Tag Archives: Junior Bees

Who wants it most? There’s all to play for in West London today.

29 Apr

What a few days. There have been awards, goal of the season and of course a game or two coming up with Saturday seeing a huge day for West London football. Brentford travel to Fulham, hot on the heels of last weekend’s 3-1 win over QPR. It was an encounter which saw Jota’s latest stunner wrap up the points in a game where, at times, we played some quite sumptuous football yet at others Dan Bentley and the linesman kept us in it. However, the net result was anther three points for the Bees and QPR still flirting with relegation. As for Fulham…..

Well, what can you say? They are in with a very real chance of making the play offs, as it stands, and have even finished above Brentford for the first time in three seasons. The table doesn’t lie and they’ve slowly reeled in Leeds United et al to finally break into the top 6. A derby day win for them will all but mathematically see that play off spot guaranteed, with the gap to 7th (seventh) currently 3 points and +13 goal difference.

But Brentford have their own motivation. Fulham’s win at Griffin Park earlier this season was as decisive as a 2-0 scoreline could be. Much as it pains me to admit, they were one of the better teams to come to this part of West London and we were very much left in second place that night.

Equally painful, it saw their first win over us since both teams returned to the Championship – albeit from different directions. Prior to that one, 2014/15 had seen Jota do his thing in the last minute at Griffin Park and that screamer from Stuart Dallas very much the pick of the bunch in a 4-1 rout at The Cottage. Last time out, only an errant linesman denied us all three points away from home with Jota ruled offside as he headed it in for 3-2. The return fixture saw the season come to an end in some style – Tom Field making his debut and Sam Saunders getting us of to a flier as we were three goals clear by half time to comfortably wrap up the points.

View from the stand - Stuart Dallas celebrates doing that thing.....

View from the terrace – Stuart Dallas after doing that thing at The Cottage…

The Bees were crowned Kings of West London. Again. Then this season happened. With David Button between the sticks, Fulham have had the honours.  A return to winning ways will be very much the requirement. The possibility of a nil points against these neighbours, moreso given such strong previous form, is just not on the agenda.

Then there’s the current table. The Bees are just two points and one place off last season’s points total with the potential to finish a place higher than our previous 9th. What a wonderful incentive to go for it. And that’s without pooping a party.

For the last month or so it has become apparent that Fulham are heading upwards. Crashing this one and doing Leeds United a favour, no matter how distasteful that might seem, is a very real possibility and has long been something many fans have been aware of. Now the game is here and that chance is available for both teams. Who will take it? At 3pm we find out….

As for QPR, they host fellow bottom six side Nottingham Forest still needing two points to guarantee safety (third bottom Blackburn, needing two wins themselves, have too close a goal difference for a draw to be sufficient). With Rangers in freefall, current form of LLLLLL leaves them with nobody to blame but themselves for their predicament.

Much as the situation is a novel one, they won’t go down. Birmingham City are just horrific whilst Blackburn still need six points from a season that concludes with a trip to Griffin Park That said, wins today for Mark Warburton, Birmingham and Blackburn could make the final round of games very interesting indeed.

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Can Fulham make the play offs, Brentford beat last season or QPR stay up?

All that of course is to unfold later today. However, there’s been plenty to keep us intrigued over the last few days. Alongside the Player Of The Year vote, supporters are now able to nominate their winner for goal of the season.

Oh, wow. If picking POTY was tough then this is another level of hard. I struggled to draw up a shortlist, let alone select a winner. They are, all ten, corkers. The build up play and finish for Josh Clarke v Reading, Nico’s piledriver in the Birmingham City game, Lasse Vibe finishing off the most incredible run from Sergi Canos at Forest or Jota’s recent pair against Derby County and QPR.

In the end, it’s just been an excuse to watch the video again. And again. The level of Burridgegasm also being an added help. The more excitable our commentator par-excellence gets, the better the goal seems to be has become a handy yardstick when trying to rank these in some sort of order.

In the end, I’ve voted. It had to be Jota. It had to be QPR. Derby County was that close and I’ve swung back and forth between the two of them yet, in the end, the way he collected Nico’s wonderful pass was the deciding factor.

That’s my opinion. Yours will quite likely, and quite rightly, be different. All we can say for sure is that whoever gets it will be a worthy recipient. You can see the video below and vote here.

Which is top of the pile?

Next up, awards. It was a double celebration for the club yesterday as the EFL have awarded us both their Family Excellence Award for the 2016/17 season aswell as the Friendliest Club Staff Award. Particular recognition has been given to both the ticket office staff and the stewards in the family enclosure.

One can’t begin to stress how deserved these awards are. Part of the pleasure in supporting Brentford FC comes from our wonderful family atmosphere. The club, players and staff cannot do enough for supporters – of all ages. The ‘meet the players’ pre-season event and Junior Bees Christmas party are staples on our calendar whilst who doesn’t get excited, young or old, when receiving a high five or fist bump from Buzz and Buzzette?

pay what you can Buzzette

Buzzette always makes time for fans – of all ages

The players and staff never fail to stop for an autograph or photo  – whether in the ground or in the street – an attitude that courses through all echelons of club. We’ve had supporters heavily involved in the kit launch this season whilst the care and attention shown to the match day mascots is just staggering.

What could have been quite an intimidating experience for a three year old – walking out in front of over 10,000 supporters – turned into one of the best days of his life. Big thanks there, again, to Harlee Dean and apologies once more for the lollipop covered hands you had to hold walking out (that’s HB, not me).

HB Harlee and Dan

The smile says its all (apologies again for the sticky fingers)

Then you’ve got kitman Bob Oteng. His own BBgiveaway is the stuff of legend but even outside of this he is a cult figure among Bees fans. His reaction to those who regularly sing his name at away games as he goes where he wants on the visitor’s pitch is always wonderful. Even the likes of Chief Executive Mark Devlin, Chairman Cliff Crown or Mr Benham himself consistently take time to respond to and interact with fans on social media.

As for the ticket office staff ! Special mention and rightly so. We’ve all had some form of interaction with them. We all know just how incredible the level of service they offer is . We all know how consistently friendly and helpful they are. Doing what could be deemed a somewhat stressful job – given how demand often outstrips supply – isn’t something I’d be able to cope with.

I could go on. But instead, why not read the official take on the awards which you can find on Brentford ‘official’?

And finally, Billy Reeves & Grown Men In Tears have closed the door on the Welcome Home, King Jota charity single. The video has come down from YouTube and the song is no longer available for download.

The net result has been a donation of £350 for Prostate Cancer Research. As Billy noted himself on Twitter yesterday, “not bad 4 an arvo’s fun

Not bad indeed, Billy.

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Billy shares the news, and the love, yesterday

Nick Bruzon

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Belated birthday greetings to a legend as April offers goals, derbies and more.

1 Apr

And relax. The weekend is here. Peter Gilham is here. Bristol City will be here at 3pm this afternoon as Brentford look to pick up where we left off before international break. April, weak jokes and, on a totally unrelated note, Fulham and QPR are all here. Of course we have a pair of West London derbies to come with the Loftus Road mob visiting the club they failed to take over 50 years ago before we head up the road to Craven Cottage. That, of course, a game with the wonderful potential to try and put a huge dent in the host’s own play off hopes. If they haven’t already shot themselves in the foot, of course.

But with due respect to Bristol City, Fulham et al we can only start with Peter Gilham. Yesterday saw the incredible occasion of his 70th birthday. 70? ! Peter Gilham is 70. I’m sorry but I just can’t believe it. What fountain of youth is he drinking from? Were it not for the fact that I’m now in my own fifth decade of supporting the Bees (first game in 1979), I wouldn’t believe it. But , of course, Peter has been around since long before that.

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Peter Gilham – as seen in 1989’s ‘100 years of Brentford’ book

He is the living embodiment of the club. He’s still as enthusiastic as ever whilst performing his match day ‘man-with-the-mic’ duties although, as the years have progressed Peter has added a lot more dead pan humour to his delivery. Woe betide any off-target centre circle challenge participants, snapchat users (whatever that is) or tardy substitutes.

We all know him. We all love him. Peter has done just about every job at the club, barring caretaker manager. And whilst Dean Smith is carving out his own place in Brentford history at present, it wouldn’t be a shock to anybody outside of TW8 if, one day in the future, even that happened.

I can still hear the introduction to our own pre-internet telephone information line as Peter would announce in his ever dulcet tones, “Hello. And welcome to Brentford club call”. Then proceed to spin it out as the call box down the road ate through my coins with all the voracious appetite that a premium rate phone line would. Or am I getting mixed up with ‘chatback’?

These days, Peter’s calling card is “A little Italian restaurant. At Brentford lock’”. The more goals Brentford score, the more enthused he becomes as what should be the most cringeworthy and toe curling of sponsorship announcements is already becoming part of club folklore. Forget the pizzas, its all down to the delivery. And when it comes to delivery, Peter is first class.

Belated birthday greetings Peter. Here’s to many more. I can’t wait to hear you on the Lionel Road P.A. system….

Peter Gilham with Buzz and Buzzette

Peter, Buzz and Buzzette. The epitome of cool

As for today, its non-stop. Prior to the visit from Bristol City, we’ve got the Bees Fan Zone in Watermans Park. Just a short walk from the ground, this is always a fantastic event for our younger fans and I’d urge you all to get along. Brentford never fail to pull out the stops as a family club and this is yet another example of how well we treat our younger fans. Full details are on Brentford ‘official’.

And then we have Bristol City. Win, lose or draw about the one thing I’d bet the mortgage on(purely for research purposes) is that this one has goals in it. Brentford have been on fire since the end of January and the five goal comeback against Burton has fast overtaken the 4-1 win at Fulham (you know, when Stuart Dallas did that thing….) as many supporters’ favourite away game in recent times.

Team selection remains a tricky one today. If only for picking out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to genuine news v April Fool’s jokes. Jota out for 9 months? Sure…. Peter Gilham 70….?

I don’t envy Dean this one. Despite the wonderful news about Alan Judge signing a new contract he’s not match fit. With Jota, Lasse and Sergi chomping at the bit for another taste of the net, everybody else will have to fit around them. Good luck with those first goal scorer bets. Yet, by all accounts, the Bees were as horrific in the first half at Burton as we were simply incredible in the second. Do onconming subs Alan Mac and Nico retain the berths occupied by Romaine Sawyers and KK at the start of that one? Does Rico Henry walk back into the team ahead of Tom Field? How is John Egan’s head injury after his midweek exertions for Ireland?

Whomever Dean starts, let’s hope it ends with Peter Gilham having a very sore throat and more plugs for that little Italian restaurant. By Brentford lock.

As for the rest of the month. I saw a graphic yesterday advertising all the footballing treats awaiting the armchair viewer in April. All well and good, but nothing beats the thrill of a West London derby.  The prospect of hosting QPR followed by a trip to Fulham just a week later is a tantalising one.

April fixtures

Championship life has been nothing but exciting and those two games represent yet another wonderful example of why it continues to enthral us.  I’d rather be at those games than sat at home watching Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona and those other apparent big names.

Brentford may not have Ibrahimovic, De Gea, Neymar, Messi and whomever Arsenal’s marquee players are. And? We’ve got Jota, Harlee, Sergi, Ryan.

Plus, of course, Peter Gilham. Here’s to 3pm when it starts all over again.

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Don’t forget the Fan zone prior to kick off

Nick Bruzon

Brentford are top of the pile when it comes to Christmas

7 Dec

Here’s a thing. Brentford FC is brilliant. And that’s a fact. Whatever is happening on the pitch – win, lose or draw (the result rather than the early 90’s pictionary aping TV show fronted by Danny Baker) – nobody could deny that when it comes to family, The Bees are top of the pile.

Last night saw the now traditional Junior Bees Christmas event at Griffin Park. As ever, the first team squad were in full attendance along with Head Coach Dean Smith. As ever, they were nothing but welcoming to those youngsters out to meet their heroes. And possibly the mums and dads, too!

One could have been forgiven for perhaps imagining a slightly jaded mood after Saturday. Far from it. The place was rocking to the tune of Christmas carols as the squad signed autographs and hosted all manner of party games.

Giant Jenga with Romaine Sawyers? Snowball toss with Yoann Barbet and Maxime Colin? Daniel Bentley and Jack Bonham amongst those at the child friendly version of ‘beer pong’? It had them all, and more.

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Sam Saunders and Ryan Woods were holed up in the clubshop at the table usually reserved for Greville’s book signings. Harlee Dean was running the fitness machine challenge whilst none other than Alan Judge and Alan McCormack were amongst those to be found in the home dressing room. Oh for a repeat this weekend.

But whoever the kids met and wherever you went, to a man the squad were nothing but brilliant. Signing player cards and posing for photographs with everybody. My own son was in tears at the end, “Nooo daddy. I don’t want to go home.

Sadly, there was no Jota shaped parcel under the giant Christmas tree on the Braemar Road forecourt. However, there’s always December 25th for that to happen. Come on Santa, I have been good this year.

In all seriousness though, whilst it’s easy to knock the team when results don’t go as expected one can’t help but be impressed by the positive vibe on display last night. And that was just Lasse.

Saturday is another day and another chance to get back to winning ways. Thanks to the smile on my lad’s face last night and this morning’s request “To take my Bees hat and badge to nursery to show everybody” (him, not me – I’ve still got a cupcake from the cake stall), I’m going into the game with a renewed sense of optimism and pride.

Great job, Bees. Thank you. Now let’s go do it at weekend.

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Dean welcomed all

Nick Bruzon

Who can upset the Status Quo at Christmas?

24 Dec

In the Premier League, at least, Christmas time is usually considered a strong indication of how the table is going to play out come season end. With Leicester City sweeping aside all comers and Watford, Brentford’s rivals for promotion last season, just one point off the Champions League slots, one can only hope things remain as such. If only to shake up the somewhat moribund status quo that has settled on the top flight in recent years.

More importantly though, watching Chelsea self-destruct and Louis Van Gaal flounce out of a Manchester United press conference whilst the likes of Watford and Bournemouth start to get noticed for the right reasons, gives even more reasons for optimism. These were teams that Brentford were doing battle with in the Championship last season yet now they are ripping up the Premier League rule book. So do the same principals apply to the Championship table at this time of year and could the impossible happen?

Bees at Watford

Watford – Brentford. Last season Championship. Next season Premier?

Well, Middlesbrough were my tip to be Champions at the start of the campaign and they’ve really started to lock down their position at the top. Indeed, Saturday’s emphatic 3-0 win at Brighton was a huge statement of intent as to their title credentials and a massive line in the sand for others team to dare cross.

To be quite honest, I can only see them getting stronger and they still get my vote to finish the season with, at the very least, automatic promotion if not as champions. After that, though, it looks like the wobbles are setting in.

Hull City have lost 3 out of the last 5, including a 2-0 shock at Rotherham United a few days ago. Brighton have only picked up 3 wins from their last 10 league games whilst for Burnley it is 1 out of 7(seven).

Derby County have got second place, at present, but the nerves they’ve seen over the last two seasons are sure to start playing at the back of the mind. A 90th minute play off choke to the Loftus Road mob was bad enough but to then follow this with self-destruction at home to hopeless Reading in the final game last time out can only start the demons rearing their heads soon.

The point being that this is wide open and by no means a certainty as to who will finish where. Brentford can only go into the Boxing Day game with Brighton in buoyant mood. Hot of the back of our own 4-2 win over Huddersfield Town, the team are rampant whilst there is nothing but a warm and fuzzy glow around Griffin Park at present as evidenced by the wonderful events of Tuesday night.

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The BBC table shows the chasing pack are hot on the heels of the play-off zone

Three more points on Saturday could, conceivably, put us amongst that play-off pack and from there, who knows? Could we almost be in that sacrilegious scenario of hoping QPR can get a Boxing Day win over Ipswich Town in sixth place? I’ll leave that one to you and your conscience, whilst just hoping we fulfill our side of that deal.

Being realistic though, come season end I don’t think we’ll be promoted. At least not automatically. The table shows a huge gap whilst we all know the myriad reasons for a start which was, for many fans, much slower than expected. For me it will be Middlesbrough and Hull City but after that the jury really is out.

Brentford are starting to fly and we have as good a chance as anybody. Lee Carsley helped us take off and Dean Smith has continued that momentum. I genuinely believe we’ll get the win on Saturday whilst we take a huge crowd to Reading on Monday. At the time of writing only a handful of tickets remain for that one.

The Premier League may, normally, be predictable, but I think it would take a very brave man to call this division. Or a foolish one. And as I most definitely fit into the latter category, I’m going to do it…

Brentford WILL finish top six. After that though, it’s the play-offs for The Bees. 9th time lucky?

Hey, if Bournemouth can post back-to-back League wins over Chelsea and Manchester United… If Leicester City can top the Christmas table… If Watford can start to think about the Champions League, then ANYTHING is possible… My son even believes an old man with a beard is going to squeeze down our chimney tomorrow and leave some gifts under the tree. Whilst I’ve had to tell him that Jonathan Douglas won’t be visiting, you’ve still got to go with the improbable at this time of year.

And finally… I’m all for upsetting the status quo but there’s nothing upsetting about the real Status Quo. From the world of pop music, that is.

This may not get as much airplay as the best ever festive record – Shakin’ Stevens: Merry Christmas, Everyone – as if anybody needed a reminder, but it comes a very close second in terms of quality.

What better gift can I give you than the gift of…The Quo. Enjoy

Nick Bruzon

Is there a new Jota in the pack? Transfer update

14 Aug

Have Brentford made a new signing?

The much rumoured transfer of Jota (José Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo) from Celta de Vigo seems to have been confirmed on Twitter this evening.

Whilst the club have made no statement as yet, the player (whose shortened name means Jack – as found in a deck of cards) appears to have let the cat out of the bag with this post which has appeared on his Twitter account .

Is the cat out of the bag?

Is the cat out of the bag?

The presence of another attacking midfielder in the squad is, indeed, a welcome one. That said, it is sure to only increase speculation that Adam Forshaw will be moving on with Wigan Athletic the possible destination

As yet, this is not official news. For all we know his twitter account could have been hacked (not that that would ever happen in Brentford circles).

Could Jota be our new ‘Jack in the box’? . Hopefully we’ll find out soon

How farce became fantasy. Fulham provide the best opposition possible

14 Aug

Brentford fans were celebrating like….. etc etc etc last night. With the draw for the Capital One Cup having been made, the likes of Manchester United visiting MK Dons or Newcastle at Gillingham would seem the obvious ‘TV’ ties. However, it is the arrival of Fulham at Griffin Park that has to be the most atmospheric and anticipated of the second round.

I’m sure the good people at Sky will go for Manchester United – if only because last season’s campaign of self destruct has seen them enter the competition at this stage for the first time in 19 seasons. They’re welcome to it – I’ll be at Griffin Park regardless.

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.

Celebrating like they’ve won the (first round of the) cup

13 Aug

On a night of cup shocks that saw Wigan Athletic lose 2-1 to Burton (stop sniggering at the back) and Crawley beat Ipswich Town 1-0, it was still Brentford that dominated the headlines – despite triumphing against Dagenham and Redbridge.

Our 18 goal Capital One Cup thriller (12 in open play and a further 6 on penalties) saw Brentford go through 4-2 on spot kicks after a surreal 6-6 draw. It was a game that equaled the competition’s previous ‘goals scored’ record (Reading 5 Arsenal 7 set in 2012).

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.

Is Clem the new Liverpool? (and our fans hit back)

12 Aug

You have to feel for the fans of Leeds United. Whilst everything at Brentford has been very much ‘on the up’ in recent months, they’ve been through the ringer. Their star player, Ross McCormack, has been sold to Championship rivals Fulham whilst the managerial situation has been one that could be politely described as ‘unsettled’. That’s before you chuck controversial owner Massimo Cellino into the mix.

However, things really took a turn for the worse on Saturday when The Football League Show highlighted their team with a visit from roving reporter Mark Clemmit – universally known as Clem.

I wrote in full last season about the four simple rules to ‘football betting’. In short they are:

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.

1 down. 45 to go, as strange changes happen (with video)

11 Aug

So the Championship has begun with Brentford unbeaten after the draw with Charlton. Wolves, our main rivals last season, picked up an impressive three points on TV yesterday at Molineux agasint Norwich City whilst Bournemouth top the early table following their emphatic 4-0 win at Huddersfield.

That last result being of particular pertinence for two reasons.

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.

The Championship has begun. But how was it?

10 Aug

Brentford kicked off their Championship campaign with a draw at home to Charlton Athletic yesterday and then had the added bonus of finishing clear of Fulham (who were beaten by Ipswich Town).

The final 1-1 score doesn’t even tell half the story. The Bees, who dominated vast swathes of the first half, were probably fortunate to come away with a draw by the end. With Charlton already 1-0 up, Callum Harriott somehow conspired to hit the crossbar when clear of David Button and with the net gaping.

If you don’t take your chances then you’ll pay the price. Sure enough, Tommy Smith popped up with six minutes left to send Griffin Park delirious.

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.