Tag Archives: Stoke City

Palace and Arsenal write a chapter for our next season as Bees beat QPR. Again.

11 Apr

With Brentford safe in the Championship for another season and the playoffs a leap too far, thoughts turn to who we’ll be facing in 2017/18. Last night’s Crystal Palace – Arsenal game has given more than a few clues as to how that’s going to pan out. Elsewhere, there was sad news for QPR who have had to make a somewhat embarrassing retraction (stop sniggering) whilst local news site Get West London appear to have finally jumped the shark.

First up Crystal Palace. For a time it looked as they were being slowly sucked towards the Premier League relegation battle. A 0-4 thumping by Sunderland, swiftly followed by a reverse at the hands of Stoke City, had eyes lighting up in West London as the Eagles slid down, down (deeper and down). Could we have another local fixture, with the Bees going to the Palace next season? Would there be a kit obsessive programme feature including that most iconic of shirts, the red and blue sash sported by Brentford legend Neil Smillie?

crystal-palace-neil-smillie-vince-hilaire-36951-p

Then Big Sam and his troops got their act together, won four in a row and despite hitting a bump at Southampton, had the pleasure of playing Arsenal last night. And what a pleasure it was for the neutral. A 3-0 win for Palace makes their own safety a lot more likely and, with it, a straight shoot out between Hull City and Swansea City for the privilege of joining all but mathematically doomed Middlesbrough and Sunderland at Griffin Park next season.

It’s a shame from one respect. I was quite looking forward to the prospect of a hop across London to Selhurst Park next season. It would have been a new ground to see Brentford play at but instead we can do nothing but offer Palace congratulations on a job well done in recent weeks.

The other factor is the listening to those self-entitled numpties at Arsenal TV and Piers Morgan, somehow thinking that because they had that run back in 2003/04 when they were dubbed the undateables or whatever it was, they are entitled to be any good over a decade later. Yawn. Seriously yawn.

Anyone thinking Brentford fans moan or give our managers stick needs to look to North London. There, they take expectation to a new level with ‘Wenger’ receiving 128K worth of tweets on the UK trend list as at the time of writing (6.30am).

The biggest irony being the silence in the Emirates when they are playing. If they made half as much noise mid-game as they do once the team has lost then perhaps Arsenal might be an intimidating place to come rather than the glorified library it is so derided as being.  For the neutral, it remains wonderful, if slightly nauseous, unintentional comedy. No supporters in the land are as full of their club’s own self-importance relative to its actual ability (I know , I know – they won the FA Cup). Long may it continue.

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Twitter: Come for Monkman; stay for Wenger

On the subject of unintentional comedy, we only need to look a few miles up the road to West London rivals QPR. Already 6 points behind the Bees in the League table, now they’ve lost out to us in the player of the year awards stakes.

Whilst Brentford’s own event all but sold out within days, the not so super hoops have been forced into an awkward climbdown within a week of tickets being made available for their £119 a head do. In a brief article on the clubwebsite entitled ‘POTY EVENT CANCELLED the club has been forced to admit that, “a lack of sales has resulted in the event being cancelled”.

Here’s to Saturday week when we can really hope to compound a miserable season for our near neighbours. Fifty years on; never forget.

And finally, Get West London. Whilst it would often be easier just to follow the player feed on Twitter than read their stories, yesterday saw things reach a new low. The aforementioned journalistic jumping of the shark, if you will.

Brentford fan wears Bees shirt with BREXIT 16 on the back .

Thus proclaimed the headline on one of yesterday’s post Cardiff pieces. It went on to add – The shirt about the decision to leave the European Union sparked debate on social networking site Twitter.

Sorry, this is news how? This is a story because? Stop the press  – Football fan has political opinion. This is Donald Trump levels of news. Or lack of.  It was something that ‘sparked debate’, apparently. Or, in actual fact, led to a few references to it on Twitter.

What next. Man wears jaunty Castle Badge jumper to winter game? Transfer exclusive: Jugde to sign for Brentford?

IMG_6201

Coming next, on Get West London

Now I’m the first to admit writing drivel from time to time. Then again, I’m neither a journalist nor paid for the privilege. Just a self-confessed numpty on the terrace with an occasional blog column.

Come on Get West London, you can do better than this. Supporters deserve better than this. With five games and two local derbies to come, things aren’t at Arsenal levels of quiet. Just yet.

April fixtures

We’ve got all this to come still

Nick Bruzon

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Brentford draw, Swansea and Palace get Santa’s sack and 2016 is summed up in one tweet. A week (and a bit) in football – The Good , The Bad and The Ugly.

28 Dec

A bit late this week, or is it on time? The Christmas schedule always puts the calendar somewhat out of sync. Half way through the campaign and Brentford drew 2-2 with Cardiff City to shore up what is now looking like a mid-table season. At the top, Brighton’s fourth win on the bounce (this time over relegation bound QPR) saw them overtake Newcastle United in the battle to top the table. And at the other end Rotherham , Wigan and Blackburn Rovers occupy the relegation slots.

That’s the latest Championship action in nutshell. With double bank holidays throwing the calendar into confusion (today being Wednesday, I think) there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the latest edition of our regular, weekly-ish feature  – we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

And, as ever, we start at Griffin Park where there isn’t a huge amount to add off a game where referee Simon Hooper dominated affairs. A shame, as it meant that first time around  we were denied moments such as this…..

Meanwhile, in the first of a Tom Moore double…. does he know something about Dean Smith that we don’t? Or do Get West London need a new pictures editor?

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Tom has been keeping himself busy as he’s been covering events at hapless QPR, too. With the not so super hoops slithering down the Championship table to sit just three points above the drop zone, one can only imagine Ian Holloway is starting to shuffle uncomfortably in his own managerial hot seat. It only seems like a few months ago that he was tipping Brentford to be relegated whilst suggesting the Loftus Road outfit (currently 20th) would end the season 11th.Not that anybody will remind him of these in May….

wlpj-on-holloway

A bit higher up the table, Gianfranco Zola has immediately rewarded the decision of the Birmingham City board to sack Gary Rowett.

partridge-on-birmingham-zola

This, something also picked up on by BBC man Phil Parry.

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Lower down the league ladder, one can only rejoice in the fact that there’s an equally big fall out from a spot kick strop as Brentford suffered after ‘that penalty’.

redhill-penalty

In the Premier League, it was less Santa’s sack and more a managerial one. Or two. Bob Bradley was relieved of his duties at Swansea City whilst Sam Allardyce took over from Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. It was nice to see worlds collide….

Big Sam was the instant source of further questioning following his appointment.

big-sam-palace

Although there can’t be any chance of Mr Pardew being out of work for too long.

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Meanwhile non-league Bungay Town were quick to jockey for position despite Ryan Giggs being named as odds on favourite for the role at Swansea…

bungay-town-on-bb

Getting back to matters on field in the top flight, Arsenal continued to display their ambition.

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Leicester City took protests about Jamie Vardy’s suspension to another level.

vardy

The day after Boxing Day (Tuesday?) saw Liverpool v Stoke City in the televised clash. Despite the Potters having taken a deserved lead, normal service was resumed in some style.

james-tyler-on-liverpool

The visiting manager refused to bend from his principles.

sam-wallace-on-liverpool-v-stoke

Principles which, once reminded of, deserve a repeat viewing just to remember how short ‘short’ shorts were back in the day.

mark-hughes-1984

But it wouldn’t be the festive period without a traditional Christmas message from the Queen.

queen-speech

Or in the case of former Everton ‘keeper Neville Southall, an untraditional one.

neville-southall

And there was a Christmas blast from the past.

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Although, ultimately, you could sum up the period (and 2016 as a whole) in one tweet.

mrs-brown

Finally, as ever, we close with Ian Moose and his birthday friend of the week. Which of his good friends from the world of football did the Talksport DJ wish happy birthday to, via the medium of a Twitter post and picture of them together?

Given it is a period that included December 25 I was half expecting to see him pose with Jesus. However, having checked the little book of footballing birthdays Manchester City’s Navas was born on November 21st.

Instead, this week his ‘good friend’ is none other than former Bee Chris Kamara .

moose-birthday-dec-25

Nick Bruzon 

A potential silver lining as another part of next season falls into place

17 May

Monday evening saw Brentford learn another opponent for next season as the horror and the brilliance of the play-offs was combined in equal measure. Despite throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents , Brighton were unable to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit and so it is Sheffield Wednesday who reach the final next weekend. Barring a minor miracle, Hull City (who complete formalities at home to Derby tonight, 3-0 up) will be the only thing in their way as the Premier league beckons.

The nice part of me feels dreadfully for Brighton right now. The were in ‘automatic’ for long parts of the season and finished level on points with promoted Middlesbrough. Only two goals split the respective teams, with Boro ending the campaign on 89 points and +32 ; the Seagulls 89 points and + 30.

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The BBC table doesn’t lie

Wednesday, meanwhile, finished 15 points behind the Seagulls and had gone into the semi on anything less than great form. Only 2 wins out of the last 7(seven) suggested a team who had as much chance as Derby County of making the final. Yet, as we all know, form counts for nothing and the play-offs are a fickle mistress.

If one team can feel Brighton’s pain right now it is Brentford. Our play off form is only matched by Sheffield United, in making it 8 attempts without winning the final. Even Preston, finally, breaking their hoodoo last season making it 1 win out of 10 to join us in the Championship.

For the record, our own campaign trail of woe reads.

1990/91 : Lost. SF. Tranmere Rovers (2-3)

1994/95 : Lost. SF. Huddersfield Town (2-2; pens)

1996/97 : Lost. Final. Crewe (0-1)

2000/01 : Lost. Final. Stoke City (0-2)

2004/05 : Lost. SF. Sheffield Wednesday (1-3)

2005/06 : Lost. SF. Swansea City (1-3)

2012/13 : Lost. Final. Yeovil Town (1-2)

2014/15 : Lost. SF. Middlesbrough (1-5)

I take no pleasure from seeing any team go through what we have done. Many times. If ever a reminder were needed (it wasn’t) about just how cruel the play-offs can be it was here. If ever a reminder was needed of the importance of grabbing ever point and every goal over the course of the regular season then last night served up yet another example.

Yet, at the same time, whilst I do have sympathy I also have some selfishness about this. As one observer noted on Twitter last night, “Brighton away its too good a trip to be wasted on the Premier League”.

I’ve got no new interest in Sheffield  – been there, done it, eaten their (albeit lovely) pies and heard ‘that band’ many times. Should Hull win the final, then no doubt I may go (again).

But a guaranteed trip to the Amex is only a fantastic thing for Brentford. A short hop on the train. A day out by the coast. A full house of Bees in the away end. A cracking atmosphere.

Nick mascots Brighton

The Albion mascots – it feels like cheating on Buzzette

Sheffield are welcome to take their band and Hi-Ho, Silver Lining (see also: Let me Entertain you / We are the Champions for ‘overplayed stadium songs’ ) to the top flight. Good luck to them. Genuinely. I’ve always enjoyed going there and wish them no ill will.

But a trip to the Amex, something that many of us were denied this time around thanks to the decision making of Sky TV, can only be viewed as a positive. At least, for us visiting fans.

To be honest, missing out on that trip this time around was probably no bad thing (and if you’d like to read more about that, or the season just gone then you know the drill – it’s here). Brentford were abject when we went down 3-0 in February.

For that reason alone, redemption, I’m already looking forward to another visit. Now, where’s that railcard…?

Until then, this may remain on the cards. Still, if Wednesday do go up there will be one silver lining.

Enjoy

And finally, as ever, genuine thanks to all those who have so far downloaded both the aforementioned Last Word ‘season review’ (Ready. Steady. Go Again) aswell as the three year anthology (The Bees are going up). It is somewhat humbling that people take the time to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same.  Until then, the last three season reviews and overall anthology are available here.

Nick Bruzon

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

7 Feb

Fear not, Brentford fans. This isn’t another discourse on FCM although their role does play a part in today’s column. I’d love to pretend I was a connoisseur of all things Shakespeare but nobody is going to be fooled by any pretensions of being high-brow. Whilst the line is one of the most famous from Hamlet, it wasn’t The Bard who gave me inspiration but Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Originally spoken by the character Marcellus (presumably not Trotta), it is one which has since slipped into common usage to describe corruption or a situation in which something is wrong. You’ll also find it in one of the greatest ‘so bad it’s good’ films of all time, Arnie’s ‘Last Action Hero’ in which the Terminator star’s mock trailer for a more explosive version appears.

Hasta la vista, William

Before anybody calls in the lawyers, I’m not suggesting any form of corruption at Brentford. Or FCM. Clear?!

That said, I’m still not entirely convinced that all is good about the situation surrounding our club at present. We lost at Brighton on Friday night and that is part and parcel of having to rebuild a successful team. Moreso, playing against a side pushing for promotion who seem to have rediscovered their mojo.

Yet I do wonder how we could run them so close on Boxing day, yet 6 weeks later be played off the park. Did Toumani and James Tarkowski, both since sold, make that much of a difference? Or was there more to it than that?

What really worried me was Dean Smith being quoted as saying: “We spoke about the training and we felt the intensity hadn’t been good enough and that carried over into the game. I felt it turned over the first goal

Wow! How on earth has that been allowed to happen? We’ve got more specialist coaches than National Express so what is wrong in the set up that we lack training ground intensity? Is there discontent behind the scenes following more high profile departures after the influx of statistical recruits over the summer?

Was this a throwaway remark made out of context or should we really be concerned?

Ordinarily, I might now have paid this quite so much attention, were it not for what has already happened this season. We had the Marinus experiment that ended after a mere 9 games and 2 wins – of which the first was inspired by a brace from Andre Gray.

Whilst the club’s statement didn’t go into huge specifics on his eventual exit, despite us being told how great things were in the Fans’ Forum just days earlier, there are several suggestions on news sites that training ground issues were a huge part of this. The Daily Mail, in particular, made the statement that , “It was the quality of training which was his true undoing, with a number of first-team players holding serious misgivings”.

Indeed, in his introduction of Lee Carsley as the successor to Marinus, our chairman specifically noted : “Lee has shown with the Under-21s he is an outstanding leader. His work at the training ground has been hugely impressive whilst coaching the development squad and has demonstrated he understands the club’s philosophy and the ambitions of Brentford FC.”

Lee certainly had the team back up to the incredible heights we’d reached last season, even winning October’s manager of the month award following a run of four straight victories. Since he left, the team has managed four more victories in the 13 games since Dean took over.

We’ve only scored 6 goals in the 7(seven) games that covered the transfer window period and then the Brighton match. Of those, 3 came in the only win over that period, the away game at Preston.

Draw what conclusion you want from these stats but I’m not convinced we have an entirely happy camp. It’s always harder looking in, of course, and perhaps there is still an element of caution after so much change has taken place.

Lee Carsley MOTM

October very much a ‘head coach’ high point after Marinus

Fans aren’t happy either. Just look around social media to see them sniping at each other. The GPG is going into meltdown in certain areas. Twitter is an angry place. Club employees are publically critical of supporters for voicing opinion whilst even the normally placid ‘Brentford FC loyal’ site on Facebook is becoming a fractured group.

You can ignore this but discontent in cyber space fuels discontent on the terrace and people ARE falling into two camps. On the one hand those who say we should put up, shut up, trust the hierarchy and be grateful for what we’ve got . After all, it wasn’t so long ago we were fighting for survival and playing in Division 2 . That this is long term ‘project’ (I HATE that word to describe a football club).

On the other, those who say that – you know what, whether expected or not we did bloody well last season. Why shouldn’t we have tried to build on that team, with a manager who had performed heroics ? What’s wrong with wanting our team to succeed and do better each season? Having had a taste of Championship success, who wouldn’t want more?

Compare this to the last three seasons where the most we’ve had to argue about is whether Marcello Trotta should have come back (a resounding yes, for me). Now, supporters are at each other’s throats but who is right?

As ever, the answer seems to lie half way between both. I’ll put in my usual disclaimer at this point about being eternally grateful of Matthew Benham’s investment but, equally, every supporter’s right to still ask questions about our direction.

We’ve had to sell. But so heavily? Was last season our best shot of going up and, having just missed out, is it now simply a case of treading water whilst building up both the balance sheet and a new team until we are ready to move to Lionel Road?

This sort of consolidated approach can pay long term dividends. Look at Stoke City. They reached the Championship after beating us in the 2001-02 play off final and immediately sacked their manager. Gudjon Thordarson was replaced by Steve Cotterill with Tony Pulis taking over from him just four months into the season. Six years later, Pulis took Stoke into the Premier League on the last day of the 2007-08 season. A place they still hold today.

As a side note, what few may recall is that during his time in the Championship, Pulis was also sacked by Stoke before being reappointed. In the interim, Dutchman Johan Boskamp was appointed for a season. It was a period that saw him bring in a number of new players from Europe but his inconsistent side limped to mid-table.

Unlike Stoke, our European approach has this analytical element. It worked for FCM but will it work for us? So far, the jury is out. Equally, and whether he likes it or not, Rasmus Ankersen seems to be public enemy number 1 in some circles.

At the end of the day (Clive), you can understand some scepticism given that the chairman of one club is responsible for transfer policy at another. Ours.

How can you split two roles? Who will get preference when the ‘statistical jewel in the crown’ is uncovered? Moreso, when a team that is crying out for a goalscorer has not looked / been able (delete as applicable) to make any investment over the January window.

If Rasmus is reading (who knows) then why not give an interview? But not to the club media team. What about a hard hitting one? I’d love to see if the likes of Beesotted could probe him properly. Billy Reeves style.

And this wouldn’t be to take pot shots – quite the opposite. Whether people like it or not, this is currently our direction so let’s hear more about it, please. Why not try and engender some trust? Last time that we were told everything was rosy it wasn’t, so how about some reassurance now?

Our new look approach. Our three / four (I count Lee twice) head coaches in one season. Our shedding of a side that came ‘so close’. Further talk of training ground issues. Even just this squabbling amongst ourselves are all things we are not used to at Brentford. Why not sit down in front of a couple of respected supporters and give us your take ?

There’s no real answers from me in today’s column. I’m just one numpty on the terrace chucking a few questions out there and calling things how I see them – from one supporter’s perspective. Some may agree; others probably won’t.

To be honest, that we are talking about Championship consolidation in almost a negative term seems bonkers. I get that bit.  Yet there is an underlying vibe that surrounds this which, whilst perhaps just me, I’d love to hear more about from the other side of the fence.

The club.

Rasmus talks to Beesplayer

Is Rasmus the man to reinvigorate our support?

Nick Bruzon

Great work, all round, from the Brentford FC family

27 Jul

Fresh from the win over Stoke City on Saturday, the excitement levels amongst Brentford fans have cranked up another level with the arrival of season tickets and membership packs. And it has to be said they are nothing but impressive with congratulations due to all concerned! This really is an effort of Premier League levels!

We’ll get on to all of that along with a few other mentions in a moment but, first, the other stuff from the Stoke City game.

Stuart Dallas and his wonder strike for the second goal. Watching it again on the YouTube highlights I couldn’t help but have my eye drawn to something in the crowd. Had somebody lost a bet? Are things that bad up the road that they are fleeing the sinking ship like rats? Or was it simply a sartorial ‘faux pas’ that was realised only once en-route to Griffin Park?

Answers on a postcard

Answers on a postcard

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

Moore of this please (despite key absences in easy win)

25 Jul

Well that was disappointingly simple. As Brentford ran out 2-0 winners over Stoke City in Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Griffin Park, supporters were left with more questions than answers. Were Brentford really that good? Were Stoke really that bad? Is that really the end of the road for Jonathan Douglas? And that’s just for starters.

The Bees were, simply, dominant. True – this was a low key friendly but you can only play the team in front of you. And, being blunt, Stoke City barely showed up. It was the archetypal example of that most favourite of commentating clichés. Namely, ”If you knew nothing about either team you’d be mistaken as to which was the Premiership side”.

As one Stoke fan, Phil Oxford of Canadia, put it to me later, “Thankfully these pre season things are generally about getting fit and proving to the board you need to spend money on new players“. It’s one theory, I suppose.

Andy Gogia, Jota, Toumani and captain Harlee Dean were amongst those who impressed in an all round team performance where nobody had a bad game. Indeed, Marinus’ formation lost none of the passing play seen under Mark Warburton yet seemed to have a much more balanced look to it with none of the gaps we’d suffered from at times last season.

View from the terrace - Marinus has even ditched the 'bus stop' corner

View from the terrace – Marinus has even ditched the ‘bus stop’ corner

Debutant Gogia had already won over the crowd with a number of impressive feints and touches before he opened proceedings with a deflected shot from distance, Alex Pritchard style. And the second came from Stuart Dallas, with wonderful strike at the far post – from a corner….. It bears repeating.From. A. Corner.

Our set pieces from in front of the box may have been lacking the finesses of a certain Mr. S. Saunders but the corner routine had us smiling. A goal and, as importantly, a complete dearth of the unfavoured ‘short’ version. “They never f***ing work”, as one terrace wag is always happy to remind us – a point I’m inclined to agree with. As such, it was great to see them ditched with such success.

With the previously favoured ‘bus stop’ routine also removed from the corner repertoire, how much of a sign has already been made in regards to technique? What hasn’t changed was the quality and power of the strike from Stuart Dallas. After net busters last time out against the likes of Fulham and Wolves, he has already picked up where he left off.

If you want the full report then, as ever, I’d suggest the BBC, the official site or the likes of Beesotted. I’m more interested in those other questions that has us talking on  the terrace.

First up, Dougie. Will he ever play for Brentford again? After being told he could leave the club, this is the second successive game against Premiership opposition where he hasn’t even been in the squad (following the ‘behind closed doors’ run out against Tottenham). Truly, nobody is untouchable.

What is the state of the pitch? Certainly, it seemed as though this was cutting up very heavily – right from the off. I’m no expert on these things but one would presume the heavy rain the day before hadn’t helped the freshly laid grass and, after time, it will bed in.

View from the terrace - divots and soil are already appearing

View from the terrace – divots and soil are already appearing

What is it with our training ground? After last season’s freak injury to Lewis Macleod, where the Rangers old boy was sidelined after tripping over a twig, the curse has struck again. Josh McEachran has, according to West London’s Premier journalist Tom Moore, broken his foot and will be out for three months. This, following a freak training ground accident – although this time a coming together with Toumani. Anything but a twig…

Josh signed for Brentford - but now looks like he'll be out for 3 months

Josh signed for Brentford – but now looks like he’ll be out for 3 months

And talking of Tom Moore. Where has he developed his previously unseen sense sense of humour? And will it survive past pre-season? Here’s hoping. His twitter feed already had me amused with his description of the second goal – below.

Tom Moore - 2015 version

Tom Moore – 2015 version

He then went one better in a post match report .  I’m childish, and make no apologies for the fact, but it was only his use of the word ‘taken’ rather than ‘pulled’ stopped the innuendo monitor going into overdrive.

Accidental or deliberate choice of words….?

Accidental or deliberate choice of words….?

But, most importantly, where was Buzzette? Our favourite mascot was conspicuous by her absence with only Buzz in attendance. All being well there’s nothing more sinister to this than her being a bit late getting back from holidays.

Hopefully Buzzette will return

Hopefully Buzzette will return

So. What did we learn? Quite simply, the loss of Mark Warburton may not be felt as keenly as the doom-mongers may have predicted. That’s not to take anything away from what he achieved but that time has been. Now, both he (at Rangers) and Brentford face new challenges. In his place, Marinus has lined up a team, and squad, to be reckoned with.

Of course, it all counts for nothing until the season begins in anger but I’d rather be winning these games than losing them. There are just two weeks to go until the season begins. After today, I’m looking forward to it even more than ever.

Nick Bruzon

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And , as ever , to read more about what Brentford have done over the last two seasons (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums  are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re still available for less than the price of a match day pie if you want some summer reading before the big kick off (™) arrives.

Getting a good vibe about The Hoff

24 Jul

With Brentford due to entertain Stoke City in Saturday’s friendly, could we have a new look centre forward pairing? For those unfamiliar with such a concept in recent seasons that’s two strikers, playing up front, together – at the same time. TW8 was gripped with excitement at the news that German Under-21 Philipp Hofmann has signed from FC Kaiserslautern.

Finally, an option to help support Andre Gray up front and of international calibre to boot. A player who participated in this summer’s U-21 tournament in Serbia, Marinus has described him as “a target man, physically strong, and a good header of the ball

The Hoff signs

The Hoff signs

For those of you with a statistical leaning, he comes in at 6 foot 4 and a half inches. Certainly the opposite to Andre Gray and very much in line with that description of his being a ‘target man’. And whilst, on paper, some aspects may put one in mind of a certain Nick Proschwitz, I’m fairly sure that’s where the analogies will end. You don’t represent your country all the way up from U-18 to U-21 without being ‘any good’.

The full story, for those who haven’t read it, is still on the club site where he is another addition to the lexicon of obvious descriptions. Chris Wickham’s article names him as, “The tall Germany Under-21 international “, (see also the oft used: long legged midfielder – Toumani).

The other piece of note from the article was his use of the baseball cap. Indoors. And backwards.

I’m certainly not down with da kidz but I’d always thought that, if one was to be worn, it had to be perched precariously on the head. Preferably at a jaunty angle. What a shame Richard Lee, of course of ‘Dr Cap’, fame is no longer with the club to put him right on such matters.

Personally, I think its just a shame that The Hoff didn’t pose in his club kitt.

Bad headlines await this season

Bad headlines await this season

In all seriousness though, Phillip looks like an excellent signing and I can’t wait to see if he makes his bow against Stoke tomorrow.

But wait. There’s more. Possibly. Rumours have been sweeping the Internet and Swedish media that the Bees are due to unveil another striker this morning (Friday). Is Danish international Lasse Vibe about to join us from IFK Göteborg?

I’m getting queasy just at the use of the word ‘international’ so many times in one page but, if this does unfold, will be another stunning statement of intent from Matthew Benham. The centre forward, who has 9 appearances under his belt for the national side, was a recent target for Reading and, supposedly, the Bees have fought off competition from Schalke for his signature.

He's got that Vibe

He’s got that Vibe

Will this transpire or is it going to be another rumour that falls flat? Well, Beesotted think its true and they, for me, have been the one source (outside of official ones, of course) to get all the summer transfer activity spot on.

That’s good enough for me. I’m already looking forward to those “Don’t hassle the Hoff” and “Good Vibes” headlines that one can only hope will follow.

Come for the puns – stay for the goals.

Nick Bruzon

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And , as ever , to read more about what Brentford have done over the last two seasons (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums  are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re still available for less than the price of a match day pie if you want some summer reading before the big kick off (™) arrives.

Return of the Mac will see first look at our future

19 Jul

Finally, it feels as though things are getting closer. There has been plenty of build up from Brentford supporters, the club and the press alike but pre-season prep cranks up a notch today after what seems an interminable wait since Middlesbrough got one over us in the play off semis. With the Mark Warburton saga finally being closed out following his move to Rangers, and those incessant transfer rumours going silent, for now (Andre Gray to QPR, Hull City, just about anywhere being the chief concern) perhaps we can concentrate on the business at hand. A match. At Boreham Wood.

Sunday afternoon sees a 3pm fixture against the National League (former Conference) outfit who have recently been strengthened by none other than Charlie MacDonald. But it is less the opposition that is of interest than fans’ first chance to see Marinus and his team in action, first hand.

Hopefully not a sign of things to come

Just two of several posts promoting pyrotechnics

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

What next after a super Tuesday?

15 Jul

Brentford have played their first game under Marinus, Birmingham City (second up at Griffin Park this season) have launched a stunning new kit and Will Grigg has joined Wigan Athletic. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe Matthew Benham’s other team, FC Midtjylland, were in Champions League action against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

First up, though, Portugal where two Brentford teams (the line up changed at half time) cruised to a 3-0 victory over SC Farense. With only Chris Wickham’s match report and Twitter to rely on, I’m not sure how much we can take from this. Likewise, in a game where 22 Brentford players were used.

Certainly, it seemed comfortable and, as Chairman Cliff Crown noted on twitter at half time, the only thing Jack Bonham caught was a tan – a reference to our dominance rather than his ability. Which, by that logic would then make Sam Saunders a world-class goalkeeper.

Chairman Crown bought comms and match action via Twiter

Chairman Crown brought comms and match action via Twiter

Despite us changing the line up at half time, notable absentees included Andreas Bjelland, Josh McEachran and David Button (read what you will into any of that) but good to see Marcos Tebar get a run out. As interesting was the description of our line up in the aforementioned report as a 4-3-3 throughout with two deeper lying midfield players but their wide attackers pushed high up the pitch.

Sunday at Boreham Wood and then the following Saturday at home to Stoke City give Bees fans, barring a small hardcore who made it over to the Algarve, their first chance to see this in action. I can’t wait.

One player who won’t be there is Northern Ireland International Will Grigg, who has joined Wigan Athletic for a fee rumoured to be GBP1,000,000. Club owner Matthew Benham took to Twitter to offer him his best wishes, saying: “v unlucky in 13/14 with intl call ups, niggling injuries and the form of Marcello, still scored vital goals for us though. Then had a great season at MK last year”

Will seemed an excellent signing, on paper, for Brentford and got off to a flying start with a brace, and a missed penalty, on his home debut against Sheffield United. Sadly, things went downhill from there and a record of 5 goals in 34 games tells its own story.

View from the terrace - Will was denied a home debut hat trick

View from the terrace – Will was denied a home debut hat trick

That said, as he has proven with both Walsall and MK Dons, he can certainly find the net at that level and so who knows just how well he’ll do in future. Good luck, Will.

From our own perspective, it does present an interesting problem as it leaves Brentford with Andre Gray as the only recognised striker on our books (although you could have said the same last season given the way things worked out for Nick Proschwitz). Will Matthew be flexing the chequebook, scouring the European lower leagues of even promoting from within?

The youth team are chomping at the bit whilst we’ve more midfielders than you could shake a stick at. Could Jonathan Douglas or even Harlee Dean (who has been pressed into emergency action before) prove a statistical enigma that nobody had considered previously? Whilst it would mean they were pulled from their traditional positions, competition in those slots is already sure to be tough with some quality players joining the club.

Whilst the Dougie/Harlee suggestion is, perhaps, too far a flight of fancy, stranger things have happened. With four weeks until the big kick off (™), expect more news on that soon. One thing’s for sure, Andre was desperately crying out for some support last time out and I don’t expect us to make the same mistake this time around.

Although we won’t be seeing Will at Griffin Park in league action this season, barring an 11th hour transfer then Clayton Donaldson will be back with Birmingham City. And, it has to be said, he’ll be looking good.

The St. Andrews outfit launched their new kit last night and it is a stunning effort. Whilst the club were keen to point out it harked back to their 1875 incarnation as Small Heath Alliance, the universal reaction was – Thunderbirds. Let’s hope Clayton isn’t pulling the strings for them when they visit.

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

5 4 3 2 1. Birmingham City are go!

Finally, the Champions League. David certainly met Goliath last night as Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar travelled to Danish Champions FC Midtjylland for the first leg of their their second qualifying round. There can’t be (m)any Brentford fans unaware that Matthew Benham owns FCM whilst, on a personal note, my own Gibraltarian roots do mean this column is often peppered with references to football life in UEFA newest member.

Indeed, the build up to last night’s game saw the local Gibraltar Chronicle offering Matthew’s Bees a promotion and Premiership place we haven’t, yet, earned.

If only

If only

The final score saw the Danes run out to a narrow 1-0 win, as both Kyle and Lee Casciaro came close for the visitors in the final few minutes. With the return leg to come next week on the Rock, this is anything that the foregone conclusion it looked like when the draw was made.

Could the Gibraltarians cause the shock of the season before league action begins? We’ll keep you posted.

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Lincoln Red Imps prepare for kick off

Nick Bruzon

 .

As ever, should you want to read more about  Brentford  (through the eyes of a supporter) then the amalgamated Last Word compendiums from the last two seasons are available for your kindle. Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14) and Tales from the football village (2014/15) tell the full stories of our promotion and subsequent life in the Championship, through the eyes of a supporter.

Featuring the best of the not so bad columns and some additional, previously unseen material, they’re just another way to get through a few days over the summer as we wait for any more transfer news to be confirmed and the season to start.

As one King stands down, could another return?

2 Jan

With the back pages of the papers being dominated by the news of ‘one club man’ Steven Gerrard and his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, it is a timely reminder of the lunacy into which we are about to descend. Brentford, of course, are already ahead of the game having signed Lewis Macleod from Rangers (effective tomorrow) whilst Championship rivals Derby County have done similar with Ryan Shotton from Stoke City. It is, of course, time for the transfer window to creak open for that one month countdown until Natalie Sawyer tries to stop Sky Sports Jim White from threatening to self combust during the last moments of ‘slamming shut’.

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.