Tag Archives: Poland

Will Gibraltar get Cold Feet? Are more brackets being served? Can England learn?

6 Sep

With another five days until Brentford travel to Brighton (assuming you are reading this on a Tuesday morning) the Championship’s barren period continues. When the return of TV’s Cold Feet was Monday’s main draw – and tell me, what sort of world do we live in where this can be lauded yet a remake of Are You Being Served so derided? – then it remains for International football to act as our main form of sustenance. Can Gibraltar whet the appetite this evening following the frugal fare served up on Sunday by England?

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The only ‘cold feet’ I’m interested in

Well, it would be fair to say that the bar has been raised. Bitter-rivals Spain filled their shooting boots with an 8-0 humping of Liechtenstein last night. No cold feet here, quite the opposite – the Spaniards were on fire. The only sour note, from a footballing perspective, the failure of all and sundry to correctly note the score as things went to 7(seven) – 0.

Even Brentford club sponsors 888 Sport got it wrong on Twitter, despite that rarest of things -a humorous GIF (see also : memes). Still, at least they had the good grace to later apologise for what, must surely, been an oversight based purely on the excitement of the occasion.  Wales, likewise, picked up where they left off in the Euros. A 4-0 tonking of Moldova proving that Chris Coleman’s boys have lost none of their drive or ambition. Which begs two questions.

Firstly, why couldn’t England ? Instead it was just like watching Mrs Browns Boys. A tedious, repetitive one trick pony which, despite an almost moral obligation to watch not many people were, if we’re being honest, actually enjoying it. A sort of footballing Emperor’s New Clothes.

More importantly, can Gibraltar go one better than a Euro qualifying campaign in which the highlights were almost scoring in Germany and actually scoring in Scotland? That aside, it was a series of brackets and, despite some fierce national pride, an eventual end to Group D with ‘nil points’.

I’m not a (total) idiot. Even England have more chance of lifting the World Cup, or qualifying for it, than the boys from the Rock. Yet the harsh lessons of that qualifying group would have stood them in good stead. And this time around, instead of the likes of Germany, Ireland or Poland, opponents include Cyprus and Estonia.

The fact that my current online bookmaker (used purely for reference purposes) doesn’t even offer Gibraltar a price to win the group is, I am sure, just a glitch in the Internet. Something that will be corrected as they shock all comers at 28/1 to beat Greece this evening.

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Six participants but only five available to bet on

On paper, no chance. I grant you that and can see how, looking in, that’s what you’d expect. Yet minnows have to start somewhere. Just look at the likes of Albania, Turkey and Scotland. And tonight could be that night.

Cast your mind back a few months and to the qualifiers for the Champions League.

Lincoln Red Imps, domestic champions on the Rock, entertained none other than Glasgow Celtic in a second qualifying round first leg tie. Despite Brendan Rodgers  coming out like the love child of Russell Slade and Steve Evans ( please, for the love of God, don’t visualise it) no amount of sour grapes or bluster could disguise the fact that his Bhoys ended the game on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat .

Upsets can happen. Every now and again, result comes along to shock the footballing world. Even if they can’t do it tonight, watching Gibraltar try to beat the odds has got to be a hell of a lot more entertaining than Big Sam’s England or ITV comedy dramas.

Failing that, brackets are 8-1.

Gibraltar bots and bag

Gibraltar have packed their boots to start World Cup qualifiers

Nick Bruzon 

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Who will win : Gareth v Charlie? And is there a knock on for Lionel Road?

25 Jun

There was double news out of Griffin Park yesterday. Josh McEachran is alive and (seemingly) well as he launched the club’s 2016/17 training gear whilst Brentford have announced another pre-season friendly. In the Euros , Wales v Northern Ireland is the big one today (although Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side may argue otherwise as they take on Croatia and Poland begin proceedings against Switzerland).

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Will Cristiano provide the highlights this weekend?

Yesterday was, without a doubt, one of the craziest days I’ve ever lived through. This column isn’t about politics and I don’t intend to overly dwell there now. There is enough great material out there for those wanting to vent their spleen, smack their head in disbelief or celebrate what has been deemed by the ‘out’ camp as, seemingly, ‘taking our country back’ (to the dark ages?).

But I’ll leave you this one observation, given Brentford have our future and Lionel Road intrinsically linked to the housing market. With the redevelopment of Griffin Park and the subsequent apartment blocks to be built alongside the stadium being key, the industry suffered what could politely be called ‘a bad day at the office’ after the results were announced.

Lauren Davidson and Rhiannon Bury, writing in the Telegraph, note in their end of day market review that, “Housebuilders Crest Nicholson, Bellway and Bovis were all in the top ten fallers for the day, dropping more than 24pc, alongside property developers Derwent London and Great Portland Estates, which fell 24.6pc and 22.2pc respectively, as fears about a fall in house prices caused investors to offload their stocks”.

Whatever the other ramifications for the country, from the perspective of a new stadium for Brentford, I do wonder what will happen if this is anything but a short term ‘blip’?  Still that’s a question for cleverer people than me to answer (i.e. just about anybody).

Whilst we still have a home at Griffin Park, we now know that another preseason friendly has been announced. Peterborough United being the visitors on 26 July. All being well it’ll be a chance to see the new kit in action for the first time and enjoy an evening in the sunshine. Besides, when the alternative is Holby City then evening fixtures can’t come around quick enough.

And although we are yet to see that new kit (the simultaneous launch date remaining July 23, unless somebody tells me differently) we’ve now been shown the club’s range of training gear. And there’s a hashtag, too….

Whilst it seems a more Adidas-centric one than something club inspired, this season #FirstNeverFollows. Apparently. Here’s hoping there are 23 other clubs following us when we wrap things up against Blackburn in May.

As for the gear, well it’s now on sale and looking good. Can we read anything into the ‘full kit’ from the fact that the famous ‘three stripes’ are now running down the side of the body rather than over the arms? Certainly its a look that other Adidas dressed clubs (especially in the MLS) have been sporting.

Likewise, it’s great to see Josh back. What a horrendous first season he had with double long term injuries sandwiching a tricky time on the pitch. Fingers crossed that, as with the incredible return of Scott Hogan at the end of 2015/16, Josh is now able to push on and, erm, go again.

Moving back to Europe once more, today sees the last 16 begin with 6 teams vying for a quarter final spot. As noted at the top end of the column, Wales v Northern Ireland is the game that will likely have most of us gripped. For some, the battle to see whether Gareth Bale and the other 10 can stop Charlie Lawson launching into another celebratory routine. I’m still terrified by ‘Big Jim’s’ farmhouse kitchen soliloquy whilst sipping on the Black Bush. For that reason alone I’d love to see how he tops it this time around.

For others, of course, we have the Brentford connection in the Northern Ireland camp. Stuart Dallas , Niall McGinn and Will Grigg’s on the bench/ fire (delete as applicable). Will these old boys prove the club wrong? Can they line up a quarter final shot at the winner of the Hungary / Belgium game? Or will Gareth Bale keep up his hot streak of 3 goals from 3 games.

Whoever wins through, across the first 7(seven) games, by the time England wrap up proceedings on Monday night in ‘game 8’ v Iceland, we’ll all be set for another exciting 2 weeks in Europe. I can’t call any of the winners. I’m not even going to bother trying.

Instead why not just switch off from the stress, grab a beer, sit back on the sofa and enjoy a weekend of sporting action. If this morning is anything to go by, Charlie is already getting in the mood.

You can check out his latest, pre game video, here.

Brilliant …..

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How would Charlie celebrate a win over Wales?

Nick Bruzon 

The good, the bad and the downright ugly as England and Northern Ireland win

17 Jun

After all the dust has settled, the record books will show a 2-1 victory for England over Wales. The winning goal coming deep into that period us Brentford fans know as Jota time to send Roy Hodgson into a jubilant jig from the dugout and, surely, book England’s place in the next round. Elsewhere, Northern Ireland put on a superb performance in beating Ukraine but Germany and Poland drawing 0-0 means Stuart Dallas, Niall McGinn and the yet to appear Will Grigg are going to have their work cut out.

As ever, off field matters dominated proceedings. Whilst the atmosphere at the game seemed a really positive one, the French Police again elected for the tear gas option later in the evening. There has been grotesque footage circulating of England fans taunting refugee children by throwing coins at them or goading them into downing pints for money.

I know our own Billy and Dave from Beesotted have been doing their thing to try and combat some of the negative imagery and disproportionate police reaction but this a new level of low. Likewise, reading the comments of FourFourTwo magazine managing editor Huw Davies,  where things sound anything but rosy. Do check out his Twitter feed to get the views of those looking in at the English. It is a trail of unpleasantness and abuse from those supposedly supporting England.

Comments include :   “I’m not trying to set or challenge a narrative. Just saying that while we chatted with some nice English fans, majority weren’t” and (when faced with a homeless woman and her child, shouts of )  “What are you doing on the street with a f**king child?” “If you can’t support it, don’t have it.” “You’re a f**king shit mum.” All in a row

As for the game itself, England now top the group after Daniel Sturrridge’s last gasp goal saw manager saw Roy Hodgson channelling his inner Alan Pardew with a celebratory leap from the dugout. Only a point is needed to ensure qualification from the group whilst Wales must now beat Russia to guarantee the same outcome.

It was hard work getting there, though. Gareth Bale’s free kick from distance saw Wales take a half time lead. Joe Hart may be able to keep his shoulders clean but he couldn’t manage a clean sheet, despite getting his hands to the Real Madrid man’s long range effort around the wall. It was a decent strike, make no mistake, but it should have been pushed clear of the post rather than into the goal.

And then Roy went for it. With Jamie Vardy and Sturridge introduced for Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, the difference in bench quality showed. England were able to step it up as Wales attempted to soak it up.

An errant Welsh defender’s flick on saw an otherwise miles offside Vardy grab the equaliser just nine minutes into a one-way second half. And from there the game only had one winner. But would it come? No. Wave after wave of pressure saw resolute defending keep the English team at bay. Despite the best efforts of the inspired subs and marauding Kyle Walker, there was no way through.

And then it happened. With a draw looking odds on, England launched one more attack. The ball fell to Sturridge who, wriggling through the box, was able to slip it through, off and past the Welsh defence for a jubilantly celebrated winner. Even Gary Neville joining Roy in the excitement. Such was the communal outpouring of triumph I half expected John Terry to join in.

Tough luck to Wales. Well done to England. Cue the inevitable post match celebrations and exhortations from Gary Lineker, who this season seems to have forgotten he ever played for anybody but Leicester City. It was all about Vardy and his first team. Tottenham? Barcelona? Nagoya Grampus Eight? At least one of those three has players involved.

Gary in his Grampus Eight days…

As for the ex-Brentford contingent, everybody from Jonathan Douglas to Charlie Lawson (TV’s Jim McDonald) was bigging up the boys from Northern Ireland. They battled the elements and Ukraine to secure a stunning victory, despite the absence of Will Grigg. Germany have done them no favours with that 0-0 but still an incredible moment that culminated in an incredible dance from ‘Big’ Jim to out Pardew even Roy.

On a day that saw Roy’s rolls (of the dice) lead England to victory, how apt to see another Corrie connection celebrating a different one.

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Do check out Charlie’s video – now THAT’s a celebration

Nick Bruzon

A real Löw point for EURO2016. But we have some inside men

13 Jun

We don’t do the serious stuff on these pages. It’s normally just a bit of nonsense about Brentford, perhaps with a bit of the national team thrown in. With Euro 2016 alive and kicking (quite literally) I couldn’t bring myself to do it yesterday. The scenes from the Russia fans and the attacks on England supporters, with the obvious and somewhat familiar retaliation, have left a rather sick feeling in the stomach.

More to the point, I’m not there. Who to believe? What to believe? A vile English minority or self-defence?

The media have been quick to jump on the England hooligans  ‘shaming a nation’ bandwagon. Perhaps true, to an extent, but the more you read the more it sounds a bit different this time.

Gangs of French ultras roaming the streets starting unprovoked attacks on those English fans they’ve targeted. Russian thuggery. A flare gun fired at England supporters during the 1-1 draw on Saturday night (there was a game, by the way). A flare gun? Amid all the terror alerts and security. After all the violence. How on earth do you get a gun of any description into a stadium?

Talk of reactive French police. Police who had taken no advice beforehand and then waded in indiscriminantly afterwards.And come 2018 we’ve got a World Cup in Russia

All in all , whoever you believe to be at fault, some pretty depressing scenes and thought provoking stuff.

Thankfully, for us Brentford fans we have our two ‘inside men’ on the scene. Billy Grant and Dave Lane from Beesotted are out in France, trying to enjoy the football but also doing their domestic thing, continental style.

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Have selfie stick, will travel

Armed with nothing more than a selfie stick, a camera and a laptop they are keeping the website running and bringing us regular reports on what is really going on. And there are some pretty shocking scenes.

Great work , chaps. Please keep it up. Here’s hoping you’ve got a happier story to report soon. And in the meantime, for those who haven’t seen it their update on the trouble in Marseille is here. The video is close to a million hits already. Understandably so.

So what else have we learned so far? Never shake hands with Joachim Low. He was caught doing the old ‘scratch and sniff’ during last night’s Germany v Ukraine. A game the Germans took 2-0, for the record.

Did the Ukraine manager shake hands at full time?

Will Grigg isn’t on fire. Despite being one of several ex-Bees involved in the Poland – Northern Ireland squads, the Poles ran out 1-0 winners. And it seems that Stuart Dallas hasn’t got the memo about #Beardclub having been disbanded. He’s looking less hipster and more Rasputin these days.

Tonight sees the first chance of that classic tournament line, “And for those of you just coming in from work, the score is…” being trotted out. The game : Republic of Ireland v Sweden. the place: BBC1. Expect that to be used at about 6.15pm tonight . Despite the score being clearly available in the top left hand corner of the screen .

As for Brentford news, well the tumbleweed continues. The most I can do is guide you towards eBay where there are a number of unusual Bees shirts on sale at the moment (and none of which this kit nerd will be bidding for on pain of death – not literally, but season tickets don’t pay for themselves).

Alternatively,The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. Should anybody want to go over this nonsense, relive these moments once more and remind ourselves of the pain induced by Stroud and the fallout from that penalty’ you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same. We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Bruzon

Is anyone courting the Judge?

17 Nov

Congratulations to Alan Judge and the Republic of Ireland who last night qualified for the finals of EURO 2016. Getting out of a group including Germany, Poland and the potential potato skin of Gibraltar is no mean feat. Moreso to follow it up with a play off victory against Bosnia-Herzcegovina that saw the first leg shrouded in fog and the second in emotion following Friday’s events in Paris. And if Lasse Vibe’s Denmark can do the needful against Sweden in Copenhagen tonight, then Brentford could have even more representation at the summer tournament.

Whilst Alan didn’t feature last night (although he was on the bench for the first leg) it shows, again, the developing strength in both the Brentford team and the Championship as a whole. The side that won in Dublin featured league counterparts Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick of Derby County along with Ipswich Town striker Daryl Murphy. And with Austria already qualified, then the Bees could have even more representation in Marco Djuricin.

Still, all that is a long way off. We don’t even know if all involved will be at Griffin Park by that point. Djuricin is, of course, only here on loan (albeit we have the option to buy) whilst Alan Judge is no doubt going to be the number one target for those looking to further plunder a club that has seen Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas, Andre Gray and Northern Ireland international Will Grigg all leave over the summer for 7(seven) figure sums.

Alan’s performances have, rightly, earned him the divisional player of the month award for October. He is the one that supporters are worried will be the next to go but will it happen? Could it happen? Do we have any choice – either financially or personally? Quite simply, the lure of the Premier League might be too much for us to compete with, regardless of any other factor.

Alan Judge and Lee Carsley

 

October saw the profile of Alan, and Brentford, raised further

This isn’t me trying to scaremonger. I’m just being realistic. We’ve had these jitters before and the last two season’s January transfer window – with the Bees pushing for promotion to the Championship and Premier League respectively – have been torturous times.

The good news then was that nobody left midseason but this time around it feels different. The well documented managerial situation, along with those huge summer sales, have many fans fearful that, in conjunction with Alan’s own stunning success, we could be preparing to say farewell.

Understandably, Brentford ‘official’ will not say anything about potential transfers whilst there hasn’t been a sniff of a rumour from our beloved local press or other sources (close to the club). The transfer window isn’t due to open for another six weeks but as we get closer to, and then enter, that period I have no doubt the stories will crank up.

Let’s be clear – I don’t want Alan or any of our prized assets go. No doubt the likes of Jota, Sam Saunders, David Button and Harlee Dean (to name but a few) will also be linked with the big leagues come January. I’m not so naïve as to think we are untouchable – the summer alone showed that. It is all part of what makes up the modern game and a club such as ours, which has seen some huge investment, doing what it needs to in order to ensure we comply with all the rules around FFP.

I’m merely putting this out there because, genuinely, I have no idea which way things are going to go at the end of next month. We have a big squad, especially in midfield, when everybody is fully fit. Equally, those players in form only have the potential to get even better as part of a settled team.

Instead, let’s hope that some more results like those in October keep that push up the League going. Then, it could all be a moot point.

Nick Bruzon

A nice problem but I’m desperate to get back to normal

8 Sep

As a Brentford fan, international break proves a largely unsatisfying experience. With Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) and Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic) now departed, the interest in Northern Ireland (for the majority of us) has waned somewhat. Instead, our involvement this week remains sparse with Lasse Vibe’s place on the bench for Denmark in their 0-0 with Albania the only Brentford related presence at full International level. Even Gibraltar’s late goal in Poland, via the boot of Bristol Rovers Jake Gosling, was insufficient to get this fan excited. Being 8-0 down already will do that to you.

For all recent talk of the progress being made by the Boys from the Rock, it was a case of further punishment as the Poles advanced beyond brackets and closer to double figures with over ten minutes left on the clock. Even broadcaster Ian Abrahams (@BroadcastMoose on twitter) found sufficient time to put down the pies and poke fun at UEFA’s newest member.

Very clever

Very ‘clever’ – it’s Gibraltarians though, numpty

England play Switzerland tonight, with all focus on whether Wayne Rooney can get the goal required to move past Bobby Charlton as the all time leading goal scorer for the Three Lions. It’s a record to be proud of and interesting to note that both have taken 106 games to make the 49 goal figure. The England striker is 4/1 to grab the opener and 6/5 to score at any time tonight. In front of a large crowd at Wembley, and with qualification for EURO 2016 assured, expect the record to go.

That said, the excitement of Gibraltar scoring, home nations on the verge of qualification and England going ‘great guns’ still don’t help satisfy the big hole in the League calendar. Having reached the Championship, Brentford players now find themselves twiddling their thumbs. As does this supporter. The defeat to Reading seems an eternity away already as we now await the trip to Elland Road. The game against Leeds United will, of course, see us renew acquaintances with Herr Rösler and Stuart Dallas on Saturday.

With the transfer window closed, Marinus knows the make up of his new look squad. I’m desperate to see what he does with it ! Off field Jota dropped a promising message onto twitter last night. The Leeds game will be way too soon for his return but great to see him chomping at the bit to get back in action. Sentiments, no doubt, shared by supporters.

Is Jota back soon?

Is Jota back soon?

Otherwise, Lasse Vibe’s stunner against Reading has been named ‘goal of the month’ for August. A landslide victory, and rightly so, you can see that below. However, nice though it was to watch this again, it’s no substitute for seeing Brentford in action.

An enforced break is just part of Championship life and, if this is the price to pay for promotion, hardly one to complain about. It’s more a case of adjusting to what we have been used to for so long – football every Saturday and build up to it/ fallout from it every week.

That said, I can’t wait for the weekend. International intrigue is all well and good but nothing, quite, compares to that moment when your club walks out at 2.55pm on a Saturday afternoon.

He’s got that Vibe (come on, I’ve waited four games…)

Nick Bruzon

England fans; poles apart. Rod Hull 1 Bernie Clifton 0

15 Oct

England, oh England. I’d like nothing more than for the national side to qualify for World Cup 2014 tonight. As a Brentford fan it’s my only chance (for now, I’ll discount Gibraltar’s chances of being able to qualify for anything) of being able to support a team in competition outside the domestic campaign.  But watching England comes with a hefty price tag.  For every giddy high of a Wembley win, comes the sickening low of the troublesome trombones and flat trumpets that make up the, so called,  ‘supporter’s band’.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Martin Taylor extends loan – but who are Brentford’s ‘greatest’ signings?

8 Oct

It was announced yesterday afternoon that Martin Taylor has signed for another month on loan for Brentford.

This, in my eyes, is very good news.   A solid centre back who can add some experience to our young team and one who has already proven he has an eye for goal.  However, it got me thinking of whom Brentford’s top ten signings in recent times, loan or otherwise, have been. Not necessarily the best ten players to represent the club (although an ‘all time XI’ feature is coming soon) but just the best bits of transfer activity – whether in terms of price or impact.

So here they are:

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.