Tag Archives: This is Saunders Territory

Judge becomes chief executioner on a day of huge significance

18 Oct

On a day of sporting dominance, one result which will go largely unnoticed outside a small corner of West London could have huge longer-term significance. Brentford beating Rotherham United 2-1 may not be up there for the neutral at a time that saw Bournemouth getting tonked 5-1 at Manchester City or New Zealand wiping the floor with France in the rugby but it mattered to us. A lot. We’ll get to the rest of that shortly (especially Bournemouth, who seemed to suffer some form of self-inflicted manager-of-the-month curse) but can only begin at Griffin Park.

It was a day of huge importance on and off the field. The club rightly celebrated the life of Martin Lange with a rousing minute’s applause before kick-off whilst it was also ‘kick it out’ day.

Both teams and all supporters applauded for Martin Lange

Both teams and all supporters applauded for Martin Lange

‘Kick it out’ is a thoroughly noble campaign and a shame that, in this day and age, such a cause needs highlighting with a specific day. Moreso, that when it comes around, we could still do more, as a club. There were people handing out leaflets and placards in their special yellow t-shirts whilst Buzz and Buzzette wore the campaign colours prior to kick off. I’d love if our team could go one better and actually wear the logo on the shirt for this sort of game, rather than the traditional sponsor.

Brentford have done this before. Most notably when Skyex generously made way to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Community Sports Trust on the silver shirt back in 2012. Perhaps it is something we might want to consider for next season, if Matchbook.com are reading?

Or, even, how about being trailblazers and doing this at another game later on this campaign? After all, the ideals of ‘kick it out’ are those that, surely, we should be aspiring to every week?

Where Buzzette leads, could the team follow?

Where Buzzette leads, could the team follow?

On pitch, we’d all absorbed the message that the season was due to ‘restart’ with the Rotherham game. And boy, what a restart.

Alan Judge opened the scoring with little over a minute on the clock. The Irishman looping a sweet volley straight back over the top of the Rotherham defence and ‘keeper Lee Camp from the edge of the penalty box. It really was a wonderful strike as Judge, my man of the match, caught the clearance first time and set up another contender for goal of the season.

In a game that, like it or not, word on the street had marked down as a relegation six pointer (although interestingly, the win sees us just 8 points away from the play offs) it was the perfect start. And then it stopped.

Lee Carsley’s boys put in plenty of effort but a new look midfield containing Sergi Canos, Ryan Woods and John Swift struggled to make further impact. Indeed, Rotherham had the better chances – in each half – and to go in leading on 45 mins was a scenario I’d have bitten your hand off for before kick off. It is only the second time all season we’ve taken the lead in a game!

It was a lead that didn’t last long. If Judge’s goal had been good, within minutes of the restart Joe Mattock hit a beauty past David Button from even further out than the opener. It was a shot that got higher and faster, leaving the Bees ‘keeper no chance as it screamed past him.

One thing Lee Carsley had promised us was fight and determination. Sure enough, we got it. United’s lead lasted barely ten minutes as that man Judge grabbed his second of the game. A bullet header (yes, you read that correctly) past Camp after getting on the end of a Jake Bidwell cross restored the lead. And that’s how things stayed until full time. Scorewise, anyway.

Having score two, Alan Judge tries to set up a third

Having scored two, Alan Judge tries to set up a third.

Being quite honest, the visitors had the better chances and the majority of possession. David Button was forced into a number of smart saves that reinforced, yet gain, the importance of both him and Judge to this team. Where we’d be without them, I dread to think, based on how things began this campaign. But, they ARE here and, more importantly, it was another win for the Bees.

The BBC stats just show how much the visitors did control affairs (shots especially) and, as one New Road observer noted afterwards, “I’d like to see Rasmus try and spin these”.

The BBC stats don't lie. Except they do. We got 2 goals to their 1

The BBC stats don’t lie. Except they do. We got 2 goals to their 1

I have no doubt that had Steve Evans still been in charge of the Millers he’d have complained afterwards how they murdered us, how we’d robbed them etc. etc. etc. Instead, both Neil Redfearn and Lee Carsley were much more realistic in their appraisals of our respective teams. The Brentford man, in particular, admitting how “we started the second half poorly”.

Talking to supporters after the match, the general theme of opinion seemed to be that Alan Judge was the standout player in a game that was otherwise much akin to a League One fixture in places. The flipside being that it was a hard fought contest between two teams that haven’t had the best of starts, for a number of well documented reasons. Ultimately, the only stat that really counts is balls in the back of the net – and that’s where Brentford were strongest.

With a mid-week trip to Wolves up next, those points and a win were vital. And if nothing else, for morale. It’s just great to get back to winning ways but the big question now, of course, is whether we can do it again?

Away from Griffin Park, my highlight was at the Ethiad where Manchester City routed Bournemouth. Whilst I have nothing but respect (and even a sense of ‘if only’) for the Cherries in what they achieved last season, I can’t help but feel they brought this on themselves a touch.

There can’t be many in football who don’t know about the ‘manager of the month curse’. Pick up up this award and instantly doom your manager to losing his next game. So on Thursday, when Bournemouth started trumpeting the success of Eddie Howe and his signing a contract extension to 2020, even creating a hashtag to mark the occasion, there was only one thing that was going to happen.

Sure enough, three down in less than half an hour eventually finished up as a 5-1 humping.

Eddiesigns - no painting over that scoreline

Eddiesigns – no painting over that scoreline

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have been where the Cherries were, playing at Manchester City, instead of struggling past Rotherham. Indeed, part of me still thinks we were the ultimate architects in our eventual capitulation last season where, catching everybody cold, we ended up in a position to cause one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. Then blew it with Village-gate and, perhaps, some tactical naivety late on when the team was crying out for a bit of change

That was then, this is now and there’s no point having any regret. We had the chance, lost out, but have had a taste of our potential. Being realistic, with a quarter of the season gone I think it would be a huge ask at this juncture to repeat last season.

Then again, there are still 105 points available…..

Nick Bruzon

Could this be next season’s away kit ?

9 Oct

Another month, another international break. Such are the ‘problems’ facing Brentford as life in the Championship means we now have a bit more spare time on our hands. And, as ever, the mind starts to wander.

No better case in point than yesterday when, on a trip to White City Westfield , whilst failing to spot any footballers lining up outside Nandos, I did stumble across an exhibition of film memorabilia – all of which is to be auctioned later this month.

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

International break means Nandos is a footballer free zone

The regular reader may be aware that I am very much a fan of the ‘James Bond’ series of films. And, likewise, that Roger Moore stands head, shoulder and eyebrows above anyone else to have filled the role. Moore IS the best Bond. Fact.

So imagine my shock when I spotted THIS lurking amongst the props to be sold.

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare....?

If anybody has a few thousand pounds spare….?

Way, way beyond the budget of a mere mortal such as myself. That said if any multi millionaires are reading, imagine how good this would look in the corner of Stripes bar.

But then my imagination went into overdrive. The other topic to regularly feature in this column is that of the ‘comedy’ football kit. Usually emanating from Spain, we’ve seen everything from Broccoli to lager and octopus tentacle to butler motifs incorporated into a novelty away shirt.

Who doesn't love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Who doesn’t love a comedy shirt? Or a montage?

Then it hit me. Why not combine both? Especially as Brentford, having dabbled with yellow, blue and black in recent years, don’t have a ‘regular’ away scheme. To the best of my knowledge, no English team has gone for one of the ‘eccentric’ away shirts (although the Hull City AFC ‘tiger stripe’ home remains a favourite). As such, why not take the chance to become trailblazers?

Could the Bees, now our contract with Adidas has been extended, go for a Safari style away shirt? Not so much ‘wild beasts’ but a tan or green in the Roger Moore Style.

Perhaps with ‘Nobody does it better’ playing over the Griffin Park tannoy for the big unveiling.

Could the Bees tap into the 'eccentric' shirt market - Roger style?

Could the Bees tap into the ‘eccentric’ shirt market – Roger style?

One can dream. And in the short term, I’ll await my medication.

The other shirt news, this time genuine, to reach me from ‘sources’ is in regards to a new Brentford Tee shirt now on sale. Penalty success is such a rare thing at Griffin Park that one of our most momentous (not THAT one) has been recorded for posterity.

Want the chance to relive Alan Judge tasting the net against Preston as we went up last campaign? You can do so here…

A penalty to be celebrated

A penalty to be celebrated

And finally, just a polite request for your help with a reminder about the FBA and FSF Football blogging awards. With Beesotted and The Last Word both up for nomination, it would be massively appreciated if any reader could take 30 seconds to vote.

Beesotted are up in the ‘best video’ and ‘best club’ category . The Last Word in ‘best club’ and best ‘new’ . The work of Beesotted is, of course, legendary, and I wish them luck as they look to make the final shortlist.

It would be great if we could have a couple of Bees going ‘head to head’ at a national level – and you can nominate here.

An update from Sam Saunders gets my vote

7 Oct

Whatever football news was announced yesterday, there was one piece of information that has probably bypassed most sources. Even the official Brentford club site doesn’t have this one, yet.

But for me, an already exciting season has just cranked up another notch.

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.