Tag Archives: semi

They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup (quarter final)

27 May

That’s controversial. The Football Association have announced that FA Cup quarter final replays are to be scrapped. Brentford haven’t reached that stage since playing Liverpool in the 1988/89 campaign but this could still have significant impact. And following on from yesterday’s article about the most recent Terrace Talk double bill, we take a quick look at what the next logical step for next season could be.

But first, those changes to the FA Cup. Chief Executive Martin Glenn has been quoted as saying that as part of an ongoing review, this move “adds excitement”.   Whilst the replays will stay in place up to and including round 5, this move is also intended to help ease fixture congestion.

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The Bees haven’t played an FA Cup quarter final since Livepool in 88/89

Of course, we’ve already seen replays in the semis and the final itself disappear in recent years but those are played at a neutral ground. Or Wembley as it has been known since the national stadium was reopened.

And this is what strikes me as odd. You are changing the rules mid-tournament and handing a massive advantage to the home team in this quarter final stage.

The traditionalist in me would love replays to run all the way through to the final but that’s just not going to happen given the already overcrowded calendar.  At least, though, those games take place at a stadium that, travel aside, favours neither team. This is different.

The chance to hold on for the draw and bring them back to your place is gone. And does this mean that in the bid for further fixture review we’ll follow suit in the earlier rounds? Surely it should be all or nothing?

Instead of the ongoing devaluation of our oldest cup competition, if you want to ease fixture congestion then just scrap the Worthless aka League Cup. Most teams use this as an excuse to play the kids anyway – even Brentford who ended up on the wrong end of last season’s 4-0 humbling at home to Oxford United. Three goals down before 8pm (it had been a 7.45 kick off) we got everything we deserved after joining the ranks of those paying lip service to this tournament.

And while we’re at it, semi-finals at Wembley. Just no. No. The final should be a showpiece event. A trip to Wembley should be that rarest of treats and due reward for making the last round. Not a dress rehearsal to maximise revenue for the FA and cause supporters all manner of travel headaches. Villa Park, Hillsborough ,The Emirates and Old Trafford are amongst those which would be more than able to handle an event of this nature and restore some much needed tradition to the tournament.

Ah yes, but apparently Wembley allows the maximum amount of people to see the semis. That’ll be the sound of the woodwork being vacated. And by that logic, play the quarters there too. Hey, what about some plum fourth round ties?

As I say, this will all make little difference to Brentford, anyway. We’ve struggled to get past the 3rd round since that epic, Gary Blissett inspired run took us all the way to Anfield and the 4-0 loss at the hands of all conquering Liverpool (kids, ask your dads). The odd dalliance with the middle stages aside, from which I’d imagine Gary Breen is still having DJ Campbell inspired nightmares, we’re normally done by the end of January. But you can still live in hope.

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Bliss makes it 3-1 v his beloved Manchester City in the FA cup 4th round

Back to Griffin Park and yesterday’s article focussed on the brilliance of Terrace Talk. Which then got the mind wandering over the course of the day (outside of working hours, if you’re reading boss)  – how do we top it next time out?

First thought was a couple of ‘one-off specials’ . We’ve already talked about a kit launch special but how about a day in the life of Griffin Park? Jo and Sean taking us through the match day routine – from the Griffin Park gates being unlocked int he morning to the floodlights being turned off at the end of the day. All, of course, delivered via their own enthusiastic spin.

How about ‘Terrace Talk on the road’ ? Brentford travel well and it would give those who couldn’t make the game a chance to see things they would, ordinarily, get an insight on.

Or rather than Terrace Talk, could Jo or Sean take things to the next level with Dressing Room Talk ?  Cameras in the changing rooms aren’t a new thing but how good would it be to get the player’s take on Jo’s ‘big question’ before the game and, perhaps, their views on performance at full time.

Could it happen? Who knows? Just as long as those Terrace Talks cameras are back in one form or another then I’ll be a happy man.

Jo Tilley Terrace Talk

Will Jo do the ‘walk and talk’ next season?

Nick Bruzon

Plug time (regular readers know the score from here) : As ever, The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. Should anybody want to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more then you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same. We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thanks for reading.

 

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 

From storming mad to a storm in TW8

11 Jan

And relax Brentford fans. Before we start to look ahead to Middlesbrough and Burnley, just a quick note to say thanks for all the feedback on social media this weekend. Specifically, regarding Saturday night’s column about the FA Cup against Walsall and the visit of FC Midtjylland. Football is a game that has always polarised opinions (just ask any visitor to the GPG) but the reaction to this one on Facebook and Twitter was amongst the most extreme I’ve ever seen. I have no idea if anybody in the club reads this column but would hope that they at least note this has clearly been an emotive subject for the supporters.

Monday morning. With Middlesbrough due here in just over 36 hours, the rain of the weekend has been followed by an overnight downpour of biblical proportions (is there any other type?) in TW8. At the time of writing (6.30am) it is still tipping down in Brentford. One can only hope that the drainage system is working and the Griffin Park pitch holds up.

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View from the terrace – the rain was constant on Saturday

To be fair, since the farce at the start of the season that saw it needing to be relaid just two games in the surface has been magnificent. Whilst it was clearly greasy on Saturday, I didn’t notice it overly cutting up. However, with another three hours of rain due on Tuesday afternoon according to the BBC, one can only imagine what referee Gavin Ward (oh, joy) will make of things when he carries out his pitch inspection.

I’m sure we’ll be fine but, equally, with conditions likely to be slick it could be a fast paced game. Certainly, I’m expecting a huge reaction from Brentford – both players and fans. Whilst Saturday was absolutely gutting, we are still placed in an extremely interesting position. A minimum of three points this week will see us close in further on two promotion rivals.

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The current BBC table shows how crucial points are this week

It is, being honest, a season defining week. The cup is over but the league is very much alive – if we can do what we know we can do. I’d love to see the likes of Toums, Tarks and the Judge start this one. They were sorely missed on Saturday but the transfer stories doing the rounds may still take this out of our hands

Middlesbrough, of course, are seen by many as some form of bogey team. Three league wins and two play off semi final victories in the last 16 months certainly make Boro’ the form team when it comes to games between our respective sides.

Then again, I don’t pay too much attention to history. Do so and you’ll beat yourself before you even leave the dressing room.

Personally, my only focus is on getting three points. Former Bees promotion hero Adam Forshaw will be down with his new side and whilst it would be nice to show him how we’ve progressed since last season, I’d settle for a scrappy 1-0.

Let’s just hope we don’t give him a half time lap of honour.

Nick Bruzon

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

 

To me. To you. To the Championship

26 May

So in the end it was Rotherham United, rather than Leyton Orient, who joined Brentford and Wolves in being promoted to the Championship this season.

Few who watched the League One play off final on Sunday could deny it was exciting. Some of the best goals ever to grace the stadium (in her old or new forms), more swings than a child’s play park and that most tense of conclusions – the, so-called, ‘lottery’ of the penalty shootout.

But then few who watched it could, honestly, have picked a winner. Paul, Barry and masked impersonators were seen on the BBC  chuckling all the way to the Championship

Paul, Barry and masked impersonators are chuckling all the way to the Championship

 

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.

Shakes fist angrily at footballing gods – a pain I know too well.

25 May

Brentford were denied a return of the 237 derby next season after QPR beat Derby County 1-0 in the play off for the Premiership on Saturday. The footballing gods then rubbed further salt in the wound by making us sit through a display of Champion’s League self-indulgence from Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo that would have made the twerking Miley Cyrus look like the shy and retiring type.

There’s no question he’s talented. But to see him strutting around half naked, like some coked up peacock on steroids, left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. You had to feel for Atlético Madrid after coming so, so close in regular time (or, ‘doing a Brentford’, as it felt watching that).

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.

Do we have an unforeseen kit clash?

24 May

Somebody call the United Nations.

The marketing chaps at Brentford seem to be turning the reveal of next season’s home shirt into a form of torture that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Spanish Inquisition.

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.

And the play off winners are….

23 May

This weekend Brentford find out who from Leyton Orient, Rotherham, Derby County and the Loftus Road mob will join them in the Championship next season.

Of course, it’s time for the annual end of season torture session at the W place in North London. Although, for once, Bees fans can watch the play offs with genuine excitement and interest given the impact they have on the forthcoming fixture list.

Will it be a trip to Yorkshire or that short jaunt across London to the shadow of the Olympic Stadium? Likewise, it’s a toss up between Pride Park (scene of August’s 5-0 League cup mauling) or a 237 bus ride to Shepherds Bush.

 

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Leyton Orient – big on motivation. I DO hope they get the chance to celebrate etc etc

 

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.

Natalie Sawyer stars in the best video, ever

15 May

So it seems that even Brentford fan and Sky Sports presenter Natalie Sawyer has been unable to resist joining in the Russell Slade ‘FA Cup’ jokes, following the Leyton Orient manager’s now legendary comment.

I had promised myself to let this rest for a while but then the following YouTube video reached the ‘Last Word’ inbox yesterday. The picture quality may be a bit ropey but Natalie’s wisecrack at the end more than makes up for it.

I’m sure you must have seen this already but if not, enjoy. And if so then just enjoy again.

Celebrating like they’ve won the FA Cup. And, frankly, why not?

14 May

Next season’s Championship took further shape last night as Brentford now know we won’t face Peterborough but could have a return encounter with Leyton Orient.

You have to say that the O’s deserved their spot in the final. Peterborough weren’t given a sniff and, barring a frenetic final few moments where even goalkeeper Robert Olejnik joined in the action, Jimmy Glass style (who doesn’t love it when that happens), they were barely allowed to threaten.

The celebratory scenes when the final whistle blew put me in mind of when Brentford had promotion confirmed against Preston. A celebratory pitch invasion of epic proportions took place and, to be honest, you can understand why.

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.