Tag Archives: play off final

What were they thinking? Norwich City defrocked

16 Sep

We’ll crack on with the visit of Norwich City to Brentford shortly but, first, there are a few bits of unfinished business in regards to Monday’s article on the Manchester United – QPR game. Specifically comments around both teams that, quite simply, I ran out of space to include.

First up, Christian O’Connell. The Absolute Radio DJ brought United fans back to earth, aswell as highlighting the state of their opponents, with the astute observation on Sunday that, “Celebrating beating QPR is like jumping for joy when you beat Stevie Wonder at Pictionary”.

And secondly, to a holier place than even national radio – St. Margaret’s Church. It was there, I am told, that the 10.30 service saw a visiting Priest addressing his congregation thus: Many thanks to the kind Parishioners who took me to watch Chelsea – Swansea. A great game although being from Uganda I am, of course, a Manchester United fan”.

So they’re not all from Surrey, then.

O'Connell takes out both Manchester United and QPR fans with one tweet

O’Connell takes out both Manchester United and QPR fans with one tweet

And from Uganda to Norwich City. If you want a proper Brentford match preview then (as ever) Beesotted , the BBC or the clubsite are your places.

For the Last Word reader, following the feature before the Brighton game, it’s time for the next in our semi-regular series – What were they thinking? The ‘best of the worst’ / quirkier (delete as applicable) of our visitors’ kits through the ages.

The best : 1988-89 Scoreline. I’ve got personal interest in this one, simply because it is the shirt worn by the Canaries when they reached that season’s FA Cup semi final. Brentford fans won’t need reminding that was the year of Gary Blissett, Manchester City and the quarter final at Anfield where Liverpool did well to eventually edge us out.

A classic, despite the apparent breach of 'Trade descriptions act' with the sponsor

A classic, despite the apparent breach of ‘Trade descriptions act’ with the sponsor

The unfortunate design : 1989- 1992 Asics. The plus point is that this one sticks to traditional Norwich City colours of yellow and green. The downside is that the green is less ‘trim’ and more emblazoned over the upper body in a way that, especially on the away kit, puts one in mind of a Waitrose delivery van.

Were the Norwich City club shop expanding their home delivery service?

Were the Norwich City club shop expanding their home delivery service?

The worst : 1992- 1994 Ribero. Imagine if your club came up with a great kit design that, after the over indulgence of Asics, got the balance between yellow and green just right. Then, they fed a flock of pigeons nothing but sprouts before allowing them to nest above the final design specs for the team’s latest shirt. This is the result.

Pebble dashed by an incontinent pigeon??

Pebble dashed by an incontinent pigeon??

The away shirt : I’ve already mentioned one of these so rather than go for the picnic blanket of the 1993-94 Asics, we’ll chuck in a bonus category:

Retro classic – the Admiral tracksuit. Seen here as sported by Norwich City legend John Bond. If, rather than being a Brentford fan, I’d grown up on the streets of Caistor St. Edmund or Diss in the 1970s I think it’s a fair bet I’d have worn one of these. Probably whilst riding a Raleigh Chopper. Stunning.

John Bond - the king of cool

John Bond – the king of cool

 

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Brentford relax as QPR & Manchester United clash

15 Sep

Brentford fans were able to take it easy on Sunday, basking in the satisfaction of another three points at the weekend (Brighton being the benefactors). With Norwich City next up, a win on Tuesday night will take us above the, currently second placed, Canaries and the returning Lewis Grabban. That’s one to look forward to tomorrow but for now I need to complete the weekend review with the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ decision that was Manchester United v QPR on Sky.

Specifically – two questions. First up, who to cheer for? Manchester United had, prior to this game, actually endured a worse start under Louis van Gaal than they had under David Moyes. As somebody who supports a team traditionally seen as an underdog, there’s always a particular pleasure in seeing the larger clubs come a cropper. And in England they don’t (Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal aside) come much bigger than United.

Last season’s spectacular fall from grace was a thing of beauty for all of those outside of the Home Counties and Greater Manchester to behold. The traditional United fanbase stunned by their team’s unprecedented self-destruction as even Europa League qualification evaded them.

So when things continued in the same vein this campaign, I won’t pretend I wasn’t pleased to see more of this. Cripes – even Will Grigg managed to rediscover his prolific shooting boots against the Red Devils. But then Louis went shopping and normal service looks like it has been resumed – well, it was fun whilst it lasted.

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

United allowed Will Grigg to rediscover his early Brentford form

But if we didn’t cheer for United then the alternative was the Loftus Road mob. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d willfully hope they won. No offence to any QPR fans who may read but, like Fulham, a victory over our West London neighbours is always one to savour. Any sign of our geographical rivals tripping up is a moment to appreciate how good life can be.

So in the end, it was one of those where you just sat back to see what the footballing gods throw at you. With United meting out a 4-0 thrashing that, at one point, looked like it was heading towards those fabulous brackets that come with 7(seven), it’s fair to say that this Brentford fan was left happy with the outcome.

Second question. United play in red shirts, white shorts and black socks. QPR play in (predominantly) blue and white shirts, white shorts and white socks. In theory, this shouldn’t have presented any kit clash beyond, perhaps, a switch to blue shorts.

So why, short of some Fergiesque excuse about being unable to see each other against the crowd, did the visitors need to don their third kit? Moreso as it is almost identical to the home version. Socks and shorts are both white but the shirt simply drops the blue.

It seemed a totally unnecessary exercise in justifying a superfluous third kit. One for the marketing men to answer. Still, if they carry on with results like this then there may be a rather hefty fine to pay. Going to need to shift more than a few extra shirts to cover that one.

Interestingly, Brighton’s blue and white didn’t seem to present any problems against our red and white in the weekend game. With the club now posting their YouTube highlights, you can savour that fine win once more (and see how two teams cope with a non-existent kit clash).

 

View from the terrace - there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

View from the terrace – there was no problem picking out bue and white against red and white at Griffin Park

Seagulls left following the trawler as Clem works more ‘magic’

14 Sep

Brentford sailed into the Championship play off zone after a thrilling 3-2 win over Brighton. In a performance considered by most to be our best since going up, the Seagulls had to be content with scraps as the trawler marked ‘S.S. Brentford’ left Brighton floundering in her wake.

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.

Despite Exeter City dropping two points, Clem's form still remains better than that of Fulham

Despite Exeter City dropping two points, Clem’s form still remains better than that of Fulham

What were they thinking? The best of the worst

13 Sep

Finally, match day! Brentford welcome Brighton to Griffin Park for a Championship clash that could see a win for either side take them into the play off zone. No doubt the interweb will be awash with match previews and talk on this subject, so I’d like to make my focus on our visitors slightly different – with due apologies in advance to any Brighton fans who may be reading.

As a self confessed kit-nerd, the Last Word has plenty of features on the best and worst of the shirts Brentford have worn over the years. We’ve had some pretty decent stabs at changing the red and white stripes around but, with a few odd exceptions, they follow a fairly similar template.

Like the Bees, since their inception as Brighton and Hove Albion for the start of the 1901-02 season our visitors have largely worn stripes – albeit blue and white. However, unlike the Bees they have experimented with these to a level that has fluctuated between stunning to “What were they thinking”?

In the first of a semi-regular feature, the Last Word is delving into the kitbag to look at the best, although largely worst, of our opponent’s kits through the ages.

The best : 1985-87. Remember the controversy at Griffin Park when we lost our (back) stripes for two seasons? Not only does this remove them from the front but then replaces them with horizontal ones – both thick (shoulder) and pinstripe (main body).

By all rights this should look like a prototype for the Loftus Road mob yet somehow, thanks to the class of Adidas, it works. A retro classic.

Despite ditching the stripes, it's a modern classic

Despite ditching the stripes, it’s a modern classic

The unfortunate design : 1989-91 Supplied by the good people at Sports Express this goes straight to the bottom of the pile for it’s uncanny resemblance to a Tesco carrier bag. A masterstroke in subliminal advertising or just a really, really bad design? Either way, one that should never be recycled.

Must.Resist.Deliberate  'Tesco bag / shirt (l-r)' caption mix up

Must.Resist.Deliberate ‘Tesco bag / shirt (l-r)’ caption mix up

The worst : 1991-93 deckchair If the Tesco bag was a fashion faux–pas, the club were only destined to repeat the same mistakes with their next attempt. On the surface, nothing wrong with this Ribero effort, until you see it in conjunction with the shorts.

I can only imagine that, with five minutes to go until the kit design had to be submitted and nothing ready, the club marketing director took a look at the deckchairs on Brighton beach whilst heading into work and job done.

'Massacre Mark' with your predictions, goes the text. Why bother - the kit does a good enough job

‘Massacre Mark’ with your predictions, goes the text. Why bother – the kit does a good enough job

The away shirt : 1991-93 There were a few contenders but the Chewits kit, unveiled at the 1991 play off final (they lost) has to scoop the honours. Seriously, what WERE they thinking?

Even worse, the club compound the felony by running this with matching shorts – was this an early 90’s thing at the Goldstone?

Truly a stomach churning, headache inducing effort that was more reminiscent of the popular 80s sweets than an away kit designed to strike fear into the opposition.

1991-1993 saw record sales of Alka Seltzer in the Brighton area

1991-1993 saw record sales of Alka Seltzer in the Brighton area

 

The play off final 'reveal' saw the mascot in an equally dismal effort

The play off final ‘reveal’ saw the mascot in an equally dismal effort

Brentford supporter’s marathon trek begins today

11 Oct

What do you get when you add 92 plus 1?

10 Sep

As football challenges go, this one is up there with the best of them.

Regular users of ‘Twitter’ may have seen Brentford supporter Simon Cox’s recent postings about ’92 plus 1’. It’s his (and three friends) attempt to drive to each of the 92 league grounds in the top four divisions in a mere 92 hours.

Their 2,600 mile journey will start and finish at Wembley, sandwiched between the two World Cup qualifiers on 11th and 15th October. All of this in an effort to raise £10k of sponsorship on behalf of ‘Help for Heroes’.

I caught up with Simon in the build up to his challenge, to learn more.

Why on earth are you doing this? It’s complete craziness I know, but it’s something we as a team are looking forward to and that I’ve always wanted to do.

The visit to all 92 football clubs has been done in 89 hours and 94 hours before, but never sandwiched between two England internationals.

More to the point, how on earth will you do this? I’ve done the maths and that’s a distance of 28 miles an hour, every hour, for 92 hours. Forget the maths! We won’t have time to worry about it! It’s simply ‘do or die’ from the challenge point of view. We’ll get in a car and drive. The trick is to keep the vehicle going as long as possible without stopping and we have 100 stops planned. 92 football clubs, 6 fuel stops, 1 Nandos and 1 KFC!

Looking at your website, you have got a number of former players involved. Who has put their hands up to help? We have been touched by the support of people in football. It all started with a tweet from Peter Shilton, which has led to former professionals joining us on part of the challenge.

Bees Legend Paul Gibbs is joining us at QPR and will follow us across South West London. Micky Hazard (Spurs and Chelsea) has kindly offered to do the North London leg with us, whilst former Leicester City and Cambridge United striker Trevor Benjamin will be joining us between Sunderland and Newcastle.

Norwich City legend Daryl Sutch is joining us around Norwich and Wayne Fereday, once the fast man in football I believe, will be joining us on the South Coast.

We may have a couple of others to unveil nearer the time. It’s truly amazing that they feel they wanted to help us in some form.

Can supporters turn up at the grounds to come and meet you? Yes! We are encouraging football fans to meet us at their local grounds, even if they don’t support that club. Football fans from all clubs live around the world so why not be proud of your club and show your support for our challenge and charity! We would love to complete the challenge with photographs of fans across the UK. This is about uniting together for our forces.

What constitutes ‘visiting’ a ground? Is it a case of get out, get a picture and get going? Or do you have any more elaborate plans for certain stadia? For us, this is a challenge against time and time will not allow us to take in a game, have pitch side visits etc. It’s about driving to the grounds, checking in on social media to prove we have arrived and then taking pictures of us there.

Will your website be publishing a progress report / details of where & when you will be over the course of the 92 hours? The best place for progress will be our social media places and full directions will be on our www.92plus1.co.uk website. This will contain updates of the challenge, photographs and general football banter!

Will pictures of yourself at the grounds be published over the course of the challenge? Oh yes! We want people to see who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.

How and when will you sleep (will you sleep)? We will sleep on our travels in the vehicle. It’s not going to be comfortable, but neither is sleeping rough on the front line, which our forces people do to ensure we can sleep comfortably.

Tell us a bit about the four of you doing this? We are four football fans uniting for the 92plus1 challenge. Mark is currently serving in the RAF at Brize Norton and is an Aston Villa fan. The minute we received a good luck message from Paul McGrath, he turned into a five year old!

Darren is a Liverpool fan who served for 16 years in the RAF before being medically discharged. He enjoys doing charity work and is currently a college lecturer in Norfolk.

Mike is a businessman from Milton Keynes and was a former professional footballer at Wycombe Wanderers before he had his career cut short with injury and then there’s me, the lunatic, who runs my own business, but enjoys living every day as if it’s my last.

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(Simon Cox at a Wembley press conference – the rest of the team, presumably, held up in traffic)

Is there any ground you are looking forward to visiting in particular? Griffin Park, of course! I love the place and it will always be close to me. It’s a proper football ground. Personally, I am looking forward to visiting the various statues outside the grounds, seeing the Hillsborough memorial as I’ve never seen it and sparing a few moments of thoughts for those caught up in that tragic event. I am also looking forward to visiting the smaller clubs like Fleetwood and Morecambe whilst I’ve always bottled the trip to Carlisle so at least I can cross that one off the list!

I’ve never been to Old Trafford, Goodison Park or The Stadium of Light so they will be new experiences.

I read on Sunday that you may end up having to wear a ‘Fu***m shirt at Griffin Park? You support Brentford – surely this can’t be true -? How and why could this happen? I’ve done some crazy things in my life and this is up there with them. Not the challenge but the shirt thing. I have friends who follow the other “club” and trust me, the shirt was offered very quickly! They know this will hurt but it’s all in a good cause! We have a target of what we would like to raise for our charity and if it means pulling on a Fulham shirt for ten seconds, I will.

TV’s ‘Treasure Hunt’ had Kenneth Kendall. ‘The Interceptor’, Annabelle Croft.  Do you have a crack team at ‘home base’ (your control centre, not the DIY superstore) to give you help as the challenge unfolds? Yes we have some fantastic friends and family who will help us and feed us information. To be honest, the break away from the computer will do me the world of good! Saying that, I will be taking my laptop with me. I won’t be able to rest without communication so we will be geared up with communication on board.

Image  (TV’s ‘The Interceptor’ – Simon & team will be in something a bit more modest than a Maserati) 

What will be the toughest part of the journey? I think that will be the long drawn out stretch to Plymouth from Bristol Rovers. The leg of the journey is 126 miles and will see us over the 2,000-mile mark so it’s going to be mentally draining.

How can people get involved? There are a number of ways and we appreciate people’s help. They can help on social media by retweeting our tweets, sharing our content on Facebook and helping to follow us on Foursquare.

People can also visit our website www.92plus1.co.uk , download our flyer and email to people, promote it on their own social media or generally display the poster in their local pub or chip shop window.

Donations are gratefully received and we appreciate all the support we are receiving from our sponsors. There is a link on our page for donations and we are inviting people to donate to our nominated charity for this challenge. What our forces personnel go through in conflict is a concern and what both Mark and Darren have seen in service is the reason why we have opted for Help for Heroes as our charity.

How much interest have you had from the media and will we see you promoting this anywhere in the build up / over the course of the trip itself? The media interest has been amazing with local radio stations around the UK interested in covering the story. Phil Parry had us on his show a few months ago and we’re delighted to have received interviews from BBC Radio Gloucester, BBC Radio Sheffield and Heart FM in Wiltshire. There will be more to come!

The British Forces Broadcasting Services are currently promoting the challenge across their network as well which means it’s going as far as Cyprus, Germany and the Falkland Islands.

If all goes to plan, what time are you due to reach Wembley on October 15th? Presumably you have a car park space sorted? Parking space? What’s that! Yes of course we have one lined up. We are due back at Wembley at 5pm IF everything runs smoothly, but we all know what our roads are like!

And how on earth will you sit through an England game? They can be hard enough work at the best of times, let alone after you’ve pushed yourself through this. We won’t be watching the first game if I have my way! There is no way I will be able to sit still for 90 minutes for the first game when we need to go on the challenge. The second one will depend on how we are feeling. It’s a big challenge and it will be tiring and the last thing I want to do is sleep through a game – the last time I did that was in the 2002 Play Off Final against Stoke City when the beer beat me and I can just about recall the national anthems!

Simon – it’s been a pleasure. Good luck. And I hope we can catch up after the event so you can tell us how it’s all gone Thank you for your time Nick. I would be more than happy to catch up with you even if it’s to tell you how I really wore that F***ham shirt…….

If you’d like to read more about the challenge and follow the team’s progress, you can link to their website or twitter address of @92plus1. You can also donate here .

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