Tag Archives: Tony Fernandes

With a new season upon us, The GPG give genuine cause for reflection.

27 Jul

Welcome back, Brentford fans. Football is almost upon us again and so the time has come to once more start looking at all things Bees related on these pages. Watford visit tomorrow for a friendly and then a week later proceedings kick off in anger (metaphorically speaking) when Rotherham come to Griffin Park. Championship action is back for a fifth successive season. Yet before all that, three things have happened in the last 24 hours that have caused yours truly to take stock and reflect (don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a heavy one). One involves QPR and the other two, our own supporter interaction.

First up, the GPG. Love it or otherwise (and I’ve done both at times), few could deny the hot bed of passion, opinion and supporter interaction that this site is. Like Beesotted, a group that looks to link the fans to the club, canvass opinion and encourage debate. Even if I’m always right and they aren’t.

Equally, and another thing they and Beesotted have in common, they are set ups that have contacts all the way to the top of the club. Previously Billy and Dave have had their own interview with Matthew Benham published on the Beesotted website. Last season, Trevor has had his own Q&A with our owner – led by supporters – appear on the GPG.

So why mention this now given both interviews were long covered off on these pages when they appeared? Put simply, Twitter. More to the point, something I saw on the social media website last night, posted by the GPG:

One of the things that makes this club special is our owner and supporters access to him. Anyone disagree?

There are many things that make this club special. The ongoing efforts to become involved in the local community. The proximity of players to the supporters – both inside Griffin Park aswell as in the streets around the ground. Nobody even blinks when they see one of the first XI en route to a game or the Chairman walking past the pub pre kick off. Likewise, Mr Benham – barring the nod of gratitude, acknowledgment of his presence or just general ’how’s it going‘ chat .  

Look at how exciting the Junior Bees Christmas Party is. The pre-season ‘meet the players’. Peter Gilham doing his thing like nobody else could. Then there’s Griffin Park and her ‘old school’ feel. Our ongoing status as unfancied under-dogs. Our use of social media (now that all that hashtag nonsense has stopped). Our shrewd, shrewd business in the transfer market. Etc etc etc

Griffin Park pre Wolves GP

Griffin Park – one of the many reason we are so special

But Matthew Benham is a class above. We all know how much money he has pumped into Brentford. Quite frankly, he has saved this club. We are now Championship regulars with a new home on the imminent horizon. We have a new structure and a B-team that is fast tracking players into the first XI. We pick up players for (relative) peanuts; we sell them for amounts that are beyond the dreams of avarice.

This isn’t meant as a Benham love-in. More to acknowledge how lucky we are to have a smart owner who has been a fan for close to forty years. A man who is running this club within sustainable means and who, whilst not one for the public eye, still takes time out to interact with fans (those twitter videos or the aforementioned interviews).

So when I saw the GPG post I had to agree. Hear, hear. Well said. There is so much going right at Brentford and it all stems from one man and his vision. His approachability.

This may not always be immediately clear to those of us who are sat outside, looking in. Last year’s summer transfer window and the Birmingham City triple transfer was proof of that. Even then, the pay back in February was just exquisite.

So long, and thanks for all the cash. And the points

Likewise, the understandable interest in Midgetland – not one shared by the majority of us on the terraces where support of a second club is a largely alien concept. Thankfully, that is something which has really been dialled back. The half time ‘lap of honour’ in the Walsall FA Cup debacle the nail in that coffin.

The point of all this? We’ve a fifth season in the Championship approaching. Rotherham are just over a week away and their visit heralds the start of our latest attempt to get us into the Premier League. Brentford, in the Premier League. To those of longer in the tooth it seems an alien concept yet one can only acknowledge that the vision of one man has put us in this position. We are now here by right. No longer plucky under dogs punching above our weight or against the odds. We are here on merit. Who cares if the wider football community still miss this.

And this season, I really think that next step will happen. This is the season that Brentford hit the top six but push on. The season that Brentford finally break that play-off hoodoo. I’d love to hear where Smartodds think we’ll finish. I’d love to hear where Matthew thinks we’ll finish. With Thorne In The Side seemingly on a self-imposed hiatus for now, I’m guessing it is the turn of BIAS for this season’s big Benham interview.

I can’t wait to read this one and see what he thinks will happen. Failing that, how about the Fans’ Forum this September….?   Either way, we’re incredibly lucky to have an owner who cares this much. Who, whilst infrequently, will take the time to interact with the fans in print.

Contrast our owner with the way QPR down the road are run. This afternoon it has been reported that they have agreed a settlement of almost £42m with the EFL after previously breaching FFP rules back in 2013/14. If I recall correctly, clubs were allowed losses of up to £8million that season. QPR ran up a deficit of £9.8million aswell as then seeing owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders write off an additional £60million loan, deeming it an ‘exceptional item’. As you do.

At the time Fernandes denounced how unfair this all was. His team had been a Premier League club but after employing the likes of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp (not for the first time) were relegated (not for the first time).  Yet despite the rules in place they chose to breach them to suit their own situation.

My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.

 “If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.

Ah, diddums. If only we could all take the ‘its not fair’ defence. If only we could conveniently forget the parachute payments that already put clubs coming down into the Championship a huge advantage over the rest.

Welcome to the real world of football. Under Matthew’s stewardship Brentford have been trying to compete within the rules against the likes of over spending QPR and Bournemouth. Of Leeds and Aston Villa. We’ve had to watch for year on year as our best players are sold to balance the books. The likes of Moses Odubajo, Scott Hogan, Andre Gray, Jota, Maxime Colin, number 26 and Stuart Dallas.

How nice would it have been just to spend beyond our means and then moan about the rules. But no, Matthew is all about doing this right and now that chicken has finally come home to roost at Loftus Road. Good.

I’d love to hear what he has to say about that, although I’d imagine he’s too well-mannered to offer anything more than a diplomatic silence.

QPR Loftus Road

QPR – now got what they deserve

And finally, the other piece of supporter interaction outside of Twitter/The GPG.  I’ve this morning sent the summer’s sale proceeds from the Last Word season review e-book to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Downloads on that front have now dried to a trickle and so it seemed a timely juncture. Moreso with the new season approaching.

HUGE thanks to all of those who downloaded a copy. Apologies for even mentioning this (as I’m not one to overly blow the trumpet of charitable good deeds) but given the fact that people have once more been prepared to spend good money on this nonsense, the least I can do is a public acknowledgment of how fantastic our supporters are.

It’s still up there if anybody else wants one. Any further funds received will still go to the BFC CST. For now though, that horse has been well and truly flogged and so that’s me done.

Instead, we’ve the visit of Watford (and hopefully some rain) to look forward to on Saturday. And then, Rotherham await……

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 09.56.08

Still available to download for your kindle / e-reader

Nick Bruzon

Stop sniggering at the back. FFP pigeons coming home to roost for QPR.

25 Oct

Well. That just got interesting for Brentford fans. The chance to sit back, watch potential carnage ensue and be reminded once more of the Financial Fair Play rulings. Whilst most Championship eyes were probably focussed on Crystal Palace (L) being thumped 4-1 by our divisional rivals Bristol City in the League Cup last night, a huge story had already unfolded in West London. Namely , that of hapless QPR and the fine of up to £58 million for breaching divisional FFP rules back in 2013-14.

The BBC sum things up nicely, but in a nutshell clubs were allowed losses of up to £8million that season. QPR ran up a deficit of £9.8million aswell as then seeing owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders write off an additional £60million loan, deeming it an ‘exceptional item’. As you do.

The case has dragged on for the last three years. So much so that, speaking about it recently to a fellow Brentford fan, gut reaction was that Fernandes had just paid the fine ‘under the counter’. Do it discreetly and make it go away. Save some face. Surely that was the only reason we’d heard nothing else about this?

Sadly not, for QPR. An arbitration panel has now given their verdict that the fine was correct for the offence committed. They may have edged their way into the Premier League but having dropped out of it, that pigeon has now come home to roost.

Not surprisingly, there has been little comment out of the Loftus Road club although plenty on Social media. Chief Executive Lee Hoos has issued a short statement , expressing the customary disappointment aswell as noting that “We will be appealing“. Surely a first for a club normally about as appealing as finding a maggot in an apple.

Back at the time, Fernandes was all blood and thunder. There’s a piece in The Guardian where he denounced how unfair this all was. His team had been a Premier League club but after employing the likes of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp (not for the first time) were relegated (not for the first time).  Yet despite the rules in place they chose to breach them to suit their own situation.

My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.

“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.

Boo-hoo. Welcome to the real world of football. It’s not ‘fair’. Don’t clubs like Brentford, trying to compete on a level playing field with the likes of over spending QPR and Bournemouth, know that? We’ve had to watch for year on year as our best players are sold to balance the books. The likes of Moses Odubajo, Scott Hogan, Andre Gray, Jota, Maxime Colin, number 26 and Stuart Dallas. To name but a few.

How nice would it have been just to spend beyond our means and then cry ‘unfair’? Instead, despite huge frustration as to the individual sales, the update from Loftus Road shows the longer term reasoning behind such decisions. We’ve made no secret of buying low to sell high. Of using this model to keep ourselves afloat and build for the future. It has been frustrating at times for sure, I’m the first to admit that. Yet, also, there’s now a wonderful opportunity for a line to be drawn.

Will QPR be able to wriggle out of this one? Will a further appeal be successful? Will their board pay the fine through gritted teeth? Do they even have any money left to do so? Or is a points deduction and demotion the alternative?

One things for sure, when Brentford travel to Loftus Road next month (assuming QPR are still in existence at that point) it’s going to be tasty.

andy-scott-on-qpr

It has been a troubled few seasons for QPR

Nick Bruzon

The stuff of dreams becomes a nightmare

5 Nov

What a time of contrasting managerial emotions for Brentford and QPR. Hot off the heels of our derby day victory over the Loftus Road outfit (a three points that Derby County then enjoyed on Tuesday night) Rangers have parted company with Chris Ramsey. Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has just been announced in the shortlist for manager-of-the-month.

I take no pleasure in anybody losing his or her job. Regardless of the team. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago we were embroiled in Village-gate and Mark Warburton was hot favourite to take over at QPR. Instead, with Tony Fernandes announcing that he was close to announcing his ‘dream manager’, Warbs eventually went to Rangers (the Glasgow incarnation) whilst Chris Ramsey took over at Loftus Road.

How things changed. Rangers exited the Premier League; Brentford came to within a play off game of making it. And now, with the Bees on the charge once more, QPR continue their slide downwards.

No doubt their fans and top brass will be worried they are looking like following the recent likes of Wolves directly into the Division One. With it, will come potential games against the likes of Mansfield Town, Carlisle and Accrington Stanley next season. Whilst I can’t see it happening it does show how fleeting football form can be.

Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has received the expected ‘reward’ for an October that saw us pick up 12 points out of 15 and four successive wins. Will he scoop the final honour? Well, being honest, I expect it to go to Steve Bruce at Hull City – they were unbeaten and a point better off. Likewise, victory over us on Tuesday (albeit in November) saw them reach the top of the Championship table.

The Bees came close but couldn't get past Hull on Tuesday

The Bees came close but couldn’t get past Hull on Tuesday

Either way, it is a tremendous reversal of form following the days of Marinus and Roy.

And nowhere more has this been typified than in Alan Judge, who is also up for the player-of-the-month award. His four assists, three goals and scintillating play make him a very genuine candidate for this award. Ironically, former Bee Andre Gray, who has been scoring goals for fun at Burnley, could be a very serious rival for this one.

Whatever happens, I’d rather be in our situation than that of Rangers who, this morning, will be sorting through the monogrammed CR tracksuits and starting the search for their next dream manager.

As for us, whilst I’d hope Lee wins the prize I can’t look past Steve Bruce. Although, should he do it, then get ready to bet against Hull City at the weekend.

We all know how that jinx normally works.

Alan Judge - has been on fire (not literally) in October

Alan Judge – has been on fire (not literally) in October

Nick Bruzon

What do you want? Information.

16 Feb

I can’t take credit. Looking through twitter on the way home I saw the intriguing suggestion from Tony Cross (well worth a follow on @Lokster71) that there was a crossover sketch between Brentford and TV’s The Prisoner just waiting to happen.

And he’s right. I just hadn’t appreciated, almost fifty years since the cult classic first aired, how appropriate those opening scenes are. With Brentford fans waiting for the much promised ‘statement’ in regards to the managerial situation, on Monday the club website remained frustratingly devoid of information whilst the fans begged the question, just who is number one?

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 stuff of dreams or nightmares?

13 Feb

As Brentford prepare for the trip to Charlton Athletic, the future of manager Mark Warburton (whether short or long term) remains no clearer. The only thing we can say is that he won’t be going to QPR, at least this season. Loftus Road chairman Tony Fernandes has now followed up the announcement that he had got his ‘dream manager’ by revealing the appointment of caretaker Chris Ramsey until the end of the season. Truly, the stuff of dreams.

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 latest managerial updates provide stark roundup

12 Feb

A day spent rooting through the detritus of Brentford’s defeat to Watford on Tuesday night and all the fallout from the club’s statement regarding Mark Warburton ended with little satisfaction and even more mystery. Indeed, with Aston Villa sacking Paul Lambert and QPR failing to appoint Tim Sherwood (a man linked with more vacancies than The Bates Motel) the managerial merry go round seems set to gather pace.

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.

Sacking, Stroud and statements. Another quiet day at the office

11 Feb

We’ll get to Brentford – Watford in a moment but can only start with yesterday’s speculation around Mark Warburton and the utterly bizarre statement issued by the club in regards to his situation. This, after Matt Hughes in The Times reported he is due to be sacked at the end of the season – even if the Bees reach the Premiership

I’ve read some gumph in my time (including most of this blog site) but this really tops the lot. As a means of providing clarity and reassurance it was about as effective as Keith Stroud in a decision making process.

Written in some form of quasi-legalese, I almost wondered if something had been lost in translation as this was being dictated to the communications team. The wording, grammar and punctuation were so badly structured that I can’t imagine even our staff of being able to deliberately produce something so poor off their own backs.

Perhaps there was a crackling phone line from not Spain that caused the statement to include the analogy (and the rogue commas aren’t mine): “Football is sometimes called a village, and in any village, gossip and rumours can spread like wildfire, whether or not such rumours are true.

East Horsley and Chalfont St Peter are villages (although I have no idea if either are hotbeds of rumour and gossip). The global game of football, even at its most metaphorical, is not. The whole thing was so odd I had images of the media team and back room staff trying out as construction worker, cowboy, traffic cop etc in a Village People tribute video. And that’s not a good place to be.

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

By the time it appeared, of course, the horse had long since bolted with the story being picked up far beyond its original source in The Times and shared by, amongst others, Ian ‘Broadcast Moose’ Abrahams on twitter (the journalist taking a rare break from looking at the pre-match catering on offer in Premiership press rooms). Certainly, his reveal of the story with this cutting was a rather rude and somewhat unexpected means of starting the day for many.

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

The club’s effort was what one terrace observer would later describe as “A kamikaze press release” whilst The London Evening Standard called it “confusing” . The rather bland statement that, “Brentford FC do want to confirm that Mark Warburton remains our manager” did nothing to put anybody’s mind at rest. Rather than the chance of locking up fourth spot or beyond, all anybody was talking about was if we’d even have a manager by kick off.

Ultimately, Matthew Benham has done nothing but right by the club and, whatever the trigger or outcome of this story, I can’t believe anything will happen to change this. Mark Warburton and the team have done fantastically well but managers do come and go.

The lack of any commitment in the club statement only serves to make me think that a parting of the ways is inevitable but what is not clear is whether this is through Mr Warburton’s choice (with QPR reportedly sniffing around) or the club’s.

Crazy? Probably. But on a day which started with so much promise, to go into our biggest ‘must win’ match since the last ‘must win’ match on the back of such uncertainty was as much a mood killer as realising that really was Keith Stroud leading out the teams.

The irony of ending yesterday’s article with the line “The Bees are on fire and it’s going to take more than a referee going rogue to stop us getting three points” has not been lost. Take nothing away from Watford who, but for the heroics of David Button in goal, could have run riot.

However, it’s easier to do this when you are playing against ten men following Jake Bidwell’s sending off. It was a decision which seemed about as robust as a Griffin Park press release and one which produced a similar reaction from the crowd. Watching back on TV afterwards, I am still baffled how he came to the conclusion of ‘straight red’.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud at the centre of the action, as ever

It’s a good thing we loaned our new left back, Jack O’Connell, to Rochdale earlier that afternoon. Could we see a James Tarkowski style quickstep back down to West London, akin to the centre back’s ‘return’ to Oldham last campaign, should the inevitable appeal prove unsuccessful?

Despite this set back, Warbs refused to bring on an extra defender (presumably because nobody else can play there) and just went for it. He was rewarded with a stunner from Andre Gray who, despite looking like he had taken three touches too many, blasted powerfully past Heurelho Gomes from the acutest of angles. The celebration of the players, to a man mobbing Mark Warburton, told us everything we needed to know about the day’s earlier news.

The players show just what Warbs means to them

The players show just what Warbs means to them

1-0 and with the crowd rocking, Mr Stroud did his very best to recreate the Bramall Lane farce (four pens and three red cards) he so infamously spannered two seasons ago by awarding a penalty to Watford. Jonathan Douglas, under minimal pressure, was adjudged to have handled in the box although would later tell Billy Reeves, “I didn’t want to head it back to them, I wanted to chest it. It came off my shoulder”,

No worry. David Button dived low to his left to smoother Troy Deeney’s spot kick and preserve Brentford’s slender lead. But despite Brentford refusing to park the bus, Middlesbrough style, we were eventually undone by a brace from Odion Ighalo .

In truth, it was always coming as Button, my man of the match, did his level best to keep Watford out before being beaten with just over twenty minutes left. You could see what that goal meant to rival ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes. Sporting an uncanny resemblance to Anton LaVey but celebrating more like Anton Du Beke on MDMA, he launched into a display of pirouette laden fist pumping that wouldn’t have been amiss in an Andy Murray – Tim Henman tennis match.

As for the winner, his celebrations (like he’d won the FA Cup) showed just what a huge three points that was for Watford as they overtook the Bees to occupy fifth place in the table.

Well played to Watford who kept going until the very end. For me, the result was just the final nail in a day that will be long remembered, and probably for all the wrong reasons. Even Leeds United managed a win that means they are now a mere 17 points behind the Bees.

What will come of the Warbs’ saga, I have no idea. Will anything become clearer today or will it all be swept under the carpet until the end of the season? My own personal preference would be for Mark to stay and something a bit more positive be released from the press team.

Every call Matthew Benham has made since becoming involved in the club has been a good one and whatever his plans (should he even have any) around Mark are his business. Likewise, I’d back him to the hilt.

However, I’d also hope he is aware of the respect and love the team seem to have for the boss and the passion that inspires.

View from the terrace - Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

View from the terrace – Mr Stroud is escorted from the pitch at half time

 

QPR to be kicked out of the league?

10 Sep

It’s a headline that might have Brentford fans celebrating like we’ve won the FA Cup if it turns out to be true. Could QPR really end up in footballing limbo ?

Well, if you haven’t seen the BBC football page then it is a very real possibility, should the losses from the Loftus Road mob’s promotion season match the £65.4m in 2012-13.

Such is the price for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations that refusal to pay any fine (reckoned to be up to £54m if that condition is triggered) could see the club barred from League competition. As Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey told the BBC, “Theoretically that is the position”.

You can read the full story on the BBC home page, here.

The 237 - leaving Brentford on a road to nowhere?

The 237 – leaving Brentford on a road to nowhere?

Would this be a good thing? The positive message that the League won’t stand for clubs just trying to buy their way to success, at the risk of bankrupting themselves and outgunning their rivals with money they don’t have, should be applauded.

But I’d actually hate to see them go. A healthy rivalry between two clubs can only be a good thing, as was seen with Wolves last season. All the better when that club is on your doorstep as Brentford fans know, having renewed relations with Fulham once more.

The other thing to remember is that the League are powerless until such time as Rangers are relegated. Having scraped into the Premiership with virtually the last kick of the play off final they aren’t, currently, in the dropzone. Instead, they are a whole point above it and face a trip to current whipping boys Manchester United on Saturday.

That said, should they prove the critics right and go straight back down then it will put the Football League in a very interesting position. I’d imagine the best we can hope for is probably an instant demotion or hefty points deduction.

Unless, of course, Mr Fernandes puts his hand in his pocket and coughs up.

Fulham show just how amusing a local rivalry can be

Fulham show just how amusing a local rivalry can be