Tag Archives: loan

Who’s on the move? Who’s in the bath? And is this kit news?

6 Jul

With domestic football having had somewhat of a quiet few months, things have suddenly exploded into life. There’s been more good news for Brentford fans with Scott Hogan looking good in ‘pre-season’ whilst, on the downside, Liverpool have accepted a bid from Norwich for Sergi Canos. Fan favourite Clayton Donaldson has been on tour, and in the bath, with Birmingham City where the St. Andrews club have taken no prisoners when it comes to updating social media. And, there’s been kit news out of Griffin Park……

First up, Scott Hogan. Whilst we all know that he came back from that horrendous injury with a glut of goals at the end of last season, how good to see him on the training ground yesterday. His own Twitter update of “Enjoying my first pre season for a couple of years” said it all, really.

This was accompanied by the picture below, showing the free scoring striker being put through his paces and not, as has been suggested, tripping over a twig. We’ve been there, done that, never again please. Seriously though, this is fantastic news for a player who more than rewarded the faith shown in him by Matthew Benham, Neil Greig and the Bees medical team over the 18 months of his recovery.

Scott Hogan

Scott’s instantgram update

And from one striker to another. Although this time a former one in Clayton Donaldson who is now, of course, plying his trade at Birmingham City. And, just as a side note, are there any professions other than football where one is deemed to “ply his trade”? Answers on postcard, marked ‘ply’.

Whilst the Bees may be at Jersey Road for now, The Blues are currently in Marbella preparing for the forthcoming season. Sadly they don’t have the equivalent of Peter Gilham’s wonderful tour diary (I can’t wait for this year’s edition) but there is the usual montage of pictures. And the unusual.

Specifically one of Clayton who, coincidentally, we were talking about in the warmest terms just a few days ago. Well, now its time to talk about him in the coldest terms (I’ll put the crowbar away). Not literally as, instead, I’ll  leave you with this image of him and Birmingham team mate Jacques Maghoma enjoying  – if that’s the word – three minutes in the ice bath.

Clayton bath

Things I never thought I’d see

This was taken off their Twitter feed pretty sharpish although still exists, for now, on ‘the wall’ . No idea why. It’s just a bit of harmless fun and good to see ‘the other side’ of football. We have an antigravity treadmill and Cryo chamber. Birmingham have weight lifting and bath tubs (all can be found on our respective club ‘wall’ / Twitter accounts) .

Regardless, Clayton remains a legend in my eyes and its always great following what the big man has been up to.

Could Sergi Canos be back at Griffin Park next season? Playing against us? The BBC report that Liverpool have accepted a £2.5 million bid for the Spanish wunderkind. Not from the Bees but a Norwich City side who have just sold Nathan Redmond to Southampton.

Nobody needs me to spell out the threat and the potential that Sergi posesses. The impact he made at Griffin Park whilst on loan from Liverpool was an incredible one whilst I still get a buzz just thinking about ‘that goal’ at Reading. It was incredible to see it live; watching it on repeat does nothing to diminish the quality.

Mark Burridge has another ‘Jota moment’

If this move does play out then I can only wish Sergi well. He only ever showed the utmost enthusiasm on and off pitch when it came to Brentford. Sure, it would be great to see him back in the red and white but, equally, we’ve not done too badly when it comes to shopping ourselves.

And finally, regular readers will be aware of what could discreetly be called ‘a passing interest’ in all things kit related on these pages. Could we about to be given more news as to what the Bees will be wearing next season?

Much like Peter Gilham’s tour diary, Mark Devlin’s annual strip tease is fast becoming one of the most hotly anticipated moments of the summer. Whilst this year’s has taken a touch longer to begin (or is that just the anticipation), the eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted this on ‘official’ twitter yesterday.

I may have to go and borrow Clayton’s ice bath.

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Not my words etc. etc. etc.

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 (especially about Sergi’s time at Griffin Park) 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

Double goal 7(seven). You couldn’t have made that finish up.

8 May

9th. We’ve finished 9th !!  Brentford continued their stunning run to the denouement of season 2015/16 with a 5-1 humbling of Huddersfield Town. In a quite bonkers afternoon that saw Middlesbrough promoted (sorry Brighton fans, genuinely, but ‘manager of the month’ rarely lies) and Burnley crowned as Champions amidst bizarre scene at Charlton, Scott Hogan took his strike rate to something that must be approaching an average of 5 goals a game whilst Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos bid a very fond farewell.

Where do you start from the Huddersfield game, though? For a season that saw Brentford involved in what Dean Smith agreed was a relegation scrap as recently as 19 March, things have taken a turn for the surreal. We’ve scored 24 goals and won 7(seven) out of the last 10 games. Formwise, that puts only Brighton above us. Five more of the goals total coming yesterday to make it 9 for the season against The Terriers alone.

We don’t, generally, do match reports on these pages. The highlights are already doing the rounds and , if you haven’t seen them yet, do take the time to catch up with these. The quality of every goal – from Sergi Canos grabbing the opener on just 21 seconds  – to substitute John Swift blasting the fifth home as we approached full time is to be admired. Lasse Vibe shot home from the edge of the box after a delightful ball from Canos whilst man of the moment Scott Hogan grabbed another two.

Having spent muchh of the last 18 months with his leg in a brace (I’d imagine) how brilliant to see him now grabbing one on pitch. A brace, that is. The opening 64 minutes was the longest we’ve seen Scott in action since the oh-so gradual and carefully managed return from that sickening injury. Having lasted 45 minutes in the previous game (the 3-0 over Fulham) making it as far as the hour allowed Hogan to get the goals which took his total to 7(seven) for the season. Not a bad return !

Sergio Canos also made it 7(seven) for the campaign in what was, barring some form of transfer coup over the summer, his final appearance for the Bees. Surely he will only be Liverpool bound when the next campaign kicks off in August ? Certainly, his twitter feed suggested that this would be the case.

Sergi sign off

If this transpires to be the case then we can all, truly, say we’ve had the pleasure of watching a prodigious talent emerge. I’d love to see Sergi back next time around and, whilst stranger things have happened, can only imagine a place at Anfield will be calling.

His mood was one shared by all the players on social media. After what must have been some horrendous pressure at various points this campaign and some harsh, albeit warranted at times, criticism of the set up the flip side is that when they have been let off the leash it has been an absolute joy to watch.

Rasmus nailed it in the recent video when he noted that a team wins three in a row and you think they’ll never lose again. Certainly, that’s how it has felt.

Lasse and Sam tweet

Lasse wins at Twitter as the squad end in high spirits

Injury has forced a rejig in the midfield with Josh McEachran and John Swift undergoing an enforced rest. Nico has stepped up in style whilst Scott has made his well documented return. KK and Gogia have started to show what ‘the model’ (please note: traditional recruiting is also involved) has suggested whilst even an experienced pro like Sam Saunders has pushed onwards and upwards. With this has come the results.

The only slight disappointment was on Bees Player where the assertion was made of Dean Smith supposedly berating Scott Hogan for not going down in the box but, rather, staying on his feet, with the Bees 1-0 up. I’m all for winning games but I’d much rather we did it by fair means. Let’s hope this was simply a misinterpretation of the conversation rather than a terrible example for any young children who may have been watching etc etc

That said, we won. Handsomely. We’ve finished the season in 9th place which would be an incredible achievement in its own right. Let alone when you factor in the challenges of FFP enforced sales, The Marinus experiment, pitchgate and that quite dreadful start to 2016. I stand by what I said about these things at the time but, equally, who isn’t thrilled at how Brentford have emerged from all of this?

For the record, Fulham and QPR also both recorded  final game victories. As such, although we ended the season as the top side in London outside the Premier League, the lead over our West London rivals remained at a ‘mere’ 14 and 5 points respectively.

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QPR and Fulham could only watch the red and white express

Are we the finished article? No. But I’m not alone in feeling tremendously positive going into the summer break. Given the low points of the season have ben particularly painful, to end it on such a high has left all around Griffin Park with a huge buzz. Who knows just what a fully match fit Scott Hogan will do whilst we have the added advantage of finally saying goodbye to Middlesbrough.

Whether you believe in bogey teams or not (and for somebody who swears by ‘lucky pants’ and the ‘motm curse’, to criticise would be somewhat hypocritical) nobody can deny that in 4 league and 2 play-off encounters since our return to the Championship, Brentford’s record with Boro’ reads:  P: 6  W: 0  D: 0  L: 6 .

For now, it’s time to catch our breath once more. Hey, when we went up to the Championship on that famous day against Preston,  if you’d have been offered 5th and 9th from our first two seasons there wouldn’t have been anybody amongst us who wouldn’t have bitten the hand off to secure that.

I love seeing the Bees do well. I thought that last season was not the “punching above our weight” that so many people claimed but, actually, a wonderful triumph of ability and team spirit based around the infectious warmth of Mark Warburton. We got where we got on merit.

With that well documented parting of the ways, this season was always going to be a tough one. Moreso given the other issues noted above. I stand by my assertion that we could have handled ourselves better off-field, comms wise, but you live and learn. Hindsight is always wonderful.

Something, perhaps, the owners at Charlton Athletic could learn. Amidst understandable  scenes at The Valley, their supporters showed just what they thought of the people in charge. Even ‘official’ twitter had somewhat of a Freudian slip (or sabotage from within the ranks? ) as their campaign came to a sad climax.

Charlton poison 2

Whatever you’ve thought about our lowest points this season, things could have been an awful lot worse. Still, sad though I am for Charlton, their fate lies elsewhere.

For Brentford, we’ve got watching the play-off finals to look forward to and the final Premier league fixtures to see who joins us next season. There’s the new shirt to be released whilst the promise from Kitman Bob that his BBGiveaway will return.

Oh,and there’s been the small matter of Euro 2016 in the summer. Whilst Alan Judge will be missing, could the presence of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane at yesterday’s game have any additional significance? The local press believe he was checking on Town winger Sean Scannell but with Scott scoring those two goals, could there be a surprise call up in the offing?

I’ll leave that thought here……

However, as a final observation, for me (Clive) Twitter user @MrJamie88 nails it in words and pictures better than most could hope to.

Enjoy.

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Do the body and legs match?

Nick Bruzon

Three years on, can anybody get past Sergi?

28 Apr

Yesterday was one of those wonderful days for Brentford fans. Not the fact that it was three years since ‘that’ penalty, although the club did make a point of this (to the minute) on ‘official’ Twitter. More, that Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos has given us another reason to recognise his brilliance as the goal of the season video was released.

First up though (and briefly) it shows how far we’ve come that the crossbar affair can now held up as some sort of anniversary. If not one to be overly celebrated then certainly something that will never be forgotten. That can only be a good thing too because it hadn’t really been mentioned by anybody. Ever. Out of adversity comes triumph and all that.

Certainly the Bees picked themselves up in some style and despite the heartbreaking play-off defeat at ‘The W place’, the rest is history

Nobody particularly needs another discourse from me on the subject. There’s been plenty written already about the subsequent fall out and Brentford’s spectacular surge to the fringes of the Premier League although if you would like to read more etc etc…  (hey, it’s been a while).

No, the main reason for yesterday’s excitement was because it saw the contenders for goal of the season released. And with voting now open, there’s an incredible shortlist for the Sergi Canos v Reading (a) award.

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Bees Player viewers see Sergi celebrate that incredible effort

Yet, yet, yet. Is the winner such a foregone conclusion? Yes, it was a strike that the rewind button (or is it a ‘back arrow’ these days?)  was specifically made for but there are some other wonderful moments in there.

Ryan Woods in the same game was pretty special too whilst you can only admire Lasse Vibe’s acrobatics v MK Dons. How about Marco Djuricin’s quite wonderful control and turn to put himself in a goal scoring position against Preston North End or the unadulterated emotion of his winner agasint the Loftus Road mob?

John Swift hit a beauty against Bolton whilst there’s a fantastic four from Alan Judge. That’s a third of the entire shortlist dedicated to one man alone yet each of them ‘A rated’ class!

That said, as one Ealing Road observer would later note – “It would be nice for Judge not to win an award, just to give him a rest and stop him getting up and down all night.

Can anybody outclass Sergi?

Twelve absolute stunners and whoever does win, there won’t be any complaints. For me (Clive) despite all of this there’s still no getting past Canos. But if you don’t take my word for it (and frankly, why would anybody?) then there are two other tell-tale signs.

First up,  Mark Burridge’s commentary. You’ll find the two Reading goals about four minutes in and, it’s fair to say, our commentator par-excellence has a moment to rival his infamous ‘Burridgegasm‘. The one when Jota scored ’Brentford’s goal of the 21st Century?’ against Blackburn Rovers last season .

Secondly, Sam Saunders. The regular reader may be aware our number 7(seven) is my favourite player. We all have one and, for me, it’s Sam.

In a way I’m glad his run and strike against Leeds United wasn’t on the shortlist. It would have made the vote a much trickier one. For about two seconds.

Yet whilst questioning it’s absence on social media last night, none other than the great man himself popped up to reply that the “celebration was worth it alone” before making the  magnanimous acknowledgement that, “only winner young Sergi

If it’s good enough for the man who has made those wonderful strikes from ’Saunders territory’ his own over the years, then who are we to argue?

Sergi. Better get that speech ready for the awards night.

The master has spoken 

Nick Bruzon

Selection posers for Dean but will there be a Swift return? For Mark.

12 Apr

One can’t over emphasise the importance of Brentford having inflicted such a comprehensive defeat on Ipswich Town over the weekend. Three successive wins also saw another three goal display, following the previous victories over Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest. But, for me (Clive), it was the calibre of the opposition that was just as pleasing this time around.

Make no mistake, Ipswich were still harbouring play-off aspirations. The key word being ‘were’ – it’s safe to say those are dead in the water now. Likewise, it would be equally fair to say we’ve struggled against them since our promotion to the Championship. Two tough draws and that heavy Boxing Day defeat at Griffin Park, where victory would have seen Mark Warburton’s Bees go top of the table, have placed the Tractor Boys close to the Middlesbrough category when it comes to teams we’ve struggled with.

Equally, I’ve heard some naysayers talking about the quality of the opposition prior to that game. Bolton were doomed whilst Nottingham Forest had hit freefall and, even by their own supporters’ admission, put in one of the worst performances seen in that second half.

Brentford Bolton Griffin Park

A handful of Bolton fans were present as Brentford continued their winning run

Hey. As has been said before, you can only beat who is in front of you and we’ve struggled against poor teams in the past. But it does make the next few games – home to Bristol City and Cardiff City – very interesting.

Nobody needs any reminding of what happened to Alan Judge on Saturday. That said, the universal reaction of love and support from the Brentford fans aswell as many from Ipswich – shocked by Luke Hyam’s brutal assault – has provided some small level of comfort. Likewise, you can only have been moved by the philosophical approach and positivity shown in the subsequent statement and photograph that the Judge released.

Being pragmatic, we still have those Bristol and Cardiff games to prepare for and they are going to provide Dean Smith with further selection challenges. Alan would, of course, have been one of the first names on the team sheet but we know that is not going to happen again this season. So what will Dean do?

Konstantin Kerschbaumer, like the rest of his team mates, gave a very well received performance coming off the bench at Portman Road. Does he keep his place? What about Nico Yennaris? He, of course, playing in his new midfield role had scored in those two wins prior to Ipswich before missing that one through illness. Does he walk straight back into the team?

Then, of course, there is John Swift. He probably presents the trickiest of all decisions. Since his and Josh McEachran’s injury enforced absences the team has started to win. And win. Whilst, like Alan, we won’t be seeing Josh again this season, surely John’s gash will have healed sufficiently to allow him to be in contention this Saturday?

Whilst commons sense would suggest he will have to be content with, at best, a place on the bench this Saturday could that also be a longer term thing? Or will he walk straight back into the starting XI ?

Clearly a player admired for his talent and skill, he has come in for equal amounts of criticism for those misplaced passes, getting caught out of position and being generally lightweight at times. Oh for the Swift of the wins at home to Wolves or QPR rather than the no show at Loftus Road. Too often though, we’ve seen the latter from a player who is, let’s not forget, still learning his game and packed with potential.

There are only six league games left. The Bees are safe. Being honest, most of us were preparing for life without Alan Judge although due to his inevitable, post Euros, sale rather than the subsequent injury related reason. But what about John Swift? Don’t forget he is only here on loan.

Does Dean use these last few games to now look at his full time squad members for next season? Giving them a consistent run to see just how well they can do? After shuffling his pack these last few months, he does seem to have hit a winning formula.

Will that also see Swift going back to his parent club when the season draws to a close? Or is the England U-21 in his and Matthew Benham’s longer term plans?  Indeed, will Chelsea even want to sell him to the Bees ?

SWIFT Brentford QPR

Oh for more of Swift at his best

Certainly, these are questions that won’t be answered any time soon and I’d be amazed if we learn anything this weekend. Then again, I’m just the numpty on the terrace so what do I know? Just putting it out there to see who bites and what people think.

The other selection problem faced by Brentford is, of course, in the Bees Player commentary box. Nobody doubts that Mark Burridge does a stunning job talking us through the season. It is for good reason he is called ‘the commentator par-excellence’ and rivals the mellifluous Billy Reeves with his own, wonderful style.

Yet.Yet. Yet. His recent trip to the Augusta Masters has seen him, like John Swift, miss the last three games. And we all know what happened in them. 9 goals and 9 points.

Could this be the ultimate case of the commentator’s curse? Will Matthew Benham be revoking his press pass? Or will we be welcoming Mark back with open arms?

I only hope the latter. He does a stunning job for those displaced Brentford fans who can’t make the games and it’s always a pleasure listening to him. Instead, let’s put those three wins simply down to his own excellent delegation skills rather than any jinx !

Whilst I’ll be at the Bristol City game on Saturday, here’s to hearing Mark and Ciaran talking through another win on Sunday’s highlight’s package.

Nick Bruzon 

If another player is going to be missing, can we find our voice?

25 Mar

Is Josh McEachran out for the rest of the season? With the loan window not so much being slammed as quietly easing shut yesterday, it was being reported on both West London Sport and Sky Sports (although both Lyall Thomas) that the former Chelsea man has suffered a training ground injury similar to the one that kept him out for such a long time at the Marinus end of the season. And with nobody else joining Leandro Rodríguez from Everton, despite suggestions after the Blackburn game that Head Coach Dean Smith was looking to make two more short-term acquisitions what does this mean for the Bees?

Firstly, and as has been said many times, our local press love talk of a double transfer swoop. An event that is actually rarer than a Nick Proschwitz goal, when it comes to inbound activity this is one area where I take nothing as fact until Matthew Benham has fired up his cryptic clue generator, Besotted have run an ‘exclusive’ or Brentford official have published the ‘signing shirt’ photo. I’ll also accept: ‘player holding scarf aloft’ or ‘new man sitting in portacabin holding pen over contract’.

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Josh signs for Brentford – classic ‘contract’ pose

Still, aside from goalkeepers (where Dean can still delve into the market to cover a ‘7 day emergency’), we now know the make up of the players available to see us, hopefully, over the line and start preparations for a third successive season in the Championship. Or do we?

The McEachran question is very much out there with nothing, as at the time of writing (Friday morning), from Brentford official. It would be a huge shame for the Bees and the player if this is the case. Josh did, if we’re being honest, struggle at the early part of his Griffin Park career but had been showing steady improvement over his 15 games. Now, it could be back to square one.

subbutteo injurie mount up

The injuries have piled up this season

Moreso, it would be yet another injury in a season which has been overshadowed (amongst other things) by the vast amount of players sidelined for medical reasons. We were told at the fans forum earlier in the season it was nothing but coincidence yet this horrendous run of bad luck has hardly helped our cause.

Still, we are where we are and there is enough quality in this squad to more than see us home. Should they play to their potential and ability – as a team. None of this ‘one man show’ stuff that we saw against a Blackburn side who were there for the taking.

Presumably Alan McCormack will slot straight into Josh’s position whilst we can also expect that other Chelsea wunderkind, John Swift, to return after the strange affair of the ‘hipster’ meme. Here’s hoping this period of enforced absence will have him reinvigorated and firing on all guns, back to the player who helped tear Wolves apart back in February. That result, a rare moment of solace in a 2016 that has seen Brentford lose 11 out of our 14 fixtures. Only the win at Preston and draw with Leeds in late January breaking the run of L’s blotting Dean’s copy book this calendar year.

We can moan and bitch about results all we want. Most of us have at various points, myself included. And rightly so at times.Yet without a bit of solidarity now, we could conceivably be facing a desperate start to 2016/17. In League 1.

The Bees still have to play 4 of the teams below us and with the gap a mere 6 points between us and the relegation spots, let’s not take anything for granted. Let’s not leave it too late to find our voice and our unity. Let’s not leave it too late to stop sniping at each other.

Absolutely, the players and the management team have to play their part. They are the only ones who can secure the points. But as supporters, we also have a our own role. Assuming we want to stay up, of course.

I saw a quite terrifying graphic on Twitter last night, c/o Jonathan Burchill. It highlighted this season and our previous Championship relegation campaign, back in 1992/93.

No words needed…..

The choice is simple. Stay up and we could be taking on the likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle United (I’m counting Chelsea as safe now, despite their mid-season hilarity). Throw it away, and it’ll be trips to Bristol Rovers, Oxford and Accrington Stanley.

Accrington Stanley, you may ask. Who are they?

Exactly.

Nick Bruzon

Everton lend a hand but are the players revolting?

18 Mar

Nobody could deny Thursday wasn’t interesting at Brentford. Matthew Benham’s cryptic clue was (I am assuming) unravelled when the news was announced that we’d signed striker Leandro Rodriguez on loan from Everton. Doctor, Knee, exit – Leandro, Rodriguez, Everton. Of course! I guess that’s why Matthew is the multi-millionaire club owner and I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

The signing of Leandro marks an attempt to arrest our barren patch in front of goal that came to a sad climax last weekend when, of course, head coach Dean Smith elected to go into the derby clash at QPR with no striker on the pitch. Whatever point he was trying to prove backfired spectacularly as the Bees failed to trouble the scorers and rarely looked like coming close.

That said, we are where we are and this can only be seen as a step in the right direction. The Everton youth production line has certainly been a beneficial one for the Bees in the past. Club captain Jake Bidwell and Adam Forshaw both joined Brentford from Goodison after initial loan spells whilst, but for injury, Conor McAleny and Chris Long both looked set for big things. Here’s hoping that, without wanting to put too much pressure on the young man’s shoulders, the Everton-Brentford connection can do it again.

The other interesting thing about this transfer, assuming you find this sort of thing interesting, was in regards to the announcement of the news. It’s often been noted how ‘off the pace’ we look compared to our rivals and, again, this would seem to have been the case yesterday looking at the release time of stories on the News Now website.

10.31: Everton striker Leandro Rodriguez leaves on loan. Liverpool Echo

10:59: Brentford sign Everton Uruguayan Forward Rodriguez. Beesotted

11:18: Dean Smith makes first Brentford signing as Everton striker joins on loan. Get West London

11:40: John Swift called-up to England Under-21 squad. Brentford FC – Official Site

13:09: Rodriguez Loaned To Brentford. Everton FC – Official Site

13:20: Leandro Rodriguez signs on loan from Everton. Brentford FC – Official Site

13:22: Brentford sign Everton’s Rodriguez. BBC

And with that, it was officially all ‘official’.

Leandro signs

Breaking – everywhere else first. Leandro puts pen to paper

I’m sure it was a case of waiting until the ink had dried on the paperwork but for Beesotted to be almost two and a half hours ahead of the club with this comm does make me wonder how they do it. And ‘official’ don’t. Or just can’t. Moreso as, whatever protests you’ll hear from fans/staff, Dave and Billy are pretty much on the money with everything they run on their site. Who was that last interview with? Oh yes, Matthew Benham.

No doubt the local press get wind of these things from their ‘sources’ and our hands are tied to an extent but, at least, surely we could ‘turn the key’ at the same time as Everton? Or had they just ‘gone rogue’?

Still, at least we were all ahead of the BBC whilst, unlike with Toumani, pictures of Leandro wearing a Brentford tracksuit hadn’t appeared all over social media two days earlier. Compared to that, three hours isn’t too bad in the grand scheme!

official

As somebody once said

The other news of real interest yesterday, where the club most definitely did have the lead, was the update given by Alan McCormack during the press conference from the Jersey Road media centre. The ‘live tweeting’ of press conference updates by ‘Brentford official’ HAS been a real positive in recent weeks. This one was no exception as Alan revealed that Jake Bidwell had orchestrated a ‘players-only meeting’ the Monday after the QPR debacle.

In a subsequent article that you can read in full on the club website, he has been quoted as saying , “We all sat on our own and we said what needed to be done: what needed to happen this week and every week towards the end of the season…..a few people said a few things. We spoke about what we are good at and what we need to do better. Everyone wants to win as much as the player beside them. The attitude of the players in training on Monday, Tuesday and today has been exceptional

 Wow. Are the players revolting? Is Dean losing his dressing room? Or was this a sign of Jake making his mark as captain and the squad facing up to those areas where perhaps they could be doing things differently? Let’s all hope this is very much the latter.

Either way, the last time we were advised of a frank ‘dressing room discussion’ came following the League One clash at Stevenage where Uwe was man enough to listen to his players and then tell all to Billy (Reeves, not Grant).

Following that, the rest was history. Stunning history . Brentford put it all behind them  to embark on that epic unbeaten run en-route to promotion and the Championship. Here’s hoping for more of the same against Blackburn on Saturday.

Three points and I’m sure we’ll celebrate like we’ve won the FA Cup. Now where have we heard that one before…?

Billy and Uwe

Uwe once elaborated on a frank discussion – the rest was history

Nick Bruzon

Bees stung at the death but is this a transfer clue from Mr Benham?

3 Jan

Oh, the irony. For the second time in three away games, Brentford have been ‘Jota’d’ . Following Kenwyne Jones’ 90th minute strike to give Cardiff City a 3-2 win, Maikel Kieftenbeld repeated the act a minute earlier as Birmingham City consigned The Bees to a 2-1 defeat at St. Andrews yesterday. With £3.7m winger Demarai Gray left out, seemingly on his way to Leicester City, the stage was set for the Bees to take advantage but, instead, Birmingham took the honours.

What can you say? In a game between two identically placed teams pushing for the play-offs, a win was vital. And, indeed, it was the Bees pushing for this that ultimately resulted in our downfall as a stray ball from Harlee, well inside the opposition half, allowed the Blues to catch us on the break.

That’s not to blame it all on one man, far from it. This is a team game and we win or lose together. Likewise, given the scenario should there have been a case for taking the point and keeping pace? Moreso given Ipswich Town and Burnley drawing 0-0.

Well, for me I like that Dean Smith had his troops ‘go for it’ until the very end. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t have taken our chances earlier in the game.

But even given our domination (63% possession), as we’ve said many times the only stat that actually counts is balls in the back of the net. The false position in the table in which Birmingham found themselves (really? after 24 games?) that the Bees Player analysts referred to early on proved to be anything but. Then again, despite the ongoing excellence of Mark Burridge (right down to his ‘old school’ use of “denouement”, Billy Reeves style) I did wonder if his co-commentators had been on the last of the Christmas sherry.

The observation that it’s definitely more than a yellow. Is it a red? (following the Jon Toral ‘challenge’ on Jake Bidwell) led to a peculiar discussion about orange cards whilst Birmingham’s winning goal involved Bidwell or someone at the back post. As for half-time guest Tim Street’s novel suggestion that a yellow card was correct because Jake hadn’t been seriously hurt, words fail me… I hadn’t realised that a compound fracture was a pre-requisite for the ref to show red.

I could go on but that’s not the point. It’s old ground and, despite the obvious passion, being able to produce an award winning programme or manufacture website content does not, by default, make you a pundit. As a paying subscriber, that’s my opinion and I’m sorry if it offends anybody. Although by that logic, given the amount of gumph churned out here, perhaps it might be time to start posting the CV to Channel 5.

So Birmingham City leapfrog the Bees who slip to 10th but still remain right amongst it. And, more importantly, we have control very much in our own hands with two home  league games to follow. First up, leaders Middlesbrough and then the televised clash with Andre Gray’s high flying Burnley. Before all that is an FA Cup game which, no doubt, will be used to give some of the squad players and subs a start. 3 matches in 6 days is a huge ask at the best of times, let alone when you are still in the play-off mix

Other points of note for the day are, in no particular order:

Our kit. The regular reader (should such an individual exist) will know my feelings around the new black ‘third’ shirt – truly a thing of beauty. However, the colour clash produced against a team playing in dark blue could surely have been avoided had we been allowed to use our red and white stripes (as we did in the home game at Griffin Park).

Birmingham shirts

The black wasn’t popular amongst those watching

Jota. Supposedly injured in the warm up/training(depending where you read), let’s hope there’s nothing more to it than that. One point the Bees Player team made that I did agree with will be the impact that a fully fit Jota will bring. The attacking potential, and battle for places, in a midfield that already includes the likes of Alan Judge and Sergi Canos is an intriguing one.

Matthew Benham. Our owner has started to follow Pedro Chirivella Burgos on Twitter. Is there anything more to this than his signing for Liverpool alongside Sergi Canos from the Valencia academy? Or can we read it as the first sign of a ‘cryptic clue’ style revelation about an impending loan?

The festive period is over. But that didn’t stop us attempting an elaborate free kick routine with a Christmas tree style line up. The chorus of boos that accompanied the set up for this was clear for all to hear and whilst, sadly, it came to nothing the logic behind it is sound. Do all possible to obscure the view of the defenders and goalkeeper.

Alan Judge was just off target this time but Sam Saunders must have been licking his lips on the bench. It was a set up I’ve not seen before and Channel 5 have a nice video link of the action on their Twitter feed.

Football on 5 freekick

Channel 5 show us the free kick routine

Stats. We’ve already mentioned these briefly but today’s Last Word goes to the undisputed king of statistics, Luis Melville. Tempting fate or the wrong stat at the wrong time as we approached the end of yesterday’s game?

When even the guru that is Luis calls it like this then, perhaps, you just have to accept it was never going to be our day.

Luis stat twitter

Luis tempts the footballing gods….

Nick Bruzon

Bond shaken and stirred as Canos and Woods go bonkers in Berkshire

29 Dec

What can you say? That Brentford beat Reading 2-1 to move within one point of the play-off zone was an impressive enough end to the day. Yet it was the quality of the strikes that secured the win (Dean Smith’s first on the road in his role as Brentford Head Coach) that had everybody talking. First Ryan Woods and then Sergi Canos – who had only just signed his loan extension from Liverpool – took it upon themselves to rewrite the ‘goal of the month’ rulebook.

Poor Jonathan Bond in the Reading goal. Being honest, outside of these efforts we didn’t overly threaten his goal. Yet when you can score, and score like this, then the lack of other chances are made redundant.

With close to 3,000 travelling supporters packing the away end, there were huge hopes for this one. And boy, did Ryan Woods meet then on the quarter hour. Picking the ball up in the right of midfield, nobody could have guessed what would come next. The ginger Pirlo ran forward, lined up the goal in his sights and then unleashed an absolute thunderbolt, on the diagonal, from 25 yards out. It was still on the rise when it hit the far corner of the net, leaving Bond with no chance.

It was a strike that prompted West London’s premier Journalist, Tom Moore, to note on Twiter: “That’s @BrentfordFC’s goal of the month competition sorted. 25 yards out.” How little he, and we, knew….

Even Channel 5 struggled with that one, as their Twitter feed suggests…

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It was a screamer, but it wasn’t at Griffin Park

An hour in and it was 1-1. Garath McCleary doing the damage that, on balance, Reading’s performance probably merited at that point. He opened up the Brentford defence with the speed of a child unwrapping a Christmas present – wonderful interplay with Matej Vydra left him clear on David Button and the ‘keeper with no chance from that position.

Whilst not up to the quality of Woods’ effort, credit is due for a slick move that, being honest, had many of the Brentford fans around me resigned to a point.  Referee Keith Stroud had gone into the match with 38 yellow cards and 2 red in his last 7(seven) outings. With the man in the middle starting to flex his muscles, surviving with 11 players and a point wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

Then Sergi Canos happened.

It was a goal that had Brentford fans purring with delight and Liverpool supporters waxing lyrical about a player they’d rarely mentioned – certainly across our social media timeline. But then, when you score a goal like this, it’s no wonder they were trying to take the credit for it.

Ryan Woods, man-of-the-match by a country mile, lofted a perfect ball to the Spaniard out on the right wing. His first touch was sheer perfection as he lofted it past Stephen Quinn in a style almost reminiscent of Gazza leaving Colin Hendry for dead at Euro ’96. One man gone. By comparison he made drifting past his second man, Michael Hector, looks positively easy before firing home on the diagonal from the edge of the box to the far corner.

Bees fans went bonkers and Canos was ecstatic. Bond was left shaken and stirred whilst Tom Moore has to reopen his book on ‘goal of the month’ . Even Channel 5 recognised we were at the Madjeski. Best of all,  club photographer Mark Fuller was given a very late Christmas present as Sergi ran the right way….

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A great shot from Sergi – and Mark

And that was that. With the exception of Keith Stroud. Even he surpassed his previous efforts , issuing 7(seven) yellows and a red – to the hapless Hector – as his arm was clearly in need of a work out after the excesses of the holiday period. That said, given his card happy nature, he then seemed to develop some form of myopia as first Sam Saunders and later Sergi Canos were victom of some ‘robust’ challenges.

Is there some form of additional paperwork / assessment required when you reach an eighth booking that he just didn’t fancy? Or was he exhausted after flourishing more cards than I received over Christmas? The foul on the Spaniard, in particular, probably the worst of the game.

At the end of the day (Clive), I’m not going to sour a fine victory with an overlong rant on a referee who also managed to upset the home fans (what penalty?). Sadly, we’ve all seen and heard it too many times before.

So, 2-1 to the Bees and a victory that will remain in the memory for a long time. Being honest, I still have questions about the midfield but we’ll save those for another day.

Now, let’s just reflect on those two amazing goals and our possible assault on the play-offs.

No, seriously…..

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View from the stand – players and supporters alike celebrate the winning goal

Nick Bruzon

We’re off to Reading as Liverpool loanee extends his, erm, loan

28 Dec

Brentford travel to Reading today, no doubt keen to keep pace with the play-off sides but, as much, demonstrate how far we’ve come since the Royals visited Griffin Park back in August. Four games into the season, and the first match on our relaid pitch, the Bees lost out 3-1. It was a ‘performance’ analysed after the game by then Head Coach Marinus Dijkhuizen saying, “Today the first half was, I think, awful from our side. The second half was not brilliant.”

That was then and, four months later, things have definitely changed for the Bees. Dean Smith, following on from Lee Carsley, has not only steadied the good ship Brentford but now has her making up for lost time and steaming towards the top 6.

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Dean Smith – great progress

If anything, roles have now been reversed. Reading have lost 6 of their last 8 games and even the return of Brian McDermott as manager was insufficient to stop them going down at Wolves, last time out. But, as ever, don’t take anything for granted. This could well be a tough one for the Bees given they’ll be up against a team sure to try and impress a large crowd in front of the new man.

Last time out we held Brighton 0-0 in a game that saw the Bees start slowly before stepping it up in the second half, only to then be denied by the heroics of David Stockdale when we were able to get a shot in. One would hope that starting this one like we finished on Boxing Day will be the way forward.

At the risk of jinxing it, I’m going into this one full of confidence. Brentford have everything in them to win it, IF we play as we can. And with the likes of Jota and Sam Saunders on the bench, Dean Smith has plenty of extra attacking options at his disposal.Then again, with Keith Stroud in charge who knows what might happen….

Keith Stroud montage

Keith Stroud – a busy little man

I’d suspect that Max Colin over Nico Yennaris will be the key decision for Dean Smith to make. I thought Nico had a great game against Brighton, having lost out to the returning Colin for the 4-2 humping of Huddersfield. There’s no doubting the class of the Frenchman but will Dean show loyalty to Nico, much as he did when Jack O’Connell kept his place over Harlee for the Cardiff City game?

It’s a tough call and the decision may be made for him, depending on the state of Max’s groin. But if both players are fit – which way will he go? My guess is that with a glut of games coming up, any injury risk will need to be minimised and so Nico will keep his place, regardless of how well he has done. Then again, I’m just the numpty on the terrace so what do I know?

Off-field, there was great news yesterday with the announcement that Sergi Canós has extended his loan from Liverpool until the end of the season. Nobody could doubt the excitement or ability of the young Spaniard who has nailed down a starting place in recent weeks as his fitness has cranked up.

Sergi really is a prodigious talent and securing his services for the rest of this campaign can only be a good thing for the club. Here’s to seeing him in action today although I fear I may have breached some form of contractual obligation by failing to use the term ‘starlet’, so beloved of our local press (prefacing with Liverpool is optional).

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Sergi Canos – the ‘signing shirt’ has had good use

There was a further boost with the news that striker Marco Djuricin is back in training. We’ve had a horrendous run of injuries this season and whilst most are now cleared up, the news that we have a potential return to fitness of a centre forward is only great news. That Alan Judge is our top scorer so far this season is as much down to his own ability as the changes we’ve gone through ‘up top’.

Then again, Judge is a class apart divisionally aswell as at Brentford. Championship top scorer Andre Gray (I’m sure I’ve heard that name somewhere) at Burnley is only two ahead of Alan – on 12 to his 10. Either way, the imminent (one hopes) return of Djuricin along with the extension of Canos only bode well.

For now, though, it’s all about Reading. With 2,400 away tickets sold in advance and more available on the day, it promises to be a huge crowd and a great atmosphere.

See you there.

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More good news for Bees fans, from Twitter

Nick Bruzon

Beware of Greeks bearing stretchers as ‘you know who’ takes a tumble

19 Oct

I’ll keep this brief today. Whilst the main weekend column focused on Brentford beating Rotherham United, there was plenty of other incident further afield than Griffin Park. Primarily involving Keith Stroud in the game between Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, where Arsenal loanee and former Bee Chuba Akpom flattened the card happy official. Accidentally, of course.

Chuba Akpom didn't seem happy to join the Bees  from Arsenal.

Chuba Akpom didn’t seem happy to join the Bees from Arsenal.

In a rare twist of fate for a Stroud game, it was the referee himself who was forced to leave the field of play early as he was unable to continue after the collision. He’d already shown four yellows by this point, although Akpom escapade unpunished. Given his reputation, I half expected a ‘red’ to be shown as a final act but it wasn’t to be.

Out of interest, in eleven games this season Mr Stroud has ‘only’ (and remember who we are talking about) shown 43 yellows and one red – that coming in our game at Bristol City. Could we see him turning over a new leaf? Time will tell.

For now though, here’s the moment. No sniggering, Brentford fans

Nobody likes to see an injury of any nature

Next up, who doesn’t like to see a goalkeeper finding the back of the net?

It happened on Saturday as Wycombe Wanderers lost out at Stevenage. Jesse Joronen was the man in the right place at the right time to open the scoring after ten minutes.

Red faces in defence?

And finally, Greek football. Surely everbody has seen this now but it would be rude not to include it. To be quite honest, I’m still convinced this is fake footage. The PG Tips Chimps did a better job moving their piano (kids, ask your dads). Surely nobody could be this clumsy?

However, just when the second division game against AE Larissa couldn’t get any worse for Ergotelis midfielder Leonardo Koutris, this happened,,,,

Where’s Keith Stroud when you need him?

Nick Bruzon