Tag Archives: Murray Jones

A bigger shock then Brentford beating Manchester City? Could Murray miss the cut? Beesotted get the fans voting.

10 Nov

We’ve seen some upsets in our time at Brentford. Most notably , the defeats of Manchester City and Sunderland in the FA Cup although I’m sure each of us have our own personal favourite over the years. Yet what is happening right now at Griffin Park could easily outdo all of them put together. The team from Beesotted are running a poll to find the greatest Brentford ‘misfit’ and the results are not, necesarily, going with form. (Or should that be anti-form?)

Bliss Manchester City

Bliss does his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round

 

In their recent podcast – which you can find here – the subject is discussed.

No definitive conclusion was reached and so in a Richard Osman ‘World Cup of…’ style, the vote has gone to the public. Whilst my own gut reaction to this question will always stop and start with one name – Murray Jones – the other candidates are fast delivering a trip to football hell. Paul Davis, Steve Claridge, Lorenzo Pinamonte, Neil Shipperly and Callum Willock are amongst the names to strike terror. Whilst, for the kids, we’ve the likes of Big Nick, Will Grigg and The Hoff up there .

Will Grigg and George banter

Will Grigg scores – possibly

The group stages end at abut 7am this morning when, I would imagine, Beesotted will go live with their Last-16 head to head knockout. Or the Round of 16, as nobody except FIFA and ITV would call it.

Yet at the time of writing it is a round which could potentially see the biggest star falling early. Heat 7(seven) has seen Murray Jones trailing for most of the the last 24 hours. Whilst (currently) back out in front – surely a first – could he fail to make the grade? Again.

Your vote counts. PLEASE. Get involved. I can only see this heading into a showdown between Jones and Proschwitz. A battle between those of us who were here in ’92 and those of us who are newer to Griffin Park. Do keep your eyes on @Beesotted today and get involved.

The other shock was the non-inclusion of Betinho in the group stages. Dave, Billy (Grant) and team have noted that : “Betinho was a huge debate but the verdict was he was a loanee who played less than 45 mins, has no real previous playing history & hasn’t gone on to do anything since. Plus he didnt have ‘Murray Jones folklore”.

Yet for me, he arrived on such a wave of hype. Such a wave of potential. Yet ended up being such an anti-climax. A lightweight 12 minute flash in the pan. As Rob Rankin (could be) noted on Twitter last night: Remember the BBC news story shocked at little old Brentford bringing in a Sporting Lisbon player with one name.

Betinho signs BBC

Even the BBC got excited

So if you do nothing else today, take a look at the Beesotted Twitter feed. It promises to be a scintillating knockout stage.

Nick Bruzon

 

PS – Biggest on pitch upset. For me, it will ALWAYS be Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City. At least, to date. Who knows what January could bring….

PPS – If you really get in the voting mood, I’ve got a sister-poll up and running. To coin a phrase, it does what it says on the tin….

 

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From the best to the worst in football’s role of honour. Plus a new favourite site.

21 Mar

Whilst there were some Brentford fans upset about the recent sale of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa, one would hope that those concerns have now been dispelled. Ably abetted by the two amigos on the flanks, a rejigged formation and a great Dane up top, The Bees have money in the bank and 25 goals in the 11 games since the Scott moved to Villa Park. Things could have been a lot, lot worse as we’ll look at momentarily. At the other end of the field, there was great news for John Egan who was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with Wales.

Nobody could doubt John’s performances this season. At one point he was neck and neck with Scott to be our leading scorer whilst, more importantly, has forged a wonderful partnership with Harlee Dean at the back.

Brentford ‘official’ share the great news on social media

I don’t envy head coach Dean Smith having to crowbar the pair of them, Yoann Barbet and fellow international Andreas Bjelland into his team. Perhaps the quality at his disposal goes someway to explaining our mid-season persistence with three centre backs. It was a valid attempt but one which persisted for far too long as it became clear it wasn’t working.

Yet, and with the greatest respect to Yoann and Andreas, John and Harlee are – at least in my opinion – our absolute nailed on first choice centre backs. Harlee has been magnificent this campaign and, along with Dan Bentley and John Egan, remains in my top three for player of the season. Although had Jota returned a month or two earlier then that competition would be an even stiffer one.

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Jota – c/o Sky. Imagine if he’d come back earlier…..

So news of John’s call up yesterday was one that is thoroughly deserved but has only been a matter of time. John, if you are reading (unlikely, let’s be honest) congratulations. As for Harlee and Dan, give it another season or two playing like this and their matching him on the International scene, for England, is well within the bounds of credibility.

Next up Twitter. A popular subject on these pages for many reasons. Ease of use, interaction with the actual players, Kitman Bob and his BBB giveaways, banter with fellow fans and the most immediate means of learning news updates are amongst the many reason for the site’s popularity here.

For Brentford supporters, there’s a recent addition to our family of familiar faces (© the Middlesex Chronicle big book of ’80s alliteration) out there in cyber space. Brentford Bot.

In their own words, “Judging Positive and Negative mentions of Brentford“.And that’s about all there is to it. But very, very well executed, often deadpan but sometimes laugh out loud funny and showing a tireless dedication to keeping the Bees family updated. I’ve no idea who the power behind the Bot is, but it’s well worth a follow. You can find @BrentfordBOT here.

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Brentford Bot does his/her/its (?) thing

Ok – striker sales. We talked at the top end about the departure of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth need no reminding of what has happened in the past – Nicky Forster, Carl Asaba, Gary Blissett, Robert Taylor, Dean Holdsworth, DJ Campbell and even Andy Scott are amongst those who have been sold in their free scoring prime. Goals aside, the other thing connecting these players was their lack of a like-for-like replacement.

To be fair, how do you replace the likes of Deano, Bliss or the FT index? Even for the player, following a fan favourite and goalscoring legend must be thankless task. Yet when this goes wrong it can be truly horrific.

FourFourTwo magazine have just started to publish their list of every league club’s worst ever player. The initial instalment, in a series which is now running daily, runs from Accrington Stanley up to Bury, taking in the likes of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and of course Brentford along the way.

On the Bees front, it feels somewhat awkward badmouthing one of our own yet for whatever the reason we’ve had some players over the years who really haven’t shone. Past their prime, over weight, over rated or just really, really bad. It happens. It happens to every club. So when FourFourTwo approached yours truly for the name of the Griffin Park protagonist, it was one that eventually came about as a result of a public vote. Too much power should not lie with just one man.

It was a top five that included, in no particular order : Nick Proschwitz, Paul Davis, Murray jones, Neil Shipperley and Steve Claridge. Yet in the end the ‘winner’ was a clear one.

And you can find out who, here…

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Nick Bruzon

Noooo! Fulham have only gone and done it.

17 Feb

Brentford have a day off on Saturday. FA Cup capitulation at the hands of Chelsea (a game where we put in a performance that was very much the Murray Jones to their Dean Holdsworth) sees us now kicking our heels. Just a few miles up the road, however, near neighbours Fulham are in cup action. They entertain Tottenham on Sunday.

It is a game which made me sit up and take notice yesterday, but for a very wrong reason. At a time when Donald Trump is beating all comers hands down in the apparently deranged stakes  (his explanation of what uranium is has me intrigued, yet genuinely terrified, about what his next bit of amateur science might be), he seems to have a rival. The Fulham club shop.

Bear in mind this is the club that has already brought you ‘The Neutral stand’ and ‘The Gin bar’. A club who introduce ‘clackers’  and ‘giant foam fingers’ to try and help the home fans generate some atmosphere. Then, of course, there was that business with the Michael Jackson statue. Yet even by their previously odd standards, they have now gone ‘full Trump’.

What is the most scorned thing about modern football? Tourists on a day trip to Chelsea or Old Trafford? Grown men in full kit on a match day ? ‘Hilarious’ shirt names (I 8 Spurs etc  I don’t, for the record)? Selfie-sticks?

All are bad and yet one thing still transcends them all. The half and half scarf. There is no logical reason as to how this has sprung up or why any football fan of sound mind would buy one. Who wants memorabilia celebrating another team? Who wants to wear the opposition colours? Let alone in this most happy-clappy of styles? Over priced and cheaply produced tat. Something so offensive that no self-respecting club has even embraced previously. Up until now these abhorrent items have only been available from the street hawkers.

Up until now being the key phrase. Because, of course, Fulham have stepped forward. With this. Officially. In their official club shop.

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I may be late to this party but I don’t care. Irony goes full circle as Fulham break the fourth wall. Get your official half and half scarf. This has to be a joke? Surely? Would any self-resecting club really do this ?

Part of me hopes that Matt Jeffrey is just a fake twitter ID, playing a very long game in order to spoof the hapless Cottagers. Yet with over 1500 tweets already, and seemingly all the right credentials, he looks legitimate. And he is encouraging his Fulham fans to wear a Spurs scarf. Or, at least, half of one.

You know what, I hope they win. Genuinely. For no other reason than one can’t even begin to imagine what their marketing team will dream up for the quarter finals.

Half and half shirts, here we come….

Nick Bruzon

Sheer Bliss for Brentford on Boxing Day

27 Dec

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to trot out some Chronicle style 80’s alliteration but the occasion of yesterday’s visit of Brighton was one that also saw Bees legend Gary Blissett, finally, inducted into the Brentford hall of fame. We’ll get to Bliss shortly but can only begin with a draw 0-0 between the Bees and the Seagulls that we can, perhaps, count ourselves unlucky not to have won.

David Stockdale in the Brighton goal pulled off a number of second half saves to kept the scores level as the game opened up a bit. The Brentford midfield looked a tad flatter than normal as clean sheets and snuffing out the opposition seemed the first order of the day. That said, Alan Judge was once more the standout man from that area when the Bees did take the game forward, as a series of second half chances were carved out only for Stockdale to keep Brighton in it.

The first from Judge saw the Irishman (surely a ‘shoe-in’ for Euro 2016 on this form) cut in from the wing and unleash a ferocious drive which the ‘keeper was able to parry over. Next up, the would be poacher turned would be provider, setting up Tarkowski for a header and certain goal. Again, the athletic Stockdale had to be at his best diving full stretch to guide it around the post with a stunning save.

Indeed, Mark Burridge in the Beesplayer commentary box would go one better and describe it as “Phenomenal“. Certainly, subsequent review of the  highlights pay testament to the true quality of the save. Finally it was Judge once more, from distance, forcing the Brighton shot stopper to dive to his left and tip away for another Bees corner.

Three great stops that, perhaps, denied three points for Brentford. However, we were ultimately the architects of our own result. Philipp Hofmann had the best chance of all, earning space in the box to get himself on the end of a Tarkowski cross with the goal begging and just Stockdale to beat. From six yards out.

This time, sadly, the save was anything but world class and that’s no disrespect to Brighton. With the whole of the target to aim at , the big German guided his header straight down Stockdale’s throat for a comfortable catch. And with that, scores remained at 0-0.

“He could have been the hero”. Not my words but those of Mark Burridge.

Full credit to Brighton. They closed us out and made chances few and far between. Likewise, a point against the long term league leaders is no bad thing whatsoever when, but for a bit more luck in front of goal (or a different ‘keeper), we may well have taken the win.

But there you go. Such are the margins in football and, perhaps, somewhat telling that this was the day we welcomed Gary Blissett into the Brentford ‘hall of fame’ at half time. His absence from this institution has been somewhat of an enigma but great to see if finally remedied.

Gary’s record speaks for itself and he remains a hero to Brentford fans of a certain age. Over six years from 1987 to 1993 he terrorised defences across the old third, and for one brief season, first divisions (what we know today as the Championship) . Notching 105 goals in 291 games (a strike rate of better than 1 in 3) alongside a variety of partners – most notably Richard Cadette and Dean Holdsworth – his FA Cup goals against Manchester City and Blackburn are the stuff of legend whilst the promotion clincher in the 1-0 victory at Peterborough has earned him a place in Brentford folklore.

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Bliss makes it 3-1 in the FA Cup v his beloved Manchester City

His performance in ’92-’93, where as an ever present his goals almost kept us in the old first division, demands equal recognition. If for no other reason than he’d seen Dean Holdsworth replaced with Murray Jones (think of a twentieth century Nick Proschwitz – nobody could fault the effort but, sadly the end product was somewhat lacking).

It wasn’t just as a goalscorer that Bliss made his name. He was also emergency goalkeeper – making his debut half way through a Championship game at home to Southend United in 1992 whilst Ashley Bayes shouted directions from behind the goal. Direction that Bliss ignored in a game that saw our first league win of that campaign.

His sale in 1993 , with relegation back to the third tier of English football confirmed, was an inevitable one but his reputation at Griffin Park has never diminished. Even close to a quarter-century later,  he remains as much a hero to supporters – this one specifically – as he did in his playing days.

Congratulations, Gary. Thoroughly well deserved.

brentford-fc-player-cards-2015-blissett

Gary still features in the Junior Bees Top Trumps (style game)

As a final thought, here’s a statistical question. When was the last time we played successive games against teams in day-glo yellow? Following the previous game at home to Huddersfield Town, Brighton turned out in an equally lurid yellow design that was easier to see than the stewards.

Despite what looked like a sell out away crowd, I counted less than three dozen on display amongst supporters – and they were easy to spot from 100 yards away.

I have no idea what Mark Devlin and kitman Bob have lined up for next season, if they even know as yet, but from this kit obsessive here’s a suggestion – perhaps neon isn’t the best look !

Black might be good (hint, hint).

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Neon yellow – not a great look

Nick Bruzon

As Burnley await Brentford and Andre Gray, is this a gamble from Matthew?

22 Aug

The inevitable has finally happened. After weeks of speculation linking Andre Gray with Hull and an unsuccessful £9 million bid from Bristol City, Burnley met both the asking price and the striker’s aspirations to secure a deal that sees Brentford smash their inward transfer record by a country mile.

Whilst, officially, ‘undisclosed’ it is a fee that is universally reckoned to be 3 Lewis Grabbans (or, at current prices, the equivalent of 9 Will Griggs). One would go crazy trying to extrapolate that outwards to the equivalent in Proschwitzs.

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

This isn’t the doom and gloom that you’d believe from looking at social media following the news. For starters, the sort of money being talked about is incredibly hard to resist. Nine. Million. Pounds!! An 18x increase on what we paid just over a year ago.

Burnley have been unable to complete the paperwork in time so Andre will have to sit this one out from the stands whilst, for the Bees, it means our choice of strikers still includes full Danish international Lasse Vibe and German U-21 Philipp Hofmann. These are players of proven quality and hardly the equivalent of being left with the aforementioned Proschwitz.

Tom Moore - still showing the love for Dougie on this Twitter profile pic

Tom Moore – still showing the love for Dougie on his Twitter profile pic

Besides, as West London’s premier journalist Tom Moore has written in his own take on this news, “The Bees may yet be better off, if they are able to secure the replacements they want at the club…

Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen are intelligent people and will have been working on replacements all summer, in the expectation Gray would go.”

An obvious statement, perhaps, but a very true one. Whilst the price tag was a massive inducement to sell, it is still a decision that will have been considered on myriad other levels. Like Tom, I have no doubt the club have targets in mind and we’ve already seen a few names bandied about in the prelude to the sale being confirmed.

If nothing else, the speculation is finally over. We can now move on, knowing who makes up a squad that has, don’t forget, still seen more come in than go out over the last few months.

Let’s be clear – I would have loved to see Andre stay. He has already hit the ground running this season and will no doubt have every success at Burnley. But he has gone. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Brentford fans won’t change a thing.

For sure, Matthew Benham has taken an on-field gamble in allowing a proven goal scorer to leave, but getting overly upset about this pays a tremendous disrespect to both the rest of this team and his own, longer term, plans. Keeping his cards close to his chest is something that Matthew has done exceedingly well over the last few seasons as, time and again, we’ve been caught cold by his and the club’s transfer plans.

As a fan since 1979, Matthew will be well aware of our own history and what happens when you replace a Dean Holdsworth with a Murray Jones. Indeed, we’ve already scored six goals in two league games this campaign and, whilst two have come from Andre, the rest were very much shared around with Tarks, The Hoff, and an Alan Judge brace rounding things off.

On that note, yesterday saw good news with Alan credited a second against Bristol City after a meeting of the Dubious Goals Committee (a group whom I can only imagine meet in an oak paneled drawing room, quaffing brandy by a roaring log fire whilst sitting in leather wing-backed chairs). As the Irishman himself noted on Twitter afterward, “Nothing dubious about it clearly mine

The Judge gives his verdict

The Judge gives his own verdict

The other point of note was something suggested last night by one terrace wag who has asked if Brentford are adopting a policy of allowing somebody to join our next opponents?

Jonathan Douglas signed for Ipswich Town in time to tackle Jota and help concede two goals after he had entered the field of play with his new team in a seemingly unassailable position. Next up, the club agreed a fee with Bristol City at a time that Andre had been heavily linked with a side we would go on to beat 4-2 last weekend.

Then, the day before we are due to visit Burnley, we have completed the sale of the player who found the back of the net 18 times for Brentford last season. What next, Jack Bonham to Reading?

Andre will be missed, no doubt. I do also wonder if given his sharp, upward, career moves that Burnley fans could be saying the same thing in twelve months time? As he has already noted on his new club’s twitter feed, “Last season was a test for me, but that learning curve is why I’m at this club now”.

So there you go, cynics. It’s not all about the money. Burnley are the next rung on his career ladder. And if ever Brentford fans needed a motivation to get behind our team and show Andre which is the club on the up, then we’ve got the perfect one at 3pm on Saturday.

See you there.

Ande has the Last Word, for now

Andre has the Last Word, for now

Nick Bruzon

The strange case of the disappearing striker

27 May

In possibly the least surprising news of yesterday, the club announced that Tommy Smith and Nick Proschwitz will both be released in the summer. Tommy, who joined from Cardiff, and Nick who came in from Hull City AFC for the start of this season, had mixed fortunes at Griffin Park.

Tommy, of course, will be remembered for notching up Brentford’s first goal in the Championship. It was a strike that came in the season opener at home to Charlton Athletic and, despite not troubling the scorers again, he made many notable appearances from the bench as he chalked up 32 appearances for The Bees over the campaign.

At 35 years old, and having been signed on a twelve-month deal last year, it was unlikely that Tommy was ever going to stay beyond the end of the campaign. Nonetheless, he always gave the impression of one who tried his all when he was given the chance – most notably during the no-show at The Valley in the midst of February’s Football Village affair.

In the case of Nick Proschwitz, despite having an option for a further 12 months the club have decided not to activate it. On the ‘surprise’ front, this is news on a par with today’s announcement that 6 FIFA members have been arrested on corruption charges.

Much as I was desperate to see Big Nick do well, he failed to adjust to our team and our system. The clincher for me was seeing Sam Saunders having to steal the ball off his toes during the Boxing Day defeat to Ipswich Town in order to stab the ball into the net. But you could count any number of misses or leaden-footed touches that will see him go down in Griffin Park folkore, of the wrong sort.

It is a real shame for both him and the club. When Brentford were crying out for a striker to step up to the plate following the horrific injury to Scott Hogan at Rotherham back in August, here was the chance. Indeed, Nick managed to find the back of the net after replacing his injured team mate in that game and it seemed we had somebody ready made to step into the breach.

Alas, it wasn’t to be as Andre Gray made light of the leap from Conference to Championship over the coming months. But for some support, who knows…?

Indeed, checking back on his stats this morning, even the club appear to have purged his record from history.

Big Nick has gone missing in action

Big Nick has gone missing in action

Please, let’s be clear. To step onto a football field as a professional takes an enormous level of ability. Let alone to play at the highest levels of the domestic game, which Nick did. As somebody who got knackered just running out of the tunnel in the infamous Martin Allen ‘fans v first team’ game, it’s probably a bit hypocritical for me to be overly negative about somebody who has done that.

Indeed, it gives me a genuine regret to speak negatively about any ‘Bee’ but sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. Despite the management unearthing some wonderful gems in the likes of Jota, Andre or Alex Pritchard this season (to name but a few), we missed the target this time around.

Perhaps Nick’s Brentford career is best considered a case of ‘wrong player in the wrong team’. A 21st century Murray Jones, if you will.

And if you want to read more about the events of 2014/15, the amalgamated Last Word season compendium: Tales from the football village (from Saunders territory to unchartered ground), is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full.

Running from July 2014- May 2015 it contains some additional material and is available for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme.

The Ten things that have defined this season (so far….)

4 May

With the dust still settling on the stunning events of the weekend as Brentford beat Derby County and Wolves in the race for a play off place (where, of course, we start proceedings against Middlesbrough on Friday) this column has been handed over to a guest contributor.

Long time Bees fan fan and regular Last Word reader Justin (@BeQuietJustin on twitter) outlines his ten things that have defined Brentford’s 2015/16 campaign to date. So without further ado, here are his thoughts….

That leak – February’s main item of club news was that Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham couldn’t reach agreement about the backroom direction of the club which ultimately meant Warburton would leave at the end of the season, coinciding with the end of his contract. This was reported as a sacking by some extremely lazy journalists in the national press and The Football League Show’s Steve Claridge doggedly insisted that the news was the reason behind any time Brentford didn’t win convincingly in a division they’d only just been promoted to.

The fans’ chanting of Warburton’s name during games, and the players’ celebrations with the manager after Andre Gray’s opener against Watford, showed that those a little closer to the club were unfazed by the largely unwarranted media nonsense.

Warbs  - there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Warbs – there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Signing woes – This season brought with it half a team’s worth of interesting signings, many of whom were either injured on arrival or ended up that way.

Scott Hogan was hoped to be the eventual number one striker but picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury after playing a mere 30 minutes. Everton loanee Chris Long contributed four goals in some admirable performances with raw willing and talent before being sent back to his parent club for injury assessment and exacerbating the problem in a youth cup game.

The Championship-experienced Nick Proschwitz had potential but his finishing soon left fans recalling such legendary names as Clyde Wijnhard and Murray Jones. Exciting Sporting Lisbon forward Betinho apparently did not adjust well to the English game and disappeared from the matchday squads after playing just 13 minutes.

On top of all this, bright Rangers signing Lewis Macleod’s recovery from a hamstring injury was set back by falling down a rabbit hole and tripping over a twig. Make your own jokes about Brentford’s diminutive central midfield. With even one more fit and in-form striker this season, Brentford may well have been automatically promoted. On the other hand, the players have sometimes engineered their own downfall with some noticeable…

Defensive dithering – The new footballing way at Brentford dictated that no longer would we be pumping a long ball over the top for the big striker to knock down to the little one for a shot on goal. Methodical, patient, possession football in the vein of the Spanish national team was the new style and that brought with it a reduction in long goal kicks. Playing out from the back, enabling the defence to link with the 5-man midfield and draw defensive lines out of position, was something very few expected to see from a League One team and this was refined further this season.

However, it also brought with it a fair share of head-in-hands moments, with goalkeeper and defenders seemingly unaware of what was going on around them at times. Numerous occasions brought a short pass to a defender and back to David Button for him to hurriedly lump the ball up the field under pressure when it would have been easier to clear the lines properly and take a standard goal kick.

While the lack of height further up the pitch dictates that wasn’t always the right idea, the high-risk insistence of playing out from the back has resulted in defenders being robbed and conceding goals. Of course, nobody’s perfect, and it would be remiss to highlight the bad side of playing out from the back without mentioning…

David Button – Where would we be without some of David’s fantastic goalkeeping? The spectacular double save at Carrow Road has to be a major contender for save of the season, closely followed by great performances at home against Bournemouth and Watford, among many others.

View from the terrace - David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button  it,

View from the terrace – David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button it,

With Richard Lee’s recurring shoulder injury ultimately leading to him announcing his retirement and subsequently going on loan to a team whose name escapes me, fans were understandably concerned about what would happen in the event of David’s injury or suspension. Jack Bonham looked comfortable in his single appearance against Brighton in the FA Cup, with defensive lapses giving him little chance against two late goals, but the young number two (technically, three?) wasn’t required further.

A testament to goalkeeping coach Simon Royce, David’s kicking and speed off his line have both improved greatly over the last couple of seasons to match his outstanding shot-stopping ability. He pulled off a fine point blank save at 0-0 to help the team on their way to…

Brentford 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – More money and an established, Championship way of thinking and playing saw Wolves romp home to the League One title last May, finishing 17 points clear of the playoff positions. This game relatively early on in the season was seen as a marker to determine how Brentford would cope in the division against supposedly ‘bigger clubs’.

An emphatic victory rounded off an excellent November consisting of five wins from five games, spawning the infamous #novemberkings hashtag on the club’s Twitter feed. At the end of the regular season, it turned out that this was the result that counted. A 1-0 win for Brentford would have put Wolves in the playoffs and Brentford 7th on goal difference. (editor’s note: (seventh)).

View from the terrace - Wolves perfected their 'kick off' routine at Griffin Park this season

View from the terrace – Wolves perfected their ‘kick off’ routine at Griffin Park this season

A footnote to this game was ex-Bee George Saville, who did not look up to the part having signed permanently for Wolves from Chelsea. I thought George was too indecisive and lightweight last season to make it with Brentford. He failed to impress at Wolves and ended up on loan at Bristol City, registering only 15 total appearances. This match included a brilliant goal in which the entire Wolves back four was taken out of the game in one swift move by…

Andre Gray – Essentially our only true striker this season, Andre massively outperformed early expectations in which he was thought to be playing second fiddle to Scott Hogan. Having jumped up three divisions from the Conference, there was cautious optimism among fans, tempered with a generous helping of wondering where the goals would come from if Brentford were to have a hope of staying in the division.

With Hogan’s early injury turning out to be worse than initially thought, all eyes fell on Andre. Often having to deal with being wrestled, pulled back and kicked to bits by huge defensive lumps, with officials consistently failing to see what 10,000 fans clearly could, Gray has held his nerve, scored 17 goals, set up numerous other chances for his teammates and played a massive part in…

FourFourTwo-2Thumbing our collective noses at the experts’ pre-season predictions – The pundits certainly hadn’t been paying attention to Brentford’s style of play in the previous season and gave them very little chance of making a dent in the Championship promotion race.

As we’ve seen numerous times in the last couple of seasons, underestimate this team at your peril. The most infamous pre-season prediction was that of FourFourTwo magazine, who got numerous things very wrong in their proposed final table (left).

Toumani Diagouraga – Another of my shortlist for the player of the season award. After being farmed out on loan to Portsmouth for eight games last season, many fans suspected that would be the last we saw of the composed, unpredictable midfielder at Griffin Park.

Toumani fought his way back into a midfield that looked like it would never be able to accommodate him due to other players’ performances and has put in 41 appearances so far this season, including numerous man of the match displays. He has been an absolute pleasure to watch, specialising in breaking down attacks with seemingly telescopic legs and twisting opposition players into knots with some brilliant yet, at times, utterly baffling footwork.

Alan Judge – My player of the season. Alan missed games in January and February through injury but it was clear how much we missed his creativity in his absence. Taking over the Sam Saunders mantle as the midfield playmaker, Alan finds space in the centre circle with driving runs to assist or take shots on goal and can spread the play to the wings with ease.

Many Brentford fans have no idea why Blackburn froze him out of their squad, presumably because at only 5’7” he’s not tall enough for their style of play, but their loss is our huge gain. Alan can also strike a sweet free kick, with Good Friday bringing a particularly memorable one…

Bees up, Fulham (almost) down – Perhaps not the biggest thing to happen in the grand scheme of this season, but an emotional choice and an away day that most fans had been looking forward to since the minute the fixtures were released.

Doing the league double over one of our fiercest local rivals showed how far the club has come. From being easily rolled over 5-0 in 2010’s pre-season, to a late home winner and comprehensively spanking that lot down the river in their own back yard, this pair of results gave the long-suffering Bees faithful yet another reason to be proud of what the club has achieved this season.

It’s not over yet, but we have more than enough to celebrate. Here’s looking forward to August, no matter which division Brentford are in!

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

Is Cameron Diaz a Brentford fan ? The answer, revealed

4 Sep

The question that Brentford fans have contemplated for years has finally been put directly to Cameron Diaz. And it has been answered.

On Thursday morning, Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell played out his interview with the Hollywood A-lister and finally obtained the truth about her rumoured love of Brentford.

It’s a story that has been recounted for over a decade and quoted in sources as varied as The Daily Star, The Daily Mail and ESPN. We’d all seen the like of Rhino out of The Quo, Richard Archer and Natalie Sawyer at Griffin Park , but never Cameron.

The scene was set last night in the build up article. To be honest, as I wrote this I feared the worst but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

Sadly, however, not this strange. It seems that not only has she never been to Griffin Park but, in a gutbusting revelation, Diaz confessed , “It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O'Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O’Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

You can download the podcast which features the full interview from Absolute Radio and I-tunes. Failing that, the key exchange was as follows:

OC: There is a huge rumour that you are a football fan. Or Soccer as you guys call it now, which is getting bigger in America. And..a fan of Brentford. Is this true or not?

CD: You know, I think I would love to know more about football. I don’t.

OC: So you are not a fan of The Bees?

CD: Let me just tell you something. It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

You can see the FULL, unedited video version, below. 8m45 is the point where the killer blow is delivered

 

Noooooo. This was the ultimate celebrity kick in the nuts. Or in footballing terms, like hearing we’d sold Dean Holdsworth and replaced him with Murray Jones.

That said, there is still hope. Possibly. The interview concluded with Cameron’s admission that: “Now that I know they exist, I’m going to look into them. I’m going to Google them.”

I hope she does. And not just because I think that she’d like what she found. More, I’d love us to be the team supported by Cameron Diaz AND Dean Gaffney.

How often would you get chance to see those two together?

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

We’ve been here before – the top ten of our last Championship campaign

7 Aug

With Charlton Athletic due to visit Brentford on Saturday in our Championship opener I made a somewhat outlandish claim in yesterday’s column as to where I think we’d finish the season. I stand by that and I’d hope history repeats to help this happen – the last time The Bees entertained Charlton at this level saw a 2-0 win for us back on Nov 7th 1992.

That said, I hope there aren’t too many more similarities between the forthcoming campaign and that one, given 1992/93 saw us return to League One (as is) after a solitary season. At times the season was exciting; at others, it offered nothing but the bitterest frustration.

Regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush asked for ‘my memories’ of this and, whilst somewhat hazy, it did get me thinking. So here are the top five highs and lows from the last time we tried try our luck in English football’s second tier.

The lows:

5: Dean Holdsworth. If Wigan Athletic fans are wondering why Brentford supporters are so upset about the Adam Forshaw talk, this is why.

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.

Number four is…not going to Wigan (we hope). The Forshaw/Holdsworth difference

29 Jul

Back in early July Matthew Benham took to Twitter to declare that new faces would be coming in to Brentford whilst no key players would leave. True enough the squad has been strengthened whilst, if reports circulating on Monday are to be believed, management have turned down an offer from Wigan Athletic for Adam Forshaw.

The club website, as ever, made no mention on unsubstantiated rumour but one can only trust that Matthew has been true to his word – assuming a bid has even been made, of course. And if the story is true, then what a statement to make. This is a team looking to consolidate – not cut loose it’s best players when the first rivals come knocking.

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 editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

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