Tag Archives: Richie Firth

A ball of confusion in the cup. Matt Dyson talks Warbs, radio and football ahead of Brentford v Nottingham Forest

11 Aug

Another League cup draw; another ball of confusion. If the first round draw was a farce (Charlton being drawn both home and away) things were no better second time around. Brentford will meet QPR in the second round of the League Cup. Seemingly the game to be played at Griffin Park on first call but the somewhat odd use of a third pot to determine ‘home’ or ‘away’ left fans and officials what we will politely call ‘baffled’. All this before we get to the main event of the next few days – the visit of Nottingham Forest in the league.

Who’d have thought that using three pots to determine a two team cup tie would end in anything but a cock up? And sure enough, it did. Despite the Bees being called as ‘home’ by former player John Salako, question marks were immediately raised over the colour of his venue ball. Even official, once more displaying this season’s new found sense of humour, hit the nail firmly on the head.

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They weren’t alone in wondering just what was going on. Supporter comment on twitter quickly cut to the nub of the matter

Lou Boyd: Hounslow v Hammersmith in a World Cup qualifier I heard

Lee : And Dianne Abbott has concluded that the game will be played on the 43rd September

Oh Fuffuxake!: Why don’t we just play at Craven Cottage?

Even a QPR fan, James Skinner, getting in on the action: How about doing the first half at Brentford, then everyone gets a bus to Loftus Road for the second?

Emma Briden: Please don’t get changed to away cause going to that shit hole once a season is enough..

Alas Emma, it eventually transpired that Brentford are due an additional visit to Loftus Road. Instead of home comforts we have cramped seating, no beer and apathetic support from our hosts. On the plus side, the choice of opponents means that passage to round three remains very much on the cards. How good would it be to see an early season rematch between Jota and Jake Bidwell?

At least it wasn’t just us who suffered. Charlton, Bristol City and Ipswich have also had home ties rebranded as road trips.

Red, H = home. White, A = away. Simple? Surely? Apparently not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – just give me Jim Rosenthal, a lectern, some fascinating facts and 64 balls. Problem solved.

John Salako cup draw

Confused faces at the draw. Home? Away? Help? Anyone?

Still, all that’s to come. Next up for the Bees are Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon. With Mark Warburton in charge.

We all know how that story ended previously and, whilst the full facts behind his departure seem limited to that explanation about the changed structure and approach differing from his football philosophy, there are more than enough other theories and suppositions doing the rounds. Warbs remains a hero to many; not so much others. That’s football and we’ll probably never know the whole truth on this one.

Yet whatever the catalyst, we’ve all moved on. Mark is now manager at a Nottingham Forest side who almost went down last season but this campaign have won their opening games. Millwall in the league and Shrewsbury Town in the Cup. You can’t ask for more than that and Matthew Benham will no doubt be more than keen to get one over his former charge. But can we do it?

stickers-matt-videoWell, to find out we’ve caught up with one Forest fan whose voice may be familiar to anybody up and about between 6-10am.  Absolute Radio DJ Matt Dyson. The co-host of Saturday afternoon show Rock ‘n’ Roll football, he also mans the sportsdesk on the award winning Christian O’Connell breakfast show and even has a weekly podcast, Gameweek, talking (and singing) all things Fantasy Football.

We can only start with Mark Warburton. A legend to many at Griffin Park and now carving out a new reputation at the City Ground. What’s your take on how he has settled in? And the opinion of the broader fan base? Well he kept us up! So that was good.  He comes to us with a good reputation and seems like the right man for the job.  He’s got his backroom team around him and I hope our new Greek owners will give him the backing he needs.  We should certainly improve this season, after years of back to back decline under the Kuwaiti fridge magnate who used to run our club.

Warburton has made a few good signings from Scotland – a place he knows well from his time at Rangers.  I’m glad he’s not spending loads on big name players on huge salaries whose careers are on the way down.  He seems to be going for young hungry players and I think that is the key to getting out of the Championship.  Not big names who don’t give 100 per cent (e.g. Nicklas Bentdner).

Look at a club like Manchester United, where the spectre of Fergie still looms over anyone to follow in his footsteps. He’s up there in the stand looking down; a stand with his own name on it. Yet at Forest you have one of the greatest names the game has ever seen to contend with. Can Warbs escape from the shadow of Brian Clough? Well Fergie was literally in the stands at Old Trafford watching Moyes like a red faced angry hawk every game, God has left the building.  Brian’s name is quite rightly adorning what used to be called the Executive Stand (despite very few execs ever going to watch the Tricky Trees) and I don’t think his amazing legacy should affect our current manager.

What he achieved is something that all clubs should try and emulate.  Leicester came close, but didn’t get those back to back European Cups.  No cigar, I’m afraid guys.  Clough is quite rightly celebrated to this day by all Forest fans, for being the best thing to’ve ever happened to football in this country. So, no, I don’t think it will effect Warbs.

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Warbs – in there somewhere. Will he be as popular at the City Ground as Griffin Park?

Will he bring success back to The City Ground? We’ve had pre-season optimism many times in recent years. We get through managers quicker than most people get through bottles of shampoo.  I’d just be happy with a season of consolidation and then a play-off push next year.  He’s the best man available to us right now and I hope he’s given the rime and backing to achieve big things.  But the crucial thing he needs is TIME.  Some old trigger-happy owners never seemed to realise that.

Having survived last time around, you’ve already sold Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough for £14m. Good business (he missed a sitter at Griffin Park last season) with the chance to re-invest ? Or will this make things even harder for you?  He is a very natural goal scorer the like of which we’ve not seen at the City Ground for many years. But he had a really bad knee injury and was still recovering last season.  We signed him for £5 million from Peterborough a few years back, so I think it’s good business and a good profit.  I was hoping he’d go to a Premier League side though, as he will no doubt score against us this season.

Where do you see Nottingham Forest finishing this season? I’ve called 5th for Brentford so optimism is allowed.  I’d genuinely be happy with mid-table. After all the years of hurt, we just need to consolidate.

As a fan, what are your long term aspirations for the football club?Premier League, obvs.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Working in radio, specifically Rock n Roll football on a Saturday afternoon, how often can you get to see the team play? In short, not very often.  I’m really gutted to me missing the Brentford game because I’ve had a few great times stood behind the goal in the huge open terrace at Griffin Park.  Lovely old ground and the whole pub in each corner thing is also nice. We never seem to do very well here though, So it’s probably for the best that I’m not at this one.

You star on the breakfast show alongside fellow football fans in Christian (Southampton) and Richie Firth (Arsenal). Like Forest, Southampton have been up and down over the years but there seems to be a sense of entitlement from the Arsenal ‘faithful’ like no other club I’ve seen. Do you have any sympathy for the likes of Richie and those jumping on the ‘Wenger out’ bandwagon?  No. No sympathy whatsoever for the spoiled brats that go along to that ground and  are more interested in talking to their girlfriends on FaceTime than watching the match.  They’ve never known really bad times so aren’t in a position to fully appreciate the good times and they throw their toys out of the pram whenever they drop out of the top 4.  They don’t know they’re born!

Also, I’ve got quite a few mates who are glory hunting Gunners I’d much rather talk football with supporters of REAL football teams with proud histories like Forest and Brentford (…apart from the ‘proud history’ bit).

Christian once debunked the urban legend that Cameron Diaz was a Brentford supporter when interviewing the ‘Something about Mary’ star for the breakfast show. But what’s the scoop with Jason Statham? Whilst the likes of Stuart Broad, James Dean Bradfield and even Su Pollard are confirmed Forest fans, is this another story that’s too good to be true?  Sounds like bollocks to me

Why should people listen to Rock n Roll football on a Saturday? It’s a bit of an alternative to the serious, formal and frankly boring sports coverage that’s saturated the media in this country.  We give you top music and all the goals as they go in with one of the best young comedians in the UK at the moment, Rob Beckett, on the wheels of steel.  We also regularly intersperse the football with clips of Elaine Page laughing, Ronaldo selling blankets and Nigel Spink talking about his love of Ribena.

You can read more from Matt in this week’s ‘official’ matchday programme. The Gameweeek podcast can be found at the i-tunes store   – its free and well worth a listen for anyone with an interest in football – fantasy or otherwise.

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The Gameweek podcast – out now

Nick Bruzon

 

That Sky One Harchester United thing. Dear Sky TV, Andy Ansah, Richie et al….

3 May

These pages usually talk about Brentford FC but, occasionally, we look further afield than Griffin Park. Today is just one of those. It is a time when we need to look back to look forward. And also ask the question – is it time for a footballing renaissance?

That Sky One Harchester United thing”. Not my words but those of Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth, talking on Wednesday morning’s Christian O’Connell Breakfast show. Regular readers may well be aware of, amongst other things, the show’s role in resolving the Cameron Diaz / Brentford story (something which, for the record, our own club commentator par-excellence Mark Burridge also had a hand in at one point).

But this was not a discussion about celebrity fans (or lack of). Instead, it was talk of actor Ricky Whittle and his current role in TV series American Gods. The actor, who has also appeared in Hollyoaks and on Strictly Dancing, is probably best known for playing Ryan Naysmith on what Richie had called That Sky One Harchester United thing. Or, of course, Dream Team.

Ahh, Dream Team. Running for ten series, the show was centred around the ongoing and progressively more outlandish events at fictional football club Harchester United. Combining real life stadia and action (often Leicester City, Chelsea or Everton but with the contrast turned up to make their blue shirts look like Harchester’s purple) the show was as loved for its crazy plots as the frequent use of celebrity cameos. From Ron Atkinson to John Barnes, even one time Bee’s boss Steve Coppell had a go at channeling his inner Marlon Brando. It wasn’t good.

Yet perhaps the most famous of these actors was another former Bee (and member of our ‘top ten moustaches‘ club), Andy Ansah. Forget his later work on ‘Street Striker’ or numerous films and adverts though. For me his crowning glory was six series reciting variants of: ‘Get warmed up lads’ and ‘Alright, Gaffer?’ whilst playing himself, as the club’s first team coach.

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Ansah – wonderful Tekkers

I caught up with Andy a few years ago whilst writing a ‘Where Are They Now’ article for the Griffin Park match day programme. It goes without saying that the main topic of conversation was this wonderful, wonderful show. It was a truly privileged behind the scenes insight (and you can read more below) but, if I’m being equally honest, since finishing in 2007 the show has slipped from most people’s memory.

But then Wednesday saw Richie do his thing, even taking to Twitter where he noted, “Everytime I pass the Dragon’s Lair on the train at Millwall I get misty eyed. Bring it back @sky1”

Boom. Quicker than you could say Karl Fletcher, Lynda Block or Luis Amor-Rodriguez (think of a low budget Jota) the memories came flooding back.

Murder at the FA Cup final. The plane crash. The coach crash. The coach explosion at the Millennium Stadium. Liverpool (the real Liverpool) being linked in the papers with a £3.5 million swoop for Didier Baptiste back in 1999. Cue much egg on face when it transpired they weren’t actually bidding for a Monaco player but actually looking at a character from a TV show.

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L-R, John Black, Luis Amor-Rodriguez, Karl ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, Sean Hocknell

It wasn’t just me. Pick of the highlights to subsequently flood Twitter was that of @JohnDryden1 who noted: Lawlor in goal? That must of been after Jamie Parker held his team mates at gun point in the changing room.

As you do.

But now, ten years on, is it time to bring back Dream Team? Does Richie, a one time self-proclaimed soothsayer of scores, have his finger on the footballing pulse once again?
Would people watch it ? Yes, yes and yes have to be the answers to all three questions.

Sky 1, if you are reading (you probably aren’t ) how about it? Natalie Sawyer, any chance you could have a word with the bosses?  Andy Ansah (again, probably not reading), if anybody has the contacts it must be you?

With Griffin Park around the corner from Sky HQ and a new stadium on the horizon in Lionel Road, then what better time to bring this back with a progressive club filling the role of the new Harcehster? They’ve used Watford. They’ve used Millwall. They’ve even used Brentford (albeit as part of the May 2007 Open Day when a Harchester United team played the Community Sports Trust at Griffin Park.

How about Brentford doing it again – for real ?

If any show deserves a reboot, then Dream Team must be top of the list. If it worked for Doctor Who and Dallas then imagine what could be done now. Come on Sky, the world of football demands it.

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Andy dons the monogrammed tracksuit in his Harchester United days

And if anybody was in any doubt about the love for the show, this is what Andy Ansah himself had to say about it in that aforementioned interview:

Having finally retired from playing, all of a sudden Andy appeared on Sky one’s football based ‘drama’ series, Dream Team, playing himself at fictional club ‘Harchester United.’ A guilty pleasure for many viewers, myself included, but for all the wrong reasons! Wooden dialogue, outrageous plots and, as Andy himself offers, “The Lynda Blocks of this world”, its combination of beautiful women and real match action made it compulsive viewing for close to ten years. So how did he go from footballer to actor?

“I went to a Take That concert at Wembley, believe it or not. I made my decision then that I was going to retire from football. I met two people there and I said, ‘What do you do ?’ “ Oh, we do ‘extras’ work?” They were stand in doubles.

I thought that sounded interesting because I’d always liked acting and I love my films. Some friends of mine were on Dream Team doing the footballing extras although they were a lot younger than me. So I thought, ‘ok’, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to stop playing pro-football, play a bit of part time, join ‘Dream Team’ and learn how to be an actor.

Subsequently, I joined as one of the football extras but because I was older than everyone else, I was thirty then whereas they were nineteen/twenty, I used to spend all my time with the directors and producers who were the same age. They used to ask questions about football all the time – how would we do this or that? I found myself directing the football for them and then within a year they made me the producer of football on Dream Team. It was crazy!”

Alongside the move to producer came a step up from ‘extra’ to acting role aswell, portraying the club’s assistant coach, Andy Ansah (!!) This also meant a few lines per show, with regular Ansah gems including takes on , “All right, you lot ! Get out on the field and warm up,” and “Leave it, gaffer. He’s not worth it.”

I put it to Andy that it must surely have been fun to be involved?

“I loved it, I loved it. Listen, it was brilliant. The show itself was low budget but it was built up on people. The people were fantastic and it had cult status. No matter how bad it was, you’d be able to say – I know who that is. That was Drogba’s goal for Chelsea against so and so. That’s what made it so much fun.

At the end, it kind of died a death. I was there for six years and when I left I was offered a Hollywood job with the film, “Goal”. That’s when I left and they ended up employing four different people to take up my one post on that show. That’s how much I did.”

As for those famous/infamous cameos? “The guys were great. Being honest, I should thank the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and the West ham players. They mainly got me that producer role because I pulled in my contacts to get those guys on the show. One time, Andy had just got called back into the England squad and all the press were outside the training ground at Man United. I had to go and meet him at the training ground and came out the back door with Andy and Dwight , then drove to Stockport County so we could film them on Dream Team – for nothing. It was absolutely crazy. Can you imagine a footballer now using his image rights and saying, ‘I’ll come on your show for nothing’ but that’s how much of a cult status it was.”

After six seasons at Harchester United, ‘Goal’, and the lure of the silver screen proved too much, although not for the first time !

“Infact, whilst I was doing Dream Team, after two years I also did a film called : Mike Bassett England manager. I cast Terry Kiely from Dream Team (popular character, Karl Fletcher) and Scott Mean who used to play for West Ham to come and work on that film. I did all the choreography on that film myself, which was a big job! We shot at Wembley and also went to Brazil. I was there for almost two months, filming at the Maracana, Botafogo and everywhere.

It’s a hard job…!!”

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Bassett / Tomlinson – one of the many famous faces to film at Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

Surprise inspiration from Richie and Mark as Bees twiddle their thumbs this weekend.

24 Mar

This is the time of season that these pages normally express an element of frustration with International break. Very much one of the downsides of Championship life, Brentford have now got another eight days to wait until the home double header against Bristol City and Leeds United. The king of comebacks against Burton Albion already seems a distant memory although Sergi Canos did take to Twitter yesterday to remind us  all how wonderful that was.

Sergi – a dab hand with the air guitar, too

So, what to do whilst we await City and Leeds? Well, this round of Internationals is slightly different in that we do have some additional interest. Whilst it’s not unusual to see Andreas Bjelland and Lasse Vibe selected for Denmark, John Egan is in the Republic of Ireland squad when they take on Wales in a World Cup qualifier tonight.

Even if you have no Irish or Welsh affiliation, the chance to see one of our team make his international debut (subject to final team selection) has to be better than Liechtenstein v Macedonia on the red button or, worse, a double header of Coronation Street. If nothing else, with the Irish rugby team having played at the Avvia last weekend when they scuppered England’s Grand Slam aspirations, it will be very interesting to see how the surface holds up less than a week later.

With permission having been given to London Irish to ground share at Lionel Road, Brentford supporters are, not surprisingly, questioning the integrity of the playing surface. The likes of Sergi and Jota better suited to playing on a billiard table rather than a ploughed field. And that is meant metaphorically; I’ve never seen either at Rileys in Twickenham.

All of which is great, but then it does leave us with a blank slot in the diary on Saturday. Well, how about getting on your bike? Quite literally. With the mornings getting lighter there’s never been a better time to undertake a bit of exercise whilst, at the same time, enjoying the fresh air. Personally, I’ve just started doing this again – triggered predominantly by my own lack of exercise. The realisation has finally set in that FIFA on the PS4 does not count no matter how many times I’ve tried to tell myself since Christmas.

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FIFA 17 – fun but not, technically, exercise

Likewise, there’s only so many times I can convince myself that the pecs have just ‘slipped’ or that the layer of fat around the midriff is there to insulate over the cold winter months. So the beer and junk food has gone out the window (for now) whilst there’s been additional inspiration from two unlikely sources – Richie Firth on Absolute Radio and our own Mark Chapman from the Brentford media team.

Richie, speaking on the Christian O’Connell breakfast show last week, was extolling the virtues of vibrating massage plates which, when fixed to the body for twenty minute periods, would slowly burn the fat away. All well and good – aside from looking like a complete numpty as you stand around in your pants with Borg style implants affixed to the torso.

More importantly, where is the aerobic exercise? Where is the fun? Where is the smug feeling of having actually gone out and done something, then boring your mates rigid afterwards?(And yes, I see the irony).

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(L-R) Richie and OC doing more traditional exercise despite the horrific attire

But it was Bees programme editor Mark Chapman who is the straw that broke the camel’s back. His own ‘fanActiv’ blog on Brentford official has been a real call to arms, with some brutally honest observations about where he was prior to starting this aswell as how things are progressing . Three blogs in (the latest was published last Friday and can be found here), I have to say that is a case of doffing my cap to him.

It’s not easy to admit you need to get up off your backside. It’s even harder to do this so publicly. Nice one Mark, and THANK YOU for the motivation. Keep up the good work and stay off the chocolate bars.

So this weekend sees another ‘dry’ one for yours truly. I’m not so naive as to pretend that by the time Bristol City and Leeds come around I won’t be out the back of The Griffin – the prematch pint is a quintessential part of football’s rich tapestry – but at least I won’t feel quite so guilty about doing it.

Lecture over. Whatever you do this weekend, have fun. If anybody is in Richmond Park on Sunday morning, I’ll be the one wheezing. But, most importantly, good luck to John Egan tonight.

We’ll all be wishing you well.

Nick Bruzon

Absolute football and an absolute tonking. Bees sting Forest (?!) as fake champions crash out.

8 Mar

What can you say after that? The Last Word was due to be on temporary hiatus this week (hence no update on the 1-1 from Portman Road) but another away win for Brentford, and in such wonderful style, has prompted an early return. With most of the football world focussing on Arsenal receiving another 5-1 tonking at the hands of Bayern Munich (the Germans romping to a 10-2 aggregate defeat and what happens when you allow non-champions in the Champions League) those outside TW8 probably won’t pay much notice to the defeat of Nottingham Forest. A 3-2 win for Brentford at the City Ground as the Bees made it 10 points from the last 12 saw the Tricky Trees prove anything but, save for a brief flurry as the game reached a denouement that was probably more fraught than it needed to be.

To read the rest of this article, 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. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

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Jota – carried on at Forest where he left off at Griffin Park

Even Alan Jugde (not a typo) was spotted in attendance.

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There are just too many questions

 

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Absolute Radio. No Bees but talked about Arsenal at ten to seven, ten to eight etc

Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. A week in football as Aston Villa await and West Ham implode.

12 Sep

Brentford picked up all three points at Brighton to head into Wednesday’s game with Aston Villa in high spirits whilst Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, like the Bees, both recorded a 2-0 away win. These, results that allow them to sit first and second respectively and, in the case of the former, sending Leeds United into the relegation zone where they now sit just behind Wigan Athletic. The supposed conflagration engulfing Will Grigg proving insufficient to stop them making it three defeats on the spin. Meanwhile, defeat for Fulham (Clayton Donaldson both scoring and missing penalties against David Button) and a tepid draw for the Loftus Road mob at home to Blackburn mean the West London triumvirate are separated by just one point and goal difference respectively.

That’s the most recent Championship action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the next of our regular Monday morning feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media over the last seven days.

We’ll start off, as ever, with Brentford.The win over Brighton and the trip to Villa Park on Wednesday have everybody in high spirits. Regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush summarising one of the best moments from the Amex in a single tweet. Kids, you may need to ask your parents.

Billy Reeves, in the meantime, taking over from stats guru Luis Melville with something which, if not over elaborate, shows what true football immolation is (and please, let’s NOT rip off that song. It’s bad enough we’ve appropriated one from Oldham).

And talking of stats, how’s this for an Aston Villa related one? Brentford really have nothing to lose and everything to gain later this week. With a fleet of free coaches heading up the motorway c/o the club sponsors, will you be there to see if we can move that ‘W’ column from 0 to 1 ?

But, as ever, it was Kitman Bob who proves to be the wonderful random element, a so called ‘x-factor’, at Brentford official. The frog DNA in the otherwise ‘perfectly safe’ laboratory controlled environment of club twitter. (Bob, if you are reading, that’s a good thing – trust me). Let’s hope he doesn’t get preserved in amber and, instead, keeps the zingers coming…

Saturday saw a surprise visitor to the New Inn. Former Bee and Leeds United legend Chris Kamara (amongst the numerous accolades on his still glittering CV) popping in for an afternoon off.

Regular readers to this column will be aware of my admiration for Sam Saunders. Our number 7(seven) summing up everything it means to play for Brentford in terms of what seems to be his genuine love for the game, the team and the fans. Then , of course, there’s the shorts, the tan, the free kicks and his wonderful use of Twitter.

Before we move on to the wider football world, the  last Brentford related matter of the week concerns a supporter rather than a player. Specifically Luis Adriano. Whilst, of course, a few fans have released club related books in recent years (with varying degrees of success and publicity) Luis isn’t one to overly blow his trumpet.

Yet he has taken the step of writing a third novel. And it is has just been released. Words can’t put into, erm, words what a huge undertaking this is and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The link below should give you more of a flavour

Next up, referees. We’ve seen a much tougher stance from the men in black this season in an attempt to cut down on back chat, abuse and petulance. Rightly so, in my eyes. Yet, equally, the hard line has extended to diving, pulling and now, it seems, general over-exuberance. Certainly something for our own players to watch out for following Nottingham Forest’s late equaliser at Villa Park yesterday.

But if Pereira had it bad, spare a thought for Joe Hart. Already shown the cold shoulder at Manchester City, he had a rotten start to his loan career at Torino. The performance on pitch was bad enough, by all accounts, yet things had already gone South before a ball was even kicked.

Not even opponents Atalanta running out to Status Quo ( Whatever You Want) was enough to inspire him. Many thanks to the soothsayer of scores, Richie Firth on the Absolute Radio Christian O’Connell breakfast show, for that gem. As Richie noted this morning, “How often do you hear of teams running out to Status Quo”. Sadly, never – Richie .

Perhaps my own suggestion of ‘Down, Down’ for our own #BeeTheDJ not quite so silly !

Still, if Manchester City have made a shrewd move in the transfer market with that one, can the same be said of Manchester United? The much trumpeted record transfer of Paul Pogba hasn’t, so far, proven to be the success intended.

As ever, though, it is the regular visitors to this column that provide the weekend’s big story. West Ham have done it again. If Hart was hapless, what does that make the Hammers? Fisticuffs in the stands and the scared children were the least of their concerns after Saturday’s result.

Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham, who didn’t make it onto the pitch during the 4-2 home humping administered by Watford,  still took the time to share the score with his followers. Proving a point that he hadn’t featured or just totally misreading the situation? As one Brentford fan noted, imagine the meltdown if Harlee Dean had done this..

C2C railway had to give this advice to their passengers. Things going well at the Olympic Park, then ?

But it was an X-Factor reject who really summed thing up for the one time Upton Park outfit.

But if West Ham fans feel like they are getting the rough end of the stick, spare a thought for Southend United. Their loan deal with Crystal Palace not proving quite as well researched as the one which brought Sullay Kaikai to Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

A handjob from the editor? No thanks, Stan

16 May

Where do you start after yet another ‘one of the most dramatic final days of the season’ since the last one? After spending the season on loan at Brentford, Sergi Canos making his debut for Liverpool ? Former Bee Wojciech Szczęsny rubbing salt into the Tottenham wound after Spurs came perilously close to a bracketing when they went down 5-1 at Championship bound Newcastle United? Or Old Trafford where, of course, Manchester United had their game abandoned after the bomb scare?

Nobody needs my in-depth analysis of that situation. An evacuation was, of course, the absolutely right and proper thing to do. Likewise, it was reassuring to see how quickly and efficiently this appeared to take place.

But beyond that. Wow! To say “questions will be asked” is sure to be an understatement to rank alongside this whole affair being described as a “fiasco” First thoughts I saw suggested the suspicious package found at Old Trafford was a ‘seasons highlights’ DVD or a trophy. Infact, it turned out to be a training device used by a private security company to prevent exactly this sort of issue happening , left behind after a midweek drill.

Twitter reacted, of course, with the mood changing from worry, shock and horror to incredulation as the story unfolded over the course of the afternoon.

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Who knows what the fall out will be from all of this. For once, “Sacked in the morning” won’t be a chant directed at the manager.  Even when the rearranged game has taken place on Tuesday, this won’t be the last we hear of it. People are jittery enough as it is. For sure we can expect even more enhanced security next season.

OK – the Brentford connection. First up,  Wojciech Szczęsny. None other than the Arsenal goalkeeper and former Bee was lining up to lead the taunts after Tottenham managed to blow an unblowable situation.

Spurs, a club who could choke on a Rice Krispie, needing only a point to guarantee second place in the Premier League came within two of a 7(seven) goal bracketing. This, to relegated Newcastle United – one of the poorest teams since Premier League records began.

The consolation of Champions League football will be little consolation to being pipped by their arch rivals, yet again. Expect the Arsenal ’smug-o-meter’ to be through the roof today. Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth already leading the charge on this morning’s Christian O’Connell breakfast show although, for once, if not sympathise you can understand.

As Richie noted, “Only Spurs could come third in a two horse race“.

Chesney. For once, not the one and only

Liverpool. Sergio Canos.

We’ve waxed lyrical about the Spanish wunderkind many times this season.And rightly so – his achievments on pitch were legion. But with most of his Brentford team mates now on their holidays, if social media is to be believed, he had the honour of pulling on that famous red shirt in a 1-1 draw with West Brom.

Congratulations, Sergi. No doubt the first of many Liverpool appearances although, in the short term, if you want to come back to Griffin Park for another season then there’ll be no complaints from West London.

Sergi Canos Liverpool debut

And finally, a HUGE thanks to all those who have so far downloaded both the Last Word ‘season review’ (Ready. Steady. Go Again) aswell as the three year anthology (The Bees are going up). These are both available now.

Nick Bruzon

 

The things you learn on the radio…

22 Jan

We’ll get onto the build up for Preston – Brentford along with the fall out of number 26 and his refusal to play against Burnley momentarily but I’d crave your indulgence for a moment as we go off on a tangent. Kind of.

Just as this week has seen the ten year anniversary of Bees United taking ownership of Brentford from Ron Noades, there is another decade long celebration taking place. Today, infact. It is ten years since DJ Christian O’Connell began his Absolute Radio breakfast show.

What’s this got to do with Brentford, you may ask? Well, aside from keeping me sane at the ungodly hour at which this blog is normally written Christian was the man who, finally, put the Cameron Diaz rumour to bed. Does she support Brentford, improbable thought it sounds, or not?

For anyone who doesn’t know the jaw dropping answer, you can find out what happened here. Direct from the horse’s mouth. Although to be clear, Cameron if you’re reading (she isn’t ) I’m not suggesting that you are in any form equine.

OC – thanks for the tunes and laughs over the years which, as supporter Matt Davis reminded us on Twitter last night, even included a 2006 appearance at Griffin Park. Specifically, in a video shoot for the DJ’s World Cup single “Hurry up England” which crashed in, and then out, of the hit parade at number 10.

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The OC met Cameron and talked Brentford..

So from a funny man to an unfunny one. Our number 26. Or, more specifically, Dean Smith talking about him to Phil Parry on BBC Radio London.

I am sure, by now, we‘ve all heard the interview in which our Head Coach confirms that, amongst others things, the player is back in training with the first team after going on strike for the Burnley game.

For me, the key turn of phrase is in regards to Preston where Dean notes, with a perhaps unfortunate / deliberate choice of words: “He won’t be available for selection on Saturday but its one of them, you know, that we’ll play by ear

But then it gets interesting as he adds, “He’ll be available moving forward, that’s for sure”.

Is there a chance we’ll see him in a red and white shirt again? Unlikely for some time, if at all, is my opinion. This smacks of diplomacy in a bid to diffuse what is clearly a very awkward situation for all parties.

I feel for Dean here. He’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t . We’re talking about a hugely talented centre back who you’d be desperate to have in your team. Freeze him out and, eventually, any sale value decreases to nothing. Play him and you send out an awful message of player power corrupting. Sell him and it shows that throwing a wobbly can help a player find the exit door should he be looking for it.

I don’t know what the answer to this one is. I’m just the numpty on the terrace, after all. What is clear is that we’ve been backed into a corner and, like taking them short, it’s not going to work out well for anyone.

Discussing the matter on Twitter last night with several supporters, Luis Adriano (of ‘Penalties’ fame ) put forward the idea of “T*@ky – the movie”. With Martin Clunes tipped to play the leading role, it’s one that I doubt will ever get off the drawing board although I live in hope.

Perhaps, though, we’ve got more chance of seeing his own table top game. I stumbled across this gem from Parker on the Internet last night which, with a light bit of jiggery-pokery c/o photoshop, could provide a winner.

 

striker game 2

Striker – we need one. But not this sort

Promising “Fast single handed action” (seriously??) – not my words – could we see this in the club shop any time soon? Unlikely as,  if nothing else, Parker’s other claim is blatant false advertising .

Players actually kick the ball.” Not at the moment, they don’t.

Let’s hope this mess gets sorted out soon.

Nick Bruzon

Bees can’t quite tame the Tigers

4 Nov

Well played Hull City. Brentford saw their 4 game winning run come to an end on Tuesday night after going down 2-0 to the new league leaders. It was a game where the Bees more than matched their opponents in the first half and could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone in ahead. In the end class, experience and the quality of a former Premier League side (which had been bolstered over the summer with the help of those parachute payments) was eventually telling.

It was by no means a case of Tigers mauling Bees. More, the second half specifically, their toying with us like a kitten teasing a spider. The step up in quality over that period was terrifying. That’s meant with no disrespect to our Bees who, even having gone a goal down, could still have levelled things up.

A James Tarkowski run to set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer being a particular highlight. Somehow the big defender just kept going as he burst towards the box and released the Austrian for a shot that had Allan McGregor beaten all ends up. Only the woodwork denying the Bees an equaliser from the edge of the box.

The opening period had seen Djuricin come close on several occasions as the Bees took the game to their opponents. However, possession counts for nothing if you can’t take your chances and, whatever Steve Bruce said at half time, certainly seemed to have the desired effect.

Hull were a team transformed in the second period and got what, being honest, their performance deserved. Two goals and the win. That said, there isn’t too much to feel down about and we’ve been beaten by a team that will be well in the mix come season end. When a goal comes from a short corner you know you’ve been beaten by a side with something special about them.

Don’t take it short. It never f***ing works” (unless Ipswich are playing) is the common refrain from the terrace. Hull City proved that rare exception to the rule as they wrapped up the points late on. Their second goal eventually coming from a move that had begun with this most maligned of set pieces.

Although, for the record, my own utterance of the lines: “That’s fine; its short. They never work” just before the second goal can be taken as in no way contributory. Erm, honest.

As expected Alan Judge was missing. Would he have made a difference? Possibly. The flip side was the return of Sam Saunders to the first team squad, even if he didn’t make it onto the pitch. This time.

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

In referee Gavin Ward we had the anti-Stroud. Alan McCormack, in particular, lucky to escape his attentions just 7(seven) minutes into the game after seeming to go through his man like a dose of salts. As one terrace wag noted, with due nod to John Arlott, it was a challenge so late it was almost posthumous.

Then again he wasn’t alone. One can only imagine that had Mr. Stroud been in charge we’d have seen him go ‘full Clintons’ for a bizarre incident of handbags involving McGregor and most of the Hull team when a second half -free kick was awarded well inside the box. Ward continued his trend of ignoring most off the ball incident whilst the Bees failed to capitalise on the set piece.

View from the terrace - Brentford prepare for a close up assault

View from the terrace – Brentford prepare for a close up assault

And the other elephant in the room – Moses Odubajo. Well, he still has pace but his distribution was woeful. That’s not me being bitter but just how I called it on the night. Then again, his team didn’t concede so the Hull defence must have been doing something right.

He received the typical reception reserved for a former player; every touch being greeted with more boos than an Oddbins clearance sale. He couldn’t have been more a panto villain had he turned up in a top hat, cape and waxed moustache. I was half expecting Mr Ward to add, “He’s behind you” but, alas not.

This is all incidental though. The record will show a 2-0 win for Hull and the Bees locked in mid table. We’re five points outside the play-off zone and ten away from the relegation spots. And, if you’ll forgive the somewhat unsavoury image, we are the meat in a Fulham-QPR sandwich. The Craven Cottage outfit are a place above us on goal difference whilst another defeat for Rangers sees them one below in thirteenth.

The BBC show the latest league positions

The BBC show the latest league positions

As frustrating is the fact this defeat was predicted on Monday by Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth. Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show sidekick had warned against Hull’s threat and, for once, the man who knows as much about football as I do about driving (he supports Arsenal; I’m still ‘provisional’) called it right.

Much as it hurts, I’m man enough to hold up my hands on that one.

Next up is Blackburn Rovers away. Never an easy place to go but, equally, one we can still approach with utmost confidence if we start like we did against Hull.

Roll on Saturday.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Firth (right) with O’Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Nick Bruzon

Will Judge be on the bench? Will Brentford be #Novemberkings again?

3 Nov

We’ve spoken a lot about Hull City AFC over the years on these pages. Primarily the ongoing attempts of owner Dr. Assem Allam to rebrand the club as Hull Tigers. Likewise, for a kit nerd such as myself, the infamous ‘tiger stripe’ shirt is one that has frequently drawn gasps of admiration. This summer we saw more transfer rumours than even our local press could cope with / generate (delete as applicable) as Steve Bruce attempted one of their beloved ‘double transfer swoops’ – eventually netting Moses Odubajo. But now, with the victory against QPR still at the forefront of our minds, Brentford return to action with the chance to finally talk about Hull City from a footballing perspective.

The best football shirt of all time

The best football shirt of all time

Friday night was special, no question. But, if we are being honest, it was a win we fully deserved. Moreso, QPR just weren’t actually that good. Aside from the two efforts from Massimo Luongo late in the first half, they offered nothing. It was as much a victory for Brentford over the event and the expectation as it was over the opposition.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. Three points are always welcome and never more so than in this fixture. Even Arsenal buffoon Richie Firth, sidekick to Absolute Radio breakfast show DJ Christian O’Connell, failed to pour cold water on the win when talking about it on Monday morning’s programme.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. Can't tell his Arsenal from his elbow

Firth (right) with O’Connell. Can’t tell his Arsenal from his elbow

One thing he did get right was the need to be vigilant tonight. Moreseo, I’d go one further and say to forget about QPR. Specifically, Friday’s win rather than the club in general. It was brilliant but it has happened. Hull City are a different prospect altogether.

They’ve only lost twice all season, one of those being against Brighton – the only team now separating them from the top of the Championship table. Indeed, an away win tonight could even see them climb to the top should the Seagulls stuff it up at Sheffield Wednesday.

In Uruguayan striker Abel Hernández they have a player at the business end of the divisional goal scoring charts, whilst Allan McGregor is that rare example of a Scottish goalkeeper who can catch. And then there’s Moses Odubajo – Brentford fans need no reminder of what he can do. It’ll be very interesting to see who comes out on top of that one this evening.

The BBC are reporting this morning that Hernández may be rested but, equally, that our own ‘man of the moment’, Alan Judge, is down as being an injury doubt. He went straight to the tunnel after being subbed on Friday night and Bees’ fans will be sweating on his availability.

Alan Judge  - will we see him tonight?

Alan Judge – will we see him tonight?

It is no coincidence that one of the on pitch highlights of our return to form has been the performance of the Irishman. Three goals and four assists have been pivotal in helping us make it maximum points from the last twelve. With the Bees now, potentially, just one point away from the play-off zone should results go our way tonight it would be a killer time to be missing our star man.

Then again, it will be a fascinating test of just how well the rest of the squad can cope without him. Moreso, given as I’m not so naïve to think that the January transfer window won’t be the usual tense occasion it always is.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather Alan starts than doesn’t. But if we need to bench the Judge, just for one night, it would be preferable to his doing himself long term harm.

Hull City are going to be incredibly tough opponents. The hardest team to come to Griffin Park so far this season. If the victory against QPR was a historic one for personal reasons, this could be the one to really make the rest of the footballing world sit up and take proper notice of the Bees once more.

In 2015 we were pronouncing ourselves #Novemberkings (please note: this column does not endorse the use of the hashtag, #Novemberkings). Tonight we find out if The Bees are in line for a repeat.

See you there.

Can we match Friday night ?

Can we match Friday night ?

Nick Bruzon

Raining goals…and sausages?

10 Apr

We’ll get onto Brentford and the trip to Derby County in a moment (along with a timely boost from Bournemouth) but I need to start with Birmingham City and their game against our promotion rivals, Wolves, on Saturday.

A story has started to do the rounds about the game at St. Andrews which I have no idea is true, a joke or even something started by Wolves supporters.

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 the sausage protest really going to happen? It's not April 1st...

Is the sausage protest really going to happen? It’s not April 1st…

My interest is largely in the practical aspects. If nothing else, as Absolute Radio football expert Richie Firth mentioned on the Christian O’Connell breakfast show this morning “a sausage could affect the roll of the ball”.