Tag Archives: Luis Adriano

Kit news. We have kit news. Of sorts. Plus a bright and breezy romp…

2 Jun

Even years are fab. Odd ones suck. 2016 – saw the Euros and the Olympics. 2018 – has the World Cup. 2017 – nothing . Absolutely nothing. What one New Road observer described to me yesterday as ‘A sports wasteland’. Unless you like Andy Murray. But then we get that every year. For football / Brentford fans a long, hard summer awaits. We’ve a 35 day wait until we can see the lads in vaguely meaningful action (the game at Aldershot) whilst the visit of Southampton is, as it stands, the only pre-season action announced at Griffin Park

Indeed, looking at the key dates between now and August when the Bees continue Championship life, it really does seem like a case of slim pickings. At least if you need your football fix.

Dates for the diary – 2017/18.

Father’s Day: 18th June
Sky Bet EFL fixtures are revealed: 21st June 2017
Aldershot Town: away 7th July
Oxford United: away 19th July
Southampton: home 22nd July
MK Dons: away 25th July
Sky Bet EFL season begins: 5th August 2017 (subject to TV)

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 05.37.15

35 days?? That’s more than a month.

All pretty standard fare, really. But why Father’s day? This is no unsubtle hint from yours truly. Mrs B normally does a great job on that front (although if anybody is struggling for an idea then there’s a book I could recommend…).

If football action is thin on the ground, then so are updates about our new kit for 2017/18. It’s been tumbleweed out there. I am, as ever, desperate to find out how we’ll be looking next season. Thick stripes? Thin stripes? Collars? Long sleeves (please, Adidas. Please). Will the away be the green we discussed so much last season? What about yellow/black – a combination that proved incredibly popular in the recent poll to discuss our best ever shirt to feature the previous crest? Or a return to ‘traditional’ two-tone blue?

Likewise, how we are going to launch next season’s effort? Incredible though it was to get the supporters involved last time around (and I can only thank the club, yet again, on that front) nobody is yet to surpass Blackburn Rovers and their ‘Birdy’s Date’ video. I’ve said that before and I will say it again. Probably every season going, at least until we make our own equivalent – Buzzette’s Date, anyone?

Brentford club shop (1)

Players and fans were all involved last time around

Yet for all my supposition, there has been nothing out there. With Brentford understandably focussing on season tickets at present, why would we make distractions on that front? Equally, with clubs now launching shirts every day (Southampton and Alan McCormack’s Luton Town amongst the most recent to go with stunning ‘away’ efforts – do check them out, especially the Saints which is very ’80’s Brentford) one does have to wonder when it will be our turn?

Fellow kit enthusiast/nerd/obsessive Luis Adriano has been on the case though. Taking to Twitter, he put the question to Mark Devlin this week. As ever, our Chief Executive was quick to reply giving the slightest of clues…..

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 05.59.00

For a mate! Sure, Luis. Sure 🙂

So Father’s Day is on the calendar in the Bruzon household. Although not just for the traditional reasons this season. Mark / Kitman Bob, if you are reading (stranger things have happened) any more clues would be gratefully accepted…..

The other traditional thing at this time of year is the plugging of the season review e-book. Please. Stay with me – this time around it is for a great cause . All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales from the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it.

A bright and breezy romp…. this is a cheap and worthwhile read.” They aren’t my words but those of sometime Bees Player pundit and ‘Ahead of the game’ author Greville Waterman.

So PLEASE. Do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at work (or is that just me?).

In all seriousness, I need to give a HUGE thanks to everybody who has downloaded this so far. Likewise, those who have helped give it a nudge – the players, Beesotted and West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore amongst others.

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

If nothing else, Father’s Day is approaching. Just saying….

This is it - the latest version now available. For a great cause

Out now – for a great cause

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

The good, the bad and the ugly. A week in football as Aston Villa await and West Ham implode.

12 Sep

Brentford picked up all three points at Brighton to head into Wednesday’s game with Aston Villa in high spirits whilst Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, like the Bees, both recorded a 2-0 away win. These, results that allow them to sit first and second respectively and, in the case of the former, sending Leeds United into the relegation zone where they now sit just behind Wigan Athletic. The supposed conflagration engulfing Will Grigg proving insufficient to stop them making it three defeats on the spin. Meanwhile, defeat for Fulham (Clayton Donaldson both scoring and missing penalties against David Button) and a tepid draw for the Loftus Road mob at home to Blackburn mean the West London triumvirate are separated by just one point and goal difference respectively.

That’s the most recent Championship action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the next of our regular Monday morning feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media over the last seven days.

We’ll start off, as ever, with Brentford.The win over Brighton and the trip to Villa Park on Wednesday have everybody in high spirits. Regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush summarising one of the best moments from the Amex in a single tweet. Kids, you may need to ask your parents.

Billy Reeves, in the meantime, taking over from stats guru Luis Melville with something which, if not over elaborate, shows what true football immolation is (and please, let’s NOT rip off that song. It’s bad enough we’ve appropriated one from Oldham).

And talking of stats, how’s this for an Aston Villa related one? Brentford really have nothing to lose and everything to gain later this week. With a fleet of free coaches heading up the motorway c/o the club sponsors, will you be there to see if we can move that ‘W’ column from 0 to 1 ?

But, as ever, it was Kitman Bob who proves to be the wonderful random element, a so called ‘x-factor’, at Brentford official. The frog DNA in the otherwise ‘perfectly safe’ laboratory controlled environment of club twitter. (Bob, if you are reading, that’s a good thing – trust me). Let’s hope he doesn’t get preserved in amber and, instead, keeps the zingers coming…

Saturday saw a surprise visitor to the New Inn. Former Bee and Leeds United legend Chris Kamara (amongst the numerous accolades on his still glittering CV) popping in for an afternoon off.

Regular readers to this column will be aware of my admiration for Sam Saunders. Our number 7(seven) summing up everything it means to play for Brentford in terms of what seems to be his genuine love for the game, the team and the fans. Then , of course, there’s the shorts, the tan, the free kicks and his wonderful use of Twitter.

Before we move on to the wider football world, the  last Brentford related matter of the week concerns a supporter rather than a player. Specifically Luis Adriano. Whilst, of course, a few fans have released club related books in recent years (with varying degrees of success and publicity) Luis isn’t one to overly blow his trumpet.

Yet he has taken the step of writing a third novel. And it is has just been released. Words can’t put into, erm, words what a huge undertaking this is and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The link below should give you more of a flavour

Next up, referees. We’ve seen a much tougher stance from the men in black this season in an attempt to cut down on back chat, abuse and petulance. Rightly so, in my eyes. Yet, equally, the hard line has extended to diving, pulling and now, it seems, general over-exuberance. Certainly something for our own players to watch out for following Nottingham Forest’s late equaliser at Villa Park yesterday.

But if Pereira had it bad, spare a thought for Joe Hart. Already shown the cold shoulder at Manchester City, he had a rotten start to his loan career at Torino. The performance on pitch was bad enough, by all accounts, yet things had already gone South before a ball was even kicked.

Not even opponents Atalanta running out to Status Quo ( Whatever You Want) was enough to inspire him. Many thanks to the soothsayer of scores, Richie Firth on the Absolute Radio Christian O’Connell breakfast show, for that gem. As Richie noted this morning, “How often do you hear of teams running out to Status Quo”. Sadly, never – Richie .

Perhaps my own suggestion of ‘Down, Down’ for our own #BeeTheDJ not quite so silly !

Still, if Manchester City have made a shrewd move in the transfer market with that one, can the same be said of Manchester United? The much trumpeted record transfer of Paul Pogba hasn’t, so far, proven to be the success intended.

As ever, though, it is the regular visitors to this column that provide the weekend’s big story. West Ham have done it again. If Hart was hapless, what does that make the Hammers? Fisticuffs in the stands and the scared children were the least of their concerns after Saturday’s result.

Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham, who didn’t make it onto the pitch during the 4-2 home humping administered by Watford,  still took the time to share the score with his followers. Proving a point that he hadn’t featured or just totally misreading the situation? As one Brentford fan noted, imagine the meltdown if Harlee Dean had done this..

C2C railway had to give this advice to their passengers. Things going well at the Olympic Park, then ?

But it was an X-Factor reject who really summed thing up for the one time Upton Park outfit.

But if West Ham fans feel like they are getting the rough end of the stick, spare a thought for Southend United. Their loan deal with Crystal Palace not proving quite as well researched as the one which brought Sullay Kaikai to Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

X-rated stuff at Rotherham. And that was just off the pitch

28 Feb

Two steps forward, two steps back. Not so much Paula Abdul and M.C. Skat Kat (kids, ask your parents) but the feeling around Brentford after a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham United yesterday. The Millers were always going to be tough opposition, given their perilous position in the relegation zone and so it proved. But with basement club Charlton Athletic going down to Reading by the odd goal in 7(seven) yesterday, at least we have a chance ‘to go again’ next weekend.

What can you say? I wasn’t at this one so had to rely on Bees Player, where Mark Burridge and Ciaran Brett brought us the action along with a cameo from Sean Ridley who appeared just before kick off. Our video whizz kid popped up holding what Mark described as the biggest hot dog ever, to opine further on the forthcoming game.

hot dog

A sausage added to the pre-match chat

In addition, one of the home supporters seemed to be doing his level best to join in with the commentary once it all kicked off. It was the sort of language more suited to an x-rated movie than a football match and highlighted the perils of building the press box amongst the supporters. One for the builders to take note of for Lionel Road, when it happens.

He seemed quite sure that the Brentford players were unable to do something, although I couldn’t quite figure out what. This, despite his constant screaming of “You can’t, you can’t” (at least, I think that’s what he was shouting). ‘Defend’ was the suggestion from one terrace wag. Well done Mark B in maintaining his composure throughout this first half barrage.

If it didn’t sound great the subsequent highlights show Rotherham had the lions’ share of chances. And goals. Indeed, when the most memorable thing to come out of the afternoon seems to have been the presence of Toumani in the away end (well played, that man) it’s one we’re just going to have to chalk off to experience and hope the Charlton game sees things get back to normal. Whatever normal is for this season.

Mark and Ciaran do their thing.

I have no quibbles whatsoever with Dean’s team selection. It was about as attacking as it comes given the options available to him at present. Sadly though, the heroics against Wolves just couldn’t be repeated.

Indeed, the lunchtime aperitif of Wolves v Derby showed that the men from Molineux can play a bit, when they put their mind to things. A 2-1 home victory was all the more noteworthy after a brace from George Saville of all people. Despite my own assertions on Wednesday, perhaps he can find the back of the net when he puts his mind to it.

As ever, Twitter was the other place to be for those not able to make the journey. Luis Adriano showing he knows as much about me when it comes to reading a game. It’s all his fault, perhaps?

image

Is Luis a goalkeeper? It’s all his fault

Then there were the post-match tweets from the players. Honest enough from their perspective although a somewhat familiar path being trod here. As one supporter (Jacks Dad) noted, “Cut and paste working overtime this season.

Harlee: Sorry to all who travelled up. No where near good enough.

Sergi Canos: Sorry to all who travelled up today…

I thought we might have turned a corner after the poor run that had preceded the Wolves game. Sadly it wasn’t to be, this time. To be honest, after a season of managerial upheaval, the pitchgate affair and all those player sales, when we look back it’ll probably be considered quite an achievement for Brentford to stay up this season. And if we can do it without any further unrest over the next few months, all the better.

Then again, we’re Brentford FC. We don’t do things normally or quietly.

It’s only Sunday morning yet already I can’t wait for the Charlton game. This is the club we support – whether in the Championship, Ryman Premier or any division. We may not always agree with the team selections, the staff appointments, the transfer policy or the tactics. We may not always leave the game happy when the referee blows his final whistle. Certainly, we may not always agree with each other.

But I’m a much happier man for knowing that regardless of everything else, the next game is just 6 days away.

Until then, here’s Paula Abdul and Skat Kat. Kind of….

Nick Bruzon

Is this next season’s shirt? Plus an unexpected favour

30 Jan

Saturday. Brentford have another afternoon off. The price of FA Cup capitulation. With the scheduled game against Leeds United having been brought forward, we’re not even half-way towards out next outing – the televised clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday evening.   Plus, Manchester United do us a favour whilst one correspondent asks if we’ve been given a possible ‘sneak peek’ of next seasons’ kit? First though, this weekend.

It always feels like we are missing out when most of our rivals are playing. One slight positive is, I guess, that the next time we all meet up the shape of our squad will be known. Will that include Alan Judge? James Tarkowski? Anybody new? With the window due to ‘slam shut’ on Monday, the time for deals is running out. That doesn’t make them any less likely, of course.

Traditionally, the final day has been anything from a sea of tumbleweed to a flurry of frenetic activity. And that’s just the onlookers although recent times have seen them absent after reporter Alan Irwin was assaulted with an ‘adult product’ . Let’s hope our ‘out door’ remains equally quiet over the next few days.

That said, yesterday saw the transfer klaxon going off at Griffin Park with the club announcing that 19 year old centre back Emmanuel Onariase has signed on a youth contract from West Ham. With Harlee Dean, Yoann Barbet, James Tarkowski and Jack O’Connell having already featured in that position this season, what does this mean for our first teamers? Could one or more be on the way out – either now or at season end ?

The situation around James Tarkowski, if not entirely clear following the respective statements, has certainly been made very public. Likewise, Harlee’s contract expires at the end of the season. One would hope that at least one of these players is in the long-term plans of our co-directors of football. We’ll see though.

img-0549-4x3277-2927583_478x359

Emmanuel signs and opts for scarf over shirt

The other slight plus from this weekend was Derby County being beaten by Manchester United in the FA Cup last night. As anybody who has been reading this week will be aware, I’m not particularly interested in the cup performances of Mr. van Gaal’s team.

However, the result does now mean that our game with Derby at Griffin Park will go ahead on February 20th. Had the Rams beaten United then we wouldn’t have had a Saturday ‘home fixture’ until March 5th against Charlton Athletic. Imagine what a long wait that would have been – over a month without a home weekend fixture.

We’d have had to do ‘that trip’ to Ikea, visit the in-laws, paint the spare room or fix the leaky tap. I can only imagine the panic over at The Griffin as takings nosedived. Thanks Man U. Please note: my interest in you is now over. Again .

And finally, fellow kit enthusiast Luis Adriano contacted me on Twitter last night with a great spot – could this be next season’s home shirt? Made by adidas, it is the away shirt for San Jose Earthquakes’ 2016 campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 07.09.53

Could we wear this next season?

As Luis noted, “not sure it would go down too well with the traditionalists” but , from a personal perspective, I have to say that I love it. Red and white stripes but certainly a little bit of a twist on the norm. Would Matthew Benham and Mark Devlin take this much of a leap into untraditional territory? Would supporters like a shirt that was this heavy on the white?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Osca ’83-’84 home effort. The one with the all white upper half. So rare, I don’t even have one in my own collection that, otherwise, features most things from 1978 onwards (the ‘mythical’ Adidas ’80-’81 aside).

Indeed, it came second in my all time ‘top ten’ of the Bees home shirts. As was noted at the time, that one was “The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant”.

Would we have the guts to go this radical? Would fans warm to it? I may be shooting in the dark but it would be interesting to know.

Either way, it’s a lot better than speculating about who might be sneaking out of that window by Monday.

team-picture-1983-841

Osca 83-84. Loved the shirt – not so keen on the shorts.

Nick Bruzon

The things you learn on the radio…

22 Jan

We’ll get onto the build up for Preston – Brentford along with the fall out of number 26 and his refusal to play against Burnley momentarily but I’d crave your indulgence for a moment as we go off on a tangent. Kind of.

Just as this week has seen the ten year anniversary of Bees United taking ownership of Brentford from Ron Noades, there is another decade long celebration taking place. Today, infact. It is ten years since DJ Christian O’Connell began his Absolute Radio breakfast show.

What’s this got to do with Brentford, you may ask? Well, aside from keeping me sane at the ungodly hour at which this blog is normally written Christian was the man who, finally, put the Cameron Diaz rumour to bed. Does she support Brentford, improbable thought it sounds, or not?

For anyone who doesn’t know the jaw dropping answer, you can find out what happened here. Direct from the horse’s mouth. Although to be clear, Cameron if you’re reading (she isn’t ) I’m not suggesting that you are in any form equine.

OC – thanks for the tunes and laughs over the years which, as supporter Matt Davis reminded us on Twitter last night, even included a 2006 appearance at Griffin Park. Specifically, in a video shoot for the DJ’s World Cup single “Hurry up England” which crashed in, and then out, of the hit parade at number 10.

screen-shot-2014-09-04-at-20-31-23

The OC met Cameron and talked Brentford..

So from a funny man to an unfunny one. Our number 26. Or, more specifically, Dean Smith talking about him to Phil Parry on BBC Radio London.

I am sure, by now, we‘ve all heard the interview in which our Head Coach confirms that, amongst others things, the player is back in training with the first team after going on strike for the Burnley game.

For me, the key turn of phrase is in regards to Preston where Dean notes, with a perhaps unfortunate / deliberate choice of words: “He won’t be available for selection on Saturday but its one of them, you know, that we’ll play by ear

But then it gets interesting as he adds, “He’ll be available moving forward, that’s for sure”.

Is there a chance we’ll see him in a red and white shirt again? Unlikely for some time, if at all, is my opinion. This smacks of diplomacy in a bid to diffuse what is clearly a very awkward situation for all parties.

I feel for Dean here. He’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t . We’re talking about a hugely talented centre back who you’d be desperate to have in your team. Freeze him out and, eventually, any sale value decreases to nothing. Play him and you send out an awful message of player power corrupting. Sell him and it shows that throwing a wobbly can help a player find the exit door should he be looking for it.

I don’t know what the answer to this one is. I’m just the numpty on the terrace, after all. What is clear is that we’ve been backed into a corner and, like taking them short, it’s not going to work out well for anyone.

Discussing the matter on Twitter last night with several supporters, Luis Adriano (of ‘Penalties’ fame ) put forward the idea of “T*@ky – the movie”. With Martin Clunes tipped to play the leading role, it’s one that I doubt will ever get off the drawing board although I live in hope.

Perhaps, though, we’ve got more chance of seeing his own table top game. I stumbled across this gem from Parker on the Internet last night which, with a light bit of jiggery-pokery c/o photoshop, could provide a winner.

 

striker game 2

Striker – we need one. But not this sort

Promising “Fast single handed action” (seriously??) – not my words – could we see this in the club shop any time soon? Unlikely as,  if nothing else, Parker’s other claim is blatant false advertising .

Players actually kick the ball.” Not at the moment, they don’t.

Let’s hope this mess gets sorted out soon.

Nick Bruzon

Is there anybody left to pick for the Preston game?

19 Sep

Brentford entertain Preston North End today, looking to get back to winning ways after the draw at Leeds United and midweek defeat away to Middlesbrough. But, it seems, our well-documented injury list has got even worse with Maxime Colin the latest to be added, if reports are to be believed.

Maxime Colin - may be back in the stands for the Preston game

Maxime Colin – may be back in the stands for the Preston game

I like Thursdays. That’s ‘media day’ at Brentford and so it means the local press get to quiz players and management about the forthcoming games. The follow-up articles generally contain a lot of decent material, with genuine quotes rather than the rumours of ‘double transfer swoops’ that occupy so much more of the rest of their space during the week.

So fairplay to West London’s premier journalist Tom Moore who, ahead of the Preston game, has put together his own list of the latest injury news after quizzing Marinus. In an article that I am sure most Brentford fans have already seen, our head coach admits he’s struggling with the bench whilst the aforementioned Colin suffered a blow in training.

The update from Marinus being that, “He just blocked a ball with his knee. It’s possible he could play but it’ll depend how he wakes up”.

Meanwhile, Jota will be out for another three – four weeks minimum, Sam Saunders isn’t even training with the squad (for fitness reasons, nothing personal) whilst James Tarkowski has a calf problem although is hoped to be back next week.

Jota won't be rushing into action any time soon

Jota won’t be rushing into action any time soon

On the plus side, reports around Josh McEachran and Lewis Macleod both sound a lot more positive whilst Nico Yennaris is fit. Repeat. Nico IS fit.

This news was slightly tempered by Marinus not being drawn on whether the player would be in the squad, but that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.

Brentford fan and author Luis Adriano (whose football based psychological thriller ‘Penalties’ is currently available) gets the award for ‘tweet of the week’. Whilst Tom Moore’s article provides a great overview of the current scenario, Luis nails it in less than the obligatory 140 characters allowed by twitter, with this observation:

Top tweeting from Luis Adriano

Top tweeting from Luis Adriano

I can’t help but admire the brave face being put on things by Marinus, given he is having every plan ruined by factors well outside of his control. By all accounts the first XI gave an admirable showing against Middlesbrough but the squad is getting thinner and thinner. Any coach can legislate for a few absences, but to have a dozen key players missing for an assortment of injury related reasons would spanner anybody.

Equally, one does have to wonder how much of this is bad luck and whether any is of our own making? Whilst one would sincerely hope the former, it is somewhat frustrating that Macleod, McEachran, and Colin have all been taken out against our own players (or twigs, in the case of the former). And that’s just who we know about for sure.

On Tuesday night at Middlesbrough we could only name six substitutes instead of the permitted 7(seven). And that included two goalkeepers. Now Maxime may be out, too. It’s getting to the point we may just have to stick our players in the deep freeze for a week and then begin the defrosting process on a Friday night. How else could we keep them from further harm before the next big game?

Of course, this will never happen. Cryogenic technology has not yet advanced sufficiently to allow the reanimation process to have even been successfully tested on lab rats. Indeed, it is not thought that scientists will be ready to attempt such a procedure until 2045.

Hopefully even Lewis Macleod will be fit by then.

Nick Bruzon

Matthew Benham and Roy help lift the mood as Gibraltar are bracketed.

8 Sep

Very much a day of mixed emotions yesterday as former Brentford goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny (now plying his trade with Arsenal) kept Gibraltar at bay in their EURO 2016 opener against Poland. And by kept at bay, I mean barely had a look in as the boys from the Rock were on the wrong end of a 7(seven) – 0 bracketing.

Despite an even first half, it ended up being the sort of rout that nobody likes to see. It took Brentford owner Matthew Benham, who had earlier given a positive reaction to the ‘hot seat’ idea for Lionel Road, to fully lift my post match gloom with another view of one of his favourite football headlines.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Lionel Road plans form as Gibraltar arrive on the Euro stage

7 Sep

No sooner had Brentford fan (or not, as it transpired)Cameron Diaz broken my heart this week than an idea has formed which could help bring her back into the fold. First, though, EURO 2016 qualifiers and if you aren’t bothered seeing Germany get brackets (seven) against Scotland then Sky Sports 3 has Gibraltar making their tournament debut on Sunday night.

The boys from The Rock have a ‘home’ fixture against Poland in a hugely significant game after finally becoming UEFA’s 54th member last May. I use ‘home’ loosely – the game will actually take place in Faro, Portugal – but it still promises to be an emotional experience for players, travelling supporters and those watching on TV.

It is a shame, from one respect, they’ll be rattling around a half empty stadium when a trip from Gibraltar to London would likely have been just as cost effective (thanks to the wonder of charter flights) and would have seen any number of stadia up for the task – international football at Griffin Park, perhaps?

But I digress – in a Group D that also sees World Champions Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the pool minnows, Scotland, it could be a fascinating qualification campaign. The smart money will be on Germany to walk it, of course, but I’m backing Gibraltar to pull off a shock this evening. And at 33-1 with some bookmakers for the win, worth a few quid…..?

Getting back to domestic matters, this week Cameron Diaz declared that although she wasn’t aware of The Bees existence, now that she is she’ll look into us.

As such, what better chance for the club to spring into action? To be quite honest, when it was announced last week that she’d be in London on a promotional tour, I’d have assumed the marketing and media chaps would have been all over it, anyway.

A new home shirt with ‘DIAZ, 9’ winging it’s way to her? A tour of Griffin Park? Perhaps an interview with Chris Wickham for Beesplayer?

But, it’s not too late. One thing I discovered whilst writing last season’s columns/book was an interesting fact about Swiss football. Whilst most people know that the home of domestic side ‘Young Boys’ is the ‘Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf’ what you may not be aware of is a unique feature – the, so called, ‘Hot Seat’.

The stadium has a solitary red chair amongst the other 31,999 black and yellow ones. It was the first one installed in the new ground (opened in 2005) and you can’t buy a ticket for it. Instead, a notable personality – usually linked to the club – sits there.

I love this idea and, as I’ve said before, think it would be fantastic if Brentford could try a similar scheme at Lionel Road. 19,999 red and white seats, and then one in a unique colour – or perhaps even yellow/black stripes?

In our case, the occupant could range from a deserving supporter to a local dignitary or ‘celebrity’ fan. (If nothing else, there’s a free programme article out of it every week).

And if we go down the latter route then what better guest to invite to use this ‘hot seat’ than Cameron Diaz? As Paul Davis told me on Twitter, “At least now we are on her radar”.

Mr. Benham, if you are reading (you never know) then how about it?

But even if Cameron does come good, she’s still down (down) the pecking order behind Rhino out of The Quo or Dean Gaffney.

Bees fans montage updated

Should Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Nick Bruzon

Three stunning pictures as the times are definitely changing.

29 Aug

We’ll get to the pictures in a moment but I need to start with a follow up on yesterday’s column regarding the video reports produced by Brentford and Birmingham City supporters (specifically: Beesotted and Davo’s diary).

One of the questions left open was whether Birmingham City joining forces with Davo, thus allowing him to show the pitch whilst posting his ‘independent’ production on the official site, left his work open to ‘editorial input’ or ‘selling out’?

Well, I’ve been contacted by several supporters to shed further light on this topic. Shane Ireland summarises the reasoning and, clearly, if this is an accurate reflection then it suggest Birmingham City are moving with the times.

It seems the Football League filed copyright complaints and the footage was, initially, removed from YouTube. However, some swearing aside, the version that now features on the clubsite is the same that appears, once more, on Davo’s own YouTube channel.

You can see his comments in full, along with others, on yesterday’s piece but to summarise Shane tells me :“The move by which BCFC allowed Davo to continue producing his content was a very popular one when they announced he would be doing it for the club’s official YouTube channel at the start of last season.

As BCFC could clearly see how enjoyable his videos were, they essentially ‘employed’ him in a position where he made his fan videos for the club, allowing him to set up a new YouTube channel in the process, which proved an extremely popular decision.

The videos which are uploaded onto BCFC’s official channel are very similar to the one’s Davo uploads to his own, with only the noticeable swearing edited out. The club even keep in the ‘all we care about is BCFC’ line from our ‘We don’t care about Carson’ song.”

Could Brentford step in to do something similar with Beesotted? Would Brentford want to step in to do something similar with Beesotted? Indeed, would Beesotted be happy to go into a ‘partnership’ with the Brentford media team?

These aren’t questions for me to answer but one thing’s for sure; they certainly seem to be working well for Davo, Birmingham City and, more importantly, their supporters. And if one club has set precedent then I’m sure it’s only a a matter of time before others look to follow.

Right, picture time. Browsing Twitter this morning, I stumbled across this from @antiquefootball. Ted Drake of Arsenal being carried off the pitch at First Division (we have been there, kids) Brentford back in 1938.

They certainly did things differently back then. Less a stretcher and more a sack of spuds.

The 1930s saw Griffin Park host top flight football and primitive medical techniques

The 1930s saw Griffin Park host top flight football and primitive medical techniques

Next picture. Ever wondered what World, European and double Olympic champion Mo Farah would look like, posing with Buzz, Buzzette and an oversized novelty cheque?

There’s a really important story on the club website about the partnership between his ‘Mo Foundation’ charity, the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Sport Impact.

You can read the story in full on the official site and, in the short term, here’s a preview of that picture.

Forget the Olympics. Meeting Buzzette is, surely, the highlight of Mo's career to date

Forget the Olympics. Meeting Buzzette is, surely, the highlight of Mo’s career to date

Final picture – the FA Cup preliminary round takes place on Saturday. Exotic sounding teams such as Thurnby Nirvana, Prescot Cables, Runcorn Linnets and Spoting Khalsa give their fans the chance to wave a home made (preferably tin foil) trophy at a game.

It’s something we’ve all (I hope) done – including yours truly, pictured below (NOT one of the 3 pictures).

Nothing says FA Cup tradition like a home made trophy

Nothing says FA Cup tradition like a home made trophy

However, it seems that this is a tradition that extends to the very top of the footballing pyramid. The 1987 Cup final between Coventry City and Tottenham Hotspur saw, probably, the finest example ever of this noble art.

The place: an empty Wembley stadium.

The channel: BBC1

The cup waver – none other than Des Lynam.

Viewers to the build up show for that day’s final were treated to the below. Frankly, football doesn’t get any better than this.

Great work, Des.

Des Lynam rocks the moustache, sports jacket and home made trophy combo

Des Lynam rocks the moustache, sports jacket and home made trophy combo

Birmingham City and Brentford fans – trailblazers or sell outs?

28 Aug

With the disappointment of Adam Forshaw and Tuesday night against Fulham put to one side, I’ve been trawling the Internet for a different Brentford story. And thanks to a most unlikely source – Birmingham City – I’ve found one.

It’s no secret that even outside of ‘official’ circles we have several fanatics involved in promoting Brentford FC. And, by promoting, I mean more along the lines of ‘getting involved’.

The work of the Beesotted crew is, of course, a longstanding yardstick by which to judge others but then we have all other levels of involvement.

There are the bloggers such as myself and Greville Waterman with his BFCtalk; the fanzine teams such as Thorne In The Side; the authors, such as Luis Adriano or, again, yours truly (‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA cup’ and ‘Penalties‘ are still both available on kindle). Even the supporters themselves, through the medium of fancam.

Which brings me on to Birmingham City. For all the past rivalry and banter their fans are, ultimately, much like our own. You get those who travel, those who like a drink in an ‘away’ pub, those who arrive two hours early to clap the players off the coach and those who write the blogs, publish the fanzines and shoot the home produced videos. Diehards who each contribute their own small piece to the labour of love that is ‘supporting your team’.

In the case of Birmingham City things are slightly different. Trying to find a picture of Clayton Donaldson in a ‘blue shirt’ I stumbled across the below video by a chap called Davo. Like the Beesotted ‘match videos’ it features the visit to the opposing team and various fan interviews.

 

However, unlike the Beesotted videos – their equivalent from the Birmingham game being below – there are two distinct differences which, I’d wager, are probably related.

 

 

The first difference being that the Birmingham video shows actual ‘on pitch action’. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t BAFTA winning quality and you are never going to say to yourself: “Sorry Manish. I would tune in to the football league show but, to be honest, why would I want your multi-angle HD coverage when I’ve seen a blur of Clayton through the back of somebody’s head?

That said, what they do have is an added sense of ‘being there’. We can’t all be lucky enough to travel and this footage just adds to the sense of still remaining part of that giant football family.

Frankly, I love it. I think this is a great touch to complement a really well put together piece of work. Even for the ‘home’ team, it gives a unique view on the game as, in the case of Brentford, we’d never see action from the Wendy House.

To be honest, I’m not sure how Davo is able to get away with this. As the Brentford fancam adverts constantly tell us, “Under the terms of the Football League’s broadcast agreements, supporters are not allowed to publish any footage taken from inside a ground when a Football League match is taking place..”

But here’s the trade off and, I’d guess, that second key difference. A version of the Birmingham City video is also available via the official club site. And with any ‘official’ publication you are liable to the possibility of censorship and editing,

Not just that but a potential loss of respect from the very people you are appealing to. If the likes of T.I.T.S. or GPG could only exist through official club channels, there’d be immediate accusations of “Sell out” all round. I love these sources purely because they ARE independent.

That’s not to knock the club. They produce their own highlight packages and Beesplayer features. Football is a business and they are appealing to their consumers – the fans. The media team are trying to promote ‘brand Brentford’ and why should they allow anybody else to muscle in?

And this is where we come back to the earlier ‘Manish’ point. It’s one which has also been highlighted by the Premiership recently looking to prosecute people for publishing highlight clips on YouTube.

I’m not a (complete) idiot and realise that there are things such as contracts, licensing agreements, exclusivity deals etc. However, there is also such a thing as technology, which is ever evolving.

Social media and mobile phones are going to present people with more and more opportunity to share these sort of clips. Technology which is going to be harder and harder to police. Just ask Getty images!

These are clips that, of course, are hardly of the highest quality (relative to the TV coverage or official highlights packages) and unlikely to steal any potential viewing figures. I could watch either of these two video reports but I’d still, also, want to catch up on the Football League show or club YouTube site.

I could read Greville’s latest blog column but I’d still make sure I juxtaposed this with Chris Wickham’s match report.

The point being, as ever in a very roundabout fashion, that I’m not sure what the footballing authorities (at whatever level) are scared of?

People are never going to turn away from official coverage because some well organised fans have bolstered their video report with thirty seconds of match footage shot from the back of the terrace. Reports which have all the more credibility for the fact that they remain independent.

Our clubs do an excellent job of Youtube and ‘player’ footage.

Davo at Birmingham has produced a really impressive piece of work that has the bonus of ‘unique’ match footage although who knows if/what the club have held back. Even if nothing, supporters will always have their suspicions that this is just more ‘club speak’.

Beesotted have the innovation of prematch ‘pub debate’ followed by, action free, match reports. That said, they still push the envelope and were, for example, the ones ‘on the ground’ with a video camera at the post-Preston impromptu promotion street party

All these teams produce different pieces of work but all complement each other. Is there really no margin for a bit of crossover? Like it or not, social media is going to make this happen more and more.

Whilst, rightly, I can’t see the likes of the BBC, the clubs or the Leagues allowing fans to transmit full match footage, is the odd minute or two of handheld camera footage REALLY that big a threat? Indeed, could you argue that this brief taster will only drive supporters towards official sites to see ‘the real thing’.

Or is money and exclusivity that big a deal that any threat should either be obliterated or legitimised through an official partnership? I do find it interesting that Birmingham City have even had to go down a partnership route. Is it a case of embracing change or simply ‘making a deal with the devil’ ?

My take on it? Official footage is high quality but a few minutes of supporter shot film gives that true feeling of being part of a fanbase; of supporting your team; of stoking further interest. And given how the club’s bottom line is, surely, to attract ‘customers’, then what easier way to do this?

If the video crews, bloggers and fanzine writers are prepared to do this then, surely, they are just saving the marketing teams a bucketload of effort and providing hours of publicity?

One thing’s for sure, we haven’t seen the last of fan shot video reports. The only decision being how hard the clubs and League want to police them or, if done in moderation, how much they are actually prepared to accept this, unintentional, free advertising.

Looking for Clayton, I ended up with Davo's diary

Looking for Clayton, I ended up with Davo’s diary