Tag Archives: Rhino

One out of three ain’t bad. Ian Holloway does it again as Huddersfield make it so (sorry).

30 May

That really is it. Football is over for the season. Congratulations to Huddersfield Town who made it up to the Premier League after beating Reading on penalties. For the Royals, a return to Griffin Park awaits as they endured a pain us Brentford fans know only too well – play off capitulation.

In truth, the first ten minutes aside, it was a dreadful game. Huddersfield came flying out of the blocks and looked like they were going for broke. Yet after missing two gilt edged chances from Izzy Brown and Michael Hefele it soon settled down into a game of cat and mouse. Cagier than a cage fight between Nicolas Cage and Xander Cage, it was two and half hours we’ll never get back.

But frankly, who cares? Whether you win on penalties or in a 4-3 goalfest, the net result is the same. Promotion for one side and tears for the other.

So football aside (and largely because there wasn’t any) what did we learn from yesterday’s game? Well, apparently Patrick Stewart was there. Yes, I know, you probably missed it too.

The Star Trek and X-men actor being to Huddersfield as Rhino from the Quo or Cameron Diaz (allegedly) are to Brentford. And once the cameras had picked him up, that was it. We saw as many shots of him as we did of Reading fans crying. Yes Sky, we get it – there’s Picard. Again. All we needed was a ‘make it so’ pun for a full house.

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What a miss from Izzy Brown

We learned, once more, that penalties are a most wonderful thing for the neutral to watch. Yet for the players and fans the most painful of all ways to decide promotion. Unless you are on the winning side in which case seeing your fate revealed at the exact moment of that one, decisive kick must be the most incredible feeling ever. Again, something us Brentford fans can’t really relate to. Play-off success (8 doomed attempts so far) or promotion sealing penalty kicks being something that we don’t overly talk about.

But the real talking point to come out of it was that Ian Holloway is to making pre-season predictions as Donald Trump is to tact and diplomacy. We’ve already mentioned his efforts for Sky TV on these pages many times. Holloway, not Trump. Indeed, they form much of the thrust in the current 2016/17 Championship season review. That’s available now on e-book, with all proceeds going to the Community Sports Trust.

But a focus on Holloway is no surprise given his prediction of Brentford to finish 22nd, and the narrative:  “Brentford are regressing. Mark Warburton got them punching above their weight. They still haven’t replaced Andre Gray and Alan Judge will be missing for the start of the season. They could be in trouble”.

Well, that one was thrown royally back in his face. We did the double over QPR, including a 3-1 win over his side at Griffin Park, as the Bees finished 11 points and 8 places above the not so super hoops. Our own management had immediately poo-poo’d his prediction at the fan forum and how great to see the confidence rewarded.

But for Huddersfield Town, he predicted even worse. They came out at 23rd in his table and his own summary of their fate was: “I haven’t seen much progression from the club during the back end of last season. David Wagner is pretty inexperienced and if results turn, then they may struggle to turn things around”.

If 22nd to 10th was a mile out, then 23rd to the Premier League was  his failng to hit a barn door with banjo in a brewery. An incredible miss on the punditry front.

It was a point well made in the aftermath of Huddersfield triumph. Not by the fans but the manager, who offered “Ian Holloway , all the best for the next season” . And the team, chanting “There’s only one Ian Holloway” as they celebrated in the dressing room.

Hey, at least Ian got basement club Rotherham United right. One out of three ain’t bad, I suppose.

Congratulations David Wagner. Congratulations Huddersfield. Tough luck Reading. We’ll see you at Brentford next season.

And, as noted earlier, season 2016/17  is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)

Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 16 to May 17, you can pick it up, here. It’s all for a great cause and, hey, you may even enjoy it, Unless your name is Ian H…..

Nick Bruzon

Who can upset the Status Quo at Christmas?

24 Dec

In the Premier League, at least, Christmas time is usually considered a strong indication of how the table is going to play out come season end. With Leicester City sweeping aside all comers and Watford, Brentford’s rivals for promotion last season, just one point off the Champions League slots, one can only hope things remain as such. If only to shake up the somewhat moribund status quo that has settled on the top flight in recent years.

More importantly though, watching Chelsea self-destruct and Louis Van Gaal flounce out of a Manchester United press conference whilst the likes of Watford and Bournemouth start to get noticed for the right reasons, gives even more reasons for optimism. These were teams that Brentford were doing battle with in the Championship last season yet now they are ripping up the Premier League rule book. So do the same principals apply to the Championship table at this time of year and could the impossible happen?

Bees at Watford

Watford – Brentford. Last season Championship. Next season Premier?

Well, Middlesbrough were my tip to be Champions at the start of the campaign and they’ve really started to lock down their position at the top. Indeed, Saturday’s emphatic 3-0 win at Brighton was a huge statement of intent as to their title credentials and a massive line in the sand for others team to dare cross.

To be quite honest, I can only see them getting stronger and they still get my vote to finish the season with, at the very least, automatic promotion if not as champions. After that, though, it looks like the wobbles are setting in.

Hull City have lost 3 out of the last 5, including a 2-0 shock at Rotherham United a few days ago. Brighton have only picked up 3 wins from their last 10 league games whilst for Burnley it is 1 out of 7(seven).

Derby County have got second place, at present, but the nerves they’ve seen over the last two seasons are sure to start playing at the back of the mind. A 90th minute play off choke to the Loftus Road mob was bad enough but to then follow this with self-destruction at home to hopeless Reading in the final game last time out can only start the demons rearing their heads soon.

The point being that this is wide open and by no means a certainty as to who will finish where. Brentford can only go into the Boxing Day game with Brighton in buoyant mood. Hot of the back of our own 4-2 win over Huddersfield Town, the team are rampant whilst there is nothing but a warm and fuzzy glow around Griffin Park at present as evidenced by the wonderful events of Tuesday night.

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The BBC table shows the chasing pack are hot on the heels of the play-off zone

Three more points on Saturday could, conceivably, put us amongst that play-off pack and from there, who knows? Could we almost be in that sacrilegious scenario of hoping QPR can get a Boxing Day win over Ipswich Town in sixth place? I’ll leave that one to you and your conscience, whilst just hoping we fulfill our side of that deal.

Being realistic though, come season end I don’t think we’ll be promoted. At least not automatically. The table shows a huge gap whilst we all know the myriad reasons for a start which was, for many fans, much slower than expected. For me it will be Middlesbrough and Hull City but after that the jury really is out.

Brentford are starting to fly and we have as good a chance as anybody. Lee Carsley helped us take off and Dean Smith has continued that momentum. I genuinely believe we’ll get the win on Saturday whilst we take a huge crowd to Reading on Monday. At the time of writing only a handful of tickets remain for that one.

The Premier League may, normally, be predictable, but I think it would take a very brave man to call this division. Or a foolish one. And as I most definitely fit into the latter category, I’m going to do it…

Brentford WILL finish top six. After that though, it’s the play-offs for The Bees. 9th time lucky?

Hey, if Bournemouth can post back-to-back League wins over Chelsea and Manchester United… If Leicester City can top the Christmas table… If Watford can start to think about the Champions League, then ANYTHING is possible… My son even believes an old man with a beard is going to squeeze down our chimney tomorrow and leave some gifts under the tree. Whilst I’ve had to tell him that Jonathan Douglas won’t be visiting, you’ve still got to go with the improbable at this time of year.

And finally… I’m all for upsetting the status quo but there’s nothing upsetting about the real Status Quo. From the world of pop music, that is.

This may not get as much airplay as the best ever festive record – Shakin’ Stevens: Merry Christmas, Everyone – as if anybody needed a reminder, but it comes a very close second in terms of quality.

What better gift can I give you than the gift of…The Quo. Enjoy

Nick Bruzon

Who’s looking shaky as Bees host Rotherham United?

17 Oct

Finally. League football is back as Brentford welcome Rotherham United to Griffin Park for a league game that sees the visitors with a new man in the managerial hotseat. Neil Redfearn, of course, replacing the now departed Steve Evans despite everybody’s favourite manager having won in his last two games prior to his and the club’s ‘parting of the way’.

That’s football. Evans leaves a big void to fill, no more so than on these pages where the regular reader will be aware of the admiration felt towards him as our paths have crossed over the last two seasons (please note: my definition of admiration may vary from yours).

Evans - gone but not forgotten (much like how-old

Evans – gone but not forgotten (much like how-old.net)

Whilst I’ll miss his press conferences and a level of sour grapes not seen this side of a bottle of past-its-sell-by date liebfraumilch, Rotherham have replaced him with Neil Redfearn who seemed to be doing a great job at Leeds United. That, until crackpot owner Massimo Cellino decided he was ‘weak’ and ‘a baby’. Still, Leeds’ loss is the Millers’ gain and today won’t be easy.

The flipside, of course, being that in Lee Carsley we have a head coach who has been with these players all season and has already had two games in charge. Whilst we won’t overly dwell on the results against Birmingham City and Derby County (a), the noises coming out of the Bees’ camp have been a lot more positive this week.

Putting to one side the (albeit beautifully shot) video from the Griffin Park ministry of propaganda, what has been encouraging has been Lee’s talk about a step up of intensity and purpose on the training ground. Likewise, a heightened feeling of togetherness and determined attitude amongst the squad.

Why this was missing in the first place one can only speculate. However, what has happened has happened and we have plenty of time left to make a really decent season. Lee’s comments on the club site certainly press all the right buttons but, as ever, it is what happens at 3pm that counts. Let’s hope we are now in a better place for that challenge.

Lee Carsley hit all the right notes at the club press conference

Lee Carsley hit all the right notes at the club press conference

As for his selection, I’m keen to see what, if any, changes are (or can be, given injuries) made. There’s no doubting the potential of our players – it’s more what Lee can get out of them that Marinus and Roy were, seemingly, unable to do. Moving the ball forward and taking some shots would be a good start.

Still, Lee isn’t the only one with a selection poser. The club’s cringeworthy use of Twitter hashtags has been a regular subject of discussion on these pages (although it was nice to see Bournemouth join us yesterday). That said, credit where it is due and I’m loving their #BeeTheDJ campaign as supporters are given the opportunity to pick the pre-match music at Griffin Park.

It’s still not too late to put your selections forward in a feature that shows how the club, when it tries, can embrace social media and fans perfectly. A selection of great songs and our own supporters’ sense of humour are already on show.

That said, there’s no irony about my own selection. I love a bit of the Quo (the fecal Marguerita Time aside – sorry Rhino) and Down, Down is their finest four minutes. Indeed, alongside Merry Christmas, Everyone (Shakin’ Stevens) I’d easily rank it in the top five UK hit singles of all time.

Although much as I love it, even I’m not stupid enough to think we’d play a Christmas song in October.

#BeeTheDJ . If you don't ask…..

#BeeTheDJ . If you don’t ask…..

Nick Bruzon

Whitehall ! Dixon !! Gates !!! Cameron is yesterday’s news

9 Apr

In a season which has seen Brentford achieve many highs – the double over Fulham; the stunning second half comeback to beat Saturday’s opponents, Derby County; Jota reinventing ‘Fergie time’ in his own name – to mention but a few, there have also been several lows. Now isn’t the time to list those with the exception of one – the oft repeated fact of my inadvertent contribution to the revelation that ‘celebrity fan’ Cameron Diaz was, actually, no such thing (although Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell was the man to drop the ultimate bombshell).

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.

Is this Lee Dixon outside The Griffin pre kick off?

Is this Lee Dixon outside The Griffin pre kick off?

Slade in Flame as Bees burnt (and a shock at Bournemouth)

15 Mar

Well that was all a bit ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. With Ipswich Town going down 4-1 in the lunchtime game at Middlesbrough, Cardiff City were all that stood between Brentford and a four point gap from the pack chasing the play off spots. But rather than take advantage of the opportunity, the Bees put in a sub par performance against a workmanlike opposition that we gifted two woeful goals.

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 long arm of) Clem's law is broken - a rare win for the BBC man

(the long arm of) Clem’s law is broken – a rare win for the BBC man

Can we take advantage of today’s table top clashes?

14 Mar

Cardiff City today visit a Brentford team hoping to see if any breathing space can be found at the top of the Championship table. With the top four all on 66 points (and the next three breathing down their necks) something, finally, has to give as Norwich entertain Derby County and Ipswich Town travel to Middlesbrough. Championship leaders Bournemouth have the easiest task, on paper, as they welcome league whipping boys Blackpool.

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.

Forget the horses and Cameron Diaz. There’s mascot news

11 Mar

I spent a lot of  yesterday on social media, principally looking for early news about Brentford v Cardiff City on Saturday. To be quite honest, if you aren’t into horses (I’m not) it was like a wasteland out there.

There was nothing but tips and Cheltenham. Lucky punters showing off about their winnings and unlucky ones moaning about how much a loser had ‘cost’ them (and I know I’m a pedant but you’ve lost nothing except your stake – money you never had can’t be lost).

As for Ruby…. It (or as it later turned out, he) was everywhere. At times it felt as though, impossibly, the Kaiser Chiefs were trending. You couldn’t move for: Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby.

Not only was it a horse fest, I then had to think about the Kaiser Chiefs

Not only was it a horse fest, I then had to think about the Kaiser Chiefs

Good luck to horse fans. It’s not my thing and, at a time when I really needed social media to keep me sane, the only nag related piece of entertainment came from John Inverdale. The normally open shirted, chest-wigged commentator had a bit “of a ‘mare” live on the radio. Or what he called ‘ a slip of the tongue’.

And then it happened. I’ve still not got over the news about Cameron Diaz and the revelations about her support (or lack of) for Brentford. However, it would seem we have a new name in the frame to make up the ‘fab four’ of famous fans alongside Dean Gaffney, Rhino from The Quo and Natalie Sawyer.

Could Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Could Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Comedian Michael Legge (@michaelLegge on twitter) isn’t, it would be fair to say, a football fan. However, he has undertaken the mission to ‘get into it” as part of a Comic Relief fund raising effort.

Not only has he now chosen the Bees as his team to follow but, on Saturday against Cardiff City, he’s going to be a mascot. Not donning the Buzzette costume but walking out alongside the players and, one would imagine, captain Jonathan Douglas.

Presumably appearing in full kit (there’s no finer sight than a ‘grown up’ non-player sporting complete football apparel on match day), this will be his first ‘league’ game.

We have a new fan

We have a new fan

You can read about Michael falling in love with the game of football whilst I’d also recommend a listen to his work on the Dave Gorman podcast (episode 127 – Knights in Shining Armour from 17/07/12 , feat. Hunter from Gladiators, being a particular favourite) .

Whatever your thoughts about adult mascots, this is all for a great cause and there is a just giving page available. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Michael’s visit in the build up to the Cardiff City game.

And there was me thinking the only comic relief on Saturday was going to be Russell Slade.

Russell Slade - has gone down in Brentford legend

Russell Slade – has gone down in Brentford legend

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)

Matthew Benham and Roy help lift the mood as Gibraltar are bracketed.

8 Sep

Very much a day of mixed emotions yesterday as former Brentford goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny (now plying his trade with Arsenal) kept Gibraltar at bay in their EURO 2016 opener against Poland. And by kept at bay, I mean barely had a look in as the boys from the Rock were on the wrong end of a 7(seven) – 0 bracketing.

Despite an even first half, it ended up being the sort of rout that nobody likes to see. It took Brentford owner Matthew Benham, who had earlier given a positive reaction to the ‘hot seat’ idea for Lionel Road, to fully lift my post match gloom with another view of one of his favourite football headlines.

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 along.

Lionel Road plans form as Gibraltar arrive on the Euro stage

7 Sep

No sooner had Brentford fan (or not, as it transpired)Cameron Diaz broken my heart this week than an idea has formed which could help bring her back into the fold. First, though, EURO 2016 qualifiers and if you aren’t bothered seeing Germany get brackets (seven) against Scotland then Sky Sports 3 has Gibraltar making their tournament debut on Sunday night.

The boys from The Rock have a ‘home’ fixture against Poland in a hugely significant game after finally becoming UEFA’s 54th member last May. I use ‘home’ loosely – the game will actually take place in Faro, Portugal – but it still promises to be an emotional experience for players, travelling supporters and those watching on TV.

It is a shame, from one respect, they’ll be rattling around a half empty stadium when a trip from Gibraltar to London would likely have been just as cost effective (thanks to the wonder of charter flights) and would have seen any number of stadia up for the task – international football at Griffin Park, perhaps?

But I digress – in a Group D that also sees World Champions Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the pool minnows, Scotland, it could be a fascinating qualification campaign. The smart money will be on Germany to walk it, of course, but I’m backing Gibraltar to pull off a shock this evening. And at 33-1 with some bookmakers for the win, worth a few quid…..?

Getting back to domestic matters, this week Cameron Diaz declared that although she wasn’t aware of The Bees existence, now that she is she’ll look into us.

As such, what better chance for the club to spring into action? To be quite honest, when it was announced last week that she’d be in London on a promotional tour, I’d have assumed the marketing and media chaps would have been all over it, anyway.

A new home shirt with ‘DIAZ, 9’ winging it’s way to her? A tour of Griffin Park? Perhaps an interview with Chris Wickham for Beesplayer?

But, it’s not too late. One thing I discovered whilst writing last season’s columns/book was an interesting fact about Swiss football. Whilst most people know that the home of domestic side ‘Young Boys’ is the ‘Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf’ what you may not be aware of is a unique feature – the, so called, ‘Hot Seat’.

The stadium has a solitary red chair amongst the other 31,999 black and yellow ones. It was the first one installed in the new ground (opened in 2005) and you can’t buy a ticket for it. Instead, a notable personality – usually linked to the club – sits there.

I love this idea and, as I’ve said before, think it would be fantastic if Brentford could try a similar scheme at Lionel Road. 19,999 red and white seats, and then one in a unique colour – or perhaps even yellow/black stripes?

In our case, the occupant could range from a deserving supporter to a local dignitary or ‘celebrity’ fan. (If nothing else, there’s a free programme article out of it every week).

And if we go down the latter route then what better guest to invite to use this ‘hot seat’ than Cameron Diaz? As Paul Davis told me on Twitter, “At least now we are on her radar”.

Mr. Benham, if you are reading (you never know) then how about it?

But even if Cameron does come good, she’s still down (down) the pecking order behind Rhino out of The Quo or Dean Gaffney.

Bees fans montage updated

Should Diaz be replaced on the celebrity Bees montage?

Nick Bruzon