Tag Archives: Michael Hector

A chance to remember ‘that’ goal then look forward to an epic build up.

13 Jul

And thus pre-season was complete. At least, in terms of the calendar. Hot on the heels of our trip to Manchester United, Brentford have had the final two games of the build up confirmed. Saturday 31st July sees a visit from West Ham United with Spanish outfit Valencia next up in a 5.30pm kick-off the following Saturday (7 August). Six days later it all starts when Arsenal jump on the Piccadilly line to South Ealing. Full details are on ‘official’, with the Valencia game expected to see a full house and even some away fans present for the visit of West Ham (presumably, actual fans rather than those in the half/half scarves).

Arsenal are a short tube ride away

With all Corona bets off from July 19th – albeit we’ll see how long that lasts – the next natural step is for Brentford to go for broke in terms of capacity. The Valencia game has been declared as the formal opening of our new stadium and I can’t wait. The atmosphere against Blackburn and Bournemouth was nothing short of incredible. When the place is full – and especially when Arsenal visit for a full blooded, full fat encounter – it only promises to be immense. More importantly these are three tests that, at least in terms of opposition, one would hope may provide a bit more a steer as how the Bees will fare in the forthcoming season. Assuming both teams go full tilt rather than use them as an experiment in squad rotation. 

We’ll likely end up somewhere in between but as much as anything else its just an excuse to go to football once more. Why wouldn’t you. Cripes, we’ve missed it. Desperately. Euro 2020 showed that, as if any reminder were actually needed, despite the painful on-pitch denouement to that competition (can’t even begin myself to start about the shameful stuff that happened off it). We’re still wiping up the tears in our house even now. A brutal punch to the stomach of a young boy who has so far experienced a World Cup semi-final and a Wembley win to reach the Premier league. Normally unshakeable faith in his team now tested once more following our assault by Fulham in the previous play-offs. Oh well, like Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town you can file them in the ‘where are they now?“ files.

Which pretty much sums up the quite magnificent enigma that is Brentford FC 2021. That we can now mention Yeovil and Doncaster in the same breath as Manchester United, Arsenal and Valencia. Talk about time being a great healer. Talk about looking forward to enjoying every moment of the most monumental season for our club since records began. Sink or swim? Stay or go? Still under the radar and under rated or flying high from the off? Nobody gives us much of a hope, although Ivan Toney’s popularity in the Fantasy football stakes suggests otherwise. Personally speaking, I’m hugely optimistic (quelle surprise) although will perhaps forego the annual bet on Brentford to win the league. Something that, over the years, has seen us just about in net-gain territory. Perhaps it may be more prudent to go ‘each way’ , this season. 

This far in to a small piece on West Ham and no mention of Said Benrahma. Yet. Ah, it’ll be great to see him back and no doubt there’ll be an appearance. A player up there with Jota in the ability stakes and one who has gone on to the next level, despite yet to break into the first team on a regular basis. He was AMAZING at Griffin Park. He had that brief cameo at Lionel Road when scoring ‘that’ goal in the league cup against a hapless Fulham outfit. The turn and beautiful back-heeled nutmeg before rounding Michael Hector to unleash the mother of all shots. No doubt he’ll warm up to a heroes welcome before it all goes ‘panto villain’ once the game starts. 

‘That’ goal against Fulham last season..

What an opportunity for us to lay down a marker as to how far we’ve come. The fears that selling him and Ollie Watkins would see Brentford come to nothing last season, dispelled as quickly as Fulham’s Premier league survival hopes. The faith shown by those that stuck by Thomas and the team rewarded in the most incredible style at Wembley in May. The moment still feels as fresh now as it did then. It was a long time coming and still deserves to be enjoyed to the max. A moment to provide all the inspiration we need going forward.

With the Bees back in training already you can be sure Thomas will have us set to hit the ground running. The Euros have gone. The close-season (closed?) break now feels over. Sure, we‘ve a month to wait until the Premier League kicks off properly but now it feels as though the clock really is ticking. As though we are racing full tilt towards destiny. Now, the only things in the way of that season opens with Arsenal are Manchester United. Are West Ham. Are Valencia. 

My word, this is going to be fun…..

And as our regular final thought, the entire Last Word from 2019/20 aswell as all the programme articles (previously unpublished on line) and our season-finale guest columns from Natalie Sawyer and Kitman Bob remain available for download. The later in particular, my favourite column of the season as the inside story of the big build up to Wembley was revealed.

With all proceeds going to Rob Rowan’s memorial fund for CRY, we couldn’t be looking to try and help a better or more personal cause to Brentford FC. If anybody can spare a few quid to help and wants to get hold of an amazing story, told averagely, then they can do so here. THANK YOU

Until then, why not enjoy that Benrahma goal one more time…..

Nick Bruzon

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With one midfield genius missing, could it be time for a new one to prove us wrong?

27 Sep

Brentford take on Reading tonight knowing that victory will see us leap frog the currently fourth placed Royals. The key questions being, which Brentford team will Dean Smith have at his disposal? And could one of our former players, then Chelsea loanee John Swift, come back to haunt the Bees?

Well, the FA website has finally caught up with the rest of us to confirm, officially, that Ryan Woods is missing for this one. The yellow card picked up in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves being his fifth of the season and so just cause to sit this one out.

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Ryan Woods

That was then, this is now. Brentford have had a very positive start to the season indeed. Moreso than most expected. Whilst it’s nice to look back at those wonder strikes, I’d be more than happy to go home with a scrappy 1-0 tonight. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination but then nobody said that a chance to catch up with the third placed team ever would be.

Besides, in a game where midfield decision will be key for the Bees, could another of our own team from last season be the man to make the difference? John Swift, of course, will have a massive point to prove.

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)

 Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST. 

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 along with a smattering of new material, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

 

SWIFT Brentford QPR

Oh to have seen more of Swift at his best

Nick Bruzon

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

29 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then Sergi Canos happened.

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

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

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

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A great shot from Sergi – and Mark

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

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

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

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

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

No, seriously…..

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

Nick Bruzon