Tag Archives: Robert Taylor

From the best to the worst in football’s role of honour. Plus a new favourite site.

21 Mar

Whilst there were some Brentford fans upset about the recent sale of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa, one would hope that those concerns have now been dispelled. Ably abetted by the two amigos on the flanks, a rejigged formation and a great Dane up top, The Bees have money in the bank and 25 goals in the 11 games since the Scott moved to Villa Park. Things could have been a lot, lot worse as we’ll look at momentarily. At the other end of the field, there was great news for John Egan who was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with Wales.

Nobody could doubt John’s performances this season. At one point he was neck and neck with Scott to be our leading scorer whilst, more importantly, has forged a wonderful partnership with Harlee Dean at the back.

Brentford ‘official’ share the great news on social media

I don’t envy head coach Dean Smith having to crowbar the pair of them, Yoann Barbet and fellow international Andreas Bjelland into his team. Perhaps the quality at his disposal goes someway to explaining our mid-season persistence with three centre backs. It was a valid attempt but one which persisted for far too long as it became clear it wasn’t working.

Yet, and with the greatest respect to Yoann and Andreas, John and Harlee are – at least in my opinion – our absolute nailed on first choice centre backs. Harlee has been magnificent this campaign and, along with Dan Bentley and John Egan, remains in my top three for player of the season. Although had Jota returned a month or two earlier then that competition would be an even stiffer one.

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Jota – c/o Sky. Imagine if he’d come back earlier…..

So news of John’s call up yesterday was one that is thoroughly deserved but has only been a matter of time. John, if you are reading (unlikely, let’s be honest) congratulations. As for Harlee and Dan, give it another season or two playing like this and their matching him on the International scene, for England, is well within the bounds of credibility.

Next up Twitter. A popular subject on these pages for many reasons. Ease of use, interaction with the actual players, Kitman Bob and his BBB giveaways, banter with fellow fans and the most immediate means of learning news updates are amongst the many reason for the site’s popularity here.

For Brentford supporters, there’s a recent addition to our family of familiar faces (© the Middlesex Chronicle big book of ’80s alliteration) out there in cyber space. Brentford Bot.

In their own words, “Judging Positive and Negative mentions of Brentford“.And that’s about all there is to it. But very, very well executed, often deadpan but sometimes laugh out loud funny and showing a tireless dedication to keeping the Bees family updated. I’ve no idea who the power behind the Bot is, but it’s well worth a follow. You can find @BrentfordBOT here.

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Brentford Bot does his/her/its (?) thing

Ok – striker sales. We talked at the top end about the departure of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth need no reminding of what has happened in the past – Nicky Forster, Carl Asaba, Gary Blissett, Robert Taylor, Dean Holdsworth, DJ Campbell and even Andy Scott are amongst those who have been sold in their free scoring prime. Goals aside, the other thing connecting these players was their lack of a like-for-like replacement.

To be fair, how do you replace the likes of Deano, Bliss or the FT index? Even for the player, following a fan favourite and goalscoring legend must be thankless task. Yet when this goes wrong it can be truly horrific.

FourFourTwo magazine have just started to publish their list of every league club’s worst ever player. The initial instalment, in a series which is now running daily, runs from Accrington Stanley up to Bury, taking in the likes of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and of course Brentford along the way.

On the Bees front, it feels somewhat awkward badmouthing one of our own yet for whatever the reason we’ve had some players over the years who really haven’t shone. Past their prime, over weight, over rated or just really, really bad. It happens. It happens to every club. So when FourFourTwo approached yours truly for the name of the Griffin Park protagonist, it was one that eventually came about as a result of a public vote. Too much power should not lie with just one man.

It was a top five that included, in no particular order : Nick Proschwitz, Paul Davis, Murray jones, Neil Shipperley and Steve Claridge. Yet in the end the ‘winner’ was a clear one.

And you can find out who, here…

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Nick Bruzon

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A goal scoring hero returns for TV clash

15 Jan

Brentford entertain Burnley this evening. On the one hand it is a battle for the promotion play-offs and a chance to get one over Sean Dyche but there is more to it than just that. Bees fans will, no doubt, be hoping our boys can teach him and Andre Gray a footballing lesson. Many remain unhappy about the net result of the striker’s sale whilst the unsettling rumours surrounding James Tarkowski and Alan Judge have been as welcome on the terrace as a visit from ‘the phantom farter’ (if you’ve ever stood in the vicinity, you’ll know). Chuck former QPR employee and motormouth Joey Barton into the mix aswell and, I think it would be safe to say, we might have quite an atmosphere tonight.

Will Tarks and Judge play? One would only assume so. I’ll be furious if either is missing. That said, Sean Dyche can’t be blamed for trying to both acquire and unsettle the players just ahead of the game. Dean Smith confirmed yesterday that the Burnley boss had put in a bid for our leading scorer and player of the season to date.

We saw the same thing happen with Andre Gray just before we played at Turf Moor earlier on the season. Dyche finally got his man with Brentford happy to sell for a lorry load of cash despite his scoring 2 from 2 against both Ipswich Town and Bristol City. The Bees very much missed his cutting edge in that game at Burnley although, equally, even with Dean Holdsworth, Robert Taylor and Lloyd Owusu up front I think we’d have struggled to score in that one.

As was noted in the Last Word at the time, Marinus seemed obsessed with ball retention and pass completion – to the point that out 62% domination saw the ball rarely cross the half way line as time and again it went across the defence and out to the midfield before heading back to David Button.

Hanging on to the ball at the back is all well and good, and we did that part very well, but the lack of any imagination, movement, cut and/or thrust when we tried to take it forward was, ultimately, what did for us.”

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The Bees at Turf Moor – as our pitch looked like a ploughed field, theirs was magnificent

So can we do any better in front of the Sky cameras tonight? It’s true that Burnley look in ominously good form with their 5-0 win on Tuesday night. Likewise, their mini slump has ended with them still sitting in an excellent league position. Whilst they’ve only won 3 times in the last 10, they’ve picked up 10 points out of a possible 15. Andre Gray leads the divisional scoring charts on 16, having now broken clear of a chasing pack that includes our own Alan Judge.

Yet we have our own incentives to win as noted at the top of this column. Likewise, three points will lift us up to 9th and within touching distance of that play-off zone once more. I’d imagine Sergi Canos will start this one, having moved back to the bench in midweek, although I wouldn’t be upset to see Sam Saunders hang on to his place. Personally, I thought the wing wizard gave a very good account of himself against Middlesbrough.

As ever, the main question is going to be one of where the goals will come from. Is Marco Djuricin ready to start? Will The Hoff be given a chance from the off? Or does Lasse Vibe retain his place? I have no clue as to which way Dean Smith will jump but, personally, would stick with Lasse given the current options.

Which, as I put the industrial sized crowbar away, talk of strikers brings us onto tonight’s guest of honour – Lloyd Owusu – who is being welcomed into the Brentford ‘Hall of Fame’. Signed by owner/chairman/manager Ron Noades from Slough Town in 1998, his impact was immediate. 25 goals followed, including the Third Division title decider against Cambridge United. The denouement of that season saw the final game of the season become a battle to be Champions at the Abbey Stadium and Lloyd was the right man in the right place to help Brentford bag the honours.

Leading scorer 3 times in his 4 seasons, he stayed with us right up to the end of the Steve Coppell era and that play off final (spoiler alert – we lost) at the Millennium Stadium against Stoke City. It was a sad end to a great career at Griffin Park and more so as, out of contract, he left for Sheffield Wednesday.

Three years later there was better news for Bees as the hero returned. Martin Allen brought him back to Griffin Park for a further two years. 2005-06 saw him bag a further 14 goals in 42 games that resulted in another play off appearance – we lost. Injury blighted his final season but, by that stage, the legend had been born.

The arms raised high in the air and the chants of “Ooh Ooh Ooh” from the terrace have become an iconic image, and sound, for those who frequented Griffin Park at the time. Equally, Peter Gilham going into meltdown every time he launched into a lung busting scream of “Owusuuuuuuu!

Here’s hoping for some more tonight.

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Lloyd Owusu – back at Griffin Park tonight

Nick Bruzon

Is this a sign of the impending apocalypse?

23 Jan

Whilst this column is, primarily, about Brentford (and there’ll be more about the Norwich City game over the weekend) we aren’t afraid to look at other ‘issues’ in the world of football. And with Aston Villa due to entertain our Championship rivals Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Sunday, they don’t come much bigger than what could play out at Villa Park.

The regular reader will know of my interest in football jinxes.

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 apocalypse approaches… possibly

The apocalypse approaches… possibly

Bees dunk Brighton as the albatross becomes a canary

18 Jan

Three fortunate points or well deserved? That was the question after full time at the Amex where Brentford recorded another league win, this time against Brighton and Hove Albion. With the majority of the teams around us, including a shock for Norwich City (given their ‘guest of honour’ – more later), also triumphing it keeps things very much ’as you were’ at the top of the Championship table.

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 Albion mascots - I feel like I've cheated on Buzzette

The Albion mascots – I feel like I’ve cheated on Buzzette

View from the terrace (arm, padded seat) - And Toral must score...

View from the terrace (erm, padded seat) – And Toral must score…

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

Could the Bees go top? Or will the Terriers bite back?

6 Dec

Brentford head to Huddersfield Town today in a game that is loaded with significance and opportunity. I wrote yesterday about the retrospective importance of this game, going back to the pain inflicted on the Bees by Huddersfield back in 1995. However, this is now about looking forward and the fact that, quite simply, a win could see us go top of the Championship table.

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.

Is this a moment worse than ‘that penalty’ ? (with video)

5 Dec

The mere mention of the name Huddersfield Town, Brentford’s next opponents in the Championship, is enough to send shivers up my spine. Whilst, rightly, most people will be focusing on our current form which has seen Warbs scooping Manager of the Month , Andre take the on field prize and the possibility that the Bees could finish the day at the top of the table, my mind will (in part at least) be elsewhere.

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.

Brazil 1 ITV 0 (and more Brentford shirt news)

13 Jun

News of a stunning piece of Brentford memorabilia up for sale in a moment but we can only start with the World Cup in Brazil.

It’s now the morning after the night before and Brazil have got their first points on the board, running out as 3-1 winners over Croatia. I really enjoyed the game although if you want the full report go to the BBC or some other reputable source. Suffice to say it was all a bit Brentford – Marcelo scoring (albeit an o.g.), a disputable penalty and a last minute goal.

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I now declare this wall chart, open

 

The downside was the ITV coverage. The build up from the panel was as lifeless as the Copacabana backdrop to their studio. The locals clearly forsaking the normally crowded beach to be near a TV. Hopefully their feed was better than ours as Adrian Chiles struggled to get going without the spark of Roy Keane. The banter between Lee Dixon, Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira was as awkward, and painful, as a teenager on a first date.

Two points of note once the game started. Firstly, the score graphic. It was enormous. This was no discreet logo, tucked away in the top left corner and was a real distraction. Come on ITV, sort it out. It was as unsubtle and distracting as a poisonous wart on the end of the aforementioned teenager’s nose.

As for the commentary, we still await the first outing of that World Cup staple, “For those of you just coming in from work, the score is….” . Perhaps 9pm is a bit late for that one but I’m hoping the five o’clock kick off between Mexico and Cameroon sees the classic line trotted out. With any luck the oversized graphic isn’t deemed an adequate replacement.

These small whines aside I can’t wait for things to really get going now, with Friday seeing the first of the tournament’s triple-headers. Grab the remote and get ready to start working on that butt groove in the sofa.

Getting back to matters Griffin Park, there is an incredible item for sale on the eBay auction site at the moment. None other than Bob Taylor’s fully signed and framed shirt from the 1997 play off final against Crewe.

Whilst we won’t talk about what happened in that game, this is still a one off opportunity to get hold of a unique piece of Brentford history. I’ve got more chance of being selected for the ITV football panel than of being allowed to bid for this but, hopefully, one Brentford fan could be very happy by Sunday lunchtime.

You can bid here.

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Your chance to own the shirt off a Brentford legend’s back

Who joins Brentford in the Championship next season?

11 May

I woke up on Sunday morning to realise I still didn’t know the final result. Not Eurovision (although that had needed a double take to make sure Jonathan Douglas wasn’t moonlighting) but who would join Brentford in the Championship after the Preston North End – Rotherham play-off semi. A quick search of the interweb revealed that, like the preceding Peterborough – Leyton Orient clash, the match finished all square at 1-1.

What it also revealed was a fact I had been unaware of, thinking previously that Sheffield United were the equals of Brentford in having the worst record at the play-offs. Infact, Preston have lost their last eight attempts, compared to our ‘paltry’ 7 (seven).

It is a statistic that I apologise for quoting. I am sure Lilywhites fans must be as fed up with hearing the media (let alone a mere blogger) use it as we are about the press banging on about the climax to last season and some sort of penalty incident.

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.

Is this the biggest ever? The time Birmingham City ruined the party

14 Mar

Has there ever been a more meaningful game between Brentford and Leyton Orient?  It’s a question that Billy Reeves put out there on Beesplayer during the Carlisle game and which he posed again during the week on Twitter.

The obvious answer is ‘no’ – this is the big one for both teams. We all know the current stats and the very likely prospect that, as things stand, one of the Bees, O’s and Wolves will end up as League Champions. Likewise, that one of this trio will miss out on automatic promotion and, thus, be cast into the hell on earth that is the chance to play at the W place near Ikea in North London.

So far, so good. However, for Brentford there has been a bigger game. Cast your mind back to season 1994/95 when David Webb was at the helm. This, at the time when he was still purported to “wear a magic hat”, according to the words of the then popular terrace chant, rather than the era when the spelling of his name had been changed to W£bb.

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.

Robert Taylor – a legend in our lunchtime

17 Oct

ImageAs Brentford fans may be aware, this Saturday sees the club hosting a special ‘Lunch with a Legend’ event. Robert ‘Bob’ Taylor will be the star guest in the hospitality lounge for the game against Colchester United. Signed from Leyton Orient in 1994, he went on to become part of the devastating ‘FT Index’, alongside Nicky Forster (with additional support from Marcus Bent and Carl Asaba). I was fortunate enough to catch up with Robert a few seasons ago for the match day programme and given his impending return now have the chance to revisit, online, what he told us then about his time at Griffin Park. Warning: contains play-offs!

Late in the 1993/94 season, manager David Webb signed Bob from Leyton Orient. Was a move across London from East to West something that he had been particularly looking for?  “I think the club at the time were in financial difficulty and were looking to offload players. I turned out to be the ‘asset’, going for £100,000. It was a lot of money to pay. I knew Dave Webb had been watching in some of the games and sent a scout down to watch me. Then the club accepted the bid when it came in. They got their hundred grand and I moved to Brentford – simple as that.”

‘Simple as that’ seems somewhat of an understatement when you think what was to follow. Bob seemed to hit the ground running. In his first full season he and Nicky just clicked although he is quick to pay tribute to the entire team rather than any individual. “The main thing is that you get on well with everybody. The whole side at Brentford got on well together. We were a tight knit group and we enjoyed playing with each other. It’s one of those things where, like I said earlier on, you have a team who want to play well and who want to win matches. People for whom wanting to play for a manager is the biggest thing.

You feel more comfortable in training. You feel at ease. You can relax and enjoy yourself. We felt like that being there. We all stayed together and enjoyed our time. We couldn’t wait to come into training and there wasn’t one person there you didn’t like. We just got on well with each other and enjoyed our company in the training sessions each day. Dave Webb is a tough man to play under and a lot of the boys were scared of him. That probably gave you the edge of wanting to win on a Saturday – you were scared to lose – but we had success there and that was good.”

Success equates to two superb seasons out of four. League restructuring meant Brentford reached the play off semis in 1994/95, Robert’s first full campaign, despite coming second behind Birmingham City (“We couldn’t believe it. It was the only year the league did it”). Two seasons later The Bees made it to the final itself. His assessment of that particular game is brutally honest. “We turned up at Wembley and played absolutely cr*p on the day. We were absolutely terrible and I don’t think we had one shot on target in the whole game. Crewe were about fifteen points behind us in the league and went on to beat us 1-0. That was the most frustrating part of it.”

ImageWhilst some people were scared of manager Webb, to the supporters his tactics in the run up to that game, and the final itself, seemed a little bit’ (and for the sake of a family website) let’s just say, ‘surprising’. For us mere mortals in the stand it was a struggle to figure out what was going on but as players, did they have more of an idea? “We couldn’t work our why he played Dave McGhee up front with me and then Carl Asaba out on the left wing. We couldn’t understand it either. I don’t know what went on. We turned up for the game and didn’t even know what the team was until we got there. It was the team he put out and we thought it was very, very strange.

As players, you’ve got to go out there and try to do your best. The team was unbalanced, we thought, and we always talked afterwards about it. People weren’t happy playing in those positions as you just wanted to go out and win the games. We didn’t understand it at the time but that’s what the manger is there for, to pick the team and do what he thinks is best.”

With this unusual strategy, did the players question Webb or just follow his word and try to make the most of the cards they had been dealt?  “No, you just accept what the manager is telling you to do. You don’t argue with him. You accept his words and have to get on with it to the best of your ability but it wasn’t our day and wasn’t meant to be.”

Despite the heartbreak of the Wembley performance against Crewe, it seems a bit easier to think of it now. “I played there twice and managed to score there once aswell (for Gillingham in a play of defeat to Manchester City). You look back on your career and it goes just like that. You’ve got to try and remember things all the time.

Are there any goals that Rob does recall which really stand out? “There’s some I do have on videotape, that’s how long ago it was, but we don’t have a video recorder anymore. There was one against Cambridge at home from about 35 yards. I remember also scoring in the semi final play offs against Bristol City, bending it into the top corner.”

If Bristol City had been a successful play off semi, our previous appearance against Huddersfield United in 1994/95 had been anything but …“Ohhh God, yeah”, he groans, as we talk about the first leg chance he managed to put over in front of the travelling Bee’s fans, most of whom were already on their feet celebrating the ‘winner’.

“ I did miss a sitter. Put it on the roof of the net. I don’t know what’s happened, to be honest with you. It was one of those where it has come across and it wasn’t exactly on the floor. Nicky put it across to me and I don’t know what happened – it just came off the top of my foot and I put it up in the air. I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that had happened, on that day. I felt absolutely gutted. I was glad I scored the penalty at home as it got rid of a lot of demons but, then again, if I had scored we would have been 2-1 up and gone through if you look at it that way.

At then end of the day, those things happen. I couldn’t change it, I couldn’t rectify it and so I just had to try and get through the second leg. It went to penalties, I stood up to take one and scored it, which made me feel a little better, although we lost the game and I was very upset. I saw the video ages ago and it’s on there – me sitting down afterwards and crying my eyes out like a big baby.

I tell you, it does get you when you’ve worked hard all season to get here and then get a kick in the teeth like that. It’s the most horrible feeling in the world.”

After coming so close in two attempts at the play offs, season 1997/98 saw the team relegated and Rob leave to join Gillingham after we had gone down. Why did he choose to go to the Priestfield? “The reason behind my departure is that things were promised at the start. At the end of the season before, when we got relegated, I scored 18-20 goals even though we went down. They said they were going to bring players in. Then suddenly, the club fell apart. People left. We had Mickey Adams come in and another one, Eddie May. It all seemed to go pear shaped and we got relegated. The following season, Ron Noades took over and things were moving quite quickly for everybody.

They even offered me a lot of money to stay at the club but I just didn’t feel that it was going to go anywhere at that time. Obviously a lot of the boys disappeared and went to Gillingham – Paul Smith, Brian Statham and Barry Ashby. I’d played with them all and they left the club. It was down heartening for me because all my mates had left. I thought to myself that I had a chance to be with my mates again, I enjoyed playing with them and that is the reason why I left. It’s got nothing to do with the supporters. It was just the way the club was going at the time with players disappearing. I just thought it was best for myself to go and enjoy my football.”

For those that may not have seen him play, how would Robert describe himself for that time he was at Brentford? “I just went out and tried to give 110% in every game. I always wanted to score goals and was a team player. There were a couple of younger players who joined and were all for themselves, so you had to knock them down a peg or two. This is the real world, it’s a team game and not for individuals.

I thought I was part of the team because if you are an individual, the players won’t accept you. To get on with everybody then you have to become a team player –that is the biggest thing in football, period. If you think you are better than what you are then you’ll never get on and it will give you an unbalanced side aswell.

Me, I just wanted to win every game. I loved being around all the boys at the club and had a good camaraderie with them. The boys were superb and it’s a shame that when you get to the end of your career you lose all their numbers and don’t speak to them again. That’s the sad thing about it. We all should get together and have an old man’s football match…”

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Robert Taylor – coming back to Griffin Park on Saturday