Tag Archives: owner

Stop sniggering at the back. FFP pigeons coming home to roost for QPR.

25 Oct

Well. That just got interesting for Brentford fans. The chance to sit back, watch potential carnage ensue and be reminded once more of the Financial Fair Play rulings. Whilst most Championship eyes were probably focussed on Crystal Palace (L) being thumped 4-1 by our divisional rivals Bristol City in the League Cup last night, a huge story had already unfolded in West London. Namely , that of hapless QPR and the fine of up to £58 million for breaching divisional FFP rules back in 2013-14.

The BBC sum things up nicely, but in a nutshell clubs were allowed losses of up to £8million that season. QPR ran up a deficit of £9.8million aswell as then seeing owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders write off an additional £60million loan, deeming it an ‘exceptional item’. As you do.

The case has dragged on for the last three years. So much so that, speaking about it recently to a fellow Brentford fan, gut reaction was that Fernandes had just paid the fine ‘under the counter’. Do it discreetly and make it go away. Save some face. Surely that was the only reason we’d heard nothing else about this?

Sadly not, for QPR. An arbitration panel has now given their verdict that the fine was correct for the offence committed. They may have edged their way into the Premier League but having dropped out of it, that pigeon has now come home to roost.

Not surprisingly, there has been little comment out of the Loftus Road club although plenty on Social media. Chief Executive Lee Hoos has issued a short statement , expressing the customary disappointment aswell as noting that “We will be appealing“. Surely a first for a club normally about as appealing as finding a maggot in an apple.

Back at the time, Fernandes was all blood and thunder. There’s a piece in The Guardian where he denounced how unfair this all was. His team had been a Premier League club but after employing the likes of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp (not for the first time) were relegated (not for the first time).  Yet despite the rules in place they chose to breach them to suit their own situation.

My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.

“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.

Boo-hoo. Welcome to the real world of football. It’s not ‘fair’. Don’t clubs like Brentford, trying to compete on a level playing field with the likes of over spending QPR and Bournemouth, know that? We’ve had to watch for year on year as our best players are sold to balance the books. The likes of Moses Odubajo, Scott Hogan, Andre Gray, Jota, Maxime Colin, number 26 and Stuart Dallas. To name but a few.

How nice would it have been just to spend beyond our means and then cry ‘unfair’? Instead, despite huge frustration as to the individual sales, the update from Loftus Road shows the longer term reasoning behind such decisions. We’ve made no secret of buying low to sell high. Of using this model to keep ourselves afloat and build for the future. It has been frustrating at times for sure, I’m the first to admit that. Yet, also, there’s now a wonderful opportunity for a line to be drawn.

Will QPR be able to wriggle out of this one? Will a further appeal be successful? Will their board pay the fine through gritted teeth? Do they even have any money left to do so? Or is a points deduction and demotion the alternative?

One things for sure, when Brentford travel to Loftus Road next month (assuming QPR are still in existence at that point) it’s going to be tasty.

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It has been a troubled few seasons for QPR

Nick Bruzon

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In Matthew we trust. Whatever happens over the next two weeks.

15 Jan

Newcastle United left Griffin Park with all three points last night and nobody can deny them that. They scored twice. Brentford scored once. Newsflash: that’s how football works. Yet even in defeat, I woke up this morning (duh-duh-duh-duh-duhh) full of positivity. As, it would seem, have the vast majority of those out in cyberspace. This, despite losing a game and the prospect of our star man on his way to West Ham/other after Dean’s strange decision in regards to team selection.

Thoughts on that were published in yesterday evening’s post match article. Worth a look purely for the ever eloquent views of Bernard Quackenbush in the comment’s section. And Bernard, if you are reading, then that special guest slot remains yours should you ever want to go ‘full fat’ on the column (not a euphemism).

Looking across Facebook and Twitter (other sources are also available) there is a lot of pride out there today at how well Brentford played. There is huge recognition of how well Lasse Vibe performed up top. Perhaps the immediate answer for when Scott is sold is sitting right under our noses. There is huge regret at the fact that Jota couldn’t quite complete his moment of magic in the 90th minute.

If not for the well deserved point that we would have scored but the sheer and unadulterated moment of mutual celebration that the 10,000 home supporters would have shared. Jota. In the last minute. After the Bees had been knocking on the door all second half. Just imagine the sheer ecstasy had he found the back of the net in such circumstances…

Even Mark Burridge has posted on facebook this morning to say that the game, “Was a pleasure to commentate on, Marcus, Mick and I really enjoyed it….had the last minute Jota goal happened then I feel the stadium would have erupted.”

Eruption probably the understatement of the decade.

So it is a morning of regret. But lovely regret. Disappointment yet in the nicest way. Honestly, I’m struggling to explain it properly. We lost. It’s normally the cause for a moan about not creating enough chances and, had we, then things might have been different. But yesterday we played. And we played so well. No pressure Dean, but a bar has been raised after outperforming the league leaders for huge periods.

As for Scott Hogan, well I’ve see some nonsense out there today. He didn’t come out for the second half. He didn’t warm up, his attitude sucks. Allegedly. Utter garbage.

If you want bad attitude then look at Dimitri Payet or Diego Costa. Scott has done nothing but carry on doing his thing when selected. Just look at the Birmingham game when rumours had long been gathering. You can’t blame the player for the manager’s decisions to declare him available, to not start him and then to not bring him off the bench.

We’ll sell him at some point, no question. But once the price is right. Standing outside The Griffin yesterday evening, Matthew Benham and his family walked past. “Don’t sell Hogan…” shouted one supporter . “Unless the price is right” , added another.

The response was immediate: “I’m holding out”. Anybody thinking they’ll get a cut price deal might do well to remember this isn’t the Brentford of old.

We’ll reinvest, but once the players are right (Hello? Operator? Can I have the number for Norwich City please?)  The likes of Tom Field, who had another great game yesterday, and Josh Clarke have already shown we have strength within the deeper squad. Chris Mepham has now had his debut whilst Jota is back and Rico Henry has still to show us what he can do. Alan Judge gets closer to fitness each day although perhaps that is a dream too far? Or is it?

One thing Matthew has shown is he loves to surprise us. Who would ever have thought Marcello Trotta would return after the rarely mentioned penalty incident? Yet return he did as he not only won back the fans after the lowest of lows but his goals then inspired us to that wonderful promotion.

They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup”. Not my words but those of Russell Slade after that incredible Lunchtime at Leyton Orient. Trotta scored the winner that day yet, but for Mathew’s shock decision, we’d never have seen him in Brentford colours again. But for Matthew’s decision who knows what might have happened that season?

1-0 Marcello

Marcello – Matthew brought him back despite everything

Whatever happens with Scott Hogan, anybody doubting the player’s attitude should probably take a step back. Anybody doubting that a decision made will be for the long term good of the club and the team might want to consider how the side has ebbed, flowed and transformed over the years.

Co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, made that famous quote back in September 2015, telling supporters that “The goal is to get stronger after each transfer window”. Being honest, it has never quite felt as though we are stronger in the immediate short term yet this team and this squad keep going.

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Perhaps this is as much through long term injury. As Andre Gray was doing his thing, Scott was undergoing that long, long recuperation. Imagine a team with those two together?  Now we have Rico Henry and Lewis Mcleod out for most of the season. Yet this has given others the chance to shine and I can’t imagine Tom Field giving up his place without a fight once the former Walsall man is fit again.

I’m bored of people getting overly critical about the make up of the squad or our long term direction. And that includes myself. How that squad is managed is a different issue altogether but Dean Smith showed yesterday we have players who can do it.

We came close. We lost. But we impressed. Can Dean get us to go one better? Can we get a repeat of our last away performance when we travel to Wigan next weekend? And then there’s the small matter of Chelsea away.

Whoever is picked, it’s a great time to be a Brentford fan. We’re fast approaching our fourth season in the Championship with a wonderful opportunity to cause an incredible cup upset. I’ve said it before but need to say it again. That’s just bonkers. Moreso, for those of us who have been here for sometime.

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Mike Ashley and Cliff Crown yesterday – Brentford now mixing it with the big boys

Anybody who doubts how far we’ve come just needs to look at yesterday’s match day programme. Part one of Mark Chapman’s piece on the failed takeover attempt by QPR is well, well worth a read to remind ourselves of what once might have been.

I disagree with how Dean handled Scott yesterday. A poor decision. One of the B-team should have been recalled. But I admire his trust in Lasse and how good to see that rewarded.

Who knows what will happen over the next two weeks? It might not be pretty. It might not be pleasing. Yet one can only trust in everything that has gone before and the way we are continuing to build for our long term future.

Now, who’s got shovel ? There’s a stadium to build.

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The programme this season has been quality – credit to Mark Chapman

Nick Bruzon

Brentford make big reveal as two come in ahead of Burton Albion on Saturday

9 Dec

So it was all change at Brentford yesterday. Kind of.  With Burton Albion the visitors this Saturday, and the hope that  we’ll start to bounce back lying heavy in the air following a dismal run that has most recently seen the 5-0 thrashing at Norwich, it was press conference day.

Top of the agenda was surely the arrival of Danish coach Thomas Frank in the role as a co-assistant head coach to Dean Smith, alongside Richard O’Kelly. How his addition helps the Bees will only be seen over time but Dean clearly sees it as a good decision. A post match meeting with the owner this week has revealed the admission that : “I was with Matthew Benham on Monday and he is very positive about us moving forward, as are the Directors of Football”.

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Thomas Frank joins the team. Christmas presence for Dean

Three days later, this is announced. Presumably, though, something that has been some time in the planning, given Thomas was chosen by a panel led by Dean but which included several others including our co-directors of football . As ever, the whole thing is on ‘official’.

Having previously had the managerial hot seat at Brøndby, Thomas left in March after Danish newspapers discovered that the club’s chairman Jan Bech Andersen had adopted a  false name and gone onto an internet fans forum to criticise him. Specifically, Frank’s management of the club.  Regardless of the fact that I can’t imagine a scenario where the host of our own fan forum pulls off a rubber mask, Scooby Doo style, to reveal he’s actually Cliff  Crown or even Mr Benham (if for no other reason then there isn’t a cache of Confederate gold hidden under Griffin Park) this can only be a win-win for the Bees.

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I’d have got away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling journalists

Let the Danes shoot themselves in the foot. Their loss is our gain if the press conference is to be believed, with the key strength Thomas bringing being his ’skill set’ .

Certainly, it seemed to be ‘phrase of the day’ (replacing ‘blip’ from last week).  And even better, not a hashtag in sight to #welcomeThomas. Nice work, all round. Here’s to seeing if Thomas can have an immediate impact at the weekend

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The other arrival was that of our new ‘app’ for iPhone and the other one (Sorry, can’t mention it by name – hate the format. Awful, awful devices). Having had a look around on this already, I have to say it’s great. A very impressive product and all that better that it’ll cost you absolutely nothing . If only the main club website was this intuitive, clean and easy to use (although, equally, we aren’t alone in suffering the contractual obligation of the current template). You can get it now and, in a day for plugging ‘official’, you can find the links to the app there.

Here’s hoping to see how it holds up in a live game environment on Saturday agasint Burton Albion. Then again, one could say the same about the team.

I’m sure we’ll all be just fine. Here’s to three points.

Nick Bruzon

Brentford walking into weekend protest at Blackburn as Charlton crank theirs up

17 Nov

Blackburn Rovers v Brentford. By rights we should be talking about Gary Blissett sending the Bees into a 1989 FA Cup quarter final against Liverpool or Jota sending Mark Burridge into near meltdown as he scored ‘that goal’ (#Burridgegasm). Instead, it seems that this Saturday we could be walking into the heart of a maelstrom with a supporter protest being planned against club owners Venkys. Like Charlton Athletic fans before them (and stick around to see how they took things to the next level at the weekend) it is another protest against an ownership that is deemed to have run a once successful club to the brink of disaster. And then pushed it over the edge.

Any excuse to take a look at this one again

The Lancashire Telegraph is reporting this morning how fans plan to raise red cards on both the 18th and 75th minute – a reference to the club’s formation in 1875 prior to their becoming founder members of the football league – as a sign of their dissatisfaction with team performance and the club’s rising debts.

Will this affect Brentford? Will it play into our hands ? Will we be able to get back to winning / goalscoring ways against a team who have been  rooted in the bottom three for what seems like most of the season ? Or could it even inspire the home side to up their game?

Who knows. What I can say is that it certainly puts our own ‘problems’ in perspective. In Matthew Benham and the current board, we have an outfit making no secret of the fact that the club is looking to be run in a financially sound way. For sure, the glut of sales / departures alongside Mark Warburton were tough for many to swallow but nobody could deny a subsequent Championship finish of 9th was a false or unimpressive position. The table doesn’t lie,

As recently as our last game, the Bees were a win away from hitting the play off zone. Sadly, we capitulated against Fulham with a, frankly, woeful performance that saw the Cottagers finally record a win against us at the fifth attempt.

Our biggest supporter dissatisfaction is currently in regards to the new club crest and, whilst all observations pro/against equally valid, it’s hardly in the Blackburn / Charlton category of doom and gloom.

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I love the nod to the past in our new crest

As for Charlton, just when things couldn’t get any crazier at the Valley supporters took matters further into the hands in the ongoing protest against owner Roland Duchatelet. They visited his home town of St Truiden on the weekend of his 70th birthday with the intention of handing out leaflets to outline their concerns.

Not only did they do this but, likewise, stumbled across the man himself enjoying a birthday meal as his team went down 3-0 at Swindon. The Coventry Telegraph is amongst those with the story whilst you can see the video footage below.

For all that Brentford fans may be unhappy about certain aspects of life at Griffin Park, things could be an awful lot worse.

Charlton fans take protest up a notch.

Nick Bruzon  

Another cup defeat for Bees as Cheltenham – Charlton sees the night’s real winners.

10 Aug

Another season, another cup defeat. As Exeter City eased past Brentford to reach the second round of the EFL cup, Bees supporters were left with the scant consolation that at least we can concentrate on the league until January. Given some of the post match soundbites, I was half expecting to see that one put in an appearance alongside “We go again”. And elsewhere, Cheltenham Town produced the result of the evening against Charlton Athletic – in their programme .

Hey, at least we got to 90 minutes without conceding a goal. The ignominy of defeat coming with the solitary goal of the evening being tucked away late in the first period of extra time. Harlee Dean was quick to apologise, noting “It wasn’t good enough again. We didn’t create chances and we didn’t test their goalkeeper”, although he did go on to add that “I think as a defensive unit we were solid”…..

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)
 
Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 16 to May 17, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

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The Sky cameras show our latest attempt at the unorthodox

 

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Nick Bruzon

Don’t Panic. Or is it trouble? 7(seven) isn’t the magic number.

21 Feb

Derby County have ended their poor run. Brentford’s continues. A 3-1 victory for the Rams at Griffin Park was one which, if we are being honest with ourselves, they deserved on their first half performance alone. Equally, as we know too well, ‘deserving’ counts for nothing in football if you can’t take your chances. For Brentford to have been a goal up with ten minutes to go yet still lose (whilst shipping three) was just woeful. Derby wanted it more and got it.

The final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos and I can well understand why. Regardless of our gratitude that Brentford are in the Championship,at present the Bees look all at sea and the stats don’t make good reading:

7(seven) defeats out of 9 games in 2016.

Only 7(seven) goals scored in those 9 games – take Preston out of the equation and its 4 from 8.

10 goals against in the last three games.

QPR now ahead of us in the league table.

GP v Derby

The overcast conditions matched the mood at Griffin Park

Indeed a wonderful first half performance from one of the old guard, David Button, was the difference between 0-0 and the game being out of sight before 3.45pm. A series of world class saves kept things level, the pick of which came from one of his own players.

Unmarked in the six yard box, Jake Bidwell volleyed a clearance straight towards the Brentford goal. That man Button was on hand to parry it to his left at almost point blank range and somehow out to safety.

But going in 0-0, it seemed as though Derby had blown their chance when Alan Judge gave Brentford the lead 7(seven) minutes into the second half. And oh, what a goal.

Picking the ball up inside his own half, Judge ran and ran down the right flank before reaching the edge of the box. With Kerschbaumer making a late, unmarked, run into the centre Judge ignored him and kept going before firing home to the far corner from the acutest of angles

Whilst not quite as narrow as Van Basten in Euro ’88, it wasn’t far off. Judge had no right to score from there yet, such is his confidence and ability, he made it look simple. What a goal and what a moment for the Bees. If nothing else, the media team would have breathed a sigh of relief as it means they won’t be combing footage of the development squad to find an entrant for February’s ‘goal of the month’ competition.

And that was the high point. With the Bees’ creative juices drying up as we looked to keep it tight, things went South in the final ten minutes. The first came as the Brentford defence (rightly) called for handball. Yet only Jeff Hendrick played on and, left in yards of space, slid it neatly between Button’s legs . The previously unbeatable ‘keeper was given no chance as the rest of his defence stopped running and just waved their arms in the air, seemingly more interested in having a private game of ‘who can hail a taxi first?’.

Was it hand ball? Absolutely. Should it have stood? Probably not. But it is one of the most basic lessons of football to play the whistle, not the ball. You can’t legislate for that level of schoolboy defending. Standing still and relying on a referee to make what you believe to be the correct call is as risky a defensive strategy as they come. And it was the wrong one. 1-1.

From that point on, we were dead in the water. Cyrus ‘the virus’ Christie gave Derby the lead four minutes later, tucking in from close range and breaking Brentford hearts.

With 87 minutes on the clock, Dean Smith opted to bring on one of his two attacking midfielders in Sergi Canos (I don’t count the largely ineffectual Swift). Why he or Sam weren’t introduced earlier, or even started, I have no idea but perhaps there was a belief our fragile team would hang on to a 1-0.

And, as time ran out, it almost happened. With no working scoreboard or fourth official’s timer, the game was well into Jota time when the chance to salvage something came. And then went. Jake Bidwell’s goalbound header was miraculously saved at the death by  Scott Carson.

The ‘keeper, who seemed to have taken the advice of Rams’ sponsor ‘Just Eat’ a bit too literally, dived to his left and somehow tipped Jake’s downward header away on the goal line. If Judge’s goal had been ‘not quite Van Basten’, this save was ‘almost Gordon Banks’. Again, the angle wasn’t quite as severe as with the famous predecessor but I still don’t know how Carson got down there. Well played , that man.

And with that, it was Doncaster Rovers all over again. The chance having been and gone for the Bees, Derby broke down the other end to put the game officially out of sight, courtesy of Chris Martin. Bees fans were left feeling yellow as the indignity of another defeat in that style was further compounded by an inevitable volley of Coldplay puns.

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And this was at 0-0….

Being honest, whatever the logic behind the change in manager and decision to sell the players from last season, we are a pale shadow of the team that played with so much freedom and confidence 12 months ago. Such is the general vibe that the campaign objective now seems one of simply limping over the line and hoping we can hang in there for a fresh start in 2016/17.

But for Alan Judge and David Button, I have no idea where we’d be heading. Yesterday really would have been a wonderful chance to show a reaction after Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. Instead, up against a team on an even worse run of form than ourselves, we ended up with the proverbial damp squib.

The only plus point of the day (aside from the genuinely unexpected arrival of the ‘Terrace Talk’ cameras into the upper room at The Griffin….) was the news that Matthew Benham is back on Twitter following his second period of self-imposed exile.

No matter how frustrating an experience some are finding it supporting the Bees at present, let’s hope people treat him with the respect he deserves this time around.

Having been spoiled to ambassadorial levels last season, the luxury of the Ferrero Rocher pyramid has now been replaced by what tastes like cold leftovers. That’s a hard thing to swallow but, whatever confusion is happening on the pitch, this is still the team we support and the club we love. Saturday’s wouldn’t be the same without it.

We’ve had a tough run of games and Tuesday night against Wolves won’t be any easier. Whilst we can’t rely on the likes of Judge and Button forever, it would be great to see if Dean Smith and his management committee can inspire some of the new breed to step up and show their potential over the coming games. It looked like we might do that a few weeks ago, only to have now taken three huge steps backwards.

That said, we are where we are. Crying over it won’t make a difference. Given the sheer lunacy of the season so far, frankly I’d be happy for another 13 points and a couple of local derby wins.

And for any County fans still reading, I’m not talking about beating the Rams at Griffin Park…..

leaving GP

Fans trudge out in the shadow of Denmark’s finest

Nick Bruzon

Could current form see one of our hopes go South?

16 Feb

Come on Middlesbrough. Last night’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United raises a worrying concern for Brentford fans. Specifically that we might have to play them again next campaign. Whilst Boro’ remain in the top two, their form has hit somewhat of a rough patch with two defeats , three draws and just two goals coming in their last five league games. For a team that has beaten the Bees 6 times in the last two seasons, there is a large section of the Griffin Park faithful that will be more than happy to see them promoted to the Premier League.

Of course, we must remember that most delicious of clichés. Namely that the league is a marathon not a sprint. Believe me, I’d be much happier having the sort of form that Middlesbrough are currently ‘enjoying’ rather than that of the Bees. The point is made more to illustrate how interesting the top of the table has become.

Just three points separate first placed Hull City and Brighton in fourth. Even Sheffield Wednesday, who of course put 4 past Brentford on Saturday, find themselves just two wins off the top as the race for ‘automatic’ has locked up once more.

It’s a lovely problem to have and one that, 12 months ago, we were caught up in. Village-gate had been and gone as, with the season’s low point of ‘Charlton away’ behind us, Brentford prepared to get back to winning ways. Of course, we didn’t quite make it despite a heroic effort in, arguably, the most exciting campaign in living memory. Fifth place saw us consigned to an eighth play-off campaign where the combination of a prospective visit to the ‘W’ place, along with games against Boro’, meant that usual service ensued.

That was then. This is now. Surely Middlesbrough have too much about them to trouble Brentford for a third, successive, season? Presumably recent acquisition and former Bee Jordan Rhodes will be the man to complete their stellar line up rather than the Faustino Asprilla to their Newcastle United? If nothing else, I just can’t see Aitor Karanka having a Keegan style meltdown

Any excuse to show this one.

Still, if Brentford fans think things are ‘bad’ at the moment (trust me, they aren’t), then do take a look at Leeds United. Despite some stunning signings of their own, including Stuart Dallas and the free scoring Toumani Diagouraga, there remains unrest at Elland Road. And not just from Steve Evans trying to find a tracksuit that fits him.

Controversial owner Massimo Cellino seems intent to take on the TV companies whilst fans, who had been promised a buy out, took to projecting images onto the stadium after the Italian went back on his word. The Yorkshire Post (@Yorkshirepost) were amongst those leading with some incredible images before kick off last night.

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Now THIS is how to make a point

Let’s not pretend all is perfect at Brentford currently. Despite Matthew Benham’s life saving investment over the years, many are frustrated by the subsequent decimation of the team that achieved so much last campaign. Current form sees us sliding down the table whilst Dean Smith can’t buy a win (or a goal) at the minute.

But like Middlesbrough, I’m sure this is just a short term thing. We’ve come too far to throw it all away and I’m convinced the rebuilding operation we’ve put ourselves on (team, rather than stadium) will continue over the summer. Like it or not, Brentford are on a path of consolidation now. Last year’s team are nothing more than a warm and fuzzy glow who will rank alongside the heroes of yesteryear.

Instead, let’s just hope that Phil and Rasmus know what they are doing when it comes to any summer recruitment. Barring a miracle / disaster, we’re going to have two London derbies to look forward too along with another chance to take on a Leeds United side who haven’t beaten Brentford in our last 6 encounters.

As for Boro’, perhaps its best all round if they just exit the Championship and do what a club of their size should, conceivably, have done last time out. Good luck in the top flight !

Until then, we’ve got a game against Derby County coming up. All being well, a run out against another play off contender will be just what the doctor ordered to fire us back to winning ways.

Princess Royal Middlesbrough

Never again will still be too soon

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

Can ‘maths’ provide distraction from Swansea and Walsall manager talk?

29 Nov

Could the deal for Walsall boss Dean Smith to take over at Brentford be back on? The Saddlers’ boss had been mentioned as a potential target earlier in the month even though local paper the Express and Star deemed it to be “far-fetched” at the time. But with the trip to Bolton Wanderers upon us, the Daily Telegraph are now reporting the move is back on with Matthew Benham puling the plug on Pep Clotet at Swansea City and casting his eyes back up to the Bescot.

The story, by John Percy, can’t be deemed entirely accurate, given the description of Matthew Benham as our chairman. He may be many things – owner, investor, fan since 1979 – but I’m sure Cliff Crown may have something to say about any claims along those lines. Further, the article doesn’t actually include any quotes from any source so there is no way of knowing if it is factually accurate or mere speculation.

Cliff post MOTM 2014 interview

Cliff Crown – remains Chairman ahead of Matthew !

 

The one thing we can say is that the Brentford head coach situation has dragged on since the club ‘parted company’ with Marinus Dijkhuizen back in late September. Lee Carsley was appointed temporarily before first saying he didn’t want it, then winning manager of the month, last week saying he’d had his last game in charge and it then being announced he’d have control for the Bolton game. Understandably, both speculation and a desire for answers are rife.

Throughout this period the names of Swansea City and Pep Clotet have been the ones being bandied around. But the Telegraph is suggesting that despite an interview being conducted, Matthew is now looking elsewhere.

With Walsall just two points off the League One automatic promotion places, Smith would certainly appear to be a man on the up. Moreso, once who has a reputation for operating on what could be deemed a ‘limited budget’. Contrast this with Clotet, where Swansea City are struggling in the Premier League.

Only Chelsea and the other relegation candidates sit below them. A trip to Anfield today could see him looking for a new job, regardless of Brentford’s ambitions. Or even taking over in the Swan’s hotseat – at least, in a caretaker role – should Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool register a win.

Regardless, this remains intrigue and speculation from all parties. If any official announcement of substance is made on a Sunday I’d be amazed. That said, John Percy has since taken to Twitter to add a further nugget of information that could have Brentford and Walsall fans intrigued.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 08.48.31

For now though, we’d be as well concentrating on the game at Bolton tomorrow. Moreso, given Saturday’s results that saw QPR and Fulham both remaining behind the Bees. Victory in front of the Sky cameras will see us move four and five points clear, respectively, of our rivals and at the business end of the table, to within one point of the play offs.

After Birmingham City went down to new leaders Brighton, the Blues remain on 28 points – in sixth place after 18 games. And with the Bees currently on 24 after 17, it doesn’t take Rachel Riley to do the maths on this one.

Monday had plenty of promise already. The weekend news may just have increased that significantly.

The brentford mathematical model final

Our artist’s impression of Rachel ‘doing the maths’, Brentford style

Nick Bruzon

Will Judge be on the bench? Will Brentford be #Novemberkings again?

3 Nov

We’ve spoken a lot about Hull City AFC over the years on these pages. Primarily the ongoing attempts of owner Dr. Assem Allam to rebrand the club as Hull Tigers. Likewise, for a kit nerd such as myself, the infamous ‘tiger stripe’ shirt is one that has frequently drawn gasps of admiration. This summer we saw more transfer rumours than even our local press could cope with / generate (delete as applicable) as Steve Bruce attempted one of their beloved ‘double transfer swoops’ – eventually netting Moses Odubajo. But now, with the victory against QPR still at the forefront of our minds, Brentford return to action with the chance to finally talk about Hull City from a footballing perspective.

The best football shirt of all time

The best football shirt of all time

Friday night was special, no question. But, if we are being honest, it was a win we fully deserved. Moreso, QPR just weren’t actually that good. Aside from the two efforts from Massimo Luongo late in the first half, they offered nothing. It was as much a victory for Brentford over the event and the expectation as it was over the opposition.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. Three points are always welcome and never more so than in this fixture. Even Arsenal buffoon Richie Firth, sidekick to Absolute Radio breakfast show DJ Christian O’Connell, failed to pour cold water on the win when talking about it on Monday morning’s programme.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. Can't tell his Arsenal from his elbow

Firth (right) with O’Connell. Can’t tell his Arsenal from his elbow

One thing he did get right was the need to be vigilant tonight. Moreseo, I’d go one further and say to forget about QPR. Specifically, Friday’s win rather than the club in general. It was brilliant but it has happened. Hull City are a different prospect altogether.

They’ve only lost twice all season, one of those being against Brighton – the only team now separating them from the top of the Championship table. Indeed, an away win tonight could even see them climb to the top should the Seagulls stuff it up at Sheffield Wednesday.

In Uruguayan striker Abel Hernández they have a player at the business end of the divisional goal scoring charts, whilst Allan McGregor is that rare example of a Scottish goalkeeper who can catch. And then there’s Moses Odubajo – Brentford fans need no reminder of what he can do. It’ll be very interesting to see who comes out on top of that one this evening.

The BBC are reporting this morning that Hernández may be rested but, equally, that our own ‘man of the moment’, Alan Judge, is down as being an injury doubt. He went straight to the tunnel after being subbed on Friday night and Bees’ fans will be sweating on his availability.

Alan Judge  - will we see him tonight?

Alan Judge – will we see him tonight?

It is no coincidence that one of the on pitch highlights of our return to form has been the performance of the Irishman. Three goals and four assists have been pivotal in helping us make it maximum points from the last twelve. With the Bees now, potentially, just one point away from the play-off zone should results go our way tonight it would be a killer time to be missing our star man.

Then again, it will be a fascinating test of just how well the rest of the squad can cope without him. Moreso, given as I’m not so naïve to think that the January transfer window won’t be the usual tense occasion it always is.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather Alan starts than doesn’t. But if we need to bench the Judge, just for one night, it would be preferable to his doing himself long term harm.

Hull City are going to be incredibly tough opponents. The hardest team to come to Griffin Park so far this season. If the victory against QPR was a historic one for personal reasons, this could be the one to really make the rest of the footballing world sit up and take proper notice of the Bees once more.

In 2015 we were pronouncing ourselves #Novemberkings (please note: this column does not endorse the use of the hashtag, #Novemberkings). Tonight we find out if The Bees are in line for a repeat.

See you there.

Can we match Friday night ?

Can we match Friday night ?

Nick Bruzon