Tag Archives: Robbie

Brentford held by Norwich as 2016 ends with a whimper, Jools and Robbie’s hand gel

1 Jan

New Years Eve. So often the most over-rated night of the year. The Emperor’s New Clothes of nights out where society dictates that you will enjoy yourself but then promptly laughs in your face by offering up Jools Holland boogie-woogying his way through another Hootenanny as a means of doing so. A turgid, self-indulgent affair whose primary function (aside from showing how many friends our host has – a musical Ian Moose, if you will) seems to be in proving that Roland Rivron remains alive. Take that, 2016 – here’s one you didn’t get your hands on.

And so it was at Griffin Park where Brentford and Norwich City were the pre-Jools entertainment in a televised game that would have had most of those watching at home asleep in their armchairs long before the former Squeeze man had begun tinkling on his ivories. Instead of the excitement we’d been promised  by Sky. Instead of the pre-match buzz generated by the news that Jota was returning. Instead of (potentially) seeing Scott Hogan off in style we had nothing but an awful game of football. Sometimes you get them and this was up there.

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The Bees could find no way through the Canaries

Dean Smith seemed so intent on avoiding a repeat of the month’s 5-0 hammering at Carrow Road that he strangled the midfield and offered minimal width. The aforementioned Hogan looked off the pace and out of sorts whilst the slippery conditions did nobody any favours. That the Bees ended the game having no shots on target tells you everything you need to know as we were left unable to break through a Norwich team who  played the last 15 minutes a man down, after Robbie Brady was shown straight red for a foul on Ryan Woods.

Watching the ‘highlights’ afterwards (and I use that word in the loosest sense) it didn’t seem half as bad as it had done live, with no chance of a replay. The incident, which happened right in front of yours truly, looked a nailed on ‘red’ with the Ginger Pirlo likewise able to demonstrate a nasty looking contact mark to both the referee and protesting Norwich players as Brady eventually trooped off.

Yet rightly or wrongly, Brentford had been handed an advantage. Here was a chance to go for it. Despite like for like subs already having been made (Barbet on for the ever impressive Tom Field and favourite son Romaine Sawyers replacing Josh McEachran) here was an opportunity to apply some pressure. Pull off a defender. Maybe Nico. Stick on the pace and trickery of Josh Clarke to run riot?

But no, it wasn’t until the scoreboard read 88 that John Egan was subbed by The Hoff. Why so late? There was hardly any time to make an impact. Why not inject some much needed pace and width? Why, if you are going to take off a defender, choose the player who is our second highest scorer for the season?

Even then, we still had chance. Hogan was played clean through, only to be denied by a wonderful last gasp tackle from Ryan Bennett. With the striker unable to unleash it meant we were denied a penalty kick although unlike the trio of bad decisions in the Boxing Day clash with Cardiff City, this one the correct call.

The Bees will stay up. The Bees won’t go up. We haven’t got a divine right to be any good and, at the end of the day, Clive, we haven’t lost. We looked the other day at viewing everything in both historical and long term context and that still rings true. Yet even allowing for that, it is still frustrating to see teams that we should be beating given the opportunity to run at us (there’s no denying Norwich City had the better chances) and around us as safety first and backwards seems to be the order of the day. Given the resources we do have, surely it is more a case of being able to get the best out of what we have and positioning them accordingly to react to, or even heaven forbid anticipate, the situation? When these players are on fire, they really can perform wonders.

In the end, but for Cameron Jerome’s woeful shooting  (Cameron Diaz would have done better with one particular effort in the second half) we could have ended this one pointless. Which, ironically, is how all supporters finished the game. What seemed to be an announcement by Peter Gilham just prior to kick off that club shop loyalty points were going to expire that day, was then confirmed on social media and in an article published on the clubwebiste at 18.18 (that’s well into the first half of the game we were watching) to say these would expire at 19.45.

And sure enough, on getting home and ‘logging on’ my balance was zero.

No doubt this was all in the terms and conditions but would it have hurt to make an announcement a little more in advance to come over as a little better organised? Look, I may well have missed this and if so then ‘hands up’ but if not, it would seem a really poor way to end a promotion which is designed around encouraging supporters to spend and accrue. Which is a shame for no other reason than we’re normally so good at fan interaction.

Instead, 2016 closed with two promotion hopes at an end – that in the league and that in the club shop.

In its place, 2017 arrived. Off pitch Jools traded places for Robbie Williams to deliver a lumpen set of karaoke greatest hits. The phrase ‘going through the motions’ sprang to mind whilst as the traditional Auld Lang Syne ended, he was caught on camera wiping his hands with anti-bacterial hand sanitiser moments after high-fiving his audience. Stay classy.

At Griffin Park, 2017 brings more questions. How is Alan Judge? Will we see him, Macca or KK again? Will the club break ground at Lionel Road? Will Scott Hogan be sold? Will he play against Birmingham on Monday? Just who will any goal threat come from if he isn’t on the pitch? Could we see him and Jota in the same team? Let’s not forget that the talismanic Spaniard is winging his way back to Griffin Park and, apparently, it was he who initiated the discussions.

Whilst the pressure and expectation on his shoulders will be immense, there’s no denying the roof will be raised should he make an appearance on Saturday in the cup. Certainly he gives Dean Smith a wonderful option.

If used correctly.

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He’s coming home

Nick Bruzon

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

Is Cameron Diaz a Brentford fan ? The answer, revealed

4 Sep

The question that Brentford fans have contemplated for years has finally been put directly to Cameron Diaz. And it has been answered.

On Thursday morning, Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell played out his interview with the Hollywood A-lister and finally obtained the truth about her rumoured love of Brentford.

It’s a story that has been recounted for over a decade and quoted in sources as varied as The Daily Star, The Daily Mail and ESPN. We’d all seen the like of Rhino out of The Quo, Richard Archer and Natalie Sawyer at Griffin Park , but never Cameron.

The scene was set last night in the build up article. To be honest, as I wrote this I feared the worst but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

Sadly, however, not this strange. It seems that not only has she never been to Griffin Park but, in a gutbusting revelation, Diaz confessed , “It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O'Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

(l-r) Jason Segal, Christian O’Connell, Cameron Diaz. No Bees

You can download the podcast which features the full interview from Absolute Radio and I-tunes. Failing that, the key exchange was as follows:

OC: There is a huge rumour that you are a football fan. Or Soccer as you guys call it now, which is getting bigger in America. And..a fan of Brentford. Is this true or not?

CD: You know, I think I would love to know more about football. I don’t.

OC: So you are not a fan of The Bees?

CD: Let me just tell you something. It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Bees. I just really didn’t know they existed.

You can see the FULL, unedited video version, below. 8m45 is the point where the killer blow is delivered

 

Noooooo. This was the ultimate celebrity kick in the nuts. Or in footballing terms, like hearing we’d sold Dean Holdsworth and replaced him with Murray Jones.

That said, there is still hope. Possibly. The interview concluded with Cameron’s admission that: “Now that I know they exist, I’m going to look into them. I’m going to Google them.”

I hope she does. And not just because I think that she’d like what she found. More, I’d love us to be the team supported by Cameron Diaz AND Dean Gaffney.

How often would you get chance to see those two together?

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

For now, a face is (sadly) crossed off The Bees montage

Christian O’Connell to solve the biggest Brentford mystery.

3 Sep

Throughout the history of mankind there have been many unsolved mysteries that have troubled philosophers and scholars alike.

Is Elvis really dead? How was Stonehenge built? What is the secret of Bermuda Triangle?

However, for Brentford fans there is one question amongst all that supercedes even the hit parade troubling prowess of Barry Manilow.

Our legion of celebrity supporters is many. From the world of TV we have Sky sports presenter Natalie Sawyer and Dean Gaffney (Wellard from Eastenders). Music fans are amply catered for with Rick Wakeman, New Road regular Rhino Edwards from Status Quo and Richard Archer out of Hard-fi amongst those cheering on the Bees. Even comedian Bradley Walsh has a Brentford connection, as a former professional at the club.

Beyond these, though, a single name transcends this entire list. Cameron Diaz.

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.

From Brentford to Al-Wakrah; Wolves to the Wankdorf

19 Nov

New stadia seem all the rage these days.

Hardly a season goes past without a team leaving its traditional home to move to a new ground. Indeed, as Brentford prepare for Saturday’s League One clash against Wolves, there is probably as much interest in matters ‘off field’ as those on the pitch. Hounslow Council Planning Committee is, of course, due to discuss our proposed new stadium on December 5th.

I may be biased but I think the Lionel Road plans are great. Primarily because they feature a design that actually seems to have, and say this in hushed tones…. some character. Contrast the exciting schematics to the usual five seconds thought that most modern architects put in, the net result of which is an identikit bowl (see: Derby, Leicester and Middlesborough for starters).

Moreso, it won’t – as things currently stand – have a sponsored name. These are very much in vogue and range from airlines to food-processors as is the case, respectively, with Arsenal’s Emirates or Wolves and their Moulinex ground.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.