Tag Archives: Premiership

Stop sniggering at the back. FFP pigeons coming home to roost for QPR.

25 Oct

Well. That just got interesting for Brentford fans. The chance to sit back, watch potential carnage ensue and be reminded once more of the Financial Fair Play rulings. Whilst most Championship eyes were probably focussed on Crystal Palace (L) being thumped 4-1 by our divisional rivals Bristol City in the League Cup last night, a huge story had already unfolded in West London. Namely , that of hapless QPR and the fine of up to £58 million for breaching divisional FFP rules back in 2013-14.

The BBC sum things up nicely, but in a nutshell clubs were allowed losses of up to £8million that season. QPR ran up a deficit of £9.8million aswell as then seeing owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders write off an additional £60million loan, deeming it an ‘exceptional item’. As you do.

The case has dragged on for the last three years. So much so that, speaking about it recently to a fellow Brentford fan, gut reaction was that Fernandes had just paid the fine ‘under the counter’. Do it discreetly and make it go away. Save some face. Surely that was the only reason we’d heard nothing else about this?

Sadly not, for QPR. An arbitration panel has now given their verdict that the fine was correct for the offence committed. They may have edged their way into the Premier League but having dropped out of it, that pigeon has now come home to roost.

Not surprisingly, there has been little comment out of the Loftus Road club although plenty on Social media. Chief Executive Lee Hoos has issued a short statement , expressing the customary disappointment aswell as noting that “We will be appealing“. Surely a first for a club normally about as appealing as finding a maggot in an apple.

Back at the time, Fernandes was all blood and thunder. There’s a piece in The Guardian where he denounced how unfair this all was. His team had been a Premier League club but after employing the likes of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp (not for the first time) were relegated (not for the first time).  Yet despite the rules in place they chose to breach them to suit their own situation.

My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.

“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.

Boo-hoo. Welcome to the real world of football. It’s not ‘fair’. Don’t clubs like Brentford, trying to compete on a level playing field with the likes of over spending QPR and Bournemouth, know that? We’ve had to watch for year on year as our best players are sold to balance the books. The likes of Moses Odubajo, Scott Hogan, Andre Gray, Jota, Maxime Colin, number 26 and Stuart Dallas. To name but a few.

How nice would it have been just to spend beyond our means and then cry ‘unfair’? Instead, despite huge frustration as to the individual sales, the update from Loftus Road shows the longer term reasoning behind such decisions. We’ve made no secret of buying low to sell high. Of using this model to keep ourselves afloat and build for the future. It has been frustrating at times for sure, I’m the first to admit that. Yet, also, there’s now a wonderful opportunity for a line to be drawn.

Will QPR be able to wriggle out of this one? Will a further appeal be successful? Will their board pay the fine through gritted teeth? Do they even have any money left to do so? Or is a points deduction and demotion the alternative?

One things for sure, when Brentford travel to Loftus Road next month (assuming QPR are still in existence at that point) it’s going to be tasty.

andy-scott-on-qpr

It has been a troubled few seasons for QPR

Nick Bruzon

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I’m glad I support Brentford rather than one big fish in a rapidly stagnating pond. And Dean speaks

5 Jul

Football is slowly waking up. This time last year, we were talking about Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar beating Celtic 1-0 in the Champions League qualifiers. Quite possibly the most embarrassing results in Scottish football history (to add to an already long list) yet last night they were equalled by fellow Glasgow side Rangers when the fourth best team in Luxembourg, part timers Progrès Niederkorn, knocked them out of Europe. And closer to home, Brentford boss Dean Smith has been up in front of the Sky sports cameras.

Ordinarily these pages wouldn’t look at the Scottish game but Rangers have held a bit of a fascination in recent years, given the circumstances which saw former Brentford boss Mark Warburton both join and leave the Ibrox club. “You walk around the stadium, the first time for me this morning, and you smell the history” he said upon becoming their manager in June 2015.

I’m sure this morning they’ll be smelling something rather different North of the border and Warbs will be very pleased with his decision to resign prior to joining Nottingham Forest. Internet bookmaker PaddyPower have already declared Celtic as league Champions prior to a ball being kicked although, to be fair, most bookies have them as 1/9 on at best to lift that particular silverware.

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Other bookmakers are also available

For all the ongoing talk about these two ‘giants’ of Scottish football joining the English Premier League, the totally one sided nature of their domestic league along with results such as those against Progrès or Lincoln show how out of touch they sadly are these days. A point made all the more apparent as after limping past the Gibraltarians last season, Celtic then endured complete capitulation in the group stages, failing to reach the Europa League whilst also suffering a 7(seven) goal bracketing.

Winning at home is nice, but to watch such consistently uncompetitive football must become a somewhat soul destroying affair. Where’s the genuine competition? Where’s the excitement? What’s the point when you win your league by a country mile or get kicked off the park the moment the competition hots up a bit. With your closest historical rival a shadow of their former selves, it really gives off the impression of going through the motions. Give me the Championship any day of the week.

Which is why the return to our own league campaign cannot come soon enough. Nobody could claim this division is one sided. Anything but, with Newcastle United’s title win going right down to the wire last season whilst Brentford have claimed more than their fair share of illustrious scalps over the last three campaigns. Three top ten finishes have surprised more than a few people outside of TW8 (most notably Ian Holloway) and I’m desperate for us to give this division another try.

The good news is that the Bees are now back in training and yesterday, ‘official’ released a video of head coach Dean Smith talking to Sky Sports News.

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Dean Smith spoke to Sky

In the interview, which you can see below, Dean sounds über positive. He talks about having had lots of fresh ideas and sharing our own sentiments that its good to be back after a long break. He has confirmed his top six aspirations along with a desire to keep hold of last seasons squad. Moreso given our strong finish to the campaign.

Then, somewhat randomly, the interview changes tack with the second half being taken up with a discourse on penalties. The recent England – Germany U-21 game. Dean Smith’s philosophy on penalty taking. As a player and as a head coach. It went on. I was half expecting him to be quizzed on Marcello Trotta.

A shame really,, as this was a somewhat wasted opportunity from Sky to dig into our plans, our set up and mindset. To find out how Dean has continued the great work already done by Warbs, Lee Carsley and, of course, the team behind the team.

A missed opportunity?

Then again, I’m more than happy being the underdog. Being that unfancied, under the radar team. Catching the likes of Leeds United, Derby County, Aston Villa, Mr Holloway et al with their pants down.

Nobody can deny the likes of Rangers and Celtic have huge stadiums, even bigger fan bases and plenty of historical honours. Likewise that Griffin Park is still only a 12,000 capacity ground with a trophy cabinet that is emptier than Arsenal’s.

But who wants to be the one big fish in a rapidly stagnating pond of tadpoles? A fish that gets gobbled up the moment any invasive species appears from the continent. The Championship, and beyond, is where it’s all at. Where the real action happens. Where real football takes place.

It’s July 5th. This time next month proceedings begin in anger with out trip to Sheffield United. I really cannot wait. It promises to be even bigger and better than ever before.

Nick Bruzon

No, no, no, no, nooooo, Jota! Is there any truth to Rangers rumour?

20 Dec

Is Jota leaving Eibar in January? Is Rangers (Glasgow, not Loftus Road) rather than Brentford his likely destination? Are local journalists simply hopping on the coat tails of the Scottish Sun to blow one of the usual plethora of rumours that appear at this time of year out of all proportion ?

Certainly, to read the legion of headlines one could be forgiven for imagining the talismanic midfielder is currently hot footing  it towards Rangers, having played his last for both Brentford and Eibar. The aforementioned Sun have run the ‘stories’ (please note: your definition of stories may vary) with quotes as definitve as “The Gers boss has enquired about a loan switch” and “Jota has been strongly linked”  – with Rangers.

And then in the usual lemming like rush for click bait generating headlines, the likes of Get West London, Here Is The City, The Daily Record and even something called ‘Football Insider’ have followed suit.

All tell a similar story. Nothing of any, actual, substance and simply the admission from  Eibar sporting director Fran Garagarza that Jota is ‘within his rights’ to ask for his loan from Brentford to be terminated once the January window opens.

Jota corner short?

Jota – when will we see you again?

The one thing we can say for sure is that the Spaniard hasn’t been high up the pecking order at Eibar. But even if he was to leave, would he really go to Ibrox?

Sure, league wise there’s the chance to be a very big fish in a very small pond but the simple fact is that he remains our player. Brentford have no need to sell and his return would be both a wonderful psychological boost for a team that sit just three wins below the play-off spots for the Premier League.

If nothing else, surely Dean Smith is fighting tooth and nail to secure the return of somebody who is one of HIS players? Just imagine the link up with goal machine Scott Hogan? The option of a ball from the flank aswell as the one through the middle.

We don’t normally do ‘rumours’ on these pages. Mainly because the vast majority that have appeared over the years have proven to be unsubstantiated. The said, the locals did have a good summer this year but this one seems a headline too far.

If any midfield move is in the offing it will, surely, be through the outdoor. Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s exit must be as nailed on to happen as his backside currently is to the substitute’s bench. I’ve no evidence to support this beyond my own eyes –  what he has to do to get a game is beyond me but it seems one relationship that has been fatally holed below the waterline.

With the window opening in a couple of weeks it could be a painful ride through until the end of January. We’ll no doubt be inundated with more of these headlines (see also: Scott Hogan) from our friends in the media who would report transfer activity in a packet of cereal if it meant a headline. And yes I’ve used that one before but, frankly, I like the excuse to crowbar in the graphic.

The one thing I’d bet my hat on is that there’ll be no Mark Warburton / Jota reunion.

At least, at Rangers…..

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This sort of transfer activity always popular

Nick Bruzon

Bees, Bolton, Rangers and Warbs all on the brink

4 Apr

There will no doubt be plenty to talk about over the next few days with Brentford and Bolton both knowing a lot more about where our respective clubs will be next season following Tuesday night’s clash at Griffin Park. Yet that same evening many of us will likely have a fair bit of interest North of the border where Mark Warburton is, for the second successive season, on the brink of taking his team into the Premier League. This time though, it will be his Rangers side rather than our beloved Bees.

For us,  the weekend results have all but (officially) doomed Wanderers. The end to both their Championship status and our relegation fears could come at full time should the Bees make it two wins in a row.  It won’t be easy of course. Brentford’s position is by no means a false one (tables don’t lie) and indicative of a sub-par 2015/16. Of course the reasons for that are numerous and have been well documented – although the answers as to whether there have been more rights or wrongs this campaign remain to be seen.

Indeed, despite the huge disappointment felt as Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham parted company after coming ‘so close’ (do Brentford ever do anything but ‘so close’?) is it fair to even call this campaign ‘sub-par’?

Well, only after our fate is assured either way will we be able to answer that question fully but whichever way you look at it, glass half-empty or half-full, to be facing the prospect of this third season in the Championship can only be viewed as a stunning positive.

And yes, I know I’ve made this point a lot in recent weeks but it is needs to be acknowledged. Cripes, we’ve spent enough time analysing all the frustrations, problems and ‘if onlys’ that have got us to this point. Safety first, please, and then we can properly take stock of all that has happened. And all that might have had we not switched models.

We all loved Warbs. To see him and Rangers storming it in Scotland hurts, but not in a bad way. Not like ‘that penalty’, Ray Biggar or any of our play-off campaigns. It is great to see Warbs continuing his success and is something I can only wish him well on.

Bees 1-0 v Watford Warburton

Warbs – in there, somewhere. The day of ‘Village-gate’

With the greatest of respect to Marinus, Lee Carsley and Dean Smith, I’d love to have seen Warbs able to stay on at Griffin Park. That’s not a dig any any of the candidates who came next but, simply, me wondering where we would have been had this most loved of men (and potentially more than just a handful of his squad) been here still. Yes, there were things he might have done differently but to finish fifth in your first full season managing, in the Championship, after getting us promoted from the First Division, is the sort of stuff you could write a book about or two…. (hey, if I can’t be unsubtle in my own blog then when can I?)

Instead we can only wish him well for Tuesday night as Rangers host Dumbarton, standing on the brink of a return to the Scottish Premiership. Warbs left with an incredible reputation as a debutant manager yet also as a man who carried himself with dignity in some very trying times.

Of course, my head and heart will be at Griffin Park hoping we can secure another win that will put us in a position we’d have taken with arms wide open three or four years ago. Yet, at the same time, I’ll have half an ear pressed to the terrace tranny, wondering if Mark can continue the fantastic start to his managerial career.

Good luck Mark. There’ll be thousands down here wishing you well.

As a final thought, and totally unrelated, who remembers the Brentford FC phone card? For that matter, who remembers phone cards full stop? Given these days of mobile phones, it seems crazy to think we’d even use call boxes or have pre-loaded ‘credit’ cards to allow us to make phone calls when on the move.

But we did. 1990 seems like only five minutes ago to me and, back then, Third Division Brentford were at the heart of the ‘mobile’ revolution. Digging through the back of the cupboard this morning I’ve stumbled across a few old membership packs – how I wish we could bring back the ‘funky bee’ in some form – and our own venture into the ‘phone card’ market.

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Back then, it was all about the Funky Bee

Mercury didn’t last that long. Having the card was great. Having a Mercury phone to put it into was an altogether different prospect. But stumbling across this has brought back some fond memories. If nothing else, just seeing popular club physio Roy Clare as part of this squad.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Mostly down but, now the Bees are back on the rise once more, I’m desperate to see us carry on our climb to new success.

Here’s to three more points on Tuesday night and then we can, barring disasters, start to make some plans for the biggest Championship season yet.

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ET phone home? Not with a Mercurycard

Nick Bruzon 

 

QPR, tick. Next stop Chelsea. Can Bees ‘do a Bournemouth’?

1 Nov

Sunday morning and Brentford fans are still basking in the afterglow of Friday night’s 1-0 win over hapless QPR. Lovely though it is to enjoy that moment (along with further West London ineptitude over at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho took his post Liverpool press conference to a new level of bonkers), it did leave Saturday feeling a bit empty. With no Championship action for us until the visit of Moses Odubajo and Hull City on Tuesday, we’ve had to wait for the other teams to play their ‘game in hand’

To be quite honest, I let it pass me by. There was a new James Bond film to go and watch. Daniel Craig may not be Roger Moore (then again, who is?) but ‘Spectre’ more than lives up to all the plaudits it has received to date. With enough ‘knowing winks’ to the predecessors in the series, we were only a Victor Tourjansky and a decent theme song away from being the best ‘Bond’ to date.

Victor Tourkansky examines the league tables

Victor Tourkansky examines the league tables

So it was only this morning that I’ve properly taken stock of all that happened on Saturday. Hull City won again to lock up second place but, equally, Brentford remain just four points off the play off spaces themselves with everybody now on level games played. It certainly adds an extra level of frisson to an encounter between two teams who, like it or not, it seems were only ‘discussing’ the transfers of Moses and Andre Gray (how did that work out for you, Steve?) only five minutes ago.

There’s no point crying over it. We are where we are. Players have gone but, infact, Brentford have only improved. Whilst I still find that somewhat bizarre given our start, all due praise must be offered to reluctant hero Lee Carsley.

Looking at the table, the Bees have 20 points after 14 games and sit in 11th place. This time last campaign, we were 13th with 19 points. Of course, last time out we then embarked on that stunning run to the play offs and almost an automatic slot. As such, Lee is going to need to do his very best to keep the momentum going and match pace with what Warbs achieved.

That said, if he can then the rewards could be beyond all expectation. If we thought last season was amazing then this could be even more incredible. Not just promotion but, equally, the chance to be the best team in West London. It wasn’t for nothing I mentioned the horror show at Chelsea earlier.

With their side seemingly in self-destruct mode, they are only four points off relegation to the Championship with almost a third of the Premier League season played out. Indeed, a win for Bournemouth today could see the Stamford Bridge outfit pushed down to 16th.

And this is mentioned because, however unlikely, in football anything can happen. Bournemouth proved last season that it is possible for a small team to achieve the impossible – even in these days of big spending and even bigger debts. Conversely, recent relegation for Newcastle United and Champions League qualification stuff up for Manchester United show that nobody is infallible – no matter the size of their reputation or bank balance.

Eddie Howe was the benchmark for success last campaign

Eddie Howe was the benchmark for success last campaign

I can’t imagine, honestly, that Chelsea will go down. But they’ve not been this abject in many a season. And should it happen, then the likes of Brentford, Fulham and even QPR will all be chomping at the bit to leap frog them into the Premier League.

Even better, the chance to be true kings of West London football.

Laugh it up all you want, but the current tables and current form don’t lie. The Bees are on a roll and I can’t wait for Tuesday night to see how much further that might go.

Nick Bruzon

Video killed the radio story. Or did it? (and Rams raider strikes again)

26 Oct

There’ll be plenty of time this week for us Brentford fans to look ahead to the next game, where a win on Friday night will see us within four points of the play offs and potentially as high as eighth in the Championship table. First though, the last of the weekend round up following the win over Charlton where, amongst other things, the Derby County Wikipedia saboteur seems to have struck again – this after Newcastle United were humped by Sunderland – and the phrase ‘Jimmy Hill’ was amongst those heard coming from AFC Bournemouth in the aftermath of their 5-1 shocker at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

After spending the vast majority of the Championship campaign TOTL (Top of the League), Bournemouth are rapidly heading back towards the BOTL. Ten goals ‘against’ in their last two fixtures isn’t great form but, probably, the least of their worries on Monday morning. Social media was ablaze with the story of how the phrase, ”F**king hell, it was like men against boys” was heard coming from the Public Address system during the Cherries 5-1 home defeat to Spurs.

It’s a problem us Brentford fans can only aspire to. Not so much the heavy defeat in the Premier League (they made it there last season, we didn’t quite manage it) but simply being able to hear something over the P.A. Whilst Bournemouth have, according to the BBC, begun investigating the incident, one Spurs fan has already come forward with his own explanation and taken ‘ownership’. All in the interest of saving the Bournemouth P.A. team a sacking and not at all to promote his own YouTube channel.

A Spurs fan by the name of Barnaby claims that it was actually he who uttered the fateful phrase, whilst preparing a post match article for his @spurredontv fansite, giving the explanation, “Basically what had happened was, when I turned the radio mic on, the frequency must have accidentally been the same as the Bournemouth tannoy and apparently the whole of the Bournemouth stadium heard me say, ‘F**king hell, it was like men against boys’

Potty mouthed Barnaby

Potty mouthed Barnaby

Several things don’t quite add up about this story, at least to the layman like myself. Primarily, the remarkable chain of coincidence needed to make it happen. Just look at the facts, as presented:

A random punter is able to accidentally tune his radio mic into the exact same frequency as that of the stadium he is visiting. Then, for just exactly long enough to swear down the line, insulting the home team, before ending his conversation. A conversation he had no idea was being played out live.

The ability for a stranger to tune a radio mic into the exact same frequency as that of a football stadium at the exact same time he was speaking that exact three second sentence is a concept I’m struggling to grasp. It’s hard enough to get a decent phone reception inside most sporting arenas, let alone anything achieve more complex.

Draw your own conclusions. Did Barnaby do it? Was it really an amazing accident? Is he taking the credit for a genuine foul up by the Bournemouth P.A. team? Or was it the caretaker wearing a rubber mask, trying to scare everybody away so he could recover civil war gold at his leisure?

Perhaps it is best we don’t know. Barnaby gets the publicity, Bournemouth are spared any (off pitch) embarrassment whilst we’ve all had a good laugh. And for those yet to see it, here’s the explanation….

Barnaby talks ‘tannoys’. Other forms of public address system are also available.

As for Steve McClaren, the former Derby County manager has seen his share of troubles at struggling Newcastle United this season. Those were only compounded on Sunday as his team went down 3-0 at Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby. Not so much in the defeat or his side being firmly rooted in the relegation zone but, simply, due to another appearance from the Rams’ Wikipedia phantom.

We’ve already looked at some of his or her recent efforts last week, as Nottingham Forest and striker Chris Martin were both touched by the hand of this cyber Banksy. Now it is the turn of former Derby boss, McClaren.

Going down 3-0 to your rivals is bad enough, without further having your nose rubbed in it via the medium of the World Wide Interweb.

McClaren's team are 'owned'

McClaren’s current team are ‘owned’

Three strikes in less than a week. This is now looking beyond coincidence. To date nobody knows who is doing this, at least publicly.

Could it be time for Barnaby to step forward?

Nick Bruzon

“Is there anything he cannot do”? Judge inspires brilliant Bees

25 Oct

Not my words but those of Channel 5 ‘Football League tonight’ commentator Paul Walker to describe Alan Judge. That, after Charlton Athletic had been walloped 3-0 by a resurgent Brentford team for whom the Irishman, as last weekend, was chief destroyer. With two assists and a goal that sent Charlton to another defeat (and saw their head coach Luzon his job at full time), it’s no wonder that clubs such as Swansea City and Bournemouth are rumoured to be interested in a player who is very much our man of the moment.

Those present at The Valley witnessed, the first fifteen minutes aside, as dominant a performance from Brentford as one could hope for away from home. Being quite honest, Charlton had more than enough chances to have taken an insurmountable lead during an opening spell that saw them cut us open like a hot knife through a Swiss cheese.

Simon Makienok, coming over like a cross between Max Zorin and Andy Carroll, won’t enjoy watching the play back of that one. Thankfully, rather than a goal hungry Bond villain, we were looking at somebody with the finishing skills and positional awareness of Nick Proschwitz. And having failed to take their opportunities, Charlton paid the ultimate price.

Max Zorin - crowbarred excuse

Max Zorin – crowbarred excuse

The first for the Bees came via the head of John Swift. That man Judge sending over an inch perfect cross from the right which the on loan Chelsea midfielder made no mistake with. It was all made to look far too easy thanks to the precision of the delivery and the technique used to connect. But better was still to come.

Alan McCormack, but for a couple of inches, would have had a contender for goal of the season. Running onto a pass from Marco Djuricin, he hit it first time from 25 yards, only to see it rebound off the underside of the stanchion. It had the away crowd on their feet, cheering a certain goal as Stephen Henderson was left flapping at air. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but if the first half saw Brentford end on top and with a slender lead, things continued to accelerate in the second.

Judge turned from provide to poacher, curling a beauty past Henderson from the corner of the box for 2-0 to send Bees fans bonkers. It was a finish to rival the best of any he has scored and will only highlight further the talent this man has. Judge has always been quality but the step up in his game this season, when all around have struggled at times, only gives more evidence as to why the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea are being linked with him.

I love Lee Carsley’s approach. Rather than sit on 2-0, Brentford carried on pushing. Lasse Vibe made it three, becoming another beneficiary of Judge’s perfect delivery. DHL could learn a lot from this man, such was the quality. Picking up the cross-field ball, Vibe beat Henderson at his near post from just inside the box to wrap things up with minutes left on the clock.

Not even Brentford could cock it up from here” said one terrace wag and, sure enough, we didn’t. At one point it looked as though Harlee might even have made it four, coming close with his head from a dead ball.

View from the stand - Harlee almost makes it four

View from the stand – Harlee almost makes it four

Judge will, rightly, get the headlines but what pleased me so much was the all round team performance. Nico Yennaris looked assured at right back whilst Jake Bidwell continued to probe down the left. Ryan Woods’ vision and passing looks like he will be another with the potential to play at a higher level whilst Alan McCormack bossed the midfield.

Even David Button had one of his ‘heart in mouth’ sweeper moments that saw him break out of goal to round not one but two Charlton players before playing it out. Rush of blood to the head or just further evidence of the confidence sweeping through this team?

Nine points, 7 (seven) goals scored, just one against and two clean sheets from our last three games show that whatever had been bothering the camp (don’t start…) now seems a distant memory. Lee Carsley has the players enjoying their football and, as importantly, so are the fans.

The goals were stunning, as was the vast majority of the performance. Even the Beesplayer team hit all the right notes – but then any commentary which includes a denouncement of Mexican waves and supporter bands will only ever meet with approval.

Great comms, as ever, from Mark Burridge

I feel for Charlton, genuinely. Nobody likes to see a team in this predicament and I’d thoroughly recommend a read of the Charltonaesthetic blog, to give a beautifully worded account of things from their perspective. If this page is the cheap knock off, then ‘aesthetic’ is very much the Bayeux tapestry of football wordsmithery (is that even a word?)

A disgraced Luzon crabs in and out of his hiding cave like an insidious Megadrive villain….. As the crowd stand and boo the decision, a collective consciousness drops and we realise we’re all embroiled in the Roland Prison Experiment. Left in charge, how far out of control will Luzon’s radical decisions spiral? What lengths will fans go to protecting fellow inmates Charlton from further harm? It’s a dastardly scheme for sure.”

That’s a talent in writing I can only admire, so please do go and enjoy the full article.

The players were in jubilant mood on social media after the game, most of who were bigging up Alan. Yes, he deserves every plaudit but so do all the others.

Harlee, Tarks, Lasse and the rest of you. Thanks for a great day out and reminding us just how good this team can be

Now, if we could just do the same on Friday night…..

Back to school for Charlton - but not at a water based college

Back to school for Charlton – but not at a water based college

Nick Bruzon

The return of the king?

16 Oct

Crap hashtags. It’s not just Brentford. We’ll get to the first part of the Rotherham United preview and player news momentarily but I have to start with last season’s Championship rivals Bournemouth who, of course, are now gracing the Premier League. You may have heard mention of this.

Fair play to them for getting there and the start they have made. I can only doff my hat in admiration. With Watford and Norwich in similar form it shows just how tough a breeding ground the Championship is and, equally, how well Brentford did last season to keep pace with the eventually successful triumvirate.

In Eddie Howe, Bournemouth have a manager coveted by many and who their supporters worship (sound familiar?). So yesterday’s news that he has signed a contract extension which should see him at the Goldsands until 2020 was met with rapture by Cherries fans and the club. So much so that they even used the seemingly compulsory modern medium of a Twitter hashtag to help spread the word. #Eddiesigns

#Trophyfriends. #Novemberkings. #Bignewambitions . Brentford have had our share of these cringeworthy horrors over the last season or so but, for once, it wasn’t us. #Eddiesigns may not be that bad on the surface until you actually look at.

Rather than one of England’s hottest managerial properties, it makes him sound more like a local decorator or sign writer. My automatic reaction was that it was the sort of thing to be found on the side of a white van parked outside a less salubrious Pokesdown boozer. Still, Bournemouth are in the Premier League and we aren’t. One can only imagine what ‘official’ twitter would have come out with had we been in their shoes.

Eddie signs - no job too tough

Eddie signs – no job too tough

That said, we’re doing our best to get there over the next three years and this season’s attempt begins again on Saturday with the visit of Rotherham United. One player who won’t be in contention is young right back Josh Clarke who has impressed many after making the step up from the youths.

Despite a baptism of fire in a position he had hardly played, he genuinely looks like one for the future. He really has been a rare highlight in what has been a generally bleak start to the campaign but has now been loaned out to Martin Allen’s Barnet. This, from a position where my own sources close to the club suggest he was close to even being released over the summer.

Hopefully this will be simply to gain league experience rather than with a view to permanent exit. With Max Colin still on the road to recovery, it would suggest Alan Mac is now locked in at full back until that time. Or Josh returns. Let’s hope we see him again soon.

Still, if Josh has left (for now) there was some good news from the world of twitter as Jota has confirmed, without the use of hashtags, that he is ever closer to a first team comeback. This, certainly, news that seems to have been as popular as that from the South coast and an update that had me smiling.

Positive news from Jota

Positive news (and no hashtags) from Jota on twitter

His departure was the one I feared the most over the summer and so I was chuffed to bits when he stayed. Not so when he was spannered by Jonathan Douglas in the season opener against Ipswich. Those next few weeks can’t come soon enough.

But if Jota had ‘tweet of the day’ from a playing perspective, off the field that honour goes to @RoxethMyLord. The long time Beesplayer enthusiast and social media guru posted this gem to get the imagination into overdrive.

Come for the tweet; stay for Billy's reply

Come for the tweet; stay for Billy’s reply

And finally, the new video. Presumably you’ve all seen it? Thoughts? On the one hand, a beautiful piece of über-slick PR designed to remind us that the season is restarting following the international break.

On the other hand, an über-slick piece of propaganda designed to remind us that the season started with somewhat of an implosion. However,  let’s all put it behind us for a new beginning after our brand of woeful crab football, the pitch malfunction, managerial debacle and FFP related player sales.

I’m all for the later aspiration but it boils down to one thing. What we do on the pitch.

All the crumby hashtags and fancy videos count for nothing if your team can’t win. Likewise, three points and I’ll forgive us anything.

Which will it be? See you Saturday when we find out.

Is the squad that thin we've recalled Nick Proschwitz (middle)?

Is the squad that thin we’ve recalled Nick Proschwitz (middle)?

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