Tag Archives: Richard Lee

Will we slip on another potato skin or dodge that lower league bullet ?

8 Aug

It seems like only five minutes ago that Brentford performed those League cup heroics against Hull City and Everton, before narrowly missing out on Round 5 via a last minute equaliser and penalties against Birmingham City at St. Andrews. Infact, it was 2010 and The Bees first XI included the likes of Mickey Spillane, Craig Woodman and Pim Balkestein. Whilst the squad has evolved from that small League One group it would be fair to say that our record in the competition hasn’t been a great one since then. Could Tuesday night’s game in Kingston against AFC Wimbledon see us get back to winning ways?

The wins over higher division Hull and Everton were wonderful occasions, no question. The latter in particular seeing a practically full strength Premier League team beaten by a never say die Brentford XI. Gary Alexander scored the equaliser and Charlie MacDonald even had the luxury of seeing a penalty saved before the eventual spot kick triumph. Richard Lee the man on form then.

Gary Alexander does his thing against Everton. 1-1

Now, we are the team to be shot down. A high performing Championship club travelling to an AFC Wimbledon side whose own ascension through the divisions and struggle to find a home has been a story in itself. Yet the game presents a huge potato skin for a Brentford side that is sure to be changed one from that which lost out to Sheffield United on Saturday.

The last time we won a League Cup tie Montell Moore and Nick Proschwitz (not a typo) were amongst the scorers in that defence shredding 6-6 at Dagenham and Redbridge. Kevin O’Conor played what was, if I am correct, his last ever game for the Bees – scoring what proved to be the decisive spot kick in the subsequent shoot out.

Since then the wheels have come off somewhat. We lost at Griffin Park to Fulham. At the time, something of a rarity for the Cottagers whom we would go on to take 10 points out of 12 from over the course of the following four league games. Didn’t Jota do something in the last minute, too?

Then there was the humiliation handed out by Oxford United at home as the Marinus experiment came crashing down to earth with a bump. Regular readers may be aware this gets mentioned a lot but it is important to never forget how bad that was. The team he selected was one which, long term, had a few players who are now regular (Nico, Lasse, Andreas) but at the time was an untested mixture of youth and new faces. 3-0 down in 12 minutes, that we only lost 4-0 was the main miracle of the night.

It was the consummate example of the flawed logic in both wholesale, untested change and woeful man management. Never forget.

Marinus Oxford touchline

The Oxford United fiasco  / Marinus experiment (neither being prog rock bands)

Then last season it was the turn of Exeter City to dump us out in the first round. Despite Harlee Dean, John Egan, Josh Clarke and Sam Saunders amongst those picked, Brentford struggled to a 0-0 before Ryan Hartley got an extra time winner for the Grecians.

And now is the time to go again. I can only expect more change tonight but this time I fear for Wimbledon. Harlee is available after suspension.Yoann Barbet was benched on Saturday. Likewise Maxime Colin. Expect the pace of Josh Clarke down the flank and surely starts for Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins. I’d imagine Flo Jo will begin on the left with with a very strong bench, just in case.

As the higher placed team we’re there to be shot down, just as Everton and Hull were all those years ago. That’s one of the privileges of being a Championship side and, sadly, a bullet we’ve taken more than once in recent years.

Will this time around be any different? A full house of Bees fans will be there to roar us on with only 200 tickets remaining on the gate. Watch out for the traffic delays though and get there early.

See you there. Until then, here’s one of the highlights from the Everton game. When our mascot was told to keep holding the hand of his young counterpart, he took that instruction quite literally.

 

Nothing puts Peter Gilham off his stride

Nick Bruzon

As the EURO winners show, what would be our Phoenix From The Flames ?

18 Jun

With EURO2016 now fully underway, Friday’s games saw Spain crank things up a notch and Croatia lose it – on and off the pitch. With much of what involves the England fans dividing opinion and generating some very contrasting views from those ‘on the ground’, there was no doubting what we saw on our TV screens yesterday. Plus, in an effort to blow away the current glut of Griffin Park tumbleweed, we have Brentford thoughts, updates and pictures.

First up, Croatia. 2-0 up and cruising against the Czech Republic, not only did they throw it away to be held 2-2 but their ‘fans’ have, surely, lined them up as the next nation to be given a suspended disqualification alongside Russia. This, after a shower of flares and firecrackers descended onto the pitch from the Croatian end as the game reached it’s denouement.

Combined with fighting amongst their own fans, they were ugly scenes that also saw one steward lucky to escape injury as a device went off in his face. Slaven Bilic, talking as part of the ITV panel for the Spain game, attempted to quantify it with the observation that “There are many fans who are against the FA”. That these are protests against a perceived Zagreb bias in Croatian football.

I can’t comment either way on that. My knowledge of the wider problems in European football extends about as far as when Gibraltar’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Belgium is going to take place. But what I can say is that, like the flare launched at England fans during the Russia game, one can only wonder again how security – with France on its highest state of alert – is working? Moreso, just what can UEFA do, if anything, to stop what should have been a wonderful tournament (and still can be) turning into one which will as much be remembered for all the wrong reasons?

As for Spain, a second clean sheet and three goals against Turkey saw them step up an ominous gear. Wth many people’s favourites France leaving it late to record their second victory, the Spaniards by contrast made their six points look simple. After 61% possession, 707 passes and 18 shots (although with goals to match those stats)  they’re already in to 10/3. Forget patriotism – grab that price whilst you can.

Just one other observation on the Spain game, which comes courtesy of Jamie Lovell (@jtlovell1979 ) on Twitter. I can’t take the credit for this but he put into words, wonderfully, the exasperation many of us were suffering from at the hands (or voice) of co-commentator Tony Pulis.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 08.17.49

For me, Clive

Look positive Jamie, at least it wasn’t Glenn Hoddle

Ok, back home and Brentford. I took a stroll past Griffin Park yesterday and couldn’t resist the chance to stick my head over the wall. I have to say the pitch is looking wonderful already.

Granted, the club took the steps to dig it up as soon as we’d played our last ‘home’ game ( if I recall, some sort of thrashing administered to Fulham, wasn’t it?). That, following the pitch-gate shocker at the start of the season.

But, you have to say, credit for what seems to be a job well done already. Here’s to seeing how the Bees perform on it when Championship action recommences in August.

Griffin PArk June 2016

The pitch is looking luxuriant

And when it does, Brentford will find themselves joint 7th (seventh) favourites for the title. Checking my online bookmaker for research purposes this morning, this odds are now up and we’re priced 20/1.

Somewhat stingy for a team who, by our own head coach’s admission, were in a relegation scrap as recently as March? Or easy money for a team who have rediscovered the way to goal via Scott Hogan and those signings who have now ‘bedded in’ to the side? Either way, this is how the bookies see the Championship at present.

And finally, Euro ’96. Kind of. With the football in everybody’s faces at the moment, even the radio is getting in on the act. You can’t move on Absolute Radio at present for World in Motion or Three Lions. Which is no bad thing.

The latter, especially, bringing back all sorts of memories. And not just about how terrifyingly bad David Baddiel was at singing. Seriously, that was the best take?

But talk on the subject amongst some of my Brentford supporting friends led from there to the TV show from which it sprang, Fantasy Football League (of course, co-hosted by Frank Skinner). In particular, the ‘Phoenix From The Flames’ segment in which a famous moment from footballing days gone by would be recreated on a council pitch, featuring the original protagonists.

Specifically, conversation got onto the topic of which Brentford moment would we recreate? Perhaps with the wonderful Sean Ridley and Jo Tilley in the Baddiel and Skinner roles ?

That penalty’ is perhaps too obvious Besides, having not really been discussed in the media after the event, people might not remember. Other topics for consideration included:

Mike Grella destroying Bournemouth; Jota v Fulham; Paul Hayes and Will Grigg being less than on fire when taking home debut penalties; promotion v Preston; Gary Blissett knocking Manchester City out of the FA cup and inciting a banana wielding pitch invader; DJ Campbell giving Gary Breen nightmares.

In the end, though, we settled on cup action. Against Everton. Richard Lee’s penalty saves were the highlight for many but, equally, the pre-game footage of the respective club mascots still gets a watch every now and then.

Whilst the respective kids must be close to teenagers now, that would almost add to the recreation. That said, I’m not sure if we could afford Leighton Baines’ appearance fee.

Could this be recreated, Phoenix style?

Until then, here’s to a weekend of six games and, hopefully, some more magical moments.

Nick Bruzon

From Street football to Soccer Sounds – rounding up the weekend

4 Jan

With the Birmingham City result now consigned to history, for the majority of us Brentford fans it’s time to look forward to the FA Cup against Walsall whilst, also, gritting our teeth for the inevitable flurry of transfer rumours (in and out) that we are sure to be inundated with.

But before we look at that, and the rest of the League games heading our way faster than a Ryan Woods piledriver, the Last word ‘inbox’ has been hit with both a response to yesterday’s article about punditry along with an update from former Bee, Allan Cockram.

Starting with Bees Player, Trinity Mirror Sports Editor Tim Street has been in touch to clarify the comment I called into question regarding the yellow for Jon Toral being acceptable because Jake Bidwell hadn’t been hurt. Well, fair play to Tim who has taken the time to qualify that and, equally, talk through the pressures of matchday punditry from his side.

You can read the full exchange in the ‘comments’ section on yesterday’s article but the main jist of this is contained within the statement :

The irony is, it was because I knew I was doing a half-time summary with Mark that I was doing some of things I save for half time, like processing pictures (each one we use has to be cropped nine different ways!) during the first half and thus missed the worst of Toral’s foul. When pressed on it at half-time, I admit I kind of blurted out something which, in hindsight, was nonsensical (Mark’s expression told me that straight away) to avoid sounding hesitant. Perhaps just admitting I missed it would have been better, but I’m sure I’m not the first, and won’t be the last, to be caught out by the ‘immediacy’ of broadcast media – as I’m sure most football managers would testify!

I still stand by my punditry opinions in general. That said, they are less to do with half time guests such as Tim (where I’d agree its always good to mix things up) and more with the long haul performance over the build up and game.

For sure it’s a big ask and I wouldn’t fancy it. Perhaps, also, we’ve been spoiled in recent years with access to injured squad members who are able to add that unique perspective that only a player can. Richard Lee, in particular, always came across as a very eloquent and considered individual when in the hotseat.

Enough on that, though. As ever I’ve digressed and this was really just meant to say “Thanks” to Tim for taking the time to give his perspective on how things work.

Next up, Allan Cockram .

e66db7_41cf8e049aa3f7672d004804fcea2105

Allan at Griffin Park

Whilst the hair may be a bit shorter than it was in the 80s, he still retains all the enthusiasm for football that he had in his days at Griffin Park. Very much the Sam Saunders of his day, Cockers is back in Brentford and about to launch his Soccer Sounds Technical programme.

The regular reader may recall we spoke to Gary Blissett about this a year or so back, as he and Allan were working out in the U.S. on this project .

Now Allan is back home and looking to launch Soccer Sounds in West London,

Starting on Friday 22nd January in West Acton/Ealing . The poster below explains more whilst he can be contacted via registration@soccersounds.com if anyone is interested.

Likewise, the Soccer Sounds website is up and running if you’d like to take a look.

Enjoy.

Soccer Sounds

Cockers is back

Nick Bruzon

 

Bees have nothing to lose and everything to gain at Middlesbrough

15 Sep

Brentford complete their mini-break away from West London, with the game against Middlesbrough following hot on the heels of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leeds United. But will it be a case of ‘Grim Up North’ or coming back home with some more positive news after last season’s footballing lesson at the hands of the Smoggies?

Brentford, of course, surprised most observers in reaching the Play-Offs last season. Those of us present saw a team punching well above their weight as household names and, so called, ‘big clubs’ were dispatched with all the ease of a supporter polishing off a balti pie i.e. easily. The Bees trounced the likes of Wolves, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United as we came dangerously close to emulating Bournemouth and reaching the Premiership.

But Middlesbrough were a different kettle of fish. Over four games, including the two-legged Play-Off semi, Brentford ended up on the wrong end of a 10-1 aggregate scoreline. Middlesbrough won all four games, including a 4-0 league victory at the Riverside that Mark Warburton would later say “wasn’t acceptable, especially after the break when we weren’t good enough”.

View from the terrace - Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

View from the terrace – Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

For all that Warbs was a hero to many and did some wonderful things with his team, when it came to Middlesbrough we were most definitely second place. But can Marinus do any better?

Well, that was then and this is now. Whilst it is nice to recognise previous results when they go your way, they are nothing more than a statistical nicety used purely (and there’s nothing wrong with that) to remind the opposition of previous dominance.

But when it comes down to it, current form is the only thing of particular relevance. Whatever happened last season is done. Middlesbrough and Brentford find themselves both locked in the Championship hoping for another crack at promotion.

There wasn't much, beyond this, to smile about last season

There wasn’t much, beyond this, to smile about last season

Boro’ are in third place already, behind runaway leaders Brighton and Cardiff City (Hmmm. That’ll last). They’ve picked up 11 points from 6 games, including 3 wins. Interestingly, their solitary defeat was at home to Bristol City. That’ll be the same team Brentford recorded their first win of the season against, with the 4-1 hammering at Ashton Gate. Mind you, that was also our only win of the season as the other four games have seen two draws and two losses.

Nobody gives us a chance. Certainly, outside of TW8. But then that’s the way I like it. Even my online bookmaker (who I use purely for reference purposes), has the Bees as 9/2 to pick up all three points. It wasn’t going to be easy, let alone midweek when there’ll be only a handful of the super loyal present (at one point, it was touch and go as to whether a coach would even be running).

Full marks to them for making this most torturous of trips. Especially off the back of the weekend when we’d have been denied the luxury of being able to stay in the region. It’s been a while since the odds and situation have been so heavily stacked against us, yet the optimistic part of me thinks this could be the night. And simply because nobody gives us a prayer.

There’s nothing like home support, expecting a massacre, to get frustrated when it fails to materialise. And as we know, that can transmit to the players. I expect Marinus to have the defensive handbrake on full lock today and then look to catch Middlesbrough on the break.

Then again, that’s what most people expect. Could he shock us all and go for all out attack? Looking to create chances at Leeds United on Saturday certainly worked, even if we weren’t quite able to finish them all off.

Ultimately, I haven’t a clue. I’m just the numpty on the terrace but you can be sure I’ll be glued to Beesplayer this evening to follow all the action. It might not be pretty. It certainly won’t be easy. But after last season’s 4 defeats, could it be different?

At 7.45, we find out…..

Nick Bruzon

Getting a good vibe about The Hoff

24 Jul

With Brentford due to entertain Stoke City in Saturday’s friendly, could we have a new look centre forward pairing? For those unfamiliar with such a concept in recent seasons that’s two strikers, playing up front, together – at the same time. TW8 was gripped with excitement at the news that German Under-21 Philipp Hofmann has signed from FC Kaiserslautern.

Finally, an option to help support Andre Gray up front and of international calibre to boot. A player who participated in this summer’s U-21 tournament in Serbia, Marinus has described him as “a target man, physically strong, and a good header of the ball

The Hoff signs

The Hoff signs

For those of you with a statistical leaning, he comes in at 6 foot 4 and a half inches. Certainly the opposite to Andre Gray and very much in line with that description of his being a ‘target man’. And whilst, on paper, some aspects may put one in mind of a certain Nick Proschwitz, I’m fairly sure that’s where the analogies will end. You don’t represent your country all the way up from U-18 to U-21 without being ‘any good’.

The full story, for those who haven’t read it, is still on the club site where he is another addition to the lexicon of obvious descriptions. Chris Wickham’s article names him as, “The tall Germany Under-21 international “, (see also the oft used: long legged midfielder – Toumani).

The other piece of note from the article was his use of the baseball cap. Indoors. And backwards.

I’m certainly not down with da kidz but I’d always thought that, if one was to be worn, it had to be perched precariously on the head. Preferably at a jaunty angle. What a shame Richard Lee, of course of ‘Dr Cap’, fame is no longer with the club to put him right on such matters.

Personally, I think its just a shame that The Hoff didn’t pose in his club kitt.

Bad headlines await this season

Bad headlines await this season

In all seriousness though, Phillip looks like an excellent signing and I can’t wait to see if he makes his bow against Stoke tomorrow.

But wait. There’s more. Possibly. Rumours have been sweeping the Internet and Swedish media that the Bees are due to unveil another striker this morning (Friday). Is Danish international Lasse Vibe about to join us from IFK Göteborg?

I’m getting queasy just at the use of the word ‘international’ so many times in one page but, if this does unfold, will be another stunning statement of intent from Matthew Benham. The centre forward, who has 9 appearances under his belt for the national side, was a recent target for Reading and, supposedly, the Bees have fought off competition from Schalke for his signature.

He's got that Vibe

He’s got that Vibe

Will this transpire or is it going to be another rumour that falls flat? Well, Beesotted think its true and they, for me, have been the one source (outside of official ones, of course) to get all the summer transfer activity spot on.

That’s good enough for me. I’m already looking forward to those “Don’t hassle the Hoff” and “Good Vibes” headlines that one can only hope will follow.

Come for the puns – stay for the goals.

Nick Bruzon

.

And , as ever , to read more about what Brentford have done over the last two seasons (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums  are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re still available for less than the price of a match day pie if you want some summer reading before the big kick off (™) arrives.

The play offs begin – can we do it?

8 May

This is it. The chance to hit the really big time. After a season of ‘little’ Brentford and tinpot jibes, The Bees face Middlesbrough tonight knowing how close we are to the Premiership. Just three games (along with Ipswich Town or Norwich City) now stand in the way of our playing in the top tier of English football for the first time since 1947.

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 Ten things that have defined this season (so far….)

4 May

With the dust still settling on the stunning events of the weekend as Brentford beat Derby County and Wolves in the race for a play off place (where, of course, we start proceedings against Middlesbrough on Friday) this column has been handed over to a guest contributor.

Long time Bees fan fan and regular Last Word reader Justin (@BeQuietJustin on twitter) outlines his ten things that have defined Brentford’s 2015/16 campaign to date. So without further ado, here are his thoughts….

That leak – February’s main item of club news was that Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham couldn’t reach agreement about the backroom direction of the club which ultimately meant Warburton would leave at the end of the season, coinciding with the end of his contract. This was reported as a sacking by some extremely lazy journalists in the national press and The Football League Show’s Steve Claridge doggedly insisted that the news was the reason behind any time Brentford didn’t win convincingly in a division they’d only just been promoted to.

The fans’ chanting of Warburton’s name during games, and the players’ celebrations with the manager after Andre Gray’s opener against Watford, showed that those a little closer to the club were unfazed by the largely unwarranted media nonsense.

Warbs  - there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Warbs – there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Signing woes – This season brought with it half a team’s worth of interesting signings, many of whom were either injured on arrival or ended up that way.

Scott Hogan was hoped to be the eventual number one striker but picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury after playing a mere 30 minutes. Everton loanee Chris Long contributed four goals in some admirable performances with raw willing and talent before being sent back to his parent club for injury assessment and exacerbating the problem in a youth cup game.

The Championship-experienced Nick Proschwitz had potential but his finishing soon left fans recalling such legendary names as Clyde Wijnhard and Murray Jones. Exciting Sporting Lisbon forward Betinho apparently did not adjust well to the English game and disappeared from the matchday squads after playing just 13 minutes.

On top of all this, bright Rangers signing Lewis Macleod’s recovery from a hamstring injury was set back by falling down a rabbit hole and tripping over a twig. Make your own jokes about Brentford’s diminutive central midfield. With even one more fit and in-form striker this season, Brentford may well have been automatically promoted. On the other hand, the players have sometimes engineered their own downfall with some noticeable…

Defensive dithering – The new footballing way at Brentford dictated that no longer would we be pumping a long ball over the top for the big striker to knock down to the little one for a shot on goal. Methodical, patient, possession football in the vein of the Spanish national team was the new style and that brought with it a reduction in long goal kicks. Playing out from the back, enabling the defence to link with the 5-man midfield and draw defensive lines out of position, was something very few expected to see from a League One team and this was refined further this season.

However, it also brought with it a fair share of head-in-hands moments, with goalkeeper and defenders seemingly unaware of what was going on around them at times. Numerous occasions brought a short pass to a defender and back to David Button for him to hurriedly lump the ball up the field under pressure when it would have been easier to clear the lines properly and take a standard goal kick.

While the lack of height further up the pitch dictates that wasn’t always the right idea, the high-risk insistence of playing out from the back has resulted in defenders being robbed and conceding goals. Of course, nobody’s perfect, and it would be remiss to highlight the bad side of playing out from the back without mentioning…

David Button – Where would we be without some of David’s fantastic goalkeeping? The spectacular double save at Carrow Road has to be a major contender for save of the season, closely followed by great performances at home against Bournemouth and Watford, among many others.

View from the terrace - David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button  it,

View from the terrace – David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button it,

With Richard Lee’s recurring shoulder injury ultimately leading to him announcing his retirement and subsequently going on loan to a team whose name escapes me, fans were understandably concerned about what would happen in the event of David’s injury or suspension. Jack Bonham looked comfortable in his single appearance against Brighton in the FA Cup, with defensive lapses giving him little chance against two late goals, but the young number two (technically, three?) wasn’t required further.

A testament to goalkeeping coach Simon Royce, David’s kicking and speed off his line have both improved greatly over the last couple of seasons to match his outstanding shot-stopping ability. He pulled off a fine point blank save at 0-0 to help the team on their way to…

Brentford 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – More money and an established, Championship way of thinking and playing saw Wolves romp home to the League One title last May, finishing 17 points clear of the playoff positions. This game relatively early on in the season was seen as a marker to determine how Brentford would cope in the division against supposedly ‘bigger clubs’.

An emphatic victory rounded off an excellent November consisting of five wins from five games, spawning the infamous #novemberkings hashtag on the club’s Twitter feed. At the end of the regular season, it turned out that this was the result that counted. A 1-0 win for Brentford would have put Wolves in the playoffs and Brentford 7th on goal difference. (editor’s note: (seventh)).

View from the terrace - Wolves perfected their 'kick off' routine at Griffin Park this season

View from the terrace – Wolves perfected their ‘kick off’ routine at Griffin Park this season

A footnote to this game was ex-Bee George Saville, who did not look up to the part having signed permanently for Wolves from Chelsea. I thought George was too indecisive and lightweight last season to make it with Brentford. He failed to impress at Wolves and ended up on loan at Bristol City, registering only 15 total appearances. This match included a brilliant goal in which the entire Wolves back four was taken out of the game in one swift move by…

Andre Gray – Essentially our only true striker this season, Andre massively outperformed early expectations in which he was thought to be playing second fiddle to Scott Hogan. Having jumped up three divisions from the Conference, there was cautious optimism among fans, tempered with a generous helping of wondering where the goals would come from if Brentford were to have a hope of staying in the division.

With Hogan’s early injury turning out to be worse than initially thought, all eyes fell on Andre. Often having to deal with being wrestled, pulled back and kicked to bits by huge defensive lumps, with officials consistently failing to see what 10,000 fans clearly could, Gray has held his nerve, scored 17 goals, set up numerous other chances for his teammates and played a massive part in…

FourFourTwo-2Thumbing our collective noses at the experts’ pre-season predictions – The pundits certainly hadn’t been paying attention to Brentford’s style of play in the previous season and gave them very little chance of making a dent in the Championship promotion race.

As we’ve seen numerous times in the last couple of seasons, underestimate this team at your peril. The most infamous pre-season prediction was that of FourFourTwo magazine, who got numerous things very wrong in their proposed final table (left).

Toumani Diagouraga – Another of my shortlist for the player of the season award. After being farmed out on loan to Portsmouth for eight games last season, many fans suspected that would be the last we saw of the composed, unpredictable midfielder at Griffin Park.

Toumani fought his way back into a midfield that looked like it would never be able to accommodate him due to other players’ performances and has put in 41 appearances so far this season, including numerous man of the match displays. He has been an absolute pleasure to watch, specialising in breaking down attacks with seemingly telescopic legs and twisting opposition players into knots with some brilliant yet, at times, utterly baffling footwork.

Alan Judge – My player of the season. Alan missed games in January and February through injury but it was clear how much we missed his creativity in his absence. Taking over the Sam Saunders mantle as the midfield playmaker, Alan finds space in the centre circle with driving runs to assist or take shots on goal and can spread the play to the wings with ease.

Many Brentford fans have no idea why Blackburn froze him out of their squad, presumably because at only 5’7” he’s not tall enough for their style of play, but their loss is our huge gain. Alan can also strike a sweet free kick, with Good Friday bringing a particularly memorable one…

Bees up, Fulham (almost) down – Perhaps not the biggest thing to happen in the grand scheme of this season, but an emotional choice and an away day that most fans had been looking forward to since the minute the fixtures were released.

Doing the league double over one of our fiercest local rivals showed how far the club has come. From being easily rolled over 5-0 in 2010’s pre-season, to a late home winner and comprehensively spanking that lot down the river in their own back yard, this pair of results gave the long-suffering Bees faithful yet another reason to be proud of what the club has achieved this season.

It’s not over yet, but we have more than enough to celebrate. Here’s looking forward to August, no matter which division Brentford are in!

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

April Fool laughs come from an unexpected source – Fulham !

2 Apr

With the Fulham game now just one more ‘wake up’ away, yesterday was the opportunity for Brentford fans to enjoy a bit of calm before the storm. April Fools day was the ideal chance for some light relief but, sadly, the joke stories were conspicuous by their absence.

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 lovely image, even if nobody was fooled

A lovely image, even if nobody was fooled

Billy The Bee - Mr Grant asking the right questions, as ever

Billy Grant asking the questions – a megaphone probably the last thing he needs

Richard Lee gives exclusive update on his move as Twitter goes ‘to war’

28 Mar

Was it Juniors Bees work experience time on the club twitter account yesterday?

As the news of Richard Lee’s move from Brentford to Fulham sunk in (and you can read his exclusive thoughts on this subject, which he gave last night, further on in this column), the club did it’s very best to make (trophy)friends and influence people.

The irony of joking only yesterday about a media team related ‘faux pas’ was not lost after multiple news sources picked up on our tête-à-tête in cyberspace with Fulham.

I have wondered previously who drives the club twitter account after the cringeworthy #trophyfriends and #Novemberkings (amongst others). Every effort we make to be taken seriously on the pitch is undermined by this sort of childish update off it. The only positive being that, whilst these were something I’d have expected Buzzette to come out with, at least they were nothing more than harmless embarrassment and certainly no malice involved.

But then there was Holt-gate. January 2015 saw Chief sports writer of the Daily Mirror, Oliver Holt, left somewhat frustrated by the response to his article on Stephen Hunt. It led him to publically question, amongst other things, “Is it a new kind of anti-PR that you’re pioneering at Brentford?” following (since deleted) feedback he would later describe as “a strange volley of tweets”.

But now we’ve gone(again?) and bettered this after taking a pop at Fulham, the club that we chose to loan Richard to. In what could be described as, at best a factual dig and at worst a direct taunt, the club Twitter account ran the headline..

Bees fire first shot

Bees fire first shot

Don’t get me wrong, as a supporter I think it’s hilarious to see them struggling and I take a lot of pleasure from their predicament.The Loftus Road mob, too. But the difference is that I’m a supporter, not a professional football club.

To have a dig at a fellow team, when we are constantly preaching about respect on the pitch, seems a tad hypocritical. If for no other reason that these things have a habit of coming back to haunt you .

Still, whilst their one word response of “Bless” was as patronising as we had been at least that was an end to it. Five minutes of ‘fun’ that would pass by and that would be that.

Except it wasn’t – we only went and published another response. And to make it worse, a meme…..

Memes - bad enough at the best of times

Memes – bad enough at the best of times

Toes are curling now as I think about this. Any moral high ground had instantly been undone but, worse, turned the eyes of the media towards Brentford with a series of unflattering headlines.

Brentford mock Championship strugglers Fulham”, said the London Evening Standard.

The Daily Mirror had a simple: “Brentford and Fulham go to war on Twitter”

The Daily Mail and even Get West London both ran stories referring to: “Brentford involved/embroiled in Twitter spat”.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 08.03.30

There’s a common trend to the stories still dominating our news feed today

At a time when the club are pushing for the Premiership and need all the friends we can get (given our publicised ground issues should we make it), do we really want this to be the public perception of Brentford FC?

Perhaps I’m just overreacting but we’ve seen this sort of thing time and again. How hard can it be to keep things professional and ‘grown up’ on our social media?

At the least, if we are going to try and show a sense of humour then let’s do it without resorting to making fun of another club. A club who, don’t forget, will be keeping one of our players ‘match fit’ and whom we may need to call upon at the end of season should we make the play offs.

Even if that other club is Fulham.

Which brings us nicely on to the story that started all of this, Richard Lee’s loan move to The Cottage. Not surprisingly, this has generated all manner of reaction amongst supporters – some parts positive, others not so.

Football is an emotive subject at the best of times, let alone when you add in a club hero moving to our local rivals where, in all likelihood, he will see out his career. Whilst I may not agree with all that has been said, the real shame is that Richard’s great performances in five years at Griffin Park seem to have been overlooked amidst the noise.

People are, naturally, curious as to what has driven his decision to make this move and a lot of questions have been asked. I caught up with Richard last night where he was kind enough to provide this update for supporters as to what had prompted this:

Richard Lee speaks

Hello all,

A mixtures of messages over the past 24 hours which I was well aware would happen so rather than answer individual questions / criticism i’ll give you my thoughts as to why I’m making the loan move.

I didn’t make the decision to move lightly.‎ I’ve been a pro for 14 years and I am sad that it’s drawing to a close. I’m excited for the next chapter but I’m aware that once it’s over, it’s over.

Unexpectedly I’ve been offered one last challenge that excites me and I’ve decided to take it.

As much as I’m enjoying the day to day activity of training and winning the odd development game I play in at Brentford it doesn’t really give me a huge buzz. I’m doing all I can as a third choice ‘keeper but I don’t feel hugely part of what has been an incredible season and now I feel I have an opportunity to be more involved and make a difference somewhere. ‎I’m grateful to Fulham for offering me that chance.

If certain people are going to ‘disown’ me and disregard my achievements to date then I’m sorry you feel that way about me. I’ve always given everything to Brentford and will continue to watch our games for years to come – If I get turned away at the door then i’ll just have to live with that.

I’ve been heartened by the positive messages from friends, fellow pros and those who know me.

I’ve got just over a month left that will hopefully offer up some excitement and a nice challenge. I’ll then return ready if needed, as sharp as possible for the play offs if that is to be our destiny.

I do this with no spite towards Brentford FC – ‎I’m doing this for me.

Rich x

In a week of break ups, Richard Lee tops the lot

27 Mar

It’s around this time of year I start thinking about those April 1st headlines that will, inevitably, hit Brentford related media sites. The blue and white hooped away shirt. The emergency loan signing of Martin Rowlands. Buzzette caught in flagrante delicto with Billy the Badger from Fulham.

But making my way home on Thursday night, the Internet was buzzing with a story that made me think the only possible explanation had to be a media team related ‘faux pas’. Surely one of them had erroneously hit the ‘publish’ button and released this year’s ‘April Fools joke’ prematurely?

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.