Tag Archives: Motz

Is Matthew Benham having a change of heart as a hero returns for Reading?

29 Aug

The pitch is laid and Reading await. We have a new p.a. system set to ‘go live’ whilst there is the small matter of Sam Saunders being back in the squad. After defeat at Burnley last weekend and, all being well, the turf malfunction now being rectified, perhaps we can approach Saturday’s game with even more of a spring in the step than usual.

First up, the pitch. It’s been no secret how bad this has looked with everybody from Reading boss Steve Clarke to Marinus weighing in on the subject and, as such, no surprise that this week has seen the surface entirely re-laid.

Whilst an article on the official site has advised fans they may notice “small join lines when attending Saturday’s match” we’ve also been promised this won’t affect play. Marinus has also gone on record as saying that when he saw it earlier in the week, it was looking “very good”.

The 'official' pitch photo released by the club this week

The ‘official’ pitch photo released by the club this week

Of course, the real acid test will begin at 3pm Saturday but, one would hope, we can put an end to the problems that have blighted Griffin Park so far this campaign. And with the onset of International break after the Reading game, fingers will be crossed that if we get through this one unscathed then it really will be a case of ‘business as usual’ when we use it again in late September.

Aswell as the pitch, supporters will also be treated to the ‘beefed up’ public address system. Any regular reader to these pages will know that the tinny sound quality and inaudible announcements on the Ealing Road have long been a source of frustration.

Now, we’ve been promised, “a significant improvement to the quality of both music and announcements by Peter Gilham on matchday in all home areas.” By quality of music, I can only presume they mean the noise levels rather than Big Bees Radio’s selection of the latest 45”s. To be fair, our in house DJ has been on a very much rockier vibe so let’s hope that continues.

One place music is definitely not welcome at Griffin Park is to help celebrate goals. Other clubs have opted for the use of “Goal Music”, something I can’t stand. It’s up there with ‘half and half’ scarves as things that should not be allowed within a square mile of a football stadium.

If you really need a burst of “Chelsea Dagger” or “Let me Entertain You” to help liven proceedings after finding the back of the net then there’s something seriously wrong. To be fair, there’s something seriously wrong about needing The Fratellis in any walk of life, but that’s another column for another day.

At least Matthew Benham is in agreement on this one. He has taken to Twitter several times in the past to confirm that this is something that Brentford will never do.

Not my words but those of Matthew Benham

Not my words but those of Matthew Benham

So it was with interest I watched the game between FC Midtjylland (of course, his other club) and Southampton on Thursday night. What should we get as the Danes took the lead but a snatch of Coldplay (Viva La Vida, I believe) to help ‘lift’ the mood further.

It seemed a random choice at best. Coldplay, officially the wettest band since records began, whilst certainly troubling the hit parade on more than one instance are hardly the masters of uplifting stadium rock. More crucially, is this a European ‘thing’ or could it herald a change of heart from Mr. Benham?

The thought of being treated to a snatch of ‘Jump in my Car” when The Hoff scores is too much on too many levels. Mr Benham, if you are reading then I implore you to please leave the celebrations to the crowd and the goal music to the Danes.

Jump in my car. Just not after a goal

Jump in my car. Just not after a goal

That said, I’d forgive us just about anything if Sam Saunders gets to put in an appearance today and, better, celebrates with a goal. The ever popular wing wizard is finally back in the squad and with the team seemingly more concerned with going sideways and backwards at Burnley, I’d love to see him let loose on Reading.

To be fair, I think we’ll see a much more attacking display anyway. Marinus has made no secret of how important three points are to him today. Maxime Colin was one of the few to come away from Turf Moor with universal plaudits and he may well start this one. With the option to push Alan Mac into centre mid and Nico Yennaris, along with Sam, also deemed fit then we could see a change or two. At the very least, on the bench.

Brentford managed to secure all six points against Reading last season and so, much like the pitch, it will be a very interesting test of how well our new squad and management are bedding in. That said, nothing is certain in football – just ask Derby County.

I couldn’t end today’s article without thanking the visitors for their stunning performance at Pride Park at the end of last campaign. Jaws dropped lower and lower as, with Derby only needing a point to secure one of the play off berths that Brentford were also fighting for, goal after goal flew in for the visitors.

Reading may not realise just how significant a part they played that afternoon in how events unfolded at Griffin Park. The excitement of relying on other (no offence) improbable results and them actually coming off – see also Blackburn Rovers thumping Ipswich – was unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

Oh, how I’d love more of the same this season. Can we continue things today?

At 3pm, we find out.

Nick Bruzon

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New pitch and TV cameras await Reading and QPR at Brentford

27 Aug

In the most expected piece of news since the sale of Andre Gray was confirmed, the announcement has been made that Brentford’s game with QPR has been moved to the evening of Friday 30th October. And, it seems, we have a pitch in place for the visit of Reading this weekend although, of course, whether it gets the seal of approval from Steve Clarke is another thing altogether.

Will the pitch pass muster?

Will the pitch pass muster?

So. Our first game with QPR since a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park back in February 2004 will now take place on the evening of Friday 30th October. Given the local police presence required for the following day’s rugby World Cup final at Twickenham this was only ever gong to happen. Moreso, given the lure that such a game would have held for the Sky TV camera who have also exercised their option to broadcast this one.

Aside from the ‘official site’ being mathematically challenged / supporter pedantry (delete as applicable), bringing it forwards nineteen and quarter hours does, instantly, destroy all chance of Halloween horror headlines. But it’s a small price to pay.

So, a 3pm kick off on Friday then?

So, a 3pm kick off on Friday then?

Who doesn’t enjoy a game played under the new look Griffin Park Floodlights? Moreso, one against our closest rivals with a mere 5.2 miles (that’s about an hour on the 237 bus, using London Transport timings) between TW8 and Loftus Road.

Last season saw the home game with Fulham played in the same time slot and that all ended rather well for the Bees, thanks to Harlee Dean’s piledriver and then Jota ‘doing his thing’ in the last minute. We won’t even talk about the away game, yet, suffice to say it still brings a smile to the face thinking about the 4-1 hammering.

Jota - his winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

Jota – his televised winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

These local games are certainly the ones we love to win and hate to lose. We’ve got four of them this time around and I’m already getting excited about the approach of this first encounter with QPR in over a decade.

This is, of course, assuming we have a pitch to play it on (which might not be a stupid a comment as it might have sounded a month ago). That said, those of us living in the TW8 vicinity saw the floodlights burning long into the late evening as work in laying the Motz turf has now been completed.

Certainly, @JamieCrosby24 has been the man, if not on the ground, then the one loitering just outside it. He has kept Twitter updated with covert photographs and up to the minute updates, before finally advising at just after 9pm last night that “the final touches are (being) carried out.”

Jamie has kept Brentford fans updated all week

Jamie has kept Brentford fans updated all week

So Reading have somewhere to play. Referee Andrew Madley has a pitch that he can inspect. Marinus is expected to take training on the new surface this Friday. Steve Clarke might even smile. Perhaps.

I can understand Clarke’s nervousness and concern. The pictures following the Ipswich Town and Oxford United games were somewhat terrifying. However, the necessary remedial action has been taken and we now have to hope/ trust that the Motz turf does what it is supposed to between now and Saturday.

Like Fulham and QPR, a game with Reading is another that falls into the ‘local’ bracket. There are sure to be a good 1800 fans piling up the M4 for this one and it promises to be a cracking atmosphere. Last season saw a Jota inspired 3-1 victory over the Royals and Brentford fans will be hoping for more of the same as we consign the disappointment of Burnley to the waste bin of history.

There are sure to be more than a few people watching the on pitch action this weekend. And, for once, not just the men in red and white.

As ever at Griffin Park, Saturday could be interesting.

Nick Bruzon

First shots of new Griffin Park pitch look good (despite Reading fears)

25 Aug

The pitch is back. Visitors to Brentford on Monday would have seen the contractors hard at work, relaying the grass at Griffin Park ahead of the match with Reading this Saturday. The luxuriant ‘Motz’ surface is already well in place on the New Road wing as all will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the ‘turf malfunction’ that blighted the Ipswich Town and Oxford United games, aswell as forcing the postponement of the fixture with Birmingham City.

Contractors prepare to move the rolls of Motz turf into position

Contractors prepare to move the rolls of Motz turf into position

Whilst absolutely essential that this be done, Reading boss Steve Clarke has, reportedly, become the latest to get stuck into the playing surface. Somewhat ironic, given the ease with which it had previously come unstuck. However, local website ‘Get Reading’ have run a feature in which he is already approaching histrionic levels of nervousness and concern.

The story, which you can find here (for those who haven’t already seen it) includes a number of comments which I’m not sure whether are simple sabre rattling and an attempt to unnerve the Bees or genuinely deep-rooted fears.

Clarke is quoted as saying, “we have to play the first match on a pitch that is not going to be ready. It’s not correct.” This immediately begs the question of whether he possesses some hitherto unseen powers of precognition or clairvoyance. How else would he know it isn’t going to be ready? True, it is still looking very sandy but that green stuff we can now see does tend to be a bit of a giveaway.

Warning? Maybe before. It's looking very good now as work commences

Warning? Maybe before. It’s looking very good now as work commences

To be fair, one can sympathise. The layman would probably be of the impression that pitches do require months of ‘bedding in’; of something that can only be achieved over pre-season.

Yet, by his own admission, that simply isn’t the case and, these days, a re-lay prior to a game is not uncommon – however unpalatable he may find it – as he added: “I’m lucky enough to have been involved in some cup finals when they were played at Millennium Stadium. The pitch was always put down two or three days before the game and it was never good.”

Let’s not pretend the pitch was ‘any good’ previously. It wasn’t. Head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen and chief executive Mark Devlin have been amongst those leading the criticism whilst even Matthew Benham has noted this, if the ‘retweet’ below is to be taken at face value.

Matthew Benham remains undisputed king of twitter

Matthew Benham remains undisputed king of twitter

I can understand Steve Clarke wanting the best for his players from both a footballing and ‘health and safety’ perspective. Brentford will be in exactly the same boat and, having postponed one game already, will be doing everything possible to avoid a repeat of the problems we’ve previously seen.

Whilst Clarke is looking to get a delegation from the football league and a referee to view the pitch in advance, I’m pretty sure he’ll get his wish at the weekend, if nothing else. Andrew Madley, who is booked in to officiate at the weekend, will be the one who has to make the call as to whether the surface is playable or not during his pre-game inspection. I have no doubt we’ll have already be doing similar once repair works are finished on Wednesday.

Given the well publicised issues we’ve had and the fact that the Football League are fully aware of these, I can’t imagine this one going ahead if there is any element of doubt as to the integrity of the new Motz turf. Equally, one has to trust that the work which has been under way for a week already will be sufficient to provide an environment more fitting to a game of football rather than beach volleyball. If nothing else, I could do without all those cracks about Cardiff beach being cranked out again (well, maybe once more)

After Simon Moore, we've had enough of beaches to last a lifetime

After Simon Moore, we’ve had enough of beaches to last a lifetime

If Steve Clarke wants to publically voice his concerns in a psychological war of words that is likely going to impact his own side more than anybody else, then so be it. Football is a game of such finite margins that if he needs to being an additional element of doubt about his team’s ability to perform on our pitch then that’s fine by me.

I, genuinely, hope his concerns prove unfounded. For both Brentford and Reading. Ultimately, Griffin Park needs a surface that resembles a billiard table rather than a beach.

At the moment we haven’t got that so fairplay to the club for taking such drastic actions to remedy the situation. The eyes of the footballing world will be on us this weekend. Let’s hope we’ve got it right.

The pitch was 'cutting up' in our previous league game at Griffin Park

The pitch was ‘cutting up’ in our previous league game at Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

Andre Gray going to Burnley as Hull and Bristol City remain frustrated.

21 Aug

Andre Gray’s move to Bristol City still not complete but told it’s likely to go through later today”. Not my words but those of our esteemed local sources on Wednesday as yet another rumour surrounding Brentford and Andre has subsequently fallen flat. And next he’s off to Burnley. IF you believe what you read.

Andre - remains a Bee (again)

Andre – remains a Bee (again)

This is all getting somewhat tedious. Whether it is just Andre’s agent hawking him around like a spare Panini sticker, a genuine desire from the player to leave or Matthew Benham even making an improved contract offer behind the scenes, all we actually know so far is that: Hull City have had their enquiry for the player politely declined whilst Andre did not want to join Bristol City – despite their incredible bid. Whilst one would assume there is no smoke without fire, Steve Cotterill at Bristol City won’t be dialing 9-9-9 (million pounds, that is) for a while.

Indeed, the BBC (another source convinced the Bristol deal was ‘done’) have now had to reference Marinus as saying that Andre is back in training with the Brentford – although their story seems more about the frustrated desires of Steve Bruce (a specialist publication if ever I heard one) at Hull City.

Yet no sooner had the heat around the Bristol story been extinguished than Burnley have become the latest Championship rival being linked with a bid for the player. And you thought this was getting tedious earlier?

Well, it IS true. In one sense. I fully expect Andre will be going to Burnley. Albeit on Saturday, with the Bees travelling to the Lancashire club for our latest Championship fixture. Just as the in-demand striker started at Ashton Gate last week, and scored, I’ve got everything crossed (that can be) in the hope that the same thing will happen this weekend.

The irony of Brentford travelling to Turf Moor given the current state of our pitch has not been lost. I’d certainly settle for any, let alone more, turf although at least repairs are finally underway.

Visitors to Griffin Park on Thursday would have seen the contractors hard at work (below) whilst the club published a full update in the afternoon where they clarified, amongst other things, that the specialist ‘Motz’ turf we are using will be put down between Monday and Wednesday. They further added that this, “ Is usually match-ready 24 hours after it is laid” (again, please disregard any Steve Bruce imagery).

Brentford beach - our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Brentford beach – our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Anyway, as ever you can get all the proper facts about the pitch on the official club website. I’ll certainly be vising later today as the fallout from yesterday’s press conferences is published.

I’m very much looking forward to what the always straight talking Marinus Dijkhuizen has to say about Andre, Burnley and Griffin Park life in general. If nothing else, we might actually get some proper facts about what is going on.

As I’ve said before, I can’t blame the local journalists for running with transfer rumours. It is the nature of electronic media these days, where information (whether accurate or not) is instantly accessible to everybody and visitors to websites are key. But they are in serious danger of losing any credibility they may have had if they cannot be taken seriously.

I don’t envy the journos from that respect – its much easier to sit here and write a blog where its nothing more than opinion on what we can see going on around us. But I just think we all need to learn to take a deep breath and not treat everything in the media as 100% Gospel.

Blah. Who needs a lecture from me? Nobody. Instead, we’ve got a cracking game lined up as Championship action returns. Let’s focus on that instead of rumour.

Roll on Saturday. See you there.

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable