Tag Archives: Portsmouth

At least Martin will be happy as fourth round offers an excellent chance of progress.

8 Jan

But for the drop of a ball. Brentford will travel to Barnet for our fourth round FA Cup tie at the end of January. It is a match that was immediately picked out as a ‘tie of note’ by the BBC production team post–draw, despite Gary Lineker’s own assertion live on Match Of The Day that, ”Barnet. I’m sure they wanted a giant. Perhaps they can get one in the fifth round if they beat Brentford… “. Whilst that came across as somewhat patronising given the huge divisional gap and the history between our two sides, I guess we should be used to the ‘Little Old Brentford’ / ‘Tinpot Brentford’ school of thought by now. Yet if you look at who was left behind in the draw: Portsmouth, QPR, Manchester United,  Arsenal, Spurs and Crystal Palace, one can’t help but feel supporters of both sides will have been dreaming of what might have been and, perhaps, this is where Gary was coming from. The only person 100% happy with this one will be Martin Allen, no doubt lining up his place on the Match of the Day or BT Sport sofas already.   

Martin Allen tank top

Martin has form at this stage

Personally, I’m very happy with this one. It represents a great chance of progression to the last 16 for Brentford. Something that I have no doubt Barnet supporters will also be thinking. They’ll have been buoyed by their own incredible victory up at Sheffield United and inspired by Newport County dumping Leicester City out on Sunday. They have a wonderful opportunity in a game which offers a massive divisional advantage to Thomas Frank’s team yet also a potato skin of the first degree. On paper there’s only one team should win it yet in practice we all know that’s not how it works in the FA Cup. Just ask Fulham.

I’m not a hypocrite. I’d have loved the chance to host a Manchester United or make a trip to Crystal Palace. Yet looking at the rest of the balls that were left when we came out of the hat, the trip to Barnet is so much more intriguing than what might have been.

Arsenal – already been there, done that, got the half and half scarf this season.

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They really did exist – The Arsenal / Brentford half & half

Tottenham – they play at the ‘W’ place. Given our past form, let’s avoid going there until we have no choice.

QPR – nobody needs the vagaries of a West London derby when looking to progress.

Portsmouth – any opportunity to avoid the walking cliche that is ‘Mr. Portsmouth’ and his bell can only be a good thing.

Portsmouth bell

No Bell. End of.

So it is Barnet rather than Manchester United for Brentford. I can’t wait. I love the FA Cup and make no apologies for saying so. Always have done. From the making of a tinfoil trophy to the dreaming of what might come next. From the chance to make a name for ourselves in the upset stakes through to the eventual prospect of being there when our captain for the day lifts that most famous of trophies.

Even better, we now have the words of Gary Lineker ringing in our ears. Any motivational speech that Thomas Frank may have needed to make for this one has just become an awful lot easier. I genuinely can’t wait for this one and will be doing all possible to make the trip to North London – tickets allowing. We may not travel with the 8,500 that went to Arsenal  – (the capacity at The Hive is officially showing as 5,176) but you can absolutely guarantee this one will be a sell-out. Bring it on!

And finally, did you catch the piece about Peter Gilham on the ITV London news last night? What a wonderful look at a man for whom no words are needed! If nothing else, we got to see one of those famous goal celebrations in the flesh. Pity the ears of anyone sitting within 25 yards – excitement, thy name is Gilham! It was an excellent article, even allowing for the cameo from yours truly – shot from a somewhat unusual angle that only accentuated nostrils and double chin.

More importantly, the club announced on Twitter last night that:We’re looking to get the footage so we can put it out on our channels later in the week“.  Given the diversity of the Brentford fanbase, with supporters living as far apart as Swindon to Salisbury and Hong Kong to somewhere else beginning with ‘H’ , that’s something that will be more than welcome. Failing that, there’s always ‘ITV Player’.

Nick Bruzon

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Cliff crowns a great day which even ‘that trumpet’ can’t ruin.

25 Mar

With Friday’s column bemoaning the lack of Brentford related activity over the International break, it was another case of exquisite timing as the club confirmed later in the day that work has now begun at the Brentford Community Stadium site on Lionel Road South. Over in Dublin, John Egan was in the squad for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last night although a rogue musical instrument threatened to outdo even the much maligned (and rightly so) alleged band of the England supporters.

But first, Lionel Road. There’s not too much to add in regards to the Stadium announcement beyond a huge sigh of relief and gratitude at this latest news. It seems almost an eternity away since the club’s plans were approved by Hounslow council back in December 2013. The Bees were then in League One and Uwe Rosler was (technically) still our manager although his move to Wigan Athletic was coming somewhat quicker than ours to a new home. Indeed, looking back on the BBC report from the time it notes that, “The Bees hope to move to the 7.6 acre site on Lionel Road from Griffin Park for the 2016-17 season.

Of course, we have had further referrals and the CPO to go through since that point which have delayed proceeding somewhat. And whilst , at times, I can’t help but think of Lionel Road without the words “Monorail, monorail” going through the head, finally things are under way. There was another ebullient statement from Cliff Crown whilst, along with the article on Brentford official, a new website launched at brentfordcommunitystadium.com in which supporters will be kept abreast of developments.

The only slight downside about his news being the lack of obligatory photograph featuring Cliff, Mark Devlin et al leaning on shovels and wearing hard hats. But, given this current stage of the project involves clearing the site in preparation for the main build, perhaps this construction related favourite is still to come.

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It really IS happening.

The other Bees related topic from yesterday was, of course, John Egan’s selection for the Republic of Ireland. Whilst he had to be content with a place on the bench, this remains a huge honour and it can’t be long, surely, until he wins his first cap. With another home game scheduled for Tuesday, a friendly with the darlings of Euro 2016 Iceland, he may not have long to wait. Here’s hoping that fully deserved honour comes John’s way imminently.

One thing that armchair viewers won’t be hoping for is a return of ‘that trumpet’. Far be it from me to criticise another nation’s culture and perhaps this is well received part of their International game. Personally, my own belief is that, much like goal music, spectator performed musical instruments should not be allowed anywhere near a football stadium. Whatever the form.

The list of offendors is a well travelled one. Who could forget the sound of the Vuvuzelas from World Cup 2010? About the only positive to be gleaned from England’s ineptitude in that one being that an early exit spared domestic supporters being obliged to put up the droning cacophony.

Then there’s John Westwood. The self proclaimed Mr. Portsmouth. Him in the stove pipe hat, wooden teeth and dreadlocked fright wig whom the cameras seem contractually obliged to make a beeline for whenever Pompey are on TV. He looks like he needs a good wash down with some bleach and a wire wool brush (think  – Russell Brand and his spray on perm-wear leather effect trousers)  whilst the noise, with that incessant ringing of a hand bell or use of a trumpet, must mean that season tickets in the near vicinity come with a health and safety warning.

Portsmouth bell

Can’t give Westwood the full oxygen of publicity. Bell. End of.

But, of course, the prime offenders are the alleged England supporters alleged band. Regular readers know the drill at this point. If you want the usual rant about the stale, off key parping and flat renditions of jingoistic greatest hits from Bernie Clifton and his uninvited cuckoos in the nest then you’ll find it here (along with a lot more nonsense).

They’ve always been the low point. Until now. And the lone trumpet at Ireland’s Aviva stadium. Who was it? Why was it? How can a solitary instrument cut so clearly through what was, by all accounts, a fervent and vocal crowd.You’d have heard this thing above a jumbo jet taking off. It was so shrill that, by all scientific fact, only dogs should have been able to hear the bloody thing.

Yet here it was. Clear as day. As annoying as Westwood guesting in the England ensemble with a vuvuzela. If there’s one thing that’s good for unifying football fans it’s hatred. Not of each other but of wind instruments.

And this was the consummate in unwelcome hot air. Not even the sound of Jota’s refrain could lift this into the realms of acceptability.

Matthew Benham has already made it quite clear that goal music will never, ever happen in his time. Let’s hope the ban extends to trumpets when Lionel Road is complete.

Nick Bruzon

Ricky Shakes Bees as Jack joins Blades

9 Jul

The rumour mill has done it again, in part, as Jack O’Connell’s move from Brentford to Sheffield United was confirmed yesterday. With the other subject for discussion, Alan McCormack, taking part in our 2-1 defeat to Boreham Wood despite being reported to have held talks with Southend United the future is less clear there.

First up, Jack O’Connell . He leaves Griffin Park for Bramall Lane, having spent 18 months and featured 18 times for Brentford. The signing of John Egan made it 5 centre backs on the books and so it was perhaps inevitable that there would be some outward movement in that position. With Yoann Barbet more than demonstrating his ability last season, full Danish international Andreas Bjelland back from that horrendous injury and Harlee Dean (who it is hard to believe is still only 24) well established perhaps Jack has just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jack O'Connell signs

Jack has swapped Bees for Blades

It’s a real shame on an individual level. I really thought he had the making of a great player. Correction, I think Jack has the makings of a great player.  It just won’t be with the Bees.

Jack looked like he might be forging a partnership with James Tarkowski at one point around Christmas time. He had , of course, stepped in to replace Harlee after a three game ban for seeing red against Nottingham Forest (granted, a moment that saw the visitors’ Jonathan Williams collapse like a sack of spuds before a Lazarus style recovery). It was a period that saw us earn 5 points out of 9 and one which culminated in his equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Fulham.

The fans went delirious and, but for a rogue linesman, the Bees would conceivably have gone on to pick up all three points that afternoon. Jack’s reward, keeping his place for the next game at Cardiff City despite Harlee’s ban having been served. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and a 3-2 defeat saw him consigned once more to the bench.

Like Alfie Mawson and Will Grigg last season, players have shown they can leave  Griffin Park for League 1 and earn a return to the Championship. Sheffield United have ‘been there and done it’ many times before. I have no doubt in the potential of Jack to help them do it again. Good luck !

The other transfer story doing the rounds surrounded Alan McCormack , supposedly holding talks with Southend United. Those who made the trip to Boreham Wood or tuned in to hear Mark Burridge and Charlie MacDonald describe the action on Bees Player HD would have been well aware that last night he was lining up for the Bees.

What can you say about that game? Not much, beyond well done to a Boreham Wood side who were missing Yakubu. (Yes. That one) but featured former Bees cult hero Ricky Shakes.

It was a pre-season loosener after we’ve been back in training for about five minutes and they won. Nicely done, Boreham. Dean Smith certainly made his feelings clear in the post match interview that talked of a great exercise in which he got exactly what he wanted. You can read more of that one on the official site.

For the Bees, of course a victory by any margin would have been nice but what would it have told us? Not much. Traditionally, these games see multiple players used and this was once more the case. Dean Smith picking two almost entirely different line ups with Lasse Vibe, Romaine Sawyers, Dan Bentley, Josh McEachran, Alan Judge and Sam Saunders amongst the notable absentees.

On the plus side, Lewis Macleod is fit. And scored. This is huge. Like Scott Hogan, a player with huge potential but one who has faced the best part of 18 months out of action. Here’s hoping that like Scott, all the pain and effort reaps a just reward.

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The Bees, in sponsor free kit, lost out by the odd goal in three

Then again, this does give head coach Dean Smith even more of a challenge as to whom he picks from an already voluminous set of midfield options.  Romaine Sawyers is in whilst Lewis is, cliché alert, ‘like a new signing‘. With John Swift back at Chelsea, Sergi Canos at Liverpool / ?  and Jota on loan (surely that will just be a matter of time before, sadly, formalities are completed) what next ?

Alan Judge continues his return from injury although the pessimist in me suspects that once fit, he’ll be the subject of renewed interest from a whole host of suitors. But it is the question of Macca that really intrigues. The iron fist within our velvet glove of a midfield, is a player of his style a thing of the past or do we still need that tough tackling and experience?

For me Clive, it’s the later. This is the Championship, not a nursery. Will he start every game? Unlikely. Do we have an alternative with his steel when needed? I can’t see one at the moment.

And that’s not meant as any disrespect to any of the wonderful individuals we are assembling in a truly impressive squad. But a bit of variety can only be a good thing and, personally, I’d love to see a player with his very particular set of skills, skills acquired over a long career, retained on the Griffin Park playing staff. They are skills that make him a nightmare for opponents but will Dean and the team decide they are still needed?

Here’s hoping the right decision is taken.

Nick Bruzon 

And finally…. :   The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs then  you can do so now.

Its been a wonderful three years. Here’s to more of the same over 2016/17. Thanks, as ever, for reading.

 

Toumani scored – and not a pitch in sight. Twitter saves the day

31 Jan

 

Say what you want about Leeds United manager Steve Evans (and many have) but I’d love to know what he did to Toumani Diagouraga. Toums broke the hearts of Brentford fans when he signed for the Elland Road side last week. He was a hero on the pitch and a cult legend off it. Specifically because of his goals. Or lack of.

Toumani scores, we’re on the pitch” went the song. Week after week after week.

Shooooot” went the ground whenever the long legged midfielder picked up the ball anywhere within 40 yards of the opposition goal, such was our desire to see him find the back of the net.

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Toumani’s last Griffin Park appearance was for Leeds on Tuesday

29 March 2013 in a 2-1 home win over Notts County was the last time he’d done it. Since that point Bees fans had to wait almost three years and 111 more games (I’m not including the 8 on loan at Porstmouth) for this most longed for event. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Toumani has started a new chapter in his career at Leeds United and left Griffin Park with nothing but best wishes from everybody associated with our club. Then yesterday, at around 3.40pm, it all went a bit bonkers.

With Brentford having a day off given our lack of involvement in the FA Cup, the normally close-knit Bees family was scattered. Rather than huddled on the terrace and in the stands we were out shopping, drinking, relaxing at home or even at another game. As such, we had to rely on other means to enjoy the moment together and this is where social media came to the fore.

If ever a Twitter update brought an unexpected smile to the face it was this one. With Leeds playing at Bolton Wanderers, it seemed Toumani had done the unthinkable and scored a goal.

Just 39 minutes into his full debut!

That had to be a typo. Surely? But no, my timeline then went into meltdown. Even Harlee Dean got in on the act.

Never have I seen such an outpouring of love, affection and all round good vibes directed towards another team’s player. Not to mention a fair share of good-natured banter, too.

Toums – congratulations.

Here’s the best of how Twitter reacted. And, for me (Clive), Daniel Giltinane wins it…

All good humour and, I’m sure you’ll agree, nothing but the best wishes towards our former number 20. With Alan Judge reportedly telling sources he’s going nowhere this transfer window, Brentford fans have been left very happy without even playing a game.

For now, though, we’ll leave the Last Word to the man of the moment.

Nice one Toums.

Nick Bruzon

Farewell to the king as season wraps up

26 May

What a Bank Holiday Monday. Mr Brentford, Kevin O’Connor, has officially ‘hung up his boots’ whilst over at Wembley, Norwich City made an immediate return to the Premiership after ousting Middlesbrough 2-0. And then there was more managerial intrigue at Griffin Park where the name of Marinus Dijkhuizen was the one on everybody’s lips after Jurgen Klopp’s admission he could order a beer in Spanish seemed to rule him out.

Jurgen Klopp. Sorry, but before we get any further that does just bear repeating. Even to be mentioned in the same breath is utterly bonkers yet, at the same time, symptomatic of how fast Brentford are accelerating. Talking to a source close to the club this morning, there is no official news out there yet although a tongue in cheek thought that, now Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Real Madrid, could his sudden availability cause any shortlist to be redrawn?

Middlesbrough. Whatever you feel about the way they kicked us off the park and ran down the clock, I do need to spare a thought for their fans after yesterday’s Championship play off final. Nobody wants to go through that and, perhaps, Brentford most of all can share that pain after eight unsuccessful attempts to get promoted in this fashion.

Warbs was on the Sky Sports pundits panel (as Harry's knee seems to have recovered)

Warbs was on the Sky Sports pundits panel (as Harry’s knee seems to have recovered)

Worse, it means a return to arms for ‘that drum’ next season. I’ve long been an advocate of the thought that musical instruments should not be allowed within 100 yards of a football stadium (see also: Yeovil, Portsmouth – bell, Bernie Clifton’s alleged England supporters alleged band). The supporter equivalent of ‘goal music’, any team needing these to kickstart the atmosphere need to take a look at themselves.

On the plus side, it gives us a chance to test ourselves against a team who, being fair, probably gave us the hardest time of any other opponents all season. 4-0 and 1-0 defeats in the league were followed by 2-1 and 3-0 reverses in the play off semis. Just as I enjoyed showing Wolves how far we’d come since last season (the 4-0 home win being the last thing they probably expected) I’m already keen to see how we fare against Boro’ next time around. Whoever out of Klopp, Dijkhuizen, Ancelotti, Warburton (you never know), Redknapp (leftfield, but…) this is one encounter that is going to be key to our season 2015/16.

But one person who won’t be playing any part, on pitch, is club captain Kevin O’Connor. Social media was awash with tributes after the club finally got a hashtag spot on and made the following announcement :

no comment needed

no comment needed

What can you say? If ever there was somebody that typified a team, that had been through the lows and the highs, that wore his heart on his sleeve but always played the game in the fairest possible style – it’s King Kev. So few players see out their career at one club but Kevin, in his 501 games, has joined that elite group.

Even during the hullabaloo of, and subsequent fallout from, ‘that penalty’ he did nothing but carry himself with the utmost of dignity. Yet how sweet was it to see him nail that last minute spot kick in the play off semi final at Swindon in the very next game?

Over his 501 games, Kevin has played in just about every position for Brentford. Except goal. But even that almost happened – certainly if you were to believe Hayes & Yeading from a few years ago.

Could King Kev have ended up playing in goal?

Could King Kev have ended up playing in goal?

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Kevin will know what an absolute gentleman he is. Whether lining up with the fans to try and buy a beer (that didn’t happen) at the impromptu street part following promotion against Preston, just stopping for a chat in Braemar Road after a game or at the pre-season fans’ days. Whatever the occasion he has always taken the time to welcome the supporters.

Kevin – you’ll be missed on pitch but, at the least, your legacy continues in the new role at Griffin Park. Thanks for all the good times.

And finally, if anybody is looking for some holiday reading or just wants to reflect on what has been, frankly, an incredible season then the 2014/15 review is now available for download. Featuring the least bad bits of the Last word, some poor editing and even a bit of new material you can get it here for less than the price of a Griffin Park Balti pie or matchday programme.

Thanks for reading – here’s to pre season.

Available - now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

Available – now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

How on earth did he do that? I’m not even sure he knows

10 Dec

There was great news coming out of the club yesterday with the announcement that Toumani Diagouraga has signed a contract extension to keep him at Griffin Park until 2017. Already one of our longest serving players since joining in January 2010, The long legged midfield player is now approaching 200 games for The Bees in all competitions (that’s the club’s line, not mine, from the official press release)”.

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.

There’s nothing like a bit of competition to bring out the best

28 Nov

I love Friday mornings for the simple reason that no more ‘work day wake ups’ remain before Saturday’s Championship football. And with Wolves the next team to line up against Brentford, this Friday seems even more special than others.

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.

Tangerine dream becomes a Halloween nightmare.

2 Nov

You have to feel for Blackpool supporters. With chairman Karl Oyston doing his best to make friends and influence people, the visit of play off chasing Ipswich Town on Saturday coincided with the arrival of new manager, Lee Clark. And where new managers and controversial owners go, Clem from the Football League show is sure to follow.

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.

Even when Manish is on holiday, Clem still delivers

12 Oct

Sunday morning and, despite Brentford not playing yesterday, we still have plenty of Clemwatch action. From Portsmouth v Northampton Town in the JPT and then Alfreton v  Torquay in the conference, our ‘man with the mic’ has been out and about doing his thing. An achievement all the more impressive, given Saturday’s lack of The Football League Show on BBC.

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.

Clem can shake his fists, but the stats aren't improving after his visit to Portsmouth

Clem can shake his fists, but the stats aren’t improving after his visit to Portsmouth

Referee Salisbury plain as Hornets sting Bees

1 Oct

What can you see about that? Well done to Watford for taking their chances and taking all three points. Bad luck Brentford for playing, at times, some scintillating football and coming close to a draw that, on the balance of play, would have been the least we deserved.

That said, “Bad luck, well played and scintillating football” count for nothing if you can’t convert….

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.