Tag Archives: Russell Brand

ITV on the rise but will Sky scrape the barrel? And what of John Swift?

27 Mar

There was mixed news on the International front last night. Despite many enjoying the 3-2 win for England in Germany, it was the performance of the U-21 team that saw potential bad news for Brentford where Chelsea loanee John Swift limped off less than half an hour into the game with a bloody foot. Elsewhere (and I need to thank the statistical demigod that is Luis Melville for his Twitter tip-off) there was terrifying news from the Daily Mail.

But first, England. What a night – primarily because the alleged  Supporters’ band couldn’t be heard over the TV speakers. Were they even in Berlin? Who cares! The lack of jingoistic parping from their off-key trumpets was music to my ears. If I wanted to hear the theme tune to the Great Escape I’d simply watch TV on any Bank Holiday.

That was my on-field highlight. Yes, of course the goals were wonderfully taken although if you want any form of match report than, as ever, I’d suggest the BBC. The said, the win was hard fought with the ITV commentary team doing their best to jinx it at the death. Eric Dier’s injury time goal was met with declarations of “A winner in Germany” and “a winner on his debut”, despite there still being 90 seconds on the clock.

The other plus point was the performance of Lothar Matthäus  in the punditry position. Channelling the look of Paul Robinson – Neighbours, rather than Birmingham City or Burnley – he was that rare example of an ITV pundit who it was actually a pleasure to listen to. Dead pan humour, common sense and a great reading of the game. Let’s hope they snap him up for the Euros over the summer.

Kit wise, just about everybody has said their piece on this already. England opting for traditional red with burgundy sleeves and blue socks (very much Dagenham & Redbridge 1995, as one Twitter observer noted) whilst Germany elected to wear two tone black/dark green(?) with lighter green sleeves. And don’t forget the white stripes down the side from armpit to hem that looked like a somewhat unsightly deodorant stain.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 19.02.18

As the regular reader will (should one exist still) be aware, I’m all for the unusual and a bit of variety in team kit. These, however, both looked like the product of a “What might go well with jeans?” marketing meeting. And those blue socks should never see the light of day again.

For me Clive, this has surpassed the 1994 effort (oversized flappy collars, all those subliminal badges and a shade heading towards burgundy) as the worst ever England away shirt.

As a final thought on the game, what was with all the adverts for ‘Hooch’ that kept flashing around the pitch? Surely that died out in the 90s with Global Hypercolour t-shirts, VHS cassettes and ‘Eat my shorts’ ? Or are Student Union bars (three of the most terrifying words in the English language, to rank alongside ‘Rail Replacement bus’) about to see a resurgence?

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No longer the worst England away shirt

Next up, John Swift. With Josh McEachran still being reported out injured (and the club saying nothing to deny these stories, unless I’ve missed it) there would have been heart in mouth when he got injured last night. Despite my best searches of the internet – and it is frustrating how often a search for his name is thrown off track by: Taylor Swift, Dear John – the most we know so far is that he has a cut foot judging by the pictures circulating on Twitter.

How bad this is remains to be seen although I am sure we’ll learn more today. Whilst he has, for the most part , divided Brentford supporters during his loan spell from Chelsea, one thing we can all agree on is that another injury is the last thing we need at this pivotal point in the season. We all recall how Chris Long’s nasty gash impacted him at the tail end of the previous campaign and so let’s hope this isn’t a case of déjà vu.

I’m not a hypocrite. I don’t think Swift has had the best start to his career at Griffin Park. An over indulgence on the showboating and tendency to lose the ball has been a frustration yet, at the same time, he clearly has ability as we have seen in patches. The Wolves game in particular highlighted what he can do when we get his ‘A game’. Besides, you don’t get called up for the England U-21’s unless there is something there.

Equally, and as we are reminded time and again, he IS a young player who is still learning his game. These skills and judgement calls will come as his game develops. John has become an easy target in some circles but at a time we need everybody pulling together, let’s hope his substitution was a precautionary one and we have him back, on top form, this Saturday.

Ok. The Daily Mail. Or, rather, Mailsport online have run a disturbing story to suggest Sky will be revamping Friday night football next season to make it, what seems to be, a bit more ‘laddish’. Nuts magazine does football if you will, as guest presenters are suggested to include – brace yourself – the likes of James Corden and Holly Willoughby.

Before anybody mistakes this for any form of misogynistic rant, let’s be 100% clear. I’ve got no issues with women presenting football. Quite the opposite. I think Kelly Cates has been the shining star in the (initially at least) car crash that was Football League Tonight whilst Gabby Logan has been doing her thing, brilliantly, for almost twenty years.

And, of course, who could forget our own Natalie Sawyer who has had her feet under the presenter’s desk for so long that she probably knows more about the beautiful game than most of us put together. (Perhaps Sky should be looking ‘in house’ where, of course, Natalie has also shown her punditry skills on Football League coverage?)

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Natalie at the Sky Sports desk – feet not pictured

My issue is with novelty presenters. Comedians great. Football great. Just please don’t combine the two. Nobody needs another ‘Russell Brand’ guesting on Match of the Day.

Football punditry is three men or women, who know about football, sitting on a sofa and talking about the game. You don’t need to jazz it up anymore. We’ll still watch.

Will anybody, honestly, say: “It’s Chelsea – Leicester City tonight. I was going to give it a miss but Gary Neville is busy with Valencia so Holly Willoughby is presenting. Get the Hooch in and make room on the sofa” ?

Aside from the fact that I’ve got more chance of managing Valencia than Gary Neville next season I can’t believe that situation is going to play out anywhere. Who needs Lothar Matthäus when we could have the host of Surprise Surprise, This Morning and Streetmate (don’t remember that one)? I’ve nothing against Holly per-se but when her sporting pedigree peaks at ‘Celebrity Wrestling’ and ‘Dancing on Ice’, perhaps one to give a miss.

Comedians, alleged or genuine, don’t mix well on football

Nick Bruzon

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April Fool laughs come from an unexpected source – Fulham !

2 Apr

With the Fulham game now just one more ‘wake up’ away, yesterday was the opportunity for Brentford fans to enjoy a bit of calm before the storm. April Fools day was the ideal chance for some light relief but, sadly, the joke stories were conspicuous by their absence.

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.

A lovely image, even if nobody was fooled

A lovely image, even if nobody was fooled

Billy The Bee - Mr Grant asking the right questions, as ever

Billy Grant asking the questions – a megaphone probably the last thing he needs

A most revealing video as Fulham await and Wigan ‘get’ their man

26 Aug

I was all set to get over excited about the visit of Fulham to Griffin Park tonight but the edge has been taken off things a little bit with news that Brentford have finally accepted a bid from Wigan Athletic for Adam Forshaw.

In a rare turn of events, the club made an advance press release (normally, transfers not being announced until well after the ink has dried) as they told us that Adam has gone North to discuss terms.

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.

New Brentford ‘keeper sees red as Tuesday just got better

25 Aug

No sooner have Birmingham City left Griffin Park than Brentford are preparing for the next home game – a Capital One Cup tie with Felix ‘nil points’ Magath’s Fulham team on Tuesday. Whilst, no doubt, there’ll be further build up to the Fulham game in the next column, for now here’s a chance to catch up on those other things that there simply wasn’t enough space to write about following the draw with Birmingham (along with an 11th hour bonus).

My feelings on referee Robert Madley have been well documented in the past and, disappointingly, these were proven to be spot on as this fusion of Stroud, Biggar and Attwell once again showed all the decision-making ability of a tombola.

View from the terrace - David tells Madley to button  it, as Tony troops off

View from the terrace – David tells Madley to button it, as Tony troops off

The one positive for me is that at least I wasn’t alone in this opinion. Any thoughts of “Could it have just been me?” were dispelled with a read of Greville Waterman’s BFCtalk column on the subject. A very therapeutic piece for those of you seeing red about the card happy man in black.

Still, at least Robert wasn’t alone in having a stinker on Saturday. The BBC didn’t even have the excuse of having had to make a snap decision. I’m not sure which match their correspondent was watching but on returning home I read their website with amusement. Specifically the part of the match report that described how goalkeeper Tony Craig had been sent off – although at least substitute ‘keeper David Button had made some smart saves.

Not even West London's leading journo picked up on this one (although the BBC have, since, corrected)

Not even West London’s leading journo called this transfer swoop (the BBC have, since, corrected)

I wrote on Saturday about Natalie Sawyer and Hayley McQueen’s ALS ice bucket challenge. Later that day footage emerged of Matthew Benham completing his own, following a nomination from the Slough Town bound Alan Judge.

 

I’ve also had to rise to the challenge, following nomination from Luis Adriano. You can catch the wobbly action, some of the worst shorts Brentford have ever worn and the next set of nominees (and do feel free to encourage them along) here. Warning:it does involve some slipped pecs and paunch.

Sunday afternoon saw a thumping 4-0 win for Tottenham against the Loftus Road mob. A four goal defeat mirrors that suffered by Fulham the day before and gives a wonderful sense of symmetery to the bottom of the Premiership and Championship tables.

The BBC have, at least, got the tables right. Enjoy

The BBC have, at least, got the tables right. Enjoy

Interestingly, Monday morning sees the Daily Telegraph reporting that Fulham boss Magath only has one game left in which to hang on to his job. You can read their story, here and then think on about the significance of what that next game is….

As one correspondent put it, “Tuesday just gets better“.

A challenge to Beesotted, BFCtalk and the Brentford media team

24 Aug

On Saturday, rather than the traditional pre-match tub-thumping, the Last Word took things seriously (well, as serious as it gets) to talk about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Specifically, the one that had been performed by Brentford fan Natalie Sawyer (with her fellow Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen).

Not only has Matthew Benham since risen to the challenge laid down by Alan Judge but yours truly has also been on the receiving end of that icy gauntlet. Luis Adriano, fellow blogger and author (you’ll find his excellent work, Penalties, on Kindle) was the man delivering that clarion call to a charitable soaking.

I have, duly, accepted. And instantly realised three things.

1 – That a trip to the gym may be in order. Truly, the pecs have slipped.

2 – That whoever designed the Chad brand vinyl effect shorts of Brentford’s 91/92 promotion season didn’t know much about fashion. Or comfort.

3- Most importantly, that however silly you feel or look participating in this act of outdoor showering, the cause remains a noble one

Oh, there is a fourth thing. As this new found tradition dictates, I can also nominate. And so, in turn, I follow Luis Adriano’s literary line of thinking and challenge.

Billy the Bee – the face of Beesotted (please note: Beesotted has other faces)

Greville Waterman – fellow blogger and responsible for the excellent BFCTalk

Mark Chapman and Chris Wickham from the Brentford FC media team. You’ve read their match reports and programmes – who wouldn’t want to see the video?

So here it is. My lardy effort. Billy, Greville, Chappers and Chris – I’d love if you could accept. Given the amount of other Brentford related faces to have participated so far, think what a great spread it might make in the next programme.

More importantly, it’s for a great cause.

 

 

The day’s hottest video is also the iciest as Matthew Benham is challenged

23 Aug

Need to cool off before the Bees take on Birmingham City today? Well known Brentford fan Natalie Sawyer, alongside her fellow Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen, did this yesterday by participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you haven’t heard about this yet (it’s possible) it simply involves tipping a bucket of icy water over yourself and then nominating somebody else to participate in the ritual whilst the whole affair is filmed for social media. The point of the exercise being to raise funds for, and awareness about, ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known motor neurone disease).

Natalie and Hayley complete the challenge

 

With personalities from the worlds of sport and entertainment lining up to take part, it certainly has focused public attention on this awful disease. And as much of the interest seems to lie in whom the participants nominate next.

Natalie, for example, challenged ‘Mr Douglas’ who, presumably, is Brentford’s Jonathan rather than boxing’s James ‘Buster’. Although judging by the current state of Dougie’s beard, a bucket of icy water is the least he needs with the midfield legend fast becoming football’s Russell Brand (in the unkempt facial hair, rather than joke telling, stakes).

Like several others in the Brentford squad Alan Judge has also taken part. Unlike several others in the Brentford squad, it seems he has immediately earned himself a transfer to Slough Town. That’s what you get for challenging the boss…

A gauntlet is laid - to Matthew Benham and Slough Town

A gauntlet is laid – to Matthew Benham and Slough Town

And if Natalie’s video is proving popular, equally impressive from Friday is one posted by the Beesotted crew who found time to catch up with Clayton Donaldson ahead of his Birmingham City team visiting Griffin Park. You can catch the link to that one on their website, here.

For today though, it is all about ice buckets and good deeds.

I’d love to see the ALS challenge, which is now coursing through the higher levels of the club thanks to Alan Judge, extended further. If Matthew Benham does accept, then why not have the likes of Mark Devlin, Peter Gilham or even our media team alongside him?

Who wouldn’t donate to charity to see the likes of Chris Wickham and Mark Chapman give each other an icy soaking?

The donations start here…

A tale of two Russells as Bees win, again

23 Mar

Well – that was an exciting afternoon if not an odd evening. Brentford beat Coventry City yesterday to further strengthen their position in the promotion slots along side Wolves, after Leyton Orient were held at Walsall. However, the post match TV viewing, which we’ll get to shortly, proved somewhat odd.

Of course, there’s no better place to start than at Griffin Park where Brentford wrapped up a 3-1 win in a game that had everything bar the kitchen sink thrown into the first twenty minutes.

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.