Tag Archives: Stan Bowles

Time to remember some heroes.

16 Feb

Brentford travel to Loftus Road tomorrow for a game with QPR. A game where we’ll be looking to get back on the horse after the humungous unbeaten run finally came to an end in game 22 at the hands of Barnsley. Oh well. We go… once more. Every team has an off day. That’s football. Whether a temporary wobble such as that experienced by Bournemouth in recent weeks or a more rounded falling apart. Again. Like Leeds United in recent season(s). However, even they eventually found their mojo and look at how the Elland Road outfit are flying now. Here’s to joining them soon and it starts on Wednesday evening when we take part in the 237 derby. We’ll look at that in more depth tomorrow but for now, we’ve another guest columnist (following Harry’s debut yesterday – and thank you all for the kind comments on the socials about that one) in Bernard Quackenbush. Elsewhere, Queens Park Rangers are appealing. Not a phrase I thought would ever be used and, perhaps, best to start there as they look to support the legend that is Stan Bowles.

We all know Stan. Know the stories. Know the legend. Know the mercurial talent who – along with the likes of Les Ferdinand, Ian Holloway and Yoann Barbet – are best known for their stints at Griffin Park. QPR are welcome to Martin Rowlands. Yet now a group of their supporters are looking for football fans’ help. Normally, such a distress signal going up from Loftus Road would be met with us telling them to kiss my badge but this is different. This is for Stan. This is to try and persuade the club owners to create a permanent tribute to the supporter favourite.

It takes someone special to unite the supporters of each club. To be equally admired by both. But if you saw him play, you’d know. So, for once, here’s the ask. Let’s help our neighbours. There’s a petition that can be signed here. If nothing else, it’ll force their owners to spend some money and perhaps we can see it in the FA Cup next season. Assuming we can go to football next season. In all seriousness though, Stan was a rare breed in his time on pitch – a player you’d pay to go and see in his own right. Here’s to signing off on this one and then getting back to usual tomorrow night.

Stan – genius!

Ok, on to the main business of the day. Our guest columnist. Regular readers to these pages and Bees based Twitter users will likely be familiar with the Bournemouth based fan. His comments are always worth a look and, like Harry, anything he adds to the main pages instantly makes me question why I waste my own time doing this. However, an opportunity for his own input is never one to be spurned and so with some food for thought, over to BQ……..

Way back in July when those final couple of games at Griffin Park reached their ‘denouement’, I wondered how to mark the occasion. I thought about doing a feature on the greatest players to ever play at the old girl, but then I realised I knew next to nothing about those heroes who graced the hallowed turf way before I was born….but then its struck me. Why not feature all those players I wanted to be in the local park when playing with my friends, and all those players I admired ever since I first saw that beautiful green turf on Saturday 28th April 1979.

So I got jotting down all those names of players I admired. There were plenty who would be on all of our lists, and one or two who may only be on a few of our lists. I had no idea how long the list would be when I started, but looking at the list when completed, I realised that the thread may end up taking longer than watching the whole of Mahabharat. It was purely accidental that the very last hero yesterday was number 150.

So what about the players themselves. Of course there were the obvious ones like King Kev, King Jota and King…er…Said, but there were plenty of heroes who got on my list just for what they did one game like Alex Rhodes (goal against Bounemouth), Jon Toral (hat trick against Blackpool) & Micky Droy (staring out a whole stand at Bournemouth). As you may have noticed, Bournemouth crops up a lot. I emigrated to the golden sands when I was still in infant school, and I have been here ever since. To me, a game against the Muff is as big as Fulham or Shepherds Bush. I have more friends who are Cherries fans than Bees fans, and so I always taken great delight in those Bournemouth related moments. Whether it was Marcus Bean’s midfield masterclass. Stephen Hunt down at Dorch, Lee Harvey and the raining cushions, Chris Kamara and the Freight Rover and the sight of a very drunk fancy dress adorned Kevin Dearden staggering past my flat in Boscombe.

Oh, Jota….

One of the joys of the hero thread has been hearing from you guys who have shared your memories too. Now if this had been one of those Channel 5 countdowns then Paul Tonkinson would have been David Goodwin, Paul Coster & one or two others and Grace Dent, has to be Deb & her camera down in Chepstow. I thank each and every one of you for your comments and memories Also it was really fun to see the heroes themselves passing comment. From Clayton Donaldson’s fist pump, to Lloyd Owusu going one further with raised hands, cant think why he did that! Lasse Vibe correcting me on when he left. I’m sure he knows better than I do! Marcus Bean lamenting Karleigh & Powell for coming to blows at Dean Court. Bob Booker being a gent & replying to all who commented. But best of all was Paul Gibbs and Leon Legge describing how they remember their time at GP with great fondness and particularly us the fans. A final word on this goes to Natalie Sawyer, who commenting on Jonathan Douglas simply said… ‘I guess he’s alright’.

I thank each and every one of you for your likes on the thread. It was fascinating to see some players I expected to be raining likes to get 1 or 2. Sadly, Alex Rhodes, Henrik Dalsgaard & Billy Clarke all got the usual United Kingdom score in Eurovision of nul points. We love you really guys! At the other end of the scale it was current player Christian Norgaard, closely followed by Richard Cadette who registered over 50 likes. Other notable giants of the thread included Paul Nicholas lookalike Neil Smillie, Alan McCormack, Kevin Godfrey, and the previously mentioned Vibe & Legge. Some heroes helped it along a little by liking themselves including Romaine Sawyers, Karleigh Osborne, Yoann Barbet, Nathan Elder, Paul Evans, Ben Burgess, Steve Sidwell, as well as Bean & Macca. Paul Gibbs liked his former captain, Evans and Glen Poole, not only liked himself, but also liked Ryan Dickson, Nathan Elder & Billy Manuel. Did he owe them all drinks or something?

Triple B. BIG… BENNNN. BURGESSSSS

It was great reading some of your comments too, from Luis Adriano’s debut pitch invasion after a Paddy Roche penalty save on the last day of the season. Tales of Joe Allon telling one fanzine writer that his most difficult opponent was his ex-wife. How Dean Holdsworth was asked by one supporter to get a hat trick for him that night, and managing to bag a brace. How someone else saw Terry Evans clatter into the back post and felt sorry for the post. Toumani being able to put in the perfect tackle with his Inspector Gadget legs. How Fred Callaghan seemed to fall out with literally everyone and your usual host of these lauded pages naming Gus Hurdle as one his all time favourite full backs.

Our heroes were not only noticed by Bees. Fans from deepest darkest Dorset remembered Denny Mundee, particularly in a game at GP. Posh fans remembered Robbie Cooke. Everyone Alan McCormack ever played for loved him, but the biggest word goes out to the Bairns of Falkirk who regaled tales of Richard Cadette and his goal against the Gers. A wonderful memory for fans of a club who sadly only able to see their heroes in old clips.

One of my all time heroes – Bliss – with Oohh Richie Cadette

There were of course many who didn’t make the cut. It was not because they were not good enough. This list was not about technique and skill. This list was about heart and about those who made me proud to be a Bee. Which leads me to my last choice. My all time favourite Bee, Denny Mundee. If there was one player who personified what its like to be a Bee, for me it was Denny. Chucked onto the football scrapheap. Denny was looking for a new home, and was taken in by Brentford. He was given a short contract and started off well enough at full back, but for some mad reason he was then given the opportunity to express himself in a way he had never been able to express himself before. Like the reveal of superhero, Denny went from run of the mill utility man to the Diego Maradona of the 3rd tier. Twiddling one way, shuffling the other way, unleashing a power shot from 30 yards out, and then he vanished just as quickly as he arrived.

My last thanks are to all of you who kept with me throughout the thread, but most of all my thanks go out to those 150, plus all the others who made Griffin Park a huge part of our lives. A place where we laughed, cried and screamed for joy, and occasionally invaded the pitch.

Denny. As stylish on pitch….
…. as he was off it.

BQ

Many thanks, indeed, Bernard. There’s not much more to add except, perhaps, my own personal thanks for allowing a trawl through both the photo archives and the memory banks. Good times. Good times indeed. Here’s to many, many more and a new breed of heroes coming to the fore.

And if you’d like to read more, the ‘hashtag’ #trophyfriends… I mean #MyGriffinParkHeroes is on Twitter where you can follow the whole countdown.

Until then, here’s another few of mine. Kevin Godfrey and Allan Cockram…

Kev-in God-frey. Kev-in God-frey.
Cockers……..

Nick Bruzon

With Brentford in a Field of Dreams (sorry) here’s one turkey from Christmas past before Cardiff on Boxing Day.

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all that. Brentford are preparing to host Cardiff City (for whom Sol Bamba – a terrace songsmith’s dream if there was one – will be missing) whilst Rangers fans will be crying into their sprouts at the prospect of no Jota under the tree. As for Matthew Benham, will he be the beneficiary of a £15million gift from West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa or even Reading in the New Year sales? This, of course, being the current suggested rate for a Scott Hogan.

Reading have probably got more chance of picking up Hulk Hogan than Scott. Why would he need to even consider going there? Besides, with the Royals already baulking at the prospect of having to pay £9million (as has been reported in the Birmingham Mail), adding another 6 to that is going to be well beyond their particular ball park.

reading-hogan

There’s more chance of Hulk than Scott

That is if we even sell in the forthcoming window. Eventually, of course, it will happen. Nobody is that naive whilst the simple mathematics of ‘one club players’ so rarely being a thing these days make it inevitable at some point. Yet in the short term, the tantalising prospect of seeing him and a returning Jota on the same pitch is one I’m still holding out hope for in the second half of this season.

Still, all that is to come. We have the festive games against Cardiff and Norwich City to before that. Scott will surely be the first name on the team sheet (unless he has a sick relative), closely followed by Tom Field. The left back “delighted” at having just signed a contract extension that will see him at Griffin Park until 2020.

For all that Scott is doing it at one end, few could deny the wonderful start that Tom has had to his own Brentford career. From a home debut agasint Fulham where his call up was so unexpected that even supporters were asking ‘Who?‘ when they saw his name on the team sheet, to a recent run in the side as Dean has switched to a three centre back system supported by Tom and Maxime Colin. It is no coincidence that we are yet to concede a goal in the League whilst Tom has been on the pitch.

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Tom in a field of dreams. A pun so bad we made it twice

Prior to all of that we have Christmas day ahead of us. Preparations here are remarkably under control with all shopping done (for once). Already I’m dreading that Columbo moment around 3pm when Mrs Bruzon asks for “ Just one more thing…..” from a by then heaving, and empty shelved, supermarket. So until that happens, here’s one we’ve run before but probably deserves another airing.

It is a story that, if being honest, I had completely forgotten about until an article in The Times a few years ago from none other than Mark Clemmit.

Mark, of course, is better known as Clem, the ever popular roving reporter for BT Sport and formerly of the BBC Football League Show. There, his own performance was the subject of a season long analysis in 2014/15 as to whether there is any support for many supporters’ long held belief that he ‘jinxes’ whichever team he follows. Specifically, that the team covered by the man with the mic that week would, at best, pick up a point. Indeed, by season end Clem teams had only tasted victory 7(seven) times out of 30

But we digress. The jinx factor aside, it is fair to say that Clem remains an endearing and well-respected pundit. Aswell as his TV work he has also been a prolific writer over the years and it was for the aforementioned paper that he chose to talk about Brentford a few years back. Or, specifically, what we tried at Christmas 1983

To me, 1983 doesn’t seem that long ago. Knight Rider, Blackadder and the A-Team graced our TV screens whilst big hits at the cinema included Return of the Jedi and Octopussy. On the football pitch, Stan Bowles was strutting his stuff for The Bees whilst Bob Booker was halfway through his first spell at Griffin Park.

That said, given as Bob made his final appearance for us in 1993 that doesn’t really narrow it down, such was the three-decade spanning length of his Brentford career. Even Roger Moore only lasted as Bond for 12 years although for all that I love his time in the role, even I have to step back in slight disbelief at the image, from the official movie poster, of 007 casually standing on the tail of a speeding aeroplane as he tosses a bad guy to his doom.

Octopussy

Roger’s wing walking (top left) a highlight of 1983

But the point being that, to me at least, 1983 still seems very vivid in the mind’s eye. As such, I was intrigued by the gem that Clem had unearthed, pertaining to Brentford’s Christmas fixture list. The ever-progressive club had, at one point, looked to revive an old festive tradition and arrange our game with Wimbledon for 11am on December 25th.

It seems madness now but not as crazy as the reasoning, given out by the Press Officer at the time. It was an attempt to get back to, and I quote, “The old idea of men going to football whilst ladies stayed at home to cook the turkey”.

Seriously? Was this just Clem having a joke at the expense of Brentford fans? Seemingly not. A quick trawl of the interweb reveals this gem elsewhere whilst, more importantly, it is directly referenced in the excellent “100 years of Brentford” book.

After protests from both sets of fans the game was rearranged for Christmas Eve and we promptly lost 3-4 in front of 6,689 fans.

Their numbers, presumably, bolstered by women who had been unchained from their cookers.

Here’s hoping for a better result on Monday against Cardiff City. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

When push comes to shove – The Last Word on….

26 Aug

Brentford host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and so, as part of the big match build up, we’ll move on from talk of Alan Judge to Newcastle United and look at our next opponents. It’s time for our new regular feature, The Last Word on…and today Wednesday are in the hot seat. Featuring a series of regular questions/ categories about the visitors , the results are picked using no more scientific criteria than personal taste. With apologies for any glaring omissions, here we go (again).

The Brentford connection (he’s played for both). Without the benefit of any super computer, I’m having to rely on my somewhat scattergun knowledge for this category. That, certainly, something which accounts for Stan Bowles missing out last time in the Nottingham Forest article. Sorry, Stan. And whilst I’m sure that similar gaps will appear this time around, a few names do spring immediately to mind.

There’s Deon Burton, whose time at the Bees included that epic season under Martin Allen in 2004/05 where his goals in a 2-1 win and 3-3 draw with Wednesday helped us towards an eventual play-off semi final place…..

How about his teammate Michael Turner? One of the classiest centre backs to ever grace Griffin Park and somebody who was last seen at the Owls during the previous campaign whilst on loan from Norwich City.

But the choice of standout name boils down to one of two Andys. Sinton was THE man at Griffin Park back in the late 80s. Back to back supporters player of the year in 86/87 and 87/88 he was an almost constant feature in his three seasons. Attacking play and goals were the order of the day as his form played a key role in our epic 88/89 FA Cup run the that would eventually end at Liverpool in the quarter finals. A transfer to QPR would follow where international recognition (12 England caps) and his move to Sheffield Wednesday came next. One of the all time Brentford legends.

But, for me, when you mention Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday there is one name that always strings to mind  – Andy McCulloch. 48 goals in 127 league games for the Bees from 76- 79 were match by an almost identical record at Hillsborough where he notched 44 in 125 following his transfer.

And it is that transfer which, in Andy’s own words, is one of the more unusual in the annals of football history footballing

It was a classic. I scored a header at Griffin Park and had my nose broken. I was on a stretcher, going into the dressing room and Ian St. John, who was at Sheffield Wednesday, pointed to me as I’m going in the door and said , “would you fancy coming to Sheffield Wednesday?” At Brentford –after I had just scored a goal. He tapped me up!

The deal was completed on the camera gantry  at Wembley stadium with their manager Jack Charlton. Andy explaining , “It was before a Scotland-England game, I think . I’d gone up there just to meet Jackie. It was the only way of meeting him in London.”

Andy McCulloch

That iconic image of Andy

The Brentford encounter (noteworthy game with the Bees). Our return to the Championship hasn’t seen great results. Last season, in particular, seeing us lucky to escape from Hillsborough having only gone down 4-0 after Yoann Barbet was shown the red card just five minutes into the game.

Instead, we’ll look at the aforementioned 2005/05campaign under Martin Allen. Again, the result was an equally painful one but, for a time, the prospect of playing Wednesday was nothing but the ultimate in excitement.

Having already seen a wonderful FA Cup campaign that finally saw us go out in a fifth round replay to Premier League Southampton, knockout football held no worries. And so we approached our play-off semi final with Wednesday in high spirits. A 1-0 defeat at Hillsborough soon took the wind out of those sails with the home team taking the lead on 12 minutes and never giving us a look in.

The return match at Griffin Park saw the Bees go down 2-1. Even then, Andy Frampton’s goal was nothing more than a very late consolation. Hardly a highlight in our history but one noted to remind us of the pain suffered in this end of season lottery. Moreso, given the hope that one day we will get it right. One day….

Favourite son  (their most famous former player ). The 80s and early 90s were, in particular, a time where the name Sheffield Wednesday evoked nothing but the best imagery. Mr Tom was on their shirt whilst the likes of Lee Chapman and the free scoring David Hirst were on the pitch. To that mix you can add Des Walker (who, of course, featured in this category last time out for Nottingham Forest and Chris Waddle although the latter was sadly bereft of ‘that’ mullet by this point.

From the more recent era, two names spring to mind for the neutral.  Benito Carbone channeled the spirit of Chris Waddle with exciting play, long, long hair and even his iconic ‘Alice band’. Yet it was another Italian who scoops the honours this time around.  Paolo Di Canio.

The club’s top scorer in 1997-98 and a firm fan favourite (apologies for the sub-Chronicle alliteration) he won their player of the year award that season. However, it was the following campaign that secured his cult status when he received an 11 match ban for pushing referee Paul Alcock over during a match against Arsenal.

Nobody could deny it was a flash of unjustifiable temper from the temperamental genius. Yet, at the same time, Alcock’s comedy pratfall certainly added to the seriousness with which the incident would be viewed

And the oscar for best fallover following a shove goes to…

Famous fan. Fast becoming a personal favourite category in this feature, Sheffield Wednesday don’t let us down when it comes to their celebrity supporters.

The biggest names here would seem to be the Arctic Monkeys – all of them, apparently. A fact further emphasised by the fact you normally see them described as ‘Sheffield band….’

Cricket’s Michael Vaughan and former England captain is also an Owl as is, of  all people, singer Jermaine Jackson. The one time Jackson 5 star supposedly began following the club in the late 80s and even wrote a song for last campaign’s play-off defeat to Hull City AFC.

Yet it wouldn’t be The Last Word without mentioning ‘That band’ . If not celebrities, they are certainly recognised faces.

Their moribund parping and off-key trumpeting, so long the bane of England international fixtures, also features at Hillsborough. Flaccid renditions of ’Love will tear us apart’ or their jingoistic movie medley “The Great Escape/Italian job’ being the last thing anybody outside of this self-appointed ‘supporters band’ wants to hear.

Sheffield wednesday band with trevor francis

That band. With Trevor Francis (inset)

Best Ever League Performance. In terms of pure scoreline, a simple one this week. Any excuse to crank out the brackets and a 9-1 victory over Birmingham City at Hillsborough back in December 1930 saw the Owls easily cruise past the 7(seven) goal mark

Moment of ignominy – ( what it says – opposite to above). I could pick ‘that band’ but we’re bigger than that.

Likewise, in terms of pure results then going back over a century to October 1912 saw Wednesday go down 10-1 at Aston Villa. In recent years, Villa have struggled to score 10 goals in an entire season let alone in one game

But the turn of this century saw them go on an eight game First Division (second tier) losing streak that lasted over a month: 9 September until 17 October saw their form guide read: LLLLLLLL. Beginning with a 0-5 home humping at the hands of Wimbledon, a Steve Harkness goal finally brought this dismal run to an end with a 1-0 win over Birmingham. Incredibly, they stayed up.

Manager of the century ( most famous /popular manager). Howard Wilkinson ? Big Ron? Erm. Move along, nothing to see here. Whilst the purist will likely go for Wilkinson, for me  you can’t knock the achievements of Trevor Francis.

Taking over as player-manager with the team back in the top flight, he lead them to third place in the league in 1992 and, with it, a hard-earned UEFA cup place. There was no entry to the league of fake Champions for coming third or fourth then.

His Wednesday team then took part in the first ever Premier League where they came 7th (seventh). However, the season was as notable for a double Wembley appearance where they reached the finals of bot the League and FA cup.

All time high ( the club’s defining achievement). First division champions in the ‘20s. The wonder years under Francis. Wednesday even won the League cup through the wisdom and guidance of Big Ron. Yet, for me all this pails into insignificance compared to the greatest thing not to come out of Sheffield.

That band doesn’t travel.

Nick Bruzon

A surprise source unearths a real Christmas turkey

30 Dec

As Brentford spent Christmas going down to both Ipswich Town and Wolves, it seems that away from the field various sources were busy either writing about, or preparing articles on, the club’s home fixture from the 1983 festive period.

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.

Roger's wing walking is in the top left corner

Roger’s wing walking is in the top left corner