Tag Archives: Lionel Messi

Kit news? Some news? Natalie aces the World Cup podcast and YOUR chance to shape Lionel Road.

9 Jun

Saturday morning. Something’s happening. For any Brentford fans up early then 9am is the time; the official website is the place. But what is it? What’s happening? Is it kit or a new player? Please be kit. For those England, Denmark fans (and beyond) we’ve a double World Cup latest for anybody wanting something a little bit different to the usual ‘fantasy football’ and podcasts. And there is stadium news as the Lionel Road plans continue to take shape.

First up, Twitter. Fan engagement manager Ryan Murrant set tongues wagging on Friday morning when he casually dropped the bombshell, “Oh and kit news is coming real soon…” into our social media feed.

What??? Where? When? Real. Soon. Define either/both. Please. The response was a GIF. Not quite meme levels of social media offences but acceptable enough if it gives this obsessive a kit related clue. But what does a calendar rushing through the early days of June mean?

Will that be when we our given our first snippet? The start of Mark Devlin’s now traditional strip tease routine. Or is it a full reveal? Will the point that the GIF stopped looping around (the 10th/11th seemingly the last clear dates) prove significant? Is that when we’re given the news, whatever that is, or did Ryan’s graphic just signify a broader date of ‘June’?

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Was he talking about Leicester City (given Brentford weren’t, actually, mentioned). Might it be the addition of Kit Symons to the coaching staff, as one Twitter wag noted. As yours truly over-analyses his tweet in a desperate search for clues one thing’s for sure –  with other clubs now in full sarotial flow, our own news can’t come quick enough.

I woke up this morning (du du du du duhhh) to more twitter news. This time from Brentford official. A late night tease and a Matthew Benham style video with the promise of even more news. Has Ryan’s news been usurped? Is this something different? Just what is going on? One things for sure, 9am Saturday morning promises to see our computer logged on to brentfordfc.com

Sitting here writing this nonsense I’m being kept going by Bees super fan Natalie Sawyer. Metaphorically speaking. With Russia 2018 almost upon us, The Times have launched their own tournament podcast, The Game World Cup daily.

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 08.12.40We all know Natalie’s talent when it comes to hosting, presenting, chairing and talking football in general. Likewise, what happened in the last few months.

Supported by an extremely knowledgeable panel of Gab Marcotti, Henry Winter and James Gheerbrant, it’s a compelling listen. There are the views on what to expect from Russia as a host nation – especially for the England fans. The hopes and chances of the more favoured teams. Who will get through the knockout phases? What about England? Brazil? Germany? Lionel Messi and his Argentina side? Have Belgium under prepared or are they simply untested? Dark horses that nobody can get a proper read of?

With the promise of a new episode to come every matchday evening after the final whistle has blown, the opening preview has me hooked. I love the World Cup anyway but this additional insight is a very welcome partner to my Panini sticker book and wallchart. With Sky Sports loss very much The Times gain, bring on the next episode. You can find it here. Great job, Natalie. And team.

Next up, predictions. We’re all experts when it comes to calling the games. Obviously. The only reason I’m not a betting millionaire is because I only use the internet gambling sites for research purposes. That, and the prospect of being lured in by Ray Winstone’s disembodied head, responsibly or otherwise, is as distasteful a thought as a night out with Mrs Brown and her boys (I would also accept: The England supporters’ band).

Yet hope is at hand. Hashfootery is back. The simple prediction game where the most you can lose is your sanity as you try to predict the scores of group games and beyond. The most you can win, the acclaim aside, are some quite magnificent beer glasses.

But its not about the prizes. Its about the chance to demonstrate what we know about football – albeit I’ll take any guidance Natalie and her team can offer. If you fancy a go then you can enter here for free.

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Enter today and win a prize (stickers not included)

Getting back to Brentford, did you see the Lionel Road news on the official site yesterday? YOUR chance to be involved in the stadium planning committee and help shape our future home. This is incredible. Having sat in on some of the meetings already, I can’t stress how involved the club are looking to make this. How much of a supporter driven effort this is becoming.

Yet with everything from Farewell to Griffin Park, through ticketing, seating and even things such as catering up for discussion – you must have athought on one of these? Surely? If so then ‘official’ have all the details of how fans can get involved.

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Lionel Road is well under way

And finally, I just wanted to offer a HUGE thanks to all those who have downloaded one of the season review e-books to date. With all proceeds raised going towards the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, I can’t say how grateful I am to our fans. Don’t forget also that if you do this before the end of June, I’ll put you into the draw to win this exclusive ‘third’ shirt – just DM / tweet me your download confirmation mail so as I can add your name.

Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Pinch yourself at just how far we have come in such a short space of time

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Nick Bruzon

Bring it on. West London’s biggest game in years has more than just a result to play for.

19 Feb

Tuesday night in West London and there’s one of the biggest football showdowns to have been seen in years. Whilst the casual observer might think its all about Chelsea v Barcelona in the Champion’s League, they’d be wrong. Of Course. Instead, we’ve the quite delicious treat of Brentford v Birmingham City. More importantly, the return of not just Maxime Colin, not just Jota (the real one rather than the Wolves version) but also former skipper Harlee Dean. Forget Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi visiting Stamford Bridge. The emotional significance of this trio returning, along with the circumstances of their deadline day departure, have been lost on nobody.

Jota team Rotherham

We felt the same way too

“The football industry is a volatile one and I think my departure was the best move for all concerned” Not my words but those of Jota upon his £6.8million (allegedly) sale to the St. Andrews outfit.

“We’ve got quality in that squad. I’ve been in teams where we’ve finished fifth in this league and missed out on promotion by play offs. And this squad is ten times better than that. Its just about getting the balance right.” Not my words but those of Harlee Dean after a Birmingham supporter’s ‘Blues Cruise’ back in late October.

We all know the scoop. On the one hand, a Brentford squad containing the likes of: David Button, Jake Bidwell, Number 26, Nico Yennaris, Sam Saunders, Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas, Alan Judge, Jon Toral, Jota, Alex Pritchard, Andre Gray, Scott Hogan. That’s before you add the experience provided by the likes of Dougie, Macca, King Kev and Toumani.

On the other, a Birmingham City squad who are now just 2 points outside the relegation zone and 17 (seventeen, why not) behind Brentford. A win for the Bees will put us 20 clear. That’s twice ten times better. What better incentive could there be for us to really go for it?

Whatever happened back in the summer has happened. I can’t deny any less how I felt back then although how great to see how the Bees have gone on to bigger and better things. The squad has come together in the most wonderful way to stick a metaphorical two fingers up to the Midlanders. Yet at the same time, I can’t forget the wonder of Jota at his very best.

Those goals against Derby. Against QPR. Leaving Jake Bidwell flat on his backside. The infamous Burridgegasm at Blackburn. Even if those memories do still feel slightly tarnished for now, you can’t deny how, on his day, Jota was just about the most skillful and exciting player many of us ever had the privilege of watching.  Name me somebody who wouldn’t want him or Maxime in the squad and I’ll show you a liar.

Mark Burridge and Jota’s infamous moment

As for Harlee, I feel for him. Genuinely. What a way to shoot yourself in the foot with that ill-fated quote. What a way to make Dean Smith’s team talk the simplest he’ll ever need to give. What a way to wind up the crowd.

Despite the red cards, ad-hoc positional awareness and own goals, you can’t deny Harlee was Brentford through and through. He gave his all. Not just on the pitch but off it, too, where he was so famously an unsung hero after a car accident outside Griffin Park. Where he was a total hero to my son and always made time to chat with the young fans. Try explaining to a four year old why his idol has left to join ‘the naughty team’.

HB Harlee and Dan

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

He was there as we held the Champions of Europe, Chelsea, in the FA Cup. It was Harlee who scored at Wembley in the play-off final against Yeovil following ‘that penalty’. He was the man to help shore up the ten man Bees at Leyton Orient the day we celebrated like we’d won the FA Cup. He was a Championship regular – almost pulling off an unlikely ascension to the Premier League and eventually showed his true potential ending last season as our Player of the Year.

Then he opened his mouth and, with it, undid all the positivity with a moment as significant in our history as Martin Rowlands ‘kissing the badge’.

No doubt, he’ll have a point to prove. No doubt, so will we. Expect it to be lively. Very. Expect the songs to be loud. Expect the Terrace wags to have their fill on #BeeTheDJ before kick off. And not just for Harlee.  From my perspective, any of the following would be good :

Pink Floyd – Money

The Doors  – Love Me Two Times (although that may need five plays)

Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger

Aerosmith – Big Ten Inch Record

Dusty Springfield – I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten

Herb Alpert  – Spanish Flea

Blake Shelton – Ten Times Crazier

The flipside is that Birmingham City will be as up for it as we are. Their season has reached a place where, with two thirds gone, they are in very real danger of slithering into League One. Of demonstrating that throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily make it go away.

Every point will be vital and they’ll be doing everything possible to get at least one. Picking up all three will necessitate being able to shoot at goal, something they’ve struggled with this campaign. Saturday’s home defeat to Millwall saw them manage just one shot on target whilst, with a mere 22 netbusters, they are the division’s most goal shy team.

So if you haven’t got a ticket yet, what are you waiting for? Sure, Chelsea – Barcelona , in the armchair, might be the comfortable option. It might have some of the World’s biggest names.It might have huge global viewing figures. But it won’t have the passion that this one does and it certainly hasn’t got the sub-plot.

I’ve had this date in the diary for a long, long time. And I can’t wait.

See you there.

Harlee

Nick Bruzon

Barcelona lose the plot as Sam wins Twitter for German Bees

10 Jul

Brentford are in Germany. FC Barcelona have totally lost the plot. Sam Saunders has come out with the all time best ever tweet. Those are pretty much the highlights from a day that saw The Bees travelling to their summer training camp.

As at the time of writing (Sunday 7am), we are still waiting on the first entry from Peter Gilham’s tour diary to bring us up to speed on the latest from the squad. Whilst it’s probably a bit early to expect him to be putting pen to paper, at least there was plenty out there yesterday to keep us updated on social media.

I believe ‘Snapchat’ may have pictures whilst both @BrentfordFC Twitter and the hashtag #GermanyBees are the place for further information and images. Likewise do check the club figures where, amongst others, Kitman Bob has been on his usual prolific form.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have no idea who drives Brentford ‘official’. Is it an individual, a shared responsibility or ‘car keys in a bowl’ to see who gets the password? However, it definitely seems to have been on the up in recent months following some of those earlier dabbles with, what we’ll politely call, dubious hashtags (hopefully the likes of #trophyfriends and #bignewambitions will remain nothing but an odd memory).

Yesterday saw the ‘good’ side of official continue with, amongst other things, a series of photos that surely provide the basis for a caption competition in weeks to come.

This, being my particular favourite – both for the image and the curiosity as to what had elicited such a response.

If anybody has any suggestions/captions then please feel free to add as a comment and we’ll print them tomorrow.

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“I even saw one guess that we’ll be playing in red and white stripes next season”

If Brentford are on good form with Twitter (and hold on Sam Saunders fans, we will get there) it would be fair to say that over in Spain things aren’t going quite so well. The famous terrace chant may once have declared us to be : The Barcelona of the lower leagues but the Catalan Giants seem hellbent on rebranding themselves the Brentford of La Liga. When it comes to hashtags, that is.

With the story of multi-millionaire Lionel Messi being found guilty of tax evasion this week, heavily fined and sentenced to 21 months in jail (a term he will not have to serve ??!) all over the media, Barca have looked to do something to counter the stories and subsequent rumours flying around. However, what they have come out with is something utterly disrespectful to anybody how has ever worked a day in their life (assuming they’ve paid their tax).

Rather than hold up his hands to say, “Sorry, it’s a far cop guv, you’ve got me bang to rights” they’ve gone the other way. Supporters have been asked to show their support by posting a message or photo with both hands open, accompanied by the hashtag : #WeAreAllLeoMessi

I’m not sure what support they expect people to be offering a convicted fraudster. Surely now is the time for a spot of contrition or just lying low? Even the choice of phrase had a rather distasteful similarity to the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ reference that helped people show unity after the January 2015 terrorist attacks in France. When Jimmy Carr suddenly has the moral high ground in the tax evasion stakes then you know things are bad.

Personally, I followed their request to the letter and came up with this.

It wasn’t just me. The response to #We AreAllLeo Messi was almost universally scathing. If you are bored today then do take a look at the hashtag to see the latest. Failing that, here are but a smattering  :

 

All good, but for a Bees related slant this one nails it for me:

And relax.

Oh Sammy Saunders you are the love of my life. Oh Sammy Saunders I’d let you (have relations with) my wife.

Not my words but… Actually, they are my words along with those of close to 10,000 other Brentford supporters in honour of the perma-tanned wing-wizard, swim short magnate and terrace hero. Week in, week out the song is sung to our wonderful number 7 (seven). And rightly so.

So despite all the Barcelona related nonsense on twitter yesterday, it was none other than Sam who pretty much closed the social media network down as any form of contest.

This, when asked for some inspirational words ahead of a supporter’s impending nuptials…

I can’t beat that. Nobody can. We may aswell just give it up now. Peter Gilham has got a tough act following Sam when his tour diary comes out.

Nick Bruzon 

And finally…. :   The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs then  you can do so now.

Its been a wonderful three years. Here’s to more of the same over 2016/17. Thanks, as ever, for reading.

Media team goes bonkers (twice) as ‘new manager’ spotted. Hmmm

21 Apr

That was an interesting day of news. Chelsea legend and former Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is in line to be the next Brentford manager if you believe the Daily Mail whilst the club media team (at both Doncaster Rovers and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, that is) proved they have a sense of humour. Meanwhile, back at Griffin Park

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.

Golden balls but where were the Bees?

13 Jan

My social media time line was nothing but Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the results of the FIFA player of the year, goal of the year and World XI (amongst others) were announced on Monday. Whilst undoubtedly prestigious awards, the accompanying hot air and time taken to string it out was as painful as listening to a Steve Evans post match interview. But nowhere near as funny. Besides, the whole thing was rendered largely meaningless to me by the lack of any Brentford players in contention for selection.

Where was Jonathan Douglas jostling with Ronaldo for the main prize or David Button forcing Manuel Neuer out of the team? Much as Brentford have come on leaps and bounds, we are still some way off being forced to don the dinner jackets and meet Sepp Blatter. Which, given the hype and tedium of all that surrounded this, is probably no bad thing.

Instead , I gave up on it to read about the Creme egg scandal gripping the nation and wonder what will happen, should the club perform their annual ‘programme and confectionery’ promotion for season ticket holders later this season.

Creme eggs - all change at Cadburys

Creme eggs – all change at Cadbury

But catching up this morning on the fall out from the ceremony, I noticed one honour that had got little or no mention at the time, certainly relative to the shootout between Messi, Neuer and Ronaldo – Sepp Blatter’s Presidential award. Rather than being the right to host the World Cup for whoever handed over the biggest bag of cash (because, of course, that would never happen) this rank is, and I quote, “bestowed upon a person or institution that has made a superlative contribution to football without seeking to monopolise the limelight”.

And whilst long serving Peter Gilham was not up for nomination (yet) it went to a 90 year old former Japanese player and current journalist, Hiroshi Kagawa who covered his tenth World Cup finals last year. So modest is Kagawa that, talking about the event, he said “I was sceptical about coming to this ceremony today. But my friends in Japan said I must come – even if only to meet Manuel Neuer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and bring back some autographs”

Does FIFA have a decent heart amidst all the rumours of corruption and self-serving? One can only hope.

 Long serving Kagawa receives his award (no autograph book for Sepp, though) 

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England go a bit Tourjansky. And are Brentford changing their tops?

23 Jun

With England limping out of the World Cup, watching any more of it seems a bit of a hollow exercise. The football over the weekend was very exciting (see: Germany, Ghana, Iran, Argentina, USA and Portugal) with even Algeria – South Korea, hardly the most scintillating prospect in advance, getting the blood pumping.

But these thrills are muted by the fact that every potential upset no longer has a knock on that could impact Roy’s Boys.

I’ve used this before but it is the archetypal example of my favourite analogy, a Timothy Dalton ‘Bond film’. The rest of the crew and cast may be the same, the action and the sound are identical but, ultimately, without the one-liners and raised eyebrow of Roger Moore it all seems to be lacking something.

Like Dalton, the World Cup still has a stunning supporting cast and incredible action but with our team of Victor Tourjanskys gone (and do check him out), it is definitely lacking a safari suit clad bite.

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England are reduced to a Tourjansky-esque cameo role on Tuesday

Brentford wise, things are just as downbeat on the surface. No real news coming out of the club, but rumour central in other sources. With Marcello Trotta, allegedly, no longer in the frame for a return, you may also be surprised to read that, “Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill is targeting highly-rated Brentford striker Will Grigg.”

Not my words (I’d have given him the respect of prefacing them with “Northern Ireland International”) but those of the Bristol Post. You can read the full story here but it would leave us rather short in the ‘striker’ position if we were to accept the supposed bid of £300,000….

Moreso given the talk about Clayton Donaldson being a shoe in to join Birmingham City, now his contract has expired.

I remember a similar situation the last time we escaped ‘tier 3’ to join the Championship back in 1992. Then, goal hero Dean Holdsworth was sold off on the cheap to Wimbledon and we were left with Murray Jones in his place. Ultimately, a packet of Murray mints would have done a better job as, despite a sterling effort, the former Grimsby man failed to find his eye for goal and Gary Blissett was left to do the work of two players.

However, if Brentford clear the decks up top (and it is a big IF – these are only cyber rumours at present) then this time I have a feeling things will be different. We’ve been too long looking to escape this division to then go and throw it all away.

Warbs and Frank McParland have a stunning knack for unearthing talent – just look who has come into the club in the last year or two. I’d hate to lose Clayton but, if it was to happen, then I’m confident that they have somebody lined up.

Now, does anybody have Lionel Messi’s phone number?

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’  – The story of Brentford’s season  2013/14 – amongst other things –  is now available as a digital book . Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle  / digital device

More England & Phil fallout as Messi does his thing

16 Jun

With less domestic stories than the North Korean ‘news at ten’, it’s a good thing we’ve got the World Cup to keep us going. Sunday was dominated by fallout from the England game, Lionel Messi ‘doing his thing’ and Honduras being, what we’ll politely call, ‘cynical in the challenge’.

Everybody has an opinion about the England team, with Wayne Rooney’s positional sense being the main talking point. Given the various tabloid scandals to have dogged him in recent years, the last thing I want to be visualising over my cornflakes is Wayne Rooney’s best position.

The other fallout from the England game was further discussion about the robotic stylings of Phil Neville in the BBC commentary booth. I said my piece on this yesterday but note his own subsequent admission that this was the first game he had ever covered.

It’s one way to unite the country, I suppose, with the criticism of the former Manchester United man being universal. I realise that new talent has to start somewhere, but not in the biggest England game since the last biggest England game. Surely this is what the likes of Iran- Nigeria are for?

I hope it works out for Phil. Genuinely. It’s a poor state of affairs when the BBC can produce somebody who makes Andy Townsend seem vaguely relevant.

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The Phil Neville panini sticker – a limited run???

Back on the pitch, Sunday highlights included Lionel Messi with a wunder-goal for Argentina in their 2-1 win against Bosnia & Herzegovina. I’ll be honest; I only saw this on the Internet today. Another 11pm match was too much for me on a school night. If you saw it live, then well done. Well worth staying up for and you can catch it here, c/o the BBC.

France beat Honduras with the first legitimate use of goal-line technology. My gut reaction was ‘goal’ after Karim Benzema’s effort went in via Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares. Whilst TV seemed to confirm this, not everybody was convinced. Radio 5’s Pat Nevin wasn’t alone in refusing to believe his own eyes and the video.

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Pat Nevin – sticking to his guns on the BBC website

For me, I still say ‘goal’ but the French can count themselves luckier to have escaped largely unscathed. Honduras did their very best to take football back to the dark ages in a performance than reminded me of Zaire ’74 or Cameroon against Argentina (foul wise) in Italia ’90.

Hopefully FIFA will ‘have a word’.

Today’s highlight is the Germany – Portugal clash at 5pm. I can’t wait. Pack your brollies – it’s going to be raining goals.