Tag Archives: Oldham

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.

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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

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Just what are people saying about us? Can you solve a mystery?

5 Feb

Brentford travel to Brighton for this evening’s ‘trial by TV’. Keith Stroud is the ref. Red cards. Sheffield United. A flamboyant flourish. 2015/16 season stats of 134 yellows and 8 reds in 31 games. Regular readers know the drill by now so I won’t overly elaborate. Instead, the inevitable rabbit hole of the Internet has led me to the Bees via Manchester City, Watford and the entire Premier League.

Keith Stroud montage

Keith Stroud – we all know the drill

I can’t take the full credit for this one. Checking around the BBC this morning to confirm we really did have Mr. Stroud ‘in charge’ (I laughed, too) I stumbled across a feature they had published on the most ‘searched for’ questions about Premier League clubs. Thanks to the predictive nature of Google (other search engines are, apparently, available) it is a simple enough exercise to undertake but an intriguing one.

Questions on the search include:

Why do Sunderland A.F.C fans hate Jimmy Hill?

Why do Watford have a moose on their badge?

Why do Manchester City fans boo the Champions League anthem?

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Jimmy Hill – so popular he even appeared in an 80’s computer game

The BBC piece has many of the answers, too.

I can’t imagine anybody would think ill of the late, great Jimmy but, as ever in football, there is a reason.

Watford’s moose isn’t. A misconception which even this kit fanatic had previously made. The only moose you’ll find at football stadia goes by the name of Ian and is usually located in the canteen rather than on a shirt.

As for Manchester City and the Champions League, the BBC don’t resolve that one although I’d imagine the answer is simply because they weren’t allowed to buy it. Certainly, that seems the solution to any other on-field issue they face.

But fascinating though this all is, the story doesn’t delve into the Championship. So I thought I would take a look at what the world outside of TW8 wants to know about Brentford.

And here it is…

Why do did Brentford

The big questions on the Bees…

Primarily, this has thrown up more questions than answers. Why do people think we sacked Warbs? Just how has that Cameron Diaz story got so huge ? Where do we start in trying to answer the one about the Loftus Road mob?

I’ve said my piece on the Diaz affair many times – if anybody wants to know what happened you can find it here – whilst the QPR one has more possible answers than Nick Proschwitz scored goals . As for Warbs, I guess it just highlights how ludicrous those outside of TW8 believe our mutual parting of the ways was.

But sitting here this morning, I’ve realised I haven’t got a clue to the ‘Hey Jude’ question. Like ‘Oldham’s song’, it is one we sing pretty much every game and, whilst I’m not a huge fan (the FA Cup bus back from Chelsea put paid to that), you still need to join in with a club anthem.

There’s no finer sound than Peter Gilham bellowing, “Na Na Nah, Nah Nah Na Naaaaaaa” down the microphone. Our ever popular matchday host looking to inspire a second half atmosphere just prior to the players running back out in one of those ‘do or die’ fixtures.

Which is all well and good but why? Can anybody shed any light on this one? Of course, I could just dive in and ‘Ask Jeeves’ (does that even exist anymore?) but it doesn’t seem right. Besides, the very first link I did press came up with two theories:

1: a player was dumped by a woman of that name in the 60s, 2: Brentford supporter “Indian Joe” replaced “Brent-ford” in the chorus.

So instead, if anybody can explain why or when this all started I’d be eternally grateful? Answers on a postcard or back of an envelope, marked ‘Jude’. Failing that, there’s the ‘comments’ box.

And finally, if you need something to fill the time on your journey down to Brighton today, could I recommend the latest Beesotted podcast ? Featuring Dave and Billy (Grant, not Reeves), along with guests Gemma Teale, Matt Allard and the brilliant Nathan Caton it looks at, amongst other things, the Leeds game, the transfer window and the comedy moments of the season. Plus, of course, the game at the Amex.

Nathan is always good for a laugh – no bad thing for a comedian – and his observations on Steve Evans certainly made me smile.

Enjoy the podcast. Enjoy the game. Here’s to three points.

jeeves

Can anyone help?

Nick Bruzon

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

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.

Points, pressure or the other ‘p’ word?

25 Mar

Brentford, Wolves, Leyton Orient and, of course, Rotherham are all in League One action this evening as the campaign continues its relentless journey towards P46, with the promotion slots still nowhere near being confirmed.

Only ten games remain (for us) and everybody is talking up fantasy points totals needed to ‘secure’ promotion. Even after the victory over Coventry on Saturday, Mark Warburton told the Football League Show – “You’re going to need at least 95 points to guarantee promotion. The boys are very clear on that. We have our own private target which is private”

So with Brentford on 79 already, those 16 that Mark has ‘publically’ acknowledged that he needs equate to five wins and a draw from the last ten games. This allows for a possible four defeats for a team who have only lost five all season (and four of those by October of last year).

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.