Tag Archives: Pep

Club and fans help take the edge off cup disappointment.

20 Feb

Who wanted to play Manchester City, anyway? Swansea City were rewarded with an FA Cup quarter final at home to Pep Guardiola’s all conquering Premier League outfit after beating the Bees on Sunday. Brentford, denied a 30 year (wow!) anniversary rematch with the club supported since a child by goal scoring legend Gary Blissett.  

Bliss Manchester City

The iconic Bees cup image was so close to getting a modern day revamp

We’ve all seen it by now. We all know the performance was as devastating in the second half as it was exhilarating in the first. Swansea City were worthy winners. A combination of spurious defending, blistering pace and just plain old bad luck proving to be our undoing. The coach journey home was about as tough as it gets – the feelings far to raw to try and process just what had happened at The Liberty stadium. Yet having now given it a few days to reflect, are there any positives we can take from what happened? And, for the record, being able to concentrate on the league does not count !

On the field, I’m struggling. Ollie Watkins’ goal was a work of art. Magnificent build up play that showed rampant Brentford at their free-flowing best. Yet, if anything, in retrospect it only made what came next even harder take as the Bees not so much waved the white flag as rolled out the red carpet to our hosts. 

IMG_1783Special mention to Kitman Bob, though. The previously unseen red number worn by Luke Daniels being another tick in the box marked sartorial bliss. In the interests of avoiding a revolution, we’ll spare any further comment on the brown/orange being sported by the rest of the team. What’s the point of pouring petrol on a chip fire by eulogising further about something that others deem to be anything from vile to the sole reason for our struggling on the road this term.

For all that this season’s FA cup was looking like it might turn into one of the most open tournaments in its illustrious history, all off a sudden we are in a situation where 6 of the final 8 are all from the Premier League. The sole representation from outside the top flight coming from Millwall and, of course, Swansea City. No doubt the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United will fancy themselves to add another notch on the bed post of tournament success. The chance of an unfancied team winning it now disappearing faster than Sunday’s half-time lead. In the end, top flight form once more took hold and the potato skins can now stay in the recycling box.

We can’t talk about Sunday without recognising the effort made by Brentford to help our fans get to Swansea and get into the ground. The second the game was moved it became a logistical nightmare. We all know that Sunday engineering works were due to take place meaning any attempt to travel by rail (and replacement bus) . So for that fleet of coaches to be provided with little to no not, and laid on for free, was nothing short of amazing. Add an £11 price for 2 tickets( one adult and on child) into the mix to realise what an effort was made by our club to help the fans. Nobody can doubt what we do off the pitch.

Nowhere moreso was this proven by the team in the ticket office. Much as I love being part of any ‘singing’ section towards the back of the stand, travelling with a five year old presents it’s own challenge. Namely because the second anybody might chose to stand up (apparently, it does happen) his own view is obscured. Even when on foot himself ! So imagine the huge grin on his face when our request for tickets towards the front of the stand was met with front row, middle. Right behind the goal. Whilst we all know what a fantastic job the ticketing team do, that they continue to care so much is nothing short of incredible. What a way to represent our club.

Let’s look at the fans themselves. The coming together on the coaches rather than the usual train service meant previously unheard conversations began as groups of unconnected supporters were thrown into the powder keg of an 8 hour round trip with no means of escape. I saw one tweet from Oh Fuffuxake! / @TheChauffeur! on Twitter noting that, “Weird old day yesterday. Spoilt only by a 45 minute debacle that was out of my hands. However, can I thank the lads on the coach home. New pals, new drinking buddies and BIG laughs…

On a personal note, I finally got to meet regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush  / @BernardQuack after a chance encounter in the stand. Like ‘Push up Brentford’ man, Jumper man and Brentford Bot, BQ is an essential part of the club’s rich tapestry of ‘fans to follow’. Whilst our paths have never crossed previously, outside of cyber space, like ‘The Chauffeur’ it felt like the sort of day to make new friends. Thank to the vagaries of pre-allocated ticket distribution, that’s another ‘face put to name’.

Indeed, the random meet ups continued even last night. Sitting in a Kentish Town pub awaiting the arrival of an Aston Villa supporting friend (unlike his club, he did eventually show up) prior to watching popular music’s The Lemonheads, my own attention was grabbed by one of the people I was sharing a table with. The ears couldn’t help but prick up on hearing him say, “I couldn’t believe it. We were 1-0 up and cruising at half-time. They did us 4-1 in the end”. That could only be Brentford and sure enough, it was. Even from the most abject of football finishes, our club found a way of uniting supporters.   

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The Lemonheads do their thing in Kentish Town

Yet for me, one of the abiding moments was on the way home. It was provided by Simon. Harry Potter. On another coach. His enthusiasm for all things Brentford unable to be crushed by something as trivial as a trashing in the cup. Reports across social media suggesting that his coach was very much the life and soul of an otherwise potentially sombre return journey to West London. I won’t deny the smile on my face at the thought of the fun being had on his bus (please note: your definition of fun may vary)  as ours was punctuated by nothing more than the faint tapping of iPod headphones and a chorus of snores drifting up and down the aisle (not me, for the record). 

Let’s nor pretend that Sunday ended well in a footballing sense. Let’s not pretend we weren’t secretly jealous when Manchester City came out of the hat. Imagining what might have been. Mostly a 0-7(seven) beating, I’d guess. But there was enough happening elsewhere to help maintain my faith in a club that really cares. In a group of supporters whom, whilst obviously hurting, still found a way to come together. Who still look out for each other.

Even just the nods of recognition and messages saying “Did you see….” in regards to mine and HB’s ‘crowd moment’ from the TV coverage showed us looking out for each other.  His own world being slowly shattered as the enormity of our situation took hold being one that was, unwittingly, shared with the wider Bees’ community. People’s kind words afterwards have been nothing but appreciated more than anyone can imagine.

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The bottom lip is beginning to quiver.

Sure, we got dumped out of the cup. I’d love to have gone through. Instead, it wasn’t even close. Yet by the same virtue, everything else that happened around Sunday afternoon already has me desperate to get back to Griffin Park on Saturday. 

See you there.

Nick Bruzon

What better incentive do we need?

21 Nov

Brentford entertain Nottingham Forest today as football returns to Griffin Park following International break. With the Bees itching to get back to winning ways after Lee Carsley’s hot streak was brought to an end in the captivating encounter with Hull City, let’s hope the rest has done us good. Certainly, better than it did hapless QPR who we’ll finish up with following their latest capitulation on Friday night at Middlesbrough.

Brentford Forest

Brentford take on Nottingham Forest at Griffin Park today

However, we can only start at Griffin Park where Nottingham Forest will be looking to put to bed a worse travel record than ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ .

With all due respect to John Denver, whilst the original is twee enough specific reference needs to be made to the ‘all star cast’ version that crashes through what is, otherwise, a bona fide entrant into my top ten films of all time, Armageddon, with all the subtly of, well, an asteroid hitting the planet.

Frankly, life is too short as it is without having to spend precious moments listening to Steve Buscemi attempting ‘barber’s shop quartet’.

Steve Buscemi – come for the asteroids but stay for Con Air

But I digress. Massively. Forest have only picked up one point and one goal from their last four games on the road. It is a run that currently sees them on a three match losing streak away from home, with all three of those defeats (Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and, most recently, Preston) being to nil.

The Bees, meanwhile, know that a win and other results could put us to within four points of the play off zone. And with all the current pep talk coming alongside Lee Carsley’s suggestion that a new manager could be imminent, there is bound to be further incentive to impress.

Is that too simplistic an approach to suggest ‘three points’ for the Brentford? Of course it is. I’m not a (complete) idiot and have been watching football far too long to know that anything is predictable. It was only in early October that the Bees were lurking in similar territory to where Forest currently sit whilst their last game saw a 1-0 home win over play off chasing local neighbours Derby County. Indeed, a win for today’s visitors will take them level with QPR on 20 points – just one behind ourselves.

But if any further incentive were needed it is the chance to put even more distance between us, Fulham and QPR as West London’s top team. Purely from a Championship perspective. I discount Chelsea (as things stand). Nice though it has been to see them stuff things up spectacularly in recent months, a home clash with Norwich City will surely be just what they need to set themselves up for the forthcoming relegation six pointer with Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

West London football map

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

Checking the football scores after a night out brought that sweetest of news – our local rivals doing all they could to hold out at Middlesbrough before falling victim to a 93rd minute penalty. And whilst we wouldn’t, normally, celebrate an end of game spot kick debacle on these pages (I’ve got a nagging feeling that we might have once been involved in such territory) you need to waive all such rules when it comes to local bragging rights.

Another opportunity for them to overtake us has come and gone. Instead, it is now the Bees with the chance to storm further ahead and, more importantly, higher up the table.

With the BBC reporting that Josh McEachran is fit to start, might we even get first glimpse of the former Chelsea wunderkind today? Josh is fit. The Judge is back. Jota is training and Sam Saunders has already returned to league action – even if it did mean telling Alan McCormack a few ‘white lies’ in regards to the corner kick routines at Blackburn. Hey, as long as they aren’t taken short I don’t care what he said !

The squad is almost at some semblance of normality once more although questions about who plays up top remain, given Marco Djuricin is likely to be out until the year end. Lasse Vibe is the obvious choice and he’s been talking it up well in midweek.

I’m a big fan of the great Dane and hope he not only gets the slot but continues with the goals that have started to come in recent games. Besides, having sat through the ineptitude of Nick Proschwitz and the awkwardness of seeing Will Grigg battle with his form and team set up, we could be in a hell of a lot worse positions.

The build up from Alan Judge and the finish from Lasse for 3-0 at Charlton remains one of my highlights of the season. More of the same today would be very nice, thank you.

Roll on 3pm !

Nick Bruzon