Tag Archives: London

Football is back as Blades set the standard and Bees miss out.

6 Aug

Another season begins, another round of opening day disappointment for Brentford. The Bees left Sheffield United on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat which could have been more – the second of the hosts two disallowed goals subsequently being deemed very unlucky to be chalked off. Yet on a day dominated by home teams where only three away goals were scored in the Championship, including one for Hull City in their 1-1 at Aston Villa (as predicted yesterday – I’m still in shock), Bees fans should remain upbeat.

As ever, Sky have the highlights online already whilst the BBC, official, Beesotted and the likes are your place for match reports. This one moreso, where the long arm of the wife and her plans meant it would have been easier to escape from Alcatraz than TW8 yesterday. Yet despite an enforced absence from Bramall Lane, I was full of optimism.

Even the London Evening Standard had failed to put me off my stride on Friday’s journey back from work. Their typically supportive piece on the Bees highlighting our opening day win record. Or, rather, our opening day lack of win record.

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And now make that six. Yet it so easily could have been at least a point.

Most people will point to the double opportunity presented to Nico Yennaris and Lasse Vibe in the second half. Understandably so. It was the proverbial gilt edged chance. With Jota’s shot from outside the box only parried by Blackman in the Sheffield United goal, and the aforementioned players in acres of space just yards out, the ball was headed first against the crossbar and then over.

I’ve rewatched it a few times. You can look to the looping trajectory and height of the ball as it approaches our players. Blackman did well to put them off their stride, too. Yet being honest, one would still have expected to see the net ripple. Only the good people at TheIntakeGroup, Pinders, H.E. Barnes and Sky Bet taking any pleasure from seeing this one again….

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If ever an image summed up an afternoon. Sky have it in full

That’s football. Let’s not forget the staggering miss from Lucas João at Griffin Park last August when that other Sheffield side, Wednesday, were the visitors. Just yards out and unmarked in front of the goal, the back of the net was at his mercy as a Fernando Forestieri pass found its way past Daniel Bentley. João was even afforded the luxury of having a couple of stabs at the before somehow conspiring to hoof it clear of the bar.

I could also refer you to Daryl Murphy at Ipswich Town a few seasons ago. One that still sticks in the mind as the Bees were, once more, the beneficiaries of an impossible to miss opportunity being somehow missed with goal gaping and an unmarked player just needing to tap it it in.

It happens. A lot. Obviously we’d have preferred a goal but I’m not going to get hung about it. Besides, overall performance comes across as a largely positive one with the Bees dominating possession and shots at 59%/41% and 12/9 respectively.

Probably not what our performance deserved” said head coach Dean Smith after the game and while he may well be right, as we’ve said many times on these pages that its balls in the back of the net being the only stat that really counts. Sadly for us, Sheffield United aced that column by 1 to 0.

Still, at least our head coach acknowledged this too, noting: “Unfortunately, it’s about putting the ball in the back of the net and we didn’t take our chances today. Billy Sharp’s had one and has ended up winning the game.” And you can read read/see his interview in full on official.

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Dean does his thing at full time

Fair play to the Blades for doing so, too. The warning about their form and their packed house was there for all to see in advance. Safe to say they didn’t let the occasion get the better of them and, subject to the result of the Bolton – Leeds game, are one of eight sides on three points after this opening round of games.

I’d have loved three points. You can bet Sheffield United will be chuffed to bits with their win. And rightly so. On the plus side, we’ve now got a brace of home games in quick succession. Mark Warburton brings his Nottingham Forest team to Griffin Park on Saturday before we host Bristol City three days later. And there’s the small matter of the League cup first round at Wimbledon on Tuesday night.

After months of inactivity, the games are suddenly approaching us thick and fast. And I love it .

Nick Bruzon

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What is our current hot ticket? Who will win the big one?

13 Apr

Exciting times lie ahead for Brentford. The Easter weekend double header against Derby County and Barnsley is almost upon us. The second fixture having a potential extra layer of spice, should the club decide to accept the gauntlet laid down by Toby Tyke after Buzz Bee was robbed of mascot race victory back in October’s reverse fixture at Griffin Park. Then there’s the small matter of West London derbies at home to QPR and across at Fulham. Those games always have an additional feel of frisson outside of the regular league table although the aim of finishing as West London’s top Championship side for the third successive season is an even bigger incentive for Brentford to pull out all the stops.

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He celebrates too soon? Did Toby really win last time?

Things come to a conclusion when we host Blackburn Rovers in early May. Following that game is, of course, the Player Of the Year Awards. Unlike at Loftus Road, where QPR have had to cancel their own event within a week of it being announced due to a lack of interest (no,please, stop. I’m still cringing) Bees fans have had no problem in snapping up the tickets for ours.

Highlight of that event is, as ever, the vote for Player of the year. Currently held by Alan Judge, his season long absence through injury means a new incumbent awaits. Have the likes of returning demi-gods Jota and Sergi Canos done enough to steal the vote at the eleventh hour? Will it be an unsung hero such as Ryan Woods ? International debutant John Egan? Or a.n.other?

Well, for me (Clive) if we are looking for season long consistency it comes down to a bunfight between Harlee Dean and Daniel Bentley. The former, our captain, has been a colossus at the back whilst adding an exciting attacking element to his game these days. Certainly one of the first names on the team sheet, its hard to remember he’s only 25 – so long has he been with us, so commanding has he appeared this season . Gone are the mistakes of old (who doesn’t make them as they learn how to ply their trade?).  Replacing them are supreme confidence and an equal level of ability.

As for Daniel Bentley, FourFourTwo magazine named him as Brentford’s outstanding performer in their run down of the 50 top football league players published in the current edition. The magazine even going so far as to note that England manager Gareth Southgate is keeping an eye on him. He has made the leap from League One new boys to a top half of the Championship side look effortless. Indeed, it was his own performances which saved us numerous points in the early part of the season as he took to the Griffin Park gives like the proverbial duck to water. No surprise that QPR made three bids for him following Southend United’s play off victory in 2015; no surprise their chairman turned them down.

Good luck picking a winner out of those. Good luck to your host for the evening, Natalie Sawyer, in measuring up to Buzzette in the style stakes.

Buzzette makes her entrance to the 2016 POTY awards

But if you can’t be there for that one then how about an alternative? Sunday 30th April sees Billy Grant and the Beesotted team hosting the final of this year’s ’socials’. Taking place at the Drayton Court hotel in Ealing from 6pm until 2am (I feel exhausted just thinking about staying out that late) guests of honour will be Brentford legends Francis Joseph, Gary Roberts, Billy Manuel & Graham Benstead.

There’s a dozen other ex-bees in the house along with a comedian, DJ and magician helping provide the entertainment along with the players doing their ‘in conversation’ segment . Add to that a hot buffet, a level of  complimentary beer and your fellow Bees’ fans then it is sure to be a cracking night out.

Full details of the event, including tickets, are available on the Beesotted website.

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And talking of tickets (waiter, I’ll have the industrial crowbar please) don’t forget there’s only 11 and a bit days left until the ‘seat hold’ deadline expires for those wanting to retain their current place at Griffin Park. With dispensation given to retain the terraces for another season, there’s room for everybody to stay where they were should you wish to purchase a club season ticket. In addition, earlybird prices staying on hold until 31 May means you can get a season’s worth of Championship football for was little as £369. As for the kids. £90, including a home shirt, represents even better value.

Full details are on official, where there is also a link direct to the season ticket page.

I’ve seen some talk saying that the seat hold deadline still feels too soon, given the season is still running. Perhaps. But it’s a tricky line to walk given that the campaign will be over just two weeks after that. I can see the position out marketing team are in. Revenue is what helps keep us afloat, let’s not pretend otherwise, and this way looks to maximise take up whilst football remains fresh in everybody’s mind.

Besides, if you need a yardstick then look at Fulham. No, please. Their seat hold deadline has already expired, two weeks ahead of ours. As have their ‘early bird’ prices. Both of those slipping away on 10th April. I sympathise from one respect. It’ll be a tough job filling that neutral stand.

In my eyes, I think we’ve got the balance right. You won’t please everybody but, at the same time, barring disasters we’ll all be coming back again next season. One way or another.

Come for the football; stay for the social. Griffin Park is a way of life. It is as much about seeing your friends and familiar faces as it is in cheering on the lads. If this is our final season with the ground in the current form (would we get a fifth season of terrace? Will Lionel Road be ready this quickly?) , then I’ve certainly got every intention of being there.

Even if it isn’t, I’ll be back. There’s been too much blood, sweat and tears (mainly tears) invested into this club since 1979 to walk away from our firmest ever footing and most exciting time in most supporters’ living memory.

Win or lose. It is a part of us. I love it. We love it. Bring on 2017/18. Although, first, there’s the small matter of Derby, Fulham, QPR and possibly Toby to get past. Roll on Friday.

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Well said

Nick Bruzon

Harlee, thongs and perfect scoring. Dean’s ‘false 9’ secure a genuine 3. Points, that is.

22 Feb

Why do Brentford exist?” Not my words but those of one Sheffield Wednesday fan on Twitter, just prior to kick off. Two hours later he’d found out why, as Dean Smith’s Bees recorded a quite wonderful 2-1 away win. It was a first victory for Brentford over Wednesday in more time than I can remember – certainly since our paths recrossed in the Championship.

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The spirit of Descartes is alive and well at Hillsborough

A looping header from John Egan and a follow up from captain Harlee Dean just before the end of the first period had given the Bees a deserved 2-0 lead going in for their half time cuppa. It was a gap we maintained until the game reached the last gasps of a frantic denouement, Fernando Forestieri pulling one back for the hosts. Yet despite the Owls having, finally, turned the Brentfrod goal into a metaphorical Alamo after what seems a somewhat contained first 80 minutes, the brilliant Dan Bentley and his defence more than held firm.

As ever, decent match reports are on the BBC, ‘official’ or Beesotted. As are Dean’s post match thoughts where, amongst other things, he made the very valid point that Wednesday “Will be a top six side“.  I didn’t travel and nor, does it seem, were many others in a position to do so. What a reward for those who did make it. Yet, likewise, what a treat for those stuck at home relying on Beesplayer or the wireless. Personally, I opted for the later on this occasion (with apologies to Mark Burridge), giving BBC Radio London a spin. It was a twist of the dial well worth making.

Phill Parry’s opening gambit to Billy Reeves of “You half expect the players to come out wearing nothing but leather thongs” as the prematch music built was the shape of things to come. Our commentary team subsequently noting that, perhaps, this would be against FA regulations. I was then lost in a sea of praise for Harlee, conjecture over ‘false 9s’ and general admiration for the luxuriance of Jota’s hair. Great job chaps, and thank you.

False 9’s, you (possibly) say? Indeed. With Lasse Vibe and Philipp Hofmann both missing, an already tough task was made the harder by having no recognised centre forward (don’t be naughty, they were injured….).

This is territory we’d been in before with last season’s visit to QPR. The difference then being Dean’s decision had been deliberate. And horrific. Alan Judge ending up looking like a little boy lost as sea through no fault of his own as the hosts, and it pains me to say, ran riot. Then again, Brentford couldn’t have organised a pissup in a barn door with a banjo on that day – we were that disorganised.

This time around was clearly different. Romaine Sawyers was recalled to team where he filled that ‘false’ position, with Canos and Jota continuing to add width. Likewise, a debut for Rico Henry in place of Tom Field was one which met with instant plaudits. Phil Parry has probably woken up still talking about his incredible pace – such was the impression made by the former Walsall man. Brentford were solid at the back and exciting going forward.

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Catwalk Billy Reeves had provided the one moment of joy the last time we tried a ‘false 9’

As ever, the video highlights are available from Sky. At least, until Bees Player are allowed to put their package up and that’s one I’ll certainly be adding here later. If for no other reason than to see how the ever wonderful Mark Burridge, assisted this time by Ciaran Brett, compared to Phil and Billy.

Mark Burridge adds the words, if not the leather thongs

The huge downside for the night was the injury suffered by Josh McEachran. He was stretchered off late in the first half following protracted treatment from both physios. Whilst Dean Smith had the luxury of KK to fall back on, nobody likes to see any player injured. Moreso one who has really stepped up his game this season and become an integral part of this team. Here’s hoping it looked worse than it actually was.

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Jota speaking for everyone

The other slight negative about the evening was Sergi Canos. Nothing to do with his on-pitch performance but, more, his use of post match Twitter.

Hasn’t anybody told him “We go again”  should only be used after a poor away defeat? By the defence.

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In all seriousness though, one can’t help but get drawn in by his enthusiasm about a return to the Brentford team. Long may it continue. It truly is wonderful to have him back in our ranks and out there on pitch.

And so we roll on to Saturday. A home game with doomed Rotherham United. Common sense says this one will be : lots – nil. However, as Mrs Bruzon would note, common sense is something that yours truly is severely lacking in.

Until then, let’s revel in the job done so far. The aforementioned prematch critic of Brentford was, at least, magnanimous enough to note the performance of Daniel Bentley at full time.

Personally, I’m just amazed how many goals Brentford continue to score. Scott who now?As one Twitter wag noted……

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Nick Bruzon    

Dean talking buttocks as Newcastle match day arrives and Chelsea details emerge.

14 Jan

Saturday morning, 7am. It’s cold out side, very cold, but thankfully the snow has failed to materialise in Brentford. With the FA Cup behind us for now (although the club did confirm details about the Chelsea game on Friday – more below) it is back to League action for the Bees as Newcastle United are the visitors to Griffin Park.

In the red corner, Scott Hogan. He’s the man, the man with the midas touch. Worth his weight in gold, and goals, he’s been finding the net for fun this season yet now finds himself the absolute centre of transfer speculation as those West Ham stories just won’t go away.

In the blue corner (with orange trim), Dwight Gayle. Outright occupant of the penthouse suite in the Championship leading scorer hotel. Scott’s 14 are still 5 behind the Newcastle United man who showed first hand back in October how deadly he can be. Gayle’s brace contributing to a 3-1 win over the Bees at St. James Park and he hasn’t looked back.

So the big question, will we see them face off today? From one respect the good news was Dean Smith’s confirmation in Thursday’s press conference that “Scott Hogan’s buttock is fine, he has trained all week and is available for selection,” The pair were due to speak yesterday to assess the situation and then, come 2pm (or closely after) we’ll get our first look at the team sheet to see if Lasse Vibe retains his place up top or Scott walks straight back into the side.

I can only expect the later. With no fee having been agreed or deal signed then one can only presume he’ll be leading the line. Unless Scott is having some form of hissy fit à la Diego Costa or Dimitri Payet (how angry must Chelsea and West Ham fans be today?) then surely the chance to prove his mettle against the second best team in the division will be the perfect shop window for a player harbouring dreams of top flight football at some point in his career. Whether that be next week or next season.

As Dean went on to add (and you can find the full article on ‘official’ ), “I fully expect him to want to score a hat-trick against Newcastle United and show people who may question his Premier League credentials that he can do it.”

No Brentford fan wants to see Scott leave but is anyone naïve enough to think we could turn down figures in the region of £15million? More to the point, given what he has been through in his career to date, would anybody really stand in the player’s way?  Scott will go to the Premier League at some point soon – whether January or the summer. Of that, have have absolutely no doubt. He’s just too good.

Today could well be our last chance to see him at Griffin Park. At least, in the red and white of Brentford. We’ve only one more home game until the transfer window closes and that’s an evening kick off, on January 31st, against Aston Villa. I’d love to see him starting that one but in my heart of hearts I fear we’ll have said farewell by that point.

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Come on Scott. Could today be the last time we’ll see scenes like this?

Instead, let’s just live for the moment. Can Harlee Dean and crew keep out Dwight Gayle at one end, leaving Scott free to try and catch Newcastle’s free scoring goal machine at the other? Here’s hoping. This  afternoon’s game has goals in it, no doubt. The only question being just how many?

The one piece of news that the club have been able to confirm is that surrounding the FA Cup fourth round tie at Chelsea. It was announced yesterday that that game will be a 3pm kick off on Saturday 28th January. A not surprising decision but, at the same time, given the home team’s subsequent league fixtures there was always the thought it might be brought forward to Friday night or even Saturday lunchtime.

As with our previous visit to Stamford Bridge, we’ve been allocated all 6,000 tickets in their ‘Shed’ end. Details of sale are yet to be released although with the game only a fortnight away expect this to be imminent. The pricing structure of £30 adults and £15 kids is (relatively) competitive – I’m still baulking at the £41 charged by Leeds United –  so filling that end to get Chelsea rocking won’t be an issue.

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Everything we know about the Chelsea game in two tweets

With a home game against Brighton and the aforementioned Villa match immediately after that one, it has all the potential to be a wonderful few weeks for Brentford.

This time ten years ago we were playing games against Leyton Orient, Yeovil Town and Carlisle United as the Bees eventually finished the season a the bottom of League One. Now we’re talking about selling players for £15million whilst taking on some of the biggest names in English football.

It makes you think.

For now, though, it’s all about Newcastle United. See you there.

Nick Bruzon 

Bees batter QPR as Romaine bounces back. A fine win recorded in words, pictures, tweets and video.

29 Oct

What is it about West London derbies for the Bees? Brentford made it 2 wins out of our last 3 games agasint QPR as the hapless hoops were royally humped at Loftus Road on Friday night. What a change from last season. With Fulham (10 points out of the last 12 against them for the Bees) next up, life is good at  the moment.

No moreso than for Romaine Sawyers. He answered last weekend’s terrace boo boys in some style. His second half strike to give us a 2-0 lead is already an early contender for goal of the season and had the fans in raptures.

Romaine’s strike the pick of the highlights

I could watch this one again and again and again. And I have. Sure, the QPR defence looked holier than the Pope (and were about as benevolent) but you still need the technique to put it away. What. A. Finish.

“The look on his face before he hit it”, opined one terrace wag to me, “you just knew what was going to happen”. And sure enough, it did. It was the perfect reaction to last Saturday against Barnsley where the player’s substitution was cheered by sections of the Griffin Park crowd.

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View from the terrace – the net starts to bulge

Dean Smith would later tell Bees official how chuffed he was, feeling Romaine had been harshly treated.  “I am chuffed for Romaine because I felt he got a little bit harshly treated on Saturday but that was more frustration at how the game was going at the time rather than Romaine himself,” Dean said.

Whilst, understandably, I think there’s an element of protecting his player in that statement Romaine was the first to admit he hadn’t had a good one on Saturday. What a beautiful way to respond and how wonderful to see all the deserved plaudits.

But it isn’t just Romaine. Brentford gave a fantastic team effort that made QPR look hugely inadequate. It was an effort personified by Josh Clarke, my MOTM, ripping Rangers to shreds before grabbing the first goal just before half time. The ever impressive youngster weaved through the box to find the back of the net for 1-0. The crowd went bonkers . The QPR fans went for an early cuppa.

It was a goal which had been coming after an opening 15 mins where the teams had tested each other and Brentford had been happy to build into the match. But build they did and, aside from a brief flurry at the start of the second half, there was no doubt.Things were as confident and calm at the back as you could have hoped for. QPR weren’t even given half a chance to get back into a game that had barely seen them involved.

Oh, Dean Smith. If you are reading this (you aren’t) what a way to bounce back after the disappointment, and somewhat unusual team selection, of last season. The team were up for it. The fans were up for it. QPR were blown away – on and off the pitch.

Standing for the full 90 minutes and cheering as one, the goals were rightly, and wonderfully, celebrated. It was a marked contrast from some of the angry sniping and backbiting that had accompanied out previous visit.

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Fans celebrate Josh Clarke’s opener

The Bees fans were impeccably behaved – no bad thing given the totally apathetic, and confrontational, attitude of the stewards. Over crowding on the steps and in the stands eventually having to be self-policed as everybody made room for each other . The alleged safety staff’s only response being to stop supporters with tickets getting into their designated blocks. “Just go somewhere else” one said to me before common sense prevailed.

Hmm. Try that one with a Millwall or West Ham, based on current form, and lets see where that gets you. That said, certainly not a problem in the home end where, with the game approaching its denouement and Brentford still 2-0 up, there seems to have been some form of fire drill.

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I’m sure this was full earlier. Still 8 minutes to go

And it wasn’t just in the stands that we were watching a first win at Loftus Road in 52 years. Supporters tuned in from all round the world to enjoy this one.

The only sour note on the field of play was the injury to Lewis Macleod. Having finally overcome all those niggles and knocks, he has been looking like the player we could only hope he was. So the sight of him being given an oxygen mask and then stretchered off after a lengthy delay for treatment to a knee injury was not a good one. Fingers crossed it was precautionary but I fear that’s nothing more than blind optimism.

Whilst all our thoughts are with Lewis, let’s end this one on a high note. Who else but Mr. Brentford, Peter Gilham, to pop up and give his opinion on our 2-0 win.

Now bring on Fulham!

Nick Bruzon

Climbing to new heights. Newcastle tickets on sale as Gibraltar start World Cup life

7 Sep

Championship football is getting closer once more. Brentford fans can take solace in the fact that Newcastle United tickets go on sale today (Wednesday) whereas this time next week we’ll have played in Brighton and be about to set off for Aston Villa. And in the World Cup qualifiers, to run off yesterday’s piece, we have the info from the Gibraltar – Greece tie. And it wasn’t what you might have expected.

We’ll keep it brief today, though. Newcastle tickets go on sale at 10. Brentford ‘official’ have full details although the pertinent points seem to be that we have plenty. An initial allocation of 2,330 with the option on a further block of 870 to push us over the 3,000 mark. If needed. Season Ticket holders seem to be amply catered and so, all  being well, that dance train ticket purchase  / gamble wit the TV schedules will reap its reward.

The other point of note being that tickets are in Level 7 (seven). For once, the clarifying brackets needed. Rather than pitch side, level 1, we’re up high. Very high. Anybody who has been to St. James Park before will know to bring oxygen and crampons given the height of The Leazes stand in which we will be housed.

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Breathing gear. Check. Ropes. Check

At least we are behind the goal rather than in the top corner and will be no further from the action than at the back of London’s Olympic stadium. Interestingly, and you may not realise, that a ground which West Ham United moved to over the summer. If only somebody had mentioned it. A poor job from the media in failing to keep us properly informed .

Anyway, the club site has all the info and you can read it here. Phone lines and ticket booking open at 10am but there really do seem to be plenty to go around.

As for Gibraltar, it was a good game. Sure, Greece may have ended up as 1-4 winners but it was only a mini collapse before half time, which resulted in a three goal gap, that was the difference between the two sides.

In terms of performance, the boys from the Rock had definitely upped their game and gave as good as the got. This was by no means the one sided walkover most observers would have expected whilst Liam Walker’s equaliser was a fine effort.

But, as ever, goals not guts win games. I can’t wait for Gibraltar to continue taking these progressive steps and secure a first point. Or better. Rather than seeing themselves plucky losers for whom national pride is the thing, why not see themselves for what they are – a tight knit bunch of great players with the ability to cause an upset or two along the way. And then beyond.

The mini meltdown that saw the score go from 1-1 on 44 minutes to 1-4 at half time was inexplicable. Prior to then, things had been level. Even after that, the team still had their chances to reduce the deficit.

Instead, it is another ‘nil points‘ although, hopefully, a bit of a warning shot across the bows of their rivals. Gibraltar won’t just roll over and die. 45th minute aside.

As a final thought, stadium requirements dictate that home games need to be played in Portugal. Simple logistics mean this is often in front of a sparse crowd. Whilst, geographically speaking, Spain is next door for obvious reasons that can’t be used.

Why not take the team on the road? London is just a short flight away and the amount of ex-pats  / keen observers in England alone would be sure to stick a few more on the gate. International football at Brentford? Whether Griffin Park or Lionel Road?

I’ve heard crazier ideas…

Nick Bruzon

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.

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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.

wpid-mind-the-gap-2014-06-23-08-03

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

The one stat that tells the story of the season

3 May

Whilst the majority of the football world were, rightly, congratulating Leicester City and Burnley on their respective Premier League accomplishments last night, over in TW8 there was equal cause for celebration. Not that one time Brentford loan star Jeff Schlupp was now a top flight champion but QPR losing 1-0 against Andre Gray and his team mates means that the Bees end the season as the highest placed London team in the Championship table.

With only one game to play, there’s now an insurmountable five point gap between us and the Loftus Road mob. Fulham aren’t even at the party. Hey, the table doesn’t lie.

London teams table

The ‘as it stands’ table does’t lie

If ever there was an incentive to really go for it on Saturday against Huddersfield then here it is. The chance for Brentford to really stretch out that lead over QPR whilst, at the same time, even overtaking Birmingham City (whose game at Cardiff won’t be the easiest) and snatch 9th position in the final table.

Whatever happens, considering the ups and downs of a campaign that saw us lose players, head coaches and, at one point, games like they were going out of fashion this is a stunning achievement. Perhaps not at Leicester City levels but still not one to be sniffed at. Moreso given how Dean Smith was talking about a relegation battle as recently as March.

I’m not going to pretend Burnley are our new best friends. The memories of the Gray and Tarkowski sales still linger heavily although it would take the most churlish amongst us not to see the joy in the supporter’s eyes when that final whistle blew. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to offer their players – even Joey Barton-  congratulations on a job very well done. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to thank them for putting the final nail in the coffin for any hopes QPR had of overtaking us.

Likewise, we can take some pride in the fact Andre honed his skills and began the  season at Griffin Park. Now he has taken his game to new heights and it will be intriguing to see how he goes in the top flight where, of course, there is further silver lining in the fact that the ‘promotion’ clause in his transfer will now be activated.

Not that the club ever reveal details of transfer fees, of course.

For now though, there’s that all important season ending stat. It may not be up to Luis Melville standards but there’s no denying it:

Brentford are kings of West London Championship football and there’s nothing QPR or Fulham can do about it.

Maybe next season, chaps .

West London football map

Nick Bruzon

No pressure, lads. This is one run that needs to continue

5 Mar

Charlton Athletic are the visitors to Griffin Park today and, on paper, surely Brentford couldn’t have picked their opponents better had we tried? The Addicks are on an absolutely woeful run of form that has seen them win only once in their last 18 games. That, a 4-1 victory against fellow relegation candidates Rotherham United. They’ve shipped 8 goals in their last three games alone whilst the miserable streak included successive 6-0 and 5-0 defeats at Hull City and Huddersfield Town respectively back in January.

So bad is their current run that even hapless Bolton Wanderers have overtaken them to leave Charlton rooted to the bottom of the Championship table and, seemingly, doomed. My online bookmaker has the Bees as odds-on favourites today whilst the ‘away’ win is a hefty 15/4. Surely there can be only one result: three points for Brentford?

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s nothing more dangerous than a team staring down the barrel. Moreso, one which knows that should they lose today the gap to safety could be as much as ten points (plus a goal difference that would be deemed an insult to the word ‘goal’). Many of us thought last Saturday would be a ‘banker’. How wrong that turned out to be and I don’t expect any difference today.

We’ve no Max Colin whilst Dean Smith must decide whether to recall Yoann Barbet. It’s still too soon for Scott Hogan to be considered although the centre forward must be chomping at the bit to get back to action after so long out. He’ll have been heartened by his recent development squad goal and one can only assume the Griffin Park faithful will see him on the pitch before the season is out.

Much closer to a return is Alan McCormack. How the Bees have missed a player of both his savoir-faire and firmness in the challenge over these last few months. It’s all very well having a team of potential stars but how much better to have the likes of a Toumani or Macca alongside them in the midfield? You can’t put a price on experience and I’m as excited at his potential involvement as anything else today.

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Could Alan McCormack feature today?

Barring a statistical miracle/disaster (delete as applicable) Brentford’s season is over. At least, in terms of exiting the division. The top 6 are just too good whilst the bottom four look to be too far adrift. Whilst it would have been wonderful to push on from last campaign, to be lining up a third season in this division is still no bad thing at all when you look at where we have come from and, equally, what we’ve been through.

I just hope that rather than limp over the line, the lads give it their all. Aswell as today’s game, next Saturday sees the 237 derby as we head down the road for that most anticipated of encounters with the Loftus Road mob. Likewise, we’ve still got a home game with Fulham along with 9 other matches.

There’s plenty to play for, with finishing the season as top dogs in West London (at least from a Championship perspective now that Chelsea appear to have ditched their brief flirtation with relegation) at the top of that agenda for me. Likewise, a top ten finish would be something to be tremendously proud of and, from a personal note, my son (almost three) will be at the game today.

It’s been nothing but “Daddy Bees, Daddy Bees” , “Harlee“and “Buzz, Buzz” in our house this week whilst, from a statistical perspective, he’s never seen the Bees lose. All the mathematical models in the world count for nothing when you’ve got something as simple as a lucky shirt, a pair of magic pants or a child who’s never tasted the pain of a loss.

No pressure, lads. Please don’t end his run today. Explaining defeat could be as tricky a concept as the birds and the bees.

Hopefully both are conversations that will be a long time coming…

HB and HD

Harlee (and Buzz) very much favourites in our house

Nick Bruzon

Sub-standard stats mask the true price of football

15 Oct

I can only imagine the Brentford media team are standing by to swing into action on Thursday morning after the Evening Standard published a bonkers report late last night, claiming it was cheaper to watch Arsenal than the Bees. In a clearly sensationalist bit of headline grabbing (presumably meant to lure people to their website, and yes – I bit) they have made this incredible statement. All of which is a shame for no other reason than it will now distract from yesterday’s genuine read – Beesotted’s summary of Matthew Benham and his presentation to the Matchbook Traders Conference.

But I need to start with the Arsenal ‘story’ where, I suppose, we should be glad that the Standard actually remembered Brentford exist with their latest story on the cost of football. The column by Tom Dutton (@TomDutty on twitter) ignores the fact that a Brentford season ticket is still cheaper than attending four ‘top category’ Arsenal games. Instead they have focused (incorrectly – and we’ll get there) on a twist of circumstances as the lead for their whole column.

Gunners fan can, theoretically, pick up a ticket for the home game with Bournemouth for £27. That being the cheapest price band for the only league game they have declared in their lowest pricing category.

I’ve taken a look at the Arsenal website this morning and it is true. Should you want to go to their Emirates stadium on a Monday night immediately after Christmas, (December 28) and sit in the bottom corner then there may well be a £27 ticket available to ‘Joe Public’.

That is, should any remain. Even the club’s home page notes that this is: “Subject to availability should any tickets remain after sales to Members”.

The Standard’s report fails to note that this membership is a cheapest price £25 whilst, incidentally, you have to pay £15 just for the privilege of getting on the waiting list for a season ticket. That said, they do also highlight the £97 category A seat for a single game and the over £1,000 cheapest season ticket price.

The Standard have never had a particular good relationship with Brentford, preferring to concentrate more on the Premier League than the clubs in London who have made up their traditional target audience. And when we have been mentioned, it is more a cheap shot at our expense for their own means – headline grabbing.

Good luck to them. It must be sad to be so desperate for readers. Moreso, and as supporter Thomas Knight had noted, given that supporters can get into Saturday’s league game against Rotherham for just £10, applying the same logic their article is already fatally holed below the waterline.

Griffin Park - watch an entire season for less than four Arsenal tickets

Griffin Park – watch an entire season for less than four Arsenal tickets

The other much more pertinent piece of Brentford related news was the aforementioned appearance by Matthew Benham. Billy Grant’s article is a fascinating one and, whilst not able to put any questions direct to our owner, does raise several interesting thoughts.

Specifically the observation on Marinus Dijkhuizen that, “They pulled in all the necessary references. But he also admitted that the club had also received one bad reference.

This reference they ignored – a fatal mistake – as they were so sure that Dijkhuizen was their man.”

Whilst the full reasons behind Marinus departure still remain muddied (anyone?), it does beg the question why such a potentially critical piece of information wasn’t investigated further?

I’m not going to steal Billy’s thunder any further. I thoroughly recommend that, if you haven’t already, then do take a look at the full article on the Beesotted website.

I’d love the chance to put these sorts of questions to Matthew. It takes a brave man to admit he’s made a mistake so fairplay for doing so. And so decisively.

It would be intriguing to find out why.

Matthew and Beesotted always make a good team

Matthew and Beesotted always make a good team

Nick Bruzon