Tag Archives: top trumps

What is the best Brentford pub? Blackburn ticket day is here and Rotherham away.

1 Dec

It seems like just five minutes ago our 200 fans were cheering on Brentford to another three points. Now, we’ve a chance to close in on the automatic spots with a trip to Rotherham United this evening. Its a game that is live on Sky so don’t forget to set your watches for that 8pm kick off. Tickets for the home game against Blackburn this weekend are made available today (not a typo !!) whilst Monday night also saw the FA Cup third round draw and a collective groan go out across TW8 as Middlesbrough were pulled from the hat. We also have the means to answer the question, ‘What is the best Brentford pub on matchday?” as the latest Lockdown boredom buster project has now come to fruition – and you could get your hands on it.  

There was no end of fun on Friday

First up, Rotherham United. Cripes, I can’t call this one. On paper, the table gives us the slight advantage but in practice, the Millers have just held second placed Bourenmouth. Chuck an empty stadium into the mix and this one cold be anybody’s. It is the sort of game one would expect us to win, based purely on the facts that we’ve conceded just 3 goals in the last 7(seven) games and remain unbeaten over the same period. Chuck in the sort of firepower one could only have dreamed of when Ollie Watkins was sold, with Ivan Toney and Marcus Forss banging them in for fun and ordinarily I’d be confident. Moreso given the leveller that is having no home fans present.

But this is football. This is Brentford. This is us knowing that however confident we may feel, fingers have been burned many times. Optimism is fine, and I’m full of it, albeit with that niggling doubt at the back of the mind. Rotherham United haven’t read the script and will have no intention of rolling over to die. It’s going to be a cold night in Yorkshire and with the home side hovering just above the drop zone, they won’t be giving any early Christmas presents to anyone. This is going to be a tough, tough test for Thomas Frank and his squad selection. Janelt and Jansen to start?  The three centre backs that were so derided at Stoke City yet were part of a game changing formation change on Friday night? Which combination of Canos, Fosu or Mbeumo?

Who’d be a head coach. At 7pm we find out which way Thomas has jumped. See you on the sofa. Hopefully for the last time before we get the chance to go to a game. Today (Tuesday) sees emails being sent to the lucky few selected in the first draft of Season Ticket holders able to get in to Lionel Road for Saturday’s game with Blackburn. By now I am sure you have read all the blurb published by the club. The long and short being a longevity based priority system which you have three chances to claim on before going to the back of the queue and waiting your turn once more. This has been put together with help from BIAS (thank you) and it seems about as fair as you can get things. The full information is available here but, short of being fast tracked in to the Directors box, issued a photographer’s pass or becoming a ball boy this is the best shot we have . And I can’t wait. Nerves? What nerves? Keep on checking your email inbox…..

The FA Cup draw has seen us paired with Middlesbrough in a game sure to set the pulses racing. The plus side here being that, like Newcastle United in the league cup, tickets are separate from the league queuing. Good luck everybody in sorting that one out!  I’m sure the club have a plan.

And finally, we all love a pre-match beer or drowning our sorrows at full time. Griffin Park was famous for having a pub in every corner and, with the move to Lionel Road, I’m sure that spirit will live on in some form. Even if Corona Virus rules mean we can only pop in for a beer if we are having a substantial meal alongside. Landlord – two pints of Guinness, two Amstel, four sets of cutlery and one Scotch egg. Hmm. 

Still, at least we can turn up. In theory. But where do you go? The Griffin? The Express? The Brook? The Nelson? Strand on the Green or one of those on Kew Bridge? We all have our favourites but which is the best? There’s only one way to find out. Fiigh…. No, Brentford Pub Top Trumps.

Lockdown fires the imagination again

Yes, they’re back. You may recall the concept from the earlier effort over the summer where an incredible £150 was raised for the Community Sports Trust with our Supporter Special pack. Now, Lockdown 2 has seen the creative juices flowing and time killed once more. The result, the 30 or so pubs/bars in the vicinity of Lionel Road battling each other in playing card form. 

These are a bona fide pack produced by the Top Trumps people and only a handful exist. If you ‘d like to get your hands on the first pack produced then I’ve put them up online, here. They’re just meant as a bit of fun so enjoy – and thank you for looking.

Nick Bruzon

99 problems but a pitch ain’t one.

9 Jun

The tumbleweed is starting to clear. The absence of Brentford from our lives will soon be coming to an end as the trip to Fulham next Saturday lunchtime (June 20th) sees Championship action recommence. Following this is a rapid fire conclusion to the campaign as our 9 remaining games take place in little over a month, culminating in the ‘last ever’ game at Griffin Park against Barnsley on Wednesday July 22nd. With all games available to season ticket holders on I-follow and TV coverage being given a huge boost, its a case of move over Sky Sports Leeds United. Whilst you won’t be able to be there in person, there’s every opportunity available to see the on-pitch action pan out with our next game  (West Brom at home) also selected for main channel coverage.

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On pitch action will return

The good news is that season will at least come to an end on pitch, however artificial that may feel. Others haven’t been afforded that opportunity. With Leagues across Europe and at home already calling full time early, even League One clubs seem set to bring 2019-20 to a close today with the morning news reporting that they are going to vote to curtail the season and leave the final table based on a points-per-game ratio. Missing out on seeing Brentford in the flesh will be painful but at least we’ll be able to see the Bees in action.

My word, it hass felt like an eternity. With nothing but constant bad news for the last few months, football has probably been low down on most people’s agenda. That’s not to say it hasn’t been missed. The amazing feeling of coming together denied us by an invisible killer. That communal gathering and Saturday afternoon ritual, of which 90 minutes’s action is so often the meat in a social sandwich of pre and post match meet up, something we’ve not been able to enjoy for endless week after week.

Jonathan Burchill cut to the chase on Twitter yesterday, posting a picture of his Fulham ticket and  noting that when he bought it, could never have guessed this match would be postponed for 99 days. Now it is almost here. Brentford travelling just down the road to pick up where we left off. Injuries hopefully healed and the team chomping at the bit. We’ve already played at Griffin Park – judging by the social media video clips posted – as part of the road to recovery but now we get the chance to do it for real.

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Whatever ‘real’ means these days. No fans and no atmosphere is gong to make for a very strange experience. Fulham aside. For the players and the supporters. Fulham aside. Probably the only people to come out if it as winners will be the officials, especially at Griffin Park where the touchline reminders of the rules so often delivered to the linos will be sadly missing. Who will rise to the occasion? Who will struggle, rattling around an empty stadium? Will the fans be given any chance to get back in and, if so, how many will that be or when could it even take place?

I guess the one thing we can be fairly certain of is that the 5-0 trashing of Sheffield Wednesday way back on 7th (seventh) March will be the last time we have the pleasure of attending a game at Griffin Park in person. The ‘last game’ will be one played out in front of nothing more than handful of press and officials. Barring a miracle, that ship has surely sailed. It’s a topic we’ve done to death already – both on social media and these pages. Banging on about it now, at a time when we actually have something to look forward too, won’t change that fact. Even if we will of course pick up on it once more as we head towards the visit of Barnsley 

For now, we’ve got action incoming. And that’s a real boost, even if it is going to be very odd. There’ll be surreal TV coverage whilst the club have announced that match day programmes will be produced. Each of the final five programmes will also include a limited-edition postcard, whilst that Barnsley game will see a 134-page, A4 printed programme to say Farewell Griffin Park. You can read about that in full here.

More to come over the coming days, no doubt, but until then we’ve got a trip to Fulham to prepare for. Even if us mere mortals aren’t allowed to travel.

The only other news of note, for these pages, was the conclusion of the ‘Griffin Park Favourites’ charity auction Top Trumps pack last week. I’m amazed to say that these went for a staggering £155, with funds already received and paid on to the Community Sports Trust.

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Whilst keeping the names of the bidders secret, it would seem as though there was a furious bidding war between three figures who appeared in the pack. In the end , though, I haven’t a clue who it is that won them. Certainly not a name I recognise. Brentford fan or Top Trumps collector? Who knows. Either way, I can’t thank our supporters enough for taking part.

And if anybody wants to go again, then please do shout. The pack has already been redesigned for a more personal ‘friends and family’ version. If nothing else, to celebrate both the Fulham programme prank and some really crowbarred punning.

What’s to say further tweaks couldn’t be made and another order placed for anybody who may want in….

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Wife of Brian – even Mrs. B liked that one 

Nick Bruzon    

Who wants Harry Potter, Banana and Adam from the Bluetones this badly?

30 May

Ladies and Gentlemen – the clock is ticking. With Premier league football due to restart ‘behind closed doors’ * on Wednesday 17th June with Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United, it is expected that the Championship will follow suit shortly after. Brentford fans could see some return to action – even if it is rattling around an empty and almost silent stadium as we get our promotion push back on track with the game at Fulham. Advantage them, then. Rattling around an empty, silent stadium something they are no doubt used to. If Mr Benham is reading (unlikely, let’s be honest) then giving Harry Potter a temporary assignment as a trainee journalist  / ball boy may not be the worst decision ever made.

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Simon’s decibel level could be an inspired reason for selecting him as a ball boy

But until then, what are you going to do? Well, this column has appeared with a little less regularity than normal in recent weeks. There’s only so much one can write about ‘that’ virus, wistful looks towards Griffin Park and wondering just what the heck is going on at present or if we may ever be able to see Brentford in action. 

Last time out, the subject at hand was the pack of ‘Griffin Park favourites’ Top Trumps I’ve created for Harry’s birthday this coming week. Primarily to cure my own excruciating boredom aswell as giving a soon to be 7(seven) year old some chance of maybe helping cope with missing all those familiar faces we’ve come to know and love on a Saturday afternoon. No Buzzette, Billy(s), Mr. Benham or Peter Gilham? No worries – they’re all here in Top Trump form. 

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The cut and thrust of the article being that I’d made a couple of these up (for no other reason than if you are ordering one, may aswell get a couple to put back for emergencies / other) and one of the spare packs has been put up for auction on eBay. All monies received for this will then be given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

The thinking here being that it would be a chance to give these to a fellow fan whilst raising a few quid for the Trust – something more important to me given this season’s annual e-book may be somewhat delayed, if it appears at all. (Everyone now breathes sigh of relief).

Genuinely, double figures was my optimistic hope but with the auction due to end on Saturday afternoon around 4.30pm the current bid is sitting at £122. What?  Who?  Wow! How generous are our supporters? Is anyone that curious as to what their fictional ‘Charm’ rating is? Assuming, of course, it is a Brentford fan who currently tops the auction – safe to say it probably is. I can’t imagine the audience for these extending much beyond TW8, let’s be quite honest.

Whatever the reason and whomever it is, thank you all for indulging my nonsense in the build up. More importantly, huge thanks to all those who have put in a bid. We all know about the great work done by the CST. Even this week, looking out of the window on ‘Lockdown’ enforced ‘Work From Home’ protocol, there they were in St. Paul’s Park handing out kitbags to the local kids – at a safe distance 🙂 

If you would like the chance to get involved then the auction is here. Just as I thought these would do well to limp into double figures, I can’t see anything topping this ridiculously generous bid but if nothing else, should anyone be bored enough this afternoon then you can see the denouement of the auction at around 4.30pm this afternoon.

If nothing else, seeing Billy (Reeves) update his profile picture on Twitter has already been the highlight of my week. There may be no football at present but at least we can still enjoy ourselves.

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Thank you. Have a great weekend. Let’s hope there is some good news on the playing front soon. 

* can we please all assume this phrase is being included by default ongoing.

Nick Bruzon

From the boredom of Lockdown comes a genuine Brentford FC exclusive.

23 May

I’m missing my friends. My family. Griffin Park. There’s nothing I’d like more than to visit the parents or to go and see Brentford play. Perhaps with a few beers before and, definitely, afterwards. That’s just not possible at the moment for well documented reasons. No matter how easy it would be flaunt the Lockdown advice ( and playing by the rules is painful, frankly) we’re all in this together. Apparently.

Instead, entertainment and interaction has to be found other ways. Moreso now that the GPG Saturday afternoon get togethers have run their course. And from the frustration of staying at home has come a way of reuniting our Bees family. Have you ever played…Top Trumps?

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Currently writing in the kitchen. Wish it was in the pub like before.

We all know and love the game, presumably? A staple of childhood, packs consist of thirty cards encompassing themes ranging from Dinosaurs to Harry Potter. Trains to planes to automobiles. Each card contains a list of rated categories  – for example, should a ‘TV’ version exist I’d imagine the category of ‘Hilarity factor’ would see ‘Mrs. Brown’ rated at 3% whereas Alan Partridge would be in the upper 90s. The aim of the game being to select a category then compare scores in order to ‘trump’ and win an opponent’s card. Whoever is left holding all thirty is the winner.

The game has been in existence since 1978 and we’ve still got a few packs at home from back then. Aside from sharper photos and more varied subject matter than the original staples of footballers, tanks and battleships it would seem that little else has changed. 

And why would it? The concept is simple yet addictive. To this day I still play them with Harry – vintage packs and new. Purely for educational purposes, of course. It’s amazing how much they help with numeracy.

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Playing a vintage version, back when we were allowed out

Lockdown has seen us delve even deeper in to the collection. British Strikers. Star Wars. Super Cars. Even the quite magnificent Brentford player version Top Trump (style) game that came with the Junior Bees membership one season.

We love them. We enjoy them. They’ve helped kill a lot of dead time that should have been spent at Griffin Park, at school or out with friends and family. It would be fair to say we’re big fans.

Day 36 in the Lockdown house. No amount of playing Top Trumps makes up for the fact that Harry is missing his friends and we’re all craving human company. At least, in person rather than on Zoom. I’m desperate to reacquaint with those familiar football faces in the right environment rather than a socially-distant accidental coming together at the checkout in Morrisons. That happening this morning was about as good as it gets for now, or should that be, got ? (for the sake of the next line, ask yourself,  “Why got?”)

Why ‘got’? , you may ask. Well, put simply we’ve found a way to combine Top Trumps and Brentford familiar faces aswell as making something for Harry’s birthday in early June. In no way affiliated with the club, a bespoke pack of bona-fide Top Trumps has been created… 

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Way too much spare time at the moment. Who fancies a game?

‘Griffin Park Favourites’, made by the Top Trumps people, features everyone from Jumper man and Harry Potter to Bjorn Norbee and Buzzette. Top brass Matthew and Cliff jostle for position with famous faces Natalie and Adam. In traditional fashion, there’s even a ‘Super Trump’ – Peter: The Voice of Griffin Park.

The five categories have been selected as : Bees Fan Rating ; Twitter Followers ; Longevity ; Charm ; ITK level. Each of the characters has their own potted bio and mostly fictional scores. Much as it would have been more accurate to rate everybody at 100, the game would then have gone on for longer than Keith Stroud induced injury time.

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Familiar faces abound

You can’t buy these in the shops. Only a handful of packs exist but aside from H’s birthday present, one other is available. Regular sufferers of my Twitter feed may be aware we did an Absolute Radio pack in the last couple of weeks and they raised a quite incredible £152 for the NHS. Whilst I’d be amazed if these even get in to double figures, if you would like them then I’m putting an eBay charity auction up..now. 

You can find it here and 100% of the cash received will go to Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, albeit these have not been created in conjunction (or with awareness of) the club. If Mr. Benham is reading, don’t sue me please – Lockdown has been stressful enough.

Whilst one can only imagine the audience for these is somewhat limited,  if you would like the chance to own an extremely limited pack (aswell as finding out if Gerhard is more charming than Claire, who comes out on top between Buzz and Buzzette and who wins the battle of the Billys: Reeves v Grant) then here you go….

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Nick Bruzon

 

Great work, all round, from the Brentford FC family

27 Jul

Fresh from the win over Stoke City on Saturday, the excitement levels amongst Brentford fans have cranked up another level with the arrival of season tickets and membership packs. And it has to be said they are nothing but impressive with congratulations due to all concerned! This really is an effort of Premier League levels!

We’ll get on to all of that along with a few other mentions in a moment but, first, the other stuff from the Stoke City game.

Stuart Dallas and his wonder strike for the second goal. Watching it again on the YouTube highlights I couldn’t help but have my eye drawn to something in the crowd. Had somebody lost a bet? Are things that bad up the road that they are fleeing the sinking ship like rats? Or was it simply a sartorial ‘faux pas’ that was realised only once en-route to Griffin Park?

Answers on a postcard

Answers on a postcard

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are !