Tag Archives: King Kev

As cup draw shows what might have been, where do you stand ?

21 Sep

As one last piece of fall out from the EFL cup defeat, Brentford fans now know who we would have been drawn against had we beaten Norwich City. With the Canaries having been handed the seemingly plum tie of a trip to Arsenal, I’ve seen several supporters bemoaning our own missing out on a trip to The Emirates stadium.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even watch the draw this time around. The overly convoluted methodology used for rounds 1-3 had long since sapped any interest I may had had. That, and nothing to do with our capitulation against Norwich, were the reasons that an early night seemed an infinitely more palatable option. As such, it was a case of waking up to Arsenal this, draw that on my Twitter timeline this morning.

Yet at the case of formally labelling myself as the most boring man on the planet, rather than a visit to Arsenal the reward for a Brentford victory would (by my rough calculations) have been a home tie with Bristol City. And that’s assuming the balls had then been pulled in the same order.

The numerical sequencing (with Tuesday winners numbered 1-11) would have seen the Bees slot in at number 2 instead of Bristol City. They’d have taken the place of ball 3, Crystal Palace, and the tie that now sees the Robins host the Eagles would actually have seen them heading to Griffin Park for the chance to earn a quarter final slot.

Draw

A fourth round with Arsenal, Bristol City and Norwich. But no Brentford

It’s all conjecture. Free to concentrate in the league until January, our own immediate future sees the trip to bottom club Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, followed by Tuesday night’s game with Derby County. It’s a shame from many respects as a fourth round tie at home to a fellow Championship club would have presented a wonderful chance of progress. Mind you, we’d have said the same prior to Norwich City visiting and look how that ended up. A 3-1 defeat and one of the worst penalties ever seen.

Head Coach Dean Smith has already said his piece on how the third round ended up, telling BBC Radio London: “It’s not relevant (in terms of morale) at all compared to Saturday.”

Whether he would be saying the same thing now, having seen how the draw has panned out I do wonder. Likewise, I’m surprised he doesn’t think a win would have been good for the buzz around Griffin Park. I guess that’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace and he’s the head coach.

Still, there’s no point crying over a split milk (cup). Norwich deserved it. We didn’t. Here’s to a morale boosting win on Saturday instead. Three points at The Macron now very much the order of the day and, as Dean also noted in that BBC piece, “Bolton is very important to us and we’ll have a lot of fresh players come back for that.”

I’m not going to avoid the elephant in the room here. As is typical in this situation, I’ve seen some supporters calling for a change. That Thomas Frank or King Kev should be parachuted into the head coach role. For the record, my own thoughts are anything but at present. Putting aside the constant references to bad luck, refereeing and our own ‘wonderful’ performances, this is not the time or the place.

With a set up that includes two directors of football and multiple coaches, we win or lose together. We’ve even had a specialist in the provision of strategy, leadership, cultural engagement and performance management solutions and skills join the board with the announcement yesterday that Monique Choudhuri has been named as a club director.

With our current football philosophy, one man should not be made the solitary scapegoat for current results. Nor should he take all the plaudits when things go well.

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#WelcomeMonique ?

Let’s not forget that over the summer we were told how wonderful the scouting set up had been in helping bring in all these wonderful new players. And we have undoubtedly picked up some real gems over the last few seasons. Albeit it’s quite understandable that Dean is the focal point for how things go on the pitch. That his role is to pick the best team for the job. To have a consistent side. To motivate them. A side selected from the players he has had made available to him by our set up. And in my opinion, on Tuesday he got that all wrong.

Equally, his role is to get the best out of what he has. To say the right things when results don’t quite go to plan. I don’t get the ‘self-pity’ excuse thing. I don’t agree that we are yet to play a team better than us in the league. Four draws and four defeats tell you everything you need to know on that front. But I do think he is coming under an undue amount of flak at present. He is a head coach that has guided us to top ten Championship finishes over his two seasons in charge. For a club that has made no secret of the need to sell to survive.

If Dean can settle on his best XI, and pick it. If Dean can find a Plan B rather than subs by number or giving those like for like entrants to the field of play just a few minutes when the game is all but lost. If he can get some luck on the fitness side where the returns of Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe alone would be huge, then expect things to change.

Roll on this week’s press conferences. I’m not a journalist but, if I was , my first question to Dean would be – who is your starting XI if everybody is fit? Followed closely by, when are we going to get a win?

Here’s to the weekend when hopefully we can find out.

Barbet pen Norwich

Tuesday happened. Move along

Nick Bruzon

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Will we slip on another potato skin or dodge that lower league bullet ?

8 Aug

It seems like only five minutes ago that Brentford performed those League cup heroics against Hull City and Everton, before narrowly missing out on Round 5 via a last minute equaliser and penalties against Birmingham City at St. Andrews. Infact, it was 2010 and The Bees first XI included the likes of Mickey Spillane, Craig Woodman and Pim Balkestein. Whilst the squad has evolved from that small League One group it would be fair to say that our record in the competition hasn’t been a great one since then. Could Tuesday night’s game in Kingston against AFC Wimbledon see us get back to winning ways?

The wins over higher division Hull and Everton were wonderful occasions, no question. The latter in particular seeing a practically full strength Premier League team beaten by a never say die Brentford XI. Gary Alexander scored the equaliser and Charlie MacDonald even had the luxury of seeing a penalty saved before the eventual spot kick triumph. Richard Lee the man on form then.

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Gary Alexander does his thing against Everton. 1-1

Now, we are the team to be shot down. A high performing Championship club travelling to an AFC Wimbledon side whose own ascension through the divisions and struggle to find a home has been a story in itself. Yet the game presents a huge potato skin for a Brentford side that is sure to be changed one from that which lost out to Sheffield United on Saturday.

The last time we won a League Cup tie Montell Moore and Nick Proschwitz (not a typo) were amongst the scorers in that defence shredding 6-6 at Dagenham and Redbridge. Kevin O’Conor played what was, if I am correct, his last ever game for the Bees – scoring what proved to be the decisive spot kick in the subsequent shoot out.

Since then the wheels have come off somewhat. We lost at Griffin Park to Fulham. At the time, something of a rarity for the Cottagers whom we would go on to take 10 points out of 12 from over the course of the following four league games. Didn’t Jota do something in the last minute, too?

Then there was the humiliation handed out by Oxford United at home as the Marinus experiment came crashing down to earth with a bump. Regular readers may be aware this gets mentioned a lot but it is important to never forget how bad that was. The team he selected was one which, long term, had a few players who are now regular (Nico, Lasse, Andreas) but at the time was an untested mixture of youth and new faces. 3-0 down in 12 minutes, that we only lost 4-0 was the main miracle of the night.

It was the consummate example of the flawed logic in both wholesale, untested change and woeful man management. Never forget.

Marinus Oxford touchline

The Oxford United fiasco  / Marinus experiment (neither being prog rock bands)

Then last season it was the turn of Exeter City to dump us out in the first round. Despite Harlee Dean, John Egan, Josh Clarke and Sam Saunders amongst those picked, Brentford struggled to a 0-0 before Ryan Hartley got an extra time winner for the Grecians.

And now is the time to go again. I can only expect more change tonight but this time I fear for Wimbledon. Harlee is available after suspension.Yoann Barbet was benched on Saturday. Likewise Maxime Colin. Expect the pace of Josh Clarke down the flank and surely starts for Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins. I’d imagine Flo Jo will begin on the left with with a very strong bench, just in case.

As the higher placed team we’re there to be shot down, just as Everton and Hull were all those years ago. That’s one of the privileges of being a Championship side and, sadly, a bullet we’ve taken more than once in recent years.

Will this time around be any different? A full house of Bees fans will be there to roar us on with only 200 tickets remaining on the gate. Watch out for the traffic delays though and get there early.

See you there. Until then, here’s one of the highlights from the Everton game. When our mascot was told to keep holding the hand of his young counterpart, he took that instruction quite literally.

 

Nothing puts Peter Gilham off his stride

Nick Bruzon

As one King stands down, could another return?

2 Jan

With the back pages of the papers being dominated by the news of ‘one club man’ Steven Gerrard and his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, it is a timely reminder of the lunacy into which we are about to descend. Brentford, of course, are already ahead of the game having signed Lewis Macleod from Rangers (effective tomorrow) whilst Championship rivals Derby County have done similar with Ryan Shotton from Stoke City. It is, of course, time for the transfer window to creak open for that one month countdown until Natalie Sawyer tries to stop Sky Sports Jim White from threatening to self combust during the last moments of ‘slamming shut’.

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.

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 top ten moments of season 2013-14

2 May

How do you shrink a season where Brentford achieved a club record points, celebrated like we’d won the FA Cup at Leyton Orient, and been promoted alongside Wolves into one article? Quite simply, turn it into the top ten moments of 2013-14.

This is my opinion and I’m sure yours will differ but, as we approach the final game of the season against Stevenage on Saturday, I can’t help reflect on what an incredible campaign it has been for The Bees

10: Sam’s freekick v Swindon Town . I still don’t know if this was a genuine accident or just the worst bit of acting since the good people at ‘Just for Men’ decided that Luis Figo was their marketing lifeline.

However, after my usual terrace muttering of “And this is Saunders territory” , the perma-tanned demi-God then fell flat on his face as he approached the ball. Take two and the result was spectacular. Wes Foderingham was left rooted to the spot as Sammy found the top corner. Some would say beaten by the strike, others, still shocked by the audacity of even trying that routine

 

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Looking back to look forward for King Kev. Leeds’ loss is Brentford’s gain

1 May

This Saturday will, all being well, see Kevin O’Connor make his 500th appearance for Brentford. It is a stunning achievement for our club captain who passed the 400 mark at the time of his testimonial match (against Fulham) in 2010.

Back then, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to interview Kevin for that game’s programme. Whilst much has changed since that column was written, re-reading it last night in anticipation of this weekend’s game has shown some very interesting parallels and reminders. Starting with his joining the Bees, the Last Word looks back at what King Kev had say about Brentford and his career as he approached that previous landmark.

Kevin on starting at Brentford: “As a youngster, in the first year I had to clean Ijah Anderson’s boots and also Ryan Dennis. Then, when Paul Evans joined, I had to look after him. That was brilliant for me and he really looked after me when I was YTS.

He’d have a chat with me and I got to know him quite well. Once I broke through he was brilliant and looked after me. He went out of his way to make sure I was alright “

On breaking into the squad: “I came in to the team just before Ron Noades quit. There was a lot of good players then – Andy Woodman, Martin Rowlands, Lloyd Owusu.

It was intimidating but the lads were brilliant and after a couple of weeks I was able to fit right in. They were a really nice bunch, like family. It was a good atmosphere and I think it showed on the pitch over the years.

I’ve been really lucky at Brentford – every squad has got on really, which helps as you want to enjoy going in to work. It shows; when every one gets on and is working hard for each other you get that little bit more out of the team.”

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

 

4-1 defeat? Move along, nothing to see here.

27 Apr

Have you bothered to watch the highlights (and I use the phrase in the loosest sense) this morning of Brentford succumbing 4-1 to Colchester United? Whether it was simply a case of an already promoted team having mentally ‘switched off’ (indeed, Wolves also conceded a late o.g. to be held at Coventry, in Northampton) or the Bees being outplayed by a team staring down the barrel of relegation, Warbs was making no excuses afterwards.

It was, what he later told the BBC, our “Worst performance of the season….by a long shot”.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Bees in search of that magical 97 (with one aiming for 500)

26 Apr

Brentford travel to Colchester United on Saturday with only a week remaining of our season. And what a season it has been with promotion from League One already assured and, but for the phenomenal points total achieved by Wolves, we’d have likely been Champions, too.

I was saying last night to my friend Colin Campbell, whom I name check as a cheap excuse to drag out his file photograph (below) what a relentless force the Bees have been this campaign. To already be 7 points ahead of last season’s winners is a stunning performance. And moreso given that we did have a slower than anticipated start.

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Campbell – needs a new file photo

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Wolves may have a title but King Kev wears the crown

22 Apr

In the end Wolves swept aside Leyton Orient and with Brentford not quite able to hold onto the lead at MK Dons (Izale McLeod must have really wanted that half price pizza) the title has gone to Molineux. And so before this column goes any further, I must start by offering my congratulations to Kenny Jackett, his team and their supporters.

The table doesn’t lie and having 99 points with two games left shows they are worthy champions. This aside, I’d love to think that Brentford have more than given them an unforeseen run for their money and kept the pressure on all the way.

Our own total of 91 is already a club record, with the chance available to push this to 97. Just to put this into real perspective, last season’s eventual winners Doncaster Rovers did it with a ‘mere’ 84.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.