Tag Archives: Terry Butcher

Bees get a draw, ref has a stinker and Matthew Benham says his piece.

27 Sep

Brentford 1 Derby County 1. Another game, another draw. We’ve now reached that magic 10 played marker, have eight points and sit in 20th place. Barring the statistical miracle of Birmingham City winning by 6 goals tonight when Sheffield Wednesday visit St. Andrews, it means that’s where we’ll be heading into Saturday’s trip to Middlesbrough.

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Griffin Park always wonderful under floodlights

But if Birmingham winning by 6 would be a statistical miracle (come to think of it, the Blues just winning at the moment would be a case for the Pope in itself) then last night’s encounter at Griffin Park could be deemed much the same. Brentford ended it on 76% whilst the first half alone concluded with Derby seeing just 17.3% of the ball. Talk about one way traffic. On paper. Yet there was no irony lost in the Rams going in for their half time cuppa with a one-nil lead under the belts after Joe Ledley was given the freedom of Griffin Park to head across the goal and past Dan Bentley with little more than a quarter hour gone.

It was goal that sparked fury amongst the Brentford defence. Well, certainly hand waving and accusations at each other. But then when you watch the Sky Highlights you’ll see why. Truly, schoolboy defending given the space afforded to the Welsh international.

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Sloppy defending gifted Derby the lead

But from there, that was it from Derby. Rather than play to win they seemed intent on playing to foul. One would have thought it was Keith Stroud in the middle rather than, apparently, acting as fourth official given the flurry of first half yellow cards and poor decisions made by referee Andy Davies. Andre Wisdom in particular can count himself very lucky that his own poor judgement, charging in on Romaine Sawyers by the angry mob in the paddock, saw him given just a caution.

It was a refereeing performance that continued right to the end where, with Ollie Watkins bearing down on goal, the ref called time as the wideman was about to shoot. It was a decision which summed up his night – Davies, not Watkins. The youngster having minutes earlier scored an equaliser for the Bees from close in that our balance of play, if not our shots, had suggested would be coming.

Derby were big, dirty and physical. Brentford were given minimal protection from the ref. How this one ended 11 v 11 I still have no idea. Yet, equally, Gary Rowett’s men did a job on us. They were solid, resolute and Dean Smith’s team had no way past them. Balls were passed sideways and backwards time and again in a bid to break through. Substitutions were lacklustre and like for like, with no visible attempt to change formation or tactic. Purely adjustments to personnel. That said, Chris Mepham really did impress when he came off the bench for Andreas Bjelland at half time.

Our own shot target wasn’t in the same ball park as our possession but you can’t deny this team keep on going. This team have guts. This team kept playing. And eventually our persistence and domination was rewarded by that man Watkins as he slid home FloJo’s cross.

Should we have won? Possibly. Did we deserve more? Well, no. Sadly. Goals are what win games. Not stats. There is a grudging respect to Derby for playing a certain way. A way we couldn’t get through. Gary Rowett had done his homework and set out his stall. Poor Neal Maupay, dwarfed by the Derby defence, struggled desperately and needed either support or to be given a break. Josh Clarke and Ryan Woods, both amongst our most positive players, were removed early. At one point the disembodied voice of Peter Gilham , commentating on our Oktoberfest Oompah Band from the back of the stand, was the highlight of the first half.

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The extent of our first half oomph, ah

But the team kept going. The team plugged away. The team would eventually get the equaliser that sent the fans home relieved.

Matthew Benham would later make a rare foray onto Twitter where he had a few things to say. Alongside his own criticism of the ref there was more than a fair share for the supporters as he noted :

A really excellent performance tonight from a young, hungry side, created the vast majority of chances. Think the moaners must’ve been watching a different game! #brentfordfc

1. Yes I know boos at the end were for the ref 2. Can’t see how constantly getting on the backs of players DURING the game helps the team.

Fair? Well, I thought we struggled at times. Not in terms of being outplayed but in terms of trying to break through the opposition. As a football fan, I’m somebody who has been brought up on the unconventional tactic of trying to get the ball into the net. Perhaps I’m just out of touch. The self-confessed numpty on the terrace rather than Head Coach. Indeed, at full time Dean would talk about how well we’d stuck to our game plan and the quality of the opposition.

That latter point in particular, one that can’t be ignored. Yet what Dean and Matthew both, perhaps, overlook is that as paying fans we go into a game with a certain level of expectation. Winning the game. That’s what football is about. Surely?

We don’t have the involvement of almost being too close. Of being within that inner circle. Of seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Of being the ones stumping up the cash for the players and the stadium. What we have seen so far is our heroes sold from under our feet (for well documented reasons), some shocking defensive lapses that have turned potential victories into defeat or draw and an average of less than a point a game after reaching that magical ten game mark with a solitary victory under the belt.

That’s not to say we’ll support them any less. That’s not to say we have that divine right to ‘be any good’. I love watching the Bees but do reserve anyone’s right to shout at times. This is West London, not North Korea. I have huge respect for our owner and understand the frustration from his perspective.  But I think he was wrong on this one. If nothing else, I didn’t even hear that much moaning from my seat on the touchline. It wasn’t a great game to watch. It was a physical battle that we were often second best in. It was also a game where our team were offered minimal protection from a fussy referee.

But it was also a game that showed we keep going. So often, Brentford teams of old have just given up. Have accepted defeat. This isn’t the Butcher era. The days of Leroy are gone. I don’t agree with everything Dean does tactically in his role as head coach. But I support this club come thick or thin. I’m well pleased with another point in what were really tricky circumstances.

At the same time, I’ll never admit that last night was any form of classic. It wasn’t. It was a game that shows just how tough this league can be. It was game where we eventually got what, on balance, we deserved through grit and determination.

Saturday will be another tough challenge, no doubt. But with Middlesbrough losing at home last night (0-1 to Norwich City) is there a chink in their armour we can exploit?

Roll on the weekend when we find out.

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Matthew says his piece on Twitter at full time

Nick Bruzon

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The good, the bad and the ugly. Bees win, Liverpool draw with West Ham and Kingsley is back. A week in football (Europe special).

11 Dec

Brentford got back to winning ways after despatching Burton 2-1 despite the best efforts of referee David Coote. Newcastle United and Brighton traded places at the top of the table, twice, as Dwight Gayle’s hat trick saw him move a further goal ahead of our own brace grabbing Scott Hogan. Nottingham Forest’s derby defeat to, erm, Derby saw the Bees climb an additional place to 15th on Sunday via the medium of goal difference whilst art the bottom it’s as you were. Cardiff City, Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United occupy the relegation spots although the Millers did, at least, have the pleasure of beating QPR. Stop. Sniggering.

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

This week it’s a European special although, of course, we start with Brentford. With new co assistant head coach Thomas Frank joining in the week, was the win down to him?

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Perhaps. Although captain Harlee Dean was quick to recognise his team mates. How much better to read this sort of thing rather than any ‘going again’?

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Before kick off, this faith wasn’t shared by all. Careful, they’ll remember you.

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And it wasn’t just the musical choice that was causing some supporters pain.

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But in our last game before Christmas, those three points were all that mattered. There was a festive vibe before kick off and one that was matched at half time as supporters crowded a forecourt that remains dominated by that beautiful tree. Great work to all at the club for what really is a wonderful centrepiece.

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Hats off to Beesotted for a clip that needs no other words, beyond…..Push Up, Brentford.

And as our penultimate Bees related thought, those of you with a yearning for all things Spanish may want to look away now. Please, come back…..

From Eibar, further into Europe. In Portugal, Benfica have officially killed football.

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In Germany, Manuel Neuer has officially killed fashion.

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In the Champions league, Spurs limped into the Europa places whilst Leicester City had a familiar face between the sticks as they went down 5-0 to Porto.

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Still, that didn’t stop them humping Manchester City 4-2 on Saturday night. Well done to the Foxes although perhaps City still had their minds on a shocking incident that occurred as they played the dead rubber against Celtic.

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North of the border, Celtic may be running away with the title but that doesn’t stop the rest of Scotland having an awful lot more fun. The kings of football Twitter, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, were back and as ever the club remain happy to wade in on any subject.

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Meanwhile Kingsley, the unchallenged mascot heavyweight champion of the world, was back. Twice. Oh Buzzette, if only your paths could cross….

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Back home in the Championship, hapless Fulham were doing what the do best. Being hapless.

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Massimo Cellino at Leeds has been found guilty of something again. And banned. Again.

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Whilst Norwich City legend Darren Huckerby has hit Twitter with some hime truths.

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At Old Trafford, Manchester United did something unheard of in footballing circles. They won a game. Yer prior to kick off, manager Jose Mourinho had been displaying all the seasonal goodwill of Scrooge.

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Later on, he went down like he’d been shot. That, or his Peter Crouch robot dance really needs more work.

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Liverpool were also in action on Sunday, against West Ham, in a game that was dominated by the goalkeepers.

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Although perhaps events prior to kick off had affected both teams. For Liverpool, an opportunity very much missed.

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For West Ham, David Gold’s lack of pop culture was apparent to all.

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We finish with a double helping of Moose. Ian, that is. He had an old friend in tow on Saturday.

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But, as ever, we close with his birthday friend of the week. Which of Ian’s 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?

This week: former Bee Les Ferdinand

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Nick Bruzon

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Bees thumped, Newcastle and Preston see red whilst Jose should be worried. A week in football.

5 Dec

Brentford were spanked 5-0 by Norwich City whilst at the top of the table Newcastle United made it two defeats in a row as Nottingham Forest ran out 2-1 winners. Fellow Championship newcomers Aston Villas also lost, 2-0 at high flying Leeds United, although The Magpies remain six points clear of third placed Reading who also went down 5-0, to Fulham of all teams. Brighton failed to take advantage, a 0-0 draw at Cardiff perhaps a case of two points dropped as the Bluebirds, along with Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic, all remain in the bottom three. With only three teams (Burton Albion, Wolves and Blackburn) between us and that unenviable triumvirate), our own game on Saturday with the Brewers is one of huge psychological importance .

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

Whilst normally we’d start with Brentford, it is a week which has been dominated by the tragic news about Chapecoense. One can’t begin to even imagine what the families of those involved or the supporters of the club are going through with some truly heartbreaking images coming out of Brail. Yet it has transcended even that, with the whole of the footballing world coming together to offer condolence and make whatever gesture they can. Domestic games at the weekend were preceded by a minute’s silence as fans paid tribute to a team that should have been celebrating one of the proudest moments in their existence.

There’s nothing can be said to change how distraught and raw everybody feels. Football is our game – the most popular sport on the planet. We’ve all played it and all had dreams of lifting the cup high into the air. For the vast majority of us, dreams that have gone unfulfilled yet there’s always that thought at the back of the mind. So when something as unexpected and awful as this happens, it really puts everything back into perspective. Social media has been awash with images and tributes whilst mere words can’t even begin to offer any form of solace. Our hearts go out to everybody impacted by this terrible news.

Whilst whatever came next felt somewhat secondary, back in England football continued. As such, our own first stop on the domestic catch up can only be Brentford, where the game at Norwich was one of those which will go down in Bees related infamy. Did one of the senior players swear at the fans as is alleged to have happened (I guess, if so, it would have been labelled ‘passion’ in certain quarters) , why did Dean Smith’s team fail so spectacularly and if we’d been in a ‘blip’ previously, how does he now define our situation?  Certainly, that latter point one which had been hammered home prior to the game.

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Brentford official seemed to be watching the game through rose tinted glasses. ‘A bad afternoon’ being perhaps the understatement of the decade whilst the next day’s video ‘highlights’ ( I’d take exception to that word alone) enraging more than just Bernard Quackenbush.

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Still, things could have been worse. At least we ended the game with 11 players (I mean men. I mean boys) on the pitch. This, an experience enjoyed by neither Preston or Newcastle United. The former having two players dismissed for fighting with each other.

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As for Newcastle United, referee Steve Martin has now brought down the wrath of the Geordie faithful upon himself after showing two red cards in Friday night’s defeat at Nottingham Forest. Except, he hasn’t. Quite A very confused Steve Martin (the comedian of, amongst others,  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Three Amigos fame) was bombarded with tweets from Newcastle supporters angry at his decision to reduce them to 9 men.

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Elsewhere, a very familiar line was trotted out in regards to Forest’s victory .

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And in our footnote on the Championship for this week, a shout out to Leeds United where supporters were given unintentional comedy gold c/o the match day programme.

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England appointed a new manager in Gareth Southgate. Thankfully, former Brentford boss Terry Butcher was on hand to give his own brand of analysis on that one.

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BBC Billy Reeves is filling his time before a return to match action well. This week, he turned detective to rat out former DJ David ‘Kid’ Jensen.

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Sunday saw more Premier League action, with Bournemouth recording that incredible 4-3 win over a Liverpool team whose lurid yellow kit was the only thing worse than their  capitulation.

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But at least they are well placed in second. Things continue to go from bad to worse for Manchester United. In what seems to be a weekly visit for them to these pages, Leighton Baines grabbed an 89th minute equaliser for Everton as Jose Mourinho’s team emulated Liverpool’s late collapse.

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For all his bluster, Jose might be starting to get worried. His Manchester United points record not one to inspire confidence at present.

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North of the border, there was an early Christmas present for everybody’s favourite mascot that isn’t Buzzette, Patrick Thistle’s Kingsley.

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But we’ll end in the now usual place. 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?

This week: George Graham.

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Nick Bruzon

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Where’s Billy when you need him?

1 Dec

Brentford head into Saturday’s game with Norwich City on the back of three successive defeats and only one win out of the last 8 games. That recent hat-trick of ’nil points’ against Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City has only intensified scrutiny on Dean Smith with supporters starting to ask where the next win is going to come from. This is probably not how Dean envisaged his one year anniversary at Griffin Park (which the club announced on Twitter yesterday) and so it will be very interesting to hear what the press ask him today.

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Dean Smith at the start of this season

Here’s hoping they ask some hard hitting questions, for once. Less money for old rope and more action would be nice. With the king of gentle probing Billy Reeves currently out of action until the end of the year, there’s been nobody to really step up and fill his boots in recent weeks.

Ahh, Billy. The deadly assassin. Practiced in the dark art of asking that killer ‘to the point’ question, albeit delivered in the most charming and almost apologetic of styles, I’d love to know what he would put to Dean at the moment in regards to the current run and his approach to the game with Norwich City. Can anybody pick up the gauntlet?

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So Uwe. Stevenage…..?

Nobody could pretend we’re not displaying anti-form at the moment, certainly result wise. Is it as simple as just needing that little twist of fate; for something to go our way? Certainly we had the lion’s share of possession and chances against Birmingham – just couldn’t quite put more than one of them away for well documented reasons. Or is it more down to his team selection and substitution strategy  – the later of which has seemed dreadfully late, reactive and decided using a roulette wheel in recent weeks?

Being more down to earth, are the team just finding their level in the Championship this season? We’ve been wonderful at times; awful at others. The table doesn’t lie and so he (and we) can have no complaints with 16th based on what we’ve seen. The questions are now – Dean, what are you going to do about it? When are we next going to win a game?

I saw a comment on Twitter last night in regards to the aforementioned one year anniversary. Official highlighted his win ratio and a reply was posted comparing him to previous managers.

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Whilst not strictly true – who could forget the Marinus experiment – further investigation via the medium of our most recent result records at Soccerbase.com has revealed this isn’t too far off the mark. Looking at managers who have been in charge over the last 10 calendar years – so starting with Martin Allen who left at the end of the 2005/06 season – the ranking for all those occupying in the Griffin Park hot seat, including caretakers  is as follows :

51.28%  Mark Warburton (41 wins out of 78 games)

50% Lee Carsley (5 out of 10)

43.79 % Uwe Rösler (60 out of 137)

43.55% Martin Allen (54 out of 124)

42.85% Nicky Forster (9 out of 21)

38.1% Andy Scott (64 out of 168)

36.73% Dean Smith (18 out of 49)

25% Barry Quinn (1 out of 4)

22.22 % Marinus Dijkhuizen (2 out of 9)

21.74% Terry Butcher (5 out of 23)

16.67% Scott Fitzgerald (4 out of 24)

13.04% Leroy Rosenior (3 out of 23)

0% Alan Kernaghan (0 out of 1)

So no surprises up at the top and one which will no doubt have many asking the eternal question – why? That’s been and done. Much like Jota, Stuart Dallas, Moses Odubajo, Andre Gray, James Tarkowski (well perhaps not) et al, crying over it isn’t going to bring him, or any former fan favourite back to Griffin Park . Is it?

Besides, I’m more interested in the ‘here and now’. Discussing the win ratios with one New Road observer last night, he has pointed out something which stacks up far more interestingly than overall career percentages. Recent form. Look at the result records in Marinus’ last 9 games and Dean’s most recent over the same period…..

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Marinus form

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Dean Smith form

Matthew Benham doesn’t strike me as the trigger happy sort so those calling for a change (there are some, apparently) would probably be better putting their energies elsewhere.  From what we’ve been told, the Marinus experiment ended because of more than just results. Yet at the same time those of us on the sidelines only have results to go on. And at present they aren’t great.

If Dean was ever going to give an invigorating press conference, then today would be a good day. If Brentford were ever going to get back to wining ways, then Saturday against a Norwich City team whose current form read: LLLLL, would be the perfect time.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Come on Dean – let’s see what you’ve got.

Come on you Beeeeesss!!

Nick Bruzon

 

Can we learn anything from these stats?

15 Mar

No irony was lost as strikers Bradley Clayton and Scott Hogan turned out for the Brentford development squad against QPR on Monday. With Blackburn Rovers up next, was this a message? And, if so, from who to who?

I still don’t understand Dean Smith’s logic in starting our Championship game against QPR with no recognised striker but Flemming Pedersen certainly put his front men through their paces yesterday. In a 0-0 where the Bees were reported to have had the vast majority of the action, I’d imagine he’ll have felt slightly disappointed to come away without the win.

That said, a full game for Bradley and 75 minutes for Scott can only be seen as a positive. Was this with a view to one of them stepping up to the first team squad for the visit of Blackburn Rovers? Or have the likes of Lasse Vibe and Marco Djuricin now learned whatever lesson Dean Smith was trying to teach them?

Personally, I’m still not sure what he hoped to achieve or what that lesson was. This, despite the ‘explanation’ offered in the post match press conferences.

Given the current ‘form’ (as much a breach of trades descriptions as the previously used term, ‘explanation’) I hope Dean is able to return is to some type of normality. Whatever that is.

One New Road observer has shared the following graphic with me to illustrate the reversal of fortune we currently find ourselves experiencing . Points earned in our previous managers’ last ten games.

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Point for point, both Terry Butcher and even Marinus (yes, you read that correctly), are showing as having inspired their teams to have out scored our current set up. The latter achieving this in a game less, given he was dismissed after a mere 9 Championship fixtures.

Being honest, I have had to call this graphic into question a little. If for no other reason than was Leroy’s record really as good as 3 points from 30? Those who sat through the sad end to his time at Griffin Park would probably dispute we even did that well.

But no, he swears it’s the genuine article and, frankly, I’m too lazy to trawl back through the record books and tick back through a catalogue of, mostly, doom and gloom.

Either way, it doesn’t make great reading and just shows to highlight our current predicament of sliding the wrong way down the table. 7(seven) points off relegation, surely that gap is too big to consider. Certainly the bookmakers think so, seeing us as 100-1 to suffer that fate despite the ignominy of the reverse at Loftus Road.

With a game in hand on the teams below us, who only have 9 left to play, it would need a pretty disastrous swing. Albeit one that is mathematically possible. But with Charlton and Rotherham both finding their form these last few games, and the Bees still to play 6 of those in that basement region, let’s not get complacent. A morale boosting win at home to Blackburn on Saturday will be just what the doctor ordered.

After season after season of good results, we had to hit a bump in the road eventually. Life isn’t always easy. Likewise, please don’t anybody take this as me calling for a return to the Dijkhuizen or Butcher eras.

I’m sure Dean would love to be able to picture a scene where things were that comfortable he could put his feet up, watch Natalie Sawyer read out the scores and relax as the results roll in whilst nibbling on a slice of cranberry and orange cake. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Instead we and he are just going to have to, dare I say it, “go again”. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and maybe wear a heart on them. Both at the training ground and then against Blackburn this weekend. The points will come – I’d just be a lot happier if it was sooner than later.

Nick Bruzon

No prizes for ‘unlucky’ but at least we won the possession

13 Jan

Well, you can talk about “unlucky” and “on another night “ all you want but the simple fact is that Middlesbrough left Griffin Park with all 3 points after beating Brentford 1-0. It may well have been against the run of play in a game where, especially in the first twenty minutes, we dominated but if ever there was a lesson to be learned about taking your chances when they arise then here it was. And with free scoring Burnley due to visit on Friday night, let’s hope it is one that we learn fast.

Brentford played very, very well for large parts of this game despite the best efforts of referee Gavin Ward. The aforementioned opening salvo saw a performance that was world’s apart from the debacle in the FA Cup. Lasse Vibe, especially, started at 100mph as first he set up Alan Judge for a shot that drifted just wide before finding himself clean through moments later. With defenders closing and Boro’ keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos on inspired form, as ever, the chance was pushed away for one of the 11 corners we earned.

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Hands off Toumani….. Boro’ defend another corner

The returning Sam Saunders saw Dimi manage to get to a dipping first half free kick whilst Harlee Dean and Max Colin (my standout player from last night) also came close for the Bees. Yet despite these wonderful chances and a final figure of 60% possession if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net then you don’t win football matches.

Middlesbrough were solid and well organised. Perhaps you could even say they were cynical at times but they did what they needed to. On a blustery evening they soaked us up, rode their luck a bit yet, with the scores still at 0-0, when the chance presented itself on the hour they put it away. Or, rather, we did.

David Button, for so long this season the man who has kept us in games, saw an attempted punch spin off his gloves, over his head and, despite the claims of Daniel Ayala, straight through a melee of players and over the line. It was, to be polite, a frustrating moment and I’m not going to start criticising our ‘keeper – far from it. He’s been a hero this season and we play as a team.To be honest, the game should have been closed out by that point.

Instead, Middlesbrough did what they do – lock things down and win games. In tricky conditions, a long way from home, they made it 6 wins in 16 months against The Bees.

I’m not going to pander to our team and say “unlucky”. This was a wonderful chance to beat the league leaders and close in on play-off rivals. Instead, they’ve got away with the points once more and the gap to sixth is now eight points. From a table perspective, the only consolation is that at least positions 4-6 are really tightening up. But, being honest, I think we’re now in a place where unless we start winning very fast indeed, consolidation is the best this side can hope for this time around.

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The BBC table shows the current state of play

That’s still no bad thing and moreso given the start to the campaign we had. People have huge expectation levels and forget how far we’ve come over the last few seasons. Likewise, how mediocre things have been in the past. Ladies and gentlemen, before Marinus I give you Terry Butcher, Leroy Rosenior and even the sad end to the Andy Scott era – just for starters.

Yet at the same time, we were spoiled by what the squad achieved last season and just how close we came to the top flight. For a brief moment, ‘automatic’ was looking very much a possibility and, even then, we still got a second bite as we hit the play-offs on that stunning final day of the season.

Seeing Andre Gray scoring goals for fun this season up at Burnley (and, indeed, the brace he managed for us under Marinus) does show just what this team have been missing in recent weeks. You can’t knock Lasse Vibe’s effort, or goals, but target man isn’t his natural position. The return to fitness of Marco Djuricin can only be a good thing for a team whose record is now just two wins in eight games.

Only Derby, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and, erm, Fulham have scored more goals than us all season and so I’m sure you’ll hear the statisticians and coaches saying we’re looking quite healthy in that position. Well, the last five games have only seen us trouble the scorers three times – and two of those were the wonder goals from Ryan Woods and Sergi Canos at Reading. Incredible strikes, for sure, but not the sort of thing you can rely on week in, week out.

Were we unlucky last night? Yes. We played very well with Sam Saunders providing a welcome burst of fresh air and enthusiasm whilst Max Colin really impressed.

Should we have won? Probably. Judge and Vibe had the best of some good chances for Brentford.

Did Middlesbrough deserve it? It’s irrelevant. When the chance arose, we were pressured into conceding and they didn’t let us back in despite the Bees having seen the majority of the ball  by full time.

Goals win football matches, people. Regardless of who you are playing or how it gets into the back of the net.

Roll on Friday, when Burnley await. They warmed up with a 5-0 humping of MK Dons last night. Then again, if Brentford start like we did on Tuesday evening it could be an interesting one…

Nick Bruzon

Is this our toughest challenge yet?

2 Oct

As next challenges go, Brentford aren’t going to have it much harder than a trip to Derby County on Saturday. With the Rams finally hitting form after picking up four points from their first five games, three wins and a draw have seen them climb up the table to within a point of third place. It is more reminiscent of the form that saw them reach the play off final before being mugged by QPR and then doing everything to get there last season – certainly until they hit the self-destruct button in that final home game of the season against Reading.

Oh to have those sort of ‘problems’ now. Whilst Brentford, of course, went one better than Derby and actually reached the semi-finals for the annual choke off at the W place, it would be fair to say that we are yet to recapture the sort of form that saw Mark Warburton fall just a few games short of taking us into the Premier League and give us one of the most exciting seasons since records began.

That was then. This is now. Whilst the season is by no means a write off, there is still a huge cloud of confusion over just what is happening at Griffin Park. The GPG is currently busier than Keith Stroud with card in each hand as Bees fanatics attempt to process / fathom everything from this week.

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Keith Stroud – always a  busy man

Namely, head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen being dismissed just eight league games into our new ‘stat based’ regime, and then being replaced by Lee Carsley who has since gone on record as saying, “I did not ask to be a football manager and it certainly wasn’t something I put my hand up for. I don’t want the job permanently,” and… “”I’ve never had that burning ambition to be a manager. I want to be a coach and bring on the young players”.

This, on top of a curious brand of football that has seen us dominating possession – namely by passing the ball sideways and backwards through the final third – but when we choose to go forward then having all the cutting edge of an arthritic pensioner armed with a pair of children’s plastic safety scissors.

Injuries haven’t helped of course, but are they entirely to blame? The anti-performance on Tuesday night against Birmingham City was soul destroying. Here was the perfect chance to show a bit of bouncebackability. Instead, we put in a lethargic effort that was an insult to the word effort.

But if Tuesday was tough, Derby on Saturday is going to be all the harder. Being quite honest, Birmingham weren’t actually that good. Something which makes our 2-0 defeat all the more bitter a pill to swallow. County, on the other hand, are at home and on form.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to be proven wrong and I’m desperate to see our boys start to climb the table. We can’t expect to win every game and this isn’t a case of unreasonable expectation based on the last few seasons. Frankly, I’m still amazed by how far we’ve come in the last five years whilst the last campaign set a stunningly high bar.

That said, with the players and set up we have, is it too much to ask for a bit of passion? At the moment I’d settle for a fit squad that just try to find the way to goal.

Does anybody know the way to goal ?

Does anybody know the way to goal ?

The Beesotted crew have got it bang on the money in their latest article. If you haven’t seen this yet, then do take a look. They’ve hit the nail right on the head with this one – quite possibly the blog column of the year.

Besides, it could be worse. Following his dismissal from Newport County, Terry Butcher has now joined Steve Evans on the search for a new managerial role.

Be careful what you wish for….

Nick Bruzon

Bees PR team does it again as confusion follows confusion

30 Sep

When it comes to managerial PR, Brentford are top of the league. There can’t be many who still don’t look back on last season’s Villagegate affair, which eventually saw Mark Warburton swap the English Championship for the Scottish and Glasgow Rangers, with nothing but frustration. Yet we seem to have done it again after a lacklustre performance against Birmingham City.

Having gone down the course of the ‘new model’, Marinus Dijkhuizen was replaced after just 8 league games for reasons which have still not been made clear. Beyond a statement saying that we have ‘parted company’, nothing else of any substance has been forthcoming in the statements from either Brentford ‘official’ or Chairman Cliff Crown. Matthew Benham meanwhile, normally quite vocal in social media, has been keeping a very low profile.

That said, Lee Carsley was immediately installed as the replacement head coach in a flurry of positivity with those same club sources telling us why he was THE right man for this role. Which begs the question as to why he is then being quoted as saying what he is alleged to have done following the no-show against Birmingham City.

Jacob Murtagh has published a series of comments attributed to Lee on Twitter after the game, the most surprising of which is the admission that he doesn’t want the role and it isn’t something he “put his his hand up for”.

Jacob Murtagh's series of Carsley quotes

Jacob Murtagh’s series of Carsley quotes

As a means of motivating players and galvanising fans, its up there with installing a Leroy Rosenior and Terry Butcher double as a joint managerial team.

Naïve? Taken out of context? Or a genuine desire not to be involved in a role for which we are being told he is going to be occupying until the end of this season. Whatever the explanation, and this isn’t a rant agasint Lee – far from it; you can’t BUT admire his honesty – I just hope somebody comes out and makes a statement to shed further light on the whole situation.

By Lee’s own admission we were “flat, quiet, predictable”. With the team struggling, we need some positivity about the place. Fans were confused enough about the whole Warburton / Rangers scenario although many of us have had the trust to see how the new era will play out. I still want to – you surely don’t embark on a path of this nature to turn around so quickly.

That said, if Lee is indeed to be the man to keep us out of a relegation dogfight – and based on the first 9 games (yes, I know its one short of the 10 I normally stand by, but use the cup result against Oxford if you need double figures) that’s what we are heading for – then please come out and give us some full and positive updates. For everybody’s sakes.

Lee talks to Beesplayer after the game

Lee talks to Beesplayer after the game

There’s nothing worse for morale than angry supporters, arguing amongst each other and airing our dirty laundry in public. They’ve got an absolute right to feel frustrated and these sort of follow up comments from the broader club team aren’t going to help matters any.

We are where we are. This squad still has far too much quality, especially on the treatment table (where the likes of Jota and Josh McEachran are getting closer to a return), to consider this season a write off. But we need to start showing it.

Being honest, I think we are now in for a tough few weeks. I just hope our management come out with some more robust comms about the last few days and, equally, the future.

Nobody likes uncertainty – moreso when the fate of the team we love and club we support is so far outside of our control.If only the fans’ forum had taken place three or four days later but now that chance for clarity has vanished as quickly as Marinus.

Come on Bees top brass. Please, see if you can say the right thing.

Nick Bruzon

Attack of the Killer Bees. Even Leroy is buzzing after 4-0 win

30 Nov

Possibly the craziest November on record ended up with Brentford making it five Championship wins on the bounce, the latest being Saturday’s 4-0 thumping of Wolves. With The Bees now up to third in the table (only a point off the top) and Warbs, surely, a shoe-in for Manager of the Month, the whole thing is just taking a turn for the surreal.

Frankly, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the spirit and endeavor of this team.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

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

Bees set for Brighton as Liverpool stars reveal shocking 80’s taste

12 Sep

Championship football is almost back with us. Tomorrow sees Brighton visit Griffin Park as Brentford finally get the chance to resume competitive action and, potentially, move even further ahead of Fulham. With the gap already 7(seven) points, a victory over Brighton combined with Reading doing the needful over The Cottagers would see this grow to double figures.

Of equal statistical interest is the chance for Brentford to attain their highest league placing in 60 years, should we move one more place up the table. If my maths are correct, The Bees’ current position of eighth equals the previous benchmark, set in the 1950s (and, briefly, in 1992).

Brighton are no mugs, of course. Having reached the play off semi finals for the last two seasons (the results being a pain that Brentford fans know only too well) they’ve now started to find their legs as another attempt on the Premiership begins.

Despite losing their opening two fixtures they’ve put a little run together that sees them just a single point behind The Bees. It won’t be easy tomorrow but with the International break, at least, giving us the chance to help with a few injuries, I’m confident we can continue where we left off last time out.

If nothing else, there’s the prospect of Betinho. The signing of the Portuguese U21 took most people by surprise and I’m just itching to see what he can do as Warbs’ continental revolution continues.

The signing of Betinho is officially  announced to the world

The signing of Betinho is officially announced to the world

The second part of today’s column requires you to look elsewhere as a series of 1980’s photographs have been collated, most of them featuring Liverpool players, showing footballers relaxing in the opulence of their mock-Tudor mansions

Have you ever wondered what Graeme Souness would look like, trying out as an extra on Miami Vice? Are you curious as to what Phil Neal wore in his snooker room? Want to see Kenny Dalglish – international man of business?

In that case, I can only implore you to take a look at Steven Bloor’s Guardian article about ‘1980s footballers at home’. Featuring everything from Pat Jennings posing awkwardly by the fireplace in a cardigan/action slacks combo to Trevor Brooking taking the world’s first ‘selfie’, you can find the picture gallery here.

Aswell as the Liverpool connection, there’s even a few Bees in there, with Terry Butcher and Kenny Sansom featured.

Enjoy !!

 

Kenny Sansom - in more tasteful gear than seen in the Guardian article

Kenny Sansom – in more tasteful gear than seen in the Guardian article