Tag Archives: Swansea

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?

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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?

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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

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….

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

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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’.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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The visiting manager refused to bend from his principles.

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

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

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

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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.

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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 .

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Nick Bruzon 

The good, the bad and the ugly. As Chelsea and Manchester United make the headlines, Brentford play their part in a week on social media

24 Oct

Brentford drew with (temporarily) revitalised Derby County before losing the much heralded ‘game 4000’ to Barnsley on Saturday. Newcastle United went top, followed by Brighton in second and Huddersfield third. This, after the Terriers returned to winning ways against aforementioned Derby. Aston Villa made it 2 wins in 5 days (NOT a typo) whilst the Bees are now 11th. That’s four points outside the play-off zone but still ahead of both Fulham and QPR going into Friday night’s TV game with the Loftus Road mob. At the bottom, it is still Blackburn, Wigan and Rotherham who make up the final three. The Millers already 8 points and -15GD off safety

That’s the latest Championship action in a nutshell after a busy two game week. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond (especially Old Trafford, where Manchester United seem to be making the news for some reason). In the latest edition of our regular, weekly feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media.

As ever, we’ll start with Brentford. Saturday saw the 0-2 loss at home to Barnsley, where the ‘cheering’ of Romaine Sawyers being substituted by a section of the Griffin Park crowd has come in for wide criticism.

Last night, Romaine himself stepped in to acknowledge his perceived shortcomings and, all being well, put this behind us.

Besides, it wasn’t just current Brentford players having a bad day at the weekend. Our former favourites have been hit , too. Over at Fulham and Ipswich the following clips have been doing the rounds, c/o David Button and Jonathan Douglas respectively.

And whilst we’ve no video clip for this one, Saido Berahino may still want to look away.

Still, it wasn’t all bad for our former players. Hats off to Alfie Mawson who has come so far, so quickly….

I saw a wonderful headline during the week. You might have seen this one too. Sadly/thankfully (delete as applicable) it seems to be false – Rantie blowing out South African manager Barney Kujane, by failing to show up at the airport,  rather than blowing off.

Hull City AFC. If the clappers handed out to Fulham fans or the pleas put out by QPR on social media in an attempt to generate an atmosphere were bad, The Tigers have taken things to an awful new low. Even Chelsea isn’t this quiet that they have to do this…

But it is Manchester United who are this week’s star guests in the Twitter hall of shame.

How’s this for an entrant to the field of confusing waxworks?

If people think Romaine was out of sorts at the weekend, then spare a thought for another new player – Paul Pogba at Manchester United. The record signing at Old Trafford has, to date, struggled to pay back his fee. So this analysis from the team at Sky as the Red Devils drew 0-0 with Liverpool is hardly going to do anything for his confidence.

Still, perhaps it was their ‘warm up’ technique which needs some refinement. Not for the first time this season they’ve been snapped preparing for a big game in a car park.

The only thing Pogba won at the weekend was yellow card as Chelsea hosted former boss Jose Mourinho. Whilst a situation where Manchester United and the so called ‘special one’ get thrashed would, for the neutral amongst us, be a wonderful thing it becomes a bit different when it is at the hands of the Blues.

Mourinho had promised before the kick-off to yesterday’s game at Stamford Bridge that he would not “celebrate like a crazy kid” if his new team scored. It was a promise he never came close to being able to keep as his team were thumped four nil. Four. Nil.

Yet to celebrate any Chelsea victory feels somewhat wrong so, instead, I’ll leave you with this. If nothing else, creative genius. And do hang around for the final seconds.

Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon

Will it be three in a row as Swansea make £5m move for former Bee ?

27 Aug

With Brentford due up against Sheffield Wednesday today, Bees fans woke to find we’d been overtaken in the table by Burton Albion whose 1-0 derby win over, erm, Derby moved them into the play-off zone. And those who went to bed really, really early have woken to the news that Championship rivals Barnsley have accepted a bid of £5million from Swansea City for former Bee Alfie Mawson.

First up, today’s game. On paper Brentford are looking good at Griffin Park. Played 2, won 2, scored 3, conceded 0. Sheffield Wednesday, on the other hand, have picked up 1 point form the last 3. On paper.

To read the rest of this article, season 2016/17 is now available for download on e-book in the retrospective: Welcome Home, King Jota (Brentford FC season review 2016/17)
 
Priced at just £1.99, all sales are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Likewise any sales from the previous titles – Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup (2013/14), Tales from the football village (2014/15) and Ready. Steady. Go Again. (2015/16) – are also now going to the BFCCST.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 16 to May 17, you can pick it up, here. Its all for a great cause and,hey, you may even enjoy it…..

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Brentford hung onto a win against Forest last time out

 

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Alfie Mawson – you can read about his unsung hero award on the EFL site

 

Nick Bruzon

Can ‘maths’ provide distraction from Swansea and Walsall manager talk?

29 Nov

Could the deal for Walsall boss Dean Smith to take over at Brentford be back on? The Saddlers’ boss had been mentioned as a potential target earlier in the month even though local paper the Express and Star deemed it to be “far-fetched” at the time. But with the trip to Bolton Wanderers upon us, the Daily Telegraph are now reporting the move is back on with Matthew Benham puling the plug on Pep Clotet at Swansea City and casting his eyes back up to the Bescot.

The story, by John Percy, can’t be deemed entirely accurate, given the description of Matthew Benham as our chairman. He may be many things – owner, investor, fan since 1979 – but I’m sure Cliff Crown may have something to say about any claims along those lines. Further, the article doesn’t actually include any quotes from any source so there is no way of knowing if it is factually accurate or mere speculation.

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Cliff Crown – remains Chairman ahead of Matthew !

 

The one thing we can say is that the Brentford head coach situation has dragged on since the club ‘parted company’ with Marinus Dijkhuizen back in late September. Lee Carsley was appointed temporarily before first saying he didn’t want it, then winning manager of the month, last week saying he’d had his last game in charge and it then being announced he’d have control for the Bolton game. Understandably, both speculation and a desire for answers are rife.

Throughout this period the names of Swansea City and Pep Clotet have been the ones being bandied around. But the Telegraph is suggesting that despite an interview being conducted, Matthew is now looking elsewhere.

With Walsall just two points off the League One automatic promotion places, Smith would certainly appear to be a man on the up. Moreso, once who has a reputation for operating on what could be deemed a ‘limited budget’. Contrast this with Clotet, where Swansea City are struggling in the Premier League.

Only Chelsea and the other relegation candidates sit below them. A trip to Anfield today could see him looking for a new job, regardless of Brentford’s ambitions. Or even taking over in the Swan’s hotseat – at least, in a caretaker role – should Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool register a win.

Regardless, this remains intrigue and speculation from all parties. If any official announcement of substance is made on a Sunday I’d be amazed. That said, John Percy has since taken to Twitter to add a further nugget of information that could have Brentford and Walsall fans intrigued.

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For now though, we’d be as well concentrating on the game at Bolton tomorrow. Moreso, given Saturday’s results that saw QPR and Fulham both remaining behind the Bees. Victory in front of the Sky cameras will see us move four and five points clear, respectively, of our rivals and at the business end of the table, to within one point of the play offs.

After Birmingham City went down to new leaders Brighton, the Blues remain on 28 points – in sixth place after 18 games. And with the Bees currently on 24 after 17, it doesn’t take Rachel Riley to do the maths on this one.

Monday had plenty of promise already. The weekend news may just have increased that significantly.

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Our artist’s impression of Rachel ‘doing the maths’, Brentford style

Nick Bruzon

Five days and this is the explanation? It feels a bit ‘villagey’

28 Nov

So as expected by just about everybody, with the Bolton Wanderers game on Monday night and no new head coach in charge (are we waiting for a sacking at Swansea City?), Lee Carsley will start his second stint as caretaker at Brentford. Or, should I say, he “Will continue as head coach”, if you read the official statement.

Despite Lee’s own admission last week when talking to Billy Reeves at BBC Radio London, “That was the last game for myself and Paul today” he finds himself back in charge of Brentford – at least in the short term. And it is a decision which makes absolute sense, given the circumstance, although how we have got there remains what could politely be described as somewhat ‘peculiar’.

The interview with Billy seemed pretty definitive about his own position and forthcoming future, in which Lee went on to add, “I am going to miss all this. It has been a fantastic couple of months”.

And by peculiar, I specifically mean the five days of media and comms radio silence before Phil Giles published his statement yesterday, saying , “In Lee’s last post-match press conference, he discussed the possibility that the Nottingham Forest game would be his last in charge.”

The Possibility? Apologies, but that bears repeating. The..possibility. Seriously. That was the opening gambit. The phrase, “That was my last game” seems like a nailed on statement to me.

Come on. We aren’t a bunch of idiots and all know what we heard. Equally we know that this sort of process can take time and, after the start to the season, every Brentford fan wants the club to get this right. But handling things like this has produced the expected reaction – and by no means directed at Lee who the fans, myself included, are just chuffed to have back in time for (at least) one more game.

Twitter was awash with comments, all of those I saw along very similar lines. And you can ignore social media all you want, but this is the gut reaction of the people coming through the turnstile.

 

And there are plenty more along those lines. The point being that fans didn’t seem overly thrilled at how things had been handled. That said,at least we had the calming influence of the aforementioned Mr. Reeves to add to the mix.

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Let’s be clear, I want to know what as going on as much as the next person. I wrote as much about the current scenario in yesterday’s column. Equally, whilst it may well have been Lee’s intention to step down after the Forest game – something Phil and Rasmus were also expecting – no immediate follow up statement , followed by five days of silence before this latest effort lends an almost ‘villagey’ feel to proceedings.

We’ve not been great at PR for years. Here’s another example. The most frustrating part of this being that it doesn’t even cost anything – just a bit of common sense.

Still, I’m sure this will all sort itself out but it doesn’t half leave a bitter taste in the mouth. That phrase about being able to organise parties and breweries springs to mind.

Things are going great on the pitch. I fully respect Lee’s decision and, indeed, am really pleased he’s agreed to continue in the short term.

Here’s to it all continuing on Monday at Bolton.

Nick Bruzon

 

Jay Tabb : I’ve been waiting for this game such a long time

23 Dec

Brentford entertain Ipswich Town on Boxing Day, with both teams knowing that victory will take them to the top of the Championship table. However, for many of us older heads there will be as much significance attached to the game with the return of former Bees hero, Jay Tabb. Now playing for Ipswich after six seasons in TW8, it will be the first time Jay has set foot on the Griffin Park pitch in a competitive game since leaving in 2006 following the play off defeat by Swansea City.

The Last Word was fortunate enough to catch up with Jay on Monday evening to get his thoughts on (amongst other things) the campaign so far, the form of both teams and of course what Friday’s game means to a player who spent his formative years in this part of West London .

Before we get onto Brentford, what about Ipswich Town? It has been an absolutely stunning start to the season for yourselves. They must be exciting times at Portman Road? Definitely. And I imagine it’s pretty much the same as Brentford, really. It’s a very tight league at the top with only a few points separating the top six. We’ve had a good start and our manager’s done a great job.

When he took over we were at the bottom of the league but it just goes to show what happens when you get the ability at the club from the top right down to the bottom. That’s what we’ve done in the last couple of years.

We had a good season last year and just missed out on the play offs. This year it’s just going better at the moment but as I say, its so tight at the top and Christmas is a busy period. Anything can happen and we’ve just got to make sure we pick up as many good results as possible to keep it going.

You’ve mentioned the manager. What do you put the strong start down to? Is it him and being able to build up over a couple of seasons? The first five games we played ok but kind of lost the platform. We didn’t play too well against Norwich in the derby match but then had a very good draw away at Derby. That kind of kicked us on a bit and we had a few good results.

You get in a good routine and a good rhythm and confidence starts to flow. We’re a very organised team with a good squad. We’ve got a couple of superstars but not loads. We’re a hard working bunch of guys who get the job done and do what the manager tells us.

Very much like Brentford in a way. No out and out superstars or household names but you’ve almost snuck up the blindside when people were talking about the likes of Norwich City and Fulham at the start of the season.  I think that’s the story of the top six. Everybody was expecting Derby to do well but then you’ve got Bournemouth, ourselves, Brentford and Middlesbrough. So we’ve kind of crept along under the radar but I think that’s the way we like to do it and the way the manager likes to do it aswell. He’s not interested in all the publicity. It’s just about getting the results.

Brentford and Ipswich Town have taken most people by surprise

Brentford and Ipswich Town have taken most people by surprise

And you are starting to get a good run in the team now. It must be very satisfying for you as an individual? Definitely. At the start of the season I wasn’t too sure how much of a part I was going to play in the team but I kept myself fit and I’m quite reliable. The manger knows that he can put me in and I’ll do a job, which is what happened.

I found myself starting the first few games of the season, then I was out a bit, came back in and at the moment I’m playing quite well. Every time somebody gets injured or suspended in our team, somebody else comes in and does a good job so I’m sure the gaffer is delighted about that. At the moment I’ve got the jersey and I’m playing but I know that I’ve got to do really well in the next game to keep it.

As for that goal against ‘Boro at the weekend… What skill to get above two or three men, especially (and forgive me) given your stature. All about the technique but is a Tabby header something of a rarity? It was probably the best header I’ve scored. I remember scoring a nice one for Brentford against Wycombe when the fans walked to the game but I haven’t scored loads with my head. It was just really good timing with a great ball in from Ted Bishop.

I just timed my jump well so that, as I went up, it didn’t really let the defenders jump. I got above them and it was a really nice feeling to score. I haven’t done it since the start of last season.

When you see the ball hit the back of the net it’s such a great feeling for that minute after. It’s such a buzz and I’d almost forgotten what that felt like.

The Ipswich Town twitter feed captures the aftermath of Jay's goal

The Ipswich Town twitter feed captures the aftermath of Jay’s goal

What do you think has been Ipswich’s strongest performance of the season? I think Saturday has to be up there because Middlesbrough are a very, very strong side. They’ve been on a great run but I think the first half was the key.

We got into a 2-0 lead and scoring the goal right on half time was massive. In the second half they came out and had a real go at us. It was backs to the wall stuff and they had a lot of possession, so I’d say that was up there with one of our best performances.

Given where you are in the table at the moment, what is the target for the end of the season or is it simply that old cliché of “taking each game as it comes”? Yeah. It’s a boring answer but it really is. Obviously all the players and each team wants automatic promotion because the play offs are horrible but it’s just so tight. Last year, everybody knew at Christmas that Leicester were probably going to go on and get promoted but at the moment it is so hard to tell because the top six are tightly packed.

Obviously, at the back of the player’s minds you are thinking of where you are in the league and knowing we’ve had a good start but it can all change really quickly. I think if we are still where we are come March then we can start to get excited, but at the moment it’s a good start but that’s all it is.

Ipswich and Brentford have both had "a good start"

The current table – Ipswich and Brentford have both had a good start

Last time we spoke you mentioned you always look out for Brentford in the cup draws as you’d love the chance to come back and play here. Did you ever expect it to be in the League?Yeah. Brentford have been knocking on the door for such a long time now and I was there for three play-off campaigns. They went down, came back up and look like the sort of club that is just so well run and in such a stable place at the moment. So even though I was always hoping for them in the cup, last year really was the one when you thought, “They’re going to do it this time“.

The fact that we are now second and third in the League is going to make it really special. I can’t wait and I’ve been waiting for this game for such a long time. At the start of the season I wasn’t sure what kind of part I’d be playing for Ipswich, even.

When I saw the fixtures come out I thought there was a chance that if I wasn’t in the team I might have gone out on loan by then but I’ve worked hard, got myself in and hopefully I don’t get injured between now and then. I’d like to think I have a part to play in that game and it’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait to get back there.

How do you think its going to be lining up for ‘the opposition’ at Griffin Park? It’s going to be strange, really strange. I had six fantastic years there and I loved it as a club. Its going to be really weird. I think, usually, it’s strange if you’ve just left the season before and come back but I’ve been away for probably eight years, so it may be a little bit different.

But I’m still looking forward to getting back and seeing a few familiar faces like Peter Gilham etc I’m just looking forward to the game and hoping to get a good reception from the fans – its been a long while and so hopefully they’ll remember who I am.

Do you think getting the warm reception and coming back puts any extra pressure on you or is it the case of switch off once the whistle goes? I think it might put me in a good mood. It’s a great ground, a nice, tight and compact ground. I’ve not been back since the roof has been put on the other end but I think it’s going to be a really good atmosphere.

About a month ago I bought ten tickets from the club because I knew I was going to have so many people asking to come. If I get a nice cheer from the crowd it’ll be great and I’ll certainly give them a nice round of applause back.

But then the game will start and it’ll be Ipswich against Brentford. Obviously there’s Stephen Hunt coming back aswell. I was just with him today and we were talking about the game, both looking forward to it. He did a good job for Brentford too and I’m sure he’ll also get a good reception.

Brentford’s start has taken a lot of people, including many supporters, by surprise. When they got up, what did you expect them to do? I’m not too sure really. I don’t watch loads of football so I haven’t seen them play this season. Stephen Hunt watches a lot more than me and says they’ve been playing some really attractive football, passing it around. That’s what I’m expecting . I’ve spoken to a few Brentford fans in the last week and they’ve said the same.

I think their season has mirrored ours. They had quite a good start, picked some points up then had a bit of a blip before picking things up again. Its just two teams in great form and I’m hoping its just going to be a really great game.

These are the two teams of the moment. Whoever wins will top the Championship table. Do you think that’s going to alter your approach any? No, not really. It’s nice to see yourself at the top of the League but its so early yet. Even though it is nice to see that, every player would probably like to hit the top around March or April time when you can see the finish line. At the moment that’s miles away and you can’t even see it yet.

We’ve just come into half way through the season and so to go top on Boxing Day is nice but its not like you are top by eight or nine points. If you do go top its by one point and, if you lose the next game then you could be back down to fourth.

That’s why getting the result is most important. It’ll be a tough game away to Brentford and I think they’ll fancy themselves. They had a great result at Cardiff last week, especially to be 3-0 up. It’s some place to go. We went there and got beat 3-1. They are a team on really good form but so are we.

What about Christmas day? It is the day before the big game but what does it hold for you? We’ll be training at nine o’clock then I’ll be heading down to London to see some friends and family, before meeting the lads at the hotel on Christmas night. You know you can have a little bit of Christmas dinner but you can’t be stuffing your face with the packets of nuts, Pringles and all that other stuff you associate with Christmas It is one time if year where you have to be really determined and respect the job you are in.

And finally, do you have any message for the Brentford supporters coming into the game? First of all have a really nice Christmas and enjoy the game on Boxing Day. It would be great if I got a good reception and I’ll give it back.

I honestly mean it that I can’t wait for this game. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time and the fact it has come around mow I just can’t wait.

I’m sure the fans will enjoy it aswell so we’ll see what happens on Boxing Day.

Tabby saw out his Griffin Park career in the play offs, fighting to the last

Could this be the ultimate Championship Sprint?

11 Sep

Whilst, of course, Buzz and Buzzette at Brentford would never stoop to such levels, I love a bit of ‘when mascots go wrong’. From Wolves to Bristol City; Dunfermline to Swansea and Millwall, you still can see the column (and, more importantly, the videos) on the best of mascots getting ‘carried away’ earlier on this site.

But putting the odd bit of bad behaviour to one side, my other favourite piece of mascot related action is their Grand National. This annual race between the mascots of our football clubs, along the final furlong of Huntingdon (and more recently, Kempton Park) race course has been up and ‘running’ since 1999.

But what was, initially, a fun event for charity when it started has met with controversy in recent years.

2001 saw winner Freddie the Fox disqualified when it transpired that beneath the suit was hurdler Matthew Douglas – a semi-finalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2010 many clubs boycotted this after more ringers had made appearances and the field become opened up to ‘mascot’s from any walk of life. There have been streakers and even athletes in running spikes rather than the novelty oversized football boots so beloved of our anthropomorphic friends.

The 2005 event included Buzz (aswell as some non football mascots)

 

These days, there seem to be numerous variants of the mascot race. A quick search of the interweb reveals the Mascot Grand National (open field) still takes place with this years event due to be at Kempton Park . The Sue Ryder charity also hold a ‘Gold Cup’ but, again, this is an open field.

Thankfully, the ‘football only’ mascot race has made a resurgence. Again, for charity, with an event held in 2012 raising funds in the fight against prostate cancer. However, even that ended in controversy when Chaddy the Owl of Oldham Athletic (initially third) and Mr Magpie in fourth had to have a rematch after Sky cameras produced sufficient evidence to call the initially declared podium places into doubt.

Even worse, as the footage of this event shows, neither Buzz or Buzzette seemed to be involved in the action

 

So today I’m appealing on two fronts:

Firstly, to the Football League. Despite the 2012 event clearly taking place , I can’t see any evidence of a 2013 or 2014 race. Hopefully this is just down to my poor interweb skills rather than the event being officially terminated. Regardless, please announce a date and get this back in the public eye.

Secondly, to Brentford. Should the event reappear on the calendar then please can we ensure Buzz and Buzzette are involved. Even if it needs an on-pitch qualifier at Griffin Park to see who will go forward to represent the club.

Forget the tedium of sponsored walks. Who wouldn’t give funds to a good cause to see Buzz or Buzzette and the rest of our football league friends going head to head at Aintree?

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans - of all ages

Buzzette may not, currently, race but she still makes time for fans – of all ages

Shakes fist angrily at footballing gods – a pain I know too well.

25 May

Brentford were denied a return of the 237 derby next season after QPR beat Derby County 1-0 in the play off for the Premiership on Saturday. The footballing gods then rubbed further salt in the wound by making us sit through a display of Champion’s League self-indulgence from Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo that would have made the twerking Miley Cyrus look like the shy and retiring type.

There’s no question he’s talented. But to see him strutting around half naked, like some coked up peacock on steroids, left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. You had to feel for Atlético Madrid after coming so, so close in regular time (or, ‘doing a Brentford’, as it felt watching that).

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

Do we have an unforeseen kit clash?

24 May

Somebody call the United Nations.

The marketing chaps at Brentford seem to be turning the reveal of next season’s home shirt into a form of torture that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Spanish Inquisition.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.