Tag Archives: Steve Bruce

What’s worse than a hashtag? Two hashtags. And a fake Whatsapp

4 Jul

Roll on August. Please. As tumbleweed continues to blow through the Championship, something actually happened yesterday. Brentford haven’t signed/sold anybody although Aston Villa have – and it would be fair to say they are wetting themselves over picking up a past his prime John Terry from Chelsea. Elsewhere, we’ve dodged the TV cameras with the latest fixtures up until the end of September. And there’s shock news there for Leeds United fans.

Clanggggg. The sound of a name being dropped. This week I wrote the annual season preview for FourFourTwo magazine, looking at the good and bad of Brentford, along with a number of other Championship based questions. One of which being – Who will be the biggest pantomime villain in the Championship this season?

I did think about Aston Villa super fan Simon Hateley – still smarting from all his bravado last season coming back to royally bite him. What was Villa’s record against the Bees? Ah yes, P 2 W0 D1 L1 GD -3 and £15m handed over – thanks for that.

But then it really would be too niche and, besides, Hateley fits more in the category of unintentional comedian rather than poor man’s Christopher Biggins. That said, he’s still going strong on Twitter at the moment, declaring his own Scott Hogan a ‘bag of shite’ this week. And you can follow him etc at @simonchateley.

Sadly, magazine deadlines ahead of an August publication got in the way of choosing a player who would surely have won the poll hands down. Aston Villa new boy, John Terry.

In the most cringeworthy of press releases – a simulated WhatsApp conversation between Dr. Tony Xia (the man going neck and neck with Vincent Tan as the Championship’s poor man’s Bond villain) – the news was released yesterday. In it, (current) manager Steve Bruce was given the news that Villa had got their man from Chelsea.

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Oh, you couldn’t make it up. Toes are curling just looking at this news now. I’m not sure what’s worse. The cheesy press release or the fact they’ve signed this most disruptive and washed up of players. No premier League club have touched him. No MLS side – surely the standard cash cow for any past their prime ‘name’ – have made an offer he can’t refuse . No side challenging for Championship promotion have gone near him. I can’t wait to see us run rings around the rusty old legs. September 9th can’t come soon enough.

There were multiple hashtags for this one. #WelcomeJT and #PartOfThe Pride. Still nowhere near #Bignewambitions or #Trophyfriends but at least we’ve dropped all that nonsense now. Good luck to Villa, seriously.

Whilst Hateley was unusually silent on the subject, comments on Twitter from other fans included: “Most high profile signing at Villa for years.” ,”Im over the moon with this, great signing, leading by example, UTV” and “Can not wait until I see the legend he is at villa park, what a sight that will be!” I fear this is a massive gamble that will only end in disappointment – whether for Terry’s new admirers or his team mates.

Give me Harlee Dean, any day.

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JT is a Villan. Indeed

Elsewhere, the latest round of TV fixtures has been announced. Brentford have managed to swerve the cameras whilst perennial Sky favourites Leeds United only appear once. Not a typo. The club that have had more appearances than Steve Claridge has had clubs have only been picked for their trip to Sunderland. Infact, there seems to be a real mixture of teams being shown for the games prior to 9 September.

That said, we’re not out of the woods yet with 14 July being the final date for the last September games to be announced. Fulham and QPR are amongst those to also avoid rearrangement, so far. Surely West London won’t avoid selection come the next round.

This is all part and parcel of being in the Championship, of course. Griffin Park has been a popular place for the cameras over the last few seasons and it’s no doubt a matter of time before our number is up. At least we can do some train booking in relative confidence though and with Sky having opted for Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest on September 9th, at least our trip to see Scott Hogan, John Terry (assuming not dropped, suspended/injured by that stage) et al remains as is

The full list of TV fixtures to date on ‘official’ .

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Brentford will return to Villa Park at 3pm on 9 Sep

AUTHOR’S PLUG – (it’s all for charity).

And if you’d like to read more about last season including those wins over Villa and Leeds, amongst others then please don’t forget (how could you?) that the regular season review e-book is now available for download. This one is titled ‘Welcome home, King Jota’ and this time around it is for a great cause. All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales from the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s just £1.99.

So why not do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at the office?

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

Nick Bruzon

Will there be more of the same at a price that, surely, is beyond generous?

4 Feb

Saturday morning. Match day. Except, of course, it isn’t. Brentford fans have to wait an extra day for the chance to see if we can match Tuesday night’s annihilation of Aston Villa. This time around, the visitors are none other than Brighton. A team who, whilst managing to reel in and then fend off long term runaway leaders Newcastle United, went down 3-1 at Huddersfield Town in front of the Sky TV cameras on Thursday night.

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Will the Seagulls fall victim to Dean’s killer Bees?

There’ll never be a better time for the Bees to take on the Seagulls. Brentford blew away Aston Villa on Tuesday night as though they were nothing more inconvenient than an empty crisp packet. 3-0 really doesn’t even begin to do justice to a scoreline that saw added width courtesy of Florian Jozefzoon and the wonderful Jota.

It was something noted by Dean, who used his press conference to note that “They give us an extra dimension and that enabled me to flip the system on Tuesday” (and, as ever, you can read his full interview on ‘official’).

With one defender less and more room in the middle of the pitch, Dean set his team up in much more balanced and positive formation than we’d seen in a long time. The results more than justified the tactical reshuffle. And this is before the returning Sergi Canos has even got a look in. Whilst I can’t imagine he’ll start in this one, I can already hear the reception he’ll get coming off the bench.

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Jota was back in the starting XI on Tuesday night

The big question now being whether it was a one off or if we can expect more of the same against Brighton? I hope so. Desperately. Tuesday night saw genuinely exciting football as the Bees, perhaps with a point to prove to Scott Hogan, tore Villa a new one.

Brighton, meanwhile, may well be back in second place by the time we cross paths. Newcastle United play on Saturday although a visit from Derby County won’t be the easiest fixture in the calendar. Yet if they can get the win, that adds the pressure to Albion. Especially if third placed Reading can also do the business at hapless Ipswich Town. A win for the Royals will take them to within just two points of Brighton.

Then, of course, we’ve got Thursday night to consider. Nobody needs a midweek trip to Huddersfield at the best of times, let alone when you then put in a performance that Chris Hughton would later describe saying, “Every now and again you get a real bad one, and that was a real bad one.

Perhaps he should compare notes with Steve Bruce !  To compound their misery, highly rated defender Lewis Dunk was shown the red card so misses out at Griffin Park.

One can’t help but think Brighton will be exhausted. With little over 48 hours to recover from the game and subsequent trip back from Yorkshire to the South coast, they are back on the road again.  Whilst we’ve all been victims to the vagaries of TV scheduling, this one seems extreme and yet another example of the TV companies putting teams and fans firmly in second place.

The question being if Dean Smith and his team can take advantage of this gift we’ve been offered. Brentford have already beaten Brighton in the corresponding fixture – becoming the only team this season to leave the Amex with all three points. Can we now become the first to do the double over the Seagulls? Could Sergi cause havoc in the final twenty minutes as tiredness starts to tell?

At odds of 11/5 with club sponsors 888, it seems to be free money for anybody looking to invest. Surely that’s too generous a price?

On Sunday afternoon, we find out.

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Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. Bees stung by Wasp comments as hashtags return. An (international) week in football

14 Nov

Brentford have redesigned their club crest for a new, less busy take on our 70’s Bee. QPR joined Newcastle United and Aston Villa in the lame hashtag stakes as, like the latter had done last month, they announced a second manager of the season. On pitch, there were no Championship fixtures , given it was an International weekend in which Cyprus – Gibraltar and England – Scotland were the two big ones. That said, we did have the return of the much maligned Checkatrade trophy.

That’s the latest football action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

As ever, we start with Brentford where the new club crest met with praise, much split opinion and even a clarification in regards to the role of BIAS, or lack of, in the consultation process. From a personal note, I stick with my gut reaction of being very much in the pro-camp whilst the whole wasp-gate debate was, frankly, hilarious. Yet I can understand people’s reaction to change being a tough one to swallow – many of our supporters will only have ever known the cluttered clipart.

We’ve done this to death now. The only further comment I’ll make is in regards to an observation levelled at the new design from Brentford’s memorabilia guru (and do check Paul’s fantastic blog site). Specifically that it looked like a Watford cast off – with example being provided. If anything, the former accusation could be better levelled at Spiderman’s chest logo than our new crest .

The other Brentford news, as such, was a story by Tom Moore in regards to Josh McEachran. Was this an unfortunate choice of words in the headline, have we been given too much information or just deliberate click-baitery?

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Down the road at QPR, the club finally dispensed of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. In his place, comes Ian Holloway (remember him, the chap who tipped us for a struggling campaign of relegation back in August). With his arrival, comes that favourite of these pages – the crap hashtag.

This season has already seen the likes of #JoinTheRafalution – Newcastle United and #welcomesteve – Aston Villa. Indeed, QPR themselves have already used #jakejoins when they signed a left back. Now we can add another entrant to the list.

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Sadly, it seems nobody had told Jimmy. As of Saturday his Twitter account still claimed he was their manager whilst at close of play on Sunday he was still pictured holding the shirt.

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The other domestic news was the return of the Checkatrade trophy. Something even less popular than Donald Trump and Nigel Farrage hanging out in a gold plated elevator.

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You know things are bad when even the teams taking part are having a pop at the tournament.

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You know things are bad when even the referee needs to be replaced from the crowd.

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Yet things are also wonderful when something like this happens.

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On the international front, Mexico gave a wonderful response to the week in politics. Insert your own ‘defensive wall’ comment. And what a source to deliver this news.

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In the World Cup, Gibraltar went down in Cyprus but got off lightly compared to Estonia.And the boys from the Rock still did better than Scotland as at least they managed a goal. Indeed, the Scots found news of their 3-0 defeat hard to take.

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Yet the same could be said about England fans. At least, those who sat through this one.

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Roll on the return of league football.

Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad and the ugly. Bees reach new heights at Newcastle, Villa do their thing whilst pigs can fly. A week in football.

17 Oct

Brentford went down 3-1 at Newcastle United, who were overtaken in the race to the top of the table by Norwich City. Tuesday night’s opponents Derby County got off to a winning start under new manager Steve McClaren whilst the other team to replace their boss, Aston Villa, churned out yet another draw. That’s 8 out of 12 now for the Villains who sit just one point above the relegation zone. Making up the bottom three are Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

Whilst it was a week which began with the next round of World Cup qualifiers we’ll start, as ever, with Brentford. Our trip to Newcastle was one which ended in disappointment. Fan opinion seemed to be largely that the moment got the better of us.

But whatever happened on the pitch, nobody could doubt the fans had fun. And what a sight.

Looking down on the action at Newcastle was a unique experience. A wonderful opportunity to watch play unfold or the last of us just making it down from the 14 flights of stairs now?

Brentford aren’t  the only ones travelling well. For all that nobody is sniggering at the plight Aston Villa find themselves in , you can’t deny their fans are fiercely loyal.

That’s great work. Seriously. Getting home from that one isn’t going to be fun. At least Villa will have a point to celebrate with (the draw currently at a very generous 23/10).

Aston Villa weren’t the only ones to pick up a point. As Norwich City went top, Ipswich Town laboured to a 0-0 with Blackburn. Bad enough, without your neighbours then putting the boot in .

Charlton Athletic also had trouble on the pitch before eventually putting Coventry City to the sword. Given their high profile relations (or lack of) with their supporters it was nice to see them doing all possible to maintain a sense of perspective.

It wasn’t just pigs invading football pitches at the weekend. There were dogs joining in the action, too

Next up, kit news. And there’s lots of it. With Brentford celebrating their 4,000th league game on Saturday there had been a hope we might have worn some form of celebratory shirt. Whilst this doesn’t seem to be the case (as it stands), over in the Netherlands Sparta have taken that idea forward.

What a beauty. That said, whilst I’m all for a retro style shirt, let’s hope Derby County don’t go down that route on Tuesday night . This one flashed across my timeline on Friday.

Bolton Wanderers are also making the headlines. Their kitman not a patch on our own Bob Oteng. Certainly, if this is the best he can come up with.

Whilst the club may not be giving us a special kit for Saturday, let’s hope the marketing team aren’t casting their eyes towards Portugal. Just when you thought there was nothing left for a club to stick their name on, think again.

There were international games at the start of the week, too. Nobody needs any reminder of that so we’ll keep it to two that seem to sum things up nicely.

But we’ll finish with clowns. Not the crazy killer variety but over at Loftus Road where, it seems, they are struggling with the atmosphere.

Oh dear.

Nick Bruzon 

A tale of two Steves as Dean stays in charge where it counts

13 Oct

With Brentford making final preparations for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United, we can at least be safe in the knowledge that any chance of Dean Smith going to Aston Villa has now officially been snuffed out. On a day of managerial change, not only was Steve Bruce named in charge at Villa Park but Steve McClaren has, seemingly out of nowhere, been reinstalled at Derby County. The same Derby County team that we visit on Tuesday evening.

First up, Aston Villa. Despite the early talk about our own Dean Smith being linked with that one it was never anything more than a story. At least, based on outward appearances. Personally, and I said at the time, there didn’t seem any chance of this happening for multiple reasons and this has now proven to be the case.

It’s great news for Brentford and, one would hope, for Aston Villa. Some fans will be relieved they haven’t inherited the manager of a ‘pub side’. Others might have some concern about a man who was in charge of local rivals Birmingham City from 2001-07.

That latter point, aside from getting stick from the opposition fans when the two sides meet, would seem to be largely irrelevant though. As long as a team is doing well then it is an awful lot easier to look at the past through rose tinted glasses.

Then again, he walks into a hotbed of expectation.

Tim Sherwood was in charge of Aston Villa back in October 2015 (hmm, that went well). A year later they’ve been through Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald, Remi Garde, Eric Black and of course Roberto di Matteo. Twelve months on and Bruce now has what was previously described as less a hot seat and more an electric chair.

And, of course, there is the additional pressure of a hashtag. The club announced his arrival with use of this cringeworthy social media device (see also: #Jakejoins). At this rate, surely we’re only a short step away from a meme to announce a new signing?

Nobody knows how this will turn out. It’ll be fun finding out though.

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Steve joins at Villa; Dean stays with his pub side

But the really interesting news yesterday surrounded Derby County and Steve McClaren. Of course,  the one time umbrella wielding manager has been there before. He and Derby parted company in 2015 amidst much interest from a Newcastle United side he would eventually join (hmm, that went well) and hot off the back of that self-destruct as they threw away an almost nailed on place in the play-offs.

Brentford were just one of the beneficiaries as the Rams somehow lost 3-0, at home, to a very average Reading side who had literally nothing to play for. Indeed, our 2-0 win over them the weekend before had further knocked the stuffing out of the Royals in their final home game of that campaign. The Bees’ reward for that capitulation,  a two legged semi with Middlesbrough. Move along, nothing to see here.

But will it work again? McClaren’s time at Newcastle was an unmitigated disaster, I’m sorry to say. He has that emotional pressure of the way his England career panned out – a disaster on the pitch and widely ridiculed off it –  whilst he is as known for his infamous Dutch accent as his two stints in charge of Eredivise side Twente. That, a role he would also be obliged to resign from.

Frankly, he seems to have more lives than a cat yet still boards come back to him. I’m not sure what just what it is that he posesses but it’s going to be interesting finding out.

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Can Steve the cat stay out of the rain this time?

Both Bruce and McClaren will have expectation from their own fans aswell as heckling from the visiting supporters to deal with. In the case of Aston Villa, one can only assume this will be limited to a few games here and there – the Birmingham s and Wolves of this world. But for McClaren, with terrace wags knowing just how many roles (and play offs) his teams have eventually choked, he could be in for a rough ride should things not get off to anything but a flier.

Forget the weight of expectation, that umbrella is the real baggage he carries around with him. Here’s hoping it is still weighing him down when Brentford visit on Tuesday.

Before that, though, is the small matter of our visit to Newcastle on Saturday. The Bees will be there in huge numbers, with chief executive Mark Devlin giving local journalists a free story with his latest ’tweet’ on ticket sales. For a club our size, the travelling fans have always gone in impressive numbers and this is no different.Close to 3,000 for the long trek up to the North-East isn’t to be sniffed at.

Great work, one and all. Let’s hope the team, and Dean Smith – our head coach – do them justice on the pitch.

See you there.

Nick Bruzon

The three favourites for Aston Villa – agree? Will Dean run away and join the circus?

4 Oct

They’ve only gone and done it. After just 123 days in charge at Aston Villa, Roberto di Matteo has been shown the door. With Brentford boss Dean Smith one of those at the top of supporters’ and bookmakers’ lists as a favourite for the role, could he have taken charge at Griffin Park for the last time? Or is somebody else destined for what is less a hot seat and more an electric chair?

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The current runners and riders

To even be discussing this now smacks of madness anyway. Nobody can deny that Aston Villa were one of the teams at the start of the 80s. Thirty-five years ago. But that was then and this is now. To put it into context, Roberto di Matteo was just starting primary school when they lifted the European cup.

Yet despite his pedigree of having already taken West Brom up from the Championship aswell as the not inconsiderable tasks of bringing the FA Cup and European cup to the Chelsea trophy cabinet, this wasn’t deemed good enough for the long term. Doctor Tony Xia, who always puts me in mind of a low budget Bond villain, has eliminated his manager and now starts the hunt for a new one. But who?

Steve Bruce is the bookies favourite. Currently without a club having taken Hull City back into the Premier League, he is both available and has form at this level. But could the Birmingham City factor play a part here. Especially if things don’t go so well?

The football on offer over the last 15 months hasn’t been great and so he’d face a huge challenge in having to make an immediate impact.

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner is the current darling of the Championship. There is no baggage with him and nothing but positivity as The Terriers have defied the pundits to storm it to the top of the table. If there is anything negative to be said it is that the headlines about Wagner always make me think of the one decent act ever to emerge from TV’s X-Factor.

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Wagner – not to be confused with…

Yet why would Wagner leave? Unless, of course, he was voted out. Here is a chance to achieve something special with Huddersfield Town. A well settled team, playing strong football, are already knocking on the door of the top flight. They have loyal support and a great stadium. It would be a huge risk for him to jump ship so soon. One there is currently no need to take.

And so it comes back to Brentford and Dean Smith. A man whose family are Villa fans and who has seen the Bees get off to their best start since our return to the Championship. A man whose run at the end of last season saw us fall just short of the play-off zone.

Yet like Wagner, why would he want to leave a team on the up and so soon into his Griffin Park career? Dean has been here less than a year whilst also endured his own mini crisis at the start of 2016. A woeful run saw us, by his own admission, in a relegation battle. Matthew Benham kept very public faith in his man and it has been well rewarded. Would Dr. Xia have done the same?

For all the jibes that Brentford have endured on social media, our man is going nowhere. And you can quote me on that.

Instead, you have to look further down the list to the likes of Steve Clarke or even Sam Allardyce for the likely candidates. Yet the media circus that Sam would bring has surely ruled him out of any job (this month)? At a time when the club needs some stability he’s the last man to approach.

The trouble would seem to be expectation levels. With Brentford being, undeniably, a small club – albeit one on the up – we’ve seen this all before. Leeds United have been huge on the tinpot cracks since our paths have crossed whilst Wolves were hurling the abuse about their status relative to ours when that fixture returned to the calendar back in League One days. Now you can add Villa to the list.

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Yesterday’s pick of the tweets

But just as balls in the back of the net are the only stat that counts, having once lifted a cup or two in the last century doesn’t give you a divine right to ‘be any good’ now. Frankly, Dean Smith has no need to run away and join the circus. Even if he is asked.

Aston Villa have, without doubt, a wonderful heritage and a magnificent stadium. Yet with patience a commodity in short supply at Villa Park, and the twiterrati having ideas well above their recent form, good luck to whomever gets the role.

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Villa Park – A stadium we can only aspire to

Nick Bruzon

And the winner is….announced very early but fully deserved

6 Nov

Brentford fans have woken up to the news that Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers has just been made all that harder. This, after Lee Carsley pipped Steve Bruce of Hull City, amongst others, to the much coveted ‘Manager of the Month’ award for October. And whilst, of course, Lee deserves nothing but the hugest congratulations, the associated ‘jinx’ that comes with it (scoop the award, lose your next game) will be something he needs all his powers to overcome.

Spoiler alert - its a Bees double for October

Spoiler alert – its a Bees double for October

Considering Lee’s long-term reluctance to take on this sort of role, one can‘t deny the impact he has had although, equally, he is quick to recognise the help provided by his assistant, Paul Williams. In an article that went live on the official site in the small hours of Friday morning (somebody may have been reading at 1.35am ) he said, “If I could cut the award in half, he would get the other half. I see this as a reward for a great team effort over the month.”

Whoever gets the kudos, to be recognised in such a fashion just five weeks after taking over from Marinus is an incredible achievement. The transformation has been a stunning one whilst, whatever else happens this season, Lee has guided us to victory over our fiercest rivals.

Whilst the jinx worthy amongst us may now be worried about what comes next on Saturday, the oft-quoted stat regarding the post-award defeat is one that has, to be fair, bypassed Brentford in recent years. Both Uwe and Warbs (twice) have managed to dodge it. Could Lee continue that trend at Blackburn?

Well, Brentford supporters will be hoping that October’s player of the month is available to help him with this challenge.

Alan Judge made it a Brentford double, picking up the onfield prize. And if Steve Bruce thought he might have had a shout for the managerial top spot after Hull City had stormed to the top of the Championship table, nobody could have disputed Alan’s reward.

Three goals and four assists have seen the Bees firing on all cylinders and the opposition left very much in his wake. His absence was definitely felt in Tuesday night’s game against Hull, such is the impact he has had. The club’s YouTube video, whilst ending on a precautionary note about his potential availability for this weekend, sees the Judge in enthusiastic form talking about the month just gone.

Congratulations due to Alan.

Whatever happens this weekend and this month, the season has a long way to go. Lee Carsley and his back room team have done a stunning job in reversing our fortunes. Regardless of results, it is as much the way we are playing football.

With the likes of Josh McEachran, Jota and Lewis Macleod due to return to first team fitness soon, that style of football is one we could be set to enjoy even more.

Nick Bruzon

The stuff of dreams becomes a nightmare

5 Nov

What a time of contrasting managerial emotions for Brentford and QPR. Hot off the heels of our derby day victory over the Loftus Road outfit (a three points that Derby County then enjoyed on Tuesday night) Rangers have parted company with Chris Ramsey. Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has just been announced in the shortlist for manager-of-the-month.

I take no pleasure in anybody losing his or her job. Regardless of the team. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago we were embroiled in Village-gate and Mark Warburton was hot favourite to take over at QPR. Instead, with Tony Fernandes announcing that he was close to announcing his ‘dream manager’, Warbs eventually went to Rangers (the Glasgow incarnation) whilst Chris Ramsey took over at Loftus Road.

How things changed. Rangers exited the Premier League; Brentford came to within a play off game of making it. And now, with the Bees on the charge once more, QPR continue their slide downwards.

No doubt their fans and top brass will be worried they are looking like following the recent likes of Wolves directly into the Division One. With it, will come potential games against the likes of Mansfield Town, Carlisle and Accrington Stanley next season. Whilst I can’t see it happening it does show how fleeting football form can be.

Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has received the expected ‘reward’ for an October that saw us pick up 12 points out of 15 and four successive wins. Will he scoop the final honour? Well, being honest, I expect it to go to Steve Bruce at Hull City – they were unbeaten and a point better off. Likewise, victory over us on Tuesday (albeit in November) saw them reach the top of the Championship table.

The Bees came close but couldn't get past Hull on Tuesday

The Bees came close but couldn’t get past Hull on Tuesday

Either way, it is a tremendous reversal of form following the days of Marinus and Roy.

And nowhere more has this been typified than in Alan Judge, who is also up for the player-of-the-month award. His four assists, three goals and scintillating play make him a very genuine candidate for this award. Ironically, former Bee Andre Gray, who has been scoring goals for fun at Burnley, could be a very serious rival for this one.

Whatever happens, I’d rather be in our situation than that of Rangers who, this morning, will be sorting through the monogrammed CR tracksuits and starting the search for their next dream manager.

As for us, whilst I’d hope Lee wins the prize I can’t look past Steve Bruce. Although, should he do it, then get ready to bet against Hull City at the weekend.

We all know how that jinx normally works.

Alan Judge - has been on fire (not literally) in October

Alan Judge – has been on fire (not literally) in October

Nick Bruzon

Bees can’t quite tame the Tigers

4 Nov

Well played Hull City. Brentford saw their 4 game winning run come to an end on Tuesday night after going down 2-0 to the new league leaders. It was a game where the Bees more than matched their opponents in the first half and could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone in ahead. In the end class, experience and the quality of a former Premier League side (which had been bolstered over the summer with the help of those parachute payments) was eventually telling.

It was by no means a case of Tigers mauling Bees. More, the second half specifically, their toying with us like a kitten teasing a spider. The step up in quality over that period was terrifying. That’s meant with no disrespect to our Bees who, even having gone a goal down, could still have levelled things up.

A James Tarkowski run to set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer being a particular highlight. Somehow the big defender just kept going as he burst towards the box and released the Austrian for a shot that had Allan McGregor beaten all ends up. Only the woodwork denying the Bees an equaliser from the edge of the box.

The opening period had seen Djuricin come close on several occasions as the Bees took the game to their opponents. However, possession counts for nothing if you can’t take your chances and, whatever Steve Bruce said at half time, certainly seemed to have the desired effect.

Hull were a team transformed in the second period and got what, being honest, their performance deserved. Two goals and the win. That said, there isn’t too much to feel down about and we’ve been beaten by a team that will be well in the mix come season end. When a goal comes from a short corner you know you’ve been beaten by a side with something special about them.

Don’t take it short. It never f***ing works” (unless Ipswich are playing) is the common refrain from the terrace. Hull City proved that rare exception to the rule as they wrapped up the points late on. Their second goal eventually coming from a move that had begun with this most maligned of set pieces.

Although, for the record, my own utterance of the lines: “That’s fine; its short. They never work” just before the second goal can be taken as in no way contributory. Erm, honest.

As expected Alan Judge was missing. Would he have made a difference? Possibly. The flip side was the return of Sam Saunders to the first team squad, even if he didn’t make it onto the pitch. This time.

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

In referee Gavin Ward we had the anti-Stroud. Alan McCormack, in particular, lucky to escape his attentions just 7(seven) minutes into the game after seeming to go through his man like a dose of salts. As one terrace wag noted, with due nod to John Arlott, it was a challenge so late it was almost posthumous.

Then again he wasn’t alone. One can only imagine that had Mr. Stroud been in charge we’d have seen him go ‘full Clintons’ for a bizarre incident of handbags involving McGregor and most of the Hull team when a second half -free kick was awarded well inside the box. Ward continued his trend of ignoring most off the ball incident whilst the Bees failed to capitalise on the set piece.

View from the terrace - Brentford prepare for a close up assault

View from the terrace – Brentford prepare for a close up assault

And the other elephant in the room – Moses Odubajo. Well, he still has pace but his distribution was woeful. That’s not me being bitter but just how I called it on the night. Then again, his team didn’t concede so the Hull defence must have been doing something right.

He received the typical reception reserved for a former player; every touch being greeted with more boos than an Oddbins clearance sale. He couldn’t have been more a panto villain had he turned up in a top hat, cape and waxed moustache. I was half expecting Mr Ward to add, “He’s behind you” but, alas not.

This is all incidental though. The record will show a 2-0 win for Hull and the Bees locked in mid table. We’re five points outside the play-off zone and ten away from the relegation spots. And, if you’ll forgive the somewhat unsavoury image, we are the meat in a Fulham-QPR sandwich. The Craven Cottage outfit are a place above us on goal difference whilst another defeat for Rangers sees them one below in thirteenth.

The BBC show the latest league positions

The BBC show the latest league positions

As frustrating is the fact this defeat was predicted on Monday by Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth. Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show sidekick had warned against Hull’s threat and, for once, the man who knows as much about football as I do about driving (he supports Arsenal; I’m still ‘provisional’) called it right.

Much as it hurts, I’m man enough to hold up my hands on that one.

Next up is Blackburn Rovers away. Never an easy place to go but, equally, one we can still approach with utmost confidence if we start like we did against Hull.

Roll on Saturday.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Firth (right) with O’Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Nick Bruzon

Will Judge be on the bench? Will Brentford be #Novemberkings again?

3 Nov

We’ve spoken a lot about Hull City AFC over the years on these pages. Primarily the ongoing attempts of owner Dr. Assem Allam to rebrand the club as Hull Tigers. Likewise, for a kit nerd such as myself, the infamous ‘tiger stripe’ shirt is one that has frequently drawn gasps of admiration. This summer we saw more transfer rumours than even our local press could cope with / generate (delete as applicable) as Steve Bruce attempted one of their beloved ‘double transfer swoops’ – eventually netting Moses Odubajo. But now, with the victory against QPR still at the forefront of our minds, Brentford return to action with the chance to finally talk about Hull City from a footballing perspective.

The best football shirt of all time

The best football shirt of all time

Friday night was special, no question. But, if we are being honest, it was a win we fully deserved. Moreso, QPR just weren’t actually that good. Aside from the two efforts from Massimo Luongo late in the first half, they offered nothing. It was as much a victory for Brentford over the event and the expectation as it was over the opposition.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. Three points are always welcome and never more so than in this fixture. Even Arsenal buffoon Richie Firth, sidekick to Absolute Radio breakfast show DJ Christian O’Connell, failed to pour cold water on the win when talking about it on Monday morning’s programme.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. Can't tell his Arsenal from his elbow

Firth (right) with O’Connell. Can’t tell his Arsenal from his elbow

One thing he did get right was the need to be vigilant tonight. Moreseo, I’d go one further and say to forget about QPR. Specifically, Friday’s win rather than the club in general. It was brilliant but it has happened. Hull City are a different prospect altogether.

They’ve only lost twice all season, one of those being against Brighton – the only team now separating them from the top of the Championship table. Indeed, an away win tonight could even see them climb to the top should the Seagulls stuff it up at Sheffield Wednesday.

In Uruguayan striker Abel Hernández they have a player at the business end of the divisional goal scoring charts, whilst Allan McGregor is that rare example of a Scottish goalkeeper who can catch. And then there’s Moses Odubajo – Brentford fans need no reminder of what he can do. It’ll be very interesting to see who comes out on top of that one this evening.

The BBC are reporting this morning that Hernández may be rested but, equally, that our own ‘man of the moment’, Alan Judge, is down as being an injury doubt. He went straight to the tunnel after being subbed on Friday night and Bees’ fans will be sweating on his availability.

Alan Judge  - will we see him tonight?

Alan Judge – will we see him tonight?

It is no coincidence that one of the on pitch highlights of our return to form has been the performance of the Irishman. Three goals and four assists have been pivotal in helping us make it maximum points from the last twelve. With the Bees now, potentially, just one point away from the play-off zone should results go our way tonight it would be a killer time to be missing our star man.

Then again, it will be a fascinating test of just how well the rest of the squad can cope without him. Moreso, given as I’m not so naïve to think that the January transfer window won’t be the usual tense occasion it always is.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather Alan starts than doesn’t. But if we need to bench the Judge, just for one night, it would be preferable to his doing himself long term harm.

Hull City are going to be incredibly tough opponents. The hardest team to come to Griffin Park so far this season. If the victory against QPR was a historic one for personal reasons, this could be the one to really make the rest of the footballing world sit up and take proper notice of the Bees once more.

In 2015 we were pronouncing ourselves #Novemberkings (please note: this column does not endorse the use of the hashtag, #Novemberkings). Tonight we find out if The Bees are in line for a repeat.

See you there.

Can we match Friday night ?

Can we match Friday night ?

Nick Bruzon