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The top talking points from the World Cup draw (and the small matter of Brentford v Fulham).

2 Dec

Brentford v Fulham. Derby day pt.2. It must be rare for a local game to have been less under the spotlight during the build up as this one. First up, we’ve had the residual bad taste of Monday night’s 2-2 with QPR. Not so much the result as Ian Holloway doing that desperate back pedal after slagging off his own supporters for ‘sneaking out’. And then there was the small matter of yesterday’s World Cup draw for Russia 2018.

We’ll start with Fulham. A win will take Brentford above the Cottagers in the league table and, subject to other results, into the top half of the Championship. I can only call this one as three points for the Bees. Lasse Vibe had two wonderful finishes against the not so super hoops , with the assist from Romaine for the second being something quite special. Sergio Canos showed his class, starting a game for the first time in I don’t know how long. Expect more of the same. Just perhaps, not, the 93rd and 94th minutes.

And if you’d like to read more…. there’s talk about both games in the ‘Park Life’ column that appears in today’s match day programme. Whilst I’d crave your indulgence for that self-promotion it is mentioned more for a sledge hammer like unsubtle link to, erm, today’s match day programme. (#seamless).

With this edition highlighting the ‘Rainbow laces’ campaign (and on that subject, don’t forget to check out the Beesotted podcast this week – below), cover star is none other than Andreas Bjelland. Danish International Andreas Bjelland. The World Cup’s Andreas Bjelland.

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This week’s cover star…

Yesterday’s draw saw England line up against Belgium, Panama and Tunisia. A kinder draw you couldn’t have asked for, on paper. Moreso when the two teams who get through will play one of Poland , Senegal, Colombia or Japan in the last 16. On paper, as kind a start as one could hope for. On paper…..

Yet for Andreas, things are slightly different. Whilst there doesn’t seem to be an out and out ‘group of death’, Denmark won’t have it easy agasint France, Austrlia and Peru in Group C. Mind you, I’m sure they’ll all be thinking the same about Denmark in group that Nick Harris ( @sportingintel on Twitter) has noted is the rankings tightest.

Also clear is what Harris declares to be “A clear Group of Life – the Group A of hosts Russia”. I would also accept: ‘The Group of dull’

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Along with the hosts it is a pool that features Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. Luck of the draw is, indeed, a wonderful and fortuitous thing.

Yet it is a group that also gives us our first chance of that World Cup staple: “For those of you just coming in from work, the score is….. “ Expect that at about 5.17pm on Thursday 14th June during the opening a game. A 4pm kick off between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

That opener is, likewise, a game you can expect to see on ITV. Certainly, if the BBC ‘live updates’ are to be believed.

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And talking of the BBC (Nurse, bring me the industrial crowbar) Phil Neville may have been England’s dullest pundit at France 2014 but there was no doubt he was on form during the draw. Robbie Savage sticking his head above the parapet and getting immediately slapped down.

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Savage and Neville weren’t the only pundits getting involved. Anybody worth their salt had an opinion. And also Ian Moose. Sadly, there was to be no picture of him and ‘My good friend, Vladimir Putin.’ (Something Diego Maradona did achieve, for the record). Instead, the best Talk Sport’s ‘finest’ could do in that ongoing quest to blow his own trumpet was a snap with Carlos Valderrama.

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Other things to look out for will be FIFA no doubt calling the first knockout stage ‘The round of 16’. Like the Fake Olympic terms : Team GB and ‘to medal’ (see also: Wednesday’s column – I’m still thankful for the chance to vent) something that is both wrong and which has been allowed to seep into popular parlance over the last few events. It’s actually the Last 16. I would also accept: The second round.

Have selfie stick, will travel. Brentford fan Billy Grant will be one of many Bees in attendance. He’s already confirmed he will be in attendance. His roving reports providing an wonderful flavour of what happened last time out in France – the great and the not so. Stan Collymore, he ain’t. Expect more of the same this time around (all being well, the great) .

Still, all that’s to come. There’s over six months until we start sticking wall charts to fridges, whip ourselves into a lather of excitement before an eventual quarter final capitulation for England.

Until then, here’s to forgetting about QPR on Monday. There’s a West London derby to win. Fulham are on the way over to Griffin Park. And I can’t wait.

See you there.

And if you need some more listening before kick off, here’s the link to that Beesotted podcast….

Nick Bruzon

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A bigger shock then Brentford beating Manchester City? Could Murray miss the cut? Beesotted get the fans voting.

10 Nov

We’ve seen some upsets in our time at Brentford. Most notably , the defeats of Manchester City and Sunderland in the FA Cup although I’m sure each of us have our own personal favourite over the years. Yet what is happening right now at Griffin Park could easily outdo all of them put together. The team from Beesotted are running a poll to find the greatest Brentford ‘misfit’ and the results are not, necesarily, going with form. (Or should that be anti-form?)

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Bliss does his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round

 

In their recent podcast – which you can find here – the subject is discussed.

No definitive conclusion was reached and so in a Richard Osman ‘World Cup of…’ style, the vote has gone to the public. Whilst my own gut reaction to this question will always stop and start with one name – Murray Jones – the other candidates are fast delivering a trip to football hell. Paul Davis, Steve Claridge, Lorenzo Pinamonte, Neil Shipperly and Callum Willock are amongst the names to strike terror. Whilst, for the kids, we’ve the likes of Big Nick, Will Grigg and The Hoff up there .

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Will Grigg scores – possibly

The group stages end at abut 7am this morning when, I would imagine, Beesotted will go live with their Last-16 head to head knockout. Or the Round of 16, as nobody except FIFA and ITV would call it.

Yet at the time of writing it is a round which could potentially see the biggest star falling early. Heat 7(seven) has seen Murray Jones trailing for most of the the last 24 hours. Whilst (currently) back out in front – surely a first – could he fail to make the grade? Again.

Your vote counts. PLEASE. Get involved. I can only see this heading into a showdown between Jones and Proschwitz. A battle between those of us who were here in ’92 and those of us who are newer to Griffin Park. Do keep your eyes on @Beesotted today and get involved.

The other shock was the non-inclusion of Betinho in the group stages. Dave, Billy (Grant) and team have noted that : “Betinho was a huge debate but the verdict was he was a loanee who played less than 45 mins, has no real previous playing history & hasn’t gone on to do anything since. Plus he didnt have ‘Murray Jones folklore”.

Yet for me, he arrived on such a wave of hype. Such a wave of potential. Yet ended up being such an anti-climax. A lightweight 12 minute flash in the pan. As Rob Rankin (could be) noted on Twitter last night: Remember the BBC news story shocked at little old Brentford bringing in a Sporting Lisbon player with one name.

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Even the BBC got excited

So if you do nothing else today, take a look at the Beesotted Twitter feed. It promises to be a scintillating knockout stage.

Nick Bruzon

 

PS – Biggest on pitch upset. For me, it will ALWAYS be Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City. At least, to date. Who knows what January could bring….

PPS – If you really get in the voting mood, I’ve got a sister-poll up and running. To coin a phrase, it does what it says on the tin….

 

A ball of confusion in the cup. Matt Dyson talks Warbs, radio and football ahead of Brentford v Nottingham Forest

11 Aug

Another League cup draw; another ball of confusion. If the first round draw was a farce (Charlton being drawn both home and away) things were no better second time around. Brentford will meet QPR in the second round of the League Cup. Seemingly the game to be played at Griffin Park on first call but the somewhat odd use of a third pot to determine ‘home’ or ‘away’ left fans and officials what we will politely call ‘baffled’. All this before we get to the main event of the next few days – the visit of Nottingham Forest in the league.

Who’d have thought that using three pots to determine a two team cup tie would end in anything but a cock up? And sure enough, it did. Despite the Bees being called as ‘home’ by former player John Salako, question marks were immediately raised over the colour of his venue ball. Even official, once more displaying this season’s new found sense of humour, hit the nail firmly on the head.

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They weren’t alone in wondering just what was going on. Supporter comment on twitter quickly cut to the nub of the matter

Lou Boyd: Hounslow v Hammersmith in a World Cup qualifier I heard

Lee : And Dianne Abbott has concluded that the game will be played on the 43rd September

Oh Fuffuxake!: Why don’t we just play at Craven Cottage?

Even a QPR fan, James Skinner, getting in on the action: How about doing the first half at Brentford, then everyone gets a bus to Loftus Road for the second?

Emma Briden: Please don’t get changed to away cause going to that shit hole once a season is enough..

Alas Emma, it eventually transpired that Brentford are due an additional visit to Loftus Road. Instead of home comforts we have cramped seating, no beer and apathetic support from our hosts. On the plus side, the choice of opponents means that passage to round three remains very much on the cards. How good would it be to see an early season rematch between Jota and Jake Bidwell?

At least it wasn’t just us who suffered. Charlton, Bristol City and Ipswich have also had home ties rebranded as road trips.

Red, H = home. White, A = away. Simple? Surely? Apparently not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – just give me Jim Rosenthal, a lectern, some fascinating facts and 64 balls. Problem solved.

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Confused faces at the draw. Home? Away? Help? Anyone?

Still, all that’s to come. Next up for the Bees are Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon. With Mark Warburton in charge.

We all know how that story ended previously and, whilst the full facts behind his departure seem limited to that explanation about the changed structure and approach differing from his football philosophy, there are more than enough other theories and suppositions doing the rounds. Warbs remains a hero to many; not so much others. That’s football and we’ll probably never know the whole truth on this one.

Yet whatever the catalyst, we’ve all moved on. Mark is now manager at a Nottingham Forest side who almost went down last season but this campaign have won their opening games. Millwall in the league and Shrewsbury Town in the Cup. You can’t ask for more than that and Matthew Benham will no doubt be more than keen to get one over his former charge. But can we do it?

stickers-matt-videoWell, to find out we’ve caught up with one Forest fan whose voice may be familiar to anybody up and about between 6-10am.  Absolute Radio DJ Matt Dyson. The co-host of Saturday afternoon show Rock ‘n’ Roll football, he also mans the sportsdesk on the award winning Christian O’Connell breakfast show and even has a weekly podcast, Gameweek, talking (and singing) all things Fantasy Football.

We can only start with Mark Warburton. A legend to many at Griffin Park and now carving out a new reputation at the City Ground. What’s your take on how he has settled in? And the opinion of the broader fan base? Well he kept us up! So that was good.  He comes to us with a good reputation and seems like the right man for the job.  He’s got his backroom team around him and I hope our new Greek owners will give him the backing he needs.  We should certainly improve this season, after years of back to back decline under the Kuwaiti fridge magnate who used to run our club.

Warburton has made a few good signings from Scotland – a place he knows well from his time at Rangers.  I’m glad he’s not spending loads on big name players on huge salaries whose careers are on the way down.  He seems to be going for young hungry players and I think that is the key to getting out of the Championship.  Not big names who don’t give 100 per cent (e.g. Nicklas Bentdner).

Look at a club like Manchester United, where the spectre of Fergie still looms over anyone to follow in his footsteps. He’s up there in the stand looking down; a stand with his own name on it. Yet at Forest you have one of the greatest names the game has ever seen to contend with. Can Warbs escape from the shadow of Brian Clough? Well Fergie was literally in the stands at Old Trafford watching Moyes like a red faced angry hawk every game, God has left the building.  Brian’s name is quite rightly adorning what used to be called the Executive Stand (despite very few execs ever going to watch the Tricky Trees) and I don’t think his amazing legacy should affect our current manager.

What he achieved is something that all clubs should try and emulate.  Leicester came close, but didn’t get those back to back European Cups.  No cigar, I’m afraid guys.  Clough is quite rightly celebrated to this day by all Forest fans, for being the best thing to’ve ever happened to football in this country. So, no, I don’t think it will effect Warbs.

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Warbs – in there somewhere. Will he be as popular at the City Ground as Griffin Park?

Will he bring success back to The City Ground? We’ve had pre-season optimism many times in recent years. We get through managers quicker than most people get through bottles of shampoo.  I’d just be happy with a season of consolidation and then a play-off push next year.  He’s the best man available to us right now and I hope he’s given the rime and backing to achieve big things.  But the crucial thing he needs is TIME.  Some old trigger-happy owners never seemed to realise that.

Having survived last time around, you’ve already sold Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough for £14m. Good business (he missed a sitter at Griffin Park last season) with the chance to re-invest ? Or will this make things even harder for you?  He is a very natural goal scorer the like of which we’ve not seen at the City Ground for many years. But he had a really bad knee injury and was still recovering last season.  We signed him for £5 million from Peterborough a few years back, so I think it’s good business and a good profit.  I was hoping he’d go to a Premier League side though, as he will no doubt score against us this season.

Where do you see Nottingham Forest finishing this season? I’ve called 5th for Brentford so optimism is allowed.  I’d genuinely be happy with mid-table. After all the years of hurt, we just need to consolidate.

As a fan, what are your long term aspirations for the football club?Premier League, obvs.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Working in radio, specifically Rock n Roll football on a Saturday afternoon, how often can you get to see the team play? In short, not very often.  I’m really gutted to me missing the Brentford game because I’ve had a few great times stood behind the goal in the huge open terrace at Griffin Park.  Lovely old ground and the whole pub in each corner thing is also nice. We never seem to do very well here though, So it’s probably for the best that I’m not at this one.

You star on the breakfast show alongside fellow football fans in Christian (Southampton) and Richie Firth (Arsenal). Like Forest, Southampton have been up and down over the years but there seems to be a sense of entitlement from the Arsenal ‘faithful’ like no other club I’ve seen. Do you have any sympathy for the likes of Richie and those jumping on the ‘Wenger out’ bandwagon?  No. No sympathy whatsoever for the spoiled brats that go along to that ground and  are more interested in talking to their girlfriends on FaceTime than watching the match.  They’ve never known really bad times so aren’t in a position to fully appreciate the good times and they throw their toys out of the pram whenever they drop out of the top 4.  They don’t know they’re born!

Also, I’ve got quite a few mates who are glory hunting Gunners I’d much rather talk football with supporters of REAL football teams with proud histories like Forest and Brentford (…apart from the ‘proud history’ bit).

Christian once debunked the urban legend that Cameron Diaz was a Brentford supporter when interviewing the ‘Something about Mary’ star for the breakfast show. But what’s the scoop with Jason Statham? Whilst the likes of Stuart Broad, James Dean Bradfield and even Su Pollard are confirmed Forest fans, is this another story that’s too good to be true?  Sounds like bollocks to me

Why should people listen to Rock n Roll football on a Saturday? It’s a bit of an alternative to the serious, formal and frankly boring sports coverage that’s saturated the media in this country.  We give you top music and all the goals as they go in with one of the best young comedians in the UK at the moment, Rob Beckett, on the wheels of steel.  We also regularly intersperse the football with clips of Elaine Page laughing, Ronaldo selling blankets and Nigel Spink talking about his love of Ribena.

You can read more from Matt in this week’s ‘official’ matchday programme. The Gameweeek podcast can be found at the i-tunes store   – its free and well worth a listen for anyone with an interest in football – fantasy or otherwise.

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The Gameweek podcast – out now

Nick Bruzon

 

As both managers speak, who will come out on top in FA Cup third round and who will start?

6 Jan

Brentford begin their FA Cup campaign on Saturday and it couldn’t be more intriguing if it tried. Martin Allen, a man who needs no introduction to Bees’ fans, brings his non-league Eastleigh side to Griffin Park for a third round tie that has so much to offer. But where to start ? And who will start?

Staff wise, the two names on everybody’s lips at the moment are Jota and Hogan. The former having returned from his loan in Spain this week with supporters desperate to see this most popular of players back in the red and white. One can only imagine the roof will come off when his name is announced, let alone when / if he makes it onto the pitch. Is it too soon? Could it be the perfect opportunity to reintegrate him to the first team? What a lovely decision Dean has to make.

As for Scott Hogan, stories are flying around thick and fast in regards to bids coming in fro the likes of Watford and West Ham. To those of us on the outside looking in, his sale looks a foregone conclusion but could Matthew Benham hold firm in regards to his most coveted asset?

Starting Scott on Saturday, effectively cup tieing the player prior to any potential move,  would be a key sign that we are not looking to sell. However, injury looks to have taken that one out of Dean’s hands anyway. The spasm in his right buttock which led to Scott being substituted in the 93rd minute on Saturday has now been changed to a glute injury, according to BBC Radio London.

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Is Scott on the injury list? Or the shopping list?

Whatever the cause, one could imagine him being rested tomorrow. Although, equally, West Ham host Manchester City tonight in their own third round tie. It is more than feasible that one of Scott’s reported suitors might not even be involved by the time we start proceedings.

Whomever starts tomorrow, this game represents a huge opportunity for Brentford to (apologies in advance) go again. Our recent form has not been great in this oldest of competitions and that’s being polite.

Brentford’s previous FA Cup game, at home to a Walsall side that Dean Smith had just left to join the Bees, was utterly shambolic. Apologies but there’s no other word for it. And moreso coming off the back of our League Cup humiliation at the hands of Oxford United where Marinus seemed to have picked his team on the basis of youth and inexperience.

Last year’s third round was a day that started with so much promise and ended with so much frustration. I’m absolutely convinced we’ll have learned from that and won’t make the same mistakes of complacency this time around. The lure of the fourth round and the prospect of fans being able to lift their tin foil trophies high are simply too great.

Certainly, Dean seems set for a cup run, despite acknowledging the slip hazard this game represents when he spoke to ‘official’ yesterday. Let’s just hope he has earned the lessons of last time out.

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Last year’s FA Cup third round had a rubbish ending

Then there’s the Martin Allen factor. As most of us can probably remember, he knows a thing or two about cup runs and upsets. He certainly knows a thing or two about motivation.

One of our most popular managers in modern times, he remains a favourite at Griffin Park and only this week has spoken to the team at Beesotted with his thoughts on the game as well as reflecting on events at Brentford back in the day.

Great work from Billy Grant and team in getting hold of the opposition manager just prior to a big cup tie for what really must be an exclusive and rare interview in such circumstances. You can find that one an hour in to the latest podcast, which is available here. Well, well worth a listen.

Tickets remain available on the day and start from  just £10 for adults (that’s less than the price of two pints in some pubs these days) or £5 for the kids.

Where else are you gong to go? Ikea? Westfield? The mother-in-law’s?

Surely it can only be Griffin Park? Surely it can only be a Brentford win?

Surely…..

See you there.

Nick Bruzon

Football’s farcical 24 hours as one innovates and one goes a bit ‘Ratners’

31 Aug

This could be the most crazy 24 hours in modern football. We’ve already had the farce of last night’s Checkatrade trophy opening round where the lure of West Ham and Leicester City U-23 teams (please note, your definition of under 23 may vary) was not enough to persuade supporters to drop the proposed #BteamBoycott in this most maligned of tournaments. And then today sees ‘Transfer Deadline day’ as Brentford supporters join the rest of the footballing community in wondering if any new names will be coming through the ‘in door’ or if anyone is heading out?

Jim White, Natalie Sawyer and the rest of the gang lead the madness on Sky Sports before the window eventually ‘slams shut’ (TM) . You all know the drill by now. Yellow ties, yellow dresses and lots of cutting to empty stadia where nothing is happening. Plus, presumably, archive footage of Harry Redknapp leaning out of a car (subject to his sore knee).

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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Jim and Natalie do their thing on deadline days gone by

 

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Brentford’s most recent signing activity

 

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Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. A week in football

15 Aug

Brentford have beaten Ipswich Town. Nottingham Forest await.  Aston Villa finally recorded a ‘w-i-n’. Something so rare it needs to be spelt out for confirmation that it really did happen. Newcastle United join Leeds in flirting with the relegation trapdoor whilst their latest conquerors, Huddersfield Town, join Bristol City and the Loftus Road mob join at the top of the table.

That’s the first two rounds of Championship action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the first of a new, regular feature for a Monday morning we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

We’ll start off at Griffin Park, naturally, where aside from the Bees recording that fine win there have been a few other things to keep your eye on.

Just how many phones mobiles does Josh McEachran actually own? And if just the one, why does he need so many personalised cases?

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The Last Word isn’t the only one to have new, regular features . Over at Beesotted, the team have launched their latest, resplendent with it’s own hashtag (Billy, you know how much we love those on these pages).

Following on from a wonderful season opener with Kitman Bob (the club are so lucky to have somebody who interacts with the fans as openly as he does) it is the turn of Carl Hutchings to …#HangTheBeeJay

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Dave, Billy and the team always provide great listening. This new bitesize feature is no exception. You can get it here for a quick blast on the way to work

There’s a new member to the Brentford family where the LGBeeT group have just launched on Twitter. In their own words, “We are LGBT+ Brentford FC fans – Join us, you don’t need to be LGBT, all friendly Bees fans are welcome!

Good luck guys. I’ve signed up. And I’m loving that 21st Century Funky Bee. Whilst there’s only one true Funky Bee, this comes a very close second. Somebody should stick it on a T-shirt.

In the meantime, anybody wishing to take a look and add to your ‘follow list’ can do so here.

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Move over Buzzette. There’s a new Funky Bee in town

Next on the Brentford front, we seem to have a few amateurs in the club shop. And Harlee Dean. Not on the playing front but more in the modelling side where the club’s decision to include supporters in the new shirt campaign has seen the next phase revealed.

This is included not from any narcissistic purpose but simply to highlight the stunning work the club did in their pre-season work. What great touch involving the fans in the reveal and publicity shots for our new shirt. Thank you again.

Brentford club shop

And finally in Brentford opinion, just how nice was it to have football back at Griffin Park?

Truing the corner of Lateward Road to see the fans enjoying the prematch atmosphere outside The Griffin always puts a little spring in the step. Ipswich provided great value, as ever. Here’s to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

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Where’s Wally? Spot the Brentford fan

Away from Griffin Park, there has been just as much ‘other stuff’ happening.

Aston Villa seem to have forgotten they are now in the Championship. A gold medal to @Swan_1878 for putting the Villa Park outfit firmly back in their place.

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Leeds United supporters are already worried they might not be in the Championship for much longer.Fortunately, there’s always somebody else to rely on.

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Whilst down in League One, Charlton continue to make friends and influence. Aston Villa weren’t the only club to be put in their place this week. Whilst they were simply the beneficiaries of their own ego and a quick witted observer on Twitter, Charlton were owned by Cheltenham Town. On and off the pitch.

As the Addicks crashed out of the EFL Cup, the Cheltenham programme editor but his balls on the line to publish what so many supporters feel.

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Then, just when it couldn’t get any worse for Charlton. It did.

And to compound the felony, they shot themselves in the foot with the leaked letter about behavioural contracts for supporters having the temerity to criticise the club on social media.

Fortunately, our own Chief Executive Mark Devlin has already confirmed this is not a route we’ve ever even considered.

Sanity prevails at Griffin Park.

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Down, Down. Deeper and Down

12 May

Newcastle United. Down! Norwich City. Down !  On a busy, busy day for all things Brentford related, the Bees learned more about who we’ll be playing next season. This, when Sunderland’s win guaranteed their own safety whilst sending their arch-rivals to join us taking on the likes of Aston Villa and Burton Albion in the Championship. The rumoured news about the Brentford Academy was confirmed whilst for those looking for a bit of entertainment on the way to work today, Besotted’s latest podcast is now available.

We’ll start with The Academy. Any article entitled ‘Club Statement’ appearing on Brentford official is never normally great news. Sure enough, this one confirmed that as part of a “lengthy evaluation process” undertaken by co-directors of football Rasmus Andersen and Phil Giles “the decision has been taken to completely restructure the Club’s Academy system“.

The subsequent definition of ‘restructure’ seems to be more one of almost wholesale shut down at every level. Rather than running from under-8 up to under-21 and the Development squad, we’ll be replacing all of this with what is described as “an elite squad of  around 18 players aged 17-21.”

It’s hard to pick out the exact reason for this decision amongst what is meant to read as positive and innovative but, instead, at times gets lost in a sea of buzzwords.

Given how Brentford saw the Academy as such a huge part of its future state model, this does mark a remarkable reversal. It can’t have been an easy decision and one has, first and foremost, to feel sorry for the kids and their families involved in the structure at the moment.

How the new elite squad pans out will only be evident in a year or two’s time. That’s not to say, the personal cost aside, this won’t work either.

From one respect I can understand the logic that  “The Club will specialise in developing one age group rather than trying to master the whole talent spectrum”. Where these players are to come from is another question. Moreso, given the fierce local competition.

It’s a brave decision to make, that’s for sure. Both on a personal and professional basis. I want my club to succeed and hope that this trimmed down ’elite’ squad playing  a “carefully planned programme of games, predominantly against Category One Academy teams” is a way of doing so.

Only time will tell.

Tom Field

Academy graduate Tom Field featured in the first team against Fulham

Ok – last night’s football. How much must Sunderland have enjoyed putting the final nail in the Newcastle United Premier League coffin? Their 3-0 win over Everton meant that the trip we’ve been planning for the last few months has now come a step closer.

Along with those new experiences at Villa Park and Burton Albion, the Championship is now shaping up to be an even more exciting place. Get those railcards ready !

It does show how football fortunes can change, though. Who’d have though the 2016/17 top flight ‘North-East’ derby would be Sunderland v Middlesbrough ? Likewise that next season’s game between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest will mark the first time that two former winners of the European Cup (kids, that’s the proper version of the Champions’ League) will meet in a league fixture outside of the top flight.

Bournemouth and Watford both keeping their places in the Premier League against most people’s expectations. Leicester City, of course, have become hugely popular champions. Tottenham have broken into the top four although have given themselves a wonderful opportunity to perform their annual ‘choke’ as they go for second place, at Newcastle United, this weekend.

The football landscape is changing. Stick to the Status Quo at your peril or run the risk of going Down,Down. Whether you agree with it or not, and I know that from reading social media last night many feel strongly,  It’s something Brentford are trying.

And talking of ‘Down, Down’, how about down, down-loading something for the journey to work. Yes, the latest Besotted podcast goes live this morning and you can get it here.

Whilst Billy (Grant, not Reeves) and the team do talk about the Academy, the emphasis in this ‘end of season’ special is very much on fun. Amongst other things this edition covers off the season’s highs and lows, rumour of the year and the Alan Judge-less player of the year.

The podcast is always well worth a listen. Nobody can doubt Billy, Dave and the rest of the Besotted crew’s passion and enthusiasm. Here’s to more next season.

And finally, on the subject of downloads, The Last Word review of the year is now available. Entitled “Ready.Steady. Go Again” it features the least bad of these columns from the appointment of Marinus in June 2015 up until 9th place in the Championship was confirmed at the weekend.

‘And if you’d like to read more’….. there is also an anthology of the last three seasons  : “Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up“ , which runs from ‘that penalty’  all the way through to the 5-1 humping of Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

If you’d like to read all about it, whilst listening to Billy and team, you can do so here.

Many thanks.

Until then, here’s The Quo…

book 3 and 4 cover

Its all about the kit, man. And the Bees.

Nick Bruzon

Can Nico do it again or will Dougie turn destroyer?

9 Apr

Can Brentford make it 3 in a row when we take on (technically) play-off chasing Ipswich Town today? For all that our hosts are flying high in the table in a very respectable eight place, the wheels have come off the Tractor in recent weeks with Town only recording one win in the last six games.

Did you listen to the Besotted podcast yesterday? If not, then do so. Please. Whilst I mentioned this in the previous article and don’t want to overly labour the point, the views of home fan Harry Wainwright really are worth a listen. As he notes himself, Ipswich now need snookers and some serious favours to make the play-offs.

But it is his verdict on former Bee Jonathan Douglas that gives particular food for thought. The eagle eyed amongst us may have seen that Dougie has just triggered a contract extension for another year at Portman Road. But whilst he was a hero to many at Griffin Park, this may not be such a popular announcement in Suffolk.

Dougie Ipswich

Dougie will be a Tractor for another season

Harry’s take on the player was fascinating. He quoted one recent criticism (from their 0-0 against Charlton) where the player was described thus, “ At times he looked like he was in a daydream . He had no idea what was going on.He was slow, error prone and often anonymous. 

The only thing he wanted to do was drop between the centre backs, pick up the ball from one and play it to another defender.

Sound familiar? Reminiscent of the man who earned our most bookings last campaign (10). Or somewhat harsh for a player who scored 8 goals for Brentford in 2014/15 and was an inspiration to many with those surging runs up field?

Without revealing all Harry’s opinions (do listen to that podcast. And no, i’m not on commission – it’s just a really good one) he goes on to note that, “I think he IS error prone…within the fanbase he is the most under the spot light. In the last five games he has been the lowest ranked player , culminating in a 2.9 out of 10 against Charlton”.

Is this just the opposition trying to give us false confidence or are Ipswich and Dougie here for the taking? This, of course, assuming he is even selected and given these opinions of his recent performance that may not be a given. As ever, at 3pm we find out.

Two other brief points. Firstly, season tickets. Don’t forget that these are now on sale and for the first time in living memory I’ll be sitting for the next campaign. Not that anybody particularly cares but the demands of a young son who loves Buzzette and ‘Fireman’ Sam Saunders in equal measure have meant a seat on the touchline is the way forward for yours truly.

No, this is highlighted more to big up our wonderful ticket office team. I know this has been noted several times before but, like Kitman Bob, they really do present our club in a great light . Very much the unsung heroes of Griffin Park. Well, I’m singing.

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Great value Season Tickets now on sale (and no, I’m not on commission)

And finally, betting. I mention this purely for statistical interest but Nico Yennaris is currently 12/1 to score at any time in the game. I’ve only checked this for research purposes of course, but could our latest goal hero make it three in a row? At that price, he must be worth a sniff?

Can he do it? Here’s hoping. Billy Reeves is the man to describe the action today for those not fortunate enough to be able to make the trip.

Fingers crossed for another three points at the denouement of this one.

Nick Bruzon

And now Rangers join the mix as Brentford staff respond to rumours

8 Jan

Amidst the glut of Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley related transfer rumours currently doing the rounds at Brentford it was one out of leftfield, from Rangers, that had Bees fans talking yesterday. The BBC were among the news outlets to confirm that Mark Warburton had made a bid, which has been rejected, for supporter’s player of the year Toumani Diagouraga.

But first those longstanding stories about Alan Judge and James Tarkowski were finally confirmed by Dean Smith in an interview on the club’s YouTube channel. Whilst I don’t for one second believe anybody of any significance pays any attention to this column, fair play to the media team for putting the rumours which we’ve all read about direct to the Head Coach. And you can see this on the video, where he also expands on the Jota situation, below.

Dean Smith speaks

As mentioned in Tuesday’s column, I really didn’t think that was our style (discussing rumours up front). Yet Dean confirmed, “We’ve had bids for Alan Judge and James Tarkowski but we’ve turned both of them down” although didn’t go so far as to confirm these were Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. And the reason, “We’re in a position where we don’t want to sell our players at the moment…we want to keep our better players at the football club”.

So all the right noises and just what supporters would hope to hear. Sentiments echoed, likewise, by co-director of football Phil Giles on the latest Beesotted podcast – which you can find here . Stay for the full hour twenty experience or jump straight to Phil’s piece 11 minutes into the playback. Either way, very well worth a listen and hats off to Dave and Billy for nabbing another exclusive. Phil comes across very well whilst the probing questions certainly bear a considered listen.

As for Toumani, well it was no doubt Mark Warburton would be hoping to take some former players to Rangers. Indeed, Warbs has already signed up former golden boy Harry Forrester after his jumping ship for the dream of Championship football with Doncaster quickly turned into a nightmare.

But the bid to lure Toumani sees a significant step up in Mark’s intent, given this a player who is still a regular in a Brentford team pushing for the Premier League play offs. Was the £100,000 bid, which of course was rejected, just the first salvo in a bidding war to lure the ever popular midfielder.

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Toumani, Sam, Buzz and Buzzette. Bees for years and massively popular

Whilst there’s no doubt we have a huge selection in the middle of the park, Toumani is surely one of the first names on the teamsheet, around whom the others fit. If nothing else, there’d be huge disappointment if he leaves – for Rangers or elsewhere – prior to scoring a goal.

What happens next is going to be a very interesting test of the club’s ambition versus the obvious lure presented by a lorry load of cash. Whilst I’m just the numpty on the terrace rather than any insider, I’m not that stupid as to realise that every player does have his price. Indeed, this is something Phil discusses on that Beesotted interview.

Are we prepared to fight for our players – as seems to be the intent from the first round of bids? Or is this simply just a case of playing the waiting game? With the transfer window remaining open for the best part of another four weeks, there’s simply no reason to jump at the first bid – if that is our long term goal.

My own personal feel for all of this is that at least one of these three will leave before Jim White declares the window as officially slammed shut. If nothing else, the financial rewards for playing top-flight football, with buckets of TV money sloshing around, do help compensate some of this initial investment. As long as the bidding club do then make the ‘promised land’, of course.

Dean Smith did acknowledge an element of rotation will be in effect on Saturday. This works for him in potentially camouflaging any sales we may be considering. Tuesday night against league leaders Middlesbrough, a game where surely your first choice XI need to start, will be a very different and interesting selection.

Until then, despite all the speculation and opinion, there’s nothing any of us can do to stop or influence matters. Alan Judge will leave the Bees at some point in his career as, I’d suspect, will Toums, Tarks and most of this team. Let’s just hope it isn’t until the summer time, at the least.

Despite our slow start to the campaign, this team is tearing up the blindside. I’d love to see it given at least another six months to see what we can do. Will money talk or will we hold it altogether?

The next few days could prove to be extremely ‘squeaky bum’ time for those wanting to hang on to our current squad.

Nick Bruzon