Tag Archives: Rochdale

Black Cats roll over to have their tummies tickled. Birmingham City are on the way down (to Brentford). Plus FA Cup oddity.

18 Feb

Is everybody back from Sunderland yet? A 2-0 win for Brentford at the Stadium of Light on Saturday was the perfect way to bounce back from a mini blip that had seen The Bees pick up 1 point from the previous three games (although fully deserving of all 9, if Dean Smith’s post-match press conferences were to be believed). Yet this time it was Chris Coleman using his time with the media to put the black cat amongst the pigeons. The former Fulham man opining about the Bees that: “I don’t think they’ll ever get promoted, I could be wrong, because they don’t have the finances but, if they keep doing what they do, they won’t be relegated either. Elsewhere, I woke to news of Manchester United drawing Brighton in the FA Cup. Somehow….

First up, the Sunderland manager. West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore ran a story last night that included Coleman’s claim – a statement worthy of Steve Evans at his finest. We’ve all been here and done this so many times yet it never fails to amuse. The suggestion that playing your way to the top isn’t possible without gargantuan levels of spending. Little Brentford. Teams like Brentford. Even Sky Sports haven’t bothered to update our crest on their graphics package – and we’re two thirds of the way through the campaign. The awful ‘cluttered clipart’ crest still hanging around like a bad smell. Every time you think it’s gone, it comes back. Had it been around 65 million years ago, one can only suspect it would have survived the asteroid .

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Curse that clipart graphic.

But enough of dinosaurs. Instead, Chris Coleman. Whatever his thoughts, we are seeing more and more that you can’t put a price on shrewd and innovative acquisition. On bringing the right people into the right set up. Look at how the Bees have continued to flourish season on season. Look at Birmingham City for the closest possible parallel to what happens when you just lump cash at it.

We’ve all had our doubts about the Brentford model over the years. Myself included. This summer in particular felt like a particular low point. Yet we’ve picked ourselves up and gone again.

Neal Maupay, now pretty much guaranteed a long run with the departure of Lasse Vibe, scored his eighth goal of the season with the cheekiest of back heeled efforts to go top of our scoring charts. This, after Kamo had opened the scoring with less than a quarter hour gone. Firing home hard and low from outside the box, he broke his Brentford duck and has given Dean Smith a real selection poser from the visit of Birmingham on Tuesday.  Brentford sit 10th in the Championship for the fourth successive season and with 42 points still available, there’s still a chance at the play-offs.

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Neal celebrates another goal.

Tom’s story also sparked the clickbait-gate debate on Social media once more. You can read that one here – the story rather than the clickbait chat. Personally, I’ve said my piece on that in these pages previously. The likes of Here Is The City and Football League World don’t even warrant a read these days, such is the eventual anti-climax that follows upon selecting one of their ‘stories’.

These publications so often tempt the reader with what transpires to be worse transfer news than the demise of the Letraset ‘action’ range.  News Now is littered with headlines which lead to nothing more than the regurgitation of the same footballer’s twitter feed we all have access to. Is the need for ‘hits’ and internet traffic THAT desperate?

On a totally unrelated note, I did enjoy Alan Judge’s retort to Coleman on the Social media platform last night. A simple but deliciously sweet: Yeah but we won’t be goin down. Certainly it makes a wonderful difference to the usual ‘we go again’.

Top-003

Letraset Action Transfers – a sadly missed treat from the 70s

That said, even Brentford official have been guilty of it in the past. I’ll never forget the moment back in November 1991 when the club proudly announced that we’d be signing a Division One (now Premier League) player. The excitement. The calls to 0898 121108 (at 33p a minute). The tension. Who would it be? Gary Lineker? Lee Chapman? Gazza? Gary McAllister? With the greatest respect to the legend that he is, the return of Bob Booker was hardly one to have supporters dancing in the streets of Raith when he was revealed.

Getting back to events at Sunderland, you have to feel for a team who were in the Premier League last season and are now on a fast track to League One along with Burton and Birmingham City. Talking this morning to one Bees insider (a man with his finger very much on the pulse of relevance) his considered opinion was that Black Cats are doomed, describing them as a shadow of the team that played at Griffin Park for the 3-3 back in October. Something that is desperate to see, especially given they’ve such great fans too.

Yet as we’ve seen with the likes of Wolves and Southampton (who played alongside us in League One) or Newcastle and Leeds United, former glories count for nothing. Having a huge stadium and great fans mean naff all if you can’t get the spending right, keep the team motivated or perform on the pitch.

With the greatest respect, that’s their issue. Not ours. Brentford are safe and looking upwards. Barring a remarkable reversal of fortune, Sunderland can start programming Birmingham, Accrington Stanley and Luton into the Satnav for 2018/19.

Who are they? Sunderland might be about to find out.

This weekend has also seen the FA Cup fifth round ties taking place. It really has been a TV overload with Sheffield Wednesday – Swansea providing a low key start before things kicked off on Saturday. Manchester United got past Huddersfield despite some dubious use of VAR. One does have to wonder how hard it is to get watching a TV replay wrong. Yet here we went. Again.

If VAR was confusing, it was nothing compared to waking up on Sunday to news that the draw for the sixth round had already taken place. This, despite a quarter of the ties yet to have taken place. Is nothing sacred anymore? Like semi-finals at Wembley and virtual reserve teams taking the field of play (although that didn’t work out too well for Tottenham at Rochdale on Sunday evening), it’s yet another subtle erosion of the gilt from this famous old trophy. We still love it, of course, yet I can’t help feel the FA are allowing their tournament to become tarnished. Even if squad selection isn’t in their hands, other factors most certainly are.

Still, for me its all about looking forward. About getting ready for that Birmingham City game. This is one we’ve all had in the diary since the transfer window slammed shut. If ever there was time to avoid the whiff of slippage then it is now.  #BeeTheDJ selections are being lined up and the vocal chords loosened. Victory for Brentford will take us to the 50 point mark, 20 better than our old boys at St. Andrews. That’ll be twice ten times better.

See you on Tuesday, Harlee. Forget Chelsea v Barcelona in the Champion’s League. Griffin Park is very much going to be the place for a blood and thunder encounter. It’s going to be a lively one, that’s for sure, and I can’t wait. Bring it on.

Embed from Getty Images

Nick Bruzon

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The best and worst of 2016/17 kit. Who is the Bees knees and who is in the chamber of horrors?

14 Jul

1254-511With Brentford finally treating fans to a quick peak at our new shirt last night, I thought I’d cast the net that bit further afield whilst we are waiting for the full reveal. Specifically to look at what is on offer so far. Will we stand above QPR, sartorially speaking? What about fellow Championship rivals Ipswich Town ? How will Middlesbrough look now they’ve finally escaped the Championship?

All feature in the best and worst of 2016/17 so far. As ever, these are judged using no more scientific a method than than my own personal opinion. And so without further ado:

The top five best:

5: Tottenham (home) Simple and stylish. Traditional white  but the offset used in  an old school shoulder bar. I’d presumed it was  nod to Victorian times but Spurs have never gone down this route before. Regardless, it looks great and we’ll even forgive them double slogans.

spurs-home-kit-landing-main

4: Port Vale (home). You could, likewise, have opted for their third kit. Steering away from the likes of an adidas and Nike can give an additional element of the bespoke when it comes to kit selection. As with Spurs, its all about the shoulders. As with Spurs, we’ll forgive their hashtag.

Port Vale

Bradford City home3: Bradford City (home). The Bantams have never been shy to innovate with their kits. 2016.17 sees them continue that tradition but with diagonal, rather than vertical, stripes. The result is wonderful whilst the good taste continues onto their away/third shirts too.

2: IpswichTown (home). What’s not to like? Chevron chest stripes along with contrasting sleeves to body. This really is a standout design and one I’ve not seen elsewhere this season.

Ipswich kits

 

Crystal Palace away1: Crystal Palace (away). Mention sashes and, windows aside, the two things I automatically think of are Peru and Crystal Palace. The eagles have gone for their iconic design once more, over a yellow shirt, and the results speak for themselves. Even the sponsor seems sympathetic to the design.

If they are the best (to date) then what about the other side? The five worst. Its been a bit tougher this time around, simply because it seems to really be the season for ‘safe’ kit design. Chelsea away and Manchester City home look like a marketing man’s wet dream – no doubt the phrase “designed to go with jeans” was bandied around design meetings

There has been a marked return for 80s pinstripe – Leicester City, West Brom and Tottenham all going for this option in their away kits. Great news for the lovers of retro design. not such great news for the, erm, fuller figure.

Yet there is still plenty of rough in the diamonds, of which my take on the ropier efforts is as follows:

Barnet third 5:Barnet (away). I love a sash, but not like this. A staggered design in a very strange colour combination. Add in horizontal pinstripes and the phrase ‘busy’ springs to mind.

4:Southampton (home). I’m sorry. I loathed this, then liked it but now I’m back out of love with it. You can’t deny it’s striking but I’m struggling to look past the hitched up bra that the players seem to be wearing.

Southampton

boro-16-17-kits (2)3: Middlesbrough (home). This isn’t sour grapes on account of their beating Brentford 6 times out of 6 in the last two seasons. Simply the fact that the low sash looks somewhat peculiar. Moreso, when you imagine this shirt on the ‘larger’ supporter where this paunch level trim has been placed in a most unflattering location.

2:Coventry City (home). Awful disappearing stripes and even worse marketing . That pose. That press release “Coventry City FC will be turning out in the famous Sky Blue and white stripes once again! “ Yes, to an extent. As long as you don’t look above the chest.

Coventry City

1: QPR (third). Great if you like Frazzles.

QPR frazzle shirt kit

Honourable mention: Rochdale – if for no other reason that it is the winner of a competition last September for fans to design and then vote for what will now be their forthcoming kit.

Rochdale kitdesign-winners 2016:17

Mark Devlin, Kitman Bob, Mr Benahm. If you are reading, any chance we could go attempt something similar next season? With a fan’s forum coming up on August 1, that question may well be on the agenda….

Nick Bruzon

Missing pieces make for an unusual deadline day

3 Feb

In the end transfer deadline day ended up being as quiet as a Chelsea FA Cup crowd, with Brentford picking up a solitary signing in Blackburn Rovers left / centre back Jack O’Connell. Whilst there was no sign of the proverbial ‘double swoop’ so favoured by our local journalists, as important was the fact that our squad has remained intact. Perhaps the players taking heed of the warning that had reportedly been ‘fired’ at them by Warbs (is there any other way he delivers one?) not to ‘do a Forshaw’.

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.

Pre-season excitement builds as even Manchester United impress

24 Jul

I’ve no particular affiliation to Manchester United or the Premiership but this morning the Old Trafford outfit have achieved my favourite thing in football – videprinter brackets. Louis van Gaal scooped the prestigious Chevrolet Cup (a 21st Century Makita trophy?) in his first game in charge of the Red Devils as the won 7(seven) – 0 over LA Galaxy.

Being a Brentford fan, I’m always a lover of seeing the mighty fall flat at the hands of the under-dog. As such, last season’s campaign was of particular interest for us Premiership neutrals with team after team lining up to administer another beating to David Moyes’ team.

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

Brackets made their first appearance since the World Cup

However, does this hefty win mean normal service will be returned? Or do pre season friendlies count for nothing? Well, with Brentford taking Barnet (the LA Galaxy of North London) apart 5-1 on Tuesday I’d certainly be taking positives from any victory. Further friendlies await against Nice (Saturday), CA Osasuna (Tuesday) and then Crystal Palace the following weekend .

Last season saw fine performances against Millwall (3-0) and Cardiff City (3-2) that were the precursor to our eventual promotion. I won’t take wins in the next ten days as a guarantee of the same but they will be great morale boosters. Moreso for the fans who seem to be chomping at the bit to get back to Griffin Park.

Full ticketing details remain on the club site but, for the price of a Central London pint, you can see the Bees in action as soon as this weekend.

Bring it on!! Football is (almost) back

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

GP under lights v Cardiff 2

Griffin Park awaits last season’s warm up against Cardiff City

It’s only obvious if you know the answer. Thank you, Mr Benham

22 Jul

Obvious clue”. Not my words but those of Brentford owner Matthew Benham on Sunday night as he dropped another of his cryptic hints as to who would be joining the Bees yesterday.

In the end, the video of Bob Dylan’s Wigwam was neither Bob Booker (as suggested by Luis Adriano) or Patrick Bamford as, finally, it seemed I may have unravelled one of these. But no, instead my guess merely unearthed Dusty Bin once more as a Hogan transpired to also be a Navajo dwelling.

Not Patrick Bamford but a Navjo tent

Not Patrick Bamford but a Navjo hut

There’s more chance of Brentford winning the FA Cup than me getting one of these clues. Not that I’m complaining. Matthew’s continued investments, in quality, are a stunning thing to behold. When the only problem we seem to have is the inability to solve a riddle, then things must be good.

That said, I wouldn’t mind if he could make them a tad easier. Frankly, Matthew could come out and say, “We are signing Marcello Trotta” and I’d probably translate that to Tommy Smith becoming a Bee.

Although, to be fair, we are yet to pick up that ‘experienced pro’ that sides entering the Championship always seem to do – see also England International Kenny Sansom, 92-93.

So instead it IS Scott Hogan, as all the ‘unofficial’ clues were suggesting may be the case on Sunday, who has joined Brentford. Matthew retains his place as Brentford’s own Ted Rogers and Patrick remains a Chelsea player.

And what a signing Scott promises to be. Whilst you can read the full ‘Hogan’ fact file on the clubsite, for me, the telling facts are a PFA ‘team of the year’ selection and 17 goals in 33 league games last season. Of course, previous stats don’t guarantee a glut of goals (see also: Northern Ireland International Will Grigg) but the team seems set up to provide even more attacking options than ever before.

You can get your first look at Scott tonight, with the Bees due to travel to Barnet, against whom Warbs has promised he will be given a run out. And if you can’t make it, don’t forget there is live coverage on Beesplayer where you could also contemplate more intriguing questions:

Given the club’s ability for picking out young talent, just how good can Scott be?

When will  Mark Burridge & co first use the ‘Hogan’s heroes’ line or reference to WWE’s ‘Hulk’ ? (my guess, by 7.10pm tonight)

And, most importantly, assuming Hogan lives up to his promise, which member of club staff will attempt to grow the wrestler’s trademark blonde handlebar for Movember?

The chief executive? The programme editor? Mr Style? Or a fellow new boy?

Stranger things have happened – the artist’s impression (nobody has done it for real, yet… is below)

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Will anybody from the club go 'Full Hogan" this November??

Will anybody from the club go ‘Full Hogan” this November??

Hogan? Bam Bam? Or both? Do not adjust your set.

21 Jul

With most of the speculation yesterday about who may sign for Brentford focusing on Scott Hogan, club owner Matthew Benham added his own voice with the return of the ever popular ‘cryptic clue’. This now customary ‘air raid siren’ to announce an incoming signing went off last night as Bees fans were still wondering who will replace Birmingham City new boy Clayton Donaldson or Will Grigg, last seen visiting concrete cows at Milton Keynes.

Matthew’s clues have, in the past, been as tricky to answer as one of those from TV’s 3-2-1. Hosted by the late, great Ted Rogers, contestants on that show had more chance picking out the holiday from the booby prize by sticking a finger in the air than attempting to untangle the mystery rhyme.

A typical Ted Rogers clue. Matthew has a tough act to follow

 

However, last night even ‘your’s truly’ seems to have got this one. A twitter link from Matthew with the line “obvious clue” , led to this video of ‘Wigwam’ by Bob Dylan. Whilst being a great tune, the song is somewhat bereft of lyrics.

It seems obvious, but....

It seems obvious, but….

That said, it is only a short step from the Bob Dylan version to the song of the same name by The Sweet. And that includes the line: “Wigwam, Bam, gonna make you my man”.

Surely, with Patrick Bamford being the other name in the frame, it wouldn’t be that obvious? But I’d be very pleased if it was. VERY pleased .

The Chelsea youngster is already an England U-21 and has an extremely impressive strike rate at both MK Dons and Derby County. 22 goals from his last 45 games for these two is a more than potent ratio for a twenty year old. It’s just a shame that, if this does come to pass, we won’t get the chance to see him face off against Will, given MK failed to trouble the play offs last season.

Still, at the time of writing (6.30am on Monday morning) the Hogan and Bamford stories both remain speculation . Which, if either, could be true? Is Matthew deliberately sending us off course? Or have I just put 2+2 together and got 5? As ever, I’m sure the club site will be the place to find out.

Unless, of course, the players themselves tell us first on twitter (Moses Odubajo, I’m looking at you….)

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Is Bam Bam about to become a Bee? Sweet !!

Is Bam Bam about to become a Bee? Sweet !!

Could Warbs line up the ultimate double striker swoop?

20 Jul

With Will Grigg’s departure from Brentford to MK Dons (albeit on loan) confirmed the day after his ‘no show’ at Boreham Wood, the obvious question remains – who’s next in at Griffin Park? The Championship is getting closer and, as it stands, we seem to be lacking options up top.

Well, the rumour mill is going into ‘overdrive’ in regards to Scott Hogan of Rochdale. Stories are circulating on Sunday morning of a deal being agreed with a £750,000 price tag attached. How accurate, if at all, these will prove to be remains to be seen but, as it stands, (publically) he remains a Rochdale player.

However, Scott is someone that comes with a great reputation. Leeds United have, reportedly, also been keen and it is no surprise as to why. 17 goals in 32 games is a strike rate that speaks for itself and, rightly, earned Hogan a place in last season’s Division Two PFA team of the year.

Hogan - could he be a new Brentford hero?

Hogan – could he be a new Brentford hero?

The Bees back room staff have, generally, a fantastic eye for picking young talent and he sounds like just the sort of player to plug the gap at top. We have assembled a team with phenomenal attacking options from midfield – Alex Pritchard from Tottenham being the latest to join – but the set up is still crying out for somebody to round it off.

I can have no doubt that Grigg’s departure (along with the loss of Clayton, release of Farid and non return, as it stands, of Marcello) is all part of making way for an imminent new signing. Mark Warburton’s comment that “Will is too good to be regarded as a number two” is surely further indication of this.

However, as it stands, Matthew Benhan is yet to set twitter buzzing with another of his infamous ‘cryptic clues’. Hogan’s Heroes? Some WWE wrestling? Although then we could really be entering the realms of Beesplayer pun fantasy – with a double swoop to also include Zenit St. Petersburg’s Brazilian international?

With Hulk-Hogan in the team, surely the Bees would be unstoppable ?

And if you can’t wait for the new season, why not catch up on the last one? ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Hulk Hogan. It'll never happen - but Beesplayer would go into meltdown

Hulk Hogan. It’ll never happen – but Beesplayer would go into meltdown

Where’s Will-y ? Is it an S.O.S from TW8?

18 Jul

Brentford kicked off their warm up for football in The Championship with a trip to Boreham Wood last night. The 253 who attended were treated to a 3-1 win for the Bees and had the added advantage over TW8 residents in not being blasted with Kew Gardens’ Abba concert.

In a marvellously ironic gesture of neighbourly relations from the World Heritage site, the sounds of their open air show reached Griffin Park, and beyond, in a note perfect recreation of what it must be like to be stuck inside of Alan Partridge’s head.

On pitch, it was always good to hear Kevin O’Connor open the scoring from the penalty spot. Mr Reliable’s strike from 12 yards (although he’d probably nail one from 18) was definitely music to my ears.

The other point of note was that, according to Billy Reeves twitter feed, Sam Saunders and new boy Alex Pritchard were in attendance but there was no sighting of Will Grigg. Even the non-playing David Button had, reportedly, been spotted . And this in a game where 23 players were in the squad.

The last time we’d heard of the Northern Ireland International, he was slapping Harlee Dean in the face with a fish. So where was Will last night ? An injury in training or had he ‘gone to the beach’, Simon Moore style ?

Was Will injured, in disguise or 'at the beach' last night?

Was Will injured, in disguise or ‘at the beach’ last night?

Bristol City have been amongst a number of clubs reportedly interested in our man over the summer and so could a move, loan or otherwise, be in the offing? Given the Bees already thin forward line, I’d hope not. And if for no other reason than I think Grigg still has the potential to find the form that caused us to sign him from Walsall aswell as earning selection for his country.

The flipside, of course, (and remember that this is all pure speculation) is that Mark Warburton is clearing the decks ahead of any further new signing. The names of Scott Hogan and Patrick Bamford (Rochdale and Chelsea, respectively) have been doing the rounds for a while but are these simply the result of wishful thinking over a quiet summer? Or is Matthew Benham firing up the cryptic clue generator once more?

Is Will going to ask Warbs to ‘Take a Chance on Me” or will the Bees be spending the “Money, Money, Money”?

Either way, I’m sure we’ll learn more over the coming days.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

 

Dear Kew Gardens – in future, please limit your Abba to repeats of Alan Partridge .