Tag Archives: Leroy Rosenior

Bees get a draw, ref has a stinker and Matthew Benham says his piece.

27 Sep

Brentford 1 Derby County 1. Another game, another draw. We’ve now reached that magic 10 played marker, have eight points and sit in 20th place. Barring the statistical miracle of Birmingham City winning by 6 goals tonight when Sheffield Wednesday visit St. Andrews, it means that’s where we’ll be heading into Saturday’s trip to Middlesbrough.

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Griffin Park always wonderful under floodlights

But if Birmingham winning by 6 would be a statistical miracle (come to think of it, the Blues just winning at the moment would be a case for the Pope in itself) then last night’s encounter at Griffin Park could be deemed much the same. Brentford ended it on 76% whilst the first half alone concluded with Derby seeing just 17.3% of the ball. Talk about one way traffic. On paper. Yet there was no irony lost in the Rams going in for their half time cuppa with a one-nil lead under the belts after Joe Ledley was given the freedom of Griffin Park to head across the goal and past Dan Bentley with little more than a quarter hour gone.

It was goal that sparked fury amongst the Brentford defence. Well, certainly hand waving and accusations at each other. But then when you watch the Sky Highlights you’ll see why. Truly, schoolboy defending given the space afforded to the Welsh international.

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Sloppy defending gifted Derby the lead

But from there, that was it from Derby. Rather than play to win they seemed intent on playing to foul. One would have thought it was Keith Stroud in the middle rather than, apparently, acting as fourth official given the flurry of first half yellow cards and poor decisions made by referee Andy Davies. Andre Wisdom in particular can count himself very lucky that his own poor judgement, charging in on Romaine Sawyers by the angry mob in the paddock, saw him given just a caution.

It was a refereeing performance that continued right to the end where, with Ollie Watkins bearing down on goal, the ref called time as the wideman was about to shoot. It was a decision which summed up his night – Davies, not Watkins. The youngster having minutes earlier scored an equaliser for the Bees from close in that our balance of play, if not our shots, had suggested would be coming.

Derby were big, dirty and physical. Brentford were given minimal protection from the ref. How this one ended 11 v 11 I still have no idea. Yet, equally, Gary Rowett’s men did a job on us. They were solid, resolute and Dean Smith’s team had no way past them. Balls were passed sideways and backwards time and again in a bid to break through. Substitutions were lacklustre and like for like, with no visible attempt to change formation or tactic. Purely adjustments to personnel. That said, Chris Mepham really did impress when he came off the bench for Andreas Bjelland at half time.

Our own shot target wasn’t in the same ball park as our possession but you can’t deny this team keep on going. This team have guts. This team kept playing. And eventually our persistence and domination was rewarded by that man Watkins as he slid home FloJo’s cross.

Should we have won? Possibly. Did we deserve more? Well, no. Sadly. Goals are what win games. Not stats. There is a grudging respect to Derby for playing a certain way. A way we couldn’t get through. Gary Rowett had done his homework and set out his stall. Poor Neal Maupay, dwarfed by the Derby defence, struggled desperately and needed either support or to be given a break. Josh Clarke and Ryan Woods, both amongst our most positive players, were removed early. At one point the disembodied voice of Peter Gilham , commentating on our Oktoberfest Oompah Band from the back of the stand, was the highlight of the first half.

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The extent of our first half oomph, ah

But the team kept going. The team plugged away. The team would eventually get the equaliser that sent the fans home relieved.

Matthew Benham would later make a rare foray onto Twitter where he had a few things to say. Alongside his own criticism of the ref there was more than a fair share for the supporters as he noted :

A really excellent performance tonight from a young, hungry side, created the vast majority of chances. Think the moaners must’ve been watching a different game! #brentfordfc

1. Yes I know boos at the end were for the ref 2. Can’t see how constantly getting on the backs of players DURING the game helps the team.

Fair? Well, I thought we struggled at times. Not in terms of being outplayed but in terms of trying to break through the opposition. As a football fan, I’m somebody who has been brought up on the unconventional tactic of trying to get the ball into the net. Perhaps I’m just out of touch. The self-confessed numpty on the terrace rather than Head Coach. Indeed, at full time Dean would talk about how well we’d stuck to our game plan and the quality of the opposition.

That latter point in particular, one that can’t be ignored. Yet what Dean and Matthew both, perhaps, overlook is that as paying fans we go into a game with a certain level of expectation. Winning the game. That’s what football is about. Surely?

We don’t have the involvement of almost being too close. Of being within that inner circle. Of seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Of being the ones stumping up the cash for the players and the stadium. What we have seen so far is our heroes sold from under our feet (for well documented reasons), some shocking defensive lapses that have turned potential victories into defeat or draw and an average of less than a point a game after reaching that magical ten game mark with a solitary victory under the belt.

That’s not to say we’ll support them any less. That’s not to say we have that divine right to ‘be any good’. I love watching the Bees but do reserve anyone’s right to shout at times. This is West London, not North Korea. I have huge respect for our owner and understand the frustration from his perspective.  But I think he was wrong on this one. If nothing else, I didn’t even hear that much moaning from my seat on the touchline. It wasn’t a great game to watch. It was a physical battle that we were often second best in. It was also a game where our team were offered minimal protection from a fussy referee.

But it was also a game that showed we keep going. So often, Brentford teams of old have just given up. Have accepted defeat. This isn’t the Butcher era. The days of Leroy are gone. I don’t agree with everything Dean does tactically in his role as head coach. But I support this club come thick or thin. I’m well pleased with another point in what were really tricky circumstances.

At the same time, I’ll never admit that last night was any form of classic. It wasn’t. It was a game that shows just how tough this league can be. It was game where we eventually got what, on balance, we deserved through grit and determination.

Saturday will be another tough challenge, no doubt. But with Middlesbrough losing at home last night (0-1 to Norwich City) is there a chink in their armour we can exploit?

Roll on the weekend when we find out.

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Matthew says his piece on Twitter at full time

Nick Bruzon

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Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Where’s Billy when you need him?

1 Dec

Brentford head into Saturday’s game with Norwich City on the back of three successive defeats and only one win out of the last 8 games. That recent hat-trick of ’nil points’ against Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City has only intensified scrutiny on Dean Smith with supporters starting to ask where the next win is going to come from. This is probably not how Dean envisaged his one year anniversary at Griffin Park (which the club announced on Twitter yesterday) and so it will be very interesting to hear what the press ask him today.

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Dean Smith at the start of this season

Here’s hoping they ask some hard hitting questions, for once. Less money for old rope and more action would be nice. With the king of gentle probing Billy Reeves currently out of action until the end of the year, there’s been nobody to really step up and fill his boots in recent weeks.

Ahh, Billy. The deadly assassin. Practiced in the dark art of asking that killer ‘to the point’ question, albeit delivered in the most charming and almost apologetic of styles, I’d love to know what he would put to Dean at the moment in regards to the current run and his approach to the game with Norwich City. Can anybody pick up the gauntlet?

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So Uwe. Stevenage…..?

Nobody could pretend we’re not displaying anti-form at the moment, certainly result wise. Is it as simple as just needing that little twist of fate; for something to go our way? Certainly we had the lion’s share of possession and chances against Birmingham – just couldn’t quite put more than one of them away for well documented reasons. Or is it more down to his team selection and substitution strategy  – the later of which has seemed dreadfully late, reactive and decided using a roulette wheel in recent weeks?

Being more down to earth, are the team just finding their level in the Championship this season? We’ve been wonderful at times; awful at others. The table doesn’t lie and so he (and we) can have no complaints with 16th based on what we’ve seen. The questions are now – Dean, what are you going to do about it? When are we next going to win a game?

I saw a comment on Twitter last night in regards to the aforementioned one year anniversary. Official highlighted his win ratio and a reply was posted comparing him to previous managers.

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Whilst not strictly true – who could forget the Marinus experiment – further investigation via the medium of our most recent result records at Soccerbase.com has revealed this isn’t too far off the mark. Looking at managers who have been in charge over the last 10 calendar years – so starting with Martin Allen who left at the end of the 2005/06 season – the ranking for all those occupying in the Griffin Park hot seat, including caretakers  is as follows :

51.28%  Mark Warburton (41 wins out of 78 games)

50% Lee Carsley (5 out of 10)

43.79 % Uwe Rösler (60 out of 137)

43.55% Martin Allen (54 out of 124)

42.85% Nicky Forster (9 out of 21)

38.1% Andy Scott (64 out of 168)

36.73% Dean Smith (18 out of 49)

25% Barry Quinn (1 out of 4)

22.22 % Marinus Dijkhuizen (2 out of 9)

21.74% Terry Butcher (5 out of 23)

16.67% Scott Fitzgerald (4 out of 24)

13.04% Leroy Rosenior (3 out of 23)

0% Alan Kernaghan (0 out of 1)

So no surprises up at the top and one which will no doubt have many asking the eternal question – why? That’s been and done. Much like Jota, Stuart Dallas, Moses Odubajo, Andre Gray, James Tarkowski (well perhaps not) et al, crying over it isn’t going to bring him, or any former fan favourite back to Griffin Park . Is it?

Besides, I’m more interested in the ‘here and now’. Discussing the win ratios with one New Road observer last night, he has pointed out something which stacks up far more interestingly than overall career percentages. Recent form. Look at the result records in Marinus’ last 9 games and Dean’s most recent over the same period…..

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Marinus form

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Dean Smith form

Matthew Benham doesn’t strike me as the trigger happy sort so those calling for a change (there are some, apparently) would probably be better putting their energies elsewhere.  From what we’ve been told, the Marinus experiment ended because of more than just results. Yet at the same time those of us on the sidelines only have results to go on. And at present they aren’t great.

If Dean was ever going to give an invigorating press conference, then today would be a good day. If Brentford were ever going to get back to wining ways, then Saturday against a Norwich City team whose current form read: LLLLL, would be the perfect time.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Come on Dean – let’s see what you’ve got.

Come on you Beeeeesss!!

Nick Bruzon

 

We go again, again. Again.

20 Mar

Anybody else bored of this drivel? (😉). Wow. That was frustratingly grim. Fair play to 10 man Blackburn Rovers for taking their chance and winning the game but Brentford are now, officially, in trouble after head(less?) coach Dean Smith was forced to admit we were in a relegation battle. A 1-0 win for the visitors, following a late strike from Shane Duffy, made it 7(seven) losses from 8 for the Bees and sees us down to 18th – just six points off the relegation places.

This is a relegation scrap, isn’t it?” asked BBC Billy Reeves in a post match interview that you can hear in full here. With Brentford now in to 33/1 to go down from 150/1 last weekend, Dean had no choice but to acknowledge : “It is at the moment, because we can’t seem to find a win even when we’re well on top in games and teams are down to ten men“.

There is now a break of two weeks until we go again and that will be a long time for us all to sweat on where the next points are going to come from. Yet again, we were party to a demonstration that holding on to the ball counts for nothing. Despite seeing 66% possession and having a man advantage for over a third of the game following the dismissal of Grant Hanley for a second bookable offence, Brentford failed to find the back of the net. Again.

Blackburn offered little yet despite plenty of grunt and teasing around the edge of the box, there was a distinct lack of penetration from the Bees. A couple of shots from distance aside, Alan Judge coming closest at the death, we were impotent. We should have taken advantage and, certainly, still had enough class players out there but we failed again. Instead, there were too many individuals playing for themself rather than trying the pass to release a team mate.

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View from the Braemar – Alan Judge had our closest effort once more

So is it the managerial/coaching set up or the players? Has the loss of Jota, Tarkowski and Toumani been the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why can’t we look like being even close to troubling a goalkeeper on any more than an occasional basis? Is Dean Smith displaying inspirational skills learned at the Leroy Rosenior school of motivational management? Or is something else going on behind the scenes to upset the vibe?

I wish I knew the answers but something isn’t right. Lee Carsley had the vast majority of these players firing on all cylinders during his brief stint at the helm but yesterday was yet another damp squib. The only positive to be taken out of it was the return to action of Scott Hogan who received a heroes ovation, coming on to the pitch for the final quarter hour.

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He’s back !!

John Swift missed proceedings, something that Dean confirmed to Billy was down to the player’s inappropriate use of social media the day before.

Whilst he hadn’t been due to start, the England U-21’s decision to post a somewhat questionable meme saw him axed even from the bench. Featuring what Billy described as, “A picture of a smiling hipster” you can understand why some people might have been upset.

And just to be clear, that’s due to the wording rather than mention of hipsters or just choosing to use a meme – the lowest of all art forms. Then again, I still cringe over Brentford ‘official’s’ Obama dig at Fulham last season. Let’s hope that won’t come back to haunt us.

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No excuse for hipsters or memes, regardless of content

Coming in a week that has seen the players stage their own meeting and the reaction to the QPR debacle described as “Phenomenal” (maybe, in retrospect, we need to revisit the dictionary) this was a disciplinary decision Dean could have done without. Swift of all players probably had to prove a few doubters wrong after the QPR no show. Yet despite this midweek positivity in the squad that we’d been told about, the player has put himself in a position where Dean has felt compelled to show who wears the trousers.

Brentford official would later describe the result as Blackburn stealing the points. As one Braemar road debutant would later put it, “How do you steal if it’s a gift?”

It was a tame surrender of an advantageous position and is fast leaving Dean Smith with a worse record than Atomic Kitten’s Greatest Hits.

And I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

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We were robbed. Sure

Nick Bruzon

Can we learn anything from these stats?

15 Mar

No irony was lost as strikers Bradley Clayton and Scott Hogan turned out for the Brentford development squad against QPR on Monday. With Blackburn Rovers up next, was this a message? And, if so, from who to who?

I still don’t understand Dean Smith’s logic in starting our Championship game against QPR with no recognised striker but Flemming Pedersen certainly put his front men through their paces yesterday. In a 0-0 where the Bees were reported to have had the vast majority of the action, I’d imagine he’ll have felt slightly disappointed to come away without the win.

That said, a full game for Bradley and 75 minutes for Scott can only be seen as a positive. Was this with a view to one of them stepping up to the first team squad for the visit of Blackburn Rovers? Or have the likes of Lasse Vibe and Marco Djuricin now learned whatever lesson Dean Smith was trying to teach them?

Personally, I’m still not sure what he hoped to achieve or what that lesson was. This, despite the ‘explanation’ offered in the post match press conferences.

Given the current ‘form’ (as much a breach of trades descriptions as the previously used term, ‘explanation’) I hope Dean is able to return is to some type of normality. Whatever that is.

One New Road observer has shared the following graphic with me to illustrate the reversal of fortune we currently find ourselves experiencing . Points earned in our previous managers’ last ten games.

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Point for point, both Terry Butcher and even Marinus (yes, you read that correctly), are showing as having inspired their teams to have out scored our current set up. The latter achieving this in a game less, given he was dismissed after a mere 9 Championship fixtures.

Being honest, I have had to call this graphic into question a little. If for no other reason than was Leroy’s record really as good as 3 points from 30? Those who sat through the sad end to his time at Griffin Park would probably dispute we even did that well.

But no, he swears it’s the genuine article and, frankly, I’m too lazy to trawl back through the record books and tick back through a catalogue of, mostly, doom and gloom.

Either way, it doesn’t make great reading and just shows to highlight our current predicament of sliding the wrong way down the table. 7(seven) points off relegation, surely that gap is too big to consider. Certainly the bookmakers think so, seeing us as 100-1 to suffer that fate despite the ignominy of the reverse at Loftus Road.

With a game in hand on the teams below us, who only have 9 left to play, it would need a pretty disastrous swing. Albeit one that is mathematically possible. But with Charlton and Rotherham both finding their form these last few games, and the Bees still to play 6 of those in that basement region, let’s not get complacent. A morale boosting win at home to Blackburn on Saturday will be just what the doctor ordered.

After season after season of good results, we had to hit a bump in the road eventually. Life isn’t always easy. Likewise, please don’t anybody take this as me calling for a return to the Dijkhuizen or Butcher eras.

I’m sure Dean would love to be able to picture a scene where things were that comfortable he could put his feet up, watch Natalie Sawyer read out the scores and relax as the results roll in whilst nibbling on a slice of cranberry and orange cake. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Instead we and he are just going to have to, dare I say it, “go again”. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and maybe wear a heart on them. Both at the training ground and then against Blackburn this weekend. The points will come – I’d just be a lot happier if it was sooner than later.

Nick Bruzon

No prizes for ‘unlucky’ but at least we won the possession

13 Jan

Well, you can talk about “unlucky” and “on another night “ all you want but the simple fact is that Middlesbrough left Griffin Park with all 3 points after beating Brentford 1-0. It may well have been against the run of play in a game where, especially in the first twenty minutes, we dominated but if ever there was a lesson to be learned about taking your chances when they arise then here it was. And with free scoring Burnley due to visit on Friday night, let’s hope it is one that we learn fast.

Brentford played very, very well for large parts of this game despite the best efforts of referee Gavin Ward. The aforementioned opening salvo saw a performance that was world’s apart from the debacle in the FA Cup. Lasse Vibe, especially, started at 100mph as first he set up Alan Judge for a shot that drifted just wide before finding himself clean through moments later. With defenders closing and Boro’ keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos on inspired form, as ever, the chance was pushed away for one of the 11 corners we earned.

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Hands off Toumani….. Boro’ defend another corner

The returning Sam Saunders saw Dimi manage to get to a dipping first half free kick whilst Harlee Dean and Max Colin (my standout player from last night) also came close for the Bees. Yet despite these wonderful chances and a final figure of 60% possession if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net then you don’t win football matches.

Middlesbrough were solid and well organised. Perhaps you could even say they were cynical at times but they did what they needed to. On a blustery evening they soaked us up, rode their luck a bit yet, with the scores still at 0-0, when the chance presented itself on the hour they put it away. Or, rather, we did.

David Button, for so long this season the man who has kept us in games, saw an attempted punch spin off his gloves, over his head and, despite the claims of Daniel Ayala, straight through a melee of players and over the line. It was, to be polite, a frustrating moment and I’m not going to start criticising our ‘keeper – far from it. He’s been a hero this season and we play as a team.To be honest, the game should have been closed out by that point.

Instead, Middlesbrough did what they do – lock things down and win games. In tricky conditions, a long way from home, they made it 6 wins in 16 months against The Bees.

I’m not going to pander to our team and say “unlucky”. This was a wonderful chance to beat the league leaders and close in on play-off rivals. Instead, they’ve got away with the points once more and the gap to sixth is now eight points. From a table perspective, the only consolation is that at least positions 4-6 are really tightening up. But, being honest, I think we’re now in a place where unless we start winning very fast indeed, consolidation is the best this side can hope for this time around.

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The BBC table shows the current state of play

That’s still no bad thing and moreso given the start to the campaign we had. People have huge expectation levels and forget how far we’ve come over the last few seasons. Likewise, how mediocre things have been in the past. Ladies and gentlemen, before Marinus I give you Terry Butcher, Leroy Rosenior and even the sad end to the Andy Scott era – just for starters.

Yet at the same time, we were spoiled by what the squad achieved last season and just how close we came to the top flight. For a brief moment, ‘automatic’ was looking very much a possibility and, even then, we still got a second bite as we hit the play-offs on that stunning final day of the season.

Seeing Andre Gray scoring goals for fun this season up at Burnley (and, indeed, the brace he managed for us under Marinus) does show just what this team have been missing in recent weeks. You can’t knock Lasse Vibe’s effort, or goals, but target man isn’t his natural position. The return to fitness of Marco Djuricin can only be a good thing for a team whose record is now just two wins in eight games.

Only Derby, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and, erm, Fulham have scored more goals than us all season and so I’m sure you’ll hear the statisticians and coaches saying we’re looking quite healthy in that position. Well, the last five games have only seen us trouble the scorers three times – and two of those were the wonder goals from Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos at Reading. Incredible strikes, for sure, but not the sort of thing you can rely on week in, week out.

Were we unlucky last night? Yes. We played very well with Sam Saunders providing a welcome burst of fresh air and enthusiasm whilst Max Colin really impressed.

Should we have won? Probably. Judge and Vibe had the best of some good chances for Brentford.

Did Middlesbrough deserve it? It’s irrelevant. When the chance arose, we were pressured into conceding and they didn’t let us back in despite the Bees having seen the majority of the ball  by full time.

Goals win football matches, people. Regardless of who you are playing or how it gets into the back of the net.

Roll on Friday, when Burnley await. They warmed up with a 5-0 humping of MK Dons last night. Then again, if Brentford start like we did on Tuesday evening it could be an interesting one…

Nick Bruzon

Sparkly boots, club records and poison chalices – a brief history of (recent) time

21 Oct

Brentford take on Wolves at Molineux tonight. That’s the simple fact but to supporters there’s so much more to it. Over the last few seasons, games against Wolves have been at the forefront of those that Brentford fans have been looking forward to as the stand outs on the fixture list.

Wolves, of course, are a club with a huge fanbase, a cracking stadium and a great reputation. It is the sort of set up most teams could only aspire to yet, if we are being honest, they haven’t always lived up to that reputation on the pitch. No moreso than back in 2013/14 when they found themselves alongside Brentford in League One.

That, of course, the season that we finally escaped the lower tiers with a club record 94 points and went on that humungous unbeaten midseason run. One which was, of all teams, ended by Wolves at Griffin Park as they made no mistake when it counted – running out 3-0 victors in February’s top of the table clash. Whilst our two teams stayed neck and neck for most of the campaign, their class eventually showed and they deservedly scooped the title with a staggering 104 points.

Even then, they still played key role in our promotion. A 6-4 victory (only one short of doing it with brackets- I’d have probably self-combusted at 7(seven)) over Rotherham meaning that Steve Evans team would be unable to catch us in third place. At the same time, ensuring that the post Preston pitch invasion hadn’t been a somewhat premature and embarrassing one.

Confirmation of Wolves beating Rotherham saw us officially promoted after our own win over Preston

Confirmation of Wolves beating Rotherham saw us officially promoted from League One

That said, prior to and even during the early part of that season, there were a lot of sneering and arrogant comments from a small part of the opposition support. That’s football but the simple fact was that whatever their past and size, Wolves were playing the likes of Brentford for a good reason – they hadn’t been good enough so had suffered successive relegation.

If we are being equally honest, a massive respect seemed to grow between our two clubs. Nobody was stupid enough to pretend that, historically, Wolves aren’t one of English football’s bigger teams. Indeed, their most recent stint in the top flight had only ended in 2011/12 after three seasons. Yet on the pitch we were going neck and neck.

Then, last season, it all went bonkers. After a slow start to Championship life, Mark Warburton’s Bees hit overdrive and a 4-0 thumping of Wolves at Griffin Park was enough to take us up to third place aswell as securing him the poison chalice of ‘Manager of the Month’ . It was a game played in a stunning atmosphere – before, during and after – and one which more than lived up to the hype that surrounded Bakary Sako’s crystal encrusted golden boots.

Bakary Sako's boots failed to sparkle

Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Former Bees boss Leroy Rosenior nailed things on the BBC Football League Show later that evening when discussing the game with Manish. He mentioned that a supporter had approached him the previous weekend saying, “Leroy, who would have thought we’d be beating Fulham at home, be challenging for a place in the Premier League, have a new stadium around the corner after you managed us.”

As Manish commented, “The only way was up from there”.

Whilst the reverse encounter saw Wolves run out 2-1 winners the following month, both sides kept their form despite tough fixtures and (for us) the frustration of Village-gate. Indeed, that crazy final day of the season that saw Derby and Ipswich self-destruct, allowed Brentford into the play-offs whilst, at one point in the afternoon, the results were also going Wolves’ way. In the end, they finished 7th(seventh), missing out on goal difference. However, for both our teams it had been one of the most exciting seasons on record, given the chance to test ourselves at a higher level.

Coming bang up to date, Brentford haven’t had the brightest of starts for reasons that have been well documented on these pages already. That said, victory on Saturday at home to Rotherham United sees us only four points behind a Wolves team who currently occupy 12th place. And with our own trip to hapless Charlton on Saturday, victory tonight would be a priceless one in reigniting our own campaign.

Can we do it? Despite all the good form over our recent campaigns, the Bees have only picked up one point and one goal from Molineux whilst we’ve been trading blows. Those two seasons may have had more incidents than some club’s entire histories but we have found the away trip a tough one

Then again, will the pressure of expectation show on a home side who got humped 4-2 at the weekend and have lost over a third of their league games already? Being honest, I’d take the draw. Being realistic, I haven’t got a clue which way this one is going to go.

At 7.45pm, we find out.

Alan Judge got both goals on Saturday. Can he keep up that strike rate?

Alan Judge got both goals on Saturday. Can he keep up that strike rate?

Nick Bruzon

Who’s looking shaky as Bees host Rotherham United?

17 Oct

Finally. League football is back as Brentford welcome Rotherham United to Griffin Park for a league game that sees the visitors with a new man in the managerial hotseat. Neil Redfearn, of course, replacing the now departed Steve Evans despite everybody’s favourite manager having won in his last two games prior to his and the club’s ‘parting of the way’.

That’s football. Evans leaves a big void to fill, no more so than on these pages where the regular reader will be aware of the admiration felt towards him as our paths have crossed over the last two seasons (please note: my definition of admiration may vary from yours).

Evans - gone but not forgotten (much like how-old

Evans – gone but not forgotten (much like how-old.net)

Whilst I’ll miss his press conferences and a level of sour grapes not seen this side of a bottle of past-its-sell-by date liebfraumilch, Rotherham have replaced him with Neil Redfearn who seemed to be doing a great job at Leeds United. That, until crackpot owner Massimo Cellino decided he was ‘weak’ and ‘a baby’. Still, Leeds’ loss is the Millers’ gain and today won’t be easy.

The flipside, of course, being that in Lee Carsley we have a head coach who has been with these players all season and has already had two games in charge. Whilst we won’t overly dwell on the results against Birmingham City and Derby County (a), the noises coming out of the Bees’ camp have been a lot more positive this week.

Putting to one side the (albeit beautifully shot) video from the Griffin Park ministry of propaganda, what has been encouraging has been Lee’s talk about a step up of intensity and purpose on the training ground. Likewise, a heightened feeling of togetherness and determined attitude amongst the squad.

Why this was missing in the first place one can only speculate. However, what has happened has happened and we have plenty of time left to make a really decent season. Lee’s comments on the club site certainly press all the right buttons but, as ever, it is what happens at 3pm that counts. Let’s hope we are now in a better place for that challenge.

Lee Carsley hit all the right notes at the club press conference

Lee Carsley hit all the right notes at the club press conference

As for his selection, I’m keen to see what, if any, changes are (or can be, given injuries) made. There’s no doubting the potential of our players – it’s more what Lee can get out of them that Marinus and Roy were, seemingly, unable to do. Moving the ball forward and taking some shots would be a good start.

Still, Lee isn’t the only one with a selection poser. The club’s cringeworthy use of Twitter hashtags has been a regular subject of discussion on these pages (although it was nice to see Bournemouth join us yesterday). That said, credit where it is due and I’m loving their #BeeTheDJ campaign as supporters are given the opportunity to pick the pre-match music at Griffin Park.

It’s still not too late to put your selections forward in a feature that shows how the club, when it tries, can embrace social media and fans perfectly. A selection of great songs and our own supporters’ sense of humour are already on show.

That said, there’s no irony about my own selection. I love a bit of the Quo (the fecal Marguerita Time aside – sorry Rhino) and Down, Down is their finest four minutes. Indeed, alongside Merry Christmas, Everyone (Shakin’ Stevens) I’d easily rank it in the top five UK hit singles of all time.

Although much as I love it, even I’m not stupid enough to think we’d play a Christmas song in October.

#BeeTheDJ . If you don't ask…..

#BeeTheDJ . If you don’t ask…..

Nick Bruzon

Bees PR team does it again as confusion follows confusion

30 Sep

When it comes to managerial PR, Brentford are top of the league. There can’t be many who still don’t look back on last season’s Villagegate affair, which eventually saw Mark Warburton swap the English Championship for the Scottish and Glasgow Rangers, with nothing but frustration. Yet we seem to have done it again after a lacklustre performance against Birmingham City.

Having gone down the course of the ‘new model’, Marinus Dijkhuizen was replaced after just 8 league games for reasons which have still not been made clear. Beyond a statement saying that we have ‘parted company’, nothing else of any substance has been forthcoming in the statements from either Brentford ‘official’ or Chairman Cliff Crown. Matthew Benham meanwhile, normally quite vocal in social media, has been keeping a very low profile.

That said, Lee Carsley was immediately installed as the replacement head coach in a flurry of positivity with those same club sources telling us why he was THE right man for this role. Which begs the question as to why he is then being quoted as saying what he is alleged to have done following the no-show against Birmingham City.

Jacob Murtagh has published a series of comments attributed to Lee on Twitter after the game, the most surprising of which is the admission that he doesn’t want the role and it isn’t something he “put his his hand up for”.

Jacob Murtagh's series of Carsley quotes

Jacob Murtagh’s series of Carsley quotes

As a means of motivating players and galvanising fans, its up there with installing a Leroy Rosenior and Terry Butcher double as a joint managerial team.

Naïve? Taken out of context? Or a genuine desire not to be involved in a role for which we are being told he is going to be occupying until the end of this season. Whatever the explanation, and this isn’t a rant agasint Lee – far from it; you can’t BUT admire his honesty – I just hope somebody comes out and makes a statement to shed further light on the whole situation.

By Lee’s own admission we were “flat, quiet, predictable”. With the team struggling, we need some positivity about the place. Fans were confused enough about the whole Warburton / Rangers scenario although many of us have had the trust to see how the new era will play out. I still want to – you surely don’t embark on a path of this nature to turn around so quickly.

That said, if Lee is indeed to be the man to keep us out of a relegation dogfight – and based on the first 9 games (yes, I know its one short of the 10 I normally stand by, but use the cup result against Oxford if you need double figures) that’s what we are heading for – then please come out and give us some full and positive updates. For everybody’s sakes.

Lee talks to Beesplayer after the game

Lee talks to Beesplayer after the game

There’s nothing worse for morale than angry supporters, arguing amongst each other and airing our dirty laundry in public. They’ve got an absolute right to feel frustrated and these sort of follow up comments from the broader club team aren’t going to help matters any.

We are where we are. This squad still has far too much quality, especially on the treatment table (where the likes of Jota and Josh McEachran are getting closer to a return), to consider this season a write off. But we need to start showing it.

Being honest, I think we are now in for a tough few weeks. I just hope our management come out with some more robust comms about the last few days and, equally, the future.

Nobody likes uncertainty – moreso when the fate of the team we love and club we support is so far outside of our control.If only the fans’ forum had taken place three or four days later but now that chance for clarity has vanished as quickly as Marinus.

Come on Bees top brass. Please, see if you can say the right thing.

Nick Bruzon

Is a draw enough with just two games left?

19 Apr

Well, that was all a bit of an anti-climax. After Ipswich Town and Wolves had shared the points with a 1-1 in the lunchtime game, and Derby County were doing their best to lose at Huddersfield (eventually getting a 4-4 draw), Brentford had an excellent chance to close the gap in the play off race. Instead, it ended up 2-2 as Bolton Wanderers were let back into the game via a defensive faux pas to match any of those we’ve seen this season.

Warbs would later describe this as, “A mistake, simple as that”, but what a howler…

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.

Bolton shirts - penalty area 51?

Bolton shirts – penalty area 51?

View from the terrace - Judge went close with a free kick before providing the assist (on both goals)

View from the terrace – Judge went close with a free kick before providing the assist (on both goals)

Set your watch by those sixtieth minute subs (although 66 is the most popular)

Set your watch by those sixtieth minute subs (although 66 is the most popular)

BBC viewers saw Clem at Ashton Gate for another draw

BBC viewers saw Clem at Ashton Gate for another draw

After the storm, some reflection

22 Mar

Talking in the pub last night and looking around cyberspace this morning it would be fair to say I wasn’t alone in ‘The Last Word’ assessment of Brentford, following the 2-2 draw with Millwall. Equally, having shot from the hip and now having had the benefit of sleeping on it, can we take any positives or even just reassess a column written in the heat of the moment?

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.

Buzette - now head and shoulders above Buzz

Buzette – now head and (almost) shoulders above Buzz

Clem - another game, another draw

Clem – another game, another draw