Tag Archives: now

More chance of getting ‘that’ unicorn tattooed on my butt than this happening.

10 Nov

International ‘break’ is on us. Good news. The players and the lazy bloggers amongst us finally get a rest. Assuming they aren’t picked to represent their country (the players). Brentford updates are a little thin on the ground at present and, whilst we normally take this time to catch breath, the latest ‘loan round up’ had news from the West Ham – FulhamL game. And, perhaps, a missed opportunity? On the International front there may also be some unexpected respite for our own tired legs, with Denmark now subject to travel restrictions. 

First, loan round up. Yes, we’re still going through the motions and reporting on Said Benrahma. Come on official, whilst technically he’s on loan we know its over. Let’s stop this charade. There’s more chance of me getting a tattoo of Marinus and the unicorn on my butt than there is of him coming back to Lionel Road at the end of the season. He’s at West Ham now and so good luck to him. And them. Enjoy.

He’s not coming back, sorry

That said, having gone down the road of including Said in the loan piece (which you can read here in full) then it’s only fair that we all reflect on the circumstances of that one. ‘Official’ noting how Benrahma, “Set up Tomáš Souček for The Hammers’ injury-time opener before then giving away a 97th minute penalty for a foul on Tom Cairney; Ademola Lookman chipping the resulting effort straight into the arms of Łukasz Fabiański”.

Chipping the resulting effort? Talk about underselling it. That’s like saying Donald Trump seems mildly perturbed by the U.S. election result. The FulhamL player is widely acknowledged to have taken one of the worst penalties of all time.

I suppose, to be fair, we should be thankful that Brentford haven’t gone down the ‘Obama meme-wars’ route of a few years back with the Craven Cottage club. Instead, diplomacy was the true champion….this time around.

Putting that all to one side doesn’t mean we can’t opine though. Or, more importantly, watch it again. And again. Just because.

Over on Social Media, Lookman spoke up on the matter. He posted a tweet explaining, “After yesterdays mistake, I take full responsibility and onus for it. To my teammates, manager and the supporters I vow to put the next one in. I will not let one failure hold me back. @FulhamFC.

As Adam Devlin, cutting to the chase as ever, noted on Twitter : ”This is a new one — the apology without apologising apology”.

And I can’t top that. So we’ll move on to Denmark. Fast. With the Danes due to play Iceland this week, and the current 14 day quarantine period on individuals returning now in place, the squad has been updated. Neither Henrik Dalsgaard or Mathias Jensen will now feature on Wednesday. Likewise Mads Bech Sørensen for the U-21s. What this means for the rest of their games remains to be seen but you can read the latest, here.

Obviously it’s a huge shame for the players but in the longer term, could Brentford be the beneficiaries? Let’s look at whatever positives can be taken from this situation – not many, granted. Yet with the injuries and the games coming thick and fast, could this be a rare silver lining in the longer term storm that is the never-ending Covid situation? 

I’ll take what I can get. Football sucks as it is at present. Certainly compared to normal. Losing more players to injury or exhaustion would only be another kick in the butt. Tattoo free, of course.

Nick Bruzon

Move over, Marcus. There’s a new ambassador in town.

24 Oct

Brentford are at Stoke City today. Move along ; nothing retrospective to discuss. We’re 7th in the division and have two wins from two since picking up again after the International break. Ivan Toney is on fire – braces against Coventry City and Sheffield Wednesday have stormed him to the top of the Championship goal scorer charts – and the Bees are buzzing (groan). But off pitch, the talk was all about kit. Primarily, our new third kit. My word, it looks like it’s going to be awesome. And Kitman Bob has something special – if you are quick….

Friday evening saw the return of Marcus Gayle and Stu Wakeford in The Warm Up on Youtube. You can catch it further below. Of course it had all the build up for the Stoke game and the retrospectives on Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday.

We had Marcus paying his previously earned forfeit  – filmed singing ‘Hey Jude’ in front of La Rosetta (It’s a little Italian restaurant. At Brentford, err, high street). Whilst wearing a bumble bee costume. There was also a catch up with Tarique Fosu and some ‘old school’ FIFA action. If action is the right word as the Megadrive classic was dusted down.

But let’s not pretend there wasn’t one real highlight – the sneak peak at our new Umbro third kit.

Oh. Wow. This could be something quite wonderful. The glimpse of the white shirt with red badge and sponsor put one immediately in mind of the St. George sponsored 2005-06 away effort. And that is a thing of beauty.

Yet what really had fans salivating was the sleeve trim – a nostalgic throw back to our first ever kit from 1889-90 in salmon, claret and blue. The briefest of snatches has yours truly already hanging on next week’s formal reveal. What a nod to our inception down at the Brentford Rowing Club as the original club colours have resurfaced.

Could there be a sash? Long sleeves? Further surprises? Come on already. Reaction to what we’ve seen so far seemed universally popular. Kitman Bob has done it again.

And then some…. Did you catch this tweet last night? 

Not one but two of a super limited edition version of last season’s blue and gold special is up for grabs. And there’s no more complex a way of winning it than by liking the tweet. Incredible stuff.

Marcus may be the ambassador but with this and the new launch, it’s Bob who is really spoiling us.

Oh, Bob. With these kits you are really spoiling us..

What else is there to say today? Not much, really. Stoke City await and, personally, I’m going in to this one confident. As ever. But, hey ! Vitaly Janelt has taken to the Brentford team like a duck to water. Along with Mads Bech he really shone at Sheffield, Wednesday. What a shame, in the nicest sense, that it was Ivan who took the headlines. 

This will be a tough test, no doubt. Whilst the table is still in nascent form, Stoke are just one point behind us. They’ll be as full of optimism as we are and determined to consolidate their own position. To take another step forward in what is already looking like it could be one of the most open Championship seasons on record.

The match is, as ever, on I-Follow. £10 gets you access – for those of you not watching it at Lionel Road in the sold out club lounge event. Enjoy ! For yours truly, it’s family time and perhaps a beer. Or two. Whichever way you watch, enjoy. The only way is up. What price on Ivan Toney doing it again?

And until then, why not warm up with The Wa…

Nick Bruzon  

We’re talking about the master. Not some untried apprentice.

11 Oct

The combination of minimal domestic football due to international break and the partially closed transfer window are a potent brew for those in need of internet hits. Nowhere is this seen more than in the Benrahma from Brentford to West Ham stories doing the rounds. We should be talking about Gibraltar and their cracking win in Liechtenstein (a 100% record in UEFA Nations League group D2 so far). Instead, we’re feeling dirty for nibbling at the clickbait of another non-story. Sky sports Lyall, we’re looking at you. There’s nothing new been added to the ongoing rumours. No fact. Just another line as part of a generic summary about things that may / could / might happen.

Benrahma is still a Bee

Said Benrahma will, of course, leave Brentford at some point. That’s how football works. With The Bees, especially so. It may even be in the next week. But as has been made apparent time and again we have no need or particular desire to sell. Unless, of course, the right offer is made. The club have proven our players can do it at the very highest level (Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa the obvious latest example) and we’re just not going to give away our crown jewels any more. West Ham are going to need a much bigger cheque if they’re even vaguely serious about this one.

Which, traditionally, they’re not. At least in offering the asking price. Long is the history of them being talked up about serious offers for players that never materialise. They are the club linked to more rumours than Donald Trump. More fake news than err, well you get the gist.  How much they generate to keep their fans quiet under the belief that things are ‘happening’ (oh, what a shame it didn’t work out but we tried) and how much is purely down to ‘journalists’ selecting them as ‘transfer rumour club of choice’ I have no idea. But it’s all nonsense. Always is. Better source needed. Like selecting ketchup over HP, it’s just wrong.

My own source suggests there’s no hope of us giving in to a cut price deal. At face value, our finances look healthy. We’ve seen that incredible take up of fans in letting the club roll their season tickets over to next season. Over 90% opting to freeze their season tickets rather than take any form of interim / full-time refund. That’s one outpouring of cash we don’t need to worry about for now whilst Ollie’s £33m is more than helping balance the books. Thanks very much, Dean .

If Benrahma is to go to the Olympic stadium it’s going to need a bid that, at the least, matches the money needed to release Ollie to Aston Villa. Cut the crap and cut to the chase if you are even half-way serious. Good luck with that everyone. Frankly, he’s more chance of turning out in their claret and blue than that of the Hammers based on the current situation. 

It may change, of course. Sometimes these things can happen. Perhaps the offer will have an extra ten million added to it. But I’m not holding my breath. Not overly worried, either way. If he goes then he goes. It all only be on terms that makes us very happy and very well off. If Said stays then he’s another part of a squad that has already seen David Raya and England U-21 goal-scorer Josh Dasilva extend contracts in the last week or so.

If that seems a bit blasé then it goes without saying that my preference would be for Said to continue his journey with Brentford. I’m not a complete idiot. We all know what he can do on his day. We know there are few, if any, with the ability to control a ball or pul of tricks the way he can do. To beat his man with one foot tied behind his back (metaphorically speaking) and pull of goals of the highest quality. Make no mistake, Benrahma is a rare talent. Any squad is stronger with him in it and I’d love that to be ours.

But whenever he eventually leaves we’ll be quids in and with the confidence that our directors of football seem to know what they are doing . Are two steps ahead of the rest and have got ‘the model’ working just right now. Those early days of Marinus and Proschwitz nothing more than a blip.

Very much the magician

Right, Gibraltar.  The boys from the Victoria Stadium proved they can do also it on the road. They travelled to Liechtenstein last night and made it two wins out of two in their Nation’s League qualifying group, topping the table at the half way point. Tjay De Barr the man to make his mark in the record books, ten minutes in to a game which featured a masterclass in ‘rock’ solid defence towards the end. Hats off, Kyle Goldwin. Amongst others.

The game was as notable for another win as it was the latest appearance for the new Gibraltar kit. Gone is the traditional ‘coat of arms’ badge and, instead, the new crest and stylised stripes to represent ‘The Rock’ (consistent across home, away and ‘third’ kit) were all present.

Whilst the red/white home shirt does have feel of the GFA being sponsored by Citroen, the change variants are beautiful. Forget the marketing buzzwords (oh please, can we forget marketing buzzwords) and uplifting music that accompany launch videos. Instead, let’s just marvel in this and the black / gold third choice worn recently against Malta – itself my favourite of the three. Is it too soon to start a Christmas list?

Third choice is best

And talking of kit, there’s something very special up on eBay at present for Brentford fans. The famous non-branded Hummel shirt worn in the interim period between the Danish giants parting ways and Core taking over in the mid 90s. I understand that monies raised are all going to support a local football club and, whilst looking like it is out of yours truly’s price bracket (oh, that Griffin Park auction is still hurting), these things don’t come around too often.

Yet we can only end where we started, with Said Benrahma. For what it’s worth, I think we’ll absolutely cash in at some point. I just can’t see it being on the cheap to West Ham this week. We’re talking about the master, not the apprentice. Karren Brady and the board are really going to have to spend big if this is one investment they want to make.

There’ll need to be some big talking in the boardroom

Nick Bruzon

Another excellent bit of business for the future.

7 Oct

The transfer window has shut. Kind of. Whilst it has now closed for international registration, there’s still an additional two week extension agreed between the EFL and Premier league. Meaning 5pm next Friday, 16 October, is when Brentford fans hoping Said Benrahma will stay can relax. That hasn’t stopped us moving though, with very welcome news coming out of Lionel Road yesterday. In the Championship, Nottingham Forest L have moved quickly to arrest their current run of anti-form by replacing Abril Lamouchi with former Bee Chris Hughton. This does not bode well for the rest of the division. And there’s been a twist in the tail in regards to yesterday’s piece about Arsenal terminating their mascot, Gunnersaurus. None other than Mesut Ozil has stepped in to the breach whilst very much painting his club into a corner.

First up, as ever, Brentford. Josh Dasilva has signed a contract extension that ties him to the club until 2024. Like David Raya last week, he has committed to another four years and this is just wonderful news. The midfielder has been in magnificent form this season (like Sergi Canos, one of our outstanding players so far) but, to be fair, this is something that has been growing and growing since he turned down the offer of a contract with Arsenal in August 2018 and headed West.

Throwback to Josh joining

We all know what Josh can do, of course. Those goals from the edge of the box have fast become a trademark and are much more the norm than an ad-hoc nicety. Thomas Frank summed things up succinctly when talking to ‘official’ yesterday, noting: “His running and his pressing are getting better and better and he is taking responsibility defensively. He is magnificent on the ball; he can dictate a game and he scores goals. I expect there is even more to come from him”. 

Well put. Josh really is another of those who could go all the way. He made his England Under-21 debut against Austria last month and, I am sure, will go on to make more. He’s in the squad for tonight’s game in Andorra and the fixture with Turkey next week. On current form, I’d expect him to make the bench at the very least this evening. Yet another tick in the box for our ongoing ability to attract the very best under-the-radar young talent. A demonstration that taking the time to invest in individuals continues to reap rewards. Congratulations Josh. Looking forward to seeing you continue in action for Brentford. And England.

Great news for the Bees

Next up, Benrahma. The saga that never ends. The transfer window is closed but it isn’t. Players can still leave the EFL for the top flight although who will have the cash to spend, I wonder? If anyone. Brentford have made no secret of playing hard ball over our most coveted stars. Ollie Watkins cost Aston Villa £33m whilst look at the whole Raya / Arsenal story – we had no desire or need to sell. The price had to be very right. And it wasn’t. 

Wilfried Zaha is still at Crystal Palace so does that mean their alleged interest in Said is over?   Who knows. I’m not even sure I follow this convoluted system of staggered windows which are closed but still open depending on where you play. All I can say is that this is sure to remain a tense few weeks – for the top flight. I can’t see Said going anywhere. Not now. With Julian Jeanvier amongst those already out on loan, the squad was further trimmed yesterday with news that Jan Zamburek (Shrewsbury) and Halil Dervisoglu (FC Twente) have also left Brentford in the short term. 

It goes without saying I’d love him to stay. Sergi has filled his boots in some, albeit different, style although there’s nobody on earth who can do what the Algerian can. The Spaniard has certainly given it his all whilst that ball through to Bryan Mbeumo for our opener against Preston on Sunday (yes, we were actually winning at one point) was as much Seve Ballesteros as it was Sergi Canos . Absolute perfection. Yet Said is a unique talent and when he does stay, I can’t wait to see how Thomas will fit them both into his starting XI. Good luck with that ! In the nicest sense.

Next up, Nottingham Forest. How deep are their pockets? How can they afford it all? Having splashed the cash over the summer, their start has been somewhat less than electric. Asbri Lamouchi paid the price yesterday but was replaced within what felt like minutes by none other than our friend Chris Hughton. It was a brutal hit. Efficient. Ruthless. Clean. Lamouchi’s chair still warm and spinning as the ex-Brentford man sat down to sign his new up for his stint at the City Ground.

Cripes. It’s a good appointment. Very good. Chris has more than earned his stripes in the Championship and the Premier League in the past I’d really thought we might have seen him in the Griffin Park hotseat. Certainly, it would have been an appointment welcomed although we’ve gone a different route these days. And I’m glad we have, having long been an admirer of Thomas Frank’s style and approach. However, Forest fans should be ecstatic about this one. If nothing else, surely they’ll get a more exciting style of football and a man who knows how to get out of the division. 

Hopefully, for him, upwards rather than outwards. Forest certainly have a Leeds United / Real Madrid approach to managerial appointments. Prior to this news, including caretakers and short term appointments there have been 20 previous incumbents since since Billy Davies’ (first spell) came to an end in June 2011.  Good luck, Chris.. On and doff pitch. Although not too good! 

And finally, Arsenal. Not David Raya but the story yesterday of how, as part of a cost cutting exercise, the club had dismissed the man behind mascot Gunnersaurus after 23 years. Shameful stuff. This, despite their then splashing  of £45million on Thomas Partey and then, even worse, using a… signing hashtag. Urgh, set phasers for cringe and prepare for #NoThomasNoPartey

Yet who should ride to the rescue than club star Mesut Ozil? He took to social media where he declared, in what is royally the single trending topic of yesterday: I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being made redundant after 27 years. As such, I’m offering to reimburse @Arsenal with the full salary of our big green guy as long as I will be an Arsenal player…   

No pressure there then, Gunners. Having made this quite astounding decision in the first place, they were always going to be subject to a significant level of  public outcry. Like Kingsley at Partick Thistle, Gunnersaurus has an almost universal appeal in the football world. That rare example of being able to transcend club boundaries without the need for a (shudders) half and half scarf. Now the club are being put in a position where they have to make an embarrassing backtrack or put a small entry on the balance sheet ahead of this fan favourite.

Who doesn’t love seeing a PR shambles with a happy ending? It’s a fairly safe bet Jerry will be back in the suit soon.

Nick Bruzon

Mmm. Booom. Oh, what a win.

20 Sep

And with that Brentford have the first points on the board, the first league win at Lionel Road and remain unbeaten at our new home. Huddersfield Town the latest to be put to the sword. In a week that saw us win 2-0 at Southampton in the energy drink League Cup, the Bees followed it up with a 3-0 Championship defeat of the Terriers. With David Raya now recovered, although missing out to Luke Daniels, it was a victory that was left late although on the balance of chances created one that always felt as though it was coming. The first half in particular saw Ivan Toney come very close on a number of occasions. Whilst the goal didn’t come this time, the link up play and positional awareness is already sparking hope that when it does, the floodgates will open.

‘Official’ shared this one at full time on Twitter

Brentford looked comfortable throughout. The odd moment of danger aside, Huddersfield weren’t at the races. We should have gone in ahead although were happy to stay level in terms of playing staff. Christian Nørgaard very much sitting in the last chance saloon after a yellow and a very stern talking to for a subsequent challenge.

The goals were brilliant. All three of them. Thomas Frank would talk about his BMW losing two wheels but he has replaced it with a sheet of MDF. Mbeumo, Dasilva and Forss providing the building blocks on which the points were earned. 

JoshDasilva, got the first, just inside the hour. A shot from the edge of the box (does he do anything else) beating Ben Hamer after great work from Uncle Justins’ favourite player, Rico Henry, down the left. The man of the match had a quite wonderful afternoon (Josh, not Justin) and he set the Bees on their way.

The second and third were left late. Marcus Forss finishing off a great move involving Mbeumo, Batpiste and Nørgaard  at various points to double the lead with a cool finish. Or should that be cool Finnish? It was due reward for the man who set League One alight on loan at AFC Wimbledon last season as well as having already impressed in the red and white. What another great option to have available for Thomas Frank and what a way to keep Ivan on his toes.

The icing on the cake was Mbeumo doing what he does best . Curling one in to the top corner from distance. ‘Official’ have it down as 16 yards. It felt more. It looked amazing. It rounded off a wonderful afternoon. Brentford back to wining ways and moving up the nascent table. We could have beaten Birmingham. With had the opportunities created gone in. This time around, there was no mistake. The Bees never really under pressure. 

Indeed, the biggest danger was probably more to the laptop screen than the Brentford  defence. Specifically, in attempting to run the gauntlet of the log in process for i-follow. A task made infinitely harder by the fact that despite being given vouchers to watch the game, they could only be redeemed by also adding your credit card detail and then paying £0.00. Twenty minutes to work that out. Twenty. Blinkin’ . Minutes. It’s obvious, when you think about it. Credit card details are required to redeem a free token. Why didn’t it say it anywhere!!! Seems I wasn’t alone, either, although the issue eventually resolved through whatsapp and Twitter trouble showing. 

The other thing really starting to irk was the “Isn’t Lionel Road amazing” brigade on social media. Yes. We know. It looks fantastic. We have eyes. The constant reminders and photos from everyone lucky enough to be there – whether in an official or journalistic capacity (and there are some spurious feeling ones) are now at the point of being OTT, unnecessary and unwelcome. Reign it in a bit, please. Everyone. 

The fans are desperate to get in. We all know why we can’t. We’re all being tremendously accepting of the bigger picture situation. We gave up our money last season. We’ll likely do the same this time around. There’s no need to continue what comes across as, being honest, gloating. I’m sure its not deliberate  – and listening to Cliff Crown with Mark Burridge at half time we know the club want the fans back  – but the constant photos and reminders only serve to heighten the fact that we are all missing out.

That said, the interview with our Chairman did produce an unintentional (I hope) gem from our commentator par-excellence. His observation that, ”Having to sanitise the mic after Cliff Crown has touched it” something that at any other time would probably have earned hi his marching orders.

Nobody means anything malicious, I am sure. I’d love to be back watching live football. I’m not. I want to be there with my fellow supporters. Perhaps I’m being over sensitive but, equally, perhaps a bit of added awareness wouldn’t go amiss either. Fair play to Marcus Bean, filling the pundit roles on I-follow, for acknowledging this golden ticket he’d won and stating it so eloquently.    

All that will come, I am sure. For now let’s enjoy the team we have and the result. West Bromwich Albion await in the third round of the league cup on Tuesday night and then we’ve got the trip to Millwall. Or, rather, our press corps do. Enjoy that one. Be just our luck we get the win with no fans there. I’d take that !!! 

We’ll be missing the traditional Millwall welcome next week

Nick Bruzon

New kit revealed as Tom wins the auction star prize.

29 Aug

And suddenly pre-season feels like it is upon us. Having already beaten Wayne Rooney’s Derby County (missed that one, oops) Brentford travel to the London Stadium this afternoon to take on West Ham United. The big questions there not being so much will we be in our new kit after it was finally released last night but more who will feature? This, after the reports linking all manner of clubs from Aston Villa to AC Milan with the likes of Ollie Watkins, Rico Henry and Said Benrahma show no signs of abating.

Yet, so far, the only transfer news of any real note has been incoming. Centre back Charlie Goode ( I can’t even begin to imagine what song will be sung for him) joining from Northampton Town. Their player of the year earning the Cobblers a club record fee when he moved to Lionel Road last month. With Pontus Jansson, Julian Jeanvier and Ethan Pinnock already on the books, before you even get to the B-team, does the mean the out door may be swinging soon? Moreso with talk of Ivan Toney refusing to go away although, so far, nothing concrete?

Large

He can move any mountain

Today’s game is unlikely to give that many clues even though we play Championship rivals Wycombe Wanderers in the league cup in just eight days time. The first competitive fixture to take place at Lionel Road after Griffin Park finally closed the gates yesterday. That final farewell tours coinciding with the conclusion of the ‘everything must go’ two day auction. Will Thomas Frank use this for experimentation or are we going to get significant clues as to what happens next? To see who his preferred line up will be? These games traditionally see huge swathes of substitutions and so I wouldn’t be reading too much into his team either way. Regardless of who starts or misses out.

Instead, with live stream from West Ham available via the Bees’ club site just prior to kick off, it’s more a chance to put your feet up and enjoy crowd free football once more. To get stressed because there’s no sign of Benrahma. To put 2 + 2 together when Ollie goes off / doesn’t come on – although hopefully come up with 5. With a fortnight until the league games start (Birmingham City away) I’m sure our Directors of football have it all in hand. Whatever that plan may be. 

The one thing we can be sure of is that whomever makes up the squad for the forthcoming season, we now know what they’ll be wearing. A day which began with yours truly marvelling over the new West Ham third kit – credit where due – ended with the same reaction towards our new away shirt. You’ve all seen the pictures by now, I am sure, after Brentford official dropped it onto Twitter with minimal fanfare in the early evening. The days of Mark Devlins’s six day strip tease in the build up nothing more than a distant memory. 

Screenshot 2020-08-29 at 07.23.06

A full house were present for the new kit launch

A dark grey affair with a mottled body and that glorious red trim. Simple but oh-so effective. I love it. The home version is much more of a traditional effort, featuring the return of stripes on the back and a lot of red on the arms and shoulders. Safe and steady although growing on me rapidly after having the early thunder stolen by the change kit.

Great job Umbro. Great work from Kitman Bob. Well worth the wait. The queue for the online shop when they went live suggesting he and the team have struck gold again. 

When I did get on, the loyalty points seem to have disappeared. Surely not? Or is it just user error ( the likely answer) and they have been moved to another part of the site? Certainly, the TAPs are still there on the ticketing side of things. Go figure. Although if somebody could help this technophobe find where they are, that would be appreciated.  

The other news yesterday was the end of the auction. With several items being understandably pulled for historical reasons there was still plenty of interest for those with deep pockets (i.e. the turnstiles) aswell as all manner of other things available. Everything from prints and pictures to signs, boards, laminated menus and trophies was up for sale. If it could be unscrewed from Griffin Park, you could buy it. Not to mention more than enough kits from days gone by. Any loitering on the site from yours truly was purely for research purposes, although one or two gaps may have been plugged.

I have to be honest, this didn’t sit overly well with me at first. Some of the items seemed to be way too close to the historical bone to be up for sale and it’s great that things such as gifts form other clubs and stadium designs were withdrawn. Likewise things such as the certificate of thanks for the poppy donation remained. Would it have been that hard to discreetly file it had we not wanted something of this nature? 

Yet, equally, much of this would only have ended up in a skip and so the fans have been given a chance to take a bit of Griffin Park with them. It’s a delicate balancing act but some of the prices being paid show how much it meant for the chance to own a part of club history. Besides, it would be hypocritical to get overly hissy given the opportunity afforded to, and taken by, this kit nerd.

With any luck, many of the items that didn’t make it on to the site or which were later withdrawn may now get the chance to go on display. Somewhere. I’d love to take a look around a Brentford museum if one were ever to be created in or around Lionel Road. Perhaps exiting via a club shop… 😉  There’s a whole wealth of Brentford history and seeing so much of it, for the first time in places, was exciting stuff.

Yet whatever your thoughts, it brought us this moment. If for no other reason a reason to be thankful that the club chose to go down the auction route. Here’s hoping Tom wears his new ‘kit’ when we’re allowed in to Lionel Road.

 

Inevitable? Waking up the morning after.

5 Aug

Sometimes I think that being a Brentford fan should have been outlawed by the Geneva convention. Or, at least, being a Brentford fan in the play-offs. Never have we got closer to the top flight than this season. Never has it felt further away than it does this morning after waking up off the back of a 2-1 extra time defeat at Wembley. A torture and pain the likes of which, right now, feels like it has actually gone as far as outdoing Huddersfield ’94-’95. Our magnificent team on the verge of greatness yet now everyone fearing they are on the verge of being broken up. The vultures will be gathering. Chelsea looking at Benrahama has been the rumour for the last few months. Raya to Arsenal. Watkins to who knows where. Will it happen?  

play off 3

Pliers. Rack. Hot poker. The play-offs

I love this club. Love this team. Would do anything for it. Always try to exude positivity. But my word, it’s hurting today. One can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for the players and the staff. For Matthew Benham. For Peter Gilham. Twitter is being given a wide berth for fear of biting at our opponents. Very brave of them, once they’ve won (although, personally I’d be focussing on celebrating the moment. Go figure). Thankfully, there’s no work to go to today as the well-meaning platitudes and sympathy won’t help. Anything but. 

Nine bites at the play-off cherry. Nine defeats. I’ve been through them all and I think this is definitely the worst. Huddersfield and Stoke City narrowly just behind. The only glimmer of hope I can take this morning is that we kick on in a style akin to the Yeovil loss. You know, the season of ‘that’ penalty. The mid season break is short and whilst the window IS open, we’ll be back in league action in little more than a month. At least there isn’t a long summer to dwell on this.

Going out to Yeovil after coming so close in the regular campaign was sickening. The following months even longer. Yet the next season was just incredible. Celebrating like we’d won the FA Cup as we went up alongside Wolves. Look where they are now. The return of Marcello Trotta. The excitement of beating Preston to finally make it. Could we have the same reaction now? Could we kick on once more? Might the team stay together or are departures inevitable? Might Chelsea now get their man? Too soon to know. Too torturous to stress about. I’ve got a small boy who was dealt a double blow yesterday and there’s going to need to be a lot of shoddy parenting to try and put the smile back on his face today. Let alone mine.

The flip side is that we implode in a post-Stoke style. The team broken up before it was even back on the coach outside the Millennium stadium. The way the club is run these days gives hope that won’t happen. Or, at the very least, there are replacements stepping in and stepping up.  Oh, for a crystal ball to see what will happen. To have some way of easing the empty feeling in the pit of the stomach.  At least we will start the campaign on a sound financial footing, unlike some of our divisional rivals. Just look at Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan. Could others follow?

Regardless, this is just all too soon and all too raw. Match reports? You’ve seen it. Harrison Reed and Aleksander Mitrovic both lucky to avoid game changing red cards for blatant thuggery. Where was Keith Stroud when you needed him. Oh, the irony. A late goal giving a miniscule feeling of hope before the moment was gone once more. But we were second best on the night and, much as it hurts to admit that too, one can’t deny what played out. Outmuscled by a team that knew our tactics. Beaten by a freak free-kick. Sadly.

I’m all over the shop today. A broken man. I want to be magnanimous but it’s not possible. Well meaning tweets about playing well and going again aren’t helping any. I’ve no complaints about our team and the tremendous effort they have put in over a 13 month season. They are heroes to a man and have brought nothing but smiles, excitement and hope over a dark time. Yet right now, that all feels a million miles away. It will return, of course. I just hope it is sooner than later.

Trying to focus on the good times right now

Nick Bruzon 

Come on Brentford. Come on Sergi. The time is now !

4 Aug

Here we go. Tuesday is upon us. The biggest game in our history is a phrase that has been used many, many times before but with Brentford facing Fulham for a place in next season’s Premier League, perhaps it could actually be true this time. At least, if not in our history then certainly in living memory. The chance of returning to the top flight for the first time since that brief, war interrupted, spell from 1935-47 is one game away. Our most exciting team in recent times has the possibility to emulate what could be argued our greatest ever. 

Cripes. This is exciting. Ridiculously so. We all know about Brentford’s past form in the play-offs. An albatross around the neck that has now been removed. A beast of burden that has flown away with the move to Lionel Road. The Griffin Park gypsy curse has now been lifted. That’s not to say that victory is assured, of course, but at least we can start from fresh. Elephants in the room can be talked about and monkeys have jumped from our backs. The five semi-final and the three deciding game defeats nothing more than a historical footnote. We’ve tripped up as many times as there have been Fast And Furious movies (not counting 2019 spin-off: Hobbs And Shaw). Now, all jinxes have been reset. New ground, new Brentford.

Lionel Road 15 Sep 2018

Lionel Road – the early years

Being quite honest, I AM confident. Not arrogantly so. We’re going to have to be on our best to win this. Just because we’ve beaten Fulham twice this season don’t mean a third time around is assured. But why not be positive? Why not believe in your team? That doesn’t make me a bad man. I’m going into this one on the up. Dreaming of what might be at the end of it. Celebrations. Excitement. Optimism. Just reward for what has been a season of some incredible football after a wobbly start. Seeing that incredible run-in, as Leeds Untied and West Brom were slowly reeled in, come to final fruition as we look to join them in the Premier League.

I’ve been to every play-off that Brentford have taken part in to date. Kevin Godfrey’s late equaliser against Tranmere. Kevin O’Connor scoring that first leg-penalty against Swindon. Trouncing Bristol City. There have been some highs. Not many, but some. Yet never quite getting over the line. No moment will surpass the semi-final defeat to Huddersfield Town on penalties. Quite possibly my lowest moment ever as a Bees’ fan – worse even than ‘that’ penalty.

Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 07.10.51

94-95. The all time kick in the nuts

These are mentioned for context aswell as positivity about the feelings that a win will engender. Nobody in this squad has survived even from the Middlesbrough semi at the start of Championship life, let alone further back. They are only looking forward. When it comes to tonight’s game, past results are nothing more than a historical curio known and experienced by those of us in our mid-thirties (and beyond).

The moment is approaching. I can’t wait for it all to start. The team will be in the special blue shirts (good news) and you can bet our flair players will love using the wide open spaces of Wembley to cause havoc down the flanks. And through the middle. Fulham have injury doubts over Mitrovic and Kabano but, at the end of the day (Clive) , it doesn’t matter who they start. This is purely down to us and how we play. Results over the season have proven that there isn’t a top six team that can stop us when we are on fire. Play like we’ve been doing and the momentum will be with us. The destruction of Swansea City last week showed that.

Screenshot 2020-02-01 at 14.05.55

Brentford are back in blue and white

Easy. On paper. In practice, who knows. At 7.45 we find out. We’d all love to be there. Are desperate to be there. SkyBet released the below film last night.

Yours truly was fortunate enough to be invited to take part and, being honest, it was quite emotional. A huge privilege being allowed back through the gates of Griffin Park to help out.

 

H came with me and is now buzzing under the belief that he is the last fan ever to step foot on the hallowed turf. Is he? Who knows? Personally, I’m taking inspiration from his shirt. The boy has a gift for calling games and he’s nothing but full of positive premonitions about tonight. Oh, if Sergi was to score the winner late on I think the roof would come off with the noise.

IMG_8336 2

Is this the ultimate good omen?

That’s all a long way off. I am confident, as noted, but it is with good reason. Confident because I know what our players can do. Confident because I know how driven Pontus Jansson is.  Confident because Thomas Frank has motivational powers unequalled by any previous Brentford manager (perhaps Martin Allen aside). Confident because if all else fails, we’ve still got ‘that’ whiteboard. 

Yet, at the same time, there are nerves at the moment. Perhaps as much due to the anticipation. To knowing how slowly the clock is going to be moving today as it inches towards kick-off time. Hoping we come out of the traps flying.

We took a family trip up to London yesterday. It was like a ghost town but still great fun. We came back via the river service from Westminster to Kew Gardens (always a great trip and about as Corona safe an outdoor activity as you can undertake). The boat went past both grounds  – Craven Cottage and Lionel Road – within the space of a few Peronis. We’re that close to each other. Near neighbours doing battle for the ultimate prize. 

Is it being knocked down, daddy?” asked H, looking at the cranes and bulldozers that lined our opponents three-sided ground. Let’s hope Fulham do, indeed, collapse tonight.

No pressure….

IMG_8452

H embracing his inner Bee at Kew

Nick Bruzon    

Very much behind The Times. ‘He’ doesn’t support us, does he?

3 Aug

Almost there. Monday morning. Brentford v Fulham in the Championship play-off final is little more than a day away. Tomorrow night we walk out at Wembley to see if the most incredible season on record, one which has seen us play the last ever game at Griffin Park alongside the campaign interrupting global pandemic, has the happiest of endings. Yet with the game almost upon us, the age old question as to celebrity fans has reared an ugly head once more. Specifically, the allegation that Phill Collins supports The Bees.

This, the suggestion doing the rounds on Twitter yesterday after the GPG shared  the below.  Utter gumph. Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 07.35.33

Indeed, it was territory covered in the matchday programme for the final Brentford game played out in front of fans – the 5-0 trashing of Sheffield Wednesday back in early March (how long ago does that feel now?).

It appeared in response to the same allegation being made by Cardiff City in their publication the previous game.

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 07.34.04

We all know who our celebrity fans are. Adam Devlin, guitarist for popular music’s The Bluetones. Natalie Sawyer. Richard Archer from Hard-Fi / newly formed pop combo ‘Offworld’ (do check them on Spotify et al). Rhino from the Quo. Likewise comedian Nathan Caton, Rick Wakeman and  Dean Gaffney (Wellard from Eastenders). Amongst others. 

Sadly, Cameron Diaz is not amongst their number. Or, certainly, wasn’t unless she has since paid a clandestine visit. A popular urban legend finally debunked with those fatal words a few years back after a tip off from, errr… The full story on that one is here.

Yet like the ever popular Charlies’ Angels star, the Phil Collins story is one that pops it’s head above the parapets every now and again. A story based on nothing more than his youthful visits to Griffin Park. A story that has been clarified by the singer himself. Apparently. 

First glance at his autobiography – where the locally born slush-merchant notes that as the closest big club to Hounslow he used to attend our matches – suggest this may have been true,

Yet scratch below the surface and a different story emerges. In an interview, the Groovy kind of love singer has been quoted as saying that he “used to support Brentford when I was a small boy as I lived not far away. I moved closer to London and lived close to Queens Park Rangers, and had a season ticket for a few years during the great Stan Bowles, Phil Parkes years. I have to say though that I always had a soft spot for the Spurs team of the 60’s with Greaves (a real hero of mine) and Mackay etc….(I could name the whole team but I won’t !!! ) However I lived in West London and Spurs over in North London was too far to go as a lad.

More recently (70’s!!) I’ve kept a close eye on Liverpool and befriended Kenny Dalglish, David Johnson and Ray Clemence. In fact one year they one the championship, we played in Liverpool the same day as the deciding game, and we all got together after the show and had a few drinks. So as you see I’ve spread my affection around a bit !!!

As the aforementioned Bluetone would opine on Twitter following the Cardiff City publication, “So basically he supports any team that accommodates his current geographical location and touring schedule. There’s a proper fan.

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 07.35.43

“I support Brentford you say? ” But seriously,  no fan would wear this..

Instead, Phil would seem to have more clubs than Nick Faldo and the loyalty of a half and half wearing snake.

As for Fulham, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out of the woodwork tomorrow night. Their own list is hardly a galaxy of stars. Lily Allen. The pointless chap. Hugh Grant. Brian Guest. 

David Mellor used to support them in the 70s (to the extent of even writing programme notes) before committing the lowest of low acts, that of a grown up cheating on their own team, and transforming into a Chelsea supporter. Nobody deserves that – not even Fulham. Well, almost nobody deserves that.

image-png

Brian Guest – Fulham note him as a fan despite the pain inflicted by the Bees

Nick Bruzon

FA Cup ‘highlights’ build anticipation for Tuesday.

2 Aug

Two more wake ups to go. The battle for the final place in next season’s Premier League is almost upon us. Who will join Frank Lampard’s Chelsea for next season’s West London derby? Brentford or Fulham? Who will stay behind in the Championship to slug it out with the Loftus Road club? Wembley awaits but before that it has played host to yesterday’s FA Cup final between The Blues and Arsenal. 

For the neutrals amongst us, it really was a cracking match despite being played out in front of a near-empty Wembley. Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners in a game that it wouldn’t have been a surprise to hear Keith Stroud had been refereeing. Some of the decisions made were, err, ‘questionable’. Specifically, the second half sending off of Mateo Kovacic when he earned a second yellow for what could be describe as, at worst, a harmless challenge. 

Stroud

A Keith for all seasons

A bitter pill to swallow and, unlike Rico Henry’s red last week, there is no room for any further recourse. At least Brentford had the opportunity to appeal and bring back our man for that blockbuster destruction of Swansea. Instead, this game is now consigned to the record books. Arsenal lift the cup and have now earned the right to be kicked out in the last 16 of the Europa league. Chelsea are left to count the horrific injury cost suffered in this one. More dodgy hamstrings than the deli counter in Morrisons and what looked like a dislocated shoulder for Pedro.

There was a howl of frustration from Mrs. Bruzon when he came on to the pitch, let alone went off. “Urghh – Pedro”. Nothing to do with the player himself but a terrifying flashback to the relentless days and days and day spent watching Peppa Pig when H was much younger.

All I can think of now is blinkin’ Pedro Pony and his whinny voice.” Brentford not feasting at football’s top table had meant, of course, that these are streams yet to be crossed. Until this unfortunate coming together. And with that, the Cup final was ruined.  

Pedro

Pedro Pony

The other big talking point to come out of yesterday’s game was just what font had been used on the back of the Arsenal kit? Bavarian beer house? Medieval? Samurai? Had the designers at Adidas been on the pop when going through the MS Office gallery? 

Sadly, the answer would now seem to be a much more mundane one. Nothing more nostalgic than it being based on the classic crest that adorned their shirt from 1949-2002 before being replaced by the current Clipart. Typeface aficionados can look forward to seeing this in forthcoming Cup and European games.  

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 07.36.54

The ‘cup’ font – expect it to be retired by March

As ever, there was controversy. Not so much the sending off but the BBC losing the plot when the added time was announced at the end of the second half. The signal of ‘7’ on the board should have seen a regulation use of brackets. 

Yet rather than go with: “7 (seven) minutes added on” , the live updates on the BBC website went for a quite bizarre mismatch. Whomever was driving obviously had vague notion of 7 = brackets but that was about as far as their basic knowledge of football folklore went.

It was almost as though the videprinter was being operated by Officer Crabtree from ‘Allo ‘Allo. Good moaning. I was just pissing by your door etc etc etc.

How else to account for this mangled grammatical effort?

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 07.40.19

And with that, it was all over. I won’t deny a small increase in stress levels when the board went up. And not just because of the BBC setting my teeth on edge. More, due to the fast forward to Tuesday night. Brentford and Fulham really will be in to the last knockings at that point. Will it be a case of hanging on for extra time, backs to the wall defence or throwing the kitchen sink forwards in a last gasp attempt to win the game?

Imagining that moment wasn’t fun. The clock will either be moving at snail’s pace or accelerating at warp factor 10 (don’t ‘@‘ me, nerds) depending on how the scoreline sits.

It’s going to be awesome and awful in equal measure. And I can’t wait. The game is getting ever closer. The moment building. As we noted yesterday, life shouldn’t wished away yet, at the same time, waking up this morning the anticipation seems even greater than ever before. In part this was due to a great game yesterday but, equally, because knowing the possibility of facing both these clubs as part of a regular campaign is only 90 minutes away. Possibly  ninenty-SEVEN (97).

Elsewhere, The Scottish Premiership returned with Celtic looking for their chance to make it ten league titles in a row. Or, as Adam Devlin put it on Twitter…

5lD

And I can’t top that so, instead, it’s a case of saying thank you and good morning. 10am Boot Camp in St. Paul’s Park, Brentford calls (do get along if you are local). Anything to try and exorcise (exercise?) some of those pre-match demons that are already tapping on the shoulder…   

Nick Bruzon