Tag Archives: The Hoff

Enjoy Championship action….after dark. Strange thoughts abound ahead of tonight’s game.

26 Sep

Brentford Nights. It goes without saying that an evening game at Griffin Park is always a special occasion and tonight’s visit of Derby County promises to be just that. With confidence high following Saturday’s demolition of Bolton Wanderers, the bar of expectation will have been raised and fans will be hoping for more. In our way stand a Rams side who also played a basement club in Birmingham City and came away with a point themselves.

I really can’t wait for this one. The marketing campaign – Brentford Nights – has given added spice to this one with the lure of Oktoberfest mentioned in the build up and an image of those iconic floodlight pylons on the promo poster. Much as I love the thought of German hot dogs and beer, I’d happily settle for a goal fest or a flood of points.

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For Brentford, back to back league wins can only be the target. Full time will see us having reached the ‘ten game’ mark and the table having officially ‘taken shape’. Will the Bees be heading towards mid-table with another win and just four defeats from this opening period? Will we be starting to look like draw specialists? Or will we be sucked back towards the Birmingham zone at the foot of the division?

If nothing else, yet another changed line up is sure to come. Whether because of ongoing injury to John Egan or Dean Smith quite rightly rewarding the performance of his replacement at Bolton, EFL Star of the day (their words), Yoann Barbet. The BBC report Lasse Vibe and Sergi Canos as still injured and so I can’t see any further changes beyond the return of the Frenchman.

But then, why would you? Saturday’s game saw all the potential that Dean had talked about. You can only beat who you are up against and 3-0 away from home is as comprehensive as it comes. I can’t see any goalkeeper in the land as having been able to stop any of those goals. It just shows what happens when you have the confidence to shoot. I’m still in awe at all three strikes.

The Rams won’t be any form of rollover. Far from it. That same BBC report also suggests that there’ll be no Lawrence, no Davies and no Thorne in the side tonight for Derby. For which we can only be grateful as Tom, Curtis and George all remain doubts. Quite frankly, the less options available to manager Gary Rowett the better.

Yet you can still be sure that he’ll have any team he selects fired up and ready to go for it. If nothing else, the 4-0 tonking administered at Griffin Park last season will be a performance they’ll want some form of pay back for. Truly, the Bees were magnificent that day. More of the same will do very nicely, thank you.

The one disconcerting thing about this evening’s game is the club’s aforementioned strapline of : Brentford Nights.

It may just be me, but I can’t read it without thinking of bad TV. Very bad TV. So bad it’s beyond bad and is genuinely compelling TV. Namely, the David Hasselhoff spin off show: Baywatch Nights. A two series run in which Mitch Buchannon (the Hoff) swaps his red lifeguard’s shorts to form an after dark detective agency in Malibu. As you do.

German_Baywatch_Nights_Season_1_DVD

Baywatch Nights. The Hoff. It really happened

As career changes go, it was leftfield. The strangest Hasselhoff vehicle since Kitt, the back talking car. Yet if the opening season plots – about serial killers, robbery, and Hasselhoff going undercover in the drag queen circuit (episode 10) were your standard Miami Vice lite – the second series went truly bizarre. Rather than drug rings and kidnapping, the show took an X-files twist as Hasselhoff and his team investigated vampire sightings, Werewolves, a museum mummy and a time travelling log cabin.

Odd doesn’t begin to describe it. Baywatch  Nights never got a third series. Sadly. Mitch returned to the beach and the only surreal happening involving The Hoff were the four goals he scored in red and white. Yet it goes to show that the strangest things happen after dark.

Here’s hoping for more tonight. Strange things going on. Such as a home win. As for the Vampire sightings, I’ll settle for Scott Carson being scared of crosses.

I’ll get my coat.

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The Hoff. Gone but not forgotten

Nick Bruzon

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Is Matthew Benham having a change of heart as a hero returns for Reading?

29 Aug

The pitch is laid and Reading await. We have a new p.a. system set to ‘go live’ whilst there is the small matter of Sam Saunders being back in the squad. After defeat at Burnley last weekend and, all being well, the turf malfunction now being rectified, perhaps we can approach Saturday’s game with even more of a spring in the step than usual.

First up, the pitch. It’s been no secret how bad this has looked with everybody from Reading boss Steve Clarke to Marinus weighing in on the subject and, as such, no surprise that this week has seen the surface entirely re-laid.

Whilst an article on the official site has advised fans they may notice “small join lines when attending Saturday’s match” we’ve also been promised this won’t affect play. Marinus has also gone on record as saying that when he saw it earlier in the week, it was looking “very good”.

The 'official' pitch photo released by the club this week

The ‘official’ pitch photo released by the club this week

Of course, the real acid test will begin at 3pm Saturday but, one would hope, we can put an end to the problems that have blighted Griffin Park so far this campaign. And with the onset of International break after the Reading game, fingers will be crossed that if we get through this one unscathed then it really will be a case of ‘business as usual’ when we use it again in late September.

Aswell as the pitch, supporters will also be treated to the ‘beefed up’ public address system. Any regular reader to these pages will know that the tinny sound quality and inaudible announcements on the Ealing Road have long been a source of frustration.

Now, we’ve been promised, “a significant improvement to the quality of both music and announcements by Peter Gilham on matchday in all home areas.” By quality of music, I can only presume they mean the noise levels rather than Big Bees Radio’s selection of the latest 45”s. To be fair, our in house DJ has been on a very much rockier vibe so let’s hope that continues.

One place music is definitely not welcome at Griffin Park is to help celebrate goals. Other clubs have opted for the use of “Goal Music”, something I can’t stand. It’s up there with ‘half and half’ scarves as things that should not be allowed within a square mile of a football stadium.

If you really need a burst of “Chelsea Dagger” or “Let me Entertain You” to help liven proceedings after finding the back of the net then there’s something seriously wrong. To be fair, there’s something seriously wrong about needing The Fratellis in any walk of life, but that’s another column for another day.

At least Matthew Benham is in agreement on this one. He has taken to Twitter several times in the past to confirm that this is something that Brentford will never do.

Not my words but those of Matthew Benham

Not my words but those of Matthew Benham

So it was with interest I watched the game between FC Midtjylland (of course, his other club) and Southampton on Thursday night. What should we get as the Danes took the lead but a snatch of Coldplay (Viva La Vida, I believe) to help ‘lift’ the mood further.

It seemed a random choice at best. Coldplay, officially the wettest band since records began, whilst certainly troubling the hit parade on more than one instance are hardly the masters of uplifting stadium rock. More crucially, is this a European ‘thing’ or could it herald a change of heart from Mr. Benham?

The thought of being treated to a snatch of ‘Jump in my Car” when The Hoff scores is too much on too many levels. Mr Benham, if you are reading then I implore you to please leave the celebrations to the crowd and the goal music to the Danes.

Jump in my car. Just not after a goal

Jump in my car. Just not after a goal

That said, I’d forgive us just about anything if Sam Saunders gets to put in an appearance today and, better, celebrates with a goal. The ever popular wing wizard is finally back in the squad and with the team seemingly more concerned with going sideways and backwards at Burnley, I’d love to see him let loose on Reading.

To be fair, I think we’ll see a much more attacking display anyway. Marinus has made no secret of how important three points are to him today. Maxime Colin was one of the few to come away from Turf Moor with universal plaudits and he may well start this one. With the option to push Alan Mac into centre mid and Nico Yennaris, along with Sam, also deemed fit then we could see a change or two. At the very least, on the bench.

Brentford managed to secure all six points against Reading last season and so, much like the pitch, it will be a very interesting test of how well our new squad and management are bedding in. That said, nothing is certain in football – just ask Derby County.

I couldn’t end today’s article without thanking the visitors for their stunning performance at Pride Park at the end of last campaign. Jaws dropped lower and lower as, with Derby only needing a point to secure one of the play off berths that Brentford were also fighting for, goal after goal flew in for the visitors.

Reading may not realise just how significant a part they played that afternoon in how events unfolded at Griffin Park. The excitement of relying on other (no offence) improbable results and them actually coming off – see also Blackburn Rovers thumping Ipswich – was unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

Oh, how I’d love more of the same this season. Can we continue things today?

At 3pm, we find out.

Nick Bruzon

As Burnley await Brentford and Andre Gray, is this a gamble from Matthew?

22 Aug

The inevitable has finally happened. After weeks of speculation linking Andre Gray with Hull and an unsuccessful £9 million bid from Bristol City, Burnley met both the asking price and the striker’s aspirations to secure a deal that sees Brentford smash their inward transfer record by a country mile.

Whilst, officially, ‘undisclosed’ it is a fee that is universally reckoned to be 3 Lewis Grabbans (or, at current prices, the equivalent of 9 Will Griggs). One would go crazy trying to extrapolate that outwards to the equivalent in Proschwitzs.

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

This isn’t the doom and gloom that you’d believe from looking at social media following the news. For starters, the sort of money being talked about is incredibly hard to resist. Nine. Million. Pounds!! An 18x increase on what we paid just over a year ago.

Burnley have been unable to complete the paperwork in time so Andre will have to sit this one out from the stands whilst, for the Bees, it means our choice of strikers still includes full Danish international Lasse Vibe and German U-21 Philipp Hofmann. These are players of proven quality and hardly the equivalent of being left with the aforementioned Proschwitz.

Tom Moore - still showing the love for Dougie on this Twitter profile pic

Tom Moore – still showing the love for Dougie on his Twitter profile pic

Besides, as West London’s premier journalist Tom Moore has written in his own take on this news, “The Bees may yet be better off, if they are able to secure the replacements they want at the club…

Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen are intelligent people and will have been working on replacements all summer, in the expectation Gray would go.”

An obvious statement, perhaps, but a very true one. Whilst the price tag was a massive inducement to sell, it is still a decision that will have been considered on myriad other levels. Like Tom, I have no doubt the club have targets in mind and we’ve already seen a few names bandied about in the prelude to the sale being confirmed.

If nothing else, the speculation is finally over. We can now move on, knowing who makes up a squad that has, don’t forget, still seen more come in than go out over the last few months.

Let’s be clear – I would have loved to see Andre stay. He has already hit the ground running this season and will no doubt have every success at Burnley. But he has gone. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Brentford fans won’t change a thing.

For sure, Matthew Benham has taken an on-field gamble in allowing a proven goal scorer to leave, but getting overly upset about this pays a tremendous disrespect to both the rest of this team and his own, longer term, plans. Keeping his cards close to his chest is something that Matthew has done exceedingly well over the last few seasons as, time and again, we’ve been caught cold by his and the club’s transfer plans.

As a fan since 1979, Matthew will be well aware of our own history and what happens when you replace a Dean Holdsworth with a Murray Jones. Indeed, we’ve already scored six goals in two league games this campaign and, whilst two have come from Andre, the rest were very much shared around with Tarks, The Hoff, and an Alan Judge brace rounding things off.

On that note, yesterday saw good news with Alan credited a second against Bristol City after a meeting of the Dubious Goals Committee (a group whom I can only imagine meet in an oak paneled drawing room, quaffing brandy by a roaring log fire whilst sitting in leather wing-backed chairs). As the Irishman himself noted on Twitter afterward, “Nothing dubious about it clearly mine

The Judge gives his verdict

The Judge gives his own verdict

The other point of note was something suggested last night by one terrace wag who has asked if Brentford are adopting a policy of allowing somebody to join our next opponents?

Jonathan Douglas signed for Ipswich Town in time to tackle Jota and help concede two goals after he had entered the field of play with his new team in a seemingly unassailable position. Next up, the club agreed a fee with Bristol City at a time that Andre had been heavily linked with a side we would go on to beat 4-2 last weekend.

Then, the day before we are due to visit Burnley, we have completed the sale of the player who found the back of the net 18 times for Brentford last season. What next, Jack Bonham to Reading?

Andre will be missed, no doubt. I do also wonder if given his sharp, upward, career moves that Burnley fans could be saying the same thing in twelve months time? As he has already noted on his new club’s twitter feed, “Last season was a test for me, but that learning curve is why I’m at this club now”.

So there you go, cynics. It’s not all about the money. Burnley are the next rung on his career ladder. And if ever Brentford fans needed a motivation to get behind our team and show Andre which is the club on the up, then we’ve got the perfect one at 3pm on Saturday.

See you there.

Ande has the Last Word, for now

Andre has the Last Word, for now

Nick Bruzon