle United, who won again last night against Aston Villa, and Brighton seem to have the top two slots locked down, anything is still possible. And with the pair of them meeting next Tuesday at the Amex. something has to give there shortly. Wednesday will be chomping at the bit for a chance to slip in between them when that happens.

Will Dean stick or twist? His reshuffle has won the plaudits but, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be winning that many games. Despite the hugely impressive performances against Aston Villa and Brighton, both Preston and Wigan were games we could well have won yet, despite scoring twice and leading in each, have thrown them away with a series of defensive mishaps.

Whilst I’m all for this new look team set up – and hope we stick to it against divisional whipping boys Rotherham United on Saturday – perhaps discretion is the better part of valour tonight. If not in terms of playing five defenders then, perhaps , a personnel switch to add some muscle to the middle (calling Mr McCormack) or maybe he’ll accommodate the return of John Egan / Yoann Barbet.

One thing is for sure. With ex-Bee Jordan Rhodes now plying his trade for Sheffield Wednesday and doing what he does best (i.e. scoring goals) any mistakes will be punished by a team looking to consolidate their place in the play-offs.

image

Once a Bee; now an Owl

Brentford’s task will be made all the harder by this game having been moved to a midweek due to our involvement in the FA Cup fourth round. For logistical reasons alone, expect fewer Bees fans to travel. The train isn’t an option (unless you stop over) whilst work gets in the way for many. Hats off to those making the effort tonight, that’s for sure. I salute you and wish I could be there. Instead, it is Mark Burridge and Beesplayer for me.

The other hurdle to overcome will, of course, be ‘that band’. Regular readers know the drill at this juncture and although oft repeated, they can’t be allowed to pass without a brief mention. Off key renditions of ‘seven nation army’ or ‘The Italian job’ washed down with Bernie Clifton’s jingoistic greatest hits are no replacement for an atmosphere. Let’s hope those that do travel are of loud voice.

Sheffield wednesday band with trevor francis

That. Band. Never forget.

The bookies have Wednesday as odds on favourites. The Bees are close to 4/1 to come away with the points. There’s more chance of finding a role of sellotape in our local Morrisons than of Brentford recording a win, if club sponsor 888 are to be believed.

Wednesday are good, no question. But Brentford aren’t 18/5 bad and one thing we have in us is goals. After a weekend of shocks in the cup, could we now see the bookies upset in the league?

At 7.45 tonight, we find out.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-05-30-59

 

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Bittersweet news for Alan Judge but how did we miss that?

15 Apr

How quickly have Brentford become accustomed to Championship life that a week without a Tuesday night fixture seems like a long one? Bristol City can’t visit soon enough as we’ll have had a whole 7(seven) days since that win at Ipswich Town.

It has been a week which has seen us with an awful lot to dwell on and no real news of any substance. Alan Judge is, of course, now out of hospital following surgery on the horrific injury he suffered at Portman Road – from where there has been pretty much radio silence despite the somewhat ‘controversial’ (that’s me being polite) comments made by Mick McCarthy after the game.

Maybe something has happened behind the scenes. Let’s hope so. The Judge himself has been putting a brave face on things in public, sharing that emotional message and then a follow up photograph when he left the hospital to return home.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 20.15.23

Alan shared this picture as he left hospital

Here’s hoping Alan has a quick recovery. Good wishes have been pouring in from supporters all week whilst it sounds as though he’s had a steady stream of visitors since the weekend. Amongst them, Dean Smith and many of the players.

Sam Saunders revealed on Twitter that he and Harlee Dean had been to check up on their team mate. Was there genuine regret at the fact that they’d “offered to bed wash him can’t believe he turned it down!“?  Dean, meanwhile, used his press conference yesterday to confirm he’d been to see the player at the weekend who was “obviously a bit down”.

An immediate reaction of the one described by Dean is only to be expected. It would be a sickening blow for anybody, let alone a player on such form and with the Euro’s beckoning.

Thinking about it though, the reaction to Sam’s suggestion is also to be expected. Certainly, if his bed wash technique is similar to his car wash technique…

Sam Saunders

Would you take a bed wash from this man?

On the plus side, if one can be taken from such a situation, there was positive news for Alan when his nomination for the Football League’s Championship player of the year award was announced yesterday. In a final 3 that also includes Fulham’s Ross McCormack and Andre Gray it is due reward for Alan’s wonderful season.

He’s the leading goal scorer for the Bees and has provided the  highest number of assists for any Championship club with  11.  Indeed, checking the stats yesterday he’s currently joint 7th overall goal scorer in the league with 14. Whilst one would expect him to slip down the ranks over the remaining weeks of a season that been brought to a premature end, it’s well worth marking that figure at this point to show just what a pivotal figure he has been for Brentford

Interestingly, Lasse Vibe’s recent hot streak has seen him storming up the blindside and he’s now only two behind the Judge in joint 12th place for the Championship’s overall top scorer. That puts him level with Jordan Rhodes at a fraction of the price. Let’s hope he can move clear against Bristol City on Saturday.

Prior to that game, don’t forget that Waterman’s Park hosts the Bees Fan Zone from midday. Featuring a whole host of free activities such as Urban Cage Soccer, Obstacle Challenge and FA Skills sessions (amongst others) there will also be visits from Buzz,Buzzette and some of the First Team Players.

This was a cracking event when it took place last season and sounds as though it will be similar this time around. Yet again, it showcases Brentford as a wonderful community club with a whole host of activities laid on for our younger fans. As ever, you can read more about the event on the club site.

And finally, issue 3 of Season Ticket holder news letter ‘The Buzz’ hit my email box yesterday. Containing the usual mix of recipes , interviews (Sergi Canos) and Dream XI (Lasse Vibe) it also has ‘Social Club’ – those social media highlights we may have missed.

Well, fair play to the club because I’d certainly missed this one. I’ve heard of ‘footballing royalty’ but this takes things to another next level…

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 20.14.23

If ever the club were looking for a caption competition….

Could current form see one of our hopes go South?

16 Feb

Come on Middlesbrough. Last night’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United raises a worrying concern for Brentford fans. Specifically that we might have to play them again next campaign. Whilst Boro’ remain in the top two, their form has hit somewhat of a rough patch with two defeats , three draws and just two goals coming in their last five league games. For a team that has beaten the Bees 6 times in the last two seasons, there is a large section of the Griffin Park faithful that will be more than happy to see them promoted to the Premier League.

Of course, we must remember that most delicious of clichés. Namely that the league is a marathon not a sprint. Believe me, I’d be much happier having the sort of form that Middlesbrough are currently ‘enjoying’ rather than that of the Bees. The point is made more to illustrate how interesting the top of the table has become.

Just three points separate first placed Hull City and Brighton in fourth. Even Sheffield Wednesday, who of course put 4 past Brentford on Saturday, find themselves just two wins off the top as the race for ‘automatic’ has locked up once more.

It’s a lovely problem to have and one that, 12 months ago, we were caught up in. Village-gate had been and gone as, with the season’s low point of ‘Charlton away’ behind us, Brentford prepared to get back to winning ways. Of course, we didn’t quite make it despite a heroic effort in, arguably, the most exciting campaign in living memory. Fifth place saw us consigned to an eighth play-off campaign where the combination of a prospective visit to the ‘W’ place, along with games against Boro’, meant that usual service ensued.

That was then. This is now. Surely Middlesbrough have too much about them to trouble Brentford for a third, successive, season? Presumably recent acquisition and former Bee Jordan Rhodes will be the man to complete their stellar line up rather than the Faustino Asprilla to their Newcastle United? If nothing else, I just can’t see Aitor Karanka having a Keegan style meltdown

Any excuse to show this one.

Still, if Brentford fans think things are ‘bad’ at the moment (trust me, they aren’t), then do take a look at Leeds United. Despite some stunning signings of their own, including Stuart Dallas and the free scoring Toumani Diagouraga, there remains unrest at Elland Road. And not just from Steve Evans trying to find a tracksuit that fits him.

Controversial owner Massimo Cellino seems intent to take on the TV companies whilst fans, who had been promised a buy out, took to projecting images onto the stadium after the Italian went back on his word. The Yorkshire Post (@Yorkshirepost) were amongst those leading with some incredible images before kick off last night.

Leeds

Now THIS is how to make a point

Let’s not pretend all is perfect at Brentford currently. Despite Matthew Benham’s life saving investment over the years, many are frustrated by the subsequent decimation of the team that achieved so much last campaign. Current form sees us sliding down the table whilst Dean Smith can’t buy a win (or a goal) at the minute.

But like Middlesbrough, I’m sure this is just a short term thing. We’ve come too far to throw it all away and I’m convinced the rebuilding operation we’ve put ourselves on (team, rather than stadium) will continue over the summer. Like it or not, Brentford are on a path of consolidation now. Last year’s team are nothing more than a warm and fuzzy glow who will rank alongside the heroes of yesteryear.

Instead, let’s just hope that Phil and Rasmus know what they are doing when it comes to any summer recruitment. Barring a miracle / disaster, we’re going to have two London derbies to look forward too along with another chance to take on a Leeds United side who haven’t beaten Brentford in our last 6 encounters.

As for Boro’, perhaps its best all round if they just exit the Championship and do what a club of their size should, conceivably, have done last time out. Good luck in the top flight !

Until then, we’ve got a game against Derby County coming up. All being well, a run out against another play off contender will be just what the doctor ordered to fire us back to winning ways.

Princess Royal Middlesbrough

Never again will still be too soon

Nick Bruzon

Was this the craziest day in Championship history? (pt.1)

3 May

Fifth!! Not only did Brentford steamroller Wigan Athletic to book their play off spot against Middlesbrough but with both favours being granted – Blackburn Rovers beating Ipswich Town 3-2 and Derby County being spanked 3-0 by Reading at the iPro – it has seen us finish with only four teams above us in the final Championship table.

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

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

Cancel the flights to Vegas on Friday - we're busy

Cancel the flights to Vegas on Friday – we’re busy

Tarks hangs up the shooting boots (for now)

Tarks hangs up the shooting boots (for now)

Hats off as a great season comes down to the wire.

2 May

Today’s the day the Championship gets settled. Brentford fans all know the maths in regards to our game and those involving Derby County and Ipswich Town. Meanwhile, at the very top of the table Charlton are the only ones who can stop Bournemouth getting promoted although (and I apologise to Watford fans) it will be the Cherries who lift the Silverware. Plus we’ve the latest from Steve Evans at Rotherham United

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

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

Who am I to argue??

Who am I to argue??

We’ve come a long way in two years (as Bees have lucky escape)

30 Apr

As Brentford, Ipswich Town, Derby and Wolves prepare to discover which two of us will make it into the play off race on Saturday, Bees fans were given a massive boost last night. Despite a sudden rash of rumours sweeping Twitter, it was confirmed by Manish that although our clash with Wigan Athletic will be the ‘feature game’ on The Football League Show, Clem will not be at Griffin Park this weekend.

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

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

BBC viewers saw Clem at Ashton Gate most recently

BBC viewers saw Clem at Ashton Gate most recently

The Soccer AM debacle - Marcello Trotta just off camera

The Soccer AM debacle – Marcello Trotta just off camera

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

28 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image

Does a squad number make a difference?

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

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

Image

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

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

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

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

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

MO, JR or another MT? And two anchors in budgie smugglers.

27 Jun

When Brentford’s Championship campaign kicks off in just over six weeks with the visit of Charlton Athletic, the first XI could have a different look. Of course, this week has already seen Clayton Donaldson head for pastures new at Birmingham City whilst Marcos Tébar has swapped Spain for Griffin Park.

However, lovers of social media would have seen hints from both club owner Matthew Benham and chief executive Mark Devlin last night in regards to further activity.

Mark set minds racing with his late evening announcement that it had been, “Very busy in TW8 today. Hopefully some incoming transfer news in next 48 hours.” No further clues were forthcoming as to who these would be although the popular choice on twitter seemed to be Moses Odubajo of Leyton Orient.

I have no idea where that has come from or how accurate it is but, with Barry Hearn currently in talks to sell up his interests in the club and memories of that play-off final defeat still raw, is now the time the O’s will see their prize assets depart?

Matthew, on the other hand, has swapped the initials for the return of his ‘cryptic video clue’. He posted this YouTube link on his Facebook page last night, along with a similar announcement to Mark’s , as a hint about who could be coming in.

 

Matthew is clearly a very intelligent man. You don’t get to where he has without brains. Sadly, I’m just the numpty on the terrace and struggle with anything beyond a join-the-dots puzzle.

So how Billy Bob Thornton, masquerading as Lorne Malvo in ‘Some Roads’ links to a new signing, I have literally no idea. It could be anyone from Sean Thornton of Bala Town to a return for Jordan Rhodes….. (we can dream!)

To be honest, he could have printed a picture like this as a clue and I still wouldn’t get it. Either way, it sounds very positive news and I can’t wait to see who is next to feature in ‘obligatory photo in jeans and new shirt’ corner.

Image

Billy Bob Thornton?

And finally, Adrian Chiles put a smile on my face last night. Not in a good way but, at least, one that showed he has a sense of humour. Readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now.

However, the build up to the evening’s World Cup games on ITV, featured his terrifying look behind the scenes at how the light channel and the BBC carve up the televised games between them, as Chiles told us:

“If you’re wondering which second-round games will be shown on the BBC and which on ITV, Gary Lineker and I will strip down to our budgie smugglers, wrestle on the beach and the winner will get first pick.”

I still reckon last season’s Pugil sticks are the way to go.

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

Image

Tell me this isn’t, really, how it happens?

 

Pack those sunnies. Is this the best football shirt ever?

4 Jun

After the excitement of the new Brentford shirt being revealed on Monday, the club has gone one better with Tuesday’s announcement of the new Adidas goalkeeper top. Championship visitors such as former Bee Jordan Rhodes (now Blackburn Rovers) and Wolves Nouha Dicko may be familiar with Griffin Park from previous seasons but I’ll bet they’ve never faced off against one like this before.

Check that Championship kit list, lads – boots, shin pads, shirt, sunglasses. This is less a goalkeeper’s shirt and more the result of some LSD induced design meeting. If ever there was a lesson in not doing drugs then here it is (metaphorically, of course – kids, don’t do it).

Yet despite the initial shock – and I honestly thought when I saw a leaked picture on Monday that it was a fake, with somebody just turning up the contrast on Photoshop – I think the club and Adidas have stumbled on a stroke of genius.

The club really are promoting this with the line: Brentford FC blue and purple goalkeeper kit.

Image

Sartorial genius from Brentford – as seen on the clubshop website (link above) where you can order it now

It is so shocking, so lurid, so bad that it is actually genius. Whatever it does to our opponents, I know what it is going to do to my already dwindling piggy bank. Unless the away shirt turns out to be some form of lost Da Vinci masterpiece then rather than lining up for that, I think I’ll be opting for ‘GK’ as my second choice shirt next season.

And in other shirt news, I wandered up to the club shop on Monday evening where the new home kit is sitting in the window. I’m still very happy with the design of this, despite the observations floating around cyberspace about the sponsor’s logo, and note also the ‘Osca’ style at the end of the sleeves. Thanks to Luis Adriano for that tip off and, for the record, you should also check out his excellent Beesotted piece on our new kit. I’m glad I’m not the only one with shirt obsession.

The other interesting point was the use of ventex style material (teabags) in the armpit region. An interesting choice, given the controversy around the perforated back form two seasons ago although, to be fair, only a small area this time around.

I’m sure that the marketing chaps would call this something like ‘air flow technology designed to help players keep cool’. That said, given the bespoke design of our kit, perhaps ‘Mr Brentford’, Peter Gilham, has been involved in the creative process.

Being as it features ‘teabags’, has he offered his P.G. Tips?

Image

Teabag armpits – a statement of design fact rather than a comment on anybody’s personal hygiene