Tag Archives: Kenny Jackett

After a week of nothing but Bake Off, could we sting the Wolves ?

23 Sep

What a slow week. No football for Brentford beyond the forthcoming game at Wolves to look forward to. Whilst our next opponents have had two trips to Newcastle United in the space of four days to (hopefully) run down the energy levels a bit, the Bees have had that 5-0 win home over Preston followed by, well, nothing. My Twitter has been wall to wall tears and questions about the Great British Bake Off (which we’ll get to, briefly, where possible new hosts are named)  and not much more.

Of course, Wolves will be in high spirits following their last league trip, that 2-0 win at Newcastle that probably surprised just about everybody outside of the Black Country. Indeed, manager Walter Zenga was quoted afterwards as saying, “the spirit of the team, how they approached the game, how they started the game, how they played is a big answer to everybody.”.

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)

 Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST. 

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 along with a smattering of new material, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

 

walter-zenga

Zenga in his playing prime

 

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A stunning programme cover – grab yours at the ground

 

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Judy and Anton – you can’t buy chemistry like this

Nick Bruzon 

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Tony Craig day is here as an inevitable pun is released into the wild.

30 Jul

Brentford travel to Millwall this afternoon for Tony Craig’s thoroughly deserved testimonial. Elsewhere Championship rivals Wolves, a club we have focussed on a lot more in recent years, have finally succumbed to the almost inevitable in providing the most expected of bad punnery.

First up, Tony Craig.  His transfer to Millwall in July of last year was a particularly disappointing one. As we’ve noted previously, he was one of these players who gave his all in a Brentford shirt over three seasons in which he was one of our standout players.

Tony bounced back from a dubious red card administered by Keith Stroud during the infamous battle of Bramall Lane in the year of ‘that penalty’. He was a colossus at the heart of the defence during our promotion season in which he scooped the player’s player of the year award.

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Tony – as seen on the club site after helping the Bees to promotion

One particular game from that campaign, home to Oldham Athletic and just into Warbs’ managerial tenure following the departure of Uwe, was notable for one of the most incredible pieces of defending I’ve ever seen, described at the time thus:

On the only occasions Athletic really threatened, Tony Craig was there to mop things up. The highlight of which being a 5 on 1 breakaway in the first half where he stood his ground, kept standing and did sufficient to fend off the Oldham hordes. Lesser players could have been forgiven for lunging in but not Tony. It was my moment of the game – until the goal itself”.

There was no fuss and no showmanship with Tony for Brentford. That’s not to say he wasn’t skillful but he just got on with his game. No more so was the difference in attitude between him and the more outrageous players seen than in the Championship fixture with Wolves at Griffin Park back in November 2014.

That was the one where, you may recall, Bakary Sako was due to play against us in golden boots, encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Tony was the complete opposite. The anti-Sako, if you will. For one terrace wag, whose identity I’ll protect, the sight of even neon teale or electric pink boots on a Brentford player will usually elicit a cry of, “Rubbish. I like Tony Craig. Sensible, no nonsense footwear.”

Tony played the full 90 minutes that day as Wolves and Sako were locked out, leaving TW8 on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing. It was part of that #Novemberkings phase (please ‘official’, let’s never use hashtags again) that saw Warbs win manager of the month, Tony feature prominently and the Bees get within a sniff of the table top.

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Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Indeed, his absence from the side in the back end of the season coincided with some defensive howlers but, more importantly, a seeming fragility across the defensive area of the team when, perhaps, his experienced head would have been the perfect tonic. Whilst he remained available for selection, Warbs kept faith. with his chosen two.

I can’t knock him for that and the end result was Brentford reaching the Play-Offs. Itself, a phenomenal achievement when viewed independently. However, I do also wonder had Tony stayed in the team, might we actually have gone one better and achieved ‘automatic’?

We’ll never know but what better way to celebrate then by getting along to Millwall this afternoon? Admission is just £10 for adults and, more importantly, Tony is using the proceeds to make a donation to Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which treats injured members of the Armed forces.

The other Bees news is the just announced (Saturday morning) signing of Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City for the season. Filling the gap at left back made by Jake Bidwell’s departure for Loftus Road earlier this month, the move was one which had been very widely anticipated.

Fair play to the rumour mill, it has been spot on this season. Either they’ve upped their game or the Brentford press team have become leakier than the Fulham defence. Regardless, this can only be good news on the playing front and nice to see a change from the normal ‘signing photo’. This time around, we’ve gone for the rarely seen line up of the shirt  / contract combo.

And talking of Wolves earlier ( a link made with all the subtly of Bakary Sako’s boots), it has been announced overnight that the Molineux club have parted company with / sacked manager Kenny Jackett.

This is an inevitable part of modern football life. Moreso in the Championship where managers seem to have the longevity of a cornetto in a greenhouse. Yet, I feel a particular affinity to Wolves.

Despite the initial mocking from a minority of their fans in regards to how big they were compared to ‘little old Brentford’ (somebody should use that one) it’s fair to see we’ve given as good as we’ve got over a wonderful last three seasons.

There was the 2013/14 League One campaign where, despite a record number of points for the Bees and that huge unbeaten run, Wolves stormed to the title with a final total of 103. In any other season our own 94 would have been more than good enough for top spot.

However, the following two campaigns have seen Brentford fare better than Wolves, positionally. 2014/15 saw our two clubs locked on 78 points, with the Bees reaching the play-offs in fifth and Wolves coming so close to edging out Ipswich on that incredible final afternoon. In the end, it was a goal difference gap too far but 7th place still not one to be sniffed at for a newly promoted club.

Last season saw a 7(seven) point gap split the teams with Dean Smith’s team ending it in 9th and Wolves 14th. The moral high ground for Brentford and some consolation for the £250 bet proceeds lost as a result of our being beaten (deservedly so) to that League One title.

So it was sadness that I woke this morning to the news of Kenny Jackett’s departure. Undoubtedly a huge club with big ambitions  – whether new or otherwise – (hello, is that the marketing team?) he has perhaps been an inevitable casualty of failure to make an immediate return to the top flight.

On the other hand, a rare opportunity for lazy headline writers and lazier pun makers. Chin up Kenny, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to go again soon.

No jacket required kenny original

No words required

Bees rediscover their midfield mojo in style

24 Feb

Well that was more like it. Brentford got back to winning ways last night, sweeping Wolves away in a 3-0 win that was every bit as comprehensive as it suggests . However, it wasn’t so much the scoreline as the manner of the victory which really impressed.

Sergi Canos and Alan Judge were rampant going forward whilst John Swift finally showed the potential he has been threatening. He, of all players, has come in for a lot of criticism in recent weeks (and rightly so, based on some of the ‘performances’) but that was infinitely better. Two goals (Canos getting the other) were due reward for a performance packed full of running, tricks and flicks. It just showed what the team can do when they are encouraged to advance with the ball and take it forwards.

Wolves, on the other hand, were abject. Sideways pass followed sideways pass across the back whilst the midfield had more holes than a Swiss cheese. It’s almost like they’d swapped place with Marinus era Brentford. Optimistic punts out to the flank, the opening passage aside, produced little threat whilst the returning George Saville was conspicuous by his lack of impact upon finally entering the field of play. He’d have been aswell trying his luck in a hotel car park as at Griffin Park, such was his lack of penetration.

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George Saville prepares to play. Apparently

With no offence meant to anybody who travelled down from Molineux, Wolves didn’t provide the sternest test. Let’s not kid ourselves about that. Then again, you can only beat the team who are put out in front of you.

We went for it and were duly rewarded . The fans left happy and John Swift finally put in a performance worthy of his illustrious background . Nico Yennaris, in his customary right back berth due to the absent Max Colin, took another step towards proving all the doubters wrong whilst Ryan Woods very much enjoyed the freedom afforded to him in the midfield.

Indeed, Colin wasn’t the only Griffin Park regular absent last night. Despite no longer being suspended following his red card at Hillsborough, Yoann Barbet missed out to Jack O’Connell as the Bees kept their first clean sheet since the 0-0 with Brighton back on Boxing Day. Likewise Lewis Macleod who, whilst hardly a ‘regular’, looks as though he will be missing for another few weeks with an injury. I know, I was surprised too,

Dean Smith told waiting journalists afterwards that, “It was a really good performance matched by the result and a clean sheet too. We wanted to start on the front foot with three ball carriers and I thought we did that.”

Indeed we did. What a shame we haven’t tried / been able to do that more this season. That said, with the next two games against teams in the dropzone (Rotherham United and Charlton Athletic) there is an excellent chance to continue in this style .

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View from the terrace – Swift and team celebrate our third goal

The irony of my own observation in yesterday’s column, saying , “Gone is the excitement, gone is the open attacking play, gone is the feeling that when we put our minds to it we could carve teams open for fun”.

Wow. Wasn’t that thrown back with some style? The big question is, can we do it again?

Brentford are now 17 points off the relegation zone and 11 away from the play off spots. Freed from the shackles of having to worry about either prospect, could we now see the team continue to play with a bit more freedom? Or was this just a flash in the pan? Here’s hoping for the former !

As a final note, was it Alan Partridge day in TW8? Both Dean Smith and Peter Gilham (on sparkling form, as ever, during Centre Circle Challenge) opted for an almost identikit 80’s suit trousers and Adidas tracksuit top combo in a look that was right out of the North Norfolk Digital DJ’s sport-casual range.

Where was the silver-badged black jacket seen on the likes of Mike Sullivan and Mark Chapman in the past? Is this a new club dress code? Or was it just the most sensible option in the cold (although, personally, I’d have just opted for a coat)? Then again even Marco Djuricin and John Swift both turned out in gloves.

Whilst normally one would suggest that if a footballer is cold, “just run a bit”,  on last night’s performance it would take the most churlish of individuals to find fault with the effort on display.

Here’s to doing it all again. And if gloves are what it takes, then let’s crack out the winter woolies.

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Previous encounter – the summer fashions were ‘off limits’ last night

 

Nick Bruzon

Can Brentford keep the Wolves from the door?

23 Feb

Another day, another game. With Brentford’s form going downhill faster than Eddie the Eagle, we face a Wolves team who find themselves in a similar position to the Bees. Both locked on 40 points in the middle of the Championship table, current performances are a mile away from what supporters of both clubs have been used to in recent seasons. Can The Bees turn it around tonight? Or will Kenny Jackett inspire his team to inflict more pain on the Griffin Park faithful?

The current stats don’t make great reading for Brentford. Whilst I did something similar in the build up to the Derby game, looking at the BBC match preview (who give us the first detail below) it highlighted a huge part of the current challenge we are facing.

No Championship side has faced more shots on target this season than Brentford (168).

The Bees have conceded 10 goals in their last 3 league games.

Only Fulham and the three teams in the dropzone have conceded more goals than us.

2016 has seen us lose 7(seven) out of our 9 games.

Only David Button, Harlee Dean, Jake Bidwell and Alan Judge remain from those who featured in the 4-0 thrashing of Wolves at Griffn Park last season. Moses Odubajo, Tony Craig, Jonathan Douglas, Jon Toral, Toumani Diagouraga, Alex Pritchard, Andre Gray, Stuart Dallas and Jota are no longer with the club for a variety of well documented reasons.

This was only last season

That makes the afternoon complete, revenge for last year” opined Mark Burridge when Andre Gray’s wonderful strike made it 3-0. Yet still, there was more. Who else but Jota , doing what only he could do late on. It was a wonderful performance against a Wolves team who, the season previous, had run out 3-0 winners at Griffin Park en-route to deservedly steamrollering all comers for the League One title

Watching the highlights, the difference in confidence and playing style from then to now is just world’s apart. Yes, we’ve had to change the make-up of our team but seeing the class of 2014-15 in action just emphasises what a tough job their replacements have faced . Gone is the excitement, gone is the open attacking play, gone is the feeling that when we put our minds to it we could carve teams open for fun.

4-0 Wolves Dallas goal

View from the terrace – Dallas does Wolves for 4-0 last season

Yet if we are currently struggling to recover from a dip in form, then the same could be said of Wolves. Talking to supporter Steve Darby (whose help in tonight’s ‘kit obsessive’ programme article is much appreciated ), he tells me : “This has been a frustrating season for us too. Injuries haven’t helped, neither has the owner putting the club up for sale. We are in limbo with no real investment”.

Morale seems low whilst formwise they haven’t won in 6 (3L 3D). Indeed, it all sounds a bit like the build up to the Derby County game where the visitors were on an equally poor run. There, David Button kept us in it before Alan Judge gave Bees fans hope. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as the Bees turned 1-0 on 80minutes into a 1-3 defeat.

I can’t call it this evening. A clean sheet would be a start. But for David Button, Saturday could well have seen a 7(seven) goal bracketing. He was just that good.

Genuinely, I expected a reaction against Derby. It just wasn’t to be. I’m not sure how Dean Smith can pick the lads up from here but I hope he does . I hate to sound negative about our performances and I’ll be giving it as loud as anybody in support when I’m out there tonight. But, also, I’m realistic.

Quite simply, we haven’t matched the standards from last year or earlier in the season when Lee Carsley had the Bees’ engines purring like a contented kitten .

We have to get out of first gear soon. Let’s hope it begins tonight !

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Bees fans make their feelings known on Twitter

Nick Bruzon

Unlikely source inspires Bees at Wolves as Derby ‘go rogue’

22 Oct

Like the 65 bus, Brentford wait ages for a win and then two come along at once. Lee Carsley made it 6 points from 6 as Wednesday night’s cracking performance at Wolves, a 2-0 victory for the Bees, followed hot on the heels of the weekend defeat of Rotherham United. We’ll also take a look at Derby County, where there seems to be a cyber saboteur at work. However, we can only begin at Molineux where a new chapter has been written in the recent history of Brentford and Wolves.

Given Brentford’s early season troubles, I went into this one with a feeling of trepidation. The stats weren’t a great omen either, given we’ve only managed a solitary point and single goal on our last two trips to the Black Country. However, that was nothing compared to the pre-match revelation from Harlee Dean.

Not that his phone only had 30% battery power but his choice of ‘game time’ music. Coldplay.

Seriously. Coldplay.

Who'd have imagined what would come next?

Who’d have imagined what would come next?

Officially the wettest band since records began, they are harmless enough if you want some background noise for your dinner party. But at a time when you want your team pumped up, this was more the stuff for forty winks on the coach back home. It looked like trouble.

How little I know. Who could have imagined the motivational powers possessed by Chris Martin (not the Derby County striker – don’t panic, we’ll get to him). If this is what he can do to our team then I’ve been well and truly put in my place.

Three hours and three points later I’m eating humble pie. And it tastes delicious. Harlee, if you are reading (you never know) then I can only apologise for my lack of confidence in your musical inspiration. Although I can’t help but wonder if you were somehow responsible for Jake and Tarks seeing…yellow

As for the rest of the game it was a case of Beesplayer for me, where the muffins sounded as delicious as the aforementioned pie (top listener tip though: summarising with your mouth full is never a good sound). As such, I’d suggest you stick to the official site, Beesotted, the BBC or other sources for the full match report. Sky does have the goals, and other close shaves, up already for those who can’t wait for the Burridge infused highlights later today.

The first was particularly delightful, simply because it allows the pun smiths to go wild. The Judge brought the Djuri-cin to play and the Austrian made it 3 from 8, albeit with the help of a deflection.

The second, at the death, saw Philipp Hofmann get onto a long ball from John Swift. The German caught the Wolves defence cold and, clean though, he made no mistake in rounding ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez to wrap up the points. The boos rang around Molineux and I’m already reading that, for Wolves, it may be a case of no Jackett required (that’s a Phil Collins one, not Coldplay).

All of which means that the Bees are now up to 15th in the table and just 7 (seven) points off the play offs with another 102 to play for. It’s far, far too soon to be getting excited given the start we had but, on the other hand, you can’t argue with two wins in a row and confidence certainly seems to be coming back to the team. And the fans. Roll on Charlton this Saturday.

Pre-match mention of Coldplay’s Chris Martin got me talking about his Derby County counterpart – and a mystery is unfolding. Who is the their cyber whizzkid? Although I have no doubt, not endorsed in anyway by the club, Derby seem to have been the victims of somebody ‘upgrading’ Rams related pages on Wikipedia.

Whilst (blah, blah) I don’t endorse any of these views, and neither do I have the time to pixelate any rude words (kids, you’ve been warned – look away now or ask an adult for permission) it began a couple of weeks ago when the page of rivals Nottingham Forest had been rejigged.

Nottingham Forest were the first victims

Nottingham Forest were the first victims

Then, last night, whilst looking for the current status of the aforementioned striker, one Ealing Road wag pointed out that Martin had also been got at. As quickly as it went up it’s gone down for the much more mundane confirmation that his middle name is actually Hugh.

But, for a moment at least, it was there. Regardless of whichever team you support, it takes a sorry individual not to enjoy this.

There was an awkward pause at the Christening

There was an awkward pause at the Christening

Is this coincidence or will the Derby hacker (not Chris Baird) strike again? We await the next update with intrigue.

Nick Bruzon

A surprise source unearths a real Christmas turkey

30 Dec

As Brentford spent Christmas going down to both Ipswich Town and Wolves, it seems that away from the field various sources were busy either writing about, or preparing articles on, the club’s home fixture from the 1983 festive period.

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.

Roger's wing walking is in the top left corner

Roger’s wing walking is in the top left corner

It was still a merry Christmas, despite the result(s)

29 Dec

Brentford slipped to sixth place after defeat at Wolves, our second loss in as many games, made it a Christmas break that may want to be forgotten. That said, whereas the Boxing Day reverse was a game that was practically over as soon as it had begun, at least this match saw the Bees rediscover their fighting spirit.

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.

Clem went to Shrewsbury and bore witness to a 0-0 draw

Clem went to Shrewsbury and bore witness to a 0-0 draw

Trevor Francis takes us into the Twilight Zone

30 Nov

Could things get any more surreal this weekend? I’m still struggling to reconcile Brentford sticking four past Wolves to go third in the Championship table. Third In the Championship. Apologies, but it bears repeating. Then Birmingham City just had to go and take things to an even stranger place.

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.

Clem with a giant ham. Insert your own joke

Clem. A giant ham. Insert your own joke

Attack of the Killer Bees. Even Leroy is buzzing after 4-0 win

30 Nov

Possibly the craziest November on record ended up with Brentford making it five Championship wins on the bounce, the latest being Saturday’s 4-0 thumping of Wolves. With The Bees now up to third in the table (only a point off the top) and Warbs, surely, a shoe-in for Manager of the Month, the whole thing is just taking a turn for the surreal.

Frankly, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the spirit and endeavor of this team.

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 one player a secret Eurovision fan?

29 Nov

I make no apologies for being late to this party but, if you haven’t heard, today’s Brentford – Wolves game marks a very special occasion. Assuming Kenny Jackett picks him (and how would that be for putting a dampener on things) Wolves Bakary Sako will make his 100th appearance for the club when they face the Bees in our Championship clash.

And what a way to recognise this landmark. The midfielder has commissioned a pair of custom made golden boots, bedecked in the club colours and covered in Swarovski crystals, to celebrate this centenary.

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.

Bakarys jewel encrusted boots could be on show at Griffin Park

Bakarys jewel encrusted boots could be on show at Griffin Park