Tag Archives: Semi final

A potential silver lining as another part of next season falls into place

17 May

Monday evening saw Brentford learn another opponent for next season as the horror and the brilliance of the play-offs was combined in equal measure. Despite throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents , Brighton were unable to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit and so it is Sheffield Wednesday who reach the final next weekend. Barring a minor miracle, Hull City (who complete formalities at home to Derby tonight, 3-0 up) will be the only thing in their way as the Premier league beckons.

The nice part of me feels dreadfully for Brighton right now. The were in ‘automatic’ for long parts of the season and finished level on points with promoted Middlesbrough. Only two goals split the respective teams, with Boro ending the campaign on 89 points and +32 ; the Seagulls 89 points and + 30.

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The BBC table doesn’t lie

Wednesday, meanwhile, finished 15 points behind the Seagulls and had gone into the semi on anything less than great form. Only 2 wins out of the last 7(seven) suggested a team who had as much chance as Derby County of making the final. Yet, as we all know, form counts for nothing and the play-offs are a fickle mistress.

If one team can feel Brighton’s pain right now it is Brentford. Our play off form is only matched by Sheffield United, in making it 8 attempts without winning the final. Even Preston, finally, breaking their hoodoo last season making it 1 win out of 10 to join us in the Championship.

For the record, our own campaign trail of woe reads.

1990/91 : Lost. SF. Tranmere Rovers (2-3)

1994/95 : Lost. SF. Huddersfield Town (2-2; pens)

1996/97 : Lost. Final. Crewe (0-1)

2000/01 : Lost. Final. Stoke City (0-2)

2004/05 : Lost. SF. Sheffield Wednesday (1-3)

2005/06 : Lost. SF. Swansea City (1-3)

2012/13 : Lost. Final. Yeovil Town (1-2)

2014/15 : Lost. SF. Middlesbrough (1-5)

I take no pleasure from seeing any team go through what we have done. Many times. If ever a reminder were needed (it wasn’t) about just how cruel the play-offs can be it was here. If ever a reminder was needed of the importance of grabbing ever point and every goal over the course of the regular season then last night served up yet another example.

Yet, at the same time, whilst I do have sympathy I also have some selfishness about this. As one observer noted on Twitter last night, “Brighton away its too good a trip to be wasted on the Premier League”.

I’ve got no new interest in Sheffield  – been there, done it, eaten their (albeit lovely) pies and heard ‘that band’ many times. Should Hull win the final, then no doubt I may go (again).

But a guaranteed trip to the Amex is only a fantastic thing for Brentford. A short hop on the train. A day out by the coast. A full house of Bees in the away end. A cracking atmosphere.

Nick mascots Brighton

The Albion mascots – it feels like cheating on Buzzette

Sheffield are welcome to take their band and Hi-Ho, Silver Lining (see also: Let me Entertain you / We are the Champions for ‘overplayed stadium songs’ ) to the top flight. Good luck to them. Genuinely. I’ve always enjoyed going there and wish them no ill will.

But a trip to the Amex, something that many of us were denied this time around thanks to the decision making of Sky TV, can only be viewed as a positive. At least, for us visiting fans.

To be honest, missing out on that trip this time around was probably no bad thing (and if you’d like to read more about that, or the season just gone then you know the drill – it’s here). Brentford were abject when we went down 3-0 in February.

For that reason alone, redemption, I’m already looking forward to another visit. Now, where’s that railcard…?

Until then, this may remain on the cards. Still, if Wednesday do go up there will be one silver lining.

Enjoy

And finally, as ever, genuine thanks to all those who have so far downloaded both the aforementioned Last Word ‘season review’ (Ready. Steady. Go Again) aswell as the three year anthology (The Bees are going up). It is somewhat humbling that people take the time to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same.  Until then, the last three season reviews and overall anthology are available here.

Nick Bruzon

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Who, cares? BBC ‘go again’ but will unbeaten April continue?

23 Apr

Today should be a day of excitement. Brentford have the chance to go above the Loftus Road mob in the table once more (only goal difference separates us now) whilst simultaneously relegating MK Dons. This is immediately followed by the FA Cup semi final between Everton and Manchester United. Yet, yet, yet – the words ‘shoddy BBC Doctor Who crossover’ are lurking to spoil things. Again.

First up Brentford’s trip to Milton Keynes. This is going to be a very interesting test of Dean Smith’s managerial process. One can only assume that, injuries aside, he’ll stick with the majority of the team that continued April’s unbeaten run, making it 13 points from 15 against Cardiff City in midweek.

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The Bees recorded a fine win on Tuesday night

Josh Clarke gave a very assured performance in the position that Maxime Colin has filled with aplomb this season. Yet, with Dean confirming that the Frenchman is “available but we have to just manage him” he has a tricky decision to make. Personally, I’d keep Josh in the side. He absolutely deserves it for his showing on Tuesday whilst, if nothing else, it gives Maxime a bit more recovery time ahead of Hull City and Fulham. Assuming he is even required.

Then there’s John Swift. In his absence, Brentford’s record reads: WWWDW . That’s some difference from the LLLL that preceded it .

The Chelsea loanee has featured heavily this season despite a mixed period of form. When he’s good he’s great; when he’s off the pace well, the less said the better. That’s the price of youthful talent. Yet Dean certainly seemed excited about his potential return when giving his updates to the press yesterday.

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Will we see him back today? I doubt it and, being honest, I hope not. At least, not in the starting XI . That’s not meant as a criticism of the player but more the point that our form needs to be rewarded. Very few players could expect to walk back into a winning team after such a lengthy lay off and, with all due respect to John, he’s not one of them.

That said, I’m sure he’ll be on the bench and from there we see what happens next. Sitting next to him will also be Scott Hogan. Surely it’s too soon for our ‘man of the moment’ to start a game despite the obvious excitement about both his recovery and his form. There’s next season for that. Now, let’s just keep easing him back and setting our watches for ‘Jota time’.

The other point from Dean’s press conference was his observation that, “People talk about a massive turnaround but in my eyes we haven’t played loads better than vs Charlton Athletic or Blackburn Rovers.”

Hmm. Not sure that’s a view which will be shared by many Brentford supporters. “Frustratingly grim” was the two word summary of this one following our inability to even take a point at home to ten man Rovers. I don’t want to overly dwell on that now –  I have eyes, I was at those games, I know what I saw. Let’s just take great comfort in the fact we’ve definitely turned the corner, even if Dean believes it’s just in terms of results.

Ok. The FA Cup. Tonight’s semi-final at Wembley (count the things already wrong in this sentence) between Everton and Manchester United should be one to get the juices flowing. Instead, the BBC have chucked a huge rock in the water. Specifically, by telling us that they’ll be using the game to announce the identity of Doctor Who’s new ‘assistant’.

Please. No. I like Doctor Who (much to Mrs Bruzon’s chagrin) and have what could politely be called more than a passing interest in the great game of football. These are big occasions in each field of interest but to jam them together just seems like some cheap-arsed attempt to boost audience figures. It is one that detracts from both events. To be honest, even making ‘an event’ out of a new cast member for the Sci-Fi classic seems like an unnecessary stunt, anyway.

The BBC have ‘form’ here. During the 2014 World Cup final, they crowbarred the trailer for the then forthcoming new series into the middle of the half-time analysis. It was a horribly awkward moment. Gary Lineker seemed genuinely lost for words as any momentum for the second half was immediately washed away. Even I switched channels to ITV, and for that to happen…

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Not even Rio Ferdinand’s ‘Easyjet’ look could detract from the awkwardness in 2014

I love the FA Cup. Please, BBC . At a time when every season sees further elements of tradition being stripped away from this oldest of tournaments, please don’t demean it any more.

And finally, from Peter Capaldi to another doctor who (sorry) is going to be doing his bit for charity on Sunday. Brentford head of medical Neil Greig, that is.

For anybody not aware, Neil will be taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon where he’ll be running on behalf of Havens Hospices. You can read more about this great cause, and also donate, on his Just Giving page.

Good luck tomorrow, Neil.

And if Scott bangs one in against MK, we know who deserves much of that thanks.

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Neil will be doing his thing tomorrow

Nick Bruzon 

Media team goes bonkers (twice) as ‘new manager’ spotted. Hmmm

21 Apr

That was an interesting day of news. Chelsea legend and former Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is in line to be the next Brentford manager if you believe the Daily Mail whilst the club media team (at both Doncaster Rovers and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, that is) proved they have a sense of humour. Meanwhile, back at Griffin Park

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.

Could 569-1 Gibraltar cause the biggest upset in football history?

13 Nov

Qualifying for EURO 2016 continues on Friday with what is, on paper, one of the most one sided games to ever take place at a full international level. World Champions Germany host UEFA new boys Gibraltar. And with the country currently showing minimal interest in England progressing through the easiest group since records began, the game in Nuremberg promises to capture the imagination in a way that no other could.

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.

The joy of text. This one’s for Jake

9 Jul

I can only wonder what Jake Reeves thought last night as Germany humiliated Brazil 7 (seven) – 1. Whilst most people were focusing on the margin of victory, for me there was massive pay back for Luiz. Specifically, because of the horrific injury he inflicted on Reeves in February of last year as Chelsea finally managed to knock Brentford out of the FA Cup.

Indeed, the comparison had already been noted with the BBC commentary team highlighting the ‘defender’ for elbowing Miroslav Klose with an observation that (apparently) he’d done similar before at Chelsea. Didn’t we remember that in TW8 as social networks were awash with comments about Jake and, equally, pictures of Luiz crying his eyes out after the game.

Whilst Fred seemed to be the ‘blame’ figure for the Brazil boo boys, for me the headless chicken that was David Luiz seemed most culpable in a team performance that was about as shocking as they come.

I’m sure Jake is too much the professional to take any pleasure from what happened but, personally, I’m just not that good a man. So here’s the montage of just some of those shots doing the Twitter rounds last night.

Tears of a clown? 'Sideshow Bob' was all over Twitter last night

Tears of a clown? ‘Sideshow Bob’ was all over Twitter last night

The other thing to really get me excited was the return of brackets. Anybody who has read this column or ‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ will know of my love / obsession with what happens on that magical moment when the scoreboard ticks over to register a seventh goal. Brackets appear on the videprinter.

Any team who have managed seven goals or more have the privilege of their score also being written, in addition to the standard numerical format. Just to make the point that – this really isn’t a typo; they have been hammered by that many.

Moreso is the debate that accompanies this. I’m of the belief that the clarifying 7 (seven), should be in lower case font. Discreetly saying that there has actually been a goal-fest and it’s not some numpty in the production booth with fat-fingers.

Sky, on the other hand, go for a full upper case 7 (SEVEN). It’s a gauche block-capitalled effect to really push home the point that someone has been on the wrong end of a thrashing. It’s gloating for the sake of it.

Well last night the BBC, I’m very pleased to say, got in on the brackets act as their website videprinter recorded the fact with a third entry into the discussion: 7 (Seven).

Even the BBC got involved in the brackets

Even the BBC got involved in the brackets

You know what? I’ll take it. I was just thrilled to see the return of this football tradition (much like the 6.25pm World Cup proclamation of, “And for those of you just coming in from work, the score is…..”)
Remember this moment, I don’t think you’ll ever see brackets in a World Cup semi final ever again.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14, 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.

 

A unique moment in World Cup history

A unique moment in World Cup history

 

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.

Finally. The ultimate football question is answered.

31 Mar

Watching Brentford at Oldham on Saturday I found myself repeating a question I’ve been asking more and more this season. On returning home I was amazed to discover that Ipswich Town had answered it in their draw with Nottingham Forest.

Quite simply – why do teams persist with the short corner and has it, actually, ever worked?

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.

What does it mean for us as Uwe’s new Groover’s blow Blues away?

9 Mar

Hull City AFC v Sheffield United and Wigan v Arsenal.

Even though Brentford fans know all about the Rösler effect in the FA Cup (last season The Bees came within a whisker of humiliating Chelsea at Griffin Park) would anybody have honestly predicted that as semi final line up?

Wigan’s defeat of a Manchester City team chasing an unprecedented domestic treble – regardless of their faltering progression in the Champion’s League – is not to be underestimated. Moreso, as they did it on City’s home pitch.

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.