Tag Archives: Ray Biggar

Will the axe swing ? To chop down Forest.

2 Apr

Well, something has to give today as Brentford travel to Nottingham Forest for the return of Championship action following the International break. With the Bees having lost 7(seven) out of the last 8 league fixtures and Forest 6 over the same period, this could be argued as a battle of the anti-form teams.

Equally, it could be argued as the start of a mini-renaissance for one of these two sides. The hosts are only 3 points better off than a Brentford side flirting with the fringes of the Championship relegation pack and so both will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Whilst I’d love to think that such a fate is nothing more a potential statistical anomaly (relegation rather than a return to winning ways) let’s not take anything for granted.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the graphic showing just how our campaign has mirrored that of 1992/93. Equally, nobody needs a reminder as to the denouement of that one. Another Nottingham team (County), ably abetted by a certain Mr.Biggar, denying Brentford a critical win in the 8th minute of alleged stoppage time. This, prior to the advent of the digital scoreboard that gives us some form of warning as to how long buttocks need to be clenched for, was immediately followed by the declaration of full time.

Biggar prog

Biggar – perhaps the programme editor’s typo upset him

Just to make things that bit tougher for the Bees today, not only are we looking like being another two down in midfield but Forest seem set to welcome back the goal scoring machine that is Britt Assombalonga. Having missed out through injury since February 2015, there could be no more dangerous challenge for a defence currently “having a bit of a lull” (Dean Smith’s words) than an ‘on song’ Assombalonga . And try saying that after a few pints.

So do Brentford fans have anything look forward to, aside from the pre/post match trip to Hooters ( noted purely for the burgers and proximity to the City Ground)? Well, we could also have our own changes ‘up top’. Whilst I’ve tipped Lasse Vibe to start today’s game, let’s not forget about both Scott Hogan and Everton loanee Leandro Rodriguez.

Scott, of course, having missed out for even longer than Britt following that horrible injury at Rotherham last season yet his return to action was about the only positive to be taken from the last game, at home to Blackburn. Or could Dean use the enforced absences in midfield to switch us to a more traditional two man attack including Leandro and a.n.other? Whilst I suspect that would be a bridge too far for a team set in its ways, at the very least having a few options in that area of the park marks a rare change for the Brentford head coach.

But for all his enthusiasm Scott has been out of action for an inordinate amount of time whilst Leandro is one to be filed very much in the category of ‘potential’. That’s not to doubt either player’s ability but simply to note that it would be unfair to expect either to hit the ground running and turn into instant saviours. Please, let’s not put the weight of expectation on these shoulders and, instead, remember we are an 11 man team.

image

Scott’s return was the only highlight of a poor showing against Blackburn

Whatever has happened this season, the club are still tremendously well placed. I think back to that Biggar goal and remember just what a devastating blow it was . That utterly numb feeling of knowing we’d lost an incredible opportunity for reasons outside of our control.

Likewise, finishing second and losing to Huddersfield in the 94/95 play-off semi (the season when only the champions went up automatically) or the rarely mentioned incident of Marcello, Kev and ‘that penalty‘ .

I never want to experience those devastating lows again and, thankfully, we still have it well within ourselves to make sure that this season doesn’t even come close to that level of anguish. Besides, look at what happened to those teams who did go up at our expense the year of ‘that penalty’.

Doncaster Rovers are currently 22nd in League One and staring relegation in the face. Yeovil Town meanwhile, who of course kicked us out of the way in the subsequent play-off final, are now 21st in League Two. A return to non-league is a very real possibility.

So however frustrated you may feel at the moment, just remember that things could be an awful lot worse. We have a wonderful club and the chance to take on some huge Championship clubs awaits next season.

Forest stand in our way. Here’s hoping the axe swings.

Metaphorically speaking.

Nick Bruzon

 

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Cave Canos – Liverpool loanee stars as Bees beat Preston

20 Sep

Thanks Liverpool. Anfield Loanee Sergi Canós was at the heart of things as a 2-1 win for Brentford over Preston North End saw the Bees climb up the table to within four points of the play offs (and still with that game in hand). Whilst it still remains far too early to decide what sort of form we’ll be showing this season – ten games being the metaphorical line in the sand for that one – what was encouraging were further signs that the players in our new team have the right level of positivity.

With Preston scoring after anything from 16 to 34 seconds depending on which report you read or video you watch (either way, not good) the stage was set for the terrace boo boys to let rip. Instead, and as ever one does have to acknowledge the performance of David Button, the Bees stayed in touch until the arrival of Canós from the bench. And then things went into overdrive.

Sergi Canos - another loan star in the making?

Sergi Canos – another loan star in the making?

Described by one terrace wag as “looking like he came on with a bag of E for the squad” (presumably that’s short for ‘energy’), his arrival turned the game on it’s head. He set up Lasse Vibe for the equaliser after great interplay with Alan McCormack, a player who also received supporter plaudits, just moments after his Warburtonesque entrance to the field of play i.e. on the hour.

But then it got better. Do check out the highlights for the wonderful control exhibited by Marco Djuricin. His technique to drag the ball out of the air and turn 180 before running straight at the Ealing Road goal was a thing of beauty. Even better, to then beat the ‘keeper at his near post on the angle, with defenders bearing down on him.

Mark Burridge adds more colour to an impressive package of highlights

Yet despite a Ray Biggar style nine minutes of time added on, the Bees held strong to record a valuable win that could, and say this carefully, be a huge psychological turning point – as much for certain elements of our support.

Talking afterwards to another resident of the terrace, his own view of Canós,was “great vision and really niggled at the opposition. He had just lifted the team when he came on”.

Is it too soon to judge? Or have we unearthed another gem with the Liverpool loanee? Whichever way things turn out the player himself certainly seemed to enjoy the occasion, judging by his post-match Twitter feed.

The Liverpool loan star enjoyed it as much as we did

The Liverpool loan star enjoyed it as much as we did

As for the Bees, that’s the first of three successive home games out of the way and how nice to see Marinus and the team record a win. Sheffield Wednesday, who came out better than Fulham by the odd goal in five, are next up at Griffin Park on Saturday.

Will Canos start that one? Marinus will be hard pushed to keep him on the bench. Wednesday will need to beware, if not the dog (that’s one for any Latin scholars out there) certainly the Spaniard.

Latin punnery - a rare chance indeed

Latin punnery – a rare chance indeed

Nick Bruzon

What do you want? Information.

16 Feb

I can’t take credit. Looking through twitter on the way home I saw the intriguing suggestion from Tony Cross (well worth a follow on @Lokster71) that there was a crossover sketch between Brentford and TV’s The Prisoner just waiting to happen.

And he’s right. I just hadn’t appreciated, almost fifty years since the cult classic first aired, how appropriate those opening scenes are. With Brentford fans waiting for the much promised ‘statement’ in regards to the managerial situation, on Monday the club website remained frustratingly devoid of information whilst the fans begged the question, just who is number one?

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.

Woeful week sees Bees lurch from crisis to debacle

15 Feb

A dreadful week for Brentford off field ended in calamitous style on it. Instead of consolidating our play off spot and, even, aiming higher we’ve slipped to 7th(seventh) place after this woeful defeat to a Charlton Athletic side who hadn’t won in three months prior. This, following the loss to Watford on Tuesday, has compounded a ludicrous five days where the performance at The Valley was every bit as embarrassing as ‘that statement’ and the subsequent tumbleweed out of Griffin Park.

This isn’t a question about the ‘support’ of Matthew Benham.

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.

A big Bees crowd were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The Bees fans were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The stuff of dreams or nightmares?

13 Feb

As Brentford prepare for the trip to Charlton Athletic, the future of manager Mark Warburton (whether short or long term) remains no clearer. The only thing we can say is that he won’t be going to QPR, at least this season. Loftus Road chairman Tony Fernandes has now followed up the announcement that he had got his ‘dream manager’ by revealing the appointment of caretaker Chris Ramsey until the end of the season. Truly, the stuff of dreams.

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.

The latest managerial updates provide stark roundup

12 Feb

A day spent rooting through the detritus of Brentford’s defeat to Watford on Tuesday night and all the fallout from the club’s statement regarding Mark Warburton ended with little satisfaction and even more mystery. Indeed, with Aston Villa sacking Paul Lambert and QPR failing to appoint Tim Sherwood (a man linked with more vacancies than The Bates Motel) the managerial merry go round seems set to gather pace.

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.

Sacking, Stroud and statements. Another quiet day at the office

11 Feb

We’ll get to Brentford – Watford in a moment but can only start with yesterday’s speculation around Mark Warburton and the utterly bizarre statement issued by the club in regards to his situation. This, after Matt Hughes in The Times reported he is due to be sacked at the end of the season – even if the Bees reach the Premiership

I’ve read some gumph in my time (including most of this blog site) but this really tops the lot. As a means of providing clarity and reassurance it was about as effective as Keith Stroud in a decision making process.

Written in some form of quasi-legalese, I almost wondered if something had been lost in translation as this was being dictated to the communications team. The wording, grammar and punctuation were so badly structured that I can’t imagine even our staff of being able to deliberately produce something so poor off their own backs.

Perhaps there was a crackling phone line from not Spain that caused the statement to include the analogy (and the rogue commas aren’t mine): “Football is sometimes called a village, and in any village, gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, whether or not such rumours are true.

East Horsley and Chalfont St Peter are villages (although I have no idea if either are hotbeds of rumour and gossip). The global game of football, even at its most metaphorical, is not. The whole thing was so odd I had images of the media team and back room staff trying out as construction worker, cowboy, traffic cop etc in a Village People tribute video. And that’s not a good place to be.

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

By the time it appeared, of course, the horse had long since bolted with the story being picked up far beyond its original source in The Times and shared by, amongst others, Ian ‘Broadcast Moose’ Abrahams on twitter (the journalist taking a rare break from looking at the pre-match catering on offer in Premiership press rooms). Certainly, his reveal of the story with this cutting was a rather rude and somewhat unexpected means of starting the day for many.

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

The club’s effort was what one terrace observer would later describe as “A kamikaze press release” whilst The London Evening Standard called it “confusing” . The rather bland statement that, “Brentford FC do want to confirm that Mark Warburton remains our manager” did nothing to put anybody’s mind at rest. Rather than the chance of locking up fourth spot or beyond, all anybody was talking about was if we’d even have a manager by kick off.

Ultimately, Matthew Benham has done nothing but right by the club and, whatever the trigger or outcome of this story, I can’t believe anything will happen to change this. Mark Warburton and the team have done fantastically well but managers do come and go.

The lack of any commitment in the club statement only serves to make me think that a parting of the ways is inevitable but what is not clear is whether this is through Mr Warburton’s choice (with QPR reportedly sniffing around) or the club’s.

Crazy? Probably. But on a day which started with so much promise, to go into our biggest ‘must win’ match since the last ‘must win’ match on the back of such uncertainty was as much a mood killer as realising that really was Keith Stroud leading out the teams.

The irony of ending yesterday’s article with the line “The Bees are on fire and it’s going to take more than a referee going rogue to stop us getting three points” has not been lost. Take nothing away from Watford who, but for the heroics of David Button in goal, could have run riot.

However, it’s easier to do this when you are playing against ten men following Jake Bidwell’s sending off. It was a decision which seemed about as robust as a Griffin Park press release and one which produced a similar reaction from the crowd. Watching back on TV afterwards, I am still baffled how he came to the conclusion of ‘straight red’.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

It’s a good thing we loaned our new left back, Jack O’Connell, to Rochdale earlier that afternoon. Could we see a James Tarkowski style quickstep back down to West London, akin to the centre back’s ‘return’ to Oldham last campaign, should the inevitable appeal prove unsuccessful?

Despite this set back, Warbs refused to bring on an extra defender (presumably because nobody else can play there) and just went for it. He was rewarded with a stunner from Andre Gray who, despite looking like he had taken three touches too many, blasted powerfully past Heurelho Gomes from the acutest of angles. The celebration of the players, to a man mobbing Mark Warburton, told us everything we needed to know about the day’s earlier news.

The players show just what Warbs means to them

The players show just what Warbs means to them

1-0 and with the crowd rocking, Mr Stroud did his very best to recreate the Bramall Lane farce (four pens and three red cards) he so infamously spannered two seasons ago by awarding a penalty to Watford. Jonathan Douglas, under minimal pressure, was adjudged to have handled in the box although would later tell Billy Reeves, “I didn’t want to head it back to them, I wanted to chest it. It came off my shoulder”,

No worry. David Button dived low to his left to smoother Troy Deeney’s spot kick and preserve Brentford’s slender lead. But despite Brentford refusing to park the bus, Middlesbrough style, we were eventually undone by a brace from Odion Ighalo .

In truth, it was always coming as Button, my man of the match, did his level best to keep Watford out before being beaten with just over twenty minutes left. You could see what that goal meant to rival ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes. Sporting an uncanny resemblance to Anton LaVey but celebrating more like Anton Du Beke on MDMA, he launched into a display of pirouette laden fist pumping that wouldn’t have been amiss in an Andy Murray – Tim Henman tennis match.

As for the winner, his celebrations (like he’d won the FA Cup) showed just what a huge three points that was for Watford as they overtook the Bees to occupy fifth place in the table.

Well played to Watford who kept going until the very end. For me, the result was just the final nail in a day that will be long remembered, and probably for all the wrong reasons. Even Leeds United managed a win that means they are now a mere 17 points behind the Bees.

What will come of the Warbs’ saga, I have no idea. Will anything become clearer today or will it all be swept under the carpet until the end of the season? My own personal preference would be for Mark to stay and something a bit more positive be released from the press team.

Every call Matthew Benham has made since becoming involved in the club has been a good one and whatever his plans (should he even have any) around Mark are his business. Likewise, I’d back him to the hilt.

However, I’d also hope he is aware of the respect and love the team seem to have for the boss and the passion that inspires.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

 

Irony strikes but can a leopard change his spots?

10 Feb

Brentford host Watford tonight in a game where three points will see us ‘officially’ safe and past the relegation high water mark of 54 seen in 2012/13. More importantly, with Championship leaders Bournemouth hosting Derby County, something has to give at the top end of the table. And, with the Hornets currently occupying the final play off spot, a win for the Bees will have the more noticeable effect of starting to see some real clear water between us and the rest of the chasing pack.

Back in September Brentford travelled to Vicarage Road and went down 2-1 in a game where a soft penalty and a stunning goal from Matej Vydra were enough to render the (temporary) equaliser from Jonathan Douglas as meaningless.

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.

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage - those days are in the past

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage – those days are in the past

Matthew Benham (and Luis) make a great weekend even better

9 Feb

It would be fair to say that yesterday’s article attracted a mixed bag of comment from the Leeds United fans after their side had gone down 1-0 to fourth placed Brentford. Some of it fair and sporting; other parts evoking the spirit of John from Wolves (a frequent visitor to these pages last campaign).

That’s football – we all have an opinion and the multitude of options available in cyberspace make it all the easier for us to express it.

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.

A fair point. But twitter would get even better

A fair point. But twitter would get even better

Fat fingered spelling aside, this sounds great

Fat fingered spelling aside, this sounds great (and seems popular)

How keyboard warriors missed the point

24 Nov

Forty-eight hours after Fulham were beaten by Brentford in the Championship , their keyboard warriors were still fighting a desperate rearguard action to try and salvage some pride from Friday’s derby defeat.

If it makes the Cottagers feel better then good luck to them. That said, if you fancy a smile then do go and check out some of the remaining comments from Saturday morning’s post game review. Personally, I’ve better things to do than continue trying to reason with opinion so blinkered and out of touch with the current landscape that it would be more suited to a North Korean propaganda leaflet.

If anything it has made me realise, even more, just how much Friday’s win meant. To both sides.

Having thrown away their chance of two local games after last season’s capitulation denied them the Chelsea and QPR showdowns, Brentford were their only hope of winning such a fixture. And Fulham weren’t even close to coming second.

I’m not going to pretend I wouldn’t have been upset had we lost but, at the same time, winning was a sweet, sweet feeling. Especially doing so in such fashion. That said, there’s a lot of hilarious comment on twitter and certain fan sites referring to this as our ‘cup final’.

That’s as patronising as it is bitter. Who wouldn’t want to win a local derby? Who wouldn’t celebrate a win over their neighbours? Who wouldn’t get excited about climbing to just one point off the top of the table?

This is nothing to do with perceived club size or our respective teams’ past successes but, simply, current season form and a fine victory in a local derby.

And it WAS fine, with Brentford having totally dominated the game to the extent that, per the BBC, we had almost two thirds of the possession. In layman’s terms, that just means our opponents didn’t get near the ball for an hour.

Brentford had hold of the ball for an hour. The BBC stats don't lie

Brentford had hold of the ball for an hour. The BBC stats don’t lie

After Russell Slade’s sour grapes last season (also in a local derby) I didn’t think we’d be revisiting this territory so soon. The source may be different but the effect is much the same. And that speaks volumes about what Friday meant.

Anyway, that’s me just about done on this subject. Banter is close to getting out of hand and so, for now, I’ll leave Fulham (who are only one win clear of the bottom three) to whatever ambitions they have.

As for The Bees, I make no apologies for ‘bigging up’ Brentford on this Brentford related site. Billy Reeves nailed it later, noting about those ‘away’ fans who’d got upset: “That’s like criticising an autobiography for being self-centred...”

Well said that man.

BBC viewers got an extra viewing of the game on Saturday's FLS

BBC viewers got an extra viewing of the game on Saturday’s FLS