Tag Archives: Penalties

The morning after the night before. Eric Dier and Andy Bush save the day.

5 Jul

Well, yesterday was all a bit bonkers. From start to finish. But then again an England World Cup win will do that. A World Cup win on penalties no less (not a typo). It was just fantastic in and around Brentford but likewise, central London too. You know something amazing must have happened when random commuters start talking to each other on public transport. Yet it was that sort of moment. The spirit of the night before having carried on through. It wasn’t a dream. That really DID happen. People still buzzing about the moment Eric Dier hit the winning spot kick and a nation exploded in joy.

 The. Moment. What a celebration.

I have to be honest here, the prospect of the journey into work was not an appealing one. This was not so much the thought of reaching the office where I was actually looking forward to discussing the game. With my team but more specifically a very good friend of mine (sorry, sorry – I’m not doing an Ian Moose) who is engaged to be married to a quite wonderful girl from Colombia next month. There was genuine curiosity as to the vibe in their house. Something which eventually transpired to be extremely diplomatic and sporting, even if the same couldn’t be said for their neighbours when Yerry Mina scored that heartbreaking 94thminute equaliser.

The reticence was more about travelling in to Waterloo on a packed train in the heat after waking up in what could politely be described as a tired, emotional and fragile state. No amount of air-con was going to save this journey if I had to stand up for a half hour with an exasperated estate agent from Putney shoving his armpit in my face. That, assuming the exasperated screech of “Can you pleeeeeasssse. Move. DOWN”, into an already jammed carriage, had actually worked this time. Urghh. Armpits.

DhPZEXaXkAE7tGKAnd so I’m not too proud to admit this. I took the ‘break glass in case of emergency option’. I’ve had it in the backpocket for a couple of months c/o Absolute Radio DJ Andy Bush but never quite had the guts to use it. Until now. But people seemed chatty. People seemed friendly. People seemed in a genuinely good humour. What was there to lose?

So I used it. Not once. But twice. On the overland and then the tube. Even better, it worked. Twice. A five commuter Mexican stand-off around the one available seat on the Jubilee line being won by my pointing to the badge and saying “Look, does anybody mind if I take that?”.

And then it got awkward. Getting up at my destination, a pregnant lady simultaneously stood up. She had her own, infinitley more legitimate, ‘baby on board’ badge. I didn’t know where to look as she clocked mine and said “Oh…

Cripes. The ground could have swallowed up. Her in genuine need (albeit having been given a seat) and me, a commuting charlatan. She continued, “I LOVE your badge. And I do miss it!”  Get in. Eric Dier, you beauty. You did this. I’m a Brentford fan but big up to the Spurs player and the whole team for achieving this level of bonhomie across the country.

Likewise, big thanks to Bush (below) and my fellow commuters for allowing me to reach the office fully refreshed. And you can follow him on Twitter, at @bushontheradio which I’d thoroughly recommend if you like football. Or radio.

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Everton fan Andy Bush is more than just a DJ

Anyway. Work was fine. Clients were chatty. The mood was great. The journey home a simple one. Indeed, the only sour note was stopping outside The Griffin on the way home to chew over the fat of the night before with landlord Gerhard. He seemed somewhat distracted, and understandably so.

A TV crew were filming on Brook Road south when this chap just pulled up in his van outside the access road, jumped out and left it there. Something that, I gather, also stopped Brentford fan engagement manager Ryan Murrant from being able to later perform a ‘U-turn’. How inconsiderate!

He (the van driver) seemed involved in some sort of fracas with the film crew because he kept going off to his vehicle before running back to them once more. Go figure??

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The film crew interrupted as people watching do nothing to help

The only other highlight of the evening was a now familiar face to the nation, Brentford fan Billy Grant of Beesotted, doing his TV thing once more. Live on BBC News 24 from what seemed like a Victorian parlour in the heart of Moscow. The amount of black and white framed pictures on the walls were as distracting as the random strangers that kept walking through the back of his shot. A Rucksack here; a backwards baseball cap there. Terrible manners. But ever the pro, Billy did his thing and regaled us with his own tales of ‘carnage’ and hugging strangers.

Great work, as ever, from Billy. Here’s to seeing what he has to say in the build-up to the Sweden game.

Billy blog thing

Billy on the BBC jumbotron

 

Nick Bruzon

All of which brings us to the usual post article, P.S. The Last Word season /five-season reviews which remain available for download. ALL proceeds received are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust so why not help out this wonderful part of our club whilst providing yourself with some relief for the commute, the bathroom or just whilst relaxing on holiday.

Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself how it all began

England do it in the most dramatic style. What a night. What a moment. What a video.

4 Jul

There are no longer any words. That was simply stunning. Incredible. Odds defying. A ‘where were you when…?’ moment. (For the record, The Griffin pub in Brentford). England have only gone and done it. They’ve won a game on ITV. And how. Penalties. That cruelest of mistresses yet, at the same time, the most delicious of tastes should your team pull it off.  Thanks to Jordan Pickford’s save and Eric Dier’s winning spot kick, England did. The place, Moscow. The opposition, Colombia. The occasion, a World Cup last 16 game.

It’s all a bit of a blur this morning. Beer was consumed. Probably in greater volume than would ordinarily be allowed on a school night. But this was a special occasion. The World Cup which has already delivered so much now had an even greater prize at stake. The chance to take on Sweden (who had earlier beaten Switzerland 1-0) for a place in the semi-finals. Didn’t England take their chance when it came to the crunch?

Talk about the see-saw of emotions. Don’t expect much of a match report – then again, if you’re reading this you’ve likely seen the game. We can talk about the cynical play from Colombia. About a referee so far out of his depth as to need armbands and a lifeguard.I half expected to see The Hoff (David, not Philipp) come running on in his red shorts to help out the man in the middle.

How Harry Kane was made to wait so long for the chance to take his penalty in regular time I have no idea. It seemed close to four minutes, the amount of protests being lodged to the ref. The amount of time wasted with Colombia playing silly beggars on the penalty spot, even after he reconfirmed his decision. That, in itself, probably about the only thing he got right after the player had been brutally wrestled to the ground. It was a move as unsubtle as Hulk Hogan on Andre the Giant and penalty could be the only call. Yet even that seemed in doubt for a moment.

No worries. No pressure (at least, none shown) and it was blasted down the middle for 1-0 England after an hour. The pub erupted. The country erupted. But there was still a good thirty minutes to go. Colombia became more desperate. More ill-disciplined. Trying to drag England into it with spoiling tactics that I’m overly loathe to write about for fear of sounding all Daily Mail. But when the referee was letting them get away with daylight robbery then why not persist? Instead I’ll leave this thought here…

And ironically, it was deep into the stoppage time awarded to make up for all the faffing around with the spot kick that they equalised. There was no doubting the placement of Yerry Mina’s header or the joy from the Colombian supporters. Likewise, the collective groan that went around the pub. And wasn’t that Billy Grant up on the big screen – grimacing at us all the way from Russia? His face, etched in the moment of ‘Aaarrgghhhh”, mirroring what everyone felt?

Yes it was. The man with a magnetic attraction to TV cameras and microphones had struck again. Legend. Whether it is England or Brentford, his appearance is as reliable as Glenn Hoddle spouting nonsense (something something something Love Train? ) Whilst yours truly was too cack-handed to get his phone out in time, Twitter was the place – with thanks to David Goodwin and @JimmyMack84.

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Billy Grant – the pain was mutual

I have to be honest, extra time wasn’t good. It didn’t feel good. The psychological pressure of seeing a team come so close only to be denied in the 94th minute weighing heavy on the fans. England seemingly on the back foot and Colombia looking the more likely to win it, if we’re being honest.

But Gareth Southgate’s men are made of stern stuff. They hung in as the game drifted towards the inevitable spot kicks. A means of progression England have only ever succeeded at once previously, back in Euro ’96 against Spain. The pressure. The Tension. The stress. The anticipation. And that was just in The Griffin. Yours Truly had to pop outside to take stock. A look up at Griffin Park and then back in to take the pain…..

Colombia to kick things off. Falcao. 1-0. But not for long. First up for England, Harry Kane. Yessss!!! You beauty. The man must have ice running through his veins. 1-1. Cuadrado 2-1. Rashford 2-2. Muriel 3-2 . The first five kicks scored. A marked contrast to the awkwardness of those in the Croatia – Denmark game.

Up steps Jordan Henderson. No…… Saved. Colombia in the box seat. This was theirs to throw away now.

Boom – by means of reply Uribe hits the woodwork. My word !!! Next up, Trippier. Nerves shredded. We can barely look. But we do. Get in. Back of the net. Spice World The Movie. Jurassic Park. He’s done it. Pick that one out. 3-3 .

Carlos Bacca walks up. This is horrific. Brutal. A form of torture that should, by all rights, have been outlawed under the terms of the Geneva convention. But Jordan Pickford didn’t have any of that on his mind. Not outwardly. What a save. The Colombian denied finding the Bacca the net.

This is it. This is THE moment Eric Dier positions himself.  England have been so close. So close all game yet now this has taken us the very edge and beyond. Fists are clenched. Faces set stern. Eyes wide. People frozen in anticipation. Edge of the seat stuff. Not that many were sitting at this juncture. For a moment, nothing. And then an eruption of sound, of joy, of ecstasy that meant England were through. The net bulging. The pub screaming as one. Strangers hugging strangers and beer flying everywhere.

Football. Bloody hell. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t wait for Sweden on Saturday. Same time, same place.

That’s me done for today. Instead, here’s THE moment……..

Yesssssss!!!

Nick Bruzon

All of which brings us with sledgehammer like unsubtlety to the Last Word season /five-season reviews which remain available for download. ALL proceeds received are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust so why not help out this wonderful part of our club whilst providing yourself with some relief for the commute, the bathroom or just whilst relaxing on holiday.

 Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

 In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself how it all began….

 

Get set for more penalties, more pressure, more shocks and more swaps…..

2 Jul

Another day, another two teams reached the World Cup quarter-finals. Sunday’s action saw Russia and Croatia get through on penalties at the expense of Spain and Denmark respectively. With it, the end of the Griffin Park World Cup dream as Henrik Dalsgaard of  Brentford ™ was left to taste that cruelest of footballing pain. And we have a winner in the Last Word shirt competition.

What can you say about the action yesterday? Well, perhaps action would be a tad generous for two games that finished 1-1 and didn’t have anywhere near the excitement of the previous day’s clashes. Then again, the absolute pivotal criteria is to secure qualification and I can’t imagine anyone in the Russia or Croatia camps losing any sleep over their team’s performance.

Who cares if they went to penalties? For the neutral, perhaps one of the most exciting ways to see a game decided. The ultimate battle of nerves and ability over pressure. Yet it would be fair to say that in both games the result could have been decided by a spot kick late into extra time.

The Russia – Spain encounter saw Sergio Ramos felled in the box late on. Without wanting to sound all Arsene Wenger, “I didn’t see the incident”. This for no more reason than I was jacked up to the eyeballs on Panini stickers. A hedonistic stash that was something akin to the Last Days of Pompeii – Ned Flanders style – was making its way around The Griffin in a coming together of about 8 separate sticker books.

Panini stickers The Griffin

In the end it all got too much. The stickers rather than the football. I couldn’t focus on the ‘needs’ list . Sorry, I mean Harry’s ‘needs’ list. A sea of numbers and garish kits flashing before my eyes. It was all a blur with mountains of Panini everywhere (the stickers rather than the toasted sandwiches – Gerhard isn’t diversifying that much) .

Imagine that scene at the end of Scarface – except with the drugs replaced by a stash of Lucas Biglia, Danny Wellbeck, Lasse Schöne et al. The plus point of all this is that we’re down to our last 27 ‘needs’. If anybody can help then here’s the list.

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27 to go. Can anyone help? 577 since acquired

But we digress. A lot. Having missed the Ramos incident it was time to steel myself for penalties. And what a set of spot kicks. How the Russians held their nerve. How Spain lost theirs. Big time. I’d not seen that much stuttering on the run ups since Norman Collier picked up a microphone. Yet with the Spanish doing their best to hit them straight down the corridor of saveability, the host nation triumphed. And boy, how they celebrated.

Probably not as much as the VAR team whose relatives were subsequently released from whichever holding cell that Mr. Putin had them in. Cancel the trip to the salt mine. Hey, as noted I didn’t even see it live but having caught up since, I’m not upset anyway. If Vladimir is reading (let’s not even go there) yours truly has backed the hosts at 40/1 to win the thing. Purely for research purposes and a wager that can happily slide down the pan if it ultimately means an England triumph.

With Russia through it was the turn of Denmark and Henrik Dalsgaard of Brentford ™ . They couldn’t have got off to a better start, scoring with less than a minute on the clock. They couldn’t have had a worse reaction – conceding just three minutes later. Yet that’s how things stayed. Pushing on through to full time and then beyond, another penalty shoot-out was as much a certainty as Brentford losing a play-off final. But then drama. With just three minutes left, Luka Modric was given the chance – quite rightly in this instance – to score from the penalty spot. Instead, Kasper Schmeichel dived to his left and smothered the ball, leaving the match alive and another shoot out beckoning.

It really was a wonderful moment in an otherwise dungheap of a game. Football as cagey as you could ever expect to see between two evenly matched  teams that nullified each other in the attempt to haul themselves over the line. Yet with the prize on offer, who could blame them for playing to go through?

This time it was Danijel Subasic, the Croatian goalkeeper, who was the hero. Schmeichel may have saved a further two penalties in the shootout but his counterpart stopped three to leave his team mates celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup. Somebody really should use that one.

All over TW8 there were tears for Henrik Dalsgaard. He played the full game, again, and can leave the tournament with his head held high. Both he and Brentford have only come out of this with our respective stocks rising further. Whatever else happens in Russia, Henrik can be sure of a hero’s welcome when he comes back to Griffin Park.  I can already hear Peter Gilham loosening his vocal cords.

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For now Henrik, the World Cup is over. Roll on Qatar…

As for today, Brazil – Mexico promises to be an absolute cracker, followed by Belgium – Japan. Whilst the bookies would have you believe that these are foregone conclusions for the ‘B’ teams, I wouldn’t bet on it. Get set for more penalties. Get set for more pressure. Get set for more shocks…..

And finally, congratulations to SteveFoxBee (aka @TheDoomBoy) on Twitter who won our Last Word e-book lucky shirt draw. You can see the moment further below.

For now though, the books both remain on line for download with any funds raised continuing to go to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust:

Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself how it all began…

Thank you.

Nick Bruzon

Italian has a new ‘that penalty’ as Roy draws a parallel.

3 Jul

How on earth do you follow Friday’s news? The story of Jake Bidwell jumping on the 237 from Brentford to QPR was more than surpassed by that incredible announcement of a Bees boss in triple transfer swoop. Sorry for repeating this line but I just love how we’ve finally pulled this most longed for of footballing curios out of the bag.

Like orange balls in the snow, goalkeepers scoring, outfield players having to go in goal, a sub subbed and the request to the crowd for a replacement ref, this is the sort of thing that normally resides in the back of the box marked ‘oddities’.

Actually, can I also add : visiting team forgetting their kit and having to play in the home side’s away strip. Although, personally, in those circumstances I’ve always though we should just adopt the old school ‘shirts v skins’ rule from gym class. Or was that just my school?

But I digress. The answer to the opening question being that you can’t. At least, on a Championship front. Even Brentford have more than overplayed their trump hand in fan satisfaction with that wonderful triumvirate of transfers. That said, two further points of note from Friday.

Firstly, that the players were photographed in two of the three standard poses. Bearing the ‘signing scarf’ aloft and then, later, sitting at a table in front of a blank sheet of paper. Sadly, there wasn’t to be an accidental reveal of the new home kit. Looks like we really will be kept waiting until mid-July for that one. Bob, if you are reading, please put us put of our misery.

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Romaine sports the signing scarf

And secondly, it seems our rivals have more than a passing interest in all things Griffin Park. Ten out of ten for value to those QPR fans who kindly visited these pages yesterday to leave us their thoughts on the Jake Bidwell article.

All I’ll say on that one is, “The table doesn’t lie. 12th, wasn’t it….“?

Instead, we are left to dwell on last night’s EURO 2016 action between Germany and Italy. A game which provided a further addition to the aforementioned list. Namely that of the penalty shoot out.

After further exhausting the players with a half hour of extra time, we were treated to as bad a display of penalty taking as you could ever hope to see. And it was brilliant.

With the Italians seemingly coached by Diana Ross, I was half expecting Marcello Trotta to come off the bench at one point. Instead, we got Simone Zaza dancing up to the penalty spot. Shuffling awkwardly like a giraffe with diahorrea trying to hold it in before hoofing it miles over the bar, Tarkowski style. That he had been brought on seconds before extra time ended for this one, specific, job made it all the more tragic.

But he wasn’t alone. The normally infallible Germans failed. Twice. This, before normality resumed and players from both sides began tucking them away for fun. In the end it was, of course, Germany who went through. Penalties. Come on. We all know what happens there and, sure enough, form told.

It was an utterly compelling end to a hard fought game and for all the wrong reasons. Or, as a neutral, for all the right reasons. Because that’s all most of us were last night. England’s capitulation still seems as raw now as it did on Monday night whilst Gibraltar didn’t even make it out of the qualifying group to reach France.

With Wales (and belated congratulations there) achieving a first ever semi, it only makes you realise even more what England missed out on. Oh for the chance to have even been able to think about cocking up penalties.

Instead, its not even a case of ‘what might have been’ and more one of ‘how on earth did Roy get it so wrong’?

Talking about this last night to one New Road observer, the conversation got on to how well England would have fared had Marinus Dijkhuizen been in charge. Of course, that’s just conjecture but win, lose or draw the one thing you can say is that at least we’d have got some straight answers after the games. Marinus certainly liked to tell it how it was, unlike Roy whose pre-prepared resignation speech was followed the next day with an opening gambit of “I really don’t know what I’m doing here”.

Which then immediately drew another Bees related parallel. With thanks to supporter Antonio Bergasse (and his moment of the season)….

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Nick Bruzon

The things you learn on the radio…

22 Jan

We’ll get onto the build up for Preston – Brentford along with the fall out of number 26 and his refusal to play against Burnley momentarily but I’d crave your indulgence for a moment as we go off on a tangent. Kind of.

Just as this week has seen the ten year anniversary of Bees United taking ownership of Brentford from Ron Noades, there is another decade long celebration taking place. Today, infact. It is ten years since DJ Christian O’Connell began his Absolute Radio breakfast show.

What’s this got to do with Brentford, you may ask? Well, aside from keeping me sane at the ungodly hour at which this blog is normally written Christian was the man who, finally, put the Cameron Diaz rumour to bed. Does she support Brentford, improbable thought it sounds, or not?

For anyone who doesn’t know the jaw dropping answer, you can find out what happened here. Direct from the horse’s mouth. Although to be clear, Cameron if you’re reading (she isn’t ) I’m not suggesting that you are in any form equine.

OC – thanks for the tunes and laughs over the years which, as supporter Matt Davis reminded us on Twitter last night, even included a 2006 appearance at Griffin Park. Specifically, in a video shoot for the DJ’s World Cup single “Hurry up England” which crashed in, and then out, of the hit parade at number 10.

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The OC met Cameron and talked Brentford..

So from a funny man to an unfunny one. Our number 26. Or, more specifically, Dean Smith talking about him to Phil Parry on BBC Radio London.

I am sure, by now, we‘ve all heard the interview in which our Head Coach confirms that, amongst others things, the player is back in training with the first team after going on strike for the Burnley game.

For me, the key turn of phrase is in regards to Preston where Dean notes, with a perhaps unfortunate / deliberate choice of words: “He won’t be available for selection on Saturday but its one of them, you know, that we’ll play by ear

But then it gets interesting as he adds, “He’ll be available moving forward, that’s for sure”.

Is there a chance we’ll see him in a red and white shirt again? Unlikely for some time, if at all, is my opinion. This smacks of diplomacy in a bid to diffuse what is clearly a very awkward situation for all parties.

I feel for Dean here. He’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t . We’re talking about a hugely talented centre back who you’d be desperate to have in your team. Freeze him out and, eventually, any sale value decreases to nothing. Play him and you send out an awful message of player power corrupting. Sell him and it shows that throwing a wobbly can help a player find the exit door should he be looking for it.

I don’t know what the answer to this one is. I’m just the numpty on the terrace, after all. What is clear is that we’ve been backed into a corner and, like taking them short, it’s not going to work out well for anyone.

Discussing the matter on Twitter last night with several supporters, Luis Adriano (of ‘Penalties’ fame ) put forward the idea of “T*@ky – the movie”. With Martin Clunes tipped to play the leading role, it’s one that I doubt will ever get off the drawing board although I live in hope.

Perhaps, though, we’ve got more chance of seeing his own table top game. I stumbled across this gem from Parker on the Internet last night which, with a light bit of jiggery-pokery c/o photoshop, could provide a winner.

 

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Striker – we need one. But not this sort

Promising “Fast single handed action” (seriously??) – not my words – could we see this in the club shop any time soon? Unlikely as,  if nothing else, Parker’s other claim is blatant false advertising .

Players actually kick the ball.” Not at the moment, they don’t.

Let’s hope this mess gets sorted out soon.

Nick Bruzon

Is there anybody left to pick for the Preston game?

19 Sep

Brentford entertain Preston North End today, looking to get back to winning ways after the draw at Leeds United and midweek defeat away to Middlesbrough. But, it seems, our well-documented injury list has got even worse with Maxime Colin the latest to be added, if reports are to be believed.

Maxime Colin - may be back in the stands for the Preston game

Maxime Colin – may be back in the stands for the Preston game

I like Thursdays. That’s ‘media day’ at Brentford and so it means the local press get to quiz players and management about the forthcoming games. The follow-up articles generally contain a lot of decent material, with genuine quotes rather than the rumours of ‘double transfer swoops’ that occupy so much more of the rest of their space during the week.

So fairplay to West London’s premier journalist Tom Moore who, ahead of the Preston game, has put together his own list of the latest injury news after quizzing Marinus. In an article that I am sure most Brentford fans have already seen, our head coach admits he’s struggling with the bench whilst the aforementioned Colin suffered a blow in training.

The update from Marinus being that, “He just blocked a ball with his knee. It’s possible he could play but it’ll depend how he wakes up”.

Meanwhile, Jota will be out for another three – four weeks minimum, Sam Saunders isn’t even training with the squad (for fitness reasons, nothing personal) whilst James Tarkowski has a calf problem although is hoped to be back next week.

Jota won't be rushing into action any time soon

Jota won’t be rushing into action any time soon

On the plus side, reports around Josh McEachran and Lewis Macleod both sound a lot more positive whilst Nico Yennaris is fit. Repeat. Nico IS fit.

This news was slightly tempered by Marinus not being drawn on whether the player would be in the squad, but that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.

Brentford fan and author Luis Adriano (whose football based psychological thriller ‘Penalties’ is currently available) gets the award for ‘tweet of the week’. Whilst Tom Moore’s article provides a great overview of the current scenario, Luis nails it in less than the obligatory 140 characters allowed by twitter, with this observation:

Top tweeting from Luis Adriano

Top tweeting from Luis Adriano

I can’t help but admire the brave face being put on things by Marinus, given he is having every plan ruined by factors well outside of his control. By all accounts the first XI gave an admirable showing against Middlesbrough but the squad is getting thinner and thinner. Any coach can legislate for a few absences, but to have a dozen key players missing for an assortment of injury related reasons would spanner anybody.

Equally, one does have to wonder how much of this is bad luck and whether any is of our own making? Whilst one would sincerely hope the former, it is somewhat frustrating that Macleod, McEachran, and Colin have all been taken out against our own players (or twigs, in the case of the former). And that’s just who we know about for sure.

On Tuesday night at Middlesbrough we could only name six substitutes instead of the permitted 7(seven). And that included two goalkeepers. Now Maxime may be out, too. It’s getting to the point we may just have to stick our players in the deep freeze for a week and then begin the defrosting process on a Friday night. How else could we keep them from further harm before the next big game?

Of course, this will never happen. Cryogenic technology has not yet advanced sufficiently to allow the reanimation process to have even been successfully tested on lab rats. Indeed, it is not thought that scientists will be ready to attempt such a procedure until 2045.

Hopefully even Lewis Macleod will be fit by then.

Nick Bruzon

Could the Bees go top? Or will the Terriers bite back?

6 Dec

Brentford head to Huddersfield Town today in a game that is loaded with significance and opportunity. I wrote yesterday about the retrospective importance of this game, going back to the pain inflicted on the Bees by Huddersfield back in 1995. However, this is now about looking forward and the fact that, quite simply, a win could see us go top of the Championship table.

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.

Is this a moment worse than ‘that penalty’ ? (with video)

5 Dec

The mere mention of the name Huddersfield Town, Brentford’s next opponents in the Championship, is enough to send shivers up my spine. Whilst, rightly, most people will be focusing on our current form which has seen Warbs scooping Manager of the Month , Andre take the on field prize and the possibility that the Bees could finish the day at the top of the table, my mind will (in part at least) be elsewhere.

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.

Three stunning pictures as the times are definitely changing.

29 Aug

We’ll get to the pictures in a moment but I need to start with a follow up on yesterday’s column regarding the video reports produced by Brentford and Birmingham City supporters (specifically: Beesotted and Davo’s diary).

One of the questions left open was whether Birmingham City joining forces with Davo, thus allowing him to show the pitch whilst posting his ‘independent’ production on the official site, left his work open to ‘editorial input’ or ‘selling out’?

Well, I’ve been contacted by several supporters to shed further light on this topic. Shane Ireland summarises the reasoning and, clearly, if this is an accurate reflection then it suggest Birmingham City are moving with the times.

It seems the Football League filed copyright complaints and the footage was, initially, removed from YouTube. However, some swearing aside, the version that now features on the clubsite is the same that appears, once more, on Davo’s own YouTube channel.

You can see his comments in full, along with others, on yesterday’s piece but to summarise Shane tells me :“The move by which BCFC allowed Davo to continue producing his content was a very popular one when they announced he would be doing it for the club’s official YouTube channel at the start of last season.

As BCFC could clearly see how enjoyable his videos were, they essentially ‘employed’ him in a position where he made his fan videos for the club, allowing him to set up a new YouTube channel in the process, which proved an extremely popular decision.

The videos which are uploaded onto BCFC’s official channel are very similar to the one’s Davo uploads to his own, with only the noticeable swearing edited out. The club even keep in the ‘all we care about is BCFC’ line from our ‘We don’t care about Carson’ song.”

Could Brentford step in to do something similar with Beesotted? Would Brentford want to step in to do something similar with Beesotted? Indeed, would Beesotted be happy to go into a ‘partnership’ with the Brentford media team?

These aren’t questions for me to answer but one thing’s for sure; they certainly seem to be working well for Davo, Birmingham City and, more importantly, their supporters. And if one club has set precedent then I’m sure it’s only a a matter of time before others look to follow.

Right, picture time. Browsing Twitter this morning, I stumbled across this from @antiquefootball. Ted Drake of Arsenal being carried off the pitch at First Division (we have been there, kids) Brentford back in 1938.

They certainly did things differently back then. Less a stretcher and more a sack of spuds.

The 1930s saw Griffin Park host top flight football and primitive medical techniques

The 1930s saw Griffin Park host top flight football and primitive medical techniques

Next picture. Ever wondered what World, European and double Olympic champion Mo Farah would look like, posing with Buzz, Buzzette and an oversized novelty cheque?

There’s a really important story on the club website about the partnership between his ‘Mo Foundation’ charity, the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Sport Impact.

You can read the story in full on the official site and, in the short term, here’s a preview of that picture.

Forget the Olympics. Meeting Buzzette is, surely, the highlight of Mo's career to date

Forget the Olympics. Meeting Buzzette is, surely, the highlight of Mo’s career to date

Final picture – the FA Cup preliminary round takes place on Saturday. Exotic sounding teams such as Thurnby Nirvana, Prescot Cables, Runcorn Linnets and Spoting Khalsa give their fans the chance to wave a home made (preferably tin foil) trophy at a game.

It’s something we’ve all (I hope) done – including yours truly, pictured below (NOT one of the 3 pictures).

Nothing says FA Cup tradition like a home made trophy

Nothing says FA Cup tradition like a home made trophy

However, it seems that this is a tradition that extends to the very top of the footballing pyramid. The 1987 Cup final between Coventry City and Tottenham Hotspur saw, probably, the finest example ever of this noble art.

The place: an empty Wembley stadium.

The channel: BBC1

The cup waver – none other than Des Lynam.

Viewers to the build up show for that day’s final were treated to the below. Frankly, football doesn’t get any better than this.

Great work, Des.

Des Lynam rocks the moustache, sports jacket and home made trophy combo

Des Lynam rocks the moustache, sports jacket and home made trophy combo

Birmingham City and Brentford fans – trailblazers or sell outs?

28 Aug

With the disappointment of Adam Forshaw and Tuesday night against Fulham put to one side, I’ve been trawling the Internet for a different Brentford story. And thanks to a most unlikely source – Birmingham City – I’ve found one.

It’s no secret that even outside of ‘official’ circles we have several fanatics involved in promoting Brentford FC. And, by promoting, I mean more along the lines of ‘getting involved’.

The work of the Beesotted crew is, of course, a longstanding yardstick by which to judge others but then we have all other levels of involvement.

There are the bloggers such as myself and Greville Waterman with his BFCtalk; the fanzine teams such as Thorne In The Side; the authors, such as Luis Adriano or, again, yours truly (‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA cup’ and ‘Penalties‘ are still both available on kindle). Even the supporters themselves, through the medium of fancam.

Which brings me on to Birmingham City. For all the past rivalry and banter their fans are, ultimately, much like our own. You get those who travel, those who like a drink in an ‘away’ pub, those who arrive two hours early to clap the players off the coach and those who write the blogs, publish the fanzines and shoot the home produced videos. Diehards who each contribute their own small piece to the labour of love that is ‘supporting your team’.

In the case of Birmingham City things are slightly different. Trying to find a picture of Clayton Donaldson in a ‘blue shirt’ I stumbled across the below video by a chap called Davo. Like the Beesotted ‘match videos’ it features the visit to the opposing team and various fan interviews.

 

However, unlike the Beesotted videos – their equivalent from the Birmingham game being below – there are two distinct differences which, I’d wager, are probably related.

 

 

The first difference being that the Birmingham video shows actual ‘on pitch action’. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t BAFTA winning quality and you are never going to say to yourself: “Sorry Manish. I would tune in to the football league show but, to be honest, why would I want your multi-angle HD coverage when I’ve seen a blur of Clayton through the back of somebody’s head?

That said, what they do have is an added sense of ‘being there’. We can’t all be lucky enough to travel and this footage just adds to the sense of still remaining part of that giant football family.

Frankly, I love it. I think this is a great touch to complement a really well put together piece of work. Even for the ‘home’ team, it gives a unique view on the game as, in the case of Brentford, we’d never see action from the Wendy House.

To be honest, I’m not sure how Davo is able to get away with this. As the Brentford fancam adverts constantly tell us, “Under the terms of the Football League’s broadcast agreements, supporters are not allowed to publish any footage taken from inside a ground when a Football League match is taking place..”

But here’s the trade off and, I’d guess, that second key difference. A version of the Birmingham City video is also available via the official club site. And with any ‘official’ publication you are liable to the possibility of censorship and editing,

Not just that but a potential loss of respect from the very people you are appealing to. If the likes of T.I.T.S. or GPG could only exist through official club channels, there’d be immediate accusations of “Sell out” all round. I love these sources purely because they ARE independent.

That’s not to knock the club. They produce their own highlight packages and Beesplayer features. Football is a business and they are appealing to their consumers – the fans. The media team are trying to promote ‘brand Brentford’ and why should they allow anybody else to muscle in?

And this is where we come back to the earlier ‘Manish’ point. It’s one which has also been highlighted by the Premiership recently looking to prosecute people for publishing highlight clips on YouTube.

I’m not a (complete) idiot and realise that there are things such as contracts, licensing agreements, exclusivity deals etc. However, there is also such a thing as technology, which is ever evolving.

Social media and mobile phones are going to present people with more and more opportunity to share these sort of clips. Technology which is going to be harder and harder to police. Just ask Getty images!

These are clips that, of course, are hardly of the highest quality (relative to the TV coverage or official highlights packages) and unlikely to steal any potential viewing figures. I could watch either of these two video reports but I’d still, also, want to catch up on the Football League show or club YouTube site.

I could read Greville’s latest blog column but I’d still make sure I juxtaposed this with Chris Wickham’s match report.

The point being, as ever in a very roundabout fashion, that I’m not sure what the footballing authorities (at whatever level) are scared of?

People are never going to turn away from official coverage because some well organised fans have bolstered their video report with thirty seconds of match footage shot from the back of the terrace. Reports which have all the more credibility for the fact that they remain independent.

Our clubs do an excellent job of Youtube and ‘player’ footage.

Davo at Birmingham has produced a really impressive piece of work that has the bonus of ‘unique’ match footage although who knows if/what the club have held back. Even if nothing, supporters will always have their suspicions that this is just more ‘club speak’.

Beesotted have the innovation of prematch ‘pub debate’ followed by, action free, match reports. That said, they still push the envelope and were, for example, the ones ‘on the ground’ with a video camera at the post-Preston impromptu promotion street party

All these teams produce different pieces of work but all complement each other. Is there really no margin for a bit of crossover? Like it or not, social media is going to make this happen more and more.

Whilst, rightly, I can’t see the likes of the BBC, the clubs or the Leagues allowing fans to transmit full match footage, is the odd minute or two of handheld camera footage REALLY that big a threat? Indeed, could you argue that this brief taster will only drive supporters towards official sites to see ‘the real thing’.

Or is money and exclusivity that big a deal that any threat should either be obliterated or legitimised through an official partnership? I do find it interesting that Birmingham City have even had to go down a partnership route. Is it a case of embracing change or simply ‘making a deal with the devil’ ?

My take on it? Official footage is high quality but a few minutes of supporter shot film gives that true feeling of being part of a fanbase; of supporting your team; of stoking further interest. And given how the club’s bottom line is, surely, to attract ‘customers’, then what easier way to do this?

If the video crews, bloggers and fanzine writers are prepared to do this then, surely, they are just saving the marketing teams a bucketload of effort and providing hours of publicity?

One thing’s for sure, we haven’t seen the last of fan shot video reports. The only decision being how hard the clubs and League want to police them or, if done in moderation, how much they are actually prepared to accept this, unintentional, free advertising.

Looking for Clayton, I ended up with Davo's diary

Looking for Clayton, I ended up with Davo’s diary