Tag Archives: Neighbours

Rashford, Welbeck and Bush nail it after horror scare in horror show.

8 Jun

We’ll keep this brief today. Whilst this column is normally pointed towards Brentford and the Championship, with the World Cup approaching looming as large in the calendar as Mrs Browns Boys on a Saturday night TV schedule (although hopefully something we actually want to watch) , then its only natural we’ll look at what is happening in and around the tournament. With England playing their final warm up game last night at Elland Road, against Costa Rica, what better place to start than the home of Leeds United?

England won. 2-0. You can’t ask for more than that.  As any regular reader to these pages will know, we don’t do match reports. Today is no different. Moreso because by the time that Danny Wellbeck had made it 2-0, I’d long ceded the remote to Mrs. Bruzon. Rather than listening to Hoddle spouting his usual twaddle, it was a case of having to put up with somebody named ‘ballbag’ spouting sub-Glenn levels of inanity on TV’s Love Island. The frizzy haired himbo looked like the sort of bloke who’d bring a guitar to a fresher’s week party and was just as irritating .

I’m not a Love Island fan, for the record. Quite the opposite. Indeed, Mrs B. is under no illusions that once the tournament proper starts then there’ll be no switching over. Kirsty and Phil can do one. Holby City can gather dust. Marcella and Doctor Foster may aswell just go to the pub and get involved in the action.  Yet last night was a final, almost symbolic gesture that it’s not all about football in our house.

As such, I did miss the aforementioned goal. I did miss England win. More alarmingly, I missed the latter stages of the game and thus woke up to the news that Ian Smith was trending on Twitter. Noooooo. Had the man best known as playing TV’s Harold Bishop died as we slept? Ohh, Madge.

Thankfully not. The Erinsborough Times obituary column can remain quiet for another day. Instead, it was just some apparent hilarity around the name of Costa Rica’s final substitute. And relax. There’s still time for a fifth return to Ramsey Street for Harold.

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The real Ian Bishop – not with the angels yet

The other reason I handed over the remote was a more ominous one in regard of things to come. I’ll spare the regular rant at this juncture. Again, regular readers will know what comes next whilst we discuss the subject ad-nauseum in my latest e-book There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 which I’d love if people could download. Not for me but its for a GREAT cause with all proceed received going to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. (There’s also the slimmed down Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18 for long suffering readers that may have the previous volumes).

Subtle as a brick

Quite rightly, people are talking about the potential negatives in Russia. Hooliganism. Racism. Glenn Hoddle’s punditry. Yet, please let’s not forget about ‘that band’. Yet instead of more diatribe about the moribund parping and flaccid renditions of jingoistic greatest hits from this bunch of cuckoos in the nest, I thought we’d let Twitter speak. Specifically, Absolute Radio DJ and Everton fan Andy Bush.

Of course, there are numerous posts in regards to the supporters that nobody seems to support but, for me (Clive), this one from Bush seems to sum it up in one hit.

I may not be handing over the remote control next week but perhaps the volume control might get a tweak.

Nick Bruzon.

P.S. And if you would like to read more, please do pick up one of the e-books for Kindle. The BFC Community Sports Trust really is a fantastic cause whilst anybody buying before the end of June goes into the draw to win a limited edition 2017/18 Brentford ‘3rd’ shirt.

(Just please DM me your download confirmation mail so I can add you to the draw).

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A good news, bad news, interesting news kind of day as Bees prepare for Fulham.

3 Nov

Well, yesterday was all over the place. With Brentford looking to follow last Friday’s West London derby win over QPR with a repeat against Fulham there was bad news, good news and interesting news coming out of Griffin Park. That final point, one which will have as much intrigue for Cottagers as Bees with the three most exciting words in the English language : Terrace Talk Extra.

First up; the bad news. We all feared the worst when Lewis Macleod collapsed in a heap at Loftus Road last week. An elongated period of treatment that saw the player eventually stretchered away took the shine off an otherwise wonderful evening.

Despite our most optimistic hopes, the realist amongst the Brentford faithful braced themselves for bad news. Sure enough, it has now been delivered. Not only will Lewis miss the game against Fulham but, indeed, the next nine months as he undergoes what has been described as ‘reconstructive knee surgery’.

It’s terrible news for Lewis. The Brentford family all know his well documented struggle with injury yet, this season, it looked like he’d finally got past all of that. A series of strong performances had seen him as one of the star players in Dean Sith’s team yet now the future must seem a bleak one.

That said, he couldn’t hope for a finer support network around him. Brentford have always shown tremendous long term faith in their injured players whilst several of his own team mates have been there, too.

Andreas Bjelland missed almost the entire of last season following a severe knee injury picked up less than 45 minutes into his debut  – ‘that’ cup match against Oxford United. Likewise, in Scott Hogan we have a man a man who has more than been there before coming back bigger and better after an agonising 18 month wait to return from reconstructive surgery after his own, well documented, knee ligament injury.

Indeed, the infrequent ’tweeter’ broke his usual vow of cyber silence yesterday to post this message :

Any further words at this juncture would seem somewhat trite. The Brentford family will all be behind Lewis, wishing him the very best. Here’s hoping he’s back on the anti-gravity treadmill before we know it.

The other tweet to catch my eye yesterday was from Lasse Vibe – the aforementioned interesting news.

It was nothing more complex than the ‘scissors’ emoji followed by a link to instantgram, “whatever that is”, to quote one of Peter Gilham’s finest on pitch announcements from last season. Well, it seems that in this instance Lasse has had a makeover.

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Lasse Vibe: Hair today. Gone tomorrow

Gone are the flowing locks to be replaced by super smart new look and accompanying glasses. The reaction around cyberspace seems largely a popular one. Top comments to his post included: “footballer to wizard in one cut!”  , “Looks like you should be in University Challenge!” and the somewhat worrying thought “Please don’t become like Torres after his haircut “.

That said, the new image did have me wondering whom Lasse now resembles. The Boy wizard? Bees fan Simon? El Niño himself? Or somebody else?

Personally, I prefer the ‘or somebody else’ option, simply because it allows us to crank out a montage. Clockwise from top right, could it be: Brett Stark from mid-90s Neighbours (kids, ask  your mums), Magne from A-ha (again, kids ask….) , Brad Pitt or our own video editor par excellence , Sean Ridley?

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Who’s got that Vibe?

And talking of Sean Ridley (as seamless a name drop as noted pie fantasist Ian Moose offering birthday wishes to “my good friend….”), Wednesday’s good news saw a bonus: Terrace Talk Extra.

Coming in at close to thirteen minutes of head to head brilliance, it sees  a Fulham fan venturing deep into the heart of enemy territory. Well, The Griffin. There, he has gone one-on-one with one of our own for a light hearted, but very informative, preview of Friday night’s game.

Which Brentford player would Fulham most like to sign? Who is elderly ‘keeper with a generic name, Ted Smith ? How many loving shots of delicious and refreshing Frontier lager could Sean cram in?

You can find the answers to all of these in Terrace Talk Extra: below.

Who comes out on top? Brentford or Fulham?

And finally, an apology for an oversight. Tuesday saw the Last Word rundown of the best ever Brentford moustaches. Yet, it would seem, there has been a major oversight. No Barry Tucker.

Well I’m more than happy to put that right. Better late than never, here’s Barry’s ‘tache…

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Nick Bruzon

ITV on the rise but will Sky scrape the barrel? And what of John Swift?

27 Mar

There was mixed news on the International front last night. Despite many enjoying the 3-2 win for England in Germany, it was the performance of the U-21 team that saw potential bad news for Brentford where Chelsea loanee John Swift limped off less than half an hour into the game with a bloody foot. Elsewhere (and I need to thank the statistical demigod that is Luis Melville for his Twitter tip-off) there was terrifying news from the Daily Mail.

But first, England. What a night – primarily because the alleged  Supporters’ band couldn’t be heard over the TV speakers. Were they even in Berlin? Who cares! The lack of jingoistic parping from their off-key trumpets was music to my ears. If I wanted to hear the theme tune to the Great Escape I’d simply watch TV on any Bank Holiday.

That was my on-field highlight. Yes, of course the goals were wonderfully taken although if you want any form of match report than, as ever, I’d suggest the BBC. The said, the win was hard fought with the ITV commentary team doing their best to jinx it at the death. Eric Dier’s injury time goal was met with declarations of “A winner in Germany” and “a winner on his debut”, despite there still being 90 seconds on the clock.

The other plus point was the performance of Lothar Matthäus  in the punditry position. Channelling the look of Paul Robinson – Neighbours, rather than Birmingham City or Burnley – he was that rare example of an ITV pundit who it was actually a pleasure to listen to. Dead pan humour, common sense and a great reading of the game. Let’s hope they snap him up for the Euros over the summer.

Kit wise, just about everybody has said their piece on this already. England opting for traditional red with burgundy sleeves and blue socks (very much Dagenham & Redbridge 1995, as one Twitter observer noted) whilst Germany elected to wear two tone black/dark green(?) with lighter green sleeves. And don’t forget the white stripes down the side from armpit to hem that looked like a somewhat unsightly deodorant stain.

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As the regular reader will (should one exist still) be aware, I’m all for the unusual and a bit of variety in team kit. These, however, both looked like the product of a “What might go well with jeans?” marketing meeting. And those blue socks should never see the light of day again.

For me Clive, this has surpassed the 1994 effort (oversized flappy collars, all those subliminal badges and a shade heading towards burgundy) as the worst ever England away shirt.

As a final thought on the game, what was with all the adverts for ‘Hooch’ that kept flashing around the pitch? Surely that died out in the 90s with Global Hypercolour t-shirts, VHS cassettes and ‘Eat my shorts’ ? Or are Student Union bars (three of the most terrifying words in the English language, to rank alongside ‘Rail Replacement bus’) about to see a resurgence?

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No longer the worst England away shirt

Next up, John Swift. With Josh McEachran still being reported out injured (and the club saying nothing to deny these stories, unless I’ve missed it) there would have been heart in mouth when he got injured last night. Despite my best searches of the internet – and it is frustrating how often a search for his name is thrown off track by: Taylor Swift, Dear John – the most we know so far is that he has a cut foot judging by the pictures circulating on Twitter.

How bad this is remains to be seen although I am sure we’ll learn more today. Whilst he has, for the most part , divided Brentford supporters during his loan spell from Chelsea, one thing we can all agree on is that another injury is the last thing we need at this pivotal point in the season. We all recall how Chris Long’s nasty gash impacted him at the tail end of the previous campaign and so let’s hope this isn’t a case of déjà vu.

I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t think Swift has had the best start to his career at Griffin Park. An over indulgence on the showboating and tendency to lose the ball has been a frustration yet, at the same time, he clearly has ability as we have seen in patches. The Wolves game in particular highlighted what he can do when we get his ‘A game’. Besides, you don’t get called up for the England U-21’s unless there is something there.

Equally, and as we are reminded time and again, he IS a young player who is still learning his game. These skills and judgement calls will come as his game develops. John has become an easy target in some circles but at a time we need everybody pulling together, let’s hope his substitution was a precautionary one and we have him back, on top form, this Saturday.

Ok. The Daily Mail. Or, rather, Mailsport online have run a disturbing story to suggest Sky will be revamping Friday night football next season to make it, what seems to be, a bit more ‘laddish’. Nuts magazine does football if you will, as guest presenters are suggested to include – brace yourself – the likes of James Corden and Holly Willoughby.

Before anybody mistakes this for any form of misogynistic rant, let’s be 100% clear. I’ve got no issues with women presenting football. Quite the opposite. I think Kelly Cates has been the shining star in the (initially at least) car crash that was Football League Tonight whilst Gabby Logan has been doing her thing, brilliantly, for almost twenty years.

And, of course, who could forget our own Natalie Sawyer who has had her feet under the presenter’s desk for so long that she probably knows more about the beautiful game than most of us put together. (Perhaps Sky should be looking ‘in house’ where, of course, Natalie has also shown her punditry skills on Football League coverage?)

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Natalie at the Sky Sports desk – feet not pictured

My issue is with novelty presenters. Comedians great. Football great. Just please don’t combine the two. Nobody needs another ‘Russell Brand’ guesting on Match of the Day.

Football punditry is three men or women, who know about football, sitting on a sofa and talking about the game. You don’t need to jazz it up anymore. We’ll still watch.

Will anybody, honestly, say: “It’s Chelsea – Leicester City tonight. I was going to give it a miss but Gary Neville is busy with Valencia so Holly Willoughby is presenting. Get the Hooch in and make room on the sofa” ?

Aside from the fact that I’ve got more chance of managing Valencia than Gary Neville next season I can’t believe that situation is going to play out anywhere. Who needs Lothar Matthäus when we could have the host of Surprise Surprise, This Morning and Streetmate (don’t remember that one)? I’ve nothing against Holly per-se but when her sporting pedigree peaks at ‘Celebrity Wrestling’ and ‘Dancing on Ice’, perhaps one to give a miss.

Comedians, alleged or genuine, don’t mix well on football

Nick Bruzon

Will Lewis become Paul Robinson or Mr Udagawa?

10 Oct

With Brentford not playing until next weekend’s home game against Rotherham United, things have been somewhat quiet. There’s been no real news out of the club, beyond the 2-1 development squad win over QPR that featured that happiest of things – an appearance from Glasgow Rangers old boy Lewis Macleod (along with a goal). So the mind has been wandering.

Mr. Udagawa. To TV viewers of a certain age (i.e. late 80’s Neighbours fans) he was THE face of international sophistication. By day – Japanese businessman. By night – staple of the Erinsborough dinner party scene as the Ramsay Street residents did everything possible to promote Lassiter’s Hotel and, to a lesser extent, Helen Daniels’ ‘Home James’ chauffeur service.

Des Clarke got the sack from the Pacific Bank after a hilarious mix up that involved a shambolic attempt to learn Japanese, whilst Paul Robinson engineered a fake marriage to then secretary Gail without even having the good grace to inform her of his plan in advance. These were the lengths people went to in order to try and clinch the highly sought after ‘Udagawa deal’.

(l-r) Clarke, Udagawa, Robinson. Titans of international business

(l-r) Clarke, Udagawa, Robinson. Titans of international business

Mr Udagawa rarely appeared on screen although, when he did, he inspired fear. This was one man not to upset despite everybody giving it their best shot to do. All plots around the character usually involved the carefully laid plans to impress him crashing to the floor in a series of misunderstandings as a seemingly doomed deal would subsequently be saved by nothing simpler than a home cooked meal.

He was, if you will, the Keith Stroud of his generation. Everybody wanted to stay on his good side as failure to do so would mean swift and terrible retribution. So why mention him now?

Quite simply, his name came up on Absolute Radio this week during an interview between breakfast show DJ Christian O’Connell and ‘Don’t it make you feel good‘ singer Stefan Dennis.

Dennis is probably better known for playing Paul Robinson on Neighbours over the majority of the show’s thirty year run. Whilst talking about that aspect of his career, mention of the name Mr Udagawa brought about the acknowledgement of the character being “TV’s most powerful cameo”. And that’s a line that has been playing on my wandering mind.

Stefan Dennis – come for Neighbours; stay for the synth-driven pop

With Lewis Macleod now fit enough to play following the injuries and twig-gate that have blighted his time at Griffin Park since joining ten months ago, Brentford fans have now been given a little teaser. But what next?

How far is he from the first team? Can he live up to the potential that saw then manager Mark Warburton sign the player from Rangers and upset Barry Ferguson to hilarious levels of sour grapes?

Injury meant that Lewis' previous appearance had been with the signing shirt

Injury meant that Lewis’ previous appearance had been with the signing shirt

Most importantly, what will he do for the Bees? So far, much like the legendary Japanese businessman, the vast majority of his career has seen Lewis playing a role that is no more than an off-screen mention. Now, he has the chance to establish himself, Paul Robinson style (although without the philandering), as a mainstay in the team.

Ideally, a mix of both would be the winner. A player who ends up with the same level of respect and fear-engendering aura of Udagawa that causes opponents to fall to pieces around him but, equally, one who now has the longevity of Robinson.

After these recent weeks of uncertainty and upheaval, it’s great to have something positive to aspire towards once more. Lewis has the weight of expectation on his shoulders but, equally, he has nothing to lose.

A goal and an assist in Tuesday’s night’s win at Loftus Road isn’t a bad way to start.

Now don’t that make you feel good?

P.S. : To listen to the full Udagawa inspired interview, aswell as voting for a charity competition winner, you can do so at the Absolute Radio website, here. Truly an enthralling, albeit unusual, conversation…

O'Connell and Dennis provided a surreal, but enthralling, conversation

O’Connell and Dennis provided a surreal, but enthralling, conversation

As believable a transfer rumour as the average plot in Neighbours

26 Jan

With the dust settling on Brentford’s win at Norwich City we can ease into the last full week before Natalie Sawyer and Jim White officially declare the transfer window as slammed shut. And typically, as befits this time of year, a rumour has surfaced although this is one more out of leftfield than usual.

We’ll get there in a moment but, first, if you haven’t seen them,  the goals from Carrow Road went up on the official YouTube channel yesterday. Whilst those of us who were able to travel with their friends to the game or caught The Football League show afterwards would have already seen these, the club version have the advantage of being spliced with Mark Burridge’s Beesplayer commentary.

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again but this is one of my favourite things to come out of Griffin Park, off field, this season. So fair play to the media team and creative gurus behind putting this together so quickly.

 

Ok. Transfer rumour time. As you may have read, The World Game website is reporting that Brentford are in the chase for Swindon Town’s Australian international midfielder Massimo Luongo, who is valued at AUD$4m (just over £2.1m at current rates).

David Magrone, the player’s London-based Australian mentor (presumably that’s Antipodean for ‘agent’) is the only person to make any quote in the article, aside from some of the hilarious comments afterwards, saying,” Brentford is an option for him but it’s important that he takes his time because there is plenty of interest from elsewhere also.”

The piece, which you can read here if you want, also notes that that Luongo, currently starring for the ‘Socceroos’ in the Asian Cup is allegedly attracting interest from Wolves, Sevilla and a host of German clubs.

Luongo is on twitter (although Matthew Benham is not a follower)

Luongo is on twitter (although Matthew Benham is not a follower)

It’s an interesting theory but I think there’s more chance of me starring in Neighbours than this one coming true. Given that Swindon are currently in the box seat for promotion to the Championship, selling a player rated as one of their top assets would seem an unlikely strategy.

Likewise, have you seen the state of our midfield? This is one area where we are bursting at the seams with quality. From the long serving feet of Jonathan Douglas to the untapped potential of young gun Lewis Macleod, the likes of Jota, Alan Judge, Toumani Diagouraga, Stuart Dallas, Sam Saunders, Jon Toral and Alex Pritchard are all in the mix for a starting place. Nine players! And don’t forget, also, that we’ve had to reinvent Moses Odubajo as a right back given the injury to Alan McCormack.

Still, one thing that Brentford have done is build for the future and we do have a habit of picking out some exciting players. However, I’ll dip my toes into the water and suggest that this one is probably a rumour too far.

Of course, I’m just the numpty on the terrace rather than anybody with any meaningful inside knowledge so do treat any transfer suggestions you read here with a huge pinch of salt rather than as being of any meaningful substance.

And, if you’d like to put the question of any new signings directly to the people that do have the answers, then don’t forget the fan’s forum takes place on Thursday night at 6.30pm. Chairman Cliff Crown, Chief Executive Mark Devlin, Sporting Director Frank McParland, Manager Mark Warburton and Assistant Manager David Weir will be taking questions from 6.30pm in the Hive.

See you there.

I've got more chance of appearing in Neighbours

I’ve got more chance of appearing in Neighbours