Tag Archives: Stephen Hunt

Once a hero, always a hero. Martin Allen provides a great escape from lockdown.

12 Apr

Martin Allen I bloody love you. With the lockdown biting hard on football, what could have been a miserable afternoon of self-isolation and staying indoors was turned into nothing short of a magnificent two and a half hours. Following on from last week’s session with Phil Giles, Mad Dog himself was there to lift any bank holiday gloom for Brentford fans in the latest of the GPG live video chats on Saturday.

Bedecked in ‘that’ tank top and with Bees supporters hanging on his every word, it was a quite unique peek behind the curtain of what went on at the time and what makes Martin tick. Whilst he also talked about West Ham, Leicester City and Eastleigh the conversation was dominated by The Bees.  The affection felt for his time at Griffin Park, his players and Peter Gilham (whose red PMA wristband he still wears) there for all to see and hear.

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Live in your living room – face to face with Martin Allen

I’ve no idea how the time went so quickly. Yet from the off Martin had us hooked. It was quite bizarre, in the nicest sense. In the blink of an eye we were all transported back to 2004 with tales of the Great Escape. Of the Cup runs. Of Harry Redknapp. Of the unapproved ‘bid’ to sign Paolo Di Canio from West Ham. One can only imagine the panic in the board room. Of play-off pain. Of Steve Claridge. Michael Turner. Sonko. The genuine affection and pride in Jay Tabb. The potential of Alex Rhodes and Oli Skulason, both of whom saw promising careers so cruelly hit by injury. 

The former a player whom Martin felt had the potential to go all the way to the top whilst the story of breaking the injury news to the later one which brought a lump to the the throat. We talked about the players v fans match. About secret 5.30am video filming in the Thames at Kew Bridge with a lad called Mark Chapman (never heard of him). And we talked a lot about Sam Sodje.

Oh my. You could probably write a book on that section alone. The tackles. The signing. Training with Deon Burton. His approach to opening letters from the council – and the carnage that almost ensued as a result. And I bet what was discussed don’t even begin to touch the sides. The recording of the session has gone live already – you can find it below c/o the GPG YouTube upload. Please do take a look as these words can’t even begin to do it justice.

Equally, there was honesty. Things that didn’t work out so well. Stephen Hunt. The move to Leicester City. Eastleigh. Yet as Martin also added, he doesn’t do hindsight. No regrets at all were evident. Just an engaging look back on all those things that had gone well. The smile on his face broad as we talked about Luton Town away (a game that , seemingly, everyone went to) . The deadpan humour evident and the twinkle in the eye there for all to see. 

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Another game of ‘Celebrity Squares’ (albeit only one celebrity)

Thomas Frank is wonderful. I love how he is with the fans. How welcoming and open he is at all times. Yet for those of us of a certain age, to see Martin pull us up by the bootstraps and bring Brentford football club so close to the success we enjoy now was nothing short of incredible at the time. It all feels so fresh, even 15 years on. To hear it discussed in such open, engaging and, being honest, hilarious  detail by the very architect of the moment was nothing short of incredible.

Martin is unique. We all know that. I’m pretty sure he even ate a dog biscuit at one point late on in the session. We all worshipped him at the time. We all still love him now. Nothing can change or take away what he did. Nothing can replace that love he shared with us and vice-versa. It must be quite a special and rare feeling for an ex-manager to still be welcomed back with such open arms. Yet for him to talk through all this left a huge smile on the face. A quite wonderful feeling of well being at what is a quite awful time out there. The way he made every question feel so personal – not just in the answers given but the engagement with the person asking it. Nobody else mattered beyond you and him. And it was quite special.

The whole thing is here. ENJOY

Once again, huge thank to Trevor Inns and his GPG team for setting this up. It really was phenomenal fun. Even now, Sunday morning, I’m still smiling at the though of Sodje launching into a scissor kick or Martin dropping the F bombs at Harry Redknapp and co.     

There is talk of another one next Saturday. Good luck to whoever follows this, you’ve got one hell of a job to do ! 

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Every ball was caught and kicked with us

Nick Bruzon

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Richard Lee gives exclusive update on his move as Twitter goes ‘to war’

28 Mar

Was it Juniors Bees work experience time on the club twitter account yesterday?

As the news of Richard Lee’s move from Brentford to Fulham sunk in (and you can read his exclusive thoughts on this subject, which he gave last night, further on in this column), the club did it’s very best to make (trophy)friends and influence people.

The irony of joking only yesterday about a media team related ‘faux pas’ was not lost after multiple news sources picked up on our tête-à-tête in cyberspace with Fulham.

I have wondered previously who drives the club twitter account after the cringeworthy #trophyfriends and #Novemberkings (amongst others). Every effort we make to be taken seriously on the pitch is undermined by this sort of childish update off it. The only positive being that, whilst these were something I’d have expected Buzzette to come out with, at least they were nothing more than harmless embarrassment and certainly no malice involved.

But then there was Holt-gate. January 2015 saw Chief sports writer of the Daily Mirror, Oliver Holt, left somewhat frustrated by the response to his article on Stephen Hunt. It led him to publically question, amongst other things, “Is it a new kind of anti-PR that you’re pioneering at Brentford?” following (since deleted) feedback he would later describe as “a strange volley of tweets”.

But now we’ve gone(again?) and bettered this after taking a pop at Fulham, the club that we chose to loan Richard to. In what could be described as, at best a factual dig and at worst a direct taunt, the club Twitter account ran the headline..

Bees fire first shot

Bees fire first shot

Don’t get me wrong, as a supporter I think it’s hilarious to see them struggling and I take a lot of pleasure from their predicament.The Loftus Road mob, too. But the difference is that I’m a supporter, not a professional football club.

To have a dig at a fellow team, when we are constantly preaching about respect on the pitch, seems a tad hypocritical. If for no other reason that these things have a habit of coming back to haunt you .

Still, whilst their one word response of “Bless” was as patronising as we had been at least that was an end to it. Five minutes of ‘fun’ that would pass by and that would be that.

Except it wasn’t – we only went and published another response. And to make it worse, a meme…..

Memes - bad enough at the best of times

Memes – bad enough at the best of times

Toes are curling now as I think about this. Any moral high ground had instantly been undone but, worse, turned the eyes of the media towards Brentford with a series of unflattering headlines.

Brentford mock Championship strugglers Fulham”, said the London Evening Standard.

The Daily Mirror had a simple: “Brentford and Fulham go to war on Twitter”

The Daily Mail and even Get West London both ran stories referring to: “Brentford involved/embroiled in Twitter spat”.

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There’s a common trend to the stories still dominating our news feed today

At a time when the club are pushing for the Premiership and need all the friends we can get (given our publicised ground issues should we make it), do we really want this to be the public perception of Brentford FC?

Perhaps I’m just overreacting but we’ve seen this sort of thing time and again. How hard can it be to keep things professional and ‘grown up’ on our social media?

At the least, if we are going to try and show a sense of humour then let’s do it without resorting to making fun of another club. A club who, don’t forget, will be keeping one of our players ‘match fit’ and whom we may need to call upon at the end of season should we make the play offs.

Even if that other club is Fulham.

Which brings us nicely on to the story that started all of this, Richard Lee’s loan move to The Cottage. Not surprisingly, this has generated all manner of reaction amongst supporters – some parts positive, others not so.

Football is an emotive subject at the best of times, let alone when you add in a club hero moving to our local rivals where, in all likelihood, he will see out his career. Whilst I may not agree with all that has been said, the real shame is that Richard’s great performances in five years at Griffin Park seem to have been overlooked amidst the noise.

People are, naturally, curious as to what has driven his decision to make this move and a lot of questions have been asked. I caught up with Richard last night where he was kind enough to provide this update for supporters as to what had prompted this:

Richard Lee speaks

Hello all,

A mixtures of messages over the past 24 hours which I was well aware would happen so rather than answer individual questions / criticism i’ll give you my thoughts as to why I’m making the loan move.

I didn’t make the decision to move lightly.‎ I’ve been a pro for 14 years and I am sad that it’s drawing to a close. I’m excited for the next chapter but I’m aware that once it’s over, it’s over.

Unexpectedly I’ve been offered one last challenge that excites me and I’ve decided to take it.

As much as I’m enjoying the day to day activity of training and winning the odd development game I play in at Brentford it doesn’t really give me a huge buzz. I’m doing all I can as a third choice ‘keeper but I don’t feel hugely part of what has been an incredible season and now I feel I have an opportunity to be more involved and make a difference somewhere. ‎I’m grateful to Fulham for offering me that chance.

If certain people are going to ‘disown’ me and disregard my achievements to date then I’m sorry you feel that way about me. I’ve always given everything to Brentford and will continue to watch our games for years to come – If I get turned away at the door then i’ll just have to live with that.

I’ve been heartened by the positive messages from friends, fellow pros and those who know me.

I’ve got just over a month left that will hopefully offer up some excitement and a nice challenge. I’ll then return ready if needed, as sharp as possible for the play offs if that is to be our destiny.

I do this with no spite towards Brentford FC – ‎I’m doing this for me.

Rich x

Is this a sign of the impending apocalypse?

23 Jan

Whilst this column is, primarily, about Brentford (and there’ll be more about the Norwich City game over the weekend) we aren’t afraid to look at other ‘issues’ in the world of football. And with Aston Villa due to entertain our Championship rivals Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Sunday, they don’t come much bigger than what could play out at Villa Park.

The regular reader will know of my interest in football jinxes.

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.

The apocalypse approaches… possibly

The apocalypse approaches… possibly

A night of surprise (and horror) as an exciting weekend awaits

22 Jan

And just when the top of the Championship table couldn’t get any tighter, it did after Brighton and Hove Albion beat Ipswich Town 3-2 at the Amex last night. Brighton who, despite our victory, ran Brentford close on Saturday did the Bees a massive favour. It is one that means another win at the weekend, when we visit Norwich City, will take us to within a point of the second and third placed teams.

To be quite honest, I’d forgotten all about that game as a night of channel surfing in our house (briefly) saw the horror of Mrs. Brown’s Boys winning ‘Best Comedy’ at the National Television Awards before I was able to switch to the football.

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.

Bees dunk Brighton as the albatross becomes a canary

18 Jan

Three fortunate points or well deserved? That was the question after full time at the Amex where Brentford recorded another league win, this time against Brighton and Hove Albion. With the majority of the teams around us, including a shock for Norwich City (given their ‘guest of honour’ – more later), also triumphing it keeps things very much ’as you were’ at the top of the Championship table.

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.

The Albion mascots - I feel like I've cheated on Buzzette

The Albion mascots – I feel like I’ve cheated on Buzzette

View from the terrace (arm, padded seat) - And Toral must score...

View from the terrace (erm, padded seat) – And Toral must score…

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

No trains. No Clem. No Judge? Bring it on!

17 Jan

Brentford travel to Brighton and Hove Albion today for one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season. When the Championship fixtures were released last year, this was one of first dates many of us looked for. A day out at the seaside in the sunshine and a short hop down to the South Coast were the fringe benefits to look forward to from this trip. Not to mention a new stadium with Brighton’s impressive looking Amex.

Instead, as popular music’s Meatloaf almost sang, one out of three ain’t bad.

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.

Manish confirms Brentford's job has become that bit harder

Manish confirms Brentford’s job has become that bit harder

This is Saunders territory. And an apology to Doctor Who

16 Jan

I need to begin today’s column with an apology following yesterday’s piece on the contretemps between Daily Mirror chief sport’s writer Oliver Holt and one Brentford fanatic (something the Mirror man was very sporting about later). Specifically to West Bromwich Albion, Gerry Francis and fans of BBC sci-fi. The article included a picture of the newest addition to the Baggies’ coaching staff, comparing him to ‘late 60’s Doctor Who’.

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.

Time to look in the mirror ?

15 Jan

So in the end, despite the other rumours flying around which we mentioned yesterday, it was midfielder Josh Laurent who joined Brentford, signing for the Bees on an 18 month development squad contract from QPR for the usual ‘undisclosed fee’. Josh, whose thoughts on signing can be heard on Beesplayer, adds even more competition to our midfield and certainly gives further evidence of the club’s desire to build for the future.

The other Bees update to catch my eye was not as clearly publicised.

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.

Ipswich Town is now sold out. Or is it?

22 Dec

In all the excitement of the build up and subsequent win over Cardiff City, it completely escaped my notice to mention that the Boxing Day game between Brentford and Ipswich Town has been declared a sell out. Not that I am a voice piece for the club, just the numpty on the terrace writing about what I see going on around me, but special comment is due here.

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.