Tag Archives: The Times

Kit news? Some news? Natalie aces the World Cup podcast and YOUR chance to shape Lionel Road.

9 Jun

Saturday morning. Something’s happening. For any Brentford fans up early then 9am is the time; the official website is the place. But what is it? What’s happening? Is it kit or a new player? Please be kit. For those England, Denmark fans (and beyond) we’ve a double World Cup latest for anybody wanting something a little bit different to the usual ‘fantasy football’ and podcasts. And there is stadium news as the Lionel Road plans continue to take shape.

First up, Twitter. Fan engagement manager Ryan Murrant set tongues wagging on Friday morning when he casually dropped the bombshell, “Oh and kit news is coming real soon…” into our social media feed.

What??? Where? When? Real. Soon. Define either/both. Please. The response was a GIF. Not quite meme levels of social media offences but acceptable enough if it gives this obsessive a kit related clue. But what does a calendar rushing through the early days of June mean?

Will that be when we our given our first snippet? The start of Mark Devlin’s now traditional strip tease routine. Or is it a full reveal? Will the point that the GIF stopped looping around (the 10th/11th seemingly the last clear dates) prove significant? Is that when we’re given the news, whatever that is, or did Ryan’s graphic just signify a broader date of ‘June’?

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Was he talking about Leicester City (given Brentford weren’t, actually, mentioned). Might it be the addition of Kit Symons to the coaching staff, as one Twitter wag noted. As yours truly over-analyses his tweet in a desperate search for clues one thing’s for sure –  with other clubs now in full sarotial flow, our own news can’t come quick enough.

I woke up this morning (du du du du duhhh) to more twitter news. This time from Brentford official. A late night tease and a Matthew Benham style video with the promise of even more news. Has Ryan’s news been usurped? Is this something different? Just what is going on? One things for sure, 9am Saturday morning promises to see our computer logged on to brentfordfc.com

Sitting here writing this nonsense I’m being kept going by Bees super fan Natalie Sawyer. Metaphorically speaking. With Russia 2018 almost upon us, The Times have launched their own tournament podcast, The Game World Cup daily.

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 08.12.40We all know Natalie’s talent when it comes to hosting, presenting, chairing and talking football in general. Likewise, what happened in the last few months.

Supported by an extremely knowledgeable panel of Gab Marcotti, Henry Winter and James Gheerbrant, it’s a compelling listen. There are the views on what to expect from Russia as a host nation – especially for the England fans. The hopes and chances of the more favoured teams. Who will get through the knockout phases? What about England? Brazil? Germany? Lionel Messi and his Argentina side? Have Belgium under prepared or are they simply untested? Dark horses that nobody can get a proper read of?

With the promise of a new episode to come every matchday evening after the final whistle has blown, the opening preview has me hooked. I love the World Cup anyway but this additional insight is a very welcome partner to my Panini sticker book and wallchart. With Sky Sports loss very much The Times gain, bring on the next episode. You can find it here. Great job, Natalie. And team.

Next up, predictions. We’re all experts when it comes to calling the games. Obviously. The only reason I’m not a betting millionaire is because I only use the internet gambling sites for research purposes. That, and the prospect of being lured in by Ray Winstone’s disembodied head, responsibly or otherwise, is as distasteful a thought as a night out with Mrs Brown and her boys (I would also accept: The England supporters’ band).

Yet hope is at hand. Hashfootery is back. The simple prediction game where the most you can lose is your sanity as you try to predict the scores of group games and beyond. The most you can win, the acclaim aside, are some quite magnificent beer glasses.

But its not about the prizes. Its about the chance to demonstrate what we know about football – albeit I’ll take any guidance Natalie and her team can offer. If you fancy a go then you can enter here for free.

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Enter today and win a prize (stickers not included)

Getting back to Brentford, did you see the Lionel Road news on the official site yesterday? YOUR chance to be involved in the stadium planning committee and help shape our future home. This is incredible. Having sat in on some of the meetings already, I can’t stress how involved the club are looking to make this. How much of a supporter driven effort this is becoming.

Yet with everything from Farewell to Griffin Park, through ticketing, seating and even things such as catering up for discussion – you must have athought on one of these? Surely? If so then ‘official’ have all the details of how fans can get involved.

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Lionel Road is well under way

And finally, I just wanted to offer a HUGE thanks to all those who have downloaded one of the season review e-books to date. With all proceeds raised going towards the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, I can’t say how grateful I am to our fans. Don’t forget also that if you do this before the end of June, I’ll put you into the draw to win this exclusive ‘third’ shirt – just DM / tweet me your download confirmation mail so as I can add your name.

Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Pinch yourself at just how far we have come in such a short space of time

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Nick Bruzon

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Mamma Mia, here we go again. Brentford score big but who are this season’s dark horses?

1 Aug

With the Championship season almost upon us, it would be fair to say that anticipation is rising. Nowhere moreso than at Griffin Park where last night young Brentford fans were given the chance to meet their heroes at the now traditional summer ‘open day’. Sky Sports have launched their own season preview (remember the one Ian Holloway did last time out?) where along with the standard installation of Middlesbrough and Aston Villas as favourites, there’s no surprise for Bees fans. And the EFL have announced a shake up to penalty shoot outs that will have local journalists and bad bloggers in pun heaven.

First up, last night at Griffin Park. What can you say? It never ceases to amaze me just how incredible our players are. I’ve said this before but it needs to be said again. What for them could have been a tedious contractual obligation became a wonderful hour and a half (if not longer) for all those young fans lining up to get a peak behind the scenes and a photo with the stars. Not to mention an autograph or two.

HB, Harlee, Lewis, Jota

 

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

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Nick Bruzon

With Brentford in a Field of Dreams (sorry) here’s one turkey from Christmas past before Cardiff on Boxing Day.

24 Dec

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all that. Brentford are preparing to host Cardiff City (for whom Sol Bamba – a terrace songsmith’s dream if there was one – will be missing) whilst Rangers fans will be crying into their sprouts at the prospect of no Jota under the tree. As for Matthew Benham, will he be the beneficiary of a £15million gift from West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa or even Reading in the New Year sales? This, of course, being the current suggested rate for a Scott Hogan.

Reading have probably got more chance of picking up Hulk Hogan than Scott. Why would he need to even consider going there? Besides, with the Royals already baulking at the prospect of having to pay £9million (as has been reported in the Birmingham Mail), adding another 6 to that is going to be well beyond their particular ball park.

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There’s more chance of Hulk than Scott

That is if we even sell in the forthcoming window. Eventually, of course, it will happen. Nobody is that naive whilst the simple mathematics of ‘one club players’ so rarely being a thing these days make it inevitable at some point. Yet in the short term, the tantalising prospect of seeing him and a returning Jota on the same pitch is one I’m still holding out hope for in the second half of this season.

Still, all that is to come. We have the festive games against Cardiff and Norwich City to before that. Scott will surely be the first name on the team sheet (unless he has a sick relative), closely followed by Tom Field. The left back “delighted” at having just signed a contract extension that will see him at Griffin Park until 2020.

For all that Scott is doing it at one end, few could deny the wonderful start that Tom has had to his own Brentford career. From a home debut agasint Fulham where his call up was so unexpected that even supporters were asking ‘Who?‘ when they saw his name on the team sheet, to a recent run in the side as Dean has switched to a three centre back system supported by Tom and Maxime Colin. It is no coincidence that we are yet to concede a goal in the League whilst Tom has been on the pitch.

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Tom in a field of dreams. A pun so bad we made it twice

Prior to all of that we have Christmas day ahead of us. Preparations here are remarkably under control with all shopping done (for once). Already I’m dreading that Columbo moment around 3pm when Mrs Bruzon asks for “ Just one more thing…..” from a by then heaving, and empty shelved, supermarket. So until that happens, here’s one we’ve run before but probably deserves another airing.

It is a story that, if being honest, I had completely forgotten about until an article in The Times a few years ago from none other than Mark Clemmit.

Mark, of course, is better known as Clem, the ever popular roving reporter for BT Sport and formerly of the BBC Football League Show. There, his own performance was the subject of a season long analysis in 2014/15 as to whether there is any support for many supporters’ long held belief that he ‘jinxes’ whichever team he follows. Specifically, that the team covered by the man with the mic that week would, at best, pick up a point. Indeed, by season end Clem teams had only tasted victory 7(seven) times out of 30

But we digress. The jinx factor aside, it is fair to say that Clem remains an endearing and well-respected pundit. Aswell as his TV work he has also been a prolific writer over the years and it was for the aforementioned paper that he chose to talk about Brentford a few years back. Or, specifically, what we tried at Christmas 1983

To me, 1983 doesn’t seem that long ago. Knight Rider, Blackadder and the A-Team graced our TV screens whilst big hits at the cinema included Return of the Jedi and Octopussy. On the football pitch, Stan Bowles was strutting his stuff for The Bees whilst Bob Booker was halfway through his first spell at Griffin Park.

That said, given as Bob made his final appearance for us in 1993 that doesn’t really narrow it down, such was the three-decade spanning length of his Brentford career. Even Roger Moore only lasted as Bond for 12 years although for all that I love his time in the role, even I have to step back in slight disbelief at the image, from the official movie poster, of 007 casually standing on the tail of a speeding aeroplane as he tosses a bad guy to his doom.

Octopussy

Roger’s wing walking (top left) a highlight of 1983

But the point being that, to me at least, 1983 still seems very vivid in the mind’s eye. As such, I was intrigued by the gem that Clem had unearthed, pertaining to Brentford’s Christmas fixture list. The ever-progressive club had, at one point, looked to revive an old festive tradition and arrange our game with Wimbledon for 11am on December 25th.

It seems madness now but not as crazy as the reasoning, given out by the Press Officer at the time. It was an attempt to get back to, and I quote, “The old idea of men going to football whilst ladies stayed at home to cook the turkey”.

Seriously? Was this just Clem having a joke at the expense of Brentford fans? Seemingly not. A quick trawl of the interweb reveals this gem elsewhere whilst, more importantly, it is directly referenced in the excellent “100 years of Brentford” book.

After protests from both sets of fans the game was rearranged for Christmas Eve and we promptly lost 3-4 in front of 6,689 fans.

Their numbers, presumably, bolstered by women who had been unchained from their cookers.

Here’s hoping for a better result on Monday against Cardiff City. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

4 goals, 42 shots, 74% possession. That’s some mathematical model.

25 Feb

Brentford blew aside Blackpool like a crisp packet caught on the breeze as they recorded a second win in as many games. The 4-0 scoreline does little to reflect the one sided nature of a game in which we registered 42 shots to the visitors 2 and had 74% possession. Blackpool, who spent much of the game with ten men following a red card for Charles Dunne, offered nothing and, being honest, could have made the long journey home on the wrong end of a bracketing had we been that bit more clinical.

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

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

The BBC stats show just how one sided it was

The BBC stats show just how one sided it was

View from the terrace - Jon Toral and team celebrate his third goal

View from the terrace – Jon Toral, team and fans celebrate his third goal

However, I have a picture that suggests that there is an alternative which could keep both parties happy. If Matthew wants a mathematical model then our artist’s impression of how this could be accommodated would, I am sure, be a popular one.

Is this what Matthew means by a mathematical model?

Is this what Matthew means by a mathematical model?

Will it be three more points as Blackpool go West?

24 Feb

Brentford welcome Blackpool to Griffin Park on Tuesday night in what, on paper, seems an excellent chance to continue on our winning way after Saturday’s splendid 3-1 victory over Bournemouth. With the Tangerines already 12 points adrift of Championship safety and manager Lee Clark telling the BBC that he “may struggle to fill the substitutes’ bench” surely this has three points written all over it?

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

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

Crisis? What crisis?

22 Feb

Normal service was resumed on Saturday at Griffin Park as Brentford’s 3-1 victory over Bournemouth saw the Bees back to winning ways once more. It was almost as though the previous ten days hadn’t happened – the only difference being the absence of sporting director Frank McParland who was tending to his leeks or whatever else it is you do on gardening leave. Brentford were, simply, magnificent.

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

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

Aswell as 35 yard shots, Brentford also try the 'lining up for a bus' free kick technique

Aswell as 35 yard shots, Brentford also try the ‘lining up for a bus’ dead ball technique

Visiting supporters were in jubilant mood before kick off

Visiting supporters were in jubilant mood before kick off

For a game given the tongue-in-cheek nickname of ‘The tin pot derby’ by supporters of both clubs (as a reaction to the jealous jibes of our, supposedly, more illustrious divisional rivals), it was one played out with all the passion of the FA Cup final. But there is nothing ‘tinpot’ about either of these sides and the celebrations on full time certainly felt like Brentford had won that famous old trophy.

Jota has his eyes on the tinpot

Jota has his eyes on the tinpot

Tinpot derby awaits a reunited Brentford

21 Feb

Finally. We can concentrate on playing football again rather than talking about the manager and mathematical models. Brentford welcome Bournemouth to Griffin Park today for a promotion six pointer that, should the Bees triumph, will really lock things up once more.

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

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

An unusual derby awaits

An unusual derby awaits

Hu-ra-ra Dougie's in

Hu-ra-ra Dougie’s in

Cherries await as Cliff crowns a tough week. And some dogs

20 Feb

With Brentford fans adjusting to the news about Mark Warburton ahead of Saturday’s game against Bournemouth, the saga has been somewhat distracting for anybody interested in matters outside TW8. On the plus side, the interminable fixation with Eastenders has, largely, drifted past despite my twitter timeline being flooded with oblique reference to Ian Beale. The downside has been missing out on canine fun at Bristol Rovers, Liverpool (almost) doing a Trotta and a transfer story involving the one time scourge of Bournemouth, Mike Grella.

Rounding off the news about Warbs, on Thursday Chairman Cliff Crown spoke to the press from the Brentford Media Centre. I have to be honest, this was something I didn’t even realised existed and seemed less SSNHQ, more a desk covered in discarded telephones placed in front of an advertising backdrop.

Cliff Crown speaks from the heart of the media centre

Cliff Crown speaks from the heart of the media centre

However, the key points from Cliff’s performance were an admission that the club had spoken to Rayo Vallecano coach Paco Jemez although, “it’s been no more than a conversation about philosophies

Likewise, in regards to the news coming out in the first place, “Unfortunately someone leaked and that accelerated the whole process. It wasn’t something we were keen to do but we had little choice once it’d got out. We don’t know who it was, but whoever it was has done damage to everybody associated with the club

A frank admission from Cliff and if you want to see the whole interview, it is on the club’s YouTube channel, below.

 

Moving away from the situation surrounding the management, you might not have noticed the news coming from across the Atlantic this week. The New York Red Bulls may have lost the services of Thierry Henry but they have replaced him with former Brentford hit man, Mike Grella.

The date 8th November 2011. The place Griffin Park. Brentford lined up against Bournemouth for a JPT semi and ended up just one shy of brackets. Grella smashed four goals as the hapless Cherries were routed 6-0 and the Bees spent the final 11 minutes, including stoppages, chasing a 7th(seventh).

With many Bournemouth fans living in London, and even closer to TW8, it is a result that still gets mentioned on a regular basis. They may have spent much of this season TOTL but I’ll never forget the night that the gorilla went ape.

Put down this article and go immediately to twitter (then come back). Type in the hashtag – #dogsinbristolroversshirts. I don’t know what has sparked the craze but you get exactly what you ask for. Dogs. Wearing Bristol Rovers shirts.

Dogs. In Bristol Rovers shirts. Quite literally

Dogs. In Bristol Rovers shirts. Quite literally

I didn’t even realise that many Bristol Rovers shirts existed although this sort of dog related couture isn’t a new thing, with precedent having been set by Brentford.

Woofy McWoofington has long been known for his love of the ‘St.George’ home shirt, whilst even turned up in a Bees scarf for the Hartlepool game (the one before ‘that penalty’).

That said, whilst Woofy may have worn a shirt first, Rovers have picked up the stick and run with it. The internet is flooded with them. And a great thing it is too.

Woofy McWoofington - trendsetter

Woofy McWoofington – trendsetter

Finally, talking of ‘that penalty’ , don’t people watch sports news? Perhaps the incident against Doncaster Rovers didn’t get enough airplay (that’ll be it). However, watching the Liverpool – Besiktas game last night I couldn’t help feel a sense of déjà vu, watching Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson arguing in front of the home fans over who was going to take a late spot kick with the scores locked at 0-0.

The enigmatic Italian eventually got the honours, the goal and a rebuke from Steven Gerrard sitting in the ITV press box.

Good luck to them. We’ve grown from our own incident in a fashion that I could never have believed possible from the distraught feeling that afternoon. Whilst it is far too early to be talking about playing the likes of Liverpool, it is incredible to think that three more points tomorrow could take us one step closer to that craziness.

Let’s put the week behind us, get behind the manager and go for it.

Warbs. What a gent. What a performance

19 Feb

Mark Warburton. I won’t pretend to understand the Brentford manager on all things. His devotion to the short corner (thankfully, disappearing faster than you can say “Fulham promotion bid”) has been one that has baffled over the front end of the season. Likewise, his use of substitutions has, at times, been as predictable as South West Trains service disruption when the first flakes of snow fall. I can imagine Peter Gilham starts warming up his microphone for an imminent announcement as soon as we hit the hour mark.

But that’s very much the thin end of the wedge.

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

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

Analysing the statement – what does it mean and what next?

18 Feb

After the week of media tumbleweed, ‘the statement’ was finally released and, with it, the much expected news that Mark Warburton, David Weir and Sporting Director Frank McParland are to leave Brentford at the end of the season. With Bournemouth due at Griffin Park on Saturday, one would hope that this will now help steady the ship following the debacle at Charlton Athletic and earlier loss to Watford. The instant the club failed to back Warbs when the story first broke but, instead, chose to release that gubbins about “The football village” (something that will go down in modern day TW8 folklore along with:

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

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

Matthew Benham was back on Twitter with a great, new look

Matthew Benham was back on Twitter with a great, new look