Tag Archives: squad

Has Harlee scored a huge own goal (or is he just talking b*llocks)? As for that cup draw….

27 Oct

It says something when the Haribo cup draw was only the second most nonsensical thing in the football world on Thursday. Harlee Dean, perhaps sore at missing out on this season’s Brentford captaincy to Nico Yennaris, has done some silly things in his time. Namely the ogs, suicidal back passes, red cards, woeful positioning and ‘going again’. But his motivational speech for Birmingham City prior to their forthcoming derby with Aston Villa has potentially topped the lot.

I’m not going to sit here and overly slag him off. His words generate their own, natural, reaction. Besides, despite the errors from somebody learning the game Harlee more than had his positive moments over six years at Griffin Park. Very much the unsung hero, he was one of my son’s favourite players (after Sam and Jota ). He is  also one of a very elite group – a Brentford player to score at Wembley – and, of course, would later help us to promotion. Let’s not forget our former captain is the current Bees player of the year. And now he is at Birmingham City.

img_4043

Harlee – heart on his sleeve.

Perhaps it is having to be content with a place on the bench that has triggered him to show some ‘passion’. To try and endear himself to a home side whose supporters must be frustrated at their current anti-form. Moreso, having spent huge amounts in the summer transfer window. To try and build some positivity at St. Andrews ahead of the Aston Villa game on Sunday lunchtime.

Anyway, there’s already enough flak out there for the player without me adding to it. This, after his claim that the current Birmingham City squad  – who still sit below the Bees in the table – is 10 (ten) times better than that which he himself was a part of when we finished fifth in the Championship under Mark Warburton.

His interview, which you can see below (and skip to about 1.20 to bypass the rest of the nonsense) , contains the gem:

“We’ve got quality in that squad. I’ve been in teams where we’ve finished fifth in this league and missed out on promotion by play offs. and this squad is ten times better than that. Its just about getting the balance right”.

On the one hand, a Brentford squad containing the likes of: David Button, Jake Bidwell, Number 26, Nico Yennaris, Sam Saunders, Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas, Alan Judge, Jon Toral, Jota, Alex Pritchard, Andre Gray, Scott Hogan. That’s before you add the experience provided by the likes of Dougie, Macca, King Kev and Toumani.

On the other, a Birmingham City squad whose record in the league since Harlee joined has been: LLLDWLWL. Five defeats out of eight. Including the 6-1 humping at Hull City and most recently a 2-0 loss at Millwall (although he was only part of the squad that day). Even we’ve beaten them this season !

Deluded? Desperate? Or just panicked? Looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights, the famous 1000 yard stare coming to the fore, was this simply a case of opening his mouth then engaging brain in order to fill dead air? Or just some misguided attempt to win over the fans before a game which will finish 1-1 (standard Aston Villa result).

One expects a player to back his new team. I’m not that naive. Yet this came over as a cheap dig and crass stupidity. Forgetful of his own past where, but for some of our own defensive errors at a time when Tony Craig was bizzarely kept out of the team, a squad that could well have reached the Premier League.

With Brentford travelling to Birmingham on Wednesday night, all he has done is further galvanise the already vocal Bees support ahead of that one. Dean Smith must be sitting back and chuckling at his own team talk having been delivered already. Don’t be surprised to see Nico given the captain’s armband in that one.

Nice one, Harlee. And thank you. For once I’m hoping you really have scored another own goal.

Bees 1-0 v Watford Warburton

Warbs’ squad. Apparently, a tenth of the talent as that now at Birmingham City

Back in the world of real football, the draw for the fifth round of the Haribo sponsored EFL cup look place yesterday. Eventually. In yet another publicity stunt masquerading as an ‘error’, the draw was massively delayed due to what was described as a twitter glitch. This, a competition, where previous draws have seen the live Facebook feed from Thailand (count the things already wrong with that sentence) mysteriously drop as Charlton were seemingly drawn against both Exeter AND Cheltenham. The confusion of round two with the three ball system.The third round taking place at 4.30am, from China. But not televised.

All of which has, coincidentally, got the drinks company name trending on social media. Something which once again happened yesterday before the draw would eventually take place over an hour after it was due to start. Who’d have thought it?

Yawn. Boycott.  I’m certainly not going to start buying their product now. Out of principal. And taste. If nothing else, they sponsor Reading.

Although perhaps, in retrospect, this is all Harlee is guilty of. Talking something up to get us publicising it. Let’s be honest, Birmingham City on a Wednesday night probably wouldn’t have been top of the list a month ago.

Now though… Things have just got very tasty. Unlike a certain soft drink.

Buzzette REd Bull

No C****** for this Bees fan. It’s Red Bull all the way

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Matthew Benham’s letter to fans – the verdict

22 Jul

Wow. With Brentford fans still talking about the sales of David Button to Fulham and Jake Bidwell to QPR, Matthew Benham caught us with a stunning surprise right (or should that be, write?). Yet again our owner proving he is the master of the unexpected but utterly welcome with yesterday’s open letter. Brutally honest, frank, revealing and optimistic as Matthew wrote to supporters with his thoughts on last campaign along with his hopes for the future.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 05.26.40

We want to be in the top six and we will see where we can go from there”. Boom. That was some opening and an aspiration for sure. Talk about set your sights high yet, at the same time, if we start this season like we ended the last one then absolutely no reason why not. Moreso given the new signings, “They are high-quality players, young and hungry and for all three there was unanimous backing from everyone in the recruitment process to sign them.”

We’ve been in the territory of ambitious hopes before. I still recall Rasmus telling us in September how the Brentford squad would get stronger each transfer window. Honestly, could we say that had happened when the January window closed?

At the time, no. Yet nobody can deny the players that did come in have grown, developed and are arguably performing much, much better having had games under their belt. Any club would do well to replace an Andre Gray but Scott Hogan has certainly picked up the baton and run. Goals were going in for fun. Moses Odubajo looked a huge loss but I love Max Colin – a player Matthew acknowledged himself was one of the odd ones to hit the ground running

Yes, we’ve had  to make some sales this time around. Inevitable but I can’t wait to see how those new players bed into an now established squad. Of course, we don’t know what else might happen before the summer window ’slams shut’ but, for now, the changes don’t seem anywhere near as wholesale as last time out. More to the point, they seem a lot more positive – at least in terms of potential and excitement for those coming in.

Of course the owner wants to big us up, to try and engender optimism. I get that and it’s natural. But, equally, there was  an undercurrent of almost too much honesty in there. That’s no bad thing – quite the opposite. We’ve all got eyes and we could see what was happening out there at times. Likewise, we’ve moaned on these pages about the lack of such an approach or fan comms in the past. It’s more that it was just so unexpected.

This time last year there wasn’t a lot of direction or organisation. I don’t blame anyone, it happened” and “We did change too much at once as well but I like it a lot that it’s stable this year” were just two of the lines to really jump out (see, also, talk about KK and the closure of the Academy). If you want to set yourself up to be criticised then here’s the ammo. Yet, to be honest, as supporters we could see this and we knew it too. Fair play for Matthew holding up his hand.

Tinfoil cup

The FA Cup dream was over after a rubbish afternoon

Personally, I’d have been disappointed had there been no recognition for some of the low points in a campaign that included the Marinus experiment, pitch gate, the FCM parade in our Walsall cup debacle and then the infamous 4-6-0 formation in the no show at QPR . Matthew didn’t need to highlight our flaws but that he has, and that they are recognised, is infinitely more welcome than his ignoring them. He could have hidden but he didn’t and this, for me, was probably the most telling point of the entire letter.

On the new stadium, there was a teaser of an update with the admission that: “We are close to taking another big step forward. Hopefully there will be news in the next few weeks”.

Nobody could deny that Lionel Road has been a long process, for numerous well documented reasons. However, with Brentford about to begin their third consecutive Championship season as a terraced club, here’s hoping for something else to cheer about on that front. The clock is ticking

I did find Matthew’s closing comment of “I don’t like it when fans sing my name though, I wish they would stop. It’s not for me” equally interesting. As somebody who normally keeps quite a low profile, to write his letter was an unusual (albeit welcome) step. To make this admission must have been a tough one.

If nothing else, supporters just want to recognise and thank him for what he has done. Then again, if we respect the man that much then perhaps one to drop from the repertoire for now.

If Matthew spares us goal music the least we can do is spare him a song !

Is everything as good as it could be at Brentford? No. If it was we’d be celebrating a Premier League title now, having gone up against Middlesbrough in the play offs and then beaten Leicester City to the title last season. But, it IS exciting.

Just to be starting a third successive Championship campaign after so long in the doldrums and coming ’so close’ gets my spine tingling. As somebody who has been coming to Griffin Park since 1979, to be in with another attempt at breaking into the top flight is one that genuinely excites and baffles me. Historically, our default mode is mid-table or sniffing around the trap door to tier 4.

Let’s be honest. There were a lot of things that made no sense last season and frustrated us. We’ve been there, done  it and you could write a book on the subject. But far be it from me to waffle on about that any more. That’s a job for others.

It’s a new campaign, a new start and I’m full of new optimism. Forget the hashtags and slogans. Just keep the straight talk coming.

Bring on Huddersfield Town…

20160312-145223-0008277-3199261_613x460

Nick Bruzon

Don’t moan Bees. Look at Birmingham, Leeds and Ipswich

26 Oct

What a Championship Saturday that was. Brentford drew 2-2 with Bolton (or lost 3-1 depending on if you were watching the half time Zorb action or the main event), Birmingham City and Bournemouth shared 8 goals between one of the two teams whilst Leeds United changed managers. As for Ipswich Town, their home game with Huddersfield Town was graced with a visit from Clem….

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.

Who's this with his eyes on the target?

Who’s this with his eyes on the target?

Despite keeping Clem behind bars, did his presence deny Ipswich a win?

Despite keeping Clem behind bars, did his presence deny Ipswich a win?

Reading – what were they thinking?

2 Oct

With Brentford due a visit from Reading on Saturday, we’ll start the big match build up with another episode of the semi-regular series : ‘What were they thinking’ – a look at the best (and worst) of our opponent’s shirts.

As ever, the selections have been made using no more a scientific method than personal opinion. And, likewise, the four categories remain: The best; The worst; The unfortunate design; The away kit.

And in the case of Reading, with what still feels like recent history fresh in the memory, you’ll forgive me for one choice.

The best : 1987 – 89 Made by Patrick ; sponsored by Courage. Although this design made it’s debut in 1984, the use of the new club badge was only a later addition.

This ditches the horizontal stripes and, likewise, the dark blue – both of which make the majority of Reading shirts look like something the Loftus Road mob might turn out wearing . A broad, vertical stripe and central badge also increase the retro appeal.

A home winner for Reading

A home winner for Reading

The worst : 2001-03: Made by Kit@ ; sponsored by Westcoast . It’s bad enough that this one looks like something out of Shepherds Bush – but then many Reading kits do. However, this one wins the prize simply because of Jamie Cureton and THAT game in 2002.

If the more recent memory of THAT penalty hurts, it wasn’t like we hadn’t been there before…..

The end result of 'THAT' game. The words have been changed to protect the innocent

The end result of ‘THAT’ game. The words have been changed to protect the innocent

 

The unfortunate design : 1991-92 Made by Matchwinner ; sponsored by HAT Painting. You know how before some TV programmes, viewers are warned that the content contains flashing images and strobing that may cause seizure – see this shirt on close up.

The brave move of ditching stripes and traditional club colours has continued but the end result is something that results in most onlookers being dazzled by the reflective glare. Full marks for innovative effort, if nothing else.

A brave decision.....

A brave decision…..

The away shirt : 1991-92 Made by Matchwinner ; sponsored by HAT Painting. A Matchwinner 91/92 double. I’d love to know how many replica shirts the club sold this season.

If the home version was unusual, the away kit trumps it by a country mile. One of those where you have to ask if this is ‘so bad it’s good’ or ‘so good it’s genius’?

Matchwinner scoop two awards for their 91-92 collection

Matchwinner scoop two awards for their 91-92 collection

Referee Salisbury plain as Hornets sting Bees

1 Oct

What can you see about that? Well done to Watford for taking their chances and taking all three points. Bad luck Brentford for playing, at times, some scintillating football and coming close to a draw that, on the balance of play, would have been the least we deserved.

That said, “Bad luck, well played and scintillating football” count for nothing if you can’t convert….

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.

Watford – what were they thinking?

30 Sep

With Brentford travelling to Watford tonight, it’s time for a return of the semi-regular series : ‘What were they thinking’ – a look at the best (and worst) of our opponent’s shirts. You can find the regular pre-match column here but for those with an interest in all things ‘shirt related’ then read on.

As ever, the selections have been made by no more a scientific method than personal opinion. The four categories remain: The best; The unfortunate design; The worst; The away kit.

So without further ado, let’s crack on.

The best : 1982 – 85 Made by Umbro ; sponsored by Iveco (Industrial Vehicles Corporation – I’ve checked ). This ditches the collars, only a good thing in a shirt, and is probably best associated with the 1984 FA Cup final. Combining the yellow, red and black used since the mid-70s it is a simple classic.

A classic shirt - the shorts, perhaps, best forgotten

A classic shirt – the shorts, perhaps, best forgotten

The unfortunate design : 1985-88 Made by Umbro ; sponsored by Solvite. Nothing much wrong with this, in theory. However , a decent yellow shirt is let down with the supplementary red / black emblazoned across the front of the chest in a gauche stripe that looks like two Inter City 125 trains crossing at high speed.

Sponsor free version - complete with High Speed Trains

Sponsor free version – complete with High Speed Trains

 

From Euston to vicarage Road

From Euston to vicarage Road

The worst : 2013-14 Made by Puma ; sponsored by 138.com . Bang up to date for this Puma (who else?) effort that not only ditches the red (save for the sponsor’s logo) but then paints a wave-like black yoke across the shoulders. However, the unforgiveable offence is turning the club crest into a monochromatic neon yellow affair. I am not a-moosed.

Where's the red? What have they done to the badge?

Where’s the red? What have they done to the badge?

The away shirt : 1994-95 Made by Hummel; sponsored by Blaupunkt. Hummel made some classics for Brentford and they’ve done it again here. I don’t know whether to recoil in horror or embrace their audacity. So bad it’s fantastic. Best described as a kind of soft-focus fuzzy bar code effect.

A Hummel away shirt to rival our own 92-93 version

A Hummel away shirt to rival our own 92-93 version

Who will sting who as Bees take on Hornets ?

30 Sep

Brentford travel to Watford this evening in a game that has now been declared a sell out for Bees fans. But with both teams in buoyant mood and flying high in the Championship, the Vicarage Road club were rocked by the resignation of their manager yesterday.

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.

Leeds an ‘end of level boss’ as Bees have a new ‘that penalty’

28 Sep

Leeds United came but Brentford conquered. It was another great performance from a Bees team who moved back into the top half of the table, past Leeds and within touching distance of the play-off zone.

Highlights of the game were plentiful, to the point where I’m really struggling to pick out a man of the match.

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.

We’ve got our stripes back. What next?

27 Sep

Another weekend, another game. This time it’s the turn of Leeds United to visit Griffin Park. And with Brentford having a goals for/against tally of 3/9 from the last three games, can we expect a change in line up?

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.

Could Jon Toral upset Leeds United and make you a fortune?

26 Sep

Brentford began preparations for the weekend’s visit of Leeds United with the Fans Forum on Thursday night. It was, as ever, a great event (full credit to the club and all involved) where we learnt plenty from the panel about the Bees – and something from the floor about Leeds.

I have no doubt the club will publish a video link to the footage, which was also streamed live on YouTube, shortly. In the meantime, the club site has an official summary of several Bees related points including one of the questions also suggested yesterday re target positions. This one being put forward by the similarly minded, “Nick Baxter, down the line”.

But it was the final point, from the audience, that really intrigued me and was a fact I’d never heard before. Specifically, in regards to Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino

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.