Tag Archives: Martin Rowlands

Football fans lost in the superunknown as Festive fixtures take hold.

28 Dec

Is it Friday? Saturday? Thursday? We’re in that dead-zone of the calendar where nothing makes any sense. A random televised game between West Ham and Southampton last night being the only clue that some half-arsed sort of normality is trying to be attained as the festive fixtures plough ever onwards. For Brentford, a 1-1 draw at Bristol City on, erm, let’s just call it Boxing Day for ease, saw The Bees make if 4 points out of 6 as our kamikaziesque tailspin was arrested and Thomas Frank pulled back hard on the rudder with his revamped team formation. i.e. he made us climb. But with a trip to play-off chasing Birmingham City (not a typo) next for Brentford will the return to more positive results continue ?

Fair dues to Garry Monk’s Blues. There’s no doubting we’ve enjoyed the lion’s share of points and jokes at the expense of Birmingham City on the pages over the last few years. How they swerved relegation to League One last campaign was a miracle akin to Christmas. There were the 7(seven) goals scored with none against. Four top ten finishes in the Championship for the Bees – each one above Garry Monk(/ insert name of previous incumbents) Blues. Then there was ‘that’ ten times better thing. 

Yes – I know Blues’ fans like to point it out as some form of ‘obsession’ every time it gets mentioned but football fans have long memories. As was written in the programme notes for Bolton, “The likes of Martin Rowlands, 10 times better Harlee and of course Mr. Moose’s own withering attacks on us have still not been forgotten.” . Even Dean Smith’s proclamation after his Aston Vila threw it away against Leeds United, causing him too declare that “From the celebrations, I thought they’d won the title” brought back found memories of Russell Slade after Leyton Orient had capitulated in that famous promotion clash six years ago. His own sour grapes are as much part of Griffin Park’s rich football folklore tapestry as the dog on the pitch, the hand grenade, badges being kissed or Mark Burridge exploding in the commentary box as Jota sliced through the Blackburn Rovers frontline… and midfield… and defence and goalkeeper… As magnificent as the time Stuart Dallas scored the best. goal. ever. at Craven Cottage.

View from the stand - Stuart Dallas celebrates doing that thing.....

Stuart Dallas – one of THE Brentford moments

And so the somewhat meandering point is that whilst Harlee will no doubt continue to warrant a mention from time to time, don’t think there’s anything ‘exclusive’ about it. Don’t think it’s any form of singling out a player or a club. A club who we’ve more than held our own against in recent times. It’s just one of the many comedy moments to have graced our footballing experience that will no doubt be mentioned again and again over the years.

Although I do so this time around with some trepidation. One can only acknowledge current form and results where Birmingham City are flying. They’re up to 7th (seventh) in the table and know that a win could see them leap-frog Frank Lampard’s Derby County (TM). Brentford, on the other hand…. Well, we all know what has happened since being named as joint favourites to win the Championship back in October alongside Leeds United. The bookies never get it wrong, supposedly. I’d imagine there were a few red faces at the Leo Vegas Christmas party this time around when reviewing that one.

Yet, yet, yet. Form can be temporary. Good or bad. The brakes are now on and the team set up has changed. We have the Championship’s leading scorer in Neal Maupay – a player who buried an absolute beauty at Bristol City. Mind you, it needed to be after the opening goal we conceded. A neon highlighter pen would have done a better job at being a a reliable marker as Eros Pisano was given all the time and room he needed to give the hosts an early lead. Just about the only positive to be taken from that one was that it wasn’t followed by a second within a few minutes – something else that has looked like becoming a trademark of our play in recent months. Instead, it was a case of start again and earn a hard fought point.

I take umbrage at Thomas’s post match assessment that “The header for Bristol City’s goal would have gone wide if it had not hit a defender and overall I thought we deserved to win the game”. We’ve done ur piece on ‘deserving’ many, many times over the years. It was a favourite of Dean Smith’s and a dangerous trap to fall into. Moreso, when ignoring the obvious shortcoming around the goal – every man and his dog could see that with all 11 players back in the box to defend a corner, allowing an opposition player to remain totally unmarked is nothing short of shambolic. Something that was also picked up on when  defending a free-kick at Hull City.

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Sky cameras caught how bad this one was

Still, the defence shortcomings have looked to be addressed. The switch to three centre backs to support the pressing full backs is one which has come at the same time as our switch in form. No bad thing either, given today’s game won’t be easy. By any stretch of the imagination. Garry Monk has his team eating up the table for fun and they are where they are on absolute merit. To make matters worse for us, Jota is back after injury lay off and whilst we all know he’ll look to cut in from the right wing, he is a luxury I’d still love to have available.

The bottom line is that going in to this one, Birmingham City are favourites. They’re the team on form. They’re the team gunning for promotion at present. They’re the team the bookies see as the one with most chance of picking up three points. If they do, it’ll be the first time since November 2016 that they’ve recorded a notch in the ‘W’ column when up abasing Brentford. 

That in itself will be reason alone to go for it once more. If Thomas Frank wanted to do anything to win over any doubters on the terrace, then three points on Saturday (I think) will be the perfect way to do it. 

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Feliz Navidad

Nick Bruzon

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Who has the best ever Bees moustache? Who is this year’s new entrant?

1 Nov

With Brentford now having a few days to wait until  we resume Championship action with Friday’s night’s TV game against Fulham, there’s time to look at a few things from the archives. Specifically with a top ‘XI’ that is a blatant rip off of a column published two years ago (albeit with one new entrant). Yet I make no apologies as it is for a great cause.

Today, November 1st, sees the beginning of the Movember campaign. Men in your place of work, your home or even Griffin Park will be undertaking that toughest of challenges – growing a moustache. Some will carry it off with all the prowess of flamboyant Queen frontman Freddie Mercury or Tom Selleck in his Magnum heyday; many will end up with barely perceptible wisps. Often, at a totally different colour to the hair on their head. Yet whatever the results, it is all being done to raise funds and awareness about men’s health – primarily the battles against testicular and prostate cancer.

Somebody near you will be engaged in this challenge and so, please, don’t look on them with scorn or disdain. Instead, why not dig deep? Nobody grows a moustache on purpose…

Yet this wasn’t always the way. Looking through the historical archives shows us how common a practice this once was at Brentford. With many people taking up Movember’s  charitable baton, what better way to recognise their forthcoming battle with bum fluff than by reviewing the top ten of moustaches sported by Brentford players through the ages.

This is a totally non-scientific study based on nothing more than personal opinion of moustache quality rather than playing ability. And so with apologies to any noticeable omissions, let’s kick things off….

10 – Roger Stanislaus. The classy left back opted for an equally classy moustache. It takes a brave man to try and carry this off but Roger did it with ease.

Roger Stanislaus

Forget ‘what happened next’. Remember the class

9 – Andy Ansah. These days better known for his wonderful Tekkers, in his youth Andy was as famed for his pace as he was for this effort.

andy ansah moustache

Ansah – always displayed wonderful tekkers

8 – Steve Phillips. Was the goal machine from the late 70’s a possible inspiration on none other than Gary Blissett ten years later? Note the similarity in strike rates and facial hair.

Steve Phillips moustache

The original Gary Blissett?

7 – John Smeulders. The first of three goalkeepers to make the list. Despite only a handful of appearances, his name lives on forever in the pantheon of mustachioed Bees legends.

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Smeulders – played with style

6 – Gary Phillips. Another goalkeeper and another quality moustache. Little evidence of this, at least in Brentford colours, exists on the Internet. However, once seen it was never forgotten. Mercuryesque.

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a photo as fuzzy as his moustache

5 – Chris Kamara. Like Andy Ansah, Chris is as well known these days for his TV work. But Chris also displayed unceasing loyalty to his moustache – something that continued throughout his playing career and can still be seen this very day. An unbelievable effort.

Kamara moustache

Unbelievable, Jeff

4 – Gordon Phillips. Was it compulsory to go for the Tom Selleck look if you played for Brentford and were a Phillips? Our third goalkeeper and third player to carry that surname, Gordon is easily the best of that group – moreso as he offsets this with a fantastic pair of sideburns.

Gordon Phillips moustache

Clean sheets but not clean shaven. Wonderful

3 – Gary Blissett. A goalscoring hero to many. A moustache icon to more. How many players can say they sealed a Championship, knocked their beloved Manchester City out of the FA Cup and even ended up in goal a few times – all despite the extra pressure of maintaining finely groomed facial hair? Seen here with former Bees commercial manager, Matt Davis.

Bliss - with Mat Davis

Bliss – a hero to many. Then and now

2 – Wayne Turner. Sometimes words are not enough. Just let the picture do the talking.

Wayne turner moustache

Move over Terry Thomas

1 – Gordon Sweetzer. I wasn’t fortunate enough to remember seeing Gordon play and so I take a quote from Andy McCulloch to describe his on pitch personality:

“Gordon, now he would go through a brick wall. He was just crazy. He got terribly injured at times. He was a bit like me in a way – he went for things he shouldn’t have. Probably should have stepped back but you can’t with that sort of desire”.

Imagine, as a defender, that bearing down on you but with the added quality of Brentford’s best ever moustache. Absolute class.

Gordon Sweetzer moustache

Sorry Bliss, Chris and Wayne. Beaten by a worthy champion

Before we go, any football team needs 11 players.  Whilst he may not have made it into the top ten, there is one man at the club who transcends all style. Who has shown over the years that the moustache is still a tradition (albeit a lot less prevalent) which can be carried off by today’s modern players.

At 11, rather than his traditional 7(seven) none other than Sam Saunders.

Sam Saunders Panini

Just imagine finding this in your Panini stickers 

 

And if anybody  would like to find out more about this year’s Movember campaign or even participate then you can do so here.

Nick Bruzon

Jake joins? Farewell Bidwell, just don’t ‘do a Rowlands’

2 Jul

For all the positive news coming out of Griffin Park yesterday, many Brentford fans have been left distraught when it was announced that captain Jake Bidwell would be joining QPR. His move to Loftus Road had been rumoured for some time but now it has been confirmed. Wow !

What can you say? There were equal amounts of warmth and vitriol flying around yesterday, something to be expected. Not at Jake departing. He’s been with us since November 2011 and so it’s only natural he would move at some point. Short of Kevin O’Connor, the days of players seeing out their career at one club are very much the thin end of the footballing wedge.

Supporter frustration has been more at the choice of destination. There? Really ? That’s been very hard for many to take. The memory of Martin Rowlands kissing ‘that badge’ is one that remain fresh in the mind, even now. Supporter memories run deep and things like that aren’t forgotten.

Then there was a hashtag. #Jakejoins. Seriously? Is he taking up woodwork? Ewww. Not good. It would be fair to say he didn’t look overly comfortable in those signing photos. Perhaps it was just wearing a QPR shirt after so long in the red and white or just knowing he been landed with one of those much maligned twitter ‘handles’.

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Jake looks ecstatic at the news he has earned a hashtag

Here’s my take on it, for what it’s worth. Firstly, a huge THANK YOU to Jake for everything he did at Brentford. He’s played a huge role in the team that bounced back from ’that penalty’, that got promoted to the Championship, that came within 180 minutes of the Premier League and then held their nerve last season, when all around were shouting doom and gloom, to end the season in ninth. A position which, for the record, was five points and three places ahead of the QPR side he now joins.

Next up, good luck. Seriously. I liked Jake, a lot. He always came across as the model professional and nobody could doubt what he meant to the team or the fans. Adding an attacking element, and goals, to his game only gave his play an extra dimension and we will miss him. Equally though, we will cope.

Last season showed how. The destruction of the squad that finished fifth was not pretty. The subsequent performances were painful, at times, but we got things together and have been left with a wonderful team. Tom Field gave a gob-smacking debut against Fulham when Jake did miss out and, surely, he’ll be lined up for that position now. Potentially, with support through the in-door (unless, of course, Dean is looking to convert another midfielder or, even, centre back? )

Tom Field

Academy graduate Tom Field replaced Jake against Fulham

Players come and players go. Those who have left the Bees to line up against us in recent seasons haven’t had the easiest of times upon their return. Look at Andre Gray or Moses Odubajo. We’ve kept Clayton Donaldson quiet although I could never say a bad word about him, in any circumstance. Clayton was just fab.

And so was Jake.

I don’t envy him joining that circus up at Loftus Road. I certainly don’t envy him the reaction he is, undoubtedly, going to get from an element of our support – that’s football. Deal with it. I’m sure he will.

He’s made a decision that I am sure he sees in his best interests – financially and in footballing terms. We’ll miss Jake but we’ll be as strong without him.

Brentford finished 9th last season. QPR 12th. I fancy us to go better this time around. I fancy them to self-destruct.

jake joins

When I read #Jakejoins I presumed….

Nick Bruzon

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

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

It’s all a bit Carry On, Brentford. But who’s joking?

1 Apr

It’s April 1st. It’s a good thing ‘press day’ took place yesterday as Brentford gear up for the trip to Nottingham Forest and a return to league action. Could there be any truth to Beesotted’s latest ‘exclusive’ on the Griffin Park hall of fame? Surely Mark Chapman wouldn’t stoop to these levels? And will ‘official’ look to join in with the hilarity (blue and white 2016 ‘away’ kit to be revealed soon?)

If its humour you want then the closest I can offer is somewhat of an odd vibe yesterday as Dean Smith gave his press conference aswell as enjoying a gentle probing from BBC Billy Reeves. “Philipp Hofmann has been on the grass”, it was reported at one point. This, to help him recuperate from chronic back pain. Clearly, the medicinal benefits not to be underestimated. Of training, that is.

As for those other injuries, the midfield has taken a double hit with Dean confirming to Billy that Josh McEachran could well be out for the rest of the season after suffering what is feared to be “a refracture of the second metatarsal” (looks like he’s broken that foot, again). It is a huge blow for the player and the team – moreso given Dean has also confirmed John Swift will be missing for at least the Nottingham Forest game.

Following the injury suffered on England U-21 duty, John has had to have five stitches in his gash and it is, apparently, “very angry”. I have no idea what Swift’s angry gash looks like and nor would I want to. However, with Dean confirming that all is now forgiven following the strange affair of the ‘hipster meme’, you can be sure that the Chelsea loanee would have figured in his plans otherwise.

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Could Dean be forced to pick himself?

For me, Clive, this then means that whatever our head coach says about other players being given a chance, he doesn’t really have any choice left in who he plays on Saturday. I’ll be very surprised if the team varies much from: Button, Bidwell, Nico, Harlee, Barbet, Macca, KK, Woods, Judge, Canos, Vibe.

That said, the bench may have a slightly more unusual feel to it. Could we see any of the development squad making the step up following their fine 4-2 victory over Barnsley in midweek to join the likes of Jack O’Connell, Sam Saunders, Marco Djuricin, Scott Hogan, Andy Gogia and Jack Bonham on the subs list ?

Or am I miles off the pace here and Dean be planning a bit of a shake up following his 10 defeats out of 13 in 2016? Who knows how much choice he genuinely has but you can be sure Saturday’s teamsheet will be awaited with intrigue.

The other key point of his interview with Billy was an unexpected level of honesty. “I can understand frustrations….I’d be probably booing if it was my team”, was a somewhat frank admission made at one point.

Fairplay to Dean for saying what many supporters have been thinking but I just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt him. We’re not total idiots and can see what is, or isn’t, happening out there. I’ve a hell of a lot more respect for Dean treating us like this than adopting the Arsene Wenger ‘head in the sand’ approach. If I had a pound for everytime the Frenchman didn’t see an incident I’d be a rich man by now.

Of course, he’ll need to be a tad careful. Those sort of comments can bite you on the behind and were a trademark of Marinus era Brentford (remember that? Personally, I’m trying not to). I guess the flipside is that by Dean’s own admission he doesn’t feel out of his depth whilst, in regards to Matthew Benham and the management set up he sees himself as “very supported”.

A few of our defensive players are having a bit of a lull”, he admitted at one point. Somewhat like saying that the Titanic was having a few issues with water retention yet, at the same time only half the problem. Over reliance on Judge (I’d be intrigued to see how we play without him) and a lack of penetration in front of the goal being equally key.

Dean has his work cut out for him, that’s for sure. We’re not out of the woods yet by any stage and Championship survival is by no means assured. The good news is that destiny is still very much in our own hands and whilst that gap is getting tighter, even the bookies still see us as 33/1 to be playing in League One next season. Equally, Dean knows the areas that need work.

The question is, how does he fix them for Saturday? At Nottingham Forest, we find out.

Harlee

Defensive lulls a scintilating topic

 

Tarky – Our new Bjelland

16 Jan

Oh, the irony. A game featuring Joey Barton in which the former QPR man was only the second biggest w*nker on show. Burnley beating Brentford 3-1 (and well played on that front – seriously) was but the mere sideshow as former Bee James Tarkowski gave his very best demonstration of how to lose friends and alienate people.

What a colossal wand. His pre-match hissy fit and refusal to play against the club so publically courting him have instantly graduated the player formally known as ‘Tarks’ to Martin Rowlands levels of popularity.Never have I known such anger, frustration and incredulation amongst the Griffin Park faithful. It was disappointment on a level approaching a post match article about the development squad.

For a player under contract, and whom we have turned down a bid for, to then refuse to play smacks whole heartedly of the last time he has pulled on the red and white.

To be honest, having taken things to that level he probably doesn’t give a monkey anyway. With agents pouring money and sweet nothings into his ear, along with the prospect of a move North, offending his employers and supporters was probably the least of his concerns.

Well, James. This one’s for you. Call me Kevin Keegan but I tell you this. I’d love it. I’d absolutely love it if Mr. Benham leaves you to rot in the reserves. You’re under contract and so we don’t, actually, have to sell you.

Sure, the lorry load of cash that Sean Dyche will now have to drive up to Griffin Park would be nice, but sometimes principals are the better part of valour. You’ll never be able to play for Brentford again, that’s for sure.

I just hope Matthew is in a position where he can really tell you to do one. Five months of doing laps around the youth team training pitch would be a wonderful return for this complete slap in the face to those supporters – young and old – whose shirts bear your name.

The game tonight went to the deserved team. Burnley produced three class goals and, being honest, we were lucky that’s all it was. Brentford put in a complete first half no show as the visitors were allowed to run riot. How Andre Gray didn’t join the scorers (or The Bees were able to contain it to just three) we’ll never know. Yet Alan Judge’s goal, early in the second half, raised the roof and gave us hope that the impossible may just happen.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Whilst the follow up display was as good as the first half was bad, by that point we’d already been fatally holed below the waterline. The play-offs now look nothing more than a wistful flight of fancy whilst, with a fifteen point gap, relegation is surely too impossible to comprehend.

Instead, it simply remains to hope we hang on to all our transfer targets and eventually choose, under our terms, to sell Tarkowski to Wigan Athletic or some other such Northern non-entity.

Again, well played Burnley. You thoroughly deserved your win and no amount of Tarkowski related frustration will change that.

The alternate post-match exit music of Jessie J and her chart topping ‘Price Tag’ single was a very telling choice. Lyrics of “It’s not about the money, money, money. We don’t need your money, money, money,” were, I am sure, anything but coincidence.

As for the Bees, the next few days are going to make very interesting viewing indeed.

Tarkowski post Bristol City

Tarks – picture taken months ago rather than last night

Nick Bruzon

Almost 50 years on, old rivalries are about to reignite

29 Oct

This time tomorrow, Brentford fans will be preparing for our first West London derby of the season as QPR visit Griffin Park. And if it’s anywhere near as exciting as last season’s, we could be in for a treat. Two wins and six points against Fulham, including the 4-1 thrashing administered at Craven Cottage, have only served to whet the appetite for another game against local rivals.

4-1, and four of the best goals you'll ever see

4-1, and four of the best goals you’ll ever see

The Fulham games were, of course, incredible. But deep down many Brentford fans were also hoping for the chance to test ourselves against QPR. Geographically closer (there’s 4.4 miles between our grounds, compared to the 5.4 that separate Fulham and Brentford) they are seen as our rivals for that reason alone.

Then there’s Martin Rowlands and his infamous ‘badge kissing’ in front of Bees fans when the (then) club hero swapped Griffin Park for Loftus Road after five seasons. I guess some people have to get their kisses where they can although it is something we’ve never forgotten, right up to his recent appearances for Leyton Orient.

However, for the older generation of Bees fans, there is much more historical significance. The 1961 sale of goal machines Jim Towers and George Francis, who had managed just shy of 300 between them, hardly helped matters. Interviewing Jim a few years ago, he admitted, “I didn’t particularly want to go to QPR. Why he (Malky McDonald sold me and George, I don’t know.”

Club legend, Jim Towers

Club legend, Jim Towers

But it was the near takeover in 1967 that, even today, sees the main reason for that fierce rivalry – at least, from our perspective. Had it gone ahead, QPR would have sold Loftus Road to the council, bought Griffin Park (for a profit), moved in and Brentford Football club would no longer have existed. But for a press leak, the Bees fans springing into action and an emergency loan – things could have been very much different today.

I can’t imagine, as a supporter, how that must have felt. Of course, we’ve had our scrapes with that sort of trouble in recent times. The disaster of the David Webb era. Narrowly avoiding bankruptcy and financial collapse after Ron Noades’ stint as owner. Then the efforts of supporters’ trust Bees United that saw the fans pull the club back from the brink and eventually become majority shareholders in Brentford FC before Matthew Benham eventually rode on to the scene.

But reading about the proposed ‘takeover’, and I am sure there will be a lot more eloquent talk about it over the next day or so, things really were that close to many us supporting another team altogether.

Supporters rally round in 1967

Supporters rally round in 1967

Let’s be honest, we’ve had some cracking games against Fulham in recent times. The 1-0 at the Cottage followed by a pre-Peterborough 4-0 humping when we won the old third division title. Stuart Dallas doing his thing away from home after Jota had wrapped up the points at the death in the home game last time out.

Those against QPR have been much more turgid. We’ve crossed paths six times from 2001 – 2004 and not since. Those six games have produced a mere eight goals, four draws and two defeats for the Bees. It has always been a horrible match for the neutral and, at times, a painful one – Mark McCammon blazing over from point blank range, anyone?

Yet, equally, it has always been a game with a unique atmosphere.

As Jim Towers himself went on to say when asked what was THE game? “QPR. For me, and George, it was more than a local derby. We WANTED to win and to beat them more than anyone. Over the years, I don’t think QPR came off too well and perhaps that’s why they took a liking to us and bought us. We had a very good record against them. It was the special one.”

Who am I to argue?

Nick Bruzon

In a week of break ups, Richard Lee tops the lot

27 Mar

It’s around this time of year I start thinking about those April 1st headlines that will, inevitably, hit Brentford related media sites. The blue and white hooped away shirt. The emergency loan signing of Martin Rowlands. Buzzette caught in flagrante delicto with Billy the Badger from Fulham.

But making my way home on Thursday night, the Internet was buzzing with a story that made me think the only possible explanation had to be a media team related ‘faux pas’. Surely one of them had erroneously hit the ‘publish’ button and released this year’s ‘April Fools joke’ prematurely?

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

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

Reading, Cureton and Evo stir the full range of emotions.

3 Oct

Reading visit Brentford on Saturday for a game that reignites the strongest of feelings, almost 15 years after their end of season trip to Griffin Park saw one team promoted to the Championship and the other leave with their players and fans distraught.

For those of you for who the memory of ‘that penalty’ against Doncaster is still a fresh one, this was a totally different pain.

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.

Looking back to look forward for King Kev. Leeds’ loss is Brentford’s gain

1 May

This Saturday will, all being well, see Kevin O’Connor make his 500th appearance for Brentford. It is a stunning achievement for our club captain who passed the 400 mark at the time of his testimonial match (against Fulham) in 2010.

Back then, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to interview Kevin for that game’s programme. Whilst much has changed since that column was written, re-reading it last night in anticipation of this weekend’s game has shown some very interesting parallels and reminders. Starting with his joining the Bees, the Last Word looks back at what King Kev had say about Brentford and his career as he approached that previous landmark.

Kevin on starting at Brentford: “As a youngster, in the first year I had to clean Ijah Anderson’s boots and also Ryan Dennis. Then, when Paul Evans joined, I had to look after him. That was brilliant for me and he really looked after me when I was YTS.

He’d have a chat with me and I got to know him quite well. Once I broke through he was brilliant and looked after me. He went out of his way to make sure I was alright “

On breaking into the squad: “I came in to the team just before Ron Noades quit. There was a lot of good players then – Andy Woodman, Martin Rowlands, Lloyd Owusu.

It was intimidating but the lads were brilliant and after a couple of weeks I was able to fit right in. They were a really nice bunch, like family. It was a good atmosphere and I think it showed on the pitch over the years.

I’ve been really lucky at Brentford – every squad has got on really, which helps as you want to enjoy going in to work. It shows; when every one gets on and is working hard for each other you get that little bit more out of the team.”

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

 

Always a legend – despite the suspect hammy

16 Aug

With no game having been played since the win over Sheffield United last week, ‘The Last Word’ took the chance to catch up with former Bee, Paul Gibbs.

Despite leaving Griffin Park Imageback in 2002, Paul remains as popular now as he was then – to the extent of organizing May’s ‘legends’ match aswell as being a current ‘BeesPlayer’ pundit. He shares his thoughts on the season so far, but first  – that legend’s game.

Over the summer you were pivotal in organising the Bees Legends game v ‘Showbiz XI’. How did you find the whole experience?  I loved it! Peter Gillham called me and asked if I could help with the game. I said ‘Absolutely’! I got in touch with all my old mates from 2000 and they were all happy to play.  I got to speak to other players that were before  and after my time a time at Brentford,  which was great as I knew of them but never got to meet them. After only a few weeks I managed to get around 16-17 players confirmed and got the help from some old bees fans to assist me so it was a bit of a joint effort

And personally, the ‘hammy’ went after about a half hour. All ok now? I played in a game two weeks before at Brentford and I pulled it then. I had two weeks physio and knew it would not last but I just had to be there. I even moved our family holiday so I could play in it… (editor’s note: this is true – despite risking the wrath of mother-in-law) .

It was a game I would not miss and to catch up with some great lads I just had to be there. I lasted about 25 minutes I think and, to be honest, I thought it was going well until I decided to make an overlap run! But It was still great to be a part of it all.

Is it any

 coincidence that the Bees team started to score after you went off? That’s because I wore them down in the first 25 minutes!!  I will have to say I was very impressed with the fitness levels of all of the lads. Some of us were in the late 30’s or early 40’s but I think we played some great stuff! Scotty P and BBB were fantastic! 



Will we see you out there again? Will there be another legends game? I would love to get the club to support an Official Bees Legends team. Plymouth have a fantastic set up for their Legends and support them on their travels whilst I have people that will help get it off the ground.

I would love to get us into the ‘Masters’ and organise a London legends event but this will all have to go through the club, so we will wait and see. However, we have been asked to go to Plymouth next year and play in a Devon competition against Exeter, Plymouth and Torquay so we will get a team together for that…

Which ‘legend’ didn’t play but you’d love to have had involved?  Bob Booker he is a great guy I would have liked Martin Rowlands to play too! We all love a villain! I will get him next time!

And who impressed you the most from those that did? All of them did but Ben Burgess was amazing and Scotty Partridge, too!, Glenn Poole is a class act and Nathan Elder was fantastic!!!

Even Mark Chapman (Bees media team) got a run out in the last ten minutes? To be fair I promised him 10 mins as he works for the club but you don’t get a chance to play with the guys you support. I thought It would be nice for him to get a feel for what its like in the changing rooms and on the pitch and he did well!!

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(The centre of the action – even off the pitch)

These days we can hear you popping up on BeesPlayer. How did all that come about?
 You certainly seem to enjoy it . Initially I was just asked to say a few words but it’s hard for me to say “only” a few words. I’m passionate about football and Brentford so it was easy for me to talk about the game. I really enjoy it and will be doing more this season, commentating with Mark on the game. So that will be fun!

Mark, Luis and the rest of the team are pretty slick, wouldn’t you agree?  Not bad for something they do as a ‘side project’. They are total pros and have a huge amount of passion for the bees. Its why Brentford its close to my heart as there are so many people that do so much for the club. I was very privileged to play for them so its my time to give something back

Will we hear much from you on ‘Player’ this season? I do hope so. Its’ a juggling act for me as I work away from my family through the week and weekends are for my kids but I will get to as many games as I can. It was 11 years ago that I left and all the fans still keep asking me if I have got my boots! It is lovely they still recognise me but, with this nose, I guess people cant forget me!

As for the Bees, what do you make of preseason and the opening games ? I don’t want to get carried away but I would be very disappointed if the Bees didn’t get automatic promotion this season. Uwe has done very well this season with his additions and watching the Sheffield United game showed a real strength in depth in the squad.

Does anyone stand out in particular? The whole team looked solid to be honest, but I always look at the centre spine of the team. If you’re strong through the middle you will do well and I think the gaffer has it right this year. I still think that you may need another striker but its looking very good this year.

What’s your opinion on Uwe ? It’s hard to say as I’m not in there with him but he seems to have the support of not only the board but the players, as it looks like they are really buying into what he is asking them to do. He seems to be very organised and methodical in his approach.. This season is a big one for him after last years effort and the fans will be expecting big things this year.

In the League cup Uwe fielded a very different team to that from the opening game of the league campaign. Is it something you agree with?  I ask you firstly as a player and then as a supporter.  As a player I want to play every game so I hate it when the managers do that! But its good for him to see what the other guys can do and it helps develop the squad so its a good thing (now I’m not playing)!

As a fan its a good thing as you get to see what the squad players are like and to see what youngsters you have coming through the ranks!


Is there any game – home or away – you are particularly looking forward to watching? Not really I just like getting to any game I can but the last game of the season when we are four points clear will be a good one!

Who is your dark horse to watch in the league this season? Coventry, I would say, as its all against them at the moment!

Where will the Bees finish? 2nd but I would love them to win it!! 

Wolves will be strong this year and I think Preston will do well.

You can read more about the Brentford legends at:

https://www.facebook.com/BeesLegends

And

http://www.griffinpark.org/forums/showthread.php?t=105612&highlight=bees+legends

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(‘Gibbs’ even popped up on ‘Soccer AM’ before the Doncaster game at the end of last season. With Max Rushden, Helen Chamberlain and the worst penalty takers ever – until 4.45 that afternoon )