Tag Archives: rumours

Things could be a lot worse. One of these refs could be next up

24 Aug

It has been a traumatic week or so for us Brentford fans. We’ve had all the angst of transfer rumours involving Bristol City and Hull before the eventual sale of Andre Gray to Burnley. Chuck into that a 1-0 defeat to the Turf Moor outfit on Saturday (where my own opinion remains that the performance was somewhat ‘flat’).

Andre's sale has upset a lot of fans

Andre’s sale has upset a lot of fans

There has been all the bad news about injuries – the prognosis on Andreas Bjelland and now Jota being the latest blow to Bees supporters. And, of course, we have the terrible state of the Griffin Park pitch although at least that should be ‘fit for purpose’ by the time Reading visit at the weekend.

On the plus side, the crowd seem in very good spirits with Matthew Benham’s name being sung long and loud at Burnley, along with that of kitman Bob prior to kick off. We still have a very strong squad and it’s not as though this team can’t play football. Four points out of the first three games is far from the end of the world for a side who, don’t forget, remain relative newcomers at this level.

Besides, things could be worse. We might have suffered the Keith Stroud effect. Brentford fans need no reminder of the pain this man in the middle has caused us in the past. The game at Sheffield United in April 2013 (the season of ‘that penalty’) saw him award four spot kicks whilst brandishing 9 yellows and 3 red cards – including a very harsh pair for Tony Craig and Clayton Donaldson.

He is a man whose reputation for card wielding precedes him and so to have already survived an encounter with him (the win at Bristol City) makes me a happy man. Indeed, his performance in the game at Ashton Gate where he made just two booking, along with his customary red, seems somewhat ‘relaxed’. There was actually a case for it being two reds and so, for once, Mr. Stroud has shown some uncustomary restraint.That, or he just missed the foul on Tarks.

The Stroud montage - those days are in the past. Aren't they?

The Stroud montage – those days are in the past. Aren’t they?

That said, I must offer a word of caution should we be the beneficiaries of a return visit any time soon. In the three games he has taken charge of so far this season, Stroud has shown a total of 15 yellows and the aforementioned red. 6 at Crystal Palace and 7 (seven) at Brighton in the season opener show our favourite ref remains as on form as ever.

However, the real reason for mentioning Mr Stroud is that he is not alone. Whilst, statistically, there are few to match him, he has plenty of competition when it comes to the art of, physically, issuing the card.

With Stroud, as the montage shows, I always get the impression of a child bullied at school. Somebody who is finally able to get some pay back without fear of retribution and thrust a card at the face of the latest aggressor, whilst turning his back on the player he has deemed unfit to stay on the field of play. There is no room for discussion, no margin for error and not even time for any eye contact. Keith has spoken and usually begun to walk off with the card still in the air.

So it was with great pleasure that I stumbled across this article yesterday, from Adam Hurrey in the Daily Telegraph. It is one that was written back in April but, having had it referred from two separate sources, it is clearly something that people feel strongly about.

Here it is. Fill your boots and enjoy … A referee’s guide to brandishing a card.

(You need to click the coloured text, mum)

Nick Bruzon

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Brentford do have a Plan B. And Plan C

9 Aug

Brentford have done it again. 2-0 down at home to Ipswich Town and with the clock showing 90, injury time goals from Andre Gray and James Tarkowski gave us a point that saw the reign of Marinus Dijkhuizen get off to an incredible start.

Did we deserve it? Just. The Bees looked very solid early on with Judge and Gogia linking wonderfully. Jota showed his appetite for goal has not diminished over the summer (well saved Bartosz Bialkowski in the Ipswich goal) but then things hit the skids with about 20 minutes left in the first half.

The defence started to stretch and the goal, just before half time, was an inevitable consequence as Kevin Bru made it 1-0. Still, if that was bad the second, just the other side of the break, was even sloppier as Ryan Fraser was given the freedom of the Griffin Park penalty box to make it 0-2 Ipswich.

View from the stands - Bru celebrates (too early) as Ipswich open the scoring

View from the stands – Bru celebrates as Ipswich score and one steward seems to go a bit ‘Cantona’

But fairplay to Marinus. He went for broke – not even waiting until the 60th minute for a substitution. Andre Gray replaced Konstantin Kerschbaumer on 54 and then Lasse Vibe came on for Alan McCormack for the final twenty minutes.

With three strikers on the pitch simultaneously, could the Bees make it work?

Well, despite Vibe missing a glorious opportunity, Andre latched on to a long ball over the top and, one on one with Bialkowski, kept his nerve to halve the deficit two minutes in to the five that referee Coote had added on. Marinus told Billy Reeves after the game that the young striker “was not mentally ready to start so we had a common decision to keep him on the bench and if we need him, then we bring him.”

What a response from a player that the head coach also admitted “Yes. Maybe” when asked if he would be on his way, following further transfer speculation.

And then, with moments left, the place really went bonkers. With David Button up for a corner, the ball hit the crossbar and seemed to hang in the air for an eternity before James Tarkowski stabbed it home through a sea of players with pretty much the last touch of the game.

It was the sort of bundled effort we’d seen Jonathan Douglas score time and again last season as Griffin Park exploded. Even better, we’ve stopped taking corners short and, guess what, scored from one.

View from the stands: Don't. Take it. Short. Ok then - goal !!!!

View from the stands: Don’t. Take it. Short. Ok then – goal !!!!

And talking of Dougie, there IS life without him. Understandably, the new look team are going to take a few games to gel whilst transfer speculation and the playing surface didn’t help anybody. But can we read anything into Dougie coming on after 78 minutes with the visitors cruising and the final result? I’ll leave that one to you.

The other major talking point from the game was the state of the pitch. Looking about an inch deep, laid on top of builder’s sand, what on earth has happened to it? Regardless of the huge chunks being kicked out of the turf, I can’t help but think somebody could get a serious injury such was the way it was cutting up.

Whilst the ‘official’ Beesplayer postmatch interview with Marinus edited out his comments on the surface, the BBC have them in full c/o of Billy Reeves (who I must also congratulate on his very brave choice of tie – if you saw it, you’ll know)

He asked the question of Marinus and got the answer. “The pitch is a disaster. Its awful, unbelievable. In preseason Boreham Wood had a good pitch…here it’s terrible.”

Even Channel 5 failed to make it look good on their new look highlight’s package But then that was such a car crash of a football show that they’d have failed to make Cameron Diaz look good. And Bees fans, if you want my full review on that (including the best of Twitter) you can read that here – think Mick Fleetwood and Samantha Fox presenting the Brits.

It was a point also noted by the Ipswich fans who, I have to say, were in great form. Talking after the game in particular, you could have forgiven them for some frustration after what would have been seen as a ‘smash and grab’ from Brentford. Instead, there was almost a relief that football was back combined with a resignation that she has lost none of her ability to kick supporters in the nuts.

We’ll be doing well to top this level of excitement over the next 45 games but, knowing Brentford, I’m sure they’ll give it their very best shot.

And talking of ‘best shots’  – special credit to Andre Gray. I have no idea about what is happening behind the scenes but I’m desperate for us to hang on to him. It was an ice cool finish at a high pressure moment.

We want you to stay” sang the crowd. That chant didn’t work on Alex Pritchard and, whilst perhaps a somewhat futile gesture, you can fully understand the sentiment.

Did he hear it? Will he listen? Prove me wrong !

Nick Bruzon

Billy’s gentle probing confirms Douglas departure as Bees go down.

29 Jul

After the high of victory against Stoke City at the weekend, Brentford came back down to earth with a bump, of sorts, following Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Luton Town. And elsewhere, there was a surprise turnout for the development squad at Dundee United.

First though, the Luton game. I wasn’t there – and fairplay to the 242 Brentford fans who did make it across – so it’s hard to say much in regards to the performance directly. I, like many, was reliant on Beesplayer where we learned as much after the game as during it.

Billy Reeves, who had used half time to give us a potted run through of his pre-Bees career (including a lexicon of fascinating facts about former band mate Sophie Ellis-Bextor) then flipped the tables. Having been gently probed by Mark Burridge at half time he adopted his own, more typical, role of interviewer to quiz Marinus.

theaudience - Billy has many strings to his bow

theaudience – Billy has many strings to his bow

I like Billy. A lot. We all know what we are going to get when he is in the hot seat and, as he had earlier told Mark, its because he is a fan. He asks those questions we want to know.

Sure enough – the big one on everybody’s lips at present is about Jonathan Douglas. We’ve all read the stories to suggest that he’s on his way out of Griffin Park but was it true?

So Billy put the question and Marinus was able to confirm in a very direct answer. I have to be honest I was surprised by the openness of his reply (but that’s no bad thing) as he told listeners, “He’s not part of the squadHe’s training separately…it’s better to move on, for his future, and for Brentford.”

This is a rapid fall from grace for the previously untouchable midfielder and one does wonder if anything else has happened behind the scenes to trigger such a course of action. Whilst the legs were clearly catching up on him in the second half of last season, don’t forget he was captain as recently as the Boreham Wood friendly.

Some will cry – Dougie was very popular with many supporters. Personally, I was of the opinion that his time had come. The goals were great but we were left exposed time and again last season by those meandering sorties up field that then left a gap you could park an oil tanker in.

With the midfield already providing problems of the best sort – and Dave Morley, alongside Mark B, really struggled to name his own starting XI for the season opener against Ipswich – perhaps Dougie has paid the price. I’d still expect more to follow him out of the door, though.

Dougie  - in happier times under Mark Warburton

Dougie – in happier times under Mark Warburton

Up front, Philipp Hofmann got the goal for Brentford – his second in as many games – which prompted more questions about that position. Specifically, Andre Gray. And only because, like Dougie before him, the other nagging rumour that won’t go away is in regards to potential bids for him. Hull City AFC are the latest team being inked to a bid.

Sadly Billy missed his cue on this one. You could almost hear the self-administered ‘slap to forehead’ as he realised, with our head coach having departed, that this was the other thing he really should have asked about. The official line from the club is that Marinus wants all his players to stay. I’d hope so.

Still, like the first team, this is all about getting back up to full speed. Billy’s gentle probing is always a great reason to stick around after full time for anybody unfortunate enough not to be at the game. Like the Bees, perhaps it was only natural that we might make the odd mistake as we get back into the swing of things after the summer break.

Besides, Billy did learn another key nugget of information. That the team to line up at Norwich City on Saturday will be 90% of the one Marinus expects to start against Ipswich Town, in the league, the following weekend.

Dave Morley – you’d better get your notepad ready.

And finally, Kevin O’Connor. Firstly, a reminder that 100% of any sales of my season reviews 2013/14 and 2014/15 are currently going towards his charity cycle ride this weekend. I had promised to donate anything raised and challenged my fellow author (although that is the loosest term when it comes to yours truly) Greville Waterman to do the same. Fairplay to Greville who has already weighed in with a very generous donation.

Certainly, that’s something I’ll match in the likely event it doesn’t get surpassed ahead of the designated time – next Saturday. Alternatively, if you’d like to contribute to the casue directly then you can do so at www.givey.com/ride100bfccst aswell as learning more about this event.

So perhaps it was with this cycle in mind that the development squad had a somewhat familiar face in the line up at Dundee United yesterday (and thanks to Andrew Gardner, @bodge1876, on twitter). Was it merely an attempt to keep fitness levels up or is Kev contemplating what Sid Waddell so famously once described as “The biggest comeback since Lazarus “?

Still got it, Kev..

Still got it, Kev..

Forget Rangers rumours. Matthew Benham’s announcements are all that count

20 Jun

With no Championship action for almost two months, it really is desperate stuff out there in terms of genuine news as the rumour mill goes into overdrive. If you believe the papers then Brentford are set to lose Alfie Mawson and Stuart Dallas to Mark Warburton at Rangers, James Tarkowski is attracting Fulham whilst the Andre Gray/QPR stories are still lurking. Then there’s the prospect of Brentford bolstering their ranks with the addition of centre back Yoann Barbet from outfit, Chamois Niortais.

I even saw one last night that claimed we are on the hunt for Swindon Town winger Nathan Byrne. BBC Radio Wiltshire suggesting that the winger and former Bee could be on his way to Griffin Park over the summer.

Hogwash, the lot of it. Probably. Which manager isn’t linked to his former players? It’s hardly the stuff of Roger Cook style investigative reporting to connect the two and so not surprising to see any number of Brentford players linked with Rangers.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are !