Tag Archives: Pride Park

New kit goes for a spin and implications of Frank Lampard news considered.

5 Jul

We’ll keep this brief today. On the Brentford front there was a debut for the new 2019/20 kit as the B team began pre-season with a 5-0 win at Bedfont Sports. Yet the big Championship story was one which unfolded when Frank Lampard left Frank Lampard’s Derby County ™ to become the new Chelsea manager. It is one which we draw particular attention to, given the weekend column where this possibility was talked up along with the question of what the Pride Park club would be known as ongoing. It is a question which, it seems, we may have been somewhat presumptive in answering. 

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Chelsea ‘official’ share the news on Twitter

We all know about the media love-in with Frank and Derby. The fact that the team seemed to undertake a universal name change where it was simply impossible to see one mentioned without the other in journalistic circles. 

This is something we’ve picked up with sledgehammer like unsubtlety on these pages. But why not? Moreso given that this ‘joke’, something about as funny as an episode of Mrs. Brown’s Boys, was thought to have come to an end following Frank’s appointment at Chelsea. 

Indeed, we had remarked perviously that, Primarily, the immediate logical step being one which will see the Pride Park outfit having to be renamed. At present, the hot favourite title in the frame is a simple ‘Derby County’ . This is a choice which will only be seen as a nice historical nod to their origins and one which may help appease fans, upset by the loss of a man who helped keep them in sixth place in the Championship after replacing Gary Rowett”.

But are we wrong? It would seem there are alternatives being put out there – both variants on a similar theme. One suggestion hints that ongoing, rather than a return to Derby County journalists are considering rebranding the club as : Frank Lampard’s former club Frank Lampard’s Derby County.

However, another source close to the club tells me that is is thought to be somewhat of a laboured mouthful. Instead  they are close to settling on one of either : Frank Lampard’s former club Derby County or… New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s former club Derby County.

All bets will be off if Frank Lampard Senior takes over but whichever way this one turns out , don’t expect this nonsense to end anytime soon. If for no other reason a similar fate is already playing out in the Championship.  We’ve seen it starting to occur at The Riverside where Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough are looking forward to life with their new manager. 

 As for Brentford, what can you say about last night’s 5-0 win for the B-team? Well, not much from here as yours truly was more focussed with keeping tabs on Flying Ant Day (which was formally declared at 7.33pm following multiple reports flooding in from West London and beyond).

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Yet social media was awash with pictures of the lads in action with as much focus turning to the new home kit and a reveal of our more traditional goalkeeper’s shirt. An all green number rather than the electric blue/orange combo that had been revealed earlier in the month (which you can see in the full fat match report on ‘official’, here) . 

I’ve made no secret about being a fan of this season’s shirt – one of, if not the, best in years. Perhaps the white socks are a look we’re going to have to get a little more used to, although I’m sure this is something that will only be a requirement in a ‘clash’ situation.  Here’s hoping ! 

And finally, as unsubtle as ever,  for things that may not be worth so much of a read (but are for a great cause).. please do download a copy of the Last Word season season review – containing the least bad of these columns from the World Cup to Aston Villa deserving to win the play offs. It also includes the World Cup aswell as all the ‘Park Life’ articles submitted for the matchday programme and so not previously available on these pages.  

ALL proceeds received are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust so what better way to remind yourself how brilliant 2018/19 was? To kill a bit of time on the commute to work / on your summer holidays / on the toilet etc You can download it , now, for your kindle , iPod telephone or other electronic reading device here.

At £1.99 it’s cheaper than half a pint so what’s to lose? Apart from £1.99 – which then goes to The Community Sports Trust anyway. Many thanks again. And enjoy.

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Nick Bruzon

 

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Rams sting Bees and Leeds slip up as table has almost ‘taken shape’.

23 Sep

Presumably this is why it takes ten games for the table to have formally ‘taken shape’. On Tuesday Brentford were, briefly, top of the Championship and ended the evening in second place behind Leeds United. Fast forward to the next round of games and a 3-1 defeat to Frank Lampard’s Derby County on Saturday saw The Rams overtake a Bees team who slip to 7th(seventh). Game 9 of 2018/19 saw a performance, if that is the word based on feedback from those present, which was somewhat out of character by all accounts. One that when matched with a devastating 15-minute patch from our hosts, put this game well out of sight by half-time with no prospect of a Burton-esque comeback. Yet with perhaps half an eye on our mid-week trip to Arsenal, Birmingham City recording a win (not a typo) at Leeds United means the gap between ourselves and the Elland Road side remains just three points.

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One game away from fully ‘taking shape’, The Bees are a win off the top.

What’s to say? I wasn’t there for this one. Taking HB to football club in the morning was about as close to the action as it was possible to get this weekend. Seeing his elation at going 7-0 up, scant consolation for what followed at Pride Park. Moreso, given that in the excitement of his own celebration his forgot to reference the brackets. Where have I gone wrong? As ever, the likes of Brentford official, the BBC or Beesotted are your place for quality review whilst the highlights are up on Sky, too. You can catch them here.

They don’t show much more beyond the four goals, including Henrik Dalsgaard’s opener with less than a minute on the clock. How different the afternoon looked as though it may turn out at that point. Sadly, Frank Lampard’s Derby County had other ideas and started banging them in for fun. There’s no evidence of what Dean Smith would later describe as “A pathetic decision if I’m honest” that led to the free kick for their third on the half hour. Likewise, you can’t see that their second came from a Brentford corner.

That’s not to say we didn’t get what was coming. When ‘official’ use the terms ‘fully deserved’ and ‘worthy winners’ (something Dean would also agree with) then perhaps one simply has to doff the hat to the opponents. This time. Controlling second half possession, something Dean would also pick up on in the interview you can see below, is all well and good but as official would also note in their match report, ‘The game was won by then’.

As for Dean, he seemed a somewhat dejected character in this interview. Lost for words, almost. That’s not to criticise him. More to note that he is normally so upbeat post-match. Perhaps the stunning start to the campaign has now hit a bit of a bump after two tough performances on the road. The second half at Ipswich midweek immediately followed by a first half at Frank Lampard’s Derby Cou….etc. that has been at odds with how we’ve performed previously. That perhaps, as some were saying last night, Ryan Woods isn’t as easy to replace as we’d all hoped.

Dean seems a bit out of sorts , despite acknowledging deserved winners.

But if it is a bump, then we’ve every chance to get back to winning ways. Two home games follow in the league and I still maintain we’ve played some quite scintilating football this season. Next up in the Championship are Reading at home on Saturday. That’s the all-important ‘game ten’ when, conceivably, we could be at the top of the table once more should results all go our way. Game 11 sees the visit of Birmingham City the following Tuesday. No other words are needed about that one. For now.

Prior to all of that is the trip to Arsenal in the cup on Wednesday. Whomever Dean starts with and regardless of their team selection, rest assured that the Jaffa Cake army will be there in force. The full 8,000 plus have been sold for this one with plenty more still looking for tickets. No doubt we’ll be up for proving ourselves against one of the most famous clubs in the land in a game that is sure to be one typified by attacking football. Although should Nico not win the team vote for Captain there’ll be something seriously rotten in the state of Denmark.

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Here’s hoping Mark Devlin and his crack team have got McVities locked in for this one

Still, all that’s to come. For now we’ve been beaten. Well beaten, seemingly. With Dean admitting that Frank Lampard’s Derby County deserved to win this one, it’s three points dropped in both the real table and the justice league.  

How we go from here over the next ten days is going to be crucial. I know the Arsenal game is the obvious highlight on the calendar that it has been for the last few weeks. Whilst I can only concur with the exuberance and potential that goes with that one, the league is (cliché alert…..) the bread and butter. Personally, I’ve as much riding on that Reading match whilst the subsequent return of Jota, Maxime and Harlee promises to be an occasion that could even be ten times better than mid-week at the Emirates.

One things for sure. These are exciting times to be a Brentford fan. We may have lost yesterday. We may have been beaten by a side who nobody is denying deserved it. We may have dipped below the dizzy heights of our other performances this campaign. And?  We’re three points off the top of the Championship table. Read that last line again. Three points off the top.

Nobody said it would be easy. Not every result is going to go to form or go our way. Just ask Leeds United. Reading the interview with their manager Marcelo Bielsa this morning, he’s the first to admit to tactical errors and has told the media that, “The proposal I chose for this game at the beginning was not the right one,”

That’s football. It happens. What is important is how a team picks itself up off the back of that. Whilst also acknowledging that, sometimes, the opponents are better than you. Nobody has a divine right to be any good, every time.

Brentford have three huge games coming up. I can’t wait to see how we go. Again.

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Next up…..

Nick Bruzon

Is this a chance to get back to winning ways? Or will the table talk?

3 Feb

Brentford travel to Derby County safe in the knowledge that, a mass exodus to China aside (and Lasse Vibe is still very much flavour of the month there, per Phil Giles’ interview during the week), we know the make-up of our squad for the rest of the Championship campaign. It’s a good thing too, because things don’t come much tougher than a trip to Pride Park where the Rams have remorselessly climbed the table to the point that only Wolves sit above them. And even there the gap is closing. Yet as last night’s game between Bolton and Bristol City showed, anything can happen in this division. Anybody can beat anybody. Few people expected the Trotters to beat City but their reward for a 1-0 win was an escape from the bottom 3. The Bees don’t need to worry about relegation but that’s not to say our job is any easier. Equally though, the reward for victory could be a fantastic one. As for Leeds United, you’ll have to wait for the Preston matchday programme for thoughts on them – I’m sure we’ll all cope.

However, today is all about Brentford and Derby County. Whilst other teams have started to reel them in over the last few games, it is still our hosts who occupy an automatic place in the promotion race. At present. The gap to Wolves still 11 points and one would think it’ll take a choke worse than Wayne Rooney’s form at a World Cup finals for them to blow that one. Yet the race to second place is still wide open. Aston Villa are just a point off whilst Bristol City would have started the day level with County had they done the needful last night. Cardiff City are in a similar position, going into their own game at Leeds United today. Expect them to come away from that one with all three points.

Pressure and expectation can do funny things, though. I reference this a lot on these pages but I’ll never forget that final weekend of the 2014/15 Championship campaign. Derby didn’t need to do much more than just turn up to confirm their place in the play offs in a home against a Reading team with nothing to play for but Pride. Yet they didn’t even manage that, missing a penalty en-route to a 3-0 capitulation that saw them miss out on a promotion shot as Brentford were amongst the teams to overtake them en-route to the play offs for the Premier League. It still seems incredible, even now.

Might knowing that they have a chasing pack breathing down their own necks increase the anxiety for the home support? Could Brentford sweep in and clean up just as Reading did three seasons ago? Whilst we’ve had it tough against County in the past don’t forget we have our own, huge incentive. Prior to last week’s game with Norwich we’d been flying. Our own victory then would have taken us all but into the top six . Instead, it is Fulham who now sit in that slot whilst The Bees faced with the toughest of tasks, on paper, if we are to get back to winning ways.

players post Derby twitter

Harlee and the Judge – not a 70s cop show but a tough trip to Derby from days gone by

Whatever happens, it is just one game. One, tough game but that hasn’t phased us before. We know how well we have been playing at times. How poorly in patches. On the whole though it has been a pleasure watching Dean Smith’s team these last few months. We’ve a great run of fixtures coming up and what better incentive to hit them with than performing some sort of Ram Raid today to take the points from the hosts.

Yet bludgeoning our way through isn’t the Brentford style. There’s no crude unsophistication. A lack of tactical imagination at times, perhaps, but if we were perfect then we’d be top of the Premier League and lifting trophies. Instead, we have a team who play for each other and can play some quite breath taking football when we hit peak flow. The challenge today will be just who Dean starts with and how he sets them up.

An obvious point, perhaps, yet the first half against Norwich was as gloomy as the second was bright. Ok, we didn’t get the goal but at least we went for it. I like Dean a lot and he generally talks very objectively. But I didn’t buy his post-match analysis about Brentford being the better team over 90 minutes and deserving to win. We lost to a belter of a goal against a team who out played us in the first half. A team who out thought us in the second despite our wonderful approach play and infinite step up in both personnel and playing style.

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The Norwich game has been and gone

That was then and I don’t want to labour the point. Instead it’s just a case of taking that one on the chin rather than dwell on what was a first home defeat since August. Of, dare I say it, going again. The only other team to beat us in recent months have been Wolves, and nobody needs a lecture form me on how well they’ve been doing this season.

So we are more than set up for today. We more than have the talent in this team. Who sits up top is going to be an interesting decision for Dean. As will be choosing who provides the width, how defensive his centre midfield is going to be and whether he has anybody to offer Neal Maupay support. Then again, I wouldn’t bet on him surprising all of us.

All this shows however is that like most of us, I have no clue who Dean will start. Does Neal continue up top? Will Josh McEachran retain his place in the starting XI? Could, no should, Sergi Canos be promoted from the bench?

Roll on 3pm when we find out.

Will who now? Sergi was on fire agasint Villa, despite the torrential downpour

Could a returning Sergi see it raining goals?

Nick Bruzon

What a mess. Where next for team in an 808 state?

4 Oct

What a stinker of a Saturday. Trying to be nice about QPR for a forthcoming programme article. Sergio Aguero, just axed from my fantasy team, almost achieving brackets single handed after five goals for Manchester City at home to Newcastle. England getting dumped out of the rugby World Cup by Australia before the qualifying pools have even finished. And Brentford, the normal hope of some weekly sporting excitement, hit rock bottom with a morale sapping defeat at Derby County.

This assumes Brentford had much morale left to sap after a stint which has been turbulent, even by our standards. Thinking back to last season and Villagegate, I think this has been even worse. At least, then, we had a manager in Mark Warburton that the fans loved and a fit squad of a quality we’d never seen before. Likewise, the team were playing scintillating football. And although the game at Charlton was probably the real low point, performance wise, we came back to reach the play offs.

However, the events of the previous ten days, and I begin with last Thursday, have probably surpassed that in sheer incompetence. I say last Thursday, because that’s when Cliff Crown, Rasmus Ankersen, Phil Giles and Mark Devlin sat in front of the fans to tell us how wonderful everything was. Marinus was there, too. That’ll be Marinus our head coach who, with the supporters out of the way, was subsequently dismissed three days later.

Despite two statements and a probing interview with our director of football (sorry, Phil, but there doesn’t seem to be anything ‘co’ about this relationship – at least, in public) we are still none the wiser as to why he went – beyond a ‘fundamentally different approach to training’. Likewise, why such a positive message had been given just days earlier.

Just what changed on the training ground on Friday?

Apparently it was nothing about results on the pitch – a good thing too, given we’ve lost both games since Lee Carsley has taken over. Lee, don’t forget, a man who has openly said he didn’t ask for the role or particularly want to go into management.

I feel for him, genuinely, and don’t want to paint Lee as any sort of bad guy. Likewise, when even the senior players are apologising on social media after the game then there has to be something intrinsically wrong in the camp.

Harlee and the Judge - not a 70s cop show but comments from our senior player

Harlee and the Judge – not a 70s cop show but comments from our senior players

I don’t envy Lee the task of trying to turn this around. The highlights, such as they are, present a sorry picture of missed tackles and one way traffic. Fairplay to the 808 Brentford fans who made the trip to Derby. I’d love to have been amongst you; part of me is glad I wasn’t – and that’s an awful thing to have to admit.

Instead, I had Beesplayer where it was literally the match and not much else. I.T. problems at the front end meant things didn’t start until about 2.45 and then the commentary team, I’m sure for legitimate reasons, couldn’t get off air quick enough.

There was barely time for Mark Burridge to ask the erudite Mark Chapman for any final words before the plug was pulled. Even Ciaran Brett, who had earlier given us the somewhat eye watering image that, “There’s a lot of Adam Forshaw in Ryan Woods”, didn’t get the chance of a further look in.

It’s a shame, because this is one time when some genuine discussion from the team about what had unfolded would have been very welcome. Instead, it was left to social media for more opinion and, for me, reviewing this Beesotted have hit it squarely on the head.

Fan feeling about the Derby game is summarised in one tweet

Fan feeling about the Derby game is summarised in one tweet

Plus points?

  1. We have two weeks off. Lee can get some serious one on one time with the squad and see what magic he can work on the players ahead of the home match with Rotherham United.
  2. At least we have already beaten Bristol City and Preston – two teams who seem in even worse shape than us.
  3. We didn’t concede in the second half. And almost scored.
  4. For all we are in a dark place now, the gap to the play offs is only ten points. And that’s not meant as an incentive for promotion but more an indication of how tight the table currently remains.

And this, for me, is the key point in all this. We’re ten games in, the table has taken shape and it doesn’t look pretty. BUT….if we can get our players back and a run together, then there is all the time and the space available to start climbing.

Let’s be honest, this time last year most supporters would have taken finishing ‘fourth bottom’ as a good thing. We ended up coming fifth. Personally, I felt we always had it in us to go all the way and said as much. Right now I’d bite your hand off for that previous aspiration.

Equally, I think we are better than that but in a campaign where rather than gelling as I had hoped we would, the team have only looked worse, you need to start somewhere.

‘Aim for fourth bottom’ is hardly a motivational message up their with the Olympic standard ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ . Equally, we need to be realistic, based on current events. Right now I’d love, with a two week break, if Rasmus, Cliff and the rest of the gang could host another fans’ forum.

Some might argue it is too close to the last one but, equally, so much has changed since then and supporter feeling is at a level I’ve never experienced before. That, in itself, is bonkers considering how excited we should be with the Bees back in the Championship and given a chance to consolidate. What harm would it do to face up to the fans for an additional ‘catch up’? At least, then, nobody could complain they haven’t been given the opportunity to speak?

Failing that, why not do an interview with Billy, Dave and the Beesotted camera rather than ‘club official’? As ‘voice of the fans’, they’re never shy and usually have their finger on the pulse.

Beesotted: Billy is never one to hold back (sorry Dave - I've no 'file photo')

Beesotted: Billy is never one to hold back (sorry Dave – I’ve no ‘file photo’)

We’ve chosen to go down this route and nobody said it would be easy but right now, with the approach hardly reaping rewards – and these things do take time – then if it is one we are to persist with, survival has to be the primary objective.

And that’s a sad thing to be saying this early into a season that had promised so much following the previous campaign.

Nick Bruzon

Crunch. The sound of the PR machine moving in to gear.

3 Oct

A day before our trip to Derby County, co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen has ‘exclusively revealed’ more to Brentford supporters about why Marinus Dijkhuizen was replaced as head coach on Monday morning and, equally, the comments made by short-term replacement Lee Carsley after the defeat to Birmingham City.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the video by now – it’s at the bottom of this article for anybody that hasn’t. Likewise, it has been pretty much paraphrased by the local press – copy, past, no opinion, free column – so I’ll save you trawling through the full re-write in print.

Rasmus reveals 'all' on YouTube

Rasmus reveals ‘all’ on YouTube

However, for me the salient point was more what wasn’t said. Given we’ve had the best part of a week to put some positive spin around the news, following the vacuous statements released when the news first broke, I was hoping for more.

I’m not (totally) stupid. There was no way the club were going to air all their dirty laundry in public (that’s a metaphor, I know that kitman Bob Oteng does an excellent job) but to leave us hanging like this just causes more questions. Indeed, the stage was all set for a big reveal when Chris Wickham cut directly to the chase and asked the obvious question, “Why did we feel a change of head coach was necessary?

Along with admitting the club had made a mistake, Rasmus told him, “There were some fundamental approaches at the training ground that didn’t work to the level we expected…it hasn’t improved to the level we want to. In the end we felt the right decision was to make a change rather than protect something we didn’t really believe was going to work

Although he reinforced this point again, adding, “I completely understand how it looks. It wasn’t a decision based on eight league games but three months of training“, there was no explanation as to what the actual training ground problems were. Further, there was no attempt from Chris to get these answers.

Was it the spate of injuries? Were the players being forced to go on three hours of running around the pitch? Did Marinus not bother turning up? Was it limited to playing football manager on the PC? (crappy stats based joke).

The club have embarked on a new direction, something that was made clear as early as last February. Understandably, it’s has been a tough enough sell to get all the fans to accept this change in approach as it is. Frankly, the model is not one we are used to. So when the approach is deemed not to have worked, to not really elaborate on why is very much a missed opportunity.

Whereas Billy Reeves, the master of gentle probing, would have pushed on here, Chris / Brentford official (he may well have had a line to follow) seemed content with that and moved on to the subject of Lee Carsley. Specifically, his comments on Tuesday where he said he hadn’t put his hand up for the job and didn’t want it permanently

Here, at least, Rasmus told us what we expected to hear, and what should probably have been made clearer on Monday/ explained differently on Tuesday, “We always knew that Lee was not going to be a permanent option. He made that very clear to us when we started talking and we respect that but we feel we have a job to do in the short term and he’s the best man to do that….. In hindsight we could probably have dealt with it a bit better and we always knew Lee wouldn’t be our permanent solution”.

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

Lee spoke to Beesplayer after the game on Tuesday

As I noted last time out, this isn’t a pop at Lee. I stand by that. Things can be taken out of context or said in the heat of the moment. Moreso, by somebody stepping in at the 11th hour. But, equally, we have an experienced backroom staff who, yet again, move with all the speed of Jonathan Douglas (certainly at the end of his time here) tracking back into midfield after a run up pitch.

I really thought we might have learned something from the football village. Likewise, and I need to be clear, I know we aren’t going to reveal everything. Much as I’d love if the club would, I’m just not that naïve. But surely there has to be a happy medium?

Even though Rasmus did go on to apologise to the fans and admit we should have handled things differently. I just don’t know why we failed to do so. It’s not hard. Surely?

The ironic thing is that we’ve been so good at straight talking in the past. The fans’ forums in particular being a place where questions have been answered to a surprisingly in depth, and honest, level. As such, to remove Marinus just three days after he and Rasmus had spoken openly to the fans smacks as a very much lost opportunity for us all to be able to put this to bed.

Instead, supporters will likely draw their own conclusions and mutter about conspiracies in the timing or being kept in the dark. And that’s the last thing we need right now. Derby County are going to be tough enough opponents as it is, without the fans on side.

It’s equally frustrating because pretty much everybody passing through the turnstiles has nothing but admiration and respect for Matthew Benham and what he has done for this club. The amount of money he has pumped in to, firstly, save us but then put the club on the path to hitherto unseen excitement has been nothing short of incredible.

We all know the stories of potential mergers, Dave W£bb, Ron Noades, bucket collections, Bees United and BIAS. Matthew has come in and done the hard part (investment) to a level that still makes me pinch myself.

It’s just a shame that those working around him can’t always do the easy part (talking to the fans), to the same degree. After all, with no fans there is no club. It’s just a team in an empty stadium.

That said, when it comes to 3pm I know full well that those lucky enough to make it up to Pride Park will do nothing but roar the Bees on. I’ll be shouting at Beesplayer for this one.

Hopefully for all the right reasons.

Here's hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Here’s hoping for a repeat of these scenes from last weekend

Nick Bruzon

Here’s the full video, for those who haven’t seen it 

Ifs, buts, maybes, favours and Championship excitement.

27 Jan

What a Championship week this is shaping up to be. Saturday’s win saw Brentford become the last team in our league to keep a 100% record for January whilst the FA Cup saw famous victories for our promotion rivals Derby County and Middlesbrough against Chesterfield and Manchester City respectively.

Then, last night, we had the FA Cup draw with Derby given an eminently winnable tie at home to Reading whilst Middlesbrough have the tantalising prospect of being able to test themselves at Arsenal’s library. Aside from the draw giving these two Championship teams an excellent chance of progression to the quarter finals (or round of 8 as FIFA would probably call it) , there is huge impact on Brentford, too, starting tonight.

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 on.

To me. To you. To the Championship

26 May

So in the end it was Rotherham United, rather than Leyton Orient, who joined Brentford and Wolves in being promoted to the Championship this season.

Few who watched the League One play off final on Sunday could deny it was exciting. Some of the best goals ever to grace the stadium (in her old or new forms), more swings than a child’s play park and that most tense of conclusions – the, so-called, ‘lottery’ of the penalty shootout.

But then few who watched it could, honestly, have picked a winner. Paul, Barry and masked impersonators were seen on the BBC  chuckling all the way to the Championship

Paul, Barry and masked impersonators are chuckling all the way to the Championship

 

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.

Shakes fist angrily at footballing gods – a pain I know too well.

25 May

Brentford were denied a return of the 237 derby next season after QPR beat Derby County 1-0 in the play off for the Premiership on Saturday. The footballing gods then rubbed further salt in the wound by making us sit through a display of Champion’s League self-indulgence from Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo that would have made the twerking Miley Cyrus look like the shy and retiring type.

There’s no question he’s talented. But to see him strutting around half naked, like some coked up peacock on steroids, left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. You had to feel for Atlético Madrid after coming so, so close in regular time (or, ‘doing a Brentford’, as it felt watching that).

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.

“Nobody wants to see THAT”

28 Aug

As gloating goes, it really was missing the point somewhat. Walking into the office on Wednesday morning, I was rounded on by my West Ham supporting boss (whose team edged past Cheltenham 2-1) and a Gillingham supporting co-worker (whose team didn’t even make the second round), keen to try and rub it in about the League Cup result at Derby. To be honest though, I didn’t mind. It’s the biggest cliché in football that a side can now ‘concentrate on the league’ but the fact of the matter is, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

Listening to the slightly flat sounding commentary on Tuesday, I’d been quite convinced that Uwe had done the right thing with the side he named. It was a chance to test youth and squad players in a cup we had no realistic chance of winning, whilst avoiding any further injury to those likely to start at the weekend.

So why then, 24 hours later, does it suddenly feel rather hollow given it was a team selection I agreed with and a headache of a tournament we don’t need?

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.