Tag Archives: Molineux

After a week of nothing but Bake Off, could we sting the Wolves ?

23 Sep

What a slow week. No football for Brentford beyond the forthcoming game at Wolves to look forward to. Whilst our next opponents have had two trips to Newcastle United in the space of four days to (hopefully) run down the energy levels a bit, the Bees have had that 5-0 win home over Preston followed by, well, nothing. My Twitter has been wall to wall tears and questions about the Great British Bake Off (which we’ll get to, briefly, where possible new hosts are named)  and not much more.

Of course, Wolves will be in high spirits following their last league trip, that 2-0 win at Newcastle that probably surprised just about everybody outside of the Black Country. Indeed, manager Walter Zenga was quoted afterwards as saying, “the spirit of the team, how they approached the game, how they started the game, how they played is a big answer to everybody.”.

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…..

 

walter-zenga

Zenga in his playing prime

 

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A stunning programme cover – grab yours at the ground

 

judy-and-anton

Judy and Anton – you can’t buy chemistry like this

Nick Bruzon 

Can a leopard change his spots as Preston visit?

17 Sep

Saturday morning, TW8. The torrential downpour of Friday is but a fleeting memory as Brentford await the visit of Preston North End. Instead it is the memory of Wednesday night at Aston Villa and a wonderfully hard fought point in a game that we can count ourselves hugely unlucky not to have won by the end, which is just one of many motivating factors today.

Villa Park was wonderful. An incredible stadium and a great experience although at the end of the day (Clive) it has been and gone. The tickets are now residing in the stub collection (should anybody own such a thing) ; the half and half scarves at the back of the wardrobe. Or, preferably, a bonfire. Whilst we may get another chance to play them next season for now it is all about Preston.

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…..

bees-celebrate-at-villa-park

Bees fans celebrate the equaliser at Villa Park

 

Griffin Park pitch invasion

Some people are on the pitch – what a denouement to that Preston game

 

Keith Stroud montage

Keith Stroud – we all know the drill

 

Tony Craig day is here as an inevitable pun is released into the wild.

30 Jul

Brentford travel to Millwall this afternoon for Tony Craig’s thoroughly deserved testimonial. Elsewhere Championship rivals Wolves, a club we have focussed on a lot more in recent years, have finally succumbed to the almost inevitable in providing the most expected of bad punnery.

First up, Tony Craig.  His transfer to Millwall in July of last year was a particularly disappointing one. As we’ve noted previously, he was one of these players who gave his all in a Brentford shirt over three seasons in which he was one of our standout players.

Tony bounced back from a dubious red card administered by Keith Stroud during the infamous battle of Bramall Lane in the year of ‘that penalty’. He was a colossus at the heart of the defence during our promotion season in which he scooped the player’s player of the year award.

20140503-172548-0146-4x3277-1527922_478x359

Tony – as seen on the club site after helping the Bees to promotion

One particular game from that campaign, home to Oldham Athletic and just into Warbs’ managerial tenure following the departure of Uwe, was notable for one of the most incredible pieces of defending I’ve ever seen, described at the time thus:

On the only occasions Athletic really threatened, Tony Craig was there to mop things up. The highlight of which being a 5 on 1 breakaway in the first half where he stood his ground, kept standing and did sufficient to fend off the Oldham hordes. Lesser players could have been forgiven for lunging in but not Tony. It was my moment of the game – until the goal itself”.

There was no fuss and no showmanship with Tony for Brentford. That’s not to say he wasn’t skillful but he just got on with his game. No more so was the difference in attitude between him and the more outrageous players seen than in the Championship fixture with Wolves at Griffin Park back in November 2014.

That was the one where, you may recall, Bakary Sako was due to play against us in golden boots, encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Tony was the complete opposite. The anti-Sako, if you will. For one terrace wag, whose identity I’ll protect, the sight of even neon teale or electric pink boots on a Brentford player will usually elicit a cry of, “Rubbish. I like Tony Craig. Sensible, no nonsense footwear.”

Tony played the full 90 minutes that day as Wolves and Sako were locked out, leaving TW8 on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing. It was part of that #Novemberkings phase (please ‘official’, let’s never use hashtags again) that saw Warbs win manager of the month, Tony feature prominently and the Bees get within a sniff of the table top.

boots-sako1

Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Indeed, his absence from the side in the back end of the season coincided with some defensive howlers but, more importantly, a seeming fragility across the defensive area of the team when, perhaps, his experienced head would have been the perfect tonic. Whilst he remained available for selection, Warbs kept faith. with his chosen two.

I can’t knock him for that and the end result was Brentford reaching the Play-Offs. Itself, a phenomenal achievement when viewed independently. However, I do also wonder had Tony stayed in the team, might we actually have gone one better and achieved ‘automatic’?

We’ll never know but what better way to celebrate then by getting along to Millwall this afternoon? Admission is just £10 for adults and, more importantly, Tony is using the proceeds to make a donation to Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which treats injured members of the Armed forces.

The other Bees news is the just announced (Saturday morning) signing of Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City for the season. Filling the gap at left back made by Jake Bidwell’s departure for Loftus Road earlier this month, the move was one which had been very widely anticipated.

Fair play to the rumour mill, it has been spot on this season. Either they’ve upped their game or the Brentford press team have become leakier than the Fulham defence. Regardless, this can only be good news on the playing front and nice to see a change from the normal ‘signing photo’. This time around, we’ve gone for the rarely seen line up of the shirt  / contract combo.

And talking of Wolves earlier ( a link made with all the subtly of Bakary Sako’s boots), it has been announced overnight that the Molineux club have parted company with / sacked manager Kenny Jackett.

This is an inevitable part of modern football life. Moreso in the Championship where managers seem to have the longevity of a cornetto in a greenhouse. Yet, I feel a particular affinity to Wolves.

Despite the initial mocking from a minority of their fans in regards to how big they were compared to ‘little old Brentford’ (somebody should use that one) it’s fair to see we’ve given as good as we’ve got over a wonderful last three seasons.

There was the 2013/14 League One campaign where, despite a record number of points for the Bees and that huge unbeaten run, Wolves stormed to the title with a final total of 103. In any other season our own 94 would have been more than good enough for top spot.

However, the following two campaigns have seen Brentford fare better than Wolves, positionally. 2014/15 saw our two clubs locked on 78 points, with the Bees reaching the play-offs in fifth and Wolves coming so close to edging out Ipswich on that incredible final afternoon. In the end, it was a goal difference gap too far but 7th place still not one to be sniffed at for a newly promoted club.

Last season saw a 7(seven) point gap split the teams with Dean Smith’s team ending it in 9th and Wolves 14th. The moral high ground for Brentford and some consolation for the £250 bet proceeds lost as a result of our being beaten (deservedly so) to that League One title.

So it was sadness that I woke this morning to the news of Kenny Jackett’s departure. Undoubtedly a huge club with big ambitions  – whether new or otherwise – (hello, is that the marketing team?) he has perhaps been an inevitable casualty of failure to make an immediate return to the top flight.

On the other hand, a rare opportunity for lazy headline writers and lazier pun makers. Chin up Kenny, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to go again soon.

No jacket required kenny original

No words required

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

Who fancies a night out at the theatre?

28 Jan

It’s almost February and the latest batch of match tickets are going on sale. Green cards are being obtained from Mrs. B to ensure I can see the likes of Derby County, Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. At month end, is the big one – Wolves at home on February 23rd. It’s a fixture I’ve loved over recent seasons given our divisional rivalry with the men from Molineux. And, of course, two days later there’s Manchester United v FC Midtjylland.

What’s this got to do with me, Nick?” you may ask . Well, on paper we’ve obviously got some link with the Danish Champions. Specifically that Matthew Benham owns both teams, our chairman Cliff Crown serves as a director for FCM whilst their chairman, Rasmus Ankersen, also acts as one of our co-director’s of football.

I’m sorry to bring this up again. We should still be talking about Sammy Saunders and his goal against Leeds United. But the half time lap of honour and request for applause afforded to the Danes as we were capitulating against Walsall still feels fresh. I’m not going to overly regurgitate my thoughts on that one – they’re here if you want.

Then, yesterday, ‘official’ twitter published a link selling tickets for the Manchester United v FCM Europa League game that takes place two days after our own fixture with Wolves. Just to be clear, that’s Brentford’s ‘official’ twitter. Not Man U or Midtylland’s.

They might have also done so, to be fair. I haven’t checked – not being a supporter of either team.

Good luck to Matthew. Genuinely. He’s done incredible things for Brentford and I certainly wouldn’t wish him or his other business interests – whether Matchbook, Smartodds or FCM – any ill will. Being blunt, it is in our interests that they flourish.

But, for the millionth time, I support Brentford. I don’t give a monkey about Manchester United (the comedy element of watching them race Chelsea to see who can fail to qualify for the Champions League first). I certainly don’t follow FC Midtjylland and, can honestly say, unless our paths crossed on the pitch, I’d never go and watch them play.

Going to watch ‘neutral’ football when you are bored one evening and in the vicinity is one thing. I’ve done it before. At Old Trafford of all places when I was working in Manchester for a year and borrowed a season ticket from a London based friend. Being honest, I struggled to engage. It wasn’t my team and the atmosphere was somewhat muted – moreso for a stadium that holds over 70,000. But for the sake of a ten minute tram ride it was something to do rather than spend another night in the pub – football tourism, I guess.

Yet our own club hawking tickets for a neutral game 163 miles away seems a really odd one. Maybe people will want to go. Maybe people will want a night out at the theatre? Of ‘dreams’ ™ , that is. Maybe people will want to jump on the football tourism bandwagon – that same one we were so scathing of at Stamford Bridge when the Bees took on Chelsea three years ago in the FA Cup

I don’t. I support Brentford. I’m not going to go out of my way to watch anybody else. Let alone on a school night. Let alone that far away. Let alone two days after I’ve been cheering on my team to victory over Wolves *.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but very few Brentford fans care about FCM. At least, on the pitch. Certainly, the response to the club’s tweet suggests that is still the case.

Comments included:

“Oh dear………..”

“couldn’t care less”

“Why would #brentfordfc fans want to go to that game? I don’t get it?”

“how much are tickets for @SupermarineFC v @MarlowFC ? Much more attractive game”

Please Brentford. I’m not a (total) idiot. I know Matthew has huge interests in the Danes . I realise that. Is it too much to ask you could just stop shoving them in our face?

Nick Bruzon

* please note: Other results are possible

What can we expect after midweek shock ?

24 Oct

Brentford travel to Charlton today hot off the back of those two successive wins – against Wolves and, previously, Rotherham – that have seen us finally start to climb the Championship table. Charlton meanwhile, as was noted in yesterday’s column, go into the game hot off the back of two shots on target over the same period.

With the Addicks nestling in the relegation zone and, seemingly, Brentford now freed from the shackles of our early season problems, we even go into this game as slight favourites. That’s not me being overconfident but simply a fact quoted by my online bookmaker who, should Mrs. Bruzon be reading, I use purely for research purposes only.

Don't shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

Don’t shoot the messenger. The bookies have us as favourites

But then you can understand why, as a neutral, they have adopted this view. Recent results have seen Brentford get to within 7(seven) points of the play offs whilst a win at The Valley will bring us just two points off the 19 we had at the same time last season – 13 games into the campaign.

Charlton, meanwhile, seem to be very much on a Luzon streak. They’ve been beaten 6 times in their last ten games, scoring just 8 goals over that period.

Whilst it sounds good (on paper), I won’t be putting the deeds of the house on an ‘away’ win. All the stats in the world count for nothing on matchday if you take victory as a given and I just don’t believe the hype. Surely Charlton can’t be that bad and something has to change at their end? Likewise, it was only a few weeks ago that the Dijkhuizen / Hendriksen era came to an end and the team started to look at getting back on their feet.

Are we steady yet? No, if I’m being honest. Absolutely the signs are there and Lee Carsley is making all the right noises – plenty of positivity tempered with an acknowledgement of improvement areas.

Indeed, the win against Wolves on Wednesday is something that should fill us with confidence – a commodity that money just can’t buy, no matter how many millions you have in the bank. Talking to long time Last Word correspondent and Wolves fan ‘Rustymini’ after that game, he was sporting enough to note: ”Brentford thoroughly deserved their win. Far more lively and far more structured”.

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Bees fans and scoreboard at Wolves, c/o Rustymini

Those of us who had the misfortune to sit through Burnley (a) or some of the first halves under Marinus (and I’ve struck the Oxford result from the record) would struggle to comprehend the concept of ‘lively’.

That said, its one I’m loving the sound of and can’t wait to see first hand today. Next stop, Charlton. See you there.

And, doing my best Columbo (kids, if you need to ask, go and watch some – now), just one more thing.

If you haven’t seen the update from last night’s academy game (a 2-1 home win over Bristol City) then prepare for a treat. Not only did it feature more Sam Saunders but, as excitingly, Lewis Macleod. And, when he can stay away from the twigs, just take a look at what he can do….

What a finish…

Nick Bruzon

From ‘the village’ to The Valley. Does paradise await?

23 Oct

Brentford travel to The Valley on Saturday to take on a Charlton Athletic team currently stuck in the bottom three and with a record that anybody worried about the Bees recent form should take a long, hard look at.

The Addicks have picked up just one point out of the last six league games. Indeed, they’ve only managed two shots on target in 180 minutes of football (the first in the 1-0 loss at Reading and the other last time out, when they went down 3-0 at home to Preston). Brentford, meanwhile, followed last weekend’s home win against Rotherham with the midweek triumph at Molineux as Wolves were dispatched 2-0.

That’s the positive (for the Bees – sorry Charlton fans). Before we get too carried away, just think back to last season in what was, and moreso given our league position at the time, a calamitous performance.

Last time, out. Terrible manners but what a critic

Last time, out. Terrible manners but what a critic

Then again, it was at the height of ‘Village-gate’. We were stuck in the no-man’s land between ‘that statement’ being issued on the Tuesday, followed by a week of tumbleweed drifting through the Griffin Park media centre.

As a rule, I don’t particularly want to draw too many parallels to that period. It has been and gone. Like it or not, Warbs is at Rangers and the Bees have a new management team and a new approach. Even better, we’ve started winning again. Yet the Charlton game, of all, illustrated how important team spirit is. And when it is missing, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Even now, looking back, I’ve had to remind myself just how shambolic we were that day. With apologies to any terrace wags / observers who may be reading, the post mortem of this ‘performance’ (and that’s almost a breach of ‘trade descriptions’) from the Last Word review of season 2014/15 still seems generous:

How about Harlee’s non header for the opening goal? Look at Jonathan Douglas, whose meandering and sorties up the pitch then left a midfield hole big enough to park an oil tanker in. This was a game crying out for his experienced head to get a grip in the middle rather than go fannying around like Matt Le Tissier looking for a packet of fags.

The normally brilliant Alex Pritchard decided to show all the delivery skills of a drunken postman whilst Andre Gray just looked plain knackered. But then, with only the ineffectual Nick Proschwitz or the inexperienced Chris Long as alternatives, it’s no surprise. Moses seemed lethargic whilst Jota barely got a look in.

I could go on but what’s the point? A 3-0 defeat was the least we deserved. Only David Button came out of it with any kudos.

The game was so bad, some fans just caught up on their i-player viewing

The game was so bad, some fans just caught up on their i-player viewing

I take no particular pleasure in dragging this up again. Instead, it is done more to say that, if there is one game where I’d love to see the players prove a point, it is Saturday’s. Charlton cruised to the win that ended a 13 game winless streak and, to coin that most famous of phrases, we were lucky to get nil.

Interestingly, of those players named and shamed, only Harlee remains. With him and Tarks looking rock solid at the back, and Lee Carsley getting excited about the reinvigorated spirit in the camp, are we already in a better place than last time out?

Hopefully Harlee will crack out the Coldplay once more and, with it, another winning performance. There is as much about personal pride as anything else riding on this one.

And with Stuart Atwell as the man in the middle, we’d better make sure that volume is set to 11…..

Still, if Chris Martin isn’t enough to inspire us again, perhaps this is.

Football is sometimes called a village, and in any village, gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, whether or not such rumours are true.

We’ve got a lot to put right on Saturday. I can’t wait to see us try.

Could it be paradise for Bees fans this time ?

Could it be paradise for Bees fans this time ?

Nick Bruzon

Unlikely source inspires Bees at Wolves as Derby ‘go rogue’

22 Oct

Like the 65 bus, Brentford wait ages for a win and then two come along at once. Lee Carsley made it 6 points from 6 as Wednesday night’s cracking performance at Wolves, a 2-0 victory for the Bees, followed hot on the heels of the weekend defeat of Rotherham United. We’ll also take a look at Derby County, where there seems to be a cyber saboteur at work. However, we can only begin at Molineux where a new chapter has been written in the recent history of Brentford and Wolves.

Given Brentford’s early season troubles, I went into this one with a feeling of trepidation. The stats weren’t a great omen either, given we’ve only managed a solitary point and single goal on our last two trips to the Black Country. However, that was nothing compared to the pre-match revelation from Harlee Dean.

Not that his phone only had 30% battery power but his choice of ‘game time’ music. Coldplay.

Seriously. Coldplay.

Who'd have imagined what would come next?

Who’d have imagined what would come next?

Officially the wettest band since records began, they are harmless enough if you want some background noise for your dinner party. But at a time when you want your team pumped up, this was more the stuff for forty winks on the coach back home. It looked like trouble.

How little I know. Who could have imagined the motivational powers possessed by Chris Martin (not the Derby County striker – don’t panic, we’ll get to him). If this is what he can do to our team then I’ve been well and truly put in my place.

Three hours and three points later I’m eating humble pie. And it tastes delicious. Harlee, if you are reading (you never know) then I can only apologise for my lack of confidence in your musical inspiration. Although I can’t help but wonder if you were somehow responsible for Jake and Tarks seeing…yellow

As for the rest of the game it was a case of Beesplayer for me, where the muffins sounded as delicious as the aforementioned pie (top listener tip though: summarising with your mouth full is never a good sound). As such, I’d suggest you stick to the official site, Beesotted, the BBC or other sources for the full match report. Sky does have the goals, and other close shaves, up already for those who can’t wait for the Burridge infused highlights later today.

The first was particularly delightful, simply because it allows the pun smiths to go wild. The Judge brought the Djuri-cin to play and the Austrian made it 3 from 8, albeit with the help of a deflection.

The second, at the death, saw Philipp Hofmann get onto a long ball from John Swift. The German caught the Wolves defence cold and, clean though, he made no mistake in rounding ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez to wrap up the points. The boos rang around Molineux and I’m already reading that, for Wolves, it may be a case of no Jackett required (that’s a Phil Collins one, not Coldplay).

All of which means that the Bees are now up to 15th in the table and just 7 (seven) points off the play offs with another 102 to play for. It’s far, far too soon to be getting excited given the start we had but, on the other hand, you can’t argue with two wins in a row and confidence certainly seems to be coming back to the team. And the fans. Roll on Charlton this Saturday.

Pre-match mention of Coldplay’s Chris Martin got me talking about his Derby County counterpart – and a mystery is unfolding. Who is the their cyber whizzkid? Although I have no doubt, not endorsed in anyway by the club, Derby seem to have been the victims of somebody ‘upgrading’ Rams related pages on Wikipedia.

Whilst (blah, blah) I don’t endorse any of these views, and neither do I have the time to pixelate any rude words (kids, you’ve been warned – look away now or ask an adult for permission) it began a couple of weeks ago when the page of rivals Nottingham Forest had been rejigged.

Nottingham Forest were the first victims

Nottingham Forest were the first victims

Then, last night, whilst looking for the current status of the aforementioned striker, one Ealing Road wag pointed out that Martin had also been got at. As quickly as it went up it’s gone down for the much more mundane confirmation that his middle name is actually Hugh.

But, for a moment at least, it was there. Regardless of whichever team you support, it takes a sorry individual not to enjoy this.

There was an awkward pause at the Christening

There was an awkward pause at the Christening

Is this coincidence or will the Derby hacker (not Chris Baird) strike again? We await the next update with intrigue.

Nick Bruzon

Sparkly boots, club records and poison chalices – a brief history of (recent) time

21 Oct

Brentford take on Wolves at Molineux tonight. That’s the simple fact but to supporters there’s so much more to it. Over the last few seasons, games against Wolves have been at the forefront of those that Brentford fans have been looking forward to as the stand outs on the fixture list.

Wolves, of course, are a club with a huge fanbase, a cracking stadium and a great reputation. It is the sort of set up most teams could only aspire to yet, if we are being honest, they haven’t always lived up to that reputation on the pitch. No moreso than back in 2013/14 when they found themselves alongside Brentford in League One.

That, of course, the season that we finally escaped the lower tiers with a club record 94 points and went on that humungous unbeaten midseason run. One which was, of all teams, ended by Wolves at Griffin Park as they made no mistake when it counted – running out 3-0 victors in February’s top of the table clash. Whilst our two teams stayed neck and neck for most of the campaign, their class eventually showed and they deservedly scooped the title with a staggering 104 points.

Even then, they still played key role in our promotion. A 6-4 victory (only one short of doing it with brackets- I’d have probably self-combusted at 7(seven)) over Rotherham meaning that Steve Evans team would be unable to catch us in third place. At the same time, ensuring that the post Preston pitch invasion hadn’t been a somewhat premature and embarrassing one.

Confirmation of Wolves beating Rotherham saw us officially promoted after our own win over Preston

Confirmation of Wolves beating Rotherham saw us officially promoted from League One

That said, prior to and even during the early part of that season, there were a lot of sneering and arrogant comments from a small part of the opposition support. That’s football but the simple fact was that whatever their past and size, Wolves were playing the likes of Brentford for a good reason – they hadn’t been good enough so had suffered successive relegation.

If we are being equally honest, a massive respect seemed to grow between our two clubs. Nobody was stupid enough to pretend that, historically, Wolves aren’t one of English football’s bigger teams. Indeed, their most recent stint in the top flight had only ended in 2011/12 after three seasons. Yet on the pitch we were going neck and neck.

Then, last season, it all went bonkers. After a slow start to Championship life, Mark Warburton’s Bees hit overdrive and a 4-0 thumping of Wolves at Griffin Park was enough to take us up to third place aswell as securing him the poison chalice of ‘Manager of the Month’ . It was a game played in a stunning atmosphere – before, during and after – and one which more than lived up to the hype that surrounded Bakary Sako’s crystal encrusted golden boots.

Bakary Sako's boots failed to sparkle

Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Former Bees boss Leroy Rosenior nailed things on the BBC Football League Show later that evening when discussing the game with Manish. He mentioned that a supporter had approached him the previous weekend saying, “Leroy, who would have thought we’d be beating Fulham at home, be challenging for a place in the Premier League, have a new stadium around the corner after you managed us.”

As Manish commented, “The only way was up from there”.

Whilst the reverse encounter saw Wolves run out 2-1 winners the following month, both sides kept their form despite tough fixtures and (for us) the frustration of Village-gate. Indeed, that crazy final day of the season that saw Derby and Ipswich self-destruct, allowed Brentford into the play-offs whilst, at one point in the afternoon, the results were also going Wolves’ way. In the end, they finished 7th(seventh), missing out on goal difference. However, for both our teams it had been one of the most exciting seasons on record, given the chance to test ourselves at a higher level.

Coming bang up to date, Brentford haven’t had the brightest of starts for reasons that have been well documented on these pages already. That said, victory on Saturday at home to Rotherham United sees us only four points behind a Wolves team who currently occupy 12th place. And with our own trip to hapless Charlton on Saturday, victory tonight would be a priceless one in reigniting our own campaign.

Can we do it? Despite all the good form over our recent campaigns, the Bees have only picked up one point and one goal from Molineux whilst we’ve been trading blows. Those two seasons may have had more incidents than some club’s entire histories but we have found the away trip a tough one

Then again, will the pressure of expectation show on a home side who got humped 4-2 at the weekend and have lost over a third of their league games already? Being honest, I’d take the draw. Being realistic, I haven’t got a clue which way this one is going to go.

At 7.45pm, we find out.

Alan Judge got both goals on Saturday. Can he keep up that strike rate?

Alan Judge got both goals on Saturday. Can he keep up that strike rate?

Nick Bruzon

As Uwe is sacked, who’s next on the sausage train ?

20 Oct

Well that all came out of nowhere. Whilst we’ll get to Brentford (and begin the Wolves preview) shortly, along with another new idea for Lionel Road, we can only begin at Leeds United where former Bees boss Uwe Rösler has been shown the door by Massimo Cellino. In his place, Steve Evans jumps straight from parting company with Rotherham United to becoming the Italian’s sixth head coach in 18 months.

You couldn’t make it up. Uwe, who had previously struggled with a doomed Wigan Athletic before being relieved of duties, didn’t stand a chance given the controversial owner’s previous track record. And now, just 12 games into his new career at Leeds, it’s all over. The FA followed this up by promptly banning Cellino from running his club after being found guilty of another tax offence.

But just when it couldn’t get any crazier, a 2013 quote from Evans began doing the rounds. For anybody who has had his or her head in the sand for the previous 24 hours, it’s below.

Evans - now on a rolling contract at Leeds (add your own punchline)

Evans – now on a rolling contract at Leeds (add your own punchline)

We all say things that we ultimately live to regret but this is a whopper. Even more bizarre is the line, “I want to be the captain of a Cruiseliner, not The Titanic”.

By what stretch of the imagination could Rotherham United have ever been considered a Cruiseliner? A pedalo, perhaps. We all know Evans loves shooting his mouth off but even by his standards this one was odd.

Given his vociferous personality and Cellino’s ‘no-nonsense’ approach this is either going to be the ultimate stroke in managerial genius or the Italian will be looking for manager number 7(seven) by Christmas. I’m betting on the latter option.

Will Steve Evans find it 'plain sailing' on his new Cruiseliner?

Will Steve Evans find it ‘plain sailing’ on his new Cruiseliner?

As for Uwe, what next? He left Brentford in a great position to return North where, sadly, things haven’t gone to plan. The Bees kept going without him whilst we all know what happened next at Wigan and now Leeds. Supporters are already muttering about him coning back but I think that Cruiseliner has long since sailed.

Much as there is emotional familiarity there, the club kept going without him. I’ll be eternally grateful for the position he got us to but it was Mark Warburton, with the backing of Matthew Benham, who was ultimately able to make the big step.

Then again, but for that penalty…. (hey, it’s been a while).

Back in West London, the development squad recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace. Moreso, considering Brentford were 2-0 down in the second half. However, a Montell Moore effort and two Sam Saunders goals in injury time (or ‘Autumn’ as its known on the training ground) were enough to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Mark Fuller catches the moment on the official club site

Mark Fuller catches the moment on the official club site

The win is great news, but even better is the thought of Sam Saunders returning to such imperious form. One thing the team has been crying out for is the sort of flair and enthusiasm brought by the likes of Sam and Jota (thanks, Dougie).

Whilst Charlton Athletic on Saturday is probably a bit too optimistic, could we see him back in time for an appearance in the QPR game on Friday week? What a time to come off the bench that would be.

The main reason we are talking about all of this is because the Wolves game, originally scheduled for tonight, has been put back 24 hours. Us football fans are very much creatures of habit and to play midweek on anything but a Tuesday feels somewhat odd. It shouldn’t but it does.

Much like when we lose the toss and the opposition does the sneaky trick of making us swap ends so we kick ‘the wrong way’ in the first half. It is a situation that rarely ends well (go on statisticians, prove me wrong) and leaves me feeling less than comfortable.

On the plus side, it means the players have had a bit longer to recharge after Saturday’s win over Rotherham but will it make a difference? For those of us not going, Mark Burridge, Ciaran Brett and Mark Chapman provide the Beesplayer comms. Where we can find out.

And finally, Lionel Road. Whilst we are still awaiting that photo of Mark Devlin and Matthew Benham leaning on shovels as we finally ‘break ground’, discussion around the stadium, and how it will look, continues. And overnight, the possibility of the Brentford monorail has risen from the ashes once more.

By possibility,I mean in no more form than just my own warped imagination where a photograph of the St. Pauli sausage train crossed my social media timeline. Whilst now, sadly, defunct, back in 2010 the VIP seats at the German club were served by this most special of train services.

The St.Pauli sausage train has, for now, been suspended

The St.Pauli sausage train has, for now, been suspended

Running every five minutes from the club kitchens, it brought hot bratwurst to those in the top seats. Presumably, to be washed down by the individual beer pumps at every chair.

If Matthew Benham is reading (you never know) how about something similar at Lionel Road? What finer way to have your pie served than without even having to leave the seat?

At a time when we are looking to make the new ground that little bit different (and the ‘hot seat’ idea is already one that has previously met with approval), how about it?

Nick Bruzon