Tag Archives: Oldham Athletic

Kit Obsessive : Ipswich Town

12 Aug

Ipswich Town are the visitors to Griffin Park on Saturday with Brentford looking to get their first points, and win, on the board for 2016/17. Whilst you’ll find the usual match previews kicking around elsewhere, in addition we’re taking a different approach this season. Following on from yesterday’s new, regular feature about our forthcoming visitors The Last Word on… it’s time for another new, regular feature. New, that is, to these pages.

Kit obsessive is back. Originally submitted to last season’s match day programme, a third season in the Championship means that with the exception of 6 new teams it is ground previously covered – at least for those who buy that publication. So whilst I gather that articles on the likes of Aston Villa, Barnsley et al will still appear in that format this time around, repeating the feature would not reveal anything new.

That said, for those who missed out on the programme then I have been asked by at least one Last Word reader  if it would be possible to re-run them this year. And by ‘at least one‘ I mean, ‘actually one‘. But why not?

As a self confessed kit-obsessive, I have what some would probably term an unhealthy fascination with team colours. Of course Brentford are at the forefront of this interest as the club has, over the years, made some pretty decent stabs at changing the red and white stripes around. However, with a few odd exceptions we follow a fairly similar template.

The same cannot always be said for our opponents, though. Using no more scientific criteria than personal taste, this feature sees us delving into the historical kit bag to select the best, the worst, a sublime away and an unfortunate design/retro classic worn by our opponents through the ages. So without further ado, here’s Kit Obsessive: Ipswich Town.

Since their inception for the start of the 1888 season Ipswich Town had, like the Bees, largely worn stripes – albeit blue and white. However, unlike the Bees they ditched these in 1936, switching to predominantly blue offset with white trim and (until the mid ‘60s) white sleeves.

But with over 125 years of history to choose from, which have made the hall of fame and which should be left to rot in the chamber of horrors?

The best: Umbro 1992-94. In my opinion, Ipswich have had some real stunners to chose from over the years. The Adidas designs from 1977 to 1989, synonymous with FA Cup triumph and the UEFA Cup victory, all reek of quality. That said, I’m genuinely in two minds about the red chest stripe that accompanied the 1985-86 effort.

Ipswich pic 1An innovative break from tradition or a sickening abomination that shattered the otherwise unsullied blue with all the subtly of an oil tanker? The only people definitely smiling about it being the club sponsors, Radio Orwell – think Alan Partridge had he opted for Suffolk rather than East Anglia and neighbours, Norwich.

But my winner in this category comes from that phase in the early 90s when retro was the new cool. Specifically 1992-94. Clubs opted for big badges, old style shirts, pin stripes and even lace up collars.

Umbro were leaders in this trend and nowhere better than at Portman Road. Whilst Manchester United, Aston Villa and even Oldham Athletic made decent stabs at this look, none came close to Ipswich Town who married the perfect mix of blue, red trim and a return for the white sleeves with some old school chic.

Embed from Getty Images

 

The Worst: Punch 2005-07 .Ipswich Town have, to be fair, largely bypassed this category – certainly compared to some of our divisional rivals. However, even the Tractor Boys aren’t exempt when it comes to those that should probably be forgotten about.

Mitre’s effort from 2007-09 is a clumsy attempt at the vintage style carried off so effortlessly by Umbro. Looking somewhat generic, it’s less old school, more primary school whilst not even John Wark can save the Core 1995-96 away shirt – bottle green and burgundy – which puts one in mind of a poor man’s Portugal.

But the winner comes down to a choice between two and, as I’m saving one for the ‘unfortunate design’ category, it has to go to Punch 2005-07. This opts for blue with white, but the latter colour to an extent that looks as though a drunken groundsman has ‘gone rogue’ with the pitch markings when painting the touchline.

It has an expanding sash that starts on the shoulder and grows out, all the way to the waist. This is less subtle trim and more something that looks like a prototype costume for one of the Thunderbirds pilots.

Worse, the design continues onto the shorts where there is even an equivalent blue swoosh. Truly, one that should be consigned to the waste bin of history.

Ipswich PIC 4

The away: Adidas 1986-89 Where to go with this, given Ipswich have had as many top quality away shirts as they have had home?

In the end though, it was a toss up on the mid to late 80s. Whilst the Radio Orwell Adidas effort may have split opinion when it came to the home effort, there’s no question the bold red stripe only enhances things against the white of the away kit.

But I’ve elected for the successor to that one, another Adidas production, as the most stylish Ipswich Town away kit. The winner is the Fisons sponsored 1986-89 (yes, teams wore the same shirt for more than one season back then).

Bedecked in the inverse club colours of all white, with blue trim, this also featured a subtle diagonal two-tone strip effect. Simple but stunning.

Ipswich PIC 5

The unfortunate design: Core 1995-97 Just as the faux Thunderbirds sash was a close contender, the winner here could as easily been triumphant in the worst shirt category. And, again, we also need to take a sideways glance at the world of TV Sci-Fi.

You have to feel for Core. They actually produced a fairly decent set of kits for Brentford in the mid90s but, alas, at Portman Road things were somewhat different.

We’ve already mentioned their away version from 95-96 but the home from that (and the following) season is even worse. The top half starts decently enough with a traditional deep blue but as we make our way down the shirt, things take a turn for the peculiar.

The blue starts to merge into white, gradually replacing the primary colour until by the final third we are all white. It is a design gimic that even continues onto the arms.

At best it looks like the players have been caught in a snow drift; at worst, as though they have just given the order to “Beam me up, Scotty”, Star Trek style, and the transporter beam has taken hold.

ipswich design

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Tony Craig day is here as an inevitable pun is released into the wild.

30 Jul

Brentford travel to Millwall this afternoon for Tony Craig’s thoroughly deserved testimonial. Elsewhere Championship rivals Wolves, a club we have focussed on a lot more in recent years, have finally succumbed to the almost inevitable in providing the most expected of bad punnery.

First up, Tony Craig.  His transfer to Millwall in July of last year was a particularly disappointing one. As we’ve noted previously, he was one of these players who gave his all in a Brentford shirt over three seasons in which he was one of our standout players.

Tony bounced back from a dubious red card administered by Keith Stroud during the infamous battle of Bramall Lane in the year of ‘that penalty’. He was a colossus at the heart of the defence during our promotion season in which he scooped the player’s player of the year award.

20140503-172548-0146-4x3277-1527922_478x359

Tony – as seen on the club site after helping the Bees to promotion

One particular game from that campaign, home to Oldham Athletic and just into Warbs’ managerial tenure following the departure of Uwe, was notable for one of the most incredible pieces of defending I’ve ever seen, described at the time thus:

On the only occasions Athletic really threatened, Tony Craig was there to mop things up. The highlight of which being a 5 on 1 breakaway in the first half where he stood his ground, kept standing and did sufficient to fend off the Oldham hordes. Lesser players could have been forgiven for lunging in but not Tony. It was my moment of the game – until the goal itself”.

There was no fuss and no showmanship with Tony for Brentford. That’s not to say he wasn’t skillful but he just got on with his game. No more so was the difference in attitude between him and the more outrageous players seen than in the Championship fixture with Wolves at Griffin Park back in November 2014.

That was the one where, you may recall, Bakary Sako was due to play against us in golden boots, encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Tony was the complete opposite. The anti-Sako, if you will. For one terrace wag, whose identity I’ll protect, the sight of even neon teale or electric pink boots on a Brentford player will usually elicit a cry of, “Rubbish. I like Tony Craig. Sensible, no nonsense footwear.”

Tony played the full 90 minutes that day as Wolves and Sako were locked out, leaving TW8 on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing. It was part of that #Novemberkings phase (please ‘official’, let’s never use hashtags again) that saw Warbs win manager of the month, Tony feature prominently and the Bees get within a sniff of the table top.

boots-sako1

Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Indeed, his absence from the side in the back end of the season coincided with some defensive howlers but, more importantly, a seeming fragility across the defensive area of the team when, perhaps, his experienced head would have been the perfect tonic. Whilst he remained available for selection, Warbs kept faith. with his chosen two.

I can’t knock him for that and the end result was Brentford reaching the Play-Offs. Itself, a phenomenal achievement when viewed independently. However, I do also wonder had Tony stayed in the team, might we actually have gone one better and achieved ‘automatic’?

We’ll never know but what better way to celebrate then by getting along to Millwall this afternoon? Admission is just £10 for adults and, more importantly, Tony is using the proceeds to make a donation to Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which treats injured members of the Armed forces.

The other Bees news is the just announced (Saturday morning) signing of Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City for the season. Filling the gap at left back made by Jake Bidwell’s departure for Loftus Road earlier this month, the move was one which had been very widely anticipated.

Fair play to the rumour mill, it has been spot on this season. Either they’ve upped their game or the Brentford press team have become leakier than the Fulham defence. Regardless, this can only be good news on the playing front and nice to see a change from the normal ‘signing photo’. This time around, we’ve gone for the rarely seen line up of the shirt  / contract combo.

And talking of Wolves earlier ( a link made with all the subtly of Bakary Sako’s boots), it has been announced overnight that the Molineux club have parted company with / sacked manager Kenny Jackett.

This is an inevitable part of modern football life. Moreso in the Championship where managers seem to have the longevity of a cornetto in a greenhouse. Yet, I feel a particular affinity to Wolves.

Despite the initial mocking from a minority of their fans in regards to how big they were compared to ‘little old Brentford’ (somebody should use that one) it’s fair to see we’ve given as good as we’ve got over a wonderful last three seasons.

There was the 2013/14 League One campaign where, despite a record number of points for the Bees and that huge unbeaten run, Wolves stormed to the title with a final total of 103. In any other season our own 94 would have been more than good enough for top spot.

However, the following two campaigns have seen Brentford fare better than Wolves, positionally. 2014/15 saw our two clubs locked on 78 points, with the Bees reaching the play-offs in fifth and Wolves coming so close to edging out Ipswich on that incredible final afternoon. In the end, it was a goal difference gap too far but 7th place still not one to be sniffed at for a newly promoted club.

Last season saw a 7(seven) point gap split the teams with Dean Smith’s team ending it in 9th and Wolves 14th. The moral high ground for Brentford and some consolation for the £250 bet proceeds lost as a result of our being beaten (deservedly so) to that League One title.

So it was sadness that I woke this morning to the news of Kenny Jackett’s departure. Undoubtedly a huge club with big ambitions  – whether new or otherwise – (hello, is that the marketing team?) he has perhaps been an inevitable casualty of failure to make an immediate return to the top flight.

On the other hand, a rare opportunity for lazy headline writers and lazier pun makers. Chin up Kenny, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to go again soon.

No jacket required kenny original

No words required

Jack Whitehall challenges Cliff Crown as Bees win again

11 Jan

Brentford ran out 1-0 winners over Rotherham United in a game that was just one small part of a busy day for all things Bees related. With comedy legends coming out of our ears (not literally), Northern Ireland international Will Grigg and Matt Harrold involved in an unusual encounter when Crawley faced MK Dons and Clem doing his thing at Oldham Athletic, it’s been hectic.

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 on.

Comedians confirm their attendance, or not, via twitter

Comedians confirm their attendance, or not, via twitter

Different ground, same outcome

Producer: Do you now the way to Oldham? Clem: One in each hand

Could this be the ultimate Championship Sprint?

11 Sep

Whilst, of course, Buzz and Buzzette at Brentford would never stoop to such levels, I love a bit of ‘when mascots go wrong’. From Wolves to Bristol City; Dunfermline to Swansea and Millwall, you still can see the column (and, more importantly, the videos) on the best of mascots getting ‘carried away’ earlier on this site.

But putting the odd bit of bad behaviour to one side, my other favourite piece of mascot related action is their Grand National. This annual race between the mascots of our football clubs, along the final furlong of Huntingdon (and more recently, Kempton Park) race course has been up and ‘running’ since 1999.

But what was, initially, a fun event for charity when it started has met with controversy in recent years.

2001 saw winner Freddie the Fox disqualified when it transpired that beneath the suit was hurdler Matthew Douglas – a semi-finalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2010 many clubs boycotted this after more ringers had made appearances and the field become opened up to ‘mascot’s from any walk of life. There have been streakers and even athletes in running spikes rather than the novelty oversized football boots so beloved of our anthropomorphic friends.

The 2005 event included Buzz (aswell as some non football mascots)

 

These days, there seem to be numerous variants of the mascot race. A quick search of the interweb reveals the Mascot Grand National (open field) still takes place with this years event due to be at Kempton Park . The Sue Ryder charity also hold a ‘Gold Cup’ but, again, this is an open field.

Thankfully, the ‘football only’ mascot race has made a resurgence. Again, for charity, with an event held in 2012 raising funds in the fight against prostate cancer. However, even that ended in controversy when Chaddy the Owl of Oldham Athletic (initially third) and Mr Magpie in fourth had to have a rematch after Sky cameras produced sufficient evidence to call the initially declared podium places into doubt.

Even worse, as the footage of this event shows, neither Buzz or Buzzette seemed to be involved in the action

 

So today I’m appealing on two fronts:

Firstly, to the Football League. Despite the 2012 event clearly taking place , I can’t see any evidence of a 2013 or 2014 race. Hopefully this is just down to my poor interweb skills rather than the event being officially terminated. Regardless, please announce a date and get this back in the public eye.

Secondly, to Brentford. Should the event reappear on the calendar then please can we ensure Buzz and Buzzette are involved. Even if it needs an on-pitch qualifier at Griffin Park to see who will go forward to represent the club.

Forget the tedium of sponsored walks. Who wouldn’t give funds to a good cause to see Buzz or Buzzette and the rest of our football league friends going head to head at Aintree?

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans - of all ages

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans – of all ages

Is his the first name on the teamsheet?

7 Apr

It’s fair to say Brentford, Rotherham and Wolves are very much the form teams of the moment in the League but there is one player who stands out. I’ve praised him on more than occasion this season, based purely on my own observations, but I heard a stunning statistic at the weekend in regards to his abilities.

Brentford have not conceded a goal whilst James Tarkowski has been on the pitch.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Set volume to 11, forget Stroud (and grab your cooling technology)

1 Apr

Brentford travel to Sheffield United today for a League One fixture that has the name Keith Stroud indelibly burned onto my brain. You’d have to have been living in North Korea not to know the facts of this one from last season but the pertinent details bear repeating.

Nine yellow cards, three reds (two for the Bees including a season spannering ban for Tony Craig), four penalties (two missed, ours scored by Marcello Trotta) and an equaliser at the death for Brentford. Shaun Wright-Phillips being the man to rescue a point from a game we could have gone on to win – the Bees were 1-0 up and dominating at HT –  before Stroud lost the plot.

It was a match famously described after the event as “The maddest game of football that ever existed”by the Beesplayer commentating legend Mark Burridge but, in a way, Stroud might have done us a favour, long term.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Oldham hold ‘em but Brentford and Wolves move clear

30 Mar

So Brentford have come back from Oldham  – the second of three successive road trips up North (Sheffield United are next, on Tuesday)– with a point that takes us further clear of third placed Leyton Orient.

As the Football League Show would later comment, it “wasn’t vintage Brentford but they remain rock solid in second spot.

Few who travelled would argue otherwise.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Manchester United morons redefine loyalty as Brentford plan Arctic trek.

29 Mar

Its fair to say Manchester United have had a car crash of a season, relative to their recent standards. Their Premiership title is all but lost, entry to next season’s Europa League looks unlikely whilst they are ranked as 33/1 rank outsiders in a field of eight, for a last hope of glory – the Champion’s League.  Sadly, I’ll miss what could be (yet another) defining moment in the Old Trafford debacle as I’m going to be travelling North to watch Brentford at Oldham.

I say sadly. My footballing choice will always start and end with Brentford – moreso if that rare opportunity (in this first season of parenthood) to ‘play away’ presents itself. However, I have a ghoulish interest in what is due to unfold, quite literally, as Manchester United take on Aston Villa at lunchtime.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

A bit of perspective, please, as ‘that joke’ is cranked out

26 Mar

What can you say? Well played Rotherham United as Brentford slipped to their second defeat in only twenty five League games. Meanwhile, a good win for Wolves (eventually – it looked squeaky for a while as their insurmountable lead was reigned in) and a massive present from Oldham at Leyton Orient see things remain ‘as they were’ at the top of the table.

The only real difference being that Wolves have the title back in their control, for this week at least, as Brentford are now four points off the summit, albeit with a game in hand. And we are still two games and three points clear of third placed Leyton Orient who, intriguingly, now have Rotherham breathing right down their necks.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

A tough test approaches for Warbs

22 Mar

It seems that Brentford and Coventry City have more in common than just the League One campaign, following our victory over Leyton Orient last weekend. I’m not going to conduct the (metaphorical) autopsy on referee Robert Madley again – its here if you fancy reliving the pain and pleasure – suffice to say that he has been demoted to fourth officialdom this weekend, where the Everton faithful can suffer the vagaries of his timekeeping  (amongst other things).

That said, it was interesting to read the comments of Coventry manager Steven Pressley earlier in the week. As supporters, our natural inclination is to ignore the good referees and lambast those who have a less than favourable performance. And generally, these last two seasons, Brentford fans have been somewhat vocal as we’ve had less than our rub of the green.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.