Tag Archives: Tigers

Who will lose it at the bottom? Can the Bees make it another top ten success?

6 May

Well here we are. One final round of games awaits in the Championship. Brentford entertain Hull City AFC, knowing a win could take us as high as 7(seven)th in the final table. We already know we’ve a trip to Stoke City next season and a possible return to The Valley, if Charlton can do the needful in the League One play-offs. Yet it is at the bottom of the table where the longer term situation is perhaps more interesting. Birmingham City v Fulham is THE big one in the division today and is sure to have Bees’ fans split as to who they’d like to come away with the win. Along with the Blues, the final two relegation spots are predominantly in the hands of Burton, Bolton and Barnsley. And all this is before we get to the end of season ‘player of the year’ dinner and awards. Plus some nonsense on pitch at half time – I really wouldn’t be looking there. Move along; nothing to see.

First up, the visit of Hull. A club, like Wolves, I’ve developed a long standing and unexpected admiration for over the years. Standing up to crackpot owner? Tick. Some of the best kits ever? Tick. Correct use of AFC in their name? Tick. That said, not sure if I can forgive them for Nick Proschwitz but, hey, you can’t have everything.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 07.40.07

Great kits. Great principals

With the sun (and shorts) out, it promises to be a great day. At the time of writing (6.59am) the sky in TW8 is a wonderful clear blue and things are already warming up. The bank holiday awaits and it’s our last time all together for a couple of months. This really promises to be special. Even if we are left wondering whether this is the last time we see some of our heroes in action. Listening to the Beesotted podcast the other day I am curious as to whether it will be a case of farewell Ryan Woods, Andreas Bjelland and Josh McEachran – amongst other potential departures.

Whilst that is a column for another day, it’s mentioned more as a chance to really appreciate these great players. I’m desperate to see the likes of Woodsy and the World Cup’s Andreas back next season of course. Who wouldn’t? By the same virtue I’m also a realist as to how we operate. The last few seasons have taught us that. With the likes of Chris Mepham fast tracking up the football ladder at a rate of knots, the future is still looking good.

We digress. Plus ça change. The club have surprised us at just about every step of the way over the last few seasons. I can’t call what’s going to happen today, let alone further down the track. Let’s just focus on the here and now. Dean Smith wants to finish on a high. As do the fans. I can’t see much change from the side which went down at Barnsley last weekend. If only because it was so out of sorts relative to the last few months that the players themselves will be desperate to prove a point and end with three. Hull City AFC are clear of the relegation pack so can also play pressure free. This could, and should, be a good one. Get those calculators out and prepare to start tracking the goals.

At the bottom, I’m calling Burton and Birmingham City to go down. Blues fans, if you somehow see this then don’t cry. Don’t take it as some personal dig. Whatever some commentators to these pages think, I don’t ‘hate’ your club. Likewise, any perceived negativity is not down to the triple transfer swoop over the summer although, undoubtedly, it has added to a rich tapestry that has been woven over the last 26 years.

That said, Harlee Dean’s ‘ten times better’ comments are most definitely a long term dish that I would take great pleasure in serving up cold at 3pm. If you want to know why there’s such an interest in goings on at St.Andrews, then click here. You probably won’t care. That’s football and I’m not looking for any sympathy after a season spent doing battle with brave keyboard warriors, frustated by their own team’s inadequacy and looking to lash out.

Harlee

He said it….. Not me.

Yet given the hand that the fixture list has dealt today, I can’t look beyond League One for The Blues next season. If I’m wrong then will happily hold up my hands tomorrow. Likewise, I’d be genuinely happy if Birmingham do stay up – if only for another chance at six points next season. Ba-doom, Tish !

But I can’t see anything beyond a Fulham win at St. Andrew today. Words which are as distasteful to me as saying Happy Star Wars Day – May the fourth be with you.

With Preston chasing the play-offs, surely that one is a step too far for visitors Burton Albion despite their own impressive run of form in recent weeks. Sadly for Nigel Clough and his team their current streak of WWW is looking like it will be too little, too late. Even though pressure can do funny things, surely that one has to go down as ‘home win’ in the race for the final play-off spot? Doesn’t it…?

Barnsley travel to Derby County today. Derby County, a team who have mastered the art of ‘the choke’ . Who could forget that infamous play-off final against the Loftus road mob? What about the time we reached the Championship play-offs under Mark Warburton. All they needed was a point at home to an impotent Reading side yet somehow self-destructed and went down 3-0. With Barnsley fighting for their lives, that’s where I’m calling the shock (now watch it happen at Preston).

Which takes us to Bolton. Home to Nottingham Forest. Should they win, that takes them level on points with Birmingham. But they need to win well and that’s a BIG ask. The goal difference gap still sees them four behind the Blues yet they are the division’s second lowest scorers having managed just 36 all campaign. The only side having fared worse with the worse in the ‘F’ column being Birmingham who currently have a paltry 35. Compared to our own 61 or the 82 of Champions Wolves, it’s no surprise they both find themselves in such big trouble.

So the heart is ruling the head, here, but with Fulham having to win to have any chance of ‘automatic’ I’m calling four goals as a gap that can be reeled in for Bolton. Even if they need another club to do most of the legwork.

But before you go putting the mortgage on any of this then please bear in mind two things….

Firstly, I’ve not even mentioned Reading. They aren’t safe yet and travel to a Cardiff side that, like Fulham, are also chasing the other promotion slot. Secondly, my predictive skills are notoriously woeful. I’ve called Birmingham and Burton to go down but there’s as much chance of it being Bolton and Reading. Pressure can do strange things.

Instead, I’ll be at Griffin Park cheering on the Bees. Albeit with half a near on the terrace trannie. Purely out of curiosity….

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 07.48.46

The BBC table shows just how tight things remain at the bottom

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Post Hull City fall out is of an unexpected kind.

10 Dec

We regret that due to 3mm of snow falling in Brentford there will be no Last Word today. No update on yesterday’s 3-2 loss for the Bees at Hull City.

The Last Word apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Normal service will be resumed ahead of Brentford v Barnsley on Saturday.

TEST-CARD-F-530872

Nick Bruzon

As Bees prepare to go to Hull, will Championship form prevail or could ‘that stat’ take hold ?

7 Dec

Another weekend approaches. For some, the stress of Christmas shopping. For others, the chance for some time out from the relentlessness of the Festive build up and the excitement of football. Personally, my focus will be all about Kingston-upon-Hull rather than Kingston shopping centre. The current UK City of Culture being the destination this Saturday for a Brentford team looking to pick up where we left off against Fulham last weekend. That wonderful 3-1 win a perfect return to winning ways for Dean Smith’s team. Likewise, there’s still an interest at the bottom of the table where #tentimesbetter Birmingham City slithered back into the relegation zone following another defeat on Monday night.

Ollie v Fulham

Another afternoon, another win. This time Fulham were the team to be steam-rollered

First up, Brentford and our trip to Hull City. Spirits should be high in Dean Smith’s camp. Last weekend’s obliteration of Fulham (where only David Button kept it respectable) saw the Bees rise up the table to within a win of eighth placed Leeds United. Those ‘difficult’ first few months – both in terms of results and the deadline day firesale to Birmingham City – all seem a long way off now. True, we’ve still had some iffy moments (such as the finish up the road last Monday, the first half with Sunderland or the entire game with Burton Albion) but the team seems a lot more settled.

A feat all the more impressive given how patched together we are at present. At least, on the surface. Two fullbacks playing out side of their traditional positions and Romaine Sawyers having to spend most of Saturday operating as frontman / false 9 (delete as applicable). Yet Josh Clarke and Yoann Barbet have more than settled in to moving around the pitch whilst you can’t deny the impact Romaine had against Fulham. Certainly he was my man of the match, for whatever that’s worth, although one would suspect his position there won’t be a permanent one !

It’s funny, because with the transfer window opening next month all the talk is likely to be about Ryan Woods. A player very much in form, with a huge reputation, incredible ability and now well into his third season at Griffin Park he is ‘classic’ transfer target material. Yet, for me, Josh Clarke would be an equal worry – certainly in terms of players who might end up coming under the spotlight. His talent is without question; his versatility a real strength. At a time when we’ve had to move things around he’s played at left back, right back and in his traditional mid-filed berth. He overlaps on the break and has even weighed in with the odd goal. If ever there was an unsung hero for this season then, for me, it’s Josh.

All being well, we won’t need / choose to sell anybody in January. All being well, players will look further ahead and realise the benefits of staying at Griffin Park. Certainly, it hasn’t worked out too well for the Birmingham City three. Rather than striding towards the Premier League, they find themselves doing their best to pay a visit to League One with only Sunderland and Burton Albion below The Blues in the table.

Desperately unlucky Maxime Colin finds himself injured whilst Jota has hardly settled into the side. His starring role has been reduced to one of advertising the club’s Christmas range.

DPE3B5xW0AE7Fz4

Sad times – all round

As for poor old Harlee Dean, where do you start? He certainly made a rod for his own back. As if his infamous ‘Ten Times Better’ quote about the Bees (a clear contender for the 2017/18 Russell Slade celebrated like the FA Cup award ) wasn’t bad enough, he now misses the Blues trip to Fulham on Saturday after getting sent off against Wolves on Monday night.

In case we needed any reminding of that one (the soundbite rather than the red card) then here you go. Some things deserve to be repeated:  “We’ve got quality in that squad. I’ve been in teams where we’ve finished fifth in this league and missed out on promotion by play offs. And this squad is ten times better than that. Its just about getting the balance right.

Look. I didn’t want to overly talk about Birmingham City today. It’s kind of just happened as the words have fallen out. But they’re not setting the world on fire and having blown all that cash back at the end of August (thank you very much) I can’t see them being allowed to do a repeat in January. That’s their issue though. Work with what they’ve got left, just like we’ve had to do after selling them some prize assets. And Harlee.

Personally, I wrote some pretty emotive stuff about them and us at the time. Especially the morning after deadline day. I stand by that in terms of how I felt. It was raw, it was a shock and on the surface it seemed like footballing suicide for a team that were, back then, struggling to play their way out of a paperbag. Form that continued in the immediate aftermath. Indeed, there’s a part of me that still aches to think of Jota in the doldrums when he was so adored, and so elegant, at Griffin Park. Football is a passionate game and that triple sale, as much in the timing and the destination, came like a bolt from the blue. Quite literally.

Yet, and has been said many times, I’m just the numpty on the terrace. I know nothing of any real insight. I’ve never denied it. Things have worked out. And how! Meanwhile, Birmingham City are in their own mess. That’s their board’s problem. So long and thanks for all the cash.

Brentford continue their inxeroable ascent of the Championship table with the prospect of free scoring Emiliano Marcondes to come in January and Alan Judge putting in 45 minutes for the B-team. His goalscoring appearance against Barnet on Tuesday probably getting the biggest cheer of the week in our house (see also: return of Lewis Macleod v Fulham). Moreso, his declaration that he feels “normal-ish” .

You can get that story in full on ‘official’.

Large

Official have all the news on this one !

And so with confidence high, we head North on Saturday. The starting XI seems a lot more settled and we have form on our side. The Bees have only lost once in the last thirteen league games (Cardiff City away) and now have the top third of the table is in our sights. Facing us, a Hull City side sitting just outside the relegation spots and featuring former Bee Jon Toral.

On paper you’d call this one as ‘away’ win . If you were a neutral. Nothing is that cut and dried when you are a fan though. The jinx conscious amongst us might point to their sacking manager Leonid Slutsky during the week.

The reverse effect to winning manager of the month (an award that may aswell come with ‘L’ tagged on), the appointment of a caretaker comes with that almost inevitable fillip of a team in decline winning their next game.

Then there’s the ‘B’ team thing. Hull City have only recorded four league wins all season. All four have come against teams whose name start with the letter B.
4-1 v Burton (h);
4-0 v Bolton (h)
6-1 v Birmingham City (h) . Stop. Sniggering…
1-0 v Barnsley (a)

Granted, that’s not in the Luis Melville category of statistical genius, but much has been made of it in the media and it makes semi-interesting review. Until you hit the stumbling block of their game with Bristol City last month. That one ended in a 3-2 defeat to The Robins .

Jinx over. The road is clear for the Bees to do their thing. Moreso given I’ve not, to date, read of a caretaker being appointed. Instead, it looks as though they are going to jump straight to Nigel Adkins. Certainly, if the local press is to be believed.

As for the thing that will really impact us, on field performance, I’d suggest the BBC or Beesotted are your best bets. Honestly, I haven’t seen enough this season to form a significant opinion about how reflective of ability Hull City’s current position genuinely is. However, as somebody far wiser than me once said: “The table doesn’t lie”. Nor do the bookmakers, who have Brentford as 6/5 favourites to win this one.

Then again. They can’t call it and all three results are at a generous price. Roll on Saturday when we find out if form will prevail.

Nick Bruzon

West Ham ? Sheffield Wednesday? Hull City? Which Brentford star is going where? If any…

25 Jul

Jota to Newcastle United, West Ham United, other? Harlee Dean to Sheffield Wednesday? Now Rico Henry and an apparent interest from Hull City is the latest story being touted in the press involving the possibility of a player leaving Griffin Park. You can tell the impending football season is approaching at a rate of knots with rumours surrounding Brentford stars cranking up. As ever.

Ordinarily these pages don’t do transfer gossip. The only source close to the club I trust (Beesotted aside, given they are almost always bang on the money) is the ketchup that comes with the half time chips. Yet this time it is worth paying note. If not for the quality of the ‘story’ – please note, your definition of ‘quality’ and ‘story’ may vary – as to the bigger picture questions.

Everybody is focussed on Jota. Understandably so given his unadulterated ability and contract length are diametrically opposed to each other in terms of size. The stories about West Ham won’t go away although I’d refer you back to the Scott Hogan tedium. Likewise the fact that they’ve already acquired the likes of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Marko Arnautovic.

All this, before £16m Javier Hernandez became the latest to join the 1966 World Cup winners at the Olympic stadium yesterday. Are we really expected to believe they could also splash out on the likes of Jota aswell? Is the West Ham acquisition process now at an end? They were bad last season, that was plain to see, but surely no mid-table team needs this much rebuilding? Or can afford it? Then again, the TV money is at the ridiculous level and so not surprising our man’s name is mentioned in such circles.

Large

Jota and Harlee amongst the main men for Brentford in 2017/18

Yet for me all this Jota talk has been an unintentional smokescreen that has detracted from a real possibility – that of losing a centre back. We are more than amply catered for in this area of the field with Yoann Barbet, John Egan, Andreas Bjelland and of course  Harlee Dean all jockeying for position. This is before you even factor in the B-team. But then the Sheffield Wednesday rumour appeared.

Nobody on the terraces can imagine Harlee will leave. That surely the club will do all in their power to hang on to our player of the year and club captain. I’m not convinced this is anything more than a story that will come and go. But this hasn’t stopped us before.

At the same time, how does Dean Smith keep four quality defenders happy with only two positions to fill? He’s tried to play three of them and despite some initial positives, it was hardly the roaring success he had anticipated. So much so that normal service was soon resumed.

Sheffield Wednesday coming in for Harlee may be true, it may not. Yet we’ve shown every season that something has to give in order to help balance those FFP books. Hogan to Villa; Odubajo to Hull; Gray and number 26 to Burnley.

This time around, rather than Jota might it be elsewhere on the pitch? The defence? Certainly, this move was just one of those talked up in the recent Beesotted transfer activity piece. Could Billy have got his hands on the crystal ball once more?

The other story we then saw yesterday was a laughable column about Hull City looking at Rico Henry . With Andy Robertson joining Liverpool for £10milion last week, the Tigers are supposedly coming in with a £3.5 million bid.

Ted Knutson put that one immediately into context on Twitter.

We’re all about maximising player potential but, equally, we’re not in the business of giving anyone away. Rico’s emergence last season well and truly put Jake Bidwell in the shade and showed just why we were prepared to let our former skipper join the Loftus Road mob. Here is a player with the potential to go all the way and somebody who absolutely hit the ground running at Championship level after signing from League One Walsall.

Whichever story, if any, is true it all goes to show once more that we are a team in demand. That we aren’t just one goal scorer or one luxuriantly coiffured Spaniard. Brentford’s stock is high. The 2-2 with Southampton at the weekend proved that.

Yet let me ask you a question. If it kept Jota safe in the short term, would you sell Harlee? Would you let Rico go? Who’d want to be on the board with those sorts of decisions to make?

Ultimately of course, we may not have any choice in affairs. Money and agents talk. Likewise, we’ve acquired very well in the close(d) season. For both the first XI and B-team. Does the strongest looking all round squad we’ve had in years – boosted by five new signing – mean some form of departure is inevitable? Or is this going to be the season where the Brentford players and board all say – up yours West Ham. So long Hull City. Sorry Newcastle. These players aren’t for sale. We’re going places.

Whatever happens, all will become much clearer over the coming weeks. I can’t wait for the season to start but it might be stressful getting there.

As one final thought, what are you going to be wearing on the terraces this season? The new kit is stunning, with the goalkeeper and away variants already available in the club shop. Yet for anybody wanting a retro touch then eBay is the place to go at present.

This isn’t me (the chances of anything slipping my collection are slim to zero) but I have seen one fan looking to clear out their own wardrobe this week. Seller aamy_r_reetqr26 has listed 11 shirts that run from 1988 up to 2002, many of which are rarely seen on the terraces these days. You can find them here if this is of interest.

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 05.39.48

Just some of the retro shirts on offer this week

Nick Bruzon

Lions, Tigers and Bees. Is this another clue for next season?

29 May

We’re almost there. Yesterday’s play-off final saw Hull City AFC make a swift return to the Premier League whilst Sheffield Wednesday prepare to line up alongside Brentford once more. With Barnsley and Millwall going toe-to-toe on Sunday afternoon, by the time Antiques Roadshow is on we’ll know the full extent of next season’s Championship. And was there a further hint about kit from none other than Bees supremo Matthew Benham?

First up, the play-off final. Promotion for Hull City was well deserved on the day, despite the incredible presence and noise from the Wednesday supporters. Sadly, their team didn’t get a look in against a well organised Tigers outfit who probably could have taken it by more than the 1-0 final scoreline.

But one was all they needed and, despite an injury time surge from their opponents, Hull stayed firm. With it, Moses Odubajo joins Andre Gray, James Tarkowski and Adam Forshaw as recent Bees who have earned promotion to the Premier League this season. Let’s just hope those sale contracts were well negotiated and included promotion clauses!

Millwall give it a shot at an equally rapid return and, all being well, providing another local game for the Bees next season. We’ve already got trips to Fulham, QPR, Reading and Brighton amongst the ’short hops’ . Then there’s the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Burton Albion which are sure to provide high demand and a new experience for many Brentford supporters.

Chuck the Lions into the mix and that’s a third of the season’s away games already booked in without even trying. Best get those green cards and rail tickets at the ready. Or, if Mrs Bruzon is reading, a new subscription to BeesPlayer.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 08.30.01

There’s always a welcome at Millwall

Next up, asthma pumps. They help you breathe. Good things. Nothing much more to say on the subject really.

The 2016/17 kit article prompted a bit of intrigue yesterday. As was noted at the time, this was nothing more than harmless fun and tenuous guesswork. Yet, amidst the nonsense have we stumbled across the direction, or even influenced, next season’s offerings? Whilst I’d guess firm ‘no’ to each, who doesn’t love a bit of speculation?

And if an ultimately unfounded ‘Bees boss in double transfer swoop’ is good enough for our esteemed local press, then why not extend the same privilege to the playing kit – not that I’m either ‘local press’ or ‘esteemed’.

The possibility of having a green third kit is one that, judging by social media, seems to be a popular one. Supporters whose feedback I have seen have, mostly, given it a thumbs up whilst Richard Merritt and Geoff Buckingham also answered the question as to whether the Bees had even worn green before.

RM: I’ve seen us wear Green away to Watford in the 70’s. The shirt had a black ‘flap’ collar with a whole black ‘V’. I created my own shirt by having a Brentford badge sewn on to a Peter Bonneti goal keeping shirt

GB:Brentford did wear green as an away shirt during one season in the 1970’s. I cannot recall how often. It may even have been borrowed because their own kit got stuck in traffic!

Wonderful as the thought of Richard sporting his own home made kit was, things then stepped up a notch when even Matthew Benham joined in the Twitter conversation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 06.56.36

Are we reading too much into this…..?

We all know Matthew’s forays onto Twitter are rare but, normally, telling. Is this another transfer-style cryptic clue? Can we read anything into this exchange? Who knows?

I’m hoping that by, “What do you think Bob” Matthew was talking about the possibility of the Bees wearing green rather than emulating Ayr United. To be quite honest, I don’t have our top brass down as the misogynistic types. We’re a family club and long may it stay this way.

Besides, the thought of Buzzette bereft of her normal oversized shirt and, instead, covered antenna to toe in nothing more than chanel no. 5, green body paint and a Brentford badge is one I daren’t visualise.

Either way, whatever the final colours and whatever the design the only think I know for sure is that the suspense is killing me. With other clubs already releasing their new designs faster than the Bees change head coaches, I can’t wait another six weeks to find out.

Come on Brentford. Put us out of our misery.

Please.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 07.34.41

The mocked up shirts that have (some) supporters talking

Nick Bruzon 

Plug time (regular readers know the score from here) : As ever, The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. Should anybody want to go over this nonsense and relive these moments once more then you can do so now.

It has been a stunning few years. Here’s to more of the same. We may have had a few lows (something about a penalty, the football village, the FA Cup, the pitch, the Marinus experiment) but there have been plenty more highs as the Bees made an unexpected challenge for the Premier League.

Thanks for reading.

Plenty to play for on a Tuesday night in Hull

25 Apr

Brentford visit Hull City AFC tomorrow for a game that was originally set for March 8th but subsequently put back due to the host’s FA Cup involvement with Arsenal. Understandably there  was much frustration from the Bees faithful at the time although, in retrospect, might this have been a blessing in disguise? At least from a playing perspective.

Hull tigers Bees

The Bees go to Hull

At the time, Hull City were right amongst the promotion chasing teams and in with a very real chance of ‘automatic’. Since that date, they’ve only won three times. The Premier League is still more than possible but now it will need to be via the play-offs .

However, with a place in the end of season ‘choke-off’ already assured the only thing, momentum aside, that they have to play for is whether they can hang on to fourth place and a second leg at home.

I say “only”. Its a position I’d still love to be in ourselves. After coming so close last season, most of us would have loved another bite at the proverbial cherry.

Brentford, meanwhile, were in the depths of despair back in early March. As has been well documented, 2016 started terribly and this game would have been sandwiched between the 2-1 home defeat to Charlton (yes, the same Charlton who have since slithered into League 1) and then the 3-0 ‘no show’ at Loftus Road.

It was a period that saw the Bees flirting with the teams in the relegation zone and a game at high flying Hull is probably the last thing we would have wanted.

Yet now the Bees have it all to play for. And then some. Dean Smith is in possible contention for ‘Manager of the Month’ (what a shame the league don’t do ‘head coach of the month’ – he’d make a clean sweep). Victory will take him to 6 wins in April, surpassing the 5 achieved by Chris Hughton at Brighton and Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough. That said, even a win doesn’t guarantee things with the Smoggies closing the month at Birmingham.

More importantly though, victory will take the Bees five points clear of the Loftus Road mob with just two games to play. And, without wanting to get too far ahead of us, we then host Fulham before QPR are next up. On Monday evening at Burnley.

The ‘kings’ of West London league football could be crowned prior to the final weekend. Last season it was a two club battle with the Bees finishing 26 points clear of Fulham. How sweet to do it again with the loud mouths from the Bush chucked into the mix this time around.

If this isn’t incentive to go for it on Tuesday, I don’t know what is.

West London football map

As it stands, in the West London Championship table

Nick Bruzon

Is bruised banana the worst of football’s rotten bunch? Or just unfortunate?

23 Mar

Apologies in advance for a headmasterly (is that even a word?) introduction – we will get to the football shortly. However, it’s all been a bit lively on these pages in the last few days. And by lively, I mean really quite sad – certainly in terms of the commentary being posted by a couple of, alleged, Brentford fans in response to several of the columns and the subsequent opinions of other supporters who had taken the time to write in.

I know things are frustrating on the pitch at present but I’m absolutely baffled by the motivation of these two brave keyboard warriors dripping nothing but poison, schoolyard insults and unquantifiable jibes. Are they really that bored?

Actually, and you may not believe this, it doesn’t bother me personally. I’ve heard a lot worse over the years. But it may upset others. More importantly, I detest bullying and people whose agenda seems nothing but setting out to antagonise or try causing upset whilst hiding behind the facade of a false name and computer screen. Jealousy? Bitterness? Problems at work? Small penis? Who knows?

Regardless, the point remains that any contributor remains welcome. Just please be aware that insulting fellow supporters, accusing them of being a&$eholes (or worse), and making unfounded allegations of racism and homophobia, amongst other things, may well result in such posts being deleted. And I must apologise again for sounding all ’teacher’ but there’s been some pretty desperate stuff these last few days (most of which has now been removed).

But with that out of the way, back to normality. Of course, the International break has caused the cancellation of Championship football for two weeks and, being honest, options are slim for Wednesday night. Personally, I’m fortunate enough in having the Gibraltar v Liechtenstein game to look forward to but, this aside, there is meagre fare on offer.

Even then, the football isn’t a guaranteed. Mrs Bruzon has been threatening to use this perceived gap in the football calendar to catch up on the DVD collection. The thought of having to sit through Colin Firth or Hugh Grant’s greatest hits is one to make even Slovenia v Macedonia seem a more palatable option. The possibility of being force fed the pair’s ‘bumbling romantic’ routine in ‘Four weddings’, ‘Love, Actually’  or ‘Bridget Jones’ (that one’s more Firth than Grant playing the ‘slightly awkward around girls’ role))  is making me queasy.

Likewise, there’s only so much of that nonsense out of ‘Notting Hill’ I can stomach (although if anybody is ever in the area for real, The Porchester has a menu to die for).

nottinghill_____1

Notting Hill – full of drivel. Give me football any day

So, instead, it’ll be a compromise of letting Mrs B. enjoy Hugh whilst yours truly starts work on the next few ‘kit obsessive’ articles for the official matchday programme. But with the Bolton game still two weeks away, there’s plenty of time to get those ready.

As such, I thought I’d look to recreate that column here – as a one time only ‘special’ . And not so much focussing on a specific opponent but, instead, the 91 other clubs that Brentford may find themselves playing subject to promoting or relegation.

With that in mind, just what are the ‘all time best’, ‘the worst’, the ‘classic away’ and ‘the unfortunate design’ amongst football shirts across the history of English football fashion? How do you reduce this down to four shirts and moreso, when the Bees aren’t included (for now).

The answer has to be one of just going with the gut. What is the first one that springs to mind? So without further ado, using no more scientific methodology than my own personal opinion, they are….

The best: Hull City. (made by Matchwinner). Home 1992-1993. Sometimes, words are just not enough. You can only admire the audacity and sheer, unadulterated, genius that saw Hull try to interpret their ‘Tigers’ nickname into the team’s playing kit.

But it wasn’t even discreet – the footballing equivalent of Bet Lynch (kids, ask your parents).

In probably the most iconic of all the Matchwinner designs (and they’re a manufacturer who have had some standouts) Hull went for a full on tiger stripe effect. This was less a subtle nod towards their nickname and more a no holds barred attempt to create one of the most loved/loathed shirts in football history.

Incredibly, Matchwinner’s contract was cancelled midway through the following season and awarded to Pelada. However, with the company refusing to hand over the design spec, their replacements had to produce a new version – a strange, brown affair that was very much the runt of the litter. Then again, how do you top perfection?

Hull City 1992-93 shirt

The best football shirt of all time

The worst: Coventry City. (made by Talbot Sports). Home 1981- 1984  There wasn’t much that Jimmy Hill didn’t try to innovate in football and his stint as Coventry’s Managing Director was no exception. Indeed, such was his creativity that he made Hull City AFC’s Doctor Assem Allam look like a rank amateur in the rebranding stakes.

1981. Coventry had just announced the football league’s first club sponsorship deal with local car giants, Talbot. Yet in an audacious bid to work around the (then) ban on shirt advertising, Hill tried to get the team renamed Coventry Talbot.

Not surprisingly, this move was rejected so, instead, he simply had a home shirt designed that featured their ‘T’ logo as an integral part of the design. Worse than that, he continued the design onto the shorts. It was immediately banned from television and consigned to football’s home of infamous design.

coventry Talbot

The worst ever kit?

The classic away: Coventry City. (made by Admiral) 1978-1980  Even now, I don’t know if this qualifies as being touched by the mark of genius or insanity. Whichever, you can’t deny it’s  eye catching.

The Admiral away kit from the end of the 70s shouldn’t work. Indeed, it is often voted as the worst kit of all time in supporter polls. Bedecked in chocolate brown with white piping that continued from the shirt all the way down the shorts, it really is an oddity. Yet one that is so odd it’s stunning. Genuinely . Even that most heinous of kit crimes, continuing the shirt design onto the shorts, somehow works here.

coventry brown

But with the bad also comes good

The unfortunate design: Arsenal. (made by Adidas) Away 1991-1993.  Affectionately dubbed the bruised banana, this mixes the traditional Arsenal yellow with a series of interlocking chevron stripes that make this one seem as though it belongs more at the bottom of a fruit bowl.

Personally, I think this banana analogy has always been a tad harsh If anything, this looks more like a plain yellow shirt that has been run over by a JCB and left a somewhat unsightly tyre print.

arsenal1991-1993_zps5c9162f0

Tyre print? Rotten banana?

And if you’d like to read more… over the next month or so the match day programme still has kit obsessive articles to come on Bristol City, Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers and, of course, Fulham.

Enjoy. Please. And if you don’t, just remember this is only a bit of fun.

Nick Bruzon

Bees can’t quite tame the Tigers

4 Nov

Well played Hull City. Brentford saw their 4 game winning run come to an end on Tuesday night after going down 2-0 to the new league leaders. It was a game where the Bees more than matched their opponents in the first half and could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone in ahead. In the end class, experience and the quality of a former Premier League side (which had been bolstered over the summer with the help of those parachute payments) was eventually telling.

It was by no means a case of Tigers mauling Bees. More, the second half specifically, their toying with us like a kitten teasing a spider. The step up in quality over that period was terrifying. That’s meant with no disrespect to our Bees who, even having gone a goal down, could still have levelled things up.

A James Tarkowski run to set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer being a particular highlight. Somehow the big defender just kept going as he burst towards the box and released the Austrian for a shot that had Allan McGregor beaten all ends up. Only the woodwork denying the Bees an equaliser from the edge of the box.

The opening period had seen Djuricin come close on several occasions as the Bees took the game to their opponents. However, possession counts for nothing if you can’t take your chances and, whatever Steve Bruce said at half time, certainly seemed to have the desired effect.

Hull were a team transformed in the second period and got what, being honest, their performance deserved. Two goals and the win. That said, there isn’t too much to feel down about and we’ve been beaten by a team that will be well in the mix come season end. When a goal comes from a short corner you know you’ve been beaten by a side with something special about them.

Don’t take it short. It never f***ing works” (unless Ipswich are playing) is the common refrain from the terrace. Hull City proved that rare exception to the rule as they wrapped up the points late on. Their second goal eventually coming from a move that had begun with this most maligned of set pieces.

Although, for the record, my own utterance of the lines: “That’s fine; its short. They never work” just before the second goal can be taken as in no way contributory. Erm, honest.

As expected Alan Judge was missing. Would he have made a difference? Possibly. The flip side was the return of Sam Saunders to the first team squad, even if he didn’t make it onto the pitch. This time.

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

Sam warms up with his trousers on (even if we were eventually caught with out pants down)

In referee Gavin Ward we had the anti-Stroud. Alan McCormack, in particular, lucky to escape his attentions just 7(seven) minutes into the game after seeming to go through his man like a dose of salts. As one terrace wag noted, with due nod to John Arlott, it was a challenge so late it was almost posthumous.

Then again he wasn’t alone. One can only imagine that had Mr. Stroud been in charge we’d have seen him go ‘full Clintons’ for a bizarre incident of handbags involving McGregor and most of the Hull team when a second half -free kick was awarded well inside the box. Ward continued his trend of ignoring most off the ball incident whilst the Bees failed to capitalise on the set piece.

View from the terrace - Brentford prepare for a close up assault

View from the terrace – Brentford prepare for a close up assault

And the other elephant in the room – Moses Odubajo. Well, he still has pace but his distribution was woeful. That’s not me being bitter but just how I called it on the night. Then again, his team didn’t concede so the Hull defence must have been doing something right.

He received the typical reception reserved for a former player; every touch being greeted with more boos than an Oddbins clearance sale. He couldn’t have been more a panto villain had he turned up in a top hat, cape and waxed moustache. I was half expecting Mr Ward to add, “He’s behind you” but, alas not.

This is all incidental though. The record will show a 2-0 win for Hull and the Bees locked in mid table. We’re five points outside the play-off zone and ten away from the relegation spots. And, if you’ll forgive the somewhat unsavoury image, we are the meat in a Fulham-QPR sandwich. The Craven Cottage outfit are a place above us on goal difference whilst another defeat for Rangers sees them one below in thirteenth.

The BBC show the latest league positions

The BBC show the latest league positions

As frustrating is the fact this defeat was predicted on Monday by Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth. Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show sidekick had warned against Hull’s threat and, for once, the man who knows as much about football as I do about driving (he supports Arsenal; I’m still ‘provisional’) called it right.

Much as it hurts, I’m man enough to hold up my hands on that one.

Next up is Blackburn Rovers away. Never an easy place to go but, equally, one we can still approach with utmost confidence if we start like we did against Hull.

Roll on Saturday.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Firth (right) with O’Connell. The soothsayer of scores finally got one right

Nick Bruzon

Will Judge be on the bench? Will Brentford be #Novemberkings again?

3 Nov

We’ve spoken a lot about Hull City AFC over the years on these pages. Primarily the ongoing attempts of owner Dr. Assem Allam to rebrand the club as Hull Tigers. Likewise, for a kit nerd such as myself, the infamous ‘tiger stripe’ shirt is one that has frequently drawn gasps of admiration. This summer we saw more transfer rumours than even our local press could cope with / generate (delete as applicable) as Steve Bruce attempted one of their beloved ‘double transfer swoops’ – eventually netting Moses Odubajo. But now, with the victory against QPR still at the forefront of our minds, Brentford return to action with the chance to finally talk about Hull City from a footballing perspective.

The best football shirt of all time

The best football shirt of all time

Friday night was special, no question. But, if we are being honest, it was a win we fully deserved. Moreso, QPR just weren’t actually that good. Aside from the two efforts from Massimo Luongo late in the first half, they offered nothing. It was as much a victory for Brentford over the event and the expectation as it was over the opposition.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. Three points are always welcome and never more so than in this fixture. Even Arsenal buffoon Richie Firth, sidekick to Absolute Radio breakfast show DJ Christian O’Connell, failed to pour cold water on the win when talking about it on Monday morning’s programme.

Firth (right) with O'Connell. Can't tell his Arsenal from his elbow

Firth (right) with O’Connell. Can’t tell his Arsenal from his elbow

One thing he did get right was the need to be vigilant tonight. Moreseo, I’d go one further and say to forget about QPR. Specifically, Friday’s win rather than the club in general. It was brilliant but it has happened. Hull City are a different prospect altogether.

They’ve only lost twice all season, one of those being against Brighton – the only team now separating them from the top of the Championship table. Indeed, an away win tonight could even see them climb to the top should the Seagulls stuff it up at Sheffield Wednesday.

In Uruguayan striker Abel Hernández they have a player at the business end of the divisional goal scoring charts, whilst Allan McGregor is that rare example of a Scottish goalkeeper who can catch. And then there’s Moses Odubajo – Brentford fans need no reminder of what he can do. It’ll be very interesting to see who comes out on top of that one this evening.

The BBC are reporting this morning that Hernández may be rested but, equally, that our own ‘man of the moment’, Alan Judge, is down as being an injury doubt. He went straight to the tunnel after being subbed on Friday night and Bees’ fans will be sweating on his availability.

Alan Judge  - will we see him tonight?

Alan Judge – will we see him tonight?

It is no coincidence that one of the on pitch highlights of our return to form has been the performance of the Irishman. Three goals and four assists have been pivotal in helping us make it maximum points from the last twelve. With the Bees now, potentially, just one point away from the play-off zone should results go our way tonight it would be a killer time to be missing our star man.

Then again, it will be a fascinating test of just how well the rest of the squad can cope without him. Moreso, given as I’m not so naïve to think that the January transfer window won’t be the usual tense occasion it always is.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather Alan starts than doesn’t. But if we need to bench the Judge, just for one night, it would be preferable to his doing himself long term harm.

Hull City are going to be incredibly tough opponents. The hardest team to come to Griffin Park so far this season. If the victory against QPR was a historic one for personal reasons, this could be the one to really make the rest of the footballing world sit up and take proper notice of the Bees once more.

In 2015 we were pronouncing ourselves #Novemberkings (please note: this column does not endorse the use of the hashtag, #Novemberkings). Tonight we find out if The Bees are in line for a repeat.

See you there.

Can we match Friday night ?

Can we match Friday night ?

Nick Bruzon

Are these the worst kits of 2015/16 ?

12 Jul

With Brentford having now launched next season’s home and away kits, thoughts have turned to other clubs and what they’ll be turning out in. From Newcastle United to Watford there are certainly what we could call some ‘eye catching’ designs out there. And there’s interesting news on the sponsors front where we also have further update from Hull City AFC, amongst others, who of course featured in yesterday’s column regarding their proposed name change. Not to mention a missed opportunity at Griffin Park…..

But first, kit. Brentford’s new shirts seem to have been universally well received.

This is ours - as seen on the official club site

This is ours – as seen on the official club site

Looking further afield, the same is not necessarily true and where I mentioned ‘eye catching before, perhaps eye gouging would have been a more appropriate term. Whilst not every club has shown it’s hand, enough have – revealing some true horrors – that we can already put together a top five of 2015/16’s worst home kits.

5: Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers have been traditionally red, sometimes with blue offset, and twice previously have gone for both colours in stripes. They’ve gone down this route for a third time but what a mish-mash. One red sleeve, one blue sleeve and then the alternate blue stripes are of ever decreasing width from left to right as you look at it. And they’ve got a new badge – with some daggers on it (the modern equivalent of our funky bee?)

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

4: Bradford City AFC. This is one team who haven’t been afraid to mix it up in the past. They’ve had some truly brilliant/bonkers takes on the claret and amber over the years. That said, this takes things to another level. You should wear a football shirt to, erm, play football in. Not to play chess, on.

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

3: Newcastle United: I feel sorry for Newcastle. Their black and white stripes are probably one of the most iconic designs in football. A style recognised the world over and, as such, to overly mix things up must be a tough job. They tried it last season with a broad black yoke and they’ve tried it again this year with the addition of blue (something that has very rarely featured). Everywhere.

From the morally dubious sponsor to the collar and cuffs, things begin to get a bit distracting. Then we have the black stripes themselves, which have had additional diagonal blue stripes added in to the lower half. Less mixing things up and more throwing things up.

White, black and blue - the traditional Newcastle colours

White, black and blue – the traditional Newcastle colours

2: Cambridge United I’ve gone for this but it was a tough call. I could just has easily have picked Crawley Town. Both clubs (like the high viz Huddersfield United ‘away’ have adopted one of Puma’s half and half templates.

This is the shirt equivalent of one of ‘those scarves’.

Presumably the template was added to their catalogue to make up the numbers yet, incredibly, these three clubs have all picked it. The right hand side sees the traditional club colour. The left sees that colour interwoven with black diagonal stripes of varying width between them.

Crawley have already announced they are sticking with this for two seasons – their model looks suitably embarrassed at this though.

As if relegation hadn't been bad enough

As if relegation hadn’t been bad enough

However, Cambridge scoop the prize – simply, because they’ve used a hashtag to justify it. Regular readers will know of my disgust for such things, and whilst it isn’t #novemberkings, we aren’t too far off in the crap marketing stakes.

Terrible kit - and a hashtag

Terrible kit – and a hashtag

1: Watford. I had nothing but congratulations for Watford and their supporters when they got promoted from the Championship last season. I have nothing but commiserations for Watford and their supporters about what the team will be wearing in the top flight.

Subtlety and tradition have gone out of the window. Instead of the yellow with black and, sometimes, red trim they’ve opted for hoops. Lots of hoops. Whilst these may be in black and yellow, there are so many that, and of such differing thickness, as to make Dagenham’s shirt suddenly seem discreet. And, like Cambridge before them, there’s a slogan (thankfully no hashtag, yet).

To make it worse though, Watford’s appears to be a bespoke effort. Somebody has actually chosen and designed this. Maybe it is meant as a ‘hornet’ style but, as a traditionalist, if you want comedy then that’s what the change kit is for. At least the U’s could hide behind a template.

Presumably the tickets at Vicarage Road will come with a warning that the strobe effect from watching Watford running around could cause seizure.

When crap marketing meets crap design, you get this

When bad marketing meets bad design, you get this

As a side note, I also promised some updates on the sponsorship front. Hull City AFC has recently announced a tie in with Flamingo Land. I’m really hoping they follow their stunning ‘tiger stripe’ efforts of the early 90s with a similar pun related, flamingo style away kit when that gets launched. And congratulations, by the way, as their proposed name change to Hull Tigers was, again, kicked into touch yesterday – this time at a meeting of the Football Association Council.

Hull City owner Doctor Assem Allam had always promised to throw his toys out of the pram (not literally, although who knows what he gets up it in his spare time) and walk away if he didn’t get his way. So will he be true to his word or will the lure of being a club owner remain too much and he’ll just hope everybody now forgets about his threat.

In a very brief statement on the official club site he told supporters, “We always knew that following a change to the FA’s policy, the chances of changing the name were slim but we also feel it is important to fight for what you believe in and we believe that being called Hull Tigers would be the best strategy for the future.

We will be taking some time away from the Club to consider our options and we will make no further comment until we have come to a conclusion.

Given his option had been categorically stated previously – give me what I want or I’m going – my money is on him sitting tight, possibly under the guise of ‘not being able to find a buyer’, and then hoping all this blows over. But hey, what do I know – I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers - with or without Dr Allam ?

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers – with or without Dr Allam ?

Getting back to shirt sponsorship, sad news reaches me that the iconic association between Rainham Steel and Scunthorpe United has finally come to an end. As comedian Dave Gorman once said (or words to eh effect of): you can tell a true football fan by saying two words: Rainham Steel. Then watch for the reaction – it’ll either be glazed confusion or the utterance of the name Scunthorpe United.

Whilst I can’t knock them for giving over their shirt to a charitable cause – the battle against Prostate Cancer – it still marks the end of an era as recognisable as Brentford and KLM or Arsenal and JVC.

And finally, just as Brentford have changed their sponsor to Matchbook.com, Bury have changed theirs too. Given everything that happened at Griffin Park last campaign, how wonderful if Matthew Benham had, somehow, been able to negotiate a deal with the Shakers’ new partner.

Just think of the reaction if we’d had this across the red and white stripes.

Football truly is a village

Football truly is a village

Nick Bruzon