Tag Archives: pre-season

Kit news. We have kit news. Of sorts. Plus a bright and breezy romp…

2 Jun

Even years are fab. Odd ones suck. 2016 – saw the Euros and the Olympics. 2018 – has the World Cup. 2017 – nothing . Absolutely nothing. What one New Road observer described to me yesterday as ‘A sports wasteland’. Unless you like Andy Murray. But then we get that every year. For football / Brentford fans a long, hard summer awaits. We’ve a 35 day wait until we can see the lads in vaguely meaningful action (the game at Aldershot) whilst the visit of Southampton is, as it stands, the only pre-season action announced at Griffin Park

Indeed, looking at the key dates between now and August when the Bees continue Championship life, it really does seem like a case of slim pickings. At least if you need your football fix.

Dates for the diary – 2017/18.

Father’s Day: 18th June
Sky Bet EFL fixtures are revealed: 21st June 2017
Aldershot Town: away 7th July
Oxford United: away 19th July
Southampton: home 22nd July
MK Dons: away 25th July
Sky Bet EFL season begins: 5th August 2017 (subject to TV)

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 05.37.15

35 days?? That’s more than a month.

All pretty standard fare, really. But why Father’s day? This is no unsubtle hint from yours truly. Mrs B normally does a great job on that front (although if anybody is struggling for an idea then there’s a book I could recommend…).

If football action is thin on the ground, then so are updates about our new kit for 2017/18. It’s been tumbleweed out there. I am, as ever, desperate to find out how we’ll be looking next season. Thick stripes? Thin stripes? Collars? Long sleeves (please, Adidas. Please). Will the away be the green we discussed so much last season? What about yellow/black – a combination that proved incredibly popular in the recent poll to discuss our best ever shirt to feature the previous crest? Or a return to ‘traditional’ two-tone blue?

Likewise, how we are going to launch next season’s effort? Incredible though it was to get the supporters involved last time around (and I can only thank the club, yet again, on that front) nobody is yet to surpass Blackburn Rovers and their ‘Birdy’s Date’ video. I’ve said that before and I will say it again. Probably every season going, at least until we make our own equivalent – Buzzette’s Date, anyone?

Brentford club shop (1)

Players and fans were all involved last time around

Yet for all my supposition, there has been nothing out there. With Brentford understandably focussing on season tickets at present, why would we make distractions on that front? Equally, with clubs now launching shirts every day (Southampton and Alan McCormack’s Luton Town amongst the most recent to go with stunning ‘away’ efforts – do check them out, especially the Saints which is very ’80’s Brentford) one does have to wonder when it will be our turn?

Fellow kit enthusiast/nerd/obsessive Luis Adriano has been on the case though. Taking to Twitter, he put the question to Mark Devlin this week. As ever, our Chief Executive was quick to reply giving the slightest of clues…..

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 05.59.00

For a mate! Sure, Luis. Sure 🙂

So Father’s Day is on the calendar in the Bruzon household. Although not just for the traditional reasons this season. Mark / Kitman Bob, if you are reading (stranger things have happened) any more clues would be gratefully accepted…..

The other traditional thing at this time of year is the plugging of the season review e-book. Please. Stay with me – this time around it is for a great cause . All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales from the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it.

A bright and breezy romp…. this is a cheap and worthwhile read.” They aren’t my words but those of sometime Bees Player pundit and ‘Ahead of the game’ author Greville Waterman.

So PLEASE. Do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at work (or is that just me?).

In all seriousness, I need to give a HUGE thanks to everybody who has downloaded this so far. Likewise, those who have helped give it a nudge – the players, Beesotted and West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore amongst others.

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

If nothing else, Father’s Day is approaching. Just saying….

This is it - the latest version now available. For a great cause

Out now – for a great cause

Nick Bruzon

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Bees go Double Dutch to welcome in new era

2 Jun

In the end it was the least surprising managerial news since David Moyes got the boot from Manchester United or the rumours surrounding Mark Warburton were confirmed back in February. Marinus Dijkhuizen, from Eredivisie club S.B.V. Excelsior, has been appointed as the new head coach of Brentford football club. Coming with him “to assist” (presumably the deputy-head) is fellow Dutchman Roy Hendriksen.

Marinus’ name had been tossed around the media and social networks all last week, so his eventual appointment had been widely anticipated.

There was to be no shock out of leftfield although this is a bold enough step in the future of the football club as it is (especially considering the short term expectation levels he will be under in the eyes of some supporters, given the excellent two years under Warb’ guidance).

The official club site has the full interview with him here, although there can’t be many who haven’t already been through this with a fine toothed comb to see what nuggets they can glean about the new man.

 

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

 

Pre-season excitement builds as even Manchester United impress

24 Jul

I’ve no particular affiliation to Manchester United or the Premiership but this morning the Old Trafford outfit have achieved my favourite thing in football – videprinter brackets. Louis van Gaal scooped the prestigious Chevrolet Cup (a 21st Century Makita trophy?) in his first game in charge of the Red Devils as the won 7(seven) – 0 over LA Galaxy.

Being a Brentford fan, I’m always a lover of seeing the mighty fall flat at the hands of the under-dog. As such, last season’s campaign was of particular interest for us Premiership neutrals with team after team lining up to administer another beating to David Moyes’ team.

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

However, does this hefty win mean normal service will be returned? Or do pre season friendlies count for nothing? Well, with Brentford taking Barnet (the LA Galaxy of North London) apart 5-1 on Tuesday I’d certainly be taking positives from any victory. Further friendlies await against Nice (Saturday), CA Osasuna (Tuesday) and then Crystal Palace the following weekend .

Last season saw fine performances against Millwall (3-0) and Cardiff City (3-2) that were the precursor to our eventual promotion. I won’t take wins in the next ten days as a guarantee of the same but they will be great morale boosters. Moreso for the fans who seem to be chomping at the bit to get back to Griffin Park.

Full ticketing details remain on the club site but, for the price of a Central London pint, you can see the Bees in action as soon as this weekend.

Bring it on!! Football is (almost) back

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

GP under lights v Cardiff 2

Griffin Park awaits last season’s warm up against Cardiff City

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of pre-season

11 Jul

Championship. Championship. Here come the Bees in the Championship”. Not my words but those of Billy Reeves and Bee Faction in their promotion celebrating, ‘Hey Brentford’ song. Still available on free download, this terrace anthem has been my earworm for most of the summer.

And thankfully so, with the gap from promotion to the Championship an excruciating wait. Fortunately, this has been just one of numerous distractions to keep me occupied.

Some bad : the departure of Clayton Donaldson, the leak of the away kit and the most cringeworthy tweet to ever come out of ‘official’ channels. I have no idea who ‘drives’ @brentfordfc on Twitter but the reaction to the phrase ‘#trophyfriends’ was one of almost universal embarrassment.

Please - NEVER again

Please – NEVER again

Still, that was very much the thin end of the wedge and there have been more positives to focus on than I could shake a stick at.

So here they are: the top ten moments of the close season

10: The play offs. An odd place to start, especially given our track record, but wasn’t it great to watch the annual torture session at the W place with so much direct interest for Brentford? Who from Rotherham or Leyton Orient would be joining us next season and who would suffer that ultimate kick in the knackers? Likewise, could Uwe do us a huge favour and keep the Loftus Road mob in the Championship.

In the end, it was Rotherham who celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup and Wigan Athletic who will be visiting Griffin Park for the final game of 2014/15

9: Pre-season friendlies. A complete contrast to last season where, instead of a full priced game against a Celtic reserve side, whose support were allowed free reign of Griffin Park, we’ve got visits from the continent. There could even be a smattering of World Cup stars present as both Nice and Espanyol visit, with tickets starting form as little as £5 for adults. Great work.

8: The World Cup. Putting England to one side, it has been a stunning diversion from the pain of pre-season. From the second day destruction of Spain by the Netherlands right up to the hosts being on the wrong end of a 7(seven)-1 semi-final bracketing, this has really been captivating stuff. The likes of Algeria and Costa Rica have helped demonstrate that cup football is one of the most exciting sports on the planet – moreso when there is this much in such a short space of time.

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

The World Cup gave us plenty to chew over

7: Diaries. Peter Gilham’s tour diary is always a great read. A fascinating view behind the curtain as to what really makes up a pre-season training camp – for both the players and the backroom staff. Moreso, it’s a sign that the campaign is almost upon us.

Always a great read

Always a great read

6: The roof is finally covered. At last. They squatted in TW8 for longer than the Kew Bridge ‘Eco village’ but Qatar Airways have finally been evicted from the roof of the Bill Axbey stand on New Road. We await news as to who replaces them with intrigue.

Going.Going.Gone

Going.Going.Gone

5: Team morale. It seems stunning. What goes on tour doesn’t necessarily stay on tour, when it comes to Brentford. Sam Saunders car wash, wearing nothing more than flip flops and three marigolds, and Harlee Dean being slapped in the face with a wet fish by Will Grigg are both videos I never thought I’d see. But am very glad I have

4: That moment when news sources recognise us. We know we’re a Championship team but others, outside of West London, are not always so quick to keep tabs. So when the likes of ‘News now’ move the Bees to their Championship page or the BBC have us as sitting in the new League table, it put a little tingle up the spine

3: Ticket prices. These increased, but marginally. The price rise was a token one and nowhere near the amount I would have expected from a club with a limited capacity (relative to our rivals) and now playing in a higher division. This really was a bold decision and they have been instantly rewarded with over 5000 sales. Thank you!

2: Mark Devlin’s strip tease. Of course, I mean the teaser campaign that has led to the unveiling of our home kit. I liked this idea – despite my desperation to see the ‘full reveal’ – and we’ve been rewarded with a great shirt. The away shirt, in particular, aside from the cracking design spec, achieves that rare feat of making the stick on sponsor’s logo look marginally acceptable. And when that happens, you know something good must be happening.

The family friendly strip tease

The family friendly strip tease

1: The Fixture list. If there was one thing to crank up excitement about next season, it is the moment when the fixtures are revealed. Away trips can be planned, Christmas is saved with a home fixture on Boxing Day and Uwe visits on the last day of the (hopefully) regular season. Oh, and there’s a return of the derby against Fulham

And if you need any reminder of how we got here, ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Nice work PG as Norris chucks Bees

4 Jul

And relax. After a two day break the World Cup is back tonight. Fortunately, there has been plenty to keep us occupied in the last day or so – and not just at Brentford but everywhere else from Gibraltar to Florida and beyond.

Starting with the Bees, the big news for me was not the announcement of our home friendlies against Nice and Espanyol. That said, these are both very exciting fixtures against teams in their domestic top flights and are sure to be a stern test for Brentford. I’d imagine there’ll be big crowds at each (let’s hope the ticketing arrangements are done differently to the Celtic affair) whilst I’m particularly intrigued by the French visit.

Nice’s goalkeer is David Ospina who, of course, is currently plying his trade in the World Cup for Colombia andis due to play this evening against Brazil. It will be very interesting to see how he fares against Brazil international striker Neymar and then compare this to the performance of Northern Ireland International Will Grigg. I’m banking our man will score more than the, so called, “poster boy of Brazilian football” (© everywhere) .

Neither was it the announcement that Luke Norris has turned down a contract offer at Griffin Park and, instead, chosen to join the home for retired Bees (not Wycombe Wanderers) at Gillingham. Good luck with that, Luke.

It’s a shame he’s chosen to leave as, one would have thought, the challenge of breaking into a Championship side would have been a huge lure. However, I’m sure he has his reasons. For us, it will be interesting to see what happens next with Brentford’s dwindling attacking options.

For me, though, THE news was something I’d hoped for in the previous article – the return of Peter Gilham’s tour diary. You can find this, here, on the official site as PG keeps us up to speed with the latest news from our training camp in Florida. I won’t ruin the surprise, suffice to say that I’ve learnt a fascinating fact about footballer’s ‘flight socks’.

Coming soon to a bookshop near you?

 

Top stuff, Peter. I’m glad it’s back and I’ll be staying glued. Keep up the great work.

Away from Griffin Park, it is incredible to think that despite ‘pre-season’ barely underway and the World Cup only at quarter final stage (or, ‘the round of 8’ as FIFA would probably call it), qualifying for European competition has already begun.

Last night saw former Bees Shaleum Logan and Niall McGinn both on the score sheet as Aberdeen beat Daugava Riga 5-0 in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

However, this was a mere appetiser for the main European story and it is here I must apologise to Lincoln. Not City, now of the Conference Premier, but Red Imps, the champions of the Gibraltar Premier Division.

Regular readers will know of my Gibraltarian heritage and fascination with all things ‘Team 54’ (being the name by which our national side became known as they, finally, became UEFA’s newest members in May 2013). It received several columns over the course of last season and, indeed, I’m hoping to travel to Germany this November to see them in UEFA qualifying action.

However, Wednesday night saw the Lincoln Red Imps become the first Gibraltarian team to begin a Champion’s League qualifying campaign where, despite taking the lead, they were eventually held 1-1 at home by HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands.

Whatever the result, this was an event of huge footballing significance and so I apologise for not mentioning this yesterday. Well done Lincoln – now finish the job on the return leg. The lure of a tie with Partizan Belgrade awaits the winners!

Similar congratulations to College Europa, for an equally historic moment last night. Despite going down 0-3 in Liechenstein to FC Vaduz, they’ll be sure a big crowd as the Europa League makes it’s debut in Gib for the return leg.

Who knows where this will all lead but I’m already looking forward to that moment in a few years time where Peter Gilham’s tour diary comes from a Champion’s League qualifier from ‘The Rock’.

Stranger things have happened……

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14 and a smattering of ‘Team 54’ ) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

 

Chuck jeans

Farewell to Luke ‘Chuck’ Norris – man of ‘action’