Tag Archives: Tom Heaton

As Tarka’s the Rotter is it adios to Jota and Toums?

16 Jan

The morning after the night before. Burnley have still beaten Brentford 3-1 after playing us not so much off the park but into next week during the most shambolic first half I can recall in some time. The second half remains one of top- drawer excitement and a hugely enjoyable atmosphere as Alan Judge and the boys began an improbable fight back that, in the end, wasn’t to be. And, having slept on it, words to describe James Tarkowski’s actions still fail me.

I wrote a column when I got home last night to describe my thoughts on the player and the situation. It was an angry one – although not quite up to the recent FCM piece – and it’s here if you want to read it. In the cold light of day, has anything changed? No, with the exception of fellow central defender Andreas Bjelland.

Just to clear up any potential confusion, I can only apologise if anybody feels that the weak pun in the headline was a sleight at him. Andreas has suffered a horrendous injury and James is one of the players we’re looking to help in his place at centre back. Personally I felt a bad pun, that fitted the scenario, would be the best way of conveying what most of us are probably thinking. I could have gone much stronger but, then again, writing at 1am following an emotional night has probably impaired that decision ! Certainly one that would have been written differently with a bit more consideration.

Having given it some thought over night, my over riding feeling is one of being tremendously let down. Alan Judge and Toumani Diagouraga have both been the subject of high profile bids – in the case of the former from Burnley themselves – yet both continue to give their all for the Bees. Indeed, Toumani may well have played his last game if the gift he gave one supporter is any sort of indication. ..

image(4)

One train passenger got more than he bargained for

Yet neither player has stooped to this level. There’s nothing much you can really say on the matter. We’d all love Matthew Benham to hold out on selling him but, sadly, the financial demands of Championship football and FFP rules means it will be unlikely we can afford to leave a wheelbarrow full of cash on the training pitch. I’d love to be proved wrong on that front and hope , for once, principals would triumph. However, given that, barring a miracle, Tarks has played his last game for Brentford can we afford not to sell him just to prove a point ?

What a sad end to a great Griffin Park career. From hero to zero in the space of a day.

The other hero who sounds as though he has played his last game at Griffin Park for some time is Jota. Reports doing pretty much all the rounds suggest that he is on his way back to Spain to play for Eibar on an 18 month loan.

Certainly, Dean Smith has alluded to the hugely popular player having some personal issues at the moment and so, whilst this would be a huge loss for Brentford if confirmed, we can only wish him the very best. Of course, we all hold out hope of seeing him in a Bees shirt once more but I fear the worst.

Jota 3

It looks unlikely to be Jota in the 90th minute any more

So what else did we learn from last night?

Well, despite popularity levels on a par with James Tarkowski (at least, amongst the Brentford faithful) Joey Barton can take a mean free kick. If Burnley’s opening goal, curled in from 25 yards by Scott Arfield was a stunner, this wasn’t too far behind Whilst it hurts to say anything nice about the former Loftus Road man and outspoken numpty, you can’t deny the technique used in his strike. Fair play to the Turf Moor dead ball coach.

Sam Saunders ran his heart out, as did Alan Judge. One good thing to come out of the last week might just be the renaissance of the ever popular wing wizard (some would argue it had never gone). I’m sure he’ll get another run out at Preston next week – and no bad thing.

Brentford are still struggling to score goals. We’ve managed just 4 in 6 games whilst Dean Smith can’t seem to buy a win (not literally, that would be a breach of regulations). The Bees are still in a great position, moreso given the start to the campaign, but I really hope the rest of the campaign doesn’t fizzle out into a fug of gloom and nonchalance as we slither down the table.

Yet when this team do play, they still look stunning. Talking to one New Road observer in the pub afterwards, she noted how the first half had seen us play like a team that would struggle to even complete a dot to dot, let alone a pass to each other. The flipside being that the second period saw us turn it on for one of the most exciting periods of play we’ve seen in a long while.

And finally, Burnley ‘keeper Tom Heaton. Or, more specifically, his buttocks. “Stunning” was the politest of many references to a player that one terrace wag described as “The Kim Kardashian of the 18 yard box”. Truly, a rotund derriere that was the butt of many jokes from the Ealing Road.

On a night where Tarky was talking out of his backside, let’s just hope we can put all this business behind us.

image(6)

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

A Long journey South as Bees capitulate at Turf Moor

23 Aug

Whilst Brentford may be anything from £6.5m – to £10m better off (depending on what you read) this weekend, points-wise we were left very much empty handed after going down 1-0 at Burnley. And it was a win, I’m afraid to say, that Burnley very much deserved from where I was sitting (the away stand at Turf Moor).

The action is about to begin at turf Moor - and doesn't more turf look great?

The action is about to begin at Turf Moor – and doesn’t more turf look great?

Being quite honest, one first half chance for Lasse Vibe aside, all the Andre Grays in the world would have made no real difference to Brentford. Don’t put this loss down to his absence. We were so obsessed with passing the ball backwards and sideways between the defence and goalkeeper, it is no wonder the stats showed such high pass completion or 62% possession.

Hanging on to the ball at the back is all well and good, and we did that part very well, but the lack of any imagination, movement, cut and/or thrust when we tried to take it forward was, ultimately, what did for us. At 0-0 away from home this works but having conceded such a simple goal from a set piece, where Philipp Hoffman failed to get his man, something needed to change. And it didn’t.

The introduction of Maxime Colin and switch of Alan McCormack to centre mid was certainly a start. The new right back has already won over plenty of fans based on his display and it was easy to see why. The problem is that it was too little, too late. Equally, Marinus almost had his hands tied given the sudden dearth of midfield options as a result of recent transfer activity and injury.

The style of football we were looking to play was just too static, too slow and bereft of any sense of urgency. Burnley hardly pushed us but then they had no need to. Being fair, up to the point of the Vibe chance, where he made a magnificent run onto a beautiful through ball from Kerschbaumer, we’d probably been the better of two cagey sides.

Certainly Marinus, in his interview with BBC Billy Reeves, deemed it our best passage of play since he has been here. But then Burnley scored from the simplest of set pieces and, with Brentford unable to step it up, the home side looked comfortable.

This was the sort of game crying out for a Sam Sanders, Jota or Moses to pick up the ball and run at this opposition. Our current run of form with injuries certainly hasn’t helped the cause, that’s for sure, but its no excuse. There were still plenty of good enough players out there but our obsession with sideways passing (something I thought had died with the departure of Jonathan Douglas) was what ultimately did for Brentford.

Positives included the debut of Max Colin (somebody whose name constantly puts me in mind of Christopher Walken’s character from Roger Moore’s final Bond effort, ‘A View to a Kill’) at right back and the ability to switch Alan Mac to centre mid. I thought Harlee and Tarks looked very solid at the back whilst the former added additional threat up top when we finally started to ‘go for it’ in the final five minutes. The pitch was immaculate whilst, points wise, we are in the same position after three games as we were last season.

Max Zorin - crowbarred excuse

Max Zorin – better placed at Turf…Moore ??

Those BBC stats also show we had 7(seven) shots, including 4 on target. There was Lasse’s chance, Alan Judge came close with a free kick and a slow-mo effort from The Hoff in the first half that almost fooled everybody except Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. However, other than that I struggle to recall him being overly stretched.

Look. It wasn’t a great performance and I do have to wonder about the choice of tactics that seemed, for all the world, to be the mark of a side a side playing for a 0-0 or hoping to snatch something on the break. It’s a shame we didn’t have the courage to play more open football as the Kerschbaumer pass to Vibe showed how easily the opposition could be opened up, with the right movement.

Likewise a few more crosses, had Philipp Hoffman got into second gear to try and meet those that were delivered, would always have been welcome.

The flipside is that we are only three games into a new season and have both a new head coach and a new look squad. Our cause hasn’t been helped by horrendous bad luck when it comes to injury whilst, and you have to remember, Brentford don’t have a divine right to win every game.

Perhaps it is more a commentary on how far we have come and how quickly that we can be genuinely disappointed about losing a game in the Championship. To a team that were gracing the Premiership last season. It wasn’t so long ago that a trip up North was to the likes of Tranmere Rovers, who lost 0-2 at home to Boreham Wood in the conference yesterday, so some perspective is definitely needed.

Talking to Burnley fans before and after the game, word on the street is that the Bees were looking at a loan for Chris Long, as part of the deal that took Andre to Burnley. Interestingly, he played no part in proceedings yesterday and so one does have to wonder if there is any truth in that?

Brentford fans know just what he can do when the ball is in that final third of the field and Chris would be a great acquisition if we could get hold of him. But, equally, why would Burnley have bought the player in the first instance only to then immediately ‘get rid’?

Chris Long - could he be back again?

Chris Long – could he be back again?

Marinus, in the aforementioned interview with Billy, denied any definitive attempt so far to make a move on anybody but, equally, acknowledged that it was as position we need to cover. You can catch that in full, here.

Off field, those of us able to get back in time might have caught ‘Football League Tonight’ on Channel 5. With the show now in week three, the car crash that was the season opener seems an eternity ago as further changes were in evidence upon catching up with that today.

Only Adam Virgo and the awkward looking audience remain from those elements so heavily criticised in the season opener. Even the kebab shop poles that housed the 70’s style ‘league ladders’ have now been replaced by a 21st Century computer graphic showing the Championship table.

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

I understand that Channel 5 need to try and be different but, equally, they need to give the audience what they want. Well done for changing so much, so quickly.

They’ve made a decision to stick with the audience that hang around like a bunch of spare parts and so I can only imagine that is here to stay. You know what? I kind of like that aspect now. It still isn’t up to the package put together by Sky but for ‘terrestrial’ viewers, Kelly Cates and George Riley are starting to steam up the blind side.

Let’s hope Brentford can do the same thing next time out at home to Reading.

And as a side note, anybody wanting another, very interesting, insight on the Andre Gray transfer and cost would do well to check out Billy The Bee’s latest Beesotted article. It makes for an intriguing read…

Billy The Bee - Mr Grant asking the right questions, as ever

Billy The Bee – Mr Grant has a great take on events

Nick Bruzon

‘A life without risk is no life at all’

25 Aug

Not my words (as ever) but those from the home page of Conor McAleny’s Twitter account. When I first wrote this on Sunday, news as to the extent of his injury in the game against Walsall had yet to be released. The only real information we had was Uwe’s interview from Saturday night where he described it as ‘Very, very nasty’.

The way he went to ground and the length of time he was being treated left us fearing the worst but hoping things weren’t as bad as they looked. Although there has been no official statement from either Brentford or Everton, Conor himself took to Twitter on Sunday evening to confirm:

Absolutely devastated about breaking my leg yesterday.. Never been this down in my life. No point dwellin on it now because thats football.. .. And these things happen. I know for a fact i’ll come back a stronger person physically and mentally. Thanks for the kind words people x “

It’s terrible news for a player whom, from the brief glimpses we have already been afforded as to his prodigious talent, would seem to have a fantastic future ahead of him.  So I’ll wish him good luck, a speedy recovery and fingers crossed we’ll see you back at Griffin (and Goodison) Park sooner than later.

On the pitch, it was a case of three more points in an exciting, albeit buttock-clenching, game. All the more impressive given the weather was wetter than Coldplay and Keane composing lovesongs whilst drinking dilute tea on the ocean floor. Brentford dominated the first half and Adam Forshaw must have thought he had bettered his goal against Sheffield United with a rasping shot that had the goalkeeper beaten all ends up.

ImageIf anything, he hit it too well and but for the crossbar (how many times have we heard THAT at Griffin Park?) could have had another contender for ‘goal of the season’. Certainly it was a strike reaching the 110% marker on the ‘Wellness scale of shot methods’.

 

 

 

 

 

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.