Tag Archives: Kitman Bob

Benham? Devlin? Wickham? If Sam is away, who is driving?

28 Mar

Sometimes we really do need to ‘big up’ the team behind the team at Brentford. Tuesday sees the development squad host Barnsley at Griffin Park at 1.00pm  – assuming that Storm Katie, which is still battering TW8, has left the place in one piece.

Despite the frustrations that many supporters are feeling at present, there are plenty of positives to enjoy. Not least of which is the fact the our Bees are just a few wins away from guaranteeing a third, successive, season in the Championship. Honestly, if you’d been offered that four of five years ago, surely most of us would have bitten the hand off to grab that chance?

Yes – last season was stunning and the sales / managemement changes / pitch issues/ recent poor run have certainly been in contrast this time around. However, once the dust settles I’d hope we’ve all learned an awful lot more about the direction of the club and the strategy required for long term success.

Yet amongst all this have been plenty of unsung heroes. The ticket office team continue to blaze a trail as club ambassadors. I’ve mentioned them before but each dealing with them  – whether on the phone or in person – gives a renewed feeling of positivity about our club.

Buzz and Buzzette. Despite their ‘drivers’ remaining a closely guarded secret, these über-friendly faces never, ever pass up the offer of a ‘high five’ or turn down a cuddle with an adoring fan. But that’s enough about my own pre-match peccadillos.

Certainly, they are  one of the reasons my lad loves coming to Griffin Park. So much so that when I asked him on Friday, “What do you want to do next week. Anything?” his two answers were, “I want to go and watch Daddy Bees”, closely followed by “Can we play football in the park with Sam and Harlee?

And so half-term break sees me being taken to Griffin Park by a 2 and 3/4 year old to watch the development squad take on Barnsley. “Will Buzz be there?” he asked me after I’d told him that we could, indeed, see the Bees (although unfortunately Sam was on holiday with Harlee).

Hmm. Whilst a great chance for the development squad to experience match day at Griffin Park, this was likely to be a scaled down experience with only Braemar Road open (albeit free admission). I’d imagine Buzz is lazing around the pool in his Thomas Royall’s with Sam but, you never know. Daddy will find out.

And here is where the power of social media, and Brentford brilliance, swung into action thanks to another of those ‘heroes’. Chief Executive Mark Devlin doing his Santa routine at Easter has put in a phone call to Buzz and he’s now coming back from holiday early. Just to be there on Tuesday.

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Mark Devlin swings immediately into action

My own overactive imagination aside, huge thanks to Buzz for cancelling his holiday and sorting out a short notice ‘fly in’. Which, once HB had gone to sleep, did make me start to wonder how this could be arranged so quickly?

Is Buzz on 24 hour standby, like some mascot emergency service? Or could there be a new man or woman donning that famous costume just for this game?

Chris Wickham or Mark Chapman doubling up their media team duties, perhaps? Mr Benham taking inspiration from TV’s  ‘Undercover Boss’? Mark Devlin, unwilling to ‘leave a fan down’, seeing his duties through to an extreme level ? Or Kitman Bob seeing just how comfortably that XXXXXL shirt fits Buzz?

Either way, whoever is Buzz (tomorrow or any day), THANK YOU. And Mark, likewise.

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Buzz does his thing against Blackburn

And just as one final thought, it was only yesterday that this column was talking about the potential catastrophe of using comedians or novelty presenters for major sporting events. Then the boat race happened and proved the point.

I’ll leave that thought with you. If you saw it, you know.

If you didn’t, then just Ask Jeeves. Or Bernard Quackenbush.

Nick Bruzon

Gibraltar lead the way – could we follow this kit?

22 Mar

International break means no fixture for Brentford until the trip to Nottingham Forest in early April. So once more it falls upon the European game to entertain us where, no doubt, there’ll be more than a few eyes cast towards the Republic of Ireland to see how our own Alan Judge fares. But if that doesn’t do it for you, England take on Germany and the Netherlands whilst, for yours truly, there’s the additional intrigue offered by Gibraltar hosting both Liechtenstein and Latvia (not simultaneously).

And it was whilst looking around the internet for news on the Gibraltar fixtures (specifically the goldmine that is Gibfootballtalk), that I stumbled across a wonderful kit design from second division club Mons Calpe. Their current home/away shirt is one to rank alongside the broccoli, jamon, octopus, Che Guevara and beer designs that have featured on these pages over the years.

For all that the English national team are currently dividing supporters with their latest two tone shirts, there’s nothing controversial about this season’s Mons Calpe effort. If you play on the Rock of Gibraltar, then why not make a point of this?

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Football fashion that rocks

So bad it’s good? Or so good it’s incredible? Either way, this bold design is as subtle as a kick to the unmentionables. Featuring both the iconic view of ‘The Rock’ and the lighthouse at Europa point, these are a must have for those kit ‘enthusiasts’ looking to add something a little different to the collection.

And it got me thinking further about the Bees and our own effort for next season. Whilst I’m sure Mark Devlin, Matthew Benham and kitman Bob have the design spec on lockdown already (hint: I really love the black and silver ‘third’) , could we ever attempt to incorporate a local landmark into the design of our away shirt?

The tower at the museum of living steam? Brentford lock? Griffin Park herself? This last option would, I am sure, prove popular if we were somehow able to do this. Whilst next season is surely too late, perhaps one to consider ongoing? Or would contractual obligations with Adidas make this nothing more than the stuff of fantasy?

For now though, an idea which will probably have to be confined to the kit locker. That said, if Mark or Matthew are reading (who knows?) perhaps something to think about for our final season at Griffin Park.

If Mons Calpe can do it….

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Nick Bruzon

The morning after the day before

24 Jan

Ok – first up, congratulations to the Bees on another three points. The 3-1 win up at Preston yesterday saw Brentford push back up to the 10th place in the Championship table. As ever, should you want a full / any sort of quality match report then I’d recommend the BBC, Beesotted or the clubsite. The regular reader will be aware that’s not really what we do here.

Instead, I want to focus on yesterday’s column, given the reaction – both on this site and social media. Comments (that I can publish) ranged from ‘dross’, ‘claptrap’ and ‘tripe’ to ‘great piece’ ‘exactly how I’m, feeling’ and ‘excellent spot on article’ .

Both viewpoints are more than welcome. It’s great we’ve got such a loyal fanbase, prepared to back this team through thick and thin. I’m not going to apologise for what I feel, what I am thinking or what I wrote. Neither will I go back and rewrite anything. This site is an ongoing document of the season – as we’ve done for the previous two.

However, what I will do is try to clarify a little more about what I meant – should anybody still be reading !

First up, and let’s be exactly clear, without Matthew Benham we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Who knows what perilous state the club would be in or what lower league we’d be kicking around? I’ve said this many times on these pages and stand by it. However, this doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend to agree with all the methods being employed by the people at the top end of our club.

Whether we like it or not and whether we’ve had a choice or not, a team that had got us so close to the Premier League has changed beyond recognition. And, at present, in my opinion we aren’t as strong as we were last season. We’ve beaten Preston but have only won 4 games out of the last 12 – a run that includes the FA Cup defeat at home to Walsall. Likewise, we haven’t beaten a team in the top half of the table all season.

I understand that players come and go yet, at the moment, it feels like we are having to reconsolidate something that, on the pitch at least, didn’t need rebuilding. Of course we’ve got FFP rules to comply with but you can’t make such sweeping changes to a successful side (‘rip out the soul of the team’ was the phrase used yesterday) and expect to continue where we’d left off. The newcomers are finding their feet and, midfield especially, I think is a concern from a playing perspective.

I realise that no team has a divine right to be any good. I’ve said this many times – especially about the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Leeds United where supporters have some crazy expectation levels. Equally, I’ve heard it said many times that last season, ‘Brentford punched above their weight’.

I disagree. I’d say that last season we had a tremendous spirit, on and off the field, that helped us forge a stunning team with some great players. We got where we got on merit.

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View from the terrace – Last season saw an incredible team

I’ve stood through enough pain, heartache and inadequacy over the years to know how bad things can be and, believe me, I appreciate how good they are at present. At the end of the day (Clive) we are still 10th in the Championship table. That in itself is an incredible achievement in the cold light of day and not one to sniff at.

But also, having stood through that pain, heartache and inadequacy over the years I am desperate to see us do well at some point. Having almost made it last season, I really thought we’d have a chance to replicate Bournemouth and step on immediately.

Instead, the team that got so close is rapidly being replaced. The news about Toumani was the final straw for me. Certainly in terms of seeing that side become nothing more than the memory of what one correspondent called “a golden age”.

Look. The new crop will, I am sure, find their feet and their full potential at some point. This takes time. Equally, going up last season might have brought new headaches with the stadium being the least of them. That’s something we’ll never know – at least, not this year – but I won’t pretend it wasn’t an exciting journey. Infinitely better than 4000 fans watching a Rosenior or Butcher team. Equally better than knowing if Brentford Football Club would even exist.

Which brings me onto the other point. Brentford Football Club. Again, like it or not, it is changing as a place. As an entity. And this is the one that upsets me more than anything on field.

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Griffin Park – still our home, for now

I’ve loved feeling a part of this club and part of a community where everybody knows each other – including players and staff. I’ve done my time on Bees United – a thoroughly enjoyable experience – and am in my fifth year of writing articles in the matchday programme. We still have a lot of interaction with supporters – on social media especially where Chief executive Mark Devlin and Kitman Bob are amongst our most prolific (and popular) users.

Yet, yet. So much of the other side feels different. The strange appointment of Marinus followed by the way he was then dumped immediately after the ‘positivity’ of the fans’ forum.

The lack of any noise out of the club when even opposition managers are telling us they’ve signed our players. Silence when every news site out there is saying that players are up at other clubs. To the point where one of them, number 26, refused to play against a team that he was keen to move to.

To hear about Toumani from Steve Evans and the player himself is just bonkers. At least Dean Smith has now come out and confirmed he’s having a medical.

We get updates on a fansite from one of our co-director’s of football. A fascinating interview with Phil Giles who came across as a really decent bloke. Great work, too, from Beesotted but why are they the ones having to do this?

Huge swathes of the team who served so well have now gone and, of those left, question marks still remain over how long we’ll be able to hang onto Alan Judge whilst defender 26 made a huge error of judgement.

The parade of FC Midtjylland around Griffin Park for a requested round of applause on their lap of honour. Crazy. How could anybody think that supporters of Brentford, despite Matthew’s obvious interest in FCM himself, would care about another team? That’s not how football works. We don’t do half and half scarves and we don’t follow two clubs.

Few people, if any, support West Ham and Brentford, Chelsea and Brentford, Liverpool and Brentford. Why would we care about FCM and Brentford? If nothing else, think of the Europa League headache that might occurred had we not capitulated in the FA Cup ? Brentford may choose to share a co-director of football (ours) and a chairman (theirs) with FCM but I have no allegiance to the Danes.

All this, off the back of last season’s Warburton-gate, ‘football is a village’ and even the interim #bignewambitions.

Matthew Benham has taken himself off Twitter again whilst even supporters (nice work, @beesbanter) are sharing pictures of Toumani in a Leeds United tracksuit. Even though still a Brentford player. Oh the irony that their own manager can’t find one to fit yet one of our players can.

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@beesbanter were on the spot

It wouldn’t be Brentford if we did things quietly or normally. And, again, I’m still loving the fact we are in the Championship. A top ten side, no less.

But I won’t pretend our team is (currently) as strong as last campaign and I certainly won’t pretend to agree with how we handle ourselves off pitch.

Football is a game of opinions. We all love it. We all talk about it and we’ll all carry on following it. I’m a Bee for life, as (I hope) is my son. It does seem odd to sound moany when we are well placed but that’s just how I’m feeling at present.

Some may agree. Others may shoot me down. That’s fine, either way. We ARE being ambitious and radical. We won’t always get the simple things right.

I’d love to see us try though.

Nick Bruzon