Tag Archives: Mick McCarthy

Are changes coming as Wolves await the Bees?

27 Dec

With the dust settled on the reverse to Ipswich Town, its time for Brentford to regroup, refocus and prepare for Sunday’s trip to Wolves. And with memories of November’s 4-0 victory over Wanderers still fresh in the mind, the chance to get straight back in the saddle couldn’t come soon enough back.

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.

Bees outpunched on Boxing Day despite Sam’s late, late show

26 Dec

Forget Boxing Day. If it had been a boxing match then the ref would have stopped it after 29 minutes to save Brentford any further humiliation at the hands of Ipswich Town. Even Cardiff City had the good manners to wait until a half hour had passed before conceding their third last Saturday.

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.

A Boxing Day treat awaits at Griffin Park

26 Dec

One of my favourite games of the season, the Boxing Day match, is finally here as Brentford prepare to host Ipswich Town in a lunchtime kick off. And whilst some hardy souls / lunatics were lining up outside retail stores at 4am in the cold, (surely no pair of cut price jeans can be worth that much) most of us were tucked up in bed – sleeping off the mince pies and dreaming about what might just be this afternoon.

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.

Jay Tabb : I’ve been waiting for this game such a long time

23 Dec

Brentford entertain Ipswich Town on Boxing Day, with both teams knowing that victory will take them to the top of the Championship table. However, for many of us older heads there will be as much significance attached to the game with the return of former Bees hero, Jay Tabb. Now playing for Ipswich after six seasons in TW8, it will be the first time Jay has set foot on the Griffin Park pitch in a competitive game since leaving in 2006 following the play off defeat by Swansea City.

The Last Word was fortunate enough to catch up with Jay on Monday evening to get his thoughts on (amongst other things) the campaign so far, the form of both teams and of course what Friday’s game means to a player who spent his formative years in this part of West London .

Before we get onto Brentford, what about Ipswich Town? It has been an absolutely stunning start to the season for yourselves. They must be exciting times at Portman Road? Definitely. And I imagine it’s pretty much the same as Brentford, really. It’s a very tight league at the top with only a few points separating the top six. We’ve had a good start and our manager’s done a great job.

When he took over we were at the bottom of the league but it just goes to show what happens when you get the ability at the club from the top right down to the bottom. That’s what we’ve done in the last couple of years.

We had a good season last year and just missed out on the play offs. This year it’s just going better at the moment but as I say, its so tight at the top and Christmas is a busy period. Anything can happen and we’ve just got to make sure we pick up as many good results as possible to keep it going.

You’ve mentioned the manager. What do you put the strong start down to? Is it him and being able to build up over a couple of seasons? The first five games we played ok but kind of lost the platform. We didn’t play too well against Norwich in the derby match but then had a very good draw away at Derby. That kind of kicked us on a bit and we had a few good results.

You get in a good routine and a good rhythm and confidence starts to flow. We’re a very organised team with a good squad. We’ve got a couple of superstars but not loads. We’re a hard working bunch of guys who get the job done and do what the manager tells us.

Very much like Brentford in a way. No out and out superstars or household names but you’ve almost snuck up the blindside when people were talking about the likes of Norwich City and Fulham at the start of the season.  I think that’s the story of the top six. Everybody was expecting Derby to do well but then you’ve got Bournemouth, ourselves, Brentford and Middlesbrough. So we’ve kind of crept along under the radar but I think that’s the way we like to do it and the way the manager likes to do it aswell. He’s not interested in all the publicity. It’s just about getting the results.

Brentford and Ipswich Town have taken most people by surprise

Brentford and Ipswich Town have taken most people by surprise

And you are starting to get a good run in the team now. It must be very satisfying for you as an individual? Definitely. At the start of the season I wasn’t too sure how much of a part I was going to play in the team but I kept myself fit and I’m quite reliable. The manger knows that he can put me in and I’ll do a job, which is what happened.

I found myself starting the first few games of the season, then I was out a bit, came back in and at the moment I’m playing quite well. Every time somebody gets injured or suspended in our team, somebody else comes in and does a good job so I’m sure the gaffer is delighted about that. At the moment I’ve got the jersey and I’m playing but I know that I’ve got to do really well in the next game to keep it.

As for that goal against ‘Boro at the weekend… What skill to get above two or three men, especially (and forgive me) given your stature. All about the technique but is a Tabby header something of a rarity? It was probably the best header I’ve scored. I remember scoring a nice one for Brentford against Wycombe when the fans walked to the game but I haven’t scored loads with my head. It was just really good timing with a great ball in from Ted Bishop.

I just timed my jump well so that, as I went up, it didn’t really let the defenders jump. I got above them and it was a really nice feeling to score. I haven’t done it since the start of last season.

When you see the ball hit the back of the net it’s such a great feeling for that minute after. It’s such a buzz and I’d almost forgotten what that felt like.

The Ipswich Town twitter feed captures the aftermath of Jay's goal

The Ipswich Town twitter feed captures the aftermath of Jay’s goal

What do you think has been Ipswich’s strongest performance of the season? I think Saturday has to be up there because Middlesbrough are a very, very strong side. They’ve been on a great run but I think the first half was the key.

We got into a 2-0 lead and scoring the goal right on half time was massive. In the second half they came out and had a real go at us. It was backs to the wall stuff and they had a lot of possession, so I’d say that was up there with one of our best performances.

Given where you are in the table at the moment, what is the target for the end of the season or is it simply that old cliché of “taking each game as it comes”? Yeah. It’s a boring answer but it really is. Obviously all the players and each team wants automatic promotion because the play offs are horrible but it’s just so tight. Last year, everybody knew at Christmas that Leicester were probably going to go on and get promoted but at the moment it is so hard to tell because the top six are tightly packed.

Obviously, at the back of the player’s minds you are thinking of where you are in the league and knowing we’ve had a good start but it can all change really quickly. I think if we are still where we are come March then we can start to get excited, but at the moment it’s a good start but that’s all it is.

Ipswich and Brentford have both had "a good start"

The current table – Ipswich and Brentford have both had a good start

Last time we spoke you mentioned you always look out for Brentford in the cup draws as you’d love the chance to come back and play here. Did you ever expect it to be in the League?Yeah. Brentford have been knocking on the door for such a long time now and I was there for three play-off campaigns. They went down, came back up and look like the sort of club that is just so well run and in such a stable place at the moment. So even though I was always hoping for them in the cup, last year really was the one when you thought, “They’re going to do it this time“.

The fact that we are now second and third in the League is going to make it really special. I can’t wait and I’ve been waiting for this game for such a long time. At the start of the season I wasn’t sure what kind of part I’d be playing for Ipswich, even.

When I saw the fixtures come out I thought there was a chance that if I wasn’t in the team I might have gone out on loan by then but I’ve worked hard, got myself in and hopefully I don’t get injured between now and then. I’d like to think I have a part to play in that game and it’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait to get back there.

How do you think its going to be lining up for ‘the opposition’ at Griffin Park? It’s going to be strange, really strange. I had six fantastic years there and I loved it as a club. Its going to be really weird. I think, usually, it’s strange if you’ve just left the season before and come back but I’ve been away for probably eight years, so it may be a little bit different.

But I’m still looking forward to getting back and seeing a few familiar faces like Peter Gilham etc I’m just looking forward to the game and hoping to get a good reception from the fans – its been a long while and so hopefully they’ll remember who I am.

Do you think getting the warm reception and coming back puts any extra pressure on you or is it the case of switch off once the whistle goes? I think it might put me in a good mood. It’s a great ground, a nice, tight and compact ground. I’ve not been back since the roof has been put on the other end but I think it’s going to be a really good atmosphere.

About a month ago I bought ten tickets from the club because I knew I was going to have so many people asking to come. If I get a nice cheer from the crowd it’ll be great and I’ll certainly give them a nice round of applause back.

But then the game will start and it’ll be Ipswich against Brentford. Obviously there’s Stephen Hunt coming back aswell. I was just with him today and we were talking about the game, both looking forward to it. He did a good job for Brentford too and I’m sure he’ll also get a good reception.

Brentford’s start has taken a lot of people, including many supporters, by surprise. When they got up, what did you expect them to do? I’m not too sure really. I don’t watch loads of football so I haven’t seen them play this season. Stephen Hunt watches a lot more than me and says they’ve been playing some really attractive football, passing it around. That’s what I’m expecting . I’ve spoken to a few Brentford fans in the last week and they’ve said the same.

I think their season has mirrored ours. They had quite a good start, picked some points up then had a bit of a blip before picking things up again. Its just two teams in great form and I’m hoping its just going to be a really great game.

These are the two teams of the moment. Whoever wins will top the Championship table. Do you think that’s going to alter your approach any? No, not really. It’s nice to see yourself at the top of the League but its so early yet. Even though it is nice to see that, every player would probably like to hit the top around March or April time when you can see the finish line. At the moment that’s miles away and you can’t even see it yet.

We’ve just come into half way through the season and so to go top on Boxing Day is nice but its not like you are top by eight or nine points. If you do go top its by one point and, if you lose the next game then you could be back down to fourth.

That’s why getting the result is most important. It’ll be a tough game away to Brentford and I think they’ll fancy themselves. They had a great result at Cardiff last week, especially to be 3-0 up. It’s some place to go. We went there and got beat 3-1. They are a team on really good form but so are we.

What about Christmas day? It is the day before the big game but what does it hold for you? We’ll be training at nine o’clock then I’ll be heading down to London to see some friends and family, before meeting the lads at the hotel on Christmas night. You know you can have a little bit of Christmas dinner but you can’t be stuffing your face with the packets of nuts, Pringles and all that other stuff you associate with Christmas It is one time if year where you have to be really determined and respect the job you are in.

And finally, do you have any message for the Brentford supporters coming into the game? First of all have a really nice Christmas and enjoy the game on Boxing Day. It would be great if I got a good reception and I’ll give it back.

I honestly mean it that I can’t wait for this game. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time and the fact it has come around mow I just can’t wait.

I’m sure the fans will enjoy it aswell so we’ll see what happens on Boxing Day.

Tabby saw out his Griffin Park career in the play offs, fighting to the last

Embed from Getty Images

Ipswich Town is now sold out. Or is it?

22 Dec

In all the excitement of the build up and subsequent win over Cardiff City, it completely escaped my notice to mention that the Boxing Day game between Brentford and Ipswich Town has been declared a sell out. Not that I am a voice piece for the club, just the numpty on the terrace writing about what I see going on around me, but special comment is due here.

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.

Has Warbs done enough? Or will Mick scoop the honour?

3 Dec

All being well, the winner of the November ‘Manager of the Month’ awards will be announced within the next few days. Looking at the Championship table, it seems to be a straight shoot out between Mick McCarthy at Ipswich Town and Brentford’s Mark Warburton.

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.

Jay Tabb : Tractor Boy. Top Man

10 Oct

Earlier this week, I cited Jay Tabb as one of Brentford’s top ten ‘greatest’ transfers.

For six years, after making his debut as a 17 year old, he regularly ‘wowed’ the Griffin Park crowd before eventually finding his way to the Premiership with Reading. Now playing for Ipswich Town in the Championship, Jay spoke to us last night to update Brentford fans on how things have been going since we last caught up in February 2012 (for the matchday programme) aswell as sharing his thoughts on the Bees.

Looking at the League table, about a quarter of the way through the season Ipswich are in eleventh place and five points off the play offs. How do you feel it has gone? For the club it started a little bit slowly. We were playing quite well but not getting the results and lost to a couple of good teams; only by a goal although games we should have really drawn. Then we’ve had some good results at home, winning four out of five and just need to get that away win.

We had a bit of a shock the other night, being 4-1 up at half time and then drawing 4-4 with Derby, which was a bit of a kick in the teeth. But I think on the whole it’s been solid start and we’ve moved ourselves up to just outside the play-offs. Hopefully we can string a few more results together and see where it takes us

And personally? It started very well with a goal against Reading in the first game of the season. I didn’t score for Reading in my whole time there so it was nice to go back and score. Then I got a nasty shoulder injury in the next game, the League cup at Stevenage.

In the next few games it was quite sore and because we lost three of the first four the manager made changes, which is fair enough, and the lads that came in have done well since. So I’ve been on the bench but come on in most games, which is part of football, but obviously the team is more important and we’re getting good results.

As you say, it’s about the team. What is Ipswich Town’s target for the season? Presumably promotion? You never know what will happen in The Championship. Every year people say it’s getting tighter than ever but I don’t think that’s the case this year. QPR have started well but they are winning most of their games by one goal and so they’re going to have a blip. I don’t really see anyone running away with it.

There are a lot of good teams there, probably as good as each other, so it depends who has that run of form at the right time. I think we’re good enough to be up for the play-offs and pushing for promotion but there’s ten or so teams who would also say that about themselves. Obviously we’re ambitious but whilst we don’t want to build up our chances too much and end up looking silly, within our squad and with the manager we’re quietly confident.

You’ve mentioned the manager – Mick McCarthy. What is he like and how does he compare to the likes of Steve Coppell and Martin Allen who you served under at Brentford? He’s really good. He’s a manager whom a lot of people know a lot about and has been very successful. He called me last year to go on loan for the last two months of the season and I jumped at the chance. He’s managed the Republic of Ireland (whom Jay has represented 10 times at U-21 level) so has a good pedigree and he’s very honest. He tells you straight up, exactly how it is. He’s very passionate and loves the game but he’s very fair.

If you are playing well he treats the players well. We had some good results so have a few days off this weekend for the International break but equally if you’re not playing well he’ll make us come in and train. He’s just straight down the line honest.

Steve is a very quiet man who gets his point across in a controlled way. Mick’s definitely more fiery than Steve. Obviously Martin was great for my career and brought me on leaps and bounds, although I’d probably say that about all the managers I’ve played for  – Mick McCarthy, Martin. I’ve had loads.

You’ve had a great schooling. Yes. And all of them have added a little bit to my game. I’m looking forward to doing some more with Mick and Terry Connor (asst) who are a good combination as management.

At Brentford you were something of a youth prodigy. Who, in your opinion, is  ‘one to watch’ at Ipswich as a young ‘up and coming’ player? We’ve got a few who are in and around the first team squad. Our left-back Aaron Creswell, I wouldn’t say he ‘s a youngster as he’s in his early twenties but a lot of people have been bigging him up and saying he’s the best left back outside the Premiership. I’d fully agree with that.

As far as real youngsters go, we’ve got a striker called Jack Marriott who’s a very good finisher and only 19, so I think he could go far.

Putting Town to one side, who do you think will win the title in the Championship? I think QPR will probably go close, although the Brentford fans probably won’t like me saying that. To win games 1-0 back-to-back is the sign of a very disciplined team. Nottingham Forest could be up there aswell and with Billy Davies back, he could be key for them.

When we last spoke, you were with Reading in the Championship. The team was six points off second place with 18 games to go. You mentioned you didn’t think the playoffs would be needed, and they weren’t!  Was it ever in doubt from that point? It was just an amazing run in. I think out of the last 19 games we won 16, drew 2 and lost 1, which was just a ridiculous run of form. We’d been close every year I’d been there but I had a feeling that time that we would do something. To go on the run we did was all a bit of a freak but all so exciting. There were games we won where we didn’t play well and games where we were excellent.

How did it feel doing it? It was the greatest feeling. We played Nottingham Forest at home and West Ham kicked of fifteen minutes before us. We could see they had already lost at Bristol City, which meant that if we won we’d go up.  We scored with about ten minutes to go and it was holding on from then. In the last couple of minutes everybody was on their feet, ready to run on the pitch and then when the final whistle went it was just amazing. Its something I was really proud of.

Once you got there, how did you find the top flight? It must have been a phenomenal experience? It was really good. I was looking forward to it and knew the club would probably look to bring in a few players in the summer, so I had to take my time a bit. I made my debut away at Swansea in October and had about another twelve games in the team. I got to play against Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City.

It’s a league where the top five or six are head and shoulders above everyone else but apart from that it is quite even. It was a disappointment we didn’t stay up as we had good enough players to do so. The season goes so quick – one minute you’ve been promoted and the next its all over and you are back down. So it was a bit of a disappointment, even though it was enjoyable.

As someone who has fought their way up from Palace youths, through Brentford for six years, Coventry and Reading to get there, did you ever find yourself getting star struck? You are up against World Class players and some real household names. I was quite late getting into the Premiership. I was playing in that league when I was 28/29 and it was just weird. I still say that the most nervous I’ve ever been on a football pitch was making my debut for Brentford. Since then I don’t get nervous in front of big crowds because its just part and parcel of the game. Even at Man City away with a full crowd I just got on with it.

I think the thing that was most weird was being on ‘Match of the Day’. I’d done it with Brentford in the FA Cup, which was great, but to be there week in, week out and have the top panelists analyzing your performance was quite strange.

But as far as the players went, I didn’t feel star struck. It was just a case of trying to prove you could be as good as them and to match them.

Who was your toughest opponent – whether team or individual? I’d say when we played Man Utd at home. We’d been 1 up then 3-2 but once they went 4-3 ahead we didn’t see the ball. Arsenal and Man City have got the flair but United keep possession, have flair but also do the hard jobs like chasing down. That night, Phil Jones was great for them and so was Carrick.

Jack Wilshire was also very good whilst Yaya Toure – you couldn’t get the ball off him! You give the ball away to them and you don’t really see it again

Have you seen much of Brentford this season? How much are you able to? I always look out for the Brentford results and I watched the game against Leyton Orient the other night. It’s the team that is close to my heart and where it all started. If it hadn’t been for Brentford I wouldn’t be a professional footballer. Obviously last season was heartbreaking and I just couldn’t believe it. When I saw what happened I was just so gutted. Brentford are one of those teams where, if they get in the play offs, you don’t hold much hope. I thought last year was the one where we should have gone up as Champions or second. It was very similar to when I was there under Martin Allen and we lost out on second spot.

Will we see you at Griffin Park at all this season? I was supposed to play in the golf the other day but I was already involved in another charity event. I don’t tend to watch too much football on TV. If I get some time off I’ll try to get down to watch but I’m slightly addicted to golf and the golf course. I’m still dying to get back and play against the Bees. Every time the FA Cup or League Cup draw is made I’m always hoping for Brentford away. I’d love to go back and play there.

Are you In touch with any of your former Bees colleagues still? It’s changed so much. Kevin O’Connor is probably the only person in the squad who was there when I was. I still speak to Eddie Hutchinson every now and then and Matt Somner.

You must get sick of people saying this but you seem to have been around forever. I can’t believe you are only 29. What is the secret? I don’t know. I’ve got a brother who’s 27 and every time we go out they think he’s the older one. I’ve been around for a while and have been 12/13 years as a pro now. I just try to eat as well as I can, stay in the gym and train hard. Every day I train hard and try to stay as fit as possible – I never really slack off. A lot of it is realising just how lucky I am to do this job and not blowing the chance.

In out last chat you nominated your debut as your ‘career highlight’ so far, saying: “You work so hard to be a professional footballer and, whilst I know I wasn’t a pro at the time, to make your debut at a professional club, in front of a crowd in a league game, it’s still probably the proudest moment of my career.” Has there been any moment since then to overtake it or even come close? Winning the Championship and getting into the Premier League has got to come close but I still think making my debut has got to be really up there. I’ve still got the picture of me running out there in my shirt.

Winning the league, any league, shows you’ve had a great season as a group of players together. So to have that will always be a highlight but making my debut for Brentford is still definitely there.

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(Tabby – these days a ‘Blue Jay’ but still a Bee at heart)