Tag Archives: Old Trafford

Derby not the only Casualty as Wigan lose out on ‘chant of the year’

18 May

As with yesterday, Brentford know another Championship opponent for next season after the play-offs claimed another victim (although it was a lot tighter than most neutrals imagined). Over at Old Trafford, Manchester United went to incredible lengths to distract people from talking about ‘that bomb’ whilst, apparently, Will Grigg is still on fire. Amongst other things.

Where to start though ? Why not Manchester United, given how ‘the bomb that never was’ (thankfully) has dominated the news these last few days. Well, their abandoned game with Bournemouth took place last night and, on the pitch, whilst the 19-0 ‘spoiler’ that would have kerplunked Manchester City for the final Champion’s League spot never happened, Louis van Gaal’s team got the  win that most people expected.

This, even if Chris Smalling’s last minute own goal denied his own ‘keeper, a share of the Premier League’s ‘golden glove’ for most shut outs in the season. Petr Cech beating David de Gea to the award by 16 clean sheets to 15. (Stop sniggering at the back. And the Ethiad).

But it was pre-kick off where my social media timeline awoke from it’s pre-kick off slumber. Specifically because United had decided to paint three of their child mascots blue.

Not in some sort of homage to neighbours City but, infact, to promote the forthcoming X-Men film. Ironically, a film I’d imagine most of them aren’t even old enough to watch judging by the photograph which appeared c/o Telegraph football’s Twitter feed.

Telegraph x-men mascots

This really happened….

As marketing decisions go, it’s one that seems to rank alongside our own #bignewambitions . Certainly in terms of the bizarre, if nothing else. Whilst you have to say that it did get people talking is there no length they won’t stoop to in order for a bit more commercial revenue ? Body painting children in the colours of your arch rivals to promote a movie?

As one twitter wag noted, “let’s hope they didn’t have to stay painted from Sunday”.

Still, if all of this distracted people from Bournemouth’s chant of the season in  “Shall we check the bogs for you?” then who am I to criticise?

And as a side note, congratulations to Bournemouth in defying the expectations of just about every critic and amateur pundit in securing a second series  season in the Premier League. Despite playing what would seem to be fast and loose with the FFP rules on the way to beating us to a promotion spot last season, like Leicester City they have still punched well above above their expected weight this time around. Here’s hoping we can join them again soon.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see any of this. Another Tuesday night saw another surrendering of the remote control to Mrs. Bruzon for Holby City. It’s all about the trade off and saving the zapper for ‘the big games’ . Besides, as we all knew, there was nothing interesting going to happen in the Man U game whilst Derby County had no hope in the play-offs at Hull City AFC after going down 3-0 in the first leg at home.

And yet again another example of why I’m the numpty on the terrace rather than any form of pundit, manager, informed observer or football fan with half a brain. With just over half an hour on the clock, Derby had swept into a two goal lead .

Could the impossible actually happen? No. Mrs Bruzon wouldn’t surrender the remote. And on pitch, things remained the same. Meaning Hull go though 3-2 on aggregate whilst, for Derby, it was a third successive capitulation in the most heartbreaking of knock out tournaments.

As with Brighton in yesterday’s column, it is a pain us Brentford fans can well relate to. On the plus side, for us, another good away trip to add to the calendar next season as at least one lengthy journey will now be crossed off the fixture list.

And talking of Brentford – finally – you may not be aware but apparently Northern Ireland International Will Grigg, now plying his trade at Wigan Athletic, is on fire. More to the point, if you believe the (apparently) popular terrace chant, “Your defence is terrified”.

I’m genuinely pleased for Will. We all know that things didn’t quite work out for him at Brentford with his cause not being helped by injury. He arrived with a huge reputation and a lot of anticipation yet ended up leaving with a goal scoring record that was, I’m sure as much for the player as the supporters, somewhat below expectation.

4 goals in 34 league games (including a brace and missed penalty on his home debut v Sheffield United) are, if we’re being honest, not the sort of figures to strike this supposed terror into the heart of any defence.

Grigg Pen

Will Grigg missed out on a home debut hat trick.

Yet, you can’t knock his subsequent League 1 record with MK Dons or Wigan Athletic. It’s going to be very interesting indeed to see how he steps up a division to the Championship. Have Brentford made the biggest mistake of all time in letting him go after his loan spell at Stadium MK or will this be proven to have been a good decision? Only time will tell.

The main reason for finally jumping on the “Grigg/fire’ bandwagon is the news that Wigan chairman David Sharpe has now rewarded the supporter purported to have created the chants with a free season ticket. Fair dues and well played.

But by that logic, if Ciff Crown is reading (you never know) how about making a similar gesture at Brentford? Whilst not ‘chants’ per se, I can lay claim to:  “And this is Saunders territory” for the awarding of any set-piece within a 25 yard radius of the goal line . This, regardless of whether the perma-tanned wing wizard and dead ball demi-god is even on the pitch. It is a lucky mantra that has worked on numerous occasions.

Likewise, I’ve got half-shares in, “Don’t take it short; it never works”  (along with a more colourful variant) whenever we are about to take a short corner. So far, this tactical advice about the most maligned of set-pieces has proven correct.

How about it Cliff? If it’s good enough for Wigan….?

Wigan chairman re Grigg

Bournemouth fans may disagree with this sharp observation

The other piece of Brentford news to catch my eye was something shared by Brentford video whizz kid (and Alex Pritchard lookalike ) Sean Ridley .

The Football League have released the new ‘official font’ and numbering to be used on next season’s kits.And, it’s fair to say, that reactions have been mixed.

I like the font, I’m not convinced by the look of the numbering but I’m very disconcerted by the apparent lack of brackets for supporters looking to get a replica shirt printed up. Looks like another season for yours truly without a: Saunders 7 (seven).

One year, club shop. One year……

new font

coming soon to a back near you

And finally, as ever at this time of the year, my own moment of self-promotion and (more importantly) thanks to all those who have so far downloaded either The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again or the three year anthology : The Bees are going up. I remain shocked but hugely respectful of the fact that anybody would take the time to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same.  Until then, the last three season reviews and overall anthology are available here.

Nick Bruzon

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A handjob from the editor? No thanks, Stan

16 May

Where do you start after yet another ‘one of the most dramatic final days of the season’ since the last one? After spending the season on loan at Brentford, Sergi Canos making his debut for Liverpool ? Former Bee Wojciech Szczęsny rubbing salt into the Tottenham wound after Spurs came perilously close to a bracketing when they went down 5-1 at Championship bound Newcastle United? Or Old Trafford where, of course, Manchester United had their game abandoned after the bomb scare?

Nobody needs my in-depth analysis of that situation. An evacuation was, of course, the absolutely right and proper thing to do. Likewise, it was reassuring to see how quickly and efficiently this appeared to take place.

But beyond that. Wow! To say “questions will be asked” is sure to be an understatement to rank alongside this whole affair being described as a “fiasco” First thoughts I saw suggested the suspicious package found at Old Trafford was a ‘seasons highlights’ DVD or a trophy. Infact, it turned out to be a training device used by a private security company to prevent exactly this sort of issue happening , left behind after a midweek drill.

Twitter reacted, of course, with the mood changing from worry, shock and horror to incredulation as the story unfolded over the course of the afternoon.

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Who knows what the fall out will be from all of this. For once, “Sacked in the morning” won’t be a chant directed at the manager.  Even when the rearranged game has taken place on Tuesday, this won’t be the last we hear of it. People are jittery enough as it is. For sure we can expect even more enhanced security next season.

OK – the Brentford connection. First up,  Wojciech Szczęsny. None other than the Arsenal goalkeeper and former Bee was lining up to lead the taunts after Tottenham managed to blow an unblowable situation.

Spurs, a club who could choke on a Rice Krispie, needing only a point to guarantee second place in the Premier League came within two of a 7(seven) goal bracketing. This, to relegated Newcastle United – one of the poorest teams since Premier League records began.

The consolation of Champions League football will be little consolation to being pipped by their arch rivals, yet again. Expect the Arsenal ’smug-o-meter’ to be through the roof today. Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth already leading the charge on this morning’s Christian O’Connell breakfast show although, for once, if not sympathise you can understand.

As Richie noted, “Only Spurs could come third in a two horse race“.

Chesney. For once, not the one and only

Liverpool. Sergio Canos.

We’ve waxed lyrical about the Spanish wunderkind many times this season.And rightly so – his achievments on pitch were legion. But with most of his Brentford team mates now on their holidays, if social media is to be believed, he had the honour of pulling on that famous red shirt in a 1-1 draw with West Brom.

Congratulations, Sergi. No doubt the first of many Liverpool appearances although, in the short term, if you want to come back to Griffin Park for another season then there’ll be no complaints from West London.

Sergi Canos Liverpool debut

And finally, a HUGE thanks to all those who have so far downloaded both the Last Word ‘season review’ (Ready. Steady. Go Again) aswell as the three year anthology (The Bees are going up). These are both available now.

Nick Bruzon

 

All to play for but is an upset on the cards?

26 Feb

Brentford travel to Rotherham United on Saturday, hoping to build on the back of Tuesday night’s 3-0 stroll against Wolves. After a day in which the postponement of our trip to Hull City AFC (thanks to their FA cup replay with Arsenal) and an end to the fascination with all things FCM (thanks to Manchester United remembering how to score goals) were the main talking points for many Bees fans, it’ll be good to have a match to focus on once more.

So, Rotherham . The Championship table doesn’t lie and the Millers now find themselves in a bottom three who are already six points, and inferior goal difference, adrift of an MK Dons side occupying the final safe berth. A gap of what is effectively 7(seven) points will be hard enough to reel in at the best of times, let alone when you are on a miserable run of form and with only 13 games to go. Something will need to change pretty quickly or they’ll be digging out the maps for next season’s trip to Accrington Stanley.

Which makes me wary about Saturday. Not so much for us but more the mind state of the opposition. Dean Smith’s team reminded us against Wolves just how well they can play when allowed to run at their opposition and take the ball forwards. Sergi Canos, Ryan Woods, Alan Judge and John Swift (see, it wasn’t a typo in Wednesday’s article) were excellent and I’d love to see more of the same. Then again, we were playing a Wolves team who seemed to have replaced their entire midfield with a colander.

Surely there’s no chance we’ll get similar opposition in successive games? Instead, one can only imagine Rotherham are already approaching that last chance saloon and will want to turn around before they start drinking.

As such, expect dogged resistance from a side who last won in early January (albeit against Brighton) and haven’t scored in three games. I have no doubt Neil Warnock will be asking his team to come flying out of the traps at us although, equally, I have no doubt that if we can see out that early storm then the Bees can sweep to a fourth consecutive Championship win over a side we’ve beaten 2-0, 1-0 and 2-1 since we both got promoted from League 1.

last-chance-saloon

Are Rotherham approaching the bar? And League 1?

The home game at Griffin Park this time around was one punctuated with three stunning goals, including a brace for Alan Judge.

I’ve had to remind myself just how good the first was whilst, let’s not forget, he even popped up with one on his head for the winner. More of the same would do very nicely and, however we get there, is the score I’m calling for tomorrow. Confidence is a massive thing in football and with Dean Smith’s team surely full of it, we should be too good for a team whose next three games are against top 6 teams and that my online bookmaker (reference purposes only) shows as 1/8 on to go down.

Alan Judge – his first minute opener was THAT good !

Yesterday’s other talking point was the postponement of the Hull game, originally scheduled for March 8th, due to their ongoing FA Cup involvement with Arsenal. This was an inevitable casualty of the fixture list as soon as the original tie ended 0-0 and will be a source of frustration to many.

Good luck to them. I’d love it for us to be the ones having to cancel games and moreso after our third round capitulation to Walsall back in January.

That was a dreadful performance from the Bees and one which, if you recall, saw us suffer the further indignity of that strange half time ‘lap of honour’ from FCM following the news they’d drawn Manchester United in the Europa League.

How good if we could have made headway in that competition (FA cup, not Europa league) rather than match last season’s home defeat at the first hurdle? Maybe next year but, until then, I’ll certainly wish good luck to our Championship rivals in the replay.

Which brings me full circle back to last night. Thankfully, Brentford ‘official’ have listened and scaled back the Midtjylland tub-thumping to zero. Twitter and the official site were both silent before, during and after the game. It marks a refreshing change in the media/comms team and was probably no bad thing as the Danes saw their ‘cup final’ end in a 5-1 second leg defeat.

Cup football is a hotbed of upsets. If even Manchester United can get a win then maybe Arsenal could end up getting dumped too. It would certainly take the sting off our own postponement if that were to happen.

Although, perhaps, lay off the Griffin Park laps of honour.

Alan Judge corner Rotherham

Alan Judge – goals and set plays against Rotherham last time out

Nick Bruzon

Three things to look ahead to in the near future

29 Jan

With no game for Brentford this weekend thanks to the Leeds United fixture being brought forward, perhaps it’s time for some reflection No, please. Stay with me.

I’ve used this page to voice some quite strong feelings on several subjects in the last few weeks. The strength of the team relative to last season. The situation surrounding James Tarkowski (especially in the immediate aftermath of the Burnley game, prior to his own comments that subsequently seemed to contradict those of the club). The general vibe around the club when it comes to off-field matters. The ongoing promotion of FCM through club channels although, to be fair, the half-time parade v Walsall still annoys me an awful lot more than a chance to visit Old Trafford. Indeed, responses to yesterday’s piece on that topic were, genuinely, very interesting. And mixed.

After over 700 columns here, along with five years of writing in the programme (an ongoing hobby which is great that the club can facilitate and are happy to use), I’d like to think I’m generally ‘pro-Bees’. I’m not scared to say what I think and if the opinions of one fan can sometimes upset people then I do sympathise. But it won’t stop me.

Certainly, one recent column seems to have sent part of the GPG into meltdown (I know, I was surprised too). I’ve got no issue with this, quite the opposite. Fellow supporters like myself have every right to voice their own opinions – preferably backed up with a counter suggestion rather than simple name calling but, I guess, we’ve all got different styles.

Yesterday’s social media attack from somebody employed by the club was, I felt, a little bit unprofessional. And needless.

Absolutely , say your piece, But there’s no need to resort to petty jibes such as:

If moaning visibly & often about everything is the definition then you’re the best football fan I know” and

“..mine (opinion) is that you moan too much about everything and miss the bigger picture’.

There were more, but you get that particular picture. All for having the temerity to sometimes voice an opinion that he and his employer might disagree with.

Which brings me full circle back to the point about ‘off-field vibe’. Nobody’s opinion is any more / less valid than anybody else’s. But cheap cracks and school yard insults in a public environment show just how wrong we continue to get it. Social Media, rather than an official club forum, isn’t a ‘get out clause’ when people are so easily identifiable with the team we all support – and advertise their role on the same platform.

Good comms are so easy. Give it a try, you might enjoy it.

Which, in a very longwinded way, brings me around to the main thrust of today’s article. I put it out on Twitter last night, ‘What to write about today?’ and the following suggestion, from Matthew Miles, was the first response.

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Nice idea, which I’m going to put a slight spin on. Three things to look forward to. Of course, mine may very from yours, but in no particular order….

Firstly, as Matthew says, a rosey future awaits. Whatever my thoughts on the strength of the team relative to last campaign and our recent form (4 wins in the last 13 games), nobody can deny we remain 10th in the Championship table. That’s still a fantastic achievement if we can consolidate it. The likes of Yoann Barbet and Maxime Colin are really looking like stars of the present, let alone the future, and are the absolute standouts from the huge influx of new players – not all of whom have hit the ground running quite so easily, if we’re being honest.

If, and it is a huge if, we can hang on to the likes of Alan Judge, David Button and the entire defence (not to mention a certain Mr Saunders – don’t got to the States, terrible weather) then this team has a great base to start from next season.

Next up, and linked to that subject, Alan Judge. With just a few days to go until the transfer window officially ‘slams shut’ is there a chance we could actually keep him? Whilst the rumours have been circulating for weeks, all has now gone quiet on that front. Not even the ever-reliable Beesotted (the best font of knowledge before things become ‘official’) are talking up a potential departure. Of course, now is the squeakiest point of ‘squeaky bum’ time but the psychological impact of hanging onto a player of this nature who still has time on his contract can’t be underestimated.

Finally, Kitman Bob Oteng ! I’m loving his Twitter activity – and if you don’t follow him you should. Fast.

For all I’ve complained we don’t always hit the mark ‘off field’, this is one area where Brentford most definitely lead the pack and brush all competitors to one side.

His regular player kit ‘giveaways’, for getting the correct scorer, number of corners or something more fiendish are fast becoming the stuff of legend. Just yesterday, one lucky fan picked up Alan Judge’s boots and Jota’s shirt.

And next Friday, against Brighton, it looks like we have something very interesting lined up.

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When our club get it right (and I still have a son who worships Buzz Bee after the fantastic ‘Junior Bees’ Christmas event) it makes me so proud to support them.

Here’s to an ongoing and rosey future.

Nick Bruzon

Who fancies a night out at the theatre?

28 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments included:

“Oh dear………..”

“couldn’t care less”

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

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

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

Nick Bruzon

* please note: Other results are possible

As Brentford go down to Walsall, FCM can FC….

9 Jan

Walsall are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup; Brentford are out. This is the simple fact after The Bees went down 1-0 in torrential conditions. Don’t let the weather disguise anything though – the Saddlers wanted it more, they deserved it more and they made Brentford look very much second best. But it was the half time shenanigans involving FC Midtjylland which still leave a bitter taste in the mouth long after the final whistle has blown.

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View from the terrace – David Button slips in the rainy conditions

Let’s be clear – I don’t know where this club would be without Matthew Benham. The amount of investment he has made in Brentford FC, along with his bold vision for a new stadium at Lionel Road, have taken us from the brink of meltdown to the brink of the Premier League.

I also know he has numerous other business interests – primarily Smartodds, Matchbook and the aforementioned Danish Champions. Frankly, I don’t care about that when I’m at Griffin Park cheering on the Bees. Good luck to him and everything but I support Brentford. I wanted to see MY team try and progress in the FA Cup today.

What I didn’t want was the most sycophantic parading of another football club, on a lap of honour, around our pitch.

What I didn’t want was to be asked to applaud them for nothing more than being fortunate enough to be drawn against Manchester United in the Europa League.

What I didn’t want was to be reminded over the P.A. system that our co-director of football, Rasmus Ankersen, splits his time between the Bees and FCM where he is their chairman.

At a time when we were being played off the park after putting in one of the most abject first half displays I can recall for some time – Swift and McEachran in particular being totally anonymous (what do Chelsea put in the water of their youth team ?) – this was a time to focus on our team in our cup competition. Not one of Matthew’s other investments.

By this logic can we expect Smartodds employee of the month to be afforded a similar privilege against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night?

With fans fearing we’ve seen the last of Toumani Diagouraga – and if ever a game was crying out for him it was this one, although I understand he was injured – what I didn’t want was an over crowded and directionless central midfield.

I bumped into Rasmus outside the pub before kick off. I did have a chat with him about the FA Cup and he came across as very pleasant. However, that doesn’t cut the mustard when we then witness what happened next – both at half-time and during the game.

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Will we be seeing the back of Toumani ?

Imagination free substitutions (Judge aside) in a game where it was apparent after the first twenty minutes that somebody with the pace and experience of Sam Saunders was exactly what was required. Instead, we had sideways pass after sideways pass and then like for like changeovers. What Macca did to be hauled off I don’t know – along with Harlee, Jack and Jake he really stood out as wanting to get involved.

The only saving grace being that at least Alan Judge showed some invention when he came on and, as importantly, cup tied himself. Yet when we did get in on the Walsall goal, their goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to pull of a couple of stonking second half saves. Full credit to that man.

The FA Cup is HUGE in this country. With a direct parachute into the third round, even allowing for a handful of changes from the regular starting XI, I’d have thought we’d have been bang up for this one and a potential tilt at breaking the Wembley hoodoo. Instead, we had to stand through a first half no-show followed by the bizarre parade.

It was a monumental slap in the face to everybody who had paid hard earned money to get into Griffin Park. And I’m sorry if that bucks the corporate line. I’m not employed by Brentford FC and I’m certainly not a supporter of FC Midtjylland. Why would I be?

I have no connection with that club beyond knowing that, amongst others, one of the men most responsible for our transfer policy has his attention split between us and them. This is not a dig at the statistical model. Indeed, it genuinely hurts to say anything negative about the club I’ve supported since 1979.

This is a dig at the fact that when we should have been focusing on the FA Cup, instead there seemed to be a genuine expectation that we’d fawn at the temple of Midtjylland.

Good luck to them in Europe. For Matthew’s sake I’d hope they do well. But on a day when I helped my son make his first ‘tin foil trophy’, I’m ending it feeling thoroughly dejected about what happened today at Griffin Park.

Nick Bruzon

Are changes coming as Wolves await the Bees?

27 Dec

With the dust settled on the reverse to Ipswich Town, its time for Brentford to regroup, refocus and prepare for Sunday’s trip to Wolves. And with memories of November’s 4-0 victory over Wanderers still fresh in the mind, the chance to get straight back in the saddle couldn’t come soon enough back.

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.

What were they thinking? Norwich City defrocked

16 Sep

We’ll crack on with the visit of Norwich City to Brentford shortly but, first, there are a few bits of unfinished business in regards to Monday’s article on the Manchester United – QPR game. Specifically comments around both teams that, quite simply, I ran out of space to include.

First up, Christian O’Connell. The Absolute Radio DJ brought United fans back to earth, aswell as highlighting the state of their opponents, with the astute observation on Sunday that, “Celebrating beating QPR is like jumping for joy when you beat Stevie Wonder at Pictionary”.

And secondly, to a holier place than even national radio – St. Margaret’s Church. It was there, I am told, that the 10.30 service saw a visiting Priest addressing his congregation thus: Many thanks to the kind Parishioners who took me to watch Chelsea – Swansea. A great game although being from Uganda I am, of course, a Manchester United fan”.

So they’re not all from Surrey, then.

O'Connell takes out both Manchester United and QPR fans with one tweet

O’Connell takes out both Manchester United and QPR fans with one tweet

And from Uganda to Norwich City. If you want a proper Brentford match preview then (as ever) Beesotted , the BBC or the clubsite are your places.

For the Last Word reader, following the feature before the Brighton game, it’s time for the next in our semi-regular series – What were they thinking? The ‘best of the worst’ / quirkier (delete as applicable) of our visitors’ kits through the ages.

The best : 1988-89 Scoreline. I’ve got personal interest in this one, simply because it is the shirt worn by the Canaries when they reached that season’s FA Cup semi final. Brentford fans won’t need reminding that was the year of Gary Blissett, Manchester City and the quarter final at Anfield where Liverpool did well to eventually edge us out.

A classic, despite the apparent breach of 'Trade descriptions act' with the sponsor

A classic, despite the apparent breach of ‘Trade descriptions act’ with the sponsor

The unfortunate design : 1989- 1992 Asics. The plus point is that this one sticks to traditional Norwich City colours of yellow and green. The downside is that the green is less ‘trim’ and more emblazoned over the upper body in a way that, especially on the away kit, puts one in mind of a Waitrose delivery van.

Were the Norwich City club shop expanding their home delivery service?

Were the Norwich City club shop expanding their home delivery service?

The worst : 1992- 1994 Ribero. Imagine if your club came up with a great kit design that, after the over indulgence of Asics, got the balance between yellow and green just right. Then, they fed a flock of pigeons nothing but sprouts before allowing them to nest above the final design specs for the team’s latest shirt. This is the result.

Pebble dashed by an incontinent pigeon??

Pebble dashed by an incontinent pigeon??

The away shirt : I’ve already mentioned one of these so rather than go for the picnic blanket of the 1993-94 Asics, we’ll chuck in a bonus category:

Retro classic – the Admiral tracksuit. Seen here as sported by Norwich City legend John Bond. If, rather than being a Brentford fan, I’d grown up on the streets of Caistor St. Edmund or Diss in the 1970s I think it’s a fair bet I’d have worn one of these. Probably whilst riding a Raleigh Chopper. Stunning.

John Bond - the king of cool

John Bond – the king of cool

 

Brentford relax as QPR & Manchester United clash

15 Sep

Brentford fans were able to take it easy on Sunday, basking in the satisfaction of another three points at the weekend (Brighton being the benefactors). With Norwich City next up, a win on Tuesday night will take us above the, currently second placed, Canaries and the returning Lewis Grabban. That’s one to look forward to tomorrow but for now I need to complete the weekend review with the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ decision that was Manchester United v QPR on Sky.

Specifically – two questions. First up, who to cheer for? Manchester United had, prior to this game, actually endured a worse start under Louis van Gaal than they had under David Moyes. As somebody who supports a team traditionally seen as an underdog, there’s always a particular pleasure in seeing the larger clubs come a cropper. And in England they don’t (Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal aside) come much bigger than United.

Last season’s spectacular fall from grace was a thing of beauty for all of those outside of the Home Counties and Greater Manchester to behold. The traditional United fanbase stunned by their team’s unprecedented self-destruction as even Europa League qualification evaded them.

So when things continued in the same vein this campaign, I won’t pretend I wasn’t pleased to see more of this. Cripes – even Will Grigg managed to rediscover his prolific shooting boots against the Red Devils. But then Louis went shopping and normal service looks like it has been resumed – well, it was fun whilst it lasted.

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

But if we didn’t cheer for United then the alternative was the Loftus Road mob. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d willfully hope they won. No offence to any QPR fans who may read but, like Fulham, a victory over our West London neighbours is always one to savour. Any sign of our geographical rivals tripping up is a moment to appreciate how good life can be.

So in the end, it was one of those where you just sat back to see what the footballing gods throw at you. With United meting out a 4-0 thrashing that, at one point, looked like it was heading towards those fabulous brackets that come with 7(seven), it’s fair to say that this Brentford fan was left happy with the outcome.

Second question. United play in red shirts, white shorts and black socks. QPR play in (predominantly) blue and white shirts, white shorts and white socks. In theory, this shouldn’t have presented any kit clash beyond, perhaps, a switch to blue shorts.

So why, short of some Fergiesque excuse about being unable to see each other against the crowd, did the visitors need to don their third kit? Moreso as it is almost identical to the home version. Socks and shorts are both white but the shirt simply drops the blue.

It seemed a totally unnecessary exercise in justifying a superfluous third kit. One for the marketing men to answer. Still, if they carry on with results like this then there may be a rather hefty fine to pay. Going to need to shift more than a few extra shirts to cover that one.

Interestingly, Brighton’s blue and white didn’t seem to present any problems against our red and white in the weekend game. With the club now posting their YouTube highlights, you can savour that fine win once more (and see how two teams cope with a non-existent kit clash).

 

View from the terrace - there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

View from the terrace – there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

Pre-season excitement builds as even Manchester United impress

24 Jul

I’ve no particular affiliation to Manchester United or the Premiership but this morning the Old Trafford outfit have achieved my favourite thing in football – videprinter brackets. Louis van Gaal scooped the prestigious Chevrolet Cup (a 21st Century Makita trophy?) in his first game in charge of the Red Devils as the won 7(seven) – 0 over LA Galaxy.

Being a Brentford fan, I’m always a lover of seeing the mighty fall flat at the hands of the under-dog. As such, last season’s campaign was of particular interest for us Premiership neutrals with team after team lining up to administer another beating to David Moyes’ team.

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

However, does this hefty win mean normal service will be returned? Or do pre season friendlies count for nothing? Well, with Brentford taking Barnet (the LA Galaxy of North London) apart 5-1 on Tuesday I’d certainly be taking positives from any victory. Further friendlies await against Nice (Saturday), CA Osasuna (Tuesday) and then Crystal Palace the following weekend .

Last season saw fine performances against Millwall (3-0) and Cardiff City (3-2) that were the precursor to our eventual promotion. I won’t take wins in the next ten days as a guarantee of the same but they will be great morale boosters. Moreso for the fans who seem to be chomping at the bit to get back to Griffin Park.

Full ticketing details remain on the club site but, for the price of a Central London pint, you can see the Bees in action as soon as this weekend.

Bring it on!! Football is (almost) back

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

GP under lights v Cardiff 2

Griffin Park awaits last season’s warm up against Cardiff City