Tag Archives: Steve Claridge

From the best to the worst in football’s role of honour. Plus a new favourite site.

21 Mar

Whilst there were some Brentford fans upset about the recent sale of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa, one would hope that those concerns have now been dispelled. Ably abetted by the two amigos on the flanks, a rejigged formation and a great Dane up top, The Bees have money in the bank and 25 goals in the 11 games since the Scott moved to Villa Park. Things could have been a lot, lot worse as we’ll look at momentarily. At the other end of the field, there was great news for John Egan who was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with Wales.

Nobody could doubt John’s performances this season. At one point he was neck and neck with Scott to be our leading scorer whilst, more importantly, has forged a wonderful partnership with Harlee Dean at the back.

Brentford ‘official’ share the great news on social media

I don’t envy head coach Dean Smith having to crowbar the pair of them, Yoann Barbet and fellow international Andreas Bjelland into his team. Perhaps the quality at his disposal goes someway to explaining our mid-season persistence with three centre backs. It was a valid attempt but one which persisted for far too long as it became clear it wasn’t working.

Yet, and with the greatest respect to Yoann and Andreas, John and Harlee are – at least in my opinion – our absolute nailed on first choice centre backs. Harlee has been magnificent this campaign and, along with Dan Bentley and John Egan, remains in my top three for player of the season. Although had Jota returned a month or two earlier then that competition would be an even stiffer one.

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Jota – c/o Sky. Imagine if he’d come back earlier…..

So news of John’s call up yesterday was one that is thoroughly deserved but has only been a matter of time. John, if you are reading (unlikely, let’s be honest) congratulations. As for Harlee and Dan, give it another season or two playing like this and their matching him on the International scene, for England, is well within the bounds of credibility.

Next up Twitter. A popular subject on these pages for many reasons. Ease of use, interaction with the actual players, Kitman Bob and his BBB giveaways, banter with fellow fans and the most immediate means of learning news updates are amongst the many reason for the site’s popularity here.

For Brentford supporters, there’s a recent addition to our family of familiar faces (© the Middlesex Chronicle big book of ’80s alliteration) out there in cyber space. Brentford Bot.

In their own words, “Judging Positive and Negative mentions of Brentford“.And that’s about all there is to it. But very, very well executed, often deadpan but sometimes laugh out loud funny and showing a tireless dedication to keeping the Bees family updated. I’ve no idea who the power behind the Bot is, but it’s well worth a follow. You can find @BrentfordBOT here.

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Brentford Bot does his/her/its (?) thing

Ok – striker sales. We talked at the top end about the departure of Scott Hogan to Aston Villa. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth need no reminding of what has happened in the past – Nicky Forster, Carl Asaba, Gary Blissett, Robert Taylor, Dean Holdsworth, DJ Campbell and even Andy Scott are amongst those who have been sold in their free scoring prime. Goals aside, the other thing connecting these players was their lack of a like-for-like replacement.

To be fair, how do you replace the likes of Deano, Bliss or the FT index? Even for the player, following a fan favourite and goalscoring legend must be thankless task. Yet when this goes wrong it can be truly horrific.

FourFourTwo magazine have just started to publish their list of every league club’s worst ever player. The initial instalment, in a series which is now running daily, runs from Accrington Stanley up to Bury, taking in the likes of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and of course Brentford along the way.

On the Bees front, it feels somewhat awkward badmouthing one of our own yet for whatever the reason we’ve had some players over the years who really haven’t shone. Past their prime, over weight, over rated or just really, really bad. It happens. It happens to every club. So when FourFourTwo approached yours truly for the name of the Griffin Park protagonist, it was one that eventually came about as a result of a public vote. Too much power should not lie with just one man.

It was a top five that included, in no particular order : Nick Proschwitz, Paul Davis, Murray jones, Neil Shipperley and Steve Claridge. Yet in the end the ‘winner’ was a clear one.

And you can find out who, here…

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Nick Bruzon

Can we just go straight to Plan B?

27 Sep

Mark Warburton may have a Plan B up at Rangers (I don’t know, I don’t follow the Scottish Championship that closely) but he famously didn’t have one at Brentford. Marinus, on the other hand, does but as Sheffield Wednesday left Griffin Park with all three points yesterday, Brentford fans were left wondering why Plan A doesn’t seem to be working.

For the seventh time in eight league games we fell behind before, as we did last Saturday, stepping up our game considerably in the Second half. But unlike the game against Preston, where we stormed back to a 2-1 win, this time it was Sheffield Wednesday who achieved that scoreline – a 90th minute goal on the break from Lucas João being the ultimate difference between the two teams.

View from the terrace - the HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate at that point

View from the terrace. The HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate ….at that point

We can take positives from the way the team played for the majority of the second half, despite being down to ten men. The penalty awarded for James Tarkowski’s foul on Atdhe Nuhiu with less than 40 minutes on the clock saw the giant centre forward stroke it past David Button as well as, eventually, earning a red card for the fit again centre back.

It was a strange decision (the sending off, I mean). Indecisive referee Geoff Eltringham allowing himself to be harangued by Wednesday players before consulting a linesman who, eventually, helped him come to the decision of ‘straight red’. This, despite Jake Bidwell clearly being the last man back between Nuhiu and the goalkeeper.

Nuhiu is the sort of player you’d love in your team. Physical, huge presence and a proper nuisance. And he knew the way to goal – seeing an earlier effort come back off the bar. He went to ground very easily on more than one instance yet Eltringham saw nothing wrong in his game to warrant even a talking to, let alone a yellow, at any point.

Still, if Brentford went in a man and a goal down, they did everything to start fighting their way back into the game. Jack O’Connell had a stunning effort at the back with a number of perfectly timed tackles and challenges. It was a shame he was the unfortunate man in the wrong place at the wrong time for 2-1 as Brentford were exposed, pushing for a late winner.

Likewise, Josh Clarke at right back looked very impressive, especially bringing the ball out of defence. I’d be very interested to see him playing ahead of Alan Mac at some point, with the midfielder returning to that defensive role he’d made his own in the past.

With the Bees pressing, a goal seemed likely and finally it came – from the most unlikely of assists. David Button pushed almost to the half way line to curl a cross-field ball to Alan Judge. It was an exquisite delivery from a ‘keeper whose distribution has been lambasted in the past but the execution from Judge was even better.

A perfect trap and then shot across the goal into the far corner sent the crowd wild. Even the club staff celebrated that one to a fanatical level – a moment captured by the Football League Tonight and Beesplayer cameras.

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

At 1-1 and pushing it looked as though Brentford might snatch a winner that, in the first half, had been the last thing anybody expected. Instead, when the more prudent amongst us might have reverted to Plan A and locked things up to get an unlikely point, we went for it. You can’t knock Marinus’ desire and moreso with Wednesday also down to 10 men at this point.

But with the Bees in the Sheffield box, the ball broke and once Lucas João had picked O’Connell’s pocket, not even the Herculean David Button had sufficient strength to hold back the last minute one-on-one.

It was a bitter blow and moreso, having been given the hope of a route back into a game we had no chance of being anywhere near on the first half showing. Bees stat guru Luis Melville nailed it on twitter late last night with this very telling observation:

Luis's stats remain 'the bomb' (that's a good thing, I believe)

Luis’s stats remain ‘the bomb’ (that’s a good thing, I believe)

The positive is a chance to get straight back into action on Tuesday night against a Birmingham City side that hasn’t won in three (and went down at home to Rotherham United yesterday). The negative is that we haven’t really got a huge element of team choice, given the injury crisis and suspension for Tarks. Will the players have enough in the tank for another 90 minutes – moreso, against a team containing a few familiar faces in Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson?

Away from Griffin Park, the Pele cup took place at the training ground. The great man himself was, indeed, at Jersey Road where Cliff Crown was amongst the fortunate few to meet him. Hopefully they just discussed football, football, football (and, perhaps, Escape To Victory) rather than Pele’s foray into TV advertising. I would.

A moment I never thought I'd see - Pele and the Brentford chairman.

A moment I never thought I’d see – Pele and the Brentford chairman.

And then I did it. Football League Tonight. I sat through the full 90 minutes. Or should that be, stood.

Having previously given the show a good kicking on it’s debut (one which, for the record, I still stand by) it’s been pleasing to see the gimmicks fall away and, over the weeks, Channel 5 giving us a more traditional ‘highlights package’. So when the opportunity came to be an audience member, it seemed churlish to turn it down.

Being honest, I’m impressed. What we tend to take for granted is that this is a live show. Given how soon it is transmitted after the action ends, there’s no real choice but despite the problems they suffered in the opening weeks, fair play for sticking to that element. Moreso, with the ‘random’ element of an audience.

Not as bawdy as Soccer AM but sufficiently different from the Football League Show, they have now fused the better parts of each programme. Kelly Cates is definitely the show’s shining star and the chemistry from George Riley is growing.

The audience interview still seemed a bit stilted (then again, that could just be the price you pay for talking to MK Dons fans) although I do like the idea of this quick snapshot from the ‘regular fan’ aswell as the players – Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday being the man brought in to admit, small consolation, that his team and been lucky to get the win.

As for Adam Virgo – I’m still not sure what to make of him. Part footballer, part Clem, part geography teacher. He’s no Leroy (still my favourite pundit from Manish’s Football League Show) but then again, he’s no Steve Claridge and is looking a lot more confortable in the role

Does it beat the Football League Show? No, not yet. Then again, football highlights shows have been in such a set style for so long that it is a format we’ve had drilled into us. You can’t knock Channel 5 for attempting to break from the norm and, moreso, acknowledge that their initial attempts to do so were somewhat OTT.

Will I watch again? Absolutely. Many of the previous gripes have been ironed out and Kelly, especially, did a great job (catching George with one particular zinger about his age and Top of the Pops). Ultimately, the show gives us what we need – the highlights, in order, with a number of extended games.

It’s just a shame that, with more focus on Brentford, we didn’t see the Bees pick up any points. Still, there’s always Tuesday. It won’t be easy and, being honest, I’m anxious.

Then again, Griffin Park under floodlights is a magical place and, IF we can start that one like we ended this one (the goal aside!) then who knows what could happen….

Mark Burridge certainly enjoys the Judge strike (along with the rest of the video highlights)

Nick Bruzon

Life after Manish – Football League Tonight crashes on Channel 5 launch

9 Aug

Channel 5 launched their brand new Football League highlights show on Saturday night and it’s fair to say that the reaction has been universal. As an act of bringing fans together, they achieved the impossible as supporters of Brentford, Ipswich Town, Wolves, Hull City, Leeds United – infact just about every league club you could mention – took to Twitter to vilify 5’s new ‘Football League Tonight’ Show.

Quite literally, where do you start? When it was announced that Manish, Leroy, Clem and the rest of the BBC team would be losing the highlights package after 6 years nobody could have imagined what we’d be left with. Indeed, the much trumpeted announcement of a 9pm start time had many of us lightweights genuinely pleased. No longer would the League highlights be an afterthought tagged on catch those who had fallen asleep during Match of the Day.

To make this worse, the choice of Saturday night viewing is a normally awful selection. Something involving Ant and Dec; a singing competition; Casualty. BBC2 at 9pm was screaming out for Clem yet we were forced to wait up until gone midnight for the chance to catch our team in action.

Clem  - much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

Clem – much missed. Washing his hands of responsibility for what came next?

But where the BBC lost out in terms of timeslot, they had everything else spot on. A charismatic host; great pundits; genuine humour from Leroy ; a decent amount of match action; Clem doing his thing up and down the country (and the regular reader knows there’s enough material on that topic to fill a book….)

Most importantly though, they had good highlights. In order.

Words cannot describe just how bad Channel 5’s replacement was. It got off to a fantastic start with a 9pm kick off and that’s about the only positive thing you can say about the show. Despite the potentially decent pairing of George Riley and Kelly Cates, the rest of it was a jarring car crash of a show that made me yearn for Clem.

Football highlights aren’t a hard thing to get right. Show the games in some sort of order and give some interesting analysis. Yet 5 threw that concept out of the window and left us with what was, quite possibly, the worst attempt at a football show since Colin Murray was let loose on us.

The show switched back and forth between divisions in a bizarre manner that suggested the running order had been picked out via car keys in a bowl. The studio audience (why? why? why?) stood around looking awkward yet when one was asked a question, they’d forgotten to even have a microphone ready.

Take me out - please

Take me out – please

The garish and cluttered set looked as if it had been designed by a school kid on day 1 of work experience whilst low budget rotating ‘league ladders’ resembled something left over from a 1970s episode of Blue Peter. And then there was Martin Allen…..

Usually good for a quote, the former Brentford and Gillingham boss didn’t even seem sure of what was going on (much like the audience). “We’ve got Millwall. I think they came down from the Championship” he opined at one point although did provide just one of many moments of unintentional comedy when George invited him to give some opinion on a goal his side had conceeded.

Here you go then, talk me through this” was met with some nervous laughter and the eventual reply “What do you want me to say?”

I could go on. We’re stuck with them for three years but the problems aren’t hard to fix. Show the games, in some sort of order. Cut the studio audience; give us some decent analysis. Just cut to the chase and show the bloody action rather than a level of banter that makes Jeremy Kyle look like Panorama.

When the producers saw that the show was trending on Twitter, they must have been ecstatic, until they read some of the comments. And here are just a few….

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Manish FLT

Nick Bruzon 

The Ten things that have defined this season (so far….)

4 May

With the dust still settling on the stunning events of the weekend as Brentford beat Derby County and Wolves in the race for a play off place (where, of course, we start proceedings against Middlesbrough on Friday) this column has been handed over to a guest contributor.

Long time Bees fan fan and regular Last Word reader Justin (@BeQuietJustin on twitter) outlines his ten things that have defined Brentford’s 2015/16 campaign to date. So without further ado, here are his thoughts….

That leak – February’s main item of club news was that Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham couldn’t reach agreement about the backroom direction of the club which ultimately meant Warburton would leave at the end of the season, coinciding with the end of his contract. This was reported as a sacking by some extremely lazy journalists in the national press and The Football League Show’s Steve Claridge doggedly insisted that the news was the reason behind any time Brentford didn’t win convincingly in a division they’d only just been promoted to.

The fans’ chanting of Warburton’s name during games, and the players’ celebrations with the manager after Andre Gray’s opener against Watford, showed that those a little closer to the club were unfazed by the largely unwarranted media nonsense.

Warbs  - there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Warbs – there was no doubt about his popularity with the players

Signing woes – This season brought with it half a team’s worth of interesting signings, many of whom were either injured on arrival or ended up that way.

Scott Hogan was hoped to be the eventual number one striker but picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury after playing a mere 30 minutes. Everton loanee Chris Long contributed four goals in some admirable performances with raw willing and talent before being sent back to his parent club for injury assessment and exacerbating the problem in a youth cup game.

The Championship-experienced Nick Proschwitz had potential but his finishing soon left fans recalling such legendary names as Clyde Wijnhard and Murray Jones. Exciting Sporting Lisbon forward Betinho apparently did not adjust well to the English game and disappeared from the matchday squads after playing just 13 minutes.

On top of all this, bright Rangers signing Lewis Macleod’s recovery from a hamstring injury was set back by falling down a rabbit hole and tripping over a twig. Make your own jokes about Brentford’s diminutive central midfield. With even one more fit and in-form striker this season, Brentford may well have been automatically promoted. On the other hand, the players have sometimes engineered their own downfall with some noticeable…

Defensive dithering – The new footballing way at Brentford dictated that no longer would we be pumping a long ball over the top for the big striker to knock down to the little one for a shot on goal. Methodical, patient, possession football in the vein of the Spanish national team was the new style and that brought with it a reduction in long goal kicks. Playing out from the back, enabling the defence to link with the 5-man midfield and draw defensive lines out of position, was something very few expected to see from a League One team and this was refined further this season.

However, it also brought with it a fair share of head-in-hands moments, with goalkeeper and defenders seemingly unaware of what was going on around them at times. Numerous occasions brought a short pass to a defender and back to David Button for him to hurriedly lump the ball up the field under pressure when it would have been easier to clear the lines properly and take a standard goal kick.

While the lack of height further up the pitch dictates that wasn’t always the right idea, the high-risk insistence of playing out from the back has resulted in defenders being robbed and conceding goals. Of course, nobody’s perfect, and it would be remiss to highlight the bad side of playing out from the back without mentioning…

David Button – Where would we be without some of David’s fantastic goalkeeping? The spectacular double save at Carrow Road has to be a major contender for save of the season, closely followed by great performances at home against Bournemouth and Watford, among many others.

View from the terrace - David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button  it,

View from the terrace – David exerts his influence early, telling referee Madley to button it,

With Richard Lee’s recurring shoulder injury ultimately leading to him announcing his retirement and subsequently going on loan to a team whose name escapes me, fans were understandably concerned about what would happen in the event of David’s injury or suspension. Jack Bonham looked comfortable in his single appearance against Brighton in the FA Cup, with defensive lapses giving him little chance against two late goals, but the young number two (technically, three?) wasn’t required further.

A testament to goalkeeping coach Simon Royce, David’s kicking and speed off his line have both improved greatly over the last couple of seasons to match his outstanding shot-stopping ability. He pulled off a fine point blank save at 0-0 to help the team on their way to…

Brentford 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – More money and an established, Championship way of thinking and playing saw Wolves romp home to the League One title last May, finishing 17 points clear of the playoff positions. This game relatively early on in the season was seen as a marker to determine how Brentford would cope in the division against supposedly ‘bigger clubs’.

An emphatic victory rounded off an excellent November consisting of five wins from five games, spawning the infamous #novemberkings hashtag on the club’s Twitter feed. At the end of the regular season, it turned out that this was the result that counted. A 1-0 win for Brentford would have put Wolves in the playoffs and Brentford 7th on goal difference. (editor’s note: (seventh)).

View from the terrace - Wolves perfected their 'kick off' routine at Griffin Park this season

View from the terrace – Wolves perfected their ‘kick off’ routine at Griffin Park this season

A footnote to this game was ex-Bee George Saville, who did not look up to the part having signed permanently for Wolves from Chelsea. I thought George was too indecisive and lightweight last season to make it with Brentford. He failed to impress at Wolves and ended up on loan at Bristol City, registering only 15 total appearances. This match included a brilliant goal in which the entire Wolves back four was taken out of the game in one swift move by…

Andre Gray – Essentially our only true striker this season, Andre massively outperformed early expectations in which he was thought to be playing second fiddle to Scott Hogan. Having jumped up three divisions from the Conference, there was cautious optimism among fans, tempered with a generous helping of wondering where the goals would come from if Brentford were to have a hope of staying in the division.

With Hogan’s early injury turning out to be worse than initially thought, all eyes fell on Andre. Often having to deal with being wrestled, pulled back and kicked to bits by huge defensive lumps, with officials consistently failing to see what 10,000 fans clearly could, Gray has held his nerve, scored 17 goals, set up numerous other chances for his teammates and played a massive part in…

FourFourTwo-2Thumbing our collective noses at the experts’ pre-season predictions – The pundits certainly hadn’t been paying attention to Brentford’s style of play in the previous season and gave them very little chance of making a dent in the Championship promotion race.

As we’ve seen numerous times in the last couple of seasons, underestimate this team at your peril. The most infamous pre-season prediction was that of FourFourTwo magazine, who got numerous things very wrong in their proposed final table (left).

Toumani Diagouraga – Another of my shortlist for the player of the season award. After being farmed out on loan to Portsmouth for eight games last season, many fans suspected that would be the last we saw of the composed, unpredictable midfielder at Griffin Park.

Toumani fought his way back into a midfield that looked like it would never be able to accommodate him due to other players’ performances and has put in 41 appearances so far this season, including numerous man of the match displays. He has been an absolute pleasure to watch, specialising in breaking down attacks with seemingly telescopic legs and twisting opposition players into knots with some brilliant yet, at times, utterly baffling footwork.

Alan Judge – My player of the season. Alan missed games in January and February through injury but it was clear how much we missed his creativity in his absence. Taking over the Sam Saunders mantle as the midfield playmaker, Alan finds space in the centre circle with driving runs to assist or take shots on goal and can spread the play to the wings with ease.

Many Brentford fans have no idea why Blackburn froze him out of their squad, presumably because at only 5’7” he’s not tall enough for their style of play, but their loss is our huge gain. Alan can also strike a sweet free kick, with Good Friday bringing a particularly memorable one…

Bees up, Fulham (almost) down – Perhaps not the biggest thing to happen in the grand scheme of this season, but an emotional choice and an away day that most fans had been looking forward to since the minute the fixtures were released.

Doing the league double over one of our fiercest local rivals showed how far the club has come. From being easily rolled over 5-0 in 2010’s pre-season, to a late home winner and comprehensively spanking that lot down the river in their own back yard, this pair of results gave the long-suffering Bees faithful yet another reason to be proud of what the club has achieved this season.

It’s not over yet, but we have more than enough to celebrate. Here’s looking forward to August, no matter which division Brentford are in!

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

The win at Fulham was certainly one of the most exciting moments of a great season

After the storm, some reflection

22 Mar

Talking in the pub last night and looking around cyberspace this morning it would be fair to say I wasn’t alone in ‘The Last Word’ assessment of Brentford, following the 2-2 draw with Millwall. Equally, having shot from the hip and now having had the benefit of sleeping on it, can we take any positives or even just reassess a column written in the heat of the moment?

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.

Buzette - now head and shoulders above Buzz

Buzette – now head and (almost) shoulders above Buzz

Clem - another game, another draw

Clem – another game, another draw

With these midfielders you are really spoiling us

21 Mar

Saturday really does have the feel of a pivotal point in the Championship campaign. With only eight games to go, six of the top nine face each other whilst Brentford have a home fixture against relegation bound Millwall. The likes of Bournemouth v Middlesbrough or Watford v Ipswich Town are sure to have Manish & co purring tonight but, for me, it is all about what happens at Griffin Park.

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.

Dougie  - recently signed his contract extension

Dougie – recently signed his contract extension

Slade in Flame as Bees burnt (and a shock at Bournemouth)

15 Mar

Well that was all a bit ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. With Ipswich Town going down 4-1 in the lunchtime game at Middlesbrough, Cardiff City were all that stood between Brentford and a four point gap from the pack chasing the play off spots. But rather than take advantage of the opportunity, the Bees put in a sub par performance against a workmanlike opposition that we gifted two woeful goals.

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 long arm of) Clem's law is broken - a rare win for the BBC man

(the long arm of) Clem’s law is broken – a rare win for the BBC man

And Murphy must score…. 66 is the magic number

8 Mar

Just when the Championship couldn’t get any tighter, it does. As Brentford and Ipswich Town shared a point in their 1-1 draw to consolidate 6th and 7th (seventh) places respectively, defeat for Middlesbrough and draws for Watford and Derby (thanks to Clayton Donaldson’s late equaliser) mean that the top four teams in the table all have 66 points.

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.

Woofy McWoofington shows his true colours once more

Woofy McWoofington shows his true colours once more

BBC FLS viewers see Murphy set to pounce

BBC FLS viewers see Murphy set to pounce

Clem can't make it 7 (seven) wins yet

Clem can’t make it 7 (seven) wins yet

Huge opportunity in promotion six pointer at Ipswich Town

7 Mar

Brentford travel to Ipswich Town today knowing that a victory will take us four points clear in the promotion places. And whilst there were to be no repeats of the week’s earlier favours from Leeds United when Bournemouth visited Fulham on Friday night, the opportunity for The Bees remains a stunning one to behold. We’ll get to the distasteful dilemma from Craven Cottage in a moment but can only begin at Portman Road.

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.

Sooty didn’t wait around to celebrate Jon Toral’s third against Blackpool.

Sooty didn’t wait around to celebrate Jon Toral’s third against Blackpool.

Emerging from the prematch huddle on Boxing Day. Still 0-0 (for 19 more seconds)

Emerging from the prematch huddle on Boxing Day. Still 0-0 (for 19 more seconds)

Lots of goals. Lots of points. Lots of tickets.

4 Mar

What a Wednesday! Brentford fans were able to take stock of a stunning 4-1 victory over Huddersfield Town last night before then receiving great news from Fulham with the announcement of ticket allocation for next month’s derby game. We’ll get to Craven Cottage shortly but for those still in need of a recap from last night, Huddersfield were the latest to try their luck at Griffin Park against the free scoring Bees.

7 (seven) in the previous 2 home games (3-1 v Bournemouth and then 4-0 v Blackpool) have now become 11 in 3. A 4-1 victory was the least we deserved as Chris Long took just four minutes to get off the mark on his full Brentford debut.

His second, following fine work from Jota (how often has that phrase been used this season?) restored Brentford’s lead after Harry Bunn had given the Terriers brief hope. But if that goal reinstated Brentford’s supremacy in terms of goals, what was more amazing was how things remained level in terms of players.

Bunn and James Vaughan were both incredibly fortunate to avoid bookings after preening in front of the home supporters like a pair of coked up peacocks. The reaction from the Ealing Road was hardly surprising but justice was soon delivered.

Alex Pritchard made it three before midfield man of the moment, Jon Toral, followed up his hat trick from a week before with a smart strike from distance. Bunn, meanwhile, eventually found his way into the notebook although referee Kavanagh must have been suffering xanthophobia when it came to Vaughan. A number of cynical challenges were shown nothing more than an inconsequential talking to for the Town number 9.

The video highlights are now on YouTube

 

But a victory of magnitude does, in the cold light of day, make such anomalies almost an irrelevance. The key points to remember are another +3 in the GD column, a refreshing alternative up front and, most importantly, three more points as Brentford hit the play off spots once again.

And then the ticket news from Fulham was announced. An initial allocation of 4000 (with the option for a further thousand) means we’ll take up a fifth of the ground for the Bank Holiday game on April 3rd. As ever, full information is available on the club website and you can read that here.

As we saw last season at Leyton Orient, huge travelling support to a local derby can make a monumental difference.

Here’s hoping for a very Good Friday.