Tag Archives: postponed

Snow day for Brentford still sees carnage at Birmingham City. Again.

4 Mar

So Brentford need to ‘go again’ with Cardiff City. The wintry conditions in the preceding few days putting paid to any chance of the game going ahead. And whilst hindsight may be a wonderful thing as things thawed rapidly on Saturday, making the call early was the correct decision. Moreso given the icy blast that was still blowing through TW8 at the weekend. Yet, with two away trips to come this week (Burton Albion on Tuesday and Millwall, Saturday) perhaps a day off was a blessing in disguise. Even without our game there was still plenty to keep us entertained in the Championship – starting and ending with Birmingham City who went down at Nottingham Forest.

DSC00548

Griffin Park was among the places caught in the snowy conditions this week.

Positives for the Blues were that they scored their first goal in five games. Unfortunately, their opponents managed it twice, consigning the division’s lowest scorers to another defeat. Five in a row. Anti-manager of the month form for Steve Cotterill who despite embarking on a post-match Kevin Keegan style ‘I’d love it’ rant on BBC Radio, was consequently sacked. It is a decision which leaves Birmingham City looking for their fourth manager of the season and the club firmly locked in the bottom three. With a visit from Middlesbrough next up, it certainly won’t get any easier for whomever comes in next.

Garry Monk is hot favourite. His name being added to the mix over the last few days was something which proved the catalyst for Cotterill’s frustration. “If that’s been going on behind my back, it’s best for them to get on with it”, he told BBC WM 95.6FM. Gordon Strachan and Mark Warburton are names that have also been bandied about.

The latter’s selection, if it somehow happened, would certainly make things interesting for ‘BeeTheDJ’ (or at least, at full time)  – assuming our club paths crossed next season. The respective directions that Birmingham and Brentford are currently heading, could conceivably see a two division gap between us for 2018/19.

It finished 5-0. It finished loud…

Then again, the knee jerk actions of a board whose hiring and firing policy could be written on the back of a fag packet mean nobody is safe for any amount of time. Even if the Bees and the Blues are both in the Championship next time around, there’s no guarantee that whomever inherits the manager’s office will still be there when we play each other once more.

Since the incredible decision to jettison Gary Rowett with the team on the fringe of the play-off race back in December 2016, they’ve been through more incompetent henchmen than a Bond Villain. Think Max Zorin in his zeppelin, finger poised over the ‘eject’ button.  There was the disastrous Gianfranco Zola period, Harry Redknapp (but only after he’d splurged the the transfer budget and wage bill – mostly towards us), three games for Lee Carsley and then Cotterill’s ill-fated period at the helm. Talk about self-inflicted suicide.

Max Zorin

Max Zorin – any excuse

Our own model – in terms of management and spending – proving to be the infinitely stronger tactic. A fourth, successive Championship top ten finish, with the possibility of a second play-off challenge, is more than on the cards. Contrast this to a team who despite their huge reputation and even bigger spending, have finished below us every year since our paths re-crossed at this level

Brentford fans had been quick to request the likes of ‘Price Tag’, Money’ and ‘I need a dollar’ as pre-kick off song selection for our recent game with The Blues. What had happened over the summer still so very fresh in our minds. As such, there was no irony lost yesterday in Joe Lolley and Matty Cash getting the Nottingham Forest goals that would ultimately prove the final nail in the Birmingham coffin. Certainly, this this latest incarnation.

Can they pull themselves out of this downward spiral? Barnsley above them have a game in hand, are already two points better off and have infinitely better goal difference. Likewise, Hull City (who entertain Millwall on Tuesday) are starting to see a bit of clear air. Burton, one point below them, also have a game in hand but are the bookies favourites, along with seemingly doomed Sunderland and the Blues.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 08.01.18

The current relegation prices. For research purposes.

Still, that’s their problem. The only downside out of all this for the Bees being our own trip to Burton on Tuesday. Whilst the table suggests this will be a formality, a team with their backs to the wall and staring into the abyss always have that potential to come out all guns blazing. They really are entering ‘do or die’ territory now as games start to run out. Whether the target is one of still harbouring play-off aspirations or consolidating another top ten finish, then these are the sort of games that need to be won.

To even be talking like this is, I still think, incredible. And as much in the show of faith invested by the club in our players and staff. We all know the horror start that the Bees had. Four points and in the bottom three after eight games. A wealth of experience and talent sold. Yet we’ve put out heads down, not panicked and built on the base of shrewd acquisition, experience and belief in our own process. The evidence has been tangible.

I’m gutted that yesterday’s game was cancelled. I’d love to have seen how we went against Cardiff City. Yet, perhaps it has also given us a chance to take stock. Both on and off the pitch. To look at what is happening around us. With the first shovel due to be planted at Lionel Road on March 19th, it’s fair to say things are looking positive!

Moreso, compared to some of our divisional rivals.

DSC00570

Until next time, Cardiff….

Nick Bruzon

The day’s top tweets as Bristol City beat Hull City and West Ham to Andre. Allegedly

18 Aug

So the rumours are true. After weeks of speculation and leaked news the story we’d all been waiting on was confirmed. Brentford have dug up their pitch. Oh, and a £9million bid has, apparently been accepted from Bristol City for Andre Gray. Yes, Bristol City.

We can only start at Ashton Gate where the BBC have run the story saying that Brentford have accepted an offer in the region of three Lewis Grabbans for the ‘in demand’ striker. With Hull City long leading the running and even West Ham seen as 11th hour party poopers, could the Bristol story have any truth to it?

Andre - remains a Bee (for now)

Andre – remains a Bee (for now)

Certainly the club have been very open in their pursuit of Dwight Gayle before being publically snubbed by the Crystal Palace star. But with the ‘out door’ still swinging, their attention has turned to Andre in a move that has taken pretty much everybody by surprise. For a club that has just come up from League One, and lost both Championship games so far, to wave a cheque of this size under Matthew Benham’s nose seems almost crazy.

It is a price tag that has shocked even their own fans with social media in meltdown at the ‘news’. Considering Brentford paid just half a million for the player last year it would represent a stunning return and one which any club would struggle to resist. So which way will Matthew jump – cash in or look to hang on to one of his prize assets?

Tweet of the day from one shocked City fan

Tweet of the day from one shocked City fan

The above effort from @cardiniho_10 on Twitter surpassed my previous ‘tweet of the day’. One which had appeared in conjunction with the latest medical update from Bees head of medical, Neil Greig. Was he being ‘naughty’ with his choice of phrase to describe the prognosis for Lewis Macleod? Or was this nothing more than an accident for the midfielder who, of course, suffered a relapse after ‘tripping over a twig?

We’ll never know for sure, but fairplay to the wag on the New Road who spotted this.

The previous 'tweet of the day'

The previous ‘tweet of the day’

Getting back to Andre, though. Personally I’d love him to stay but £9m is just an incredible amount, if true. And whilst the ‘story’ has appeared on the BBC, it was in another of those infamous quote free stories that seem to be doing the rounds at the moment.

Yet if this is true, what’s in it for Andre? Well, the obvious answer is money. Bristol City are definitely building for the future but in terms of immediate success, the player would be leaving a club who reached the Championship play offs last time out (and have started just as brightly now) for one who have definitely had a shock adjusting to life in a higher division. Even Hull City or West Ham, whilst equally unpalatable for Bees fans, could be deemed ‘big clubs’ with recent Premiership grounding

Good luck to him. If Andre genuinely believes his best chance for future success is at Ashton Gate then who am I to argue with his logic. But do remember that as of Tuesday night these stories remain just that – stories. However, Wednesday promises to be a very interesting day.

One area where Bristol City definitely have the advantage over the Bees is in their playing surface.For a start, they have one. Our own game with Birmingham City was cancelled as a result of the shoddy pitch at Griffin Park finally having the repair work take place.

Anyone wandering past Griffin Park on Tuesday would have seen the ‘turf’ removed and work well underway. They might also have seen two visitors from Texas who were looking forward to taking in the Birmingham game as part of a sojourn in the UK. Alas, it wasn’t to be and, instead, their visit to TW8 consisted of nothing more than a photo outside the Director’s gate.

Sadly, I’d imagine this is one set of travel refunds the club won’t be able to process. That said, if we do pocket £9million in the next few days then perhaps we could stretch to a seat in the Director’s box – even for just one game.

All the way from Texas to TW8 then run out by a dodgy pitch

All the way from Texas to TW8 then run out by a dodgy pitch

Nick Bruzon

Finally. Some positive ‘off field’ news.

18 Aug

Watching Bournemouth going down 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield last night, the nagging thought was, “That could have been us”. Not in the losing part – Brentford have got four points from six this season – but in general Premiership participation. Whilst Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City fully deserve their chance to take on the likes of Liverpool as part of the regular campaign, it was yet another reminder of how close we came last season.

Good luck to them. Seriously. Eddie Howe’s team game a very good account of themselves although if I hear the phrases ‘offside’ and ‘controversial’ again it will already be too soon. But, equally, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of admiration for last season’s rivals at the reward for their success – a chance to mix it with the, so called, ‘elite’ of English football and have their games beamed all round the world. This, despite the inconvenience to fans of Monday night fixtures rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon.

The Bees haven't played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

The Bees haven’t played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

However, there’s no point Brentford fans wishing life away on ‘if onlys’. We had our chance but couldn’t, quite, take it. Let’s move on and use it as the inspiration to go one better this time around.

The good news is that despite the horrendous slew of injuries we have suffered and the worst playing surface since, well, ever (I’ve seen better pitches on Dragon’s Den) the Bees have had an unbeaten start and lie third in the early season table. To put that in West London terms, we are three points clear, already, of both Fulham and the Loftus Road mob. Whilst the league is a marathon, not a sprint I’d rather start the campaign ahead of our rivals than behind them.

It’s a crying shame tonight’s game at home to Birmingham City has had to be postponed due to the aforementioned pitch. Momentum has been killed stone dead and it gives the other teams a chance to steal a march on us. Much like the aforementioned marathon analogy, I’ve always said that “points in the bag are better than games in hand” (just about the only two football clichés that are worth their salt) but with James Tarkowski being the latest addition to the casualty list after suffering that facial injury on Saturday, could this delay be a blessing in disguise?

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Likewise, it gives new right back Maxime Colin extra time to bed in with his new team mates although then, of course, presents Marinus with a (nice) problem for Saturday’s trip to Burnley – does Alan McCormack make way for the new boy from Anderlecht?

Questions, questions, questions and, ultimately, not worth getting overly hung up about. The pitch is spannered, the game is off and there’s nothing else we can do about it except wait for the weekend.

The other selection poser Marinus may well be considering is that of Sam Saunders. The fan favourite played 70 (seventy) minutes of the development squad game on Monday, bagging a goal in the process. Could we see a return, even on the bench, for the perma tanned wing wizard?

As ever, Twitter was the place to be for the up to the minute news on that one. Along with the club breaking the news of his participation and sharing the latest action, Sam later responded to the question, “Could Turf Moor be Saunders Territory?”, with the update ”very much hoping so, hopefully have a good weeks training and let’s see

You don’t need to be a genius to be aware of the effect Sam has on the team and the fans. His enthusiasm and ability are second to none – the Boxing Day game at home to Ipswich Town bring a prime example of what he can bring to the side.

Whilst places shouldn’t be given based on former glories (as Jonathan Douglas discovered) I’d love to see Sam back in the team on merit.

We’ve had a bright start to the league campaign.Could our enforced rest tonight actually help it get even better?

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon

Life’s a pitch for Birmingham and Rangers as Bees get the picture

13 Aug

Life is never quiet at Brentford. The Birmingham City game, scheduled for Tuesday night at Griffin Park, has been put back a month due to the state of the pitch. And up in Glasgow, the Daily Record has ben laying in to us after publishing an article with Harlee Dean where the centre back has, apparently, been criticising Rangers manager Mark Warburton for his approach to set pieces.

It’s not the first time we’ve managed to upset the publication, through no fault of our own. Regular readers may recall last season’s bizarre attack on us from Barry Ferguson when Lewis Macleod joined from Rangers.

Now they have run an interview with Harlee (why he was talking to them, I have no idea) where he is purported to have said, “Last year we didn’t have one session on set-pieces and it showed on the pitch. That was Warbs’ way. Perhaps that’s where we fell short”.

Harlee took to Twitter to immediately leap to his former manager’s defence.However, even if taken out of context then I really wouldn’t be surprised.These are sentiments, regardless of how true they are, that I’d agree with based on what I saw last season.

Harlee states his admiration for Warbs following the interview

Harlee states his admiration for Warbs following the interview

Don’t take it short, it never f**king works” was a regular cry coming over the terrace whenever a corner kick was awarded. It was a cry usually ignored. As for free kicks – the absence of Sam Saunders was the death knell, Alex Pritchard deflections aside, for anything around the 25-yard box.

That said, if Harlee has been taken out of context on this occasion then perhaps he should just give the press a wide berth in future. It was only a few months ago that he gave an interview about the impending play off semi final with Middlesbrough, where he said, “Set-pieces and counter attacks are all they have got”.

We won’t talk about what happened next.

As for the Griffin Park pitch, we have finally succumbed to the inevitable following the 4-0 defeat to Oxford United in the cup.

Matthew Benham's team played the wrong game on Tuesday, as one New Road wag noted

Matthew Benham’s team played the wrong game on Tuesday, as one New Road wag noted

It will come as no surprise to anybody with eyes in their head but the club have spoken to the League and now got permission to postpone the game against Birmingham City. There had been no improvement from our opening day draw with Ipswich Town as chunks were being cut out of it with all the finesse of a drunken pensioner attempting to use a 9 iron for the first time.

Nobody could believe what they were seeing out there – the footballing equivalent of Victor Tourjansky in his trio of Roger Moore era ‘Bond’ film cameos. However, when even the Head coach and CEO are publically lambasting this then it was obvious something was going to have to give.

Whilst a disappointment for many, this is only a good decision. Aside from the impact it was having on our brand of football, the surface was presenting a serious injury risk to players.

Victor Tourjansky surveys the Griffin Park pitch form the hospitality lounge

Victor Tourjansky surveys the Griffin Park pitch from the hospitality lounge

Instead, Birmingham now visit on September 29th in a run that sees us play three successive home games over a ten day period. Let’s hope this beds in a bit better second time around.

And finally, we’ve updated our team profile pictures. Vistors to the official site would have seen the players posing in what seems to be a Garden centre – or perhaps Kew Gardens.

There was no sign of Lewis Macleod although given his aversion to twigs, perhaps best to keep the former Rangers man away from shrubbery.

Is Lewis hiding in the bushes?

Is Lewis hiding in the bushes?

Nick Bruzon

What are the odds on THAT? The big game is finally here

22 Feb

Anyone taking advice from me ahead of today’s Brentford  – Wolves game needs his or her head tested. The self confessed ‘numpty on the terrace’, my football radar is so far off that when I heard yesterday about Wayne Rooney’s extension at Manchester United, my genuine reaction was ‘hairline’ rather than ‘contract’.  That said, in staying at Old Trafford it’s actually a rare case of a rat jumping back on to a sinking ship (proverbially, of course). Whilst I am enjoying their fall from grace, I think the odds of United and Brentford both gracing the Championship next year are thinner than the aforementioned ‘weave’.

But today’s action is all about League One and it really doesn’t get any bigger than this.

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.

Brentford wrestling Manchester City and Newcastle for a BBC mention

19 Feb

Manchester City lose at home to Barcelona thanks to an ‘iffy’ penalty. Leyton Orient return to the promotion places in League one (although seem to have played all of Crawley’s games in hand for them). Hey, I’ve even seen that World Wrestling Entertainment supremo Vince McMahon is, supposedly, interested in buying Newcastle United from Mike Ashley.

Those, just a sample of the football related stories to be found on the BBC, Evening Standard and other news related websites last night. Given the theatrical nature and hammy challenges in the top flight, perhaps McMahon would be naturally at home in charge of a Premiership football club. However, I hear enough about soap operas at work without wanting to read more on them when I get home.

Besides, there was bigger news out there yesterday. I’m not naïve enough to expect it to be headline grabbing but surely it would be up there, somewhere?

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.

Brentford’s rain continues but who was wearing ballet shoes?

13 Feb

So Brentford  – Sheffield United looks like it could become the most rearranged fixture in League One this season. Last night’s postponement means the game is now likely to be played in April and, with Crewe experiencing ‘extreme weather’, our next run out may not be until Wolves visit Griffin Park on February 22nd.

The Crewe game is not, officially, in danger so don’t go cancelling those train tickets just yet. That said, the overnight forecast wasn’t great whilst the town’s railway station had to be closed on Wednesday after debris began falling from the roof  (something those sitting on New Road when we played Rotherham back in October can probably relate to – below).

Crewe’s ironically named station manager, Sheila Breeze (I’m not making this up) said the closure was for safety reasons.

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.

Brentford v Crawley Town – Griffin Park live weather update

7 Feb

It won’t take a genius to figure out the very real threat the weather poses to Saturday’s game. League One leaders Brentford are due to play Crawley but, with Wolves trip to Stevenage already canned 24 hours prior to the scheduled kick off, its no surprise that people are getting itchy feet.

Moreso, given the update posted on the official site this afternoon, the crux of which reads :   “To clarify, if no rain falls, the Club is confident the game will go ahead but any rain before the final whistle will put the match in doubt.”

Given the earlier column today, specifically around various less than successful attempts at weather forecasting (both professional and amateur), I’d be a fool to predict how this is going to go.

What I can, accurately, share is the view over Griffin Park just before sunset. Not a cloud in the sky.

Image

The view down a cloudless Braemar Road just before sunset

So far, so good …. we’ll update here as things progress. However, brace yourself for the worst based on the overnight forecast.

And as if by magic – Friday, 6.40pm weather update: NOW CHUCKING IT DOWN

Friday , 6.50pm: No rain. Cloudy overhead (this could be a long night)

Saturday, 6.45am: Its not raining, but it has been. Dark as pitch outside so can’t see the sky. Would suggest we may need to prepare for ‘Tuesday night under lights’, given the previous club statement.

Saturday, 7.15am: Clear over Griffin Park but large cloud over Chiswick/Kew. Ground in St Paul’s Park (below) surprisingly firm.

IMG_6852

Looking across St.Pauls to Griffin Park

Saturday, 8.40am: Just been for a quick wander up to GP. Good news is (per below) the skys are still clear and there is no rain. Likewsie, quite a stiff breeze in the area which can only be helping the pitch.

On the flipside, a general murkiness and a lot of cloud all around. I’ll be impressed if it doesn’t rain but, until then, one can only presume ‘Game on’ .

GP ct match day

GP ct matchday 2

Saturday, 9am: Pitch inspection confirmed for 10am……

Saturday, 10.05 am: Game OFF – That’s me, then. Thanks for reading today. 6 Nations here we come