Tag Archives: Trevor

Thomas, frank. Bees boss gives magnificent insight on GPG webcast.

10 May

A week on from the final game that never was. Brentford v Barnsley has played out in our heads a thousand times but is yet to take place in any meaningful fashion. Griffin Park is still standing but nobody is allowed in. Players or fans. A scene that is repeated at grounds all over the country, with supporters still wondering how or when football may return. How we’ll go up – automatic or play-offs ? What form will football take? Where will it be played? Might Leeds United somehow fall apart, again? All questions for which there are no meaningful answers, at least in public, although the early morning run around TW8 yesterday saw us still in the thralls of a ghost town. Tumbleweed blowing down the street, bushes growing denser and Gary Neville’s words ( in his guise as co-owner of Salford City) that it is extremely unlikely Leagues One and Two will return this season still ringing in the ears. If true, may that even feed further upwards and what impact would that have on the way the two highest divisions in the country play out?

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Griffin Park still standing – the floodlights still there

Whatever happens, the answers won’t be good. Or, at the least, met with universal agreement. What can you do though? Stay safe. Don’t be a dick. Think of the frontline workers and stay home, no matter how tough it may be or how tempting to venture out in to the sunshine for picnics and sun tan sessions rather than the permissible exercise sessions. The quicker this is all over the quicker we may be able to get back to living our lives in some sort of normality. Without the fear of catching a horrific virus simply because some self-absorbed hipster, to whom the two metre social distancing rules don’t apply,  struts too close to you. See also: pavement cyclists.        

It’s madness. As much the fact that we have hipsters in Brentford these days. But there you go. Unprecedented times ( he says whilst reaching for the Coronavirus bingo card. I would also accept : ‘I trust this finds you well’ and ‘stay safe’ for a full house). Still, wonderful sentiments and a sign that this is the new normal.

None of which changes the fact that football remains way, way off the agenda. At least, the playing side of it. We at least had the consolation of another GPG Lockdown special on Saturday afternoon, with none other than Thomas Frank occupying the hot seat. A huge audience were tuned in to hear his thoughts on the season so far and, as importantly,  what may come next.

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Getting ready to go. Cut to Thomas in 5..4..3… 

My word. What a man. What a session. What honesty and openness. What stories and insight. There was talk of Jansson and Benrahama’s brilliance. The acceleration in Josh Dasilva’s game. Ollie Watkins. The defence. Our fitness and injury concerns – all bang on track for the ‘pre-season’ in June. If that is what happens. Thomas explained how he thought the sqard would react and be treated/ used in the final run in. How games might play out. The answer to whether Pontus would have started at Fulham – no, being the decision (albeit fit).

Likewise, talk of his own positives so far. His own approach to the squad, the fans and transfers – where it seems the policy of ‘no dickheads – personality over raw talent’ remains as key as ever. There was discussion about his fellow managers / head coaches and how we had played against certain opponents. Likewise, how we would play if we met them again – Nottingham Forest, anyone? 

Despite being in Denmark at present  – something Thomas confirmed although the obligatory Carlsberg  on his kitchen shelf was a tell tale sign – he remains in daily contact with his players and staff. The attitude sounds Uber-positive and you can tell he is chomping at the bit to get the job finished. To get Brentford into the top flight and who he will call up when that happens.

There were parts that, as he exhorted us, must “stay inside the room” .  It will be interesting to see how much of this , if any, is left on the cutting room floor when the YouTube video is released. Be there or miss out, the message of the day. Let’s hope those who were present return the faith and trust invested in them by this most remarkable of individuals.

It was another wonderful afternoon and something that, whilst we’ve said so many times, needs repeating – only at Brentford. Our approach and our size, where everyone seems to know everyone, makes this possible. The willingness of our top brass to put themselves on the line, testament to the two-way respect that exists. The early season keyboard warriors must have missed the memo for this one or couldn’t get an internet signal from under their rocks.

Dan Suh

The questions continued for two hours plus

Hats off to Thomas. Kudos to Trevor and his team for not only arranging this but then co-ordinating the session. Massive thanks, also, to the fans as without them there’d have been no questions. There was never going to be a danger of that though and, personally, having a list of questions as long as my arm could have listened to Thomas speak all day long. 

The only real disappointment of the session being that Greville’s webcam was in the front room rather than the usual hub of activity and excitement that his his kitchen.

Still, at least he was wearing clothes for this one 😉   

Nick Bruzon

Yes!!!! An incredible afternoon sees dreams come true (for a while).

3 May

What a quite fantastic end to the season. Brentford have only gone and done it. Promotion to the Premier League assured after tonking Barnsley in the last ever game at Griffin Park. A third bracketing of the season, after the 7(seven)-0 win at home to Luton and the same score in the obliteration of Fulham at the Cottage, saw us leave the Championship to take on the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa next season. With us come Leeds United who, despite falling apart (again), had enough in the tank to get over the line. There were tears at the Hawthorns where that unexpected favour from the Loftus Road mob denied them automatic promotion but you have to fancy their chances in the play offs.

Yes, that’s definitely what happened. Our season ending in style. Tears of joy at what we’ve achieved ; sadness at saying goodbye to our home for the last 116 years. Fans coming together as one to celebrate and commiserate. Looking forward to seeing little old Brentford in the top flight. Leeds United still unable to escape from our shadow. Fulham looking enviously towards our part of West London and hoping they may get lucky in the play-offs.

Some people are on the pitch - Juge's penalty v Preston saw a wonderful denouement

Some people are on the pitch.. etc etc

And then I stepped out of the shower. The Championship table is still stuck on: played 37. Nobody able to say they have definitely gone up to join Champions elect Liverpool. A team who have still not, mathematically, taken the crown from Manchester City despite the most blitzkrieg approach to a campaign in living memory. Brentford fans denied the chance to say goodbye to Griffin Park and now not knowing if we ever will.

Yesterday was brutal from so many respects. Our chance denied by these most cruel and devastating of global circumstances. People sitting tight on lockdown as we mostly (say in ; don’t be a dick) play our part in helping to try and stop the spread of this soul-destroying virus. I know what has to be done and of course we’ll obey Lockdown. Yet I’d be lying if I said yesterday was fun. It was awful being stuck inside when the only home I wanted to be in was Griffin Park.

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Reality was soul destroying

I wrote the piece on how that felt yesterday morning. It was a column that, being honest, I had no idea if I wanted to start or even would. The feeling upon getting up was just so awful and only got worse as the morning progressed. In the end, it was a case of downing an espresso or two, sitting at the keyboard and seeing what words fell out. The results are here and were, in retrospect, quite cathartic. 

Sure, they didn’t help me feel any better but the response from our fans was life affirming. Not just the kind words on social media but the fact that it quickly became apparent how so many of us were going through the same thing. Of course, we were all going to be missing out on ‘that’ game but to hear and read people being so open about how they felt was great. 

And I use that word in the loosest sense. Of course, one wouldn’t want fellow supporters to be feeling anything like I did – all that emotion that had been experienced and accumulated since my first game back in 1979 unable to let out in one, final, scream of Brrreeeeeeennnnntttt-fffforrrrrdddd. 

I was flat. Low. All over the shop. The early morning run to the shops, with the selected route conveniently looping around the deserted stadium, making it even worse. It should have been a hive of activity at that point. Instead, Brentford was like ghost town. My mind playing all sorts of cruel tricks, trying to imagine what it would have been like.

I swear Jota winked at me as I limped past the main gates on Braemar Road.

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Regulation exercise saw an early morning run to the shop. Oh, Jota 😦

Yet to read so many of us sharing the same experience and going through such similar emotions was, bizarrely, like some form of cyber-hug. Despite being ripped apart from each other, we’ve never felt closer together.

Griffin Park, Brentford and #FarewellGriffinPark were all trending on Twitter for most of the day as the fans united. Not just to shed a tear but also to share their special memories of a home that we’ll be doing well to see again. Instantgram a sea of glorious images.

It wasn’t easy. It was never going to be. Popular music’s Hard-Fi adding further salt to the wound later in the day by confirming they’d have played their first show together in six years as a means of saying goodbye to the ground. Frontman Richard Archer being a huge Brentford fan, of course. Here’s hoping Adam Bluetone and Rhino from The Quo were also lined up. Brentford-fest – just imagine….

I think if the club had come out and said they were wearing a special kit for that final game it would just about have finished me off. Thankfully they stayed silent on that subject. And most, to be fair.

In part I suspect this was to let the fans ‘grieve’ on their own. Equally, it would have been nice had they at least acknowledged the significance of the day. Perhaps that will come. Perhaps ignoring it was their way of saying we WILL be back.

You never know…..

The other super positive of the day was Andy Scott, who was the latest guest on the regular GPG webcast. My word it was good. Unexpectedly so. Entertaining. Honest. Reflective. Insightful. Like Martin Allen, a man who connected with the fans – not just at the time but even in the answering of every question. It really felt personal.

He was candid about things he’d got wrong. Celebratory about what had gone well. Poignant about Rob Rowan, with lavish praise being poured on a man who the more we learn about the more we realise just what an incredible individual we have lost. What an amazing part of the Brentford family he was. 

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Andy Scott was the latest guest

And he was funny. The story about Kevin Dearden, Ron Noades’ kitchen and a pogo stick one that had me laughing for what felt like the first time all day. As the GPG Twitter feed noted afterwards:

Riveting meetup with Andy Scott. Maybe the best one yet. You couldn’t ask for more from Andy than this. It’s all in there, incl answering @samsaunders7 ‘s questions from last week (at the very end Sam!).

Forget Netflix, this is well worth a 2h15m binge.

And they are right. It was fascinating stuff. Entertaining. You can find it below. Put your feet up, sit back and enjoy.    

Great work,GPG and Andy. Thank you.

Next weekend’s guest promises to be very special. With Trevor unable to name them on the yesterday’s session, given the announcement is going to be made alongside the club next week, draw whatever conclusions you must from the below tweet published this morning…..

Until then, dreams of football remain just that, dreams. Will we go up? Could it be Manchester City and Liverpool at Lionel Road? Whenever that may be.

Might we end up playing out this campaign behind closed doors in neutral stadia, as is being suggested more and more? 

I’d oppose that suggestion 100% if so – just think of the unfair advantage it would give Fulham.

Nick Bruzon

Martin Allen on video or Alan Partridge on Bond?

10 Apr

Bank holiday weekend. Brentford should be hosting Charlton Athletic today and then visiting Wayne Rooney’s former Frank Lampard’s Derby County Derby County on Monday. Instead, we’re not. Coronavirus. Lockdown. Self-isolation. Sadly, we all know the drill by now. Stay indoors. Don’t be a dick. Think of the NHS. Think of each other. Much as it would be nice to sit on a park bench drinking brandy or flying a remote control helicopter (both of which I saw across the road yesterday), we’ve got to sit tight and stay indoors. It IS frustrating. It IS boring . But my word, think of the alternatives. The least of which being a trip to Pride Park. This is no joke, sadly. Don’t be a dick. Stay the f*&k indoors . Please. Instead, why not take the opportunity to embrace your inner Alan Partridge? 

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Stop getting Bond wrong !!

It is frustrating, no question. If nothing else Easter Weekend is second only to Christmas for that wonderfully intense hit of football. A double eSpresso of big match action. If anything there’s more to play for with the season approaching the denouement. Every kick and every point is crucial. The final table almost set with play-off and promotion places able to be confirmed at a moment’s notice should results go the right way. Alas, it’s not to be. There is no visit from Charlton. We won’t be meeting at St. Pancras for the trip to Derby. The best we can do is look at the table and fantasise about what might have been for Brentford. All being well, it will come to pass but when that actually happens is anybody’s guess.

Don’t be downcast. There is still hope for that Bank holiday fix. First up, the GPG have the second in their series of ‘live web cast’ interviews. Following on from last weekend’s ‘ask me anything’ session with Phil Giles, next up is none other than Mad Dog himself – Martin Allen. The session with Phil was unexpectedly open and frank, even by Brentford standards. He was engaging and nothing was off limits as the one hour video link ended up running to double that. Hats off to Trevor and his team for arranging this. Now we have the chance to go to the next level.

Zoom montage

The best of the video wall highlights

There can’t be anyone among us who didn’t love Martin’s time at Griffin Park. Excitement. Luncacy. Play-offs. The FA Cup run. The Great Escape. The terror of looking into his eyes. What a man. What a couple of seasons. What a side he put together. Some called it ‘two bob’. I called it the quintessential example of team spirit and ability Oh, John Salako. Err, Steve Claridge. 

So Saturday afternoon promises to be a real treat. With the technical glitches (i.e pitch invaders) looking to be ironed out via means of needing the link to be sent to you (HERE, is the place to get this). Sign up or miss out. As has so wonderfully been explained, “There will NOT be a catch-up video etc. available after the event – for reasons I am sure you can guess. Martin did a Beesotted event recently and Billy/Dave have not been able to use the audio. 

The one downside to all of this is that it messes with the prospect of being legitimately able to participate in an Alan Partridge style four day bank holiday weekend James Bond marathon. The possibility of doing just this has often been joked about but there’s never been a justifiable reason for sitting in front of the TV from Friday morning through to Monday night. Now there is. 

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Could it happen?

Doctor No is scheduled for 9am although judging by Mrs. Bruzon’s reaction to the suggestion last night, it may be a case of jumping straight to Roger Moore. The argument that “If not for us, do it for the NHS and the teachers” not deemed legitimate. Perhaps she was thinking about Thunderball or Die Another Day – a fair point.

If we manage / are allowed (delete as applicable) to stick to the schedule then Martin cuts right across The Man With The Golden Gun. Potentially even eating to the parachute jump opening to The Spy Who Loved Me. Decisions. Decisions. Martin Allen or Roger Moore being chased on skis?

Judging by the paint pots currently sitting in the hallway, I fear the decision may be made for me. See you all at 3pm tomorrow….

 

24 films distilled into four and a bit minutes

Nick Bruzon 

Live action, team news and transfer talk. Phil and Trevor’s Saturday afternoon takeaway had it all.

5 Apr

Saturday, 3pm. The most action packed afternoon in Brentford since we put five goals past Sheffield Wednesday. That, the last time there was any meaningful football related action in the vicinity of Griffin Park before the full Coronavirus lockdown began cranking up to the point we are now in. Sitting at home (or taking allowed exercise a safe distance from each other) and dreaming of the day that the beautiful game may return. Wondering how many we’d have won by at Fulham had that game not been called off hours before kick-off. Hoping we get a chance to play out the remainder of a campaign that has been one of the most thrilling on record. From Leeds United starting like a train, falling apart (again) before re-establishing themselves through to our own philosophy of goals, goals, goals that had taken us to the very fringe of the ‘automatic’ places. Then everything just stopped.

My word. Hasn’t life changed? Days merging into days. Social isolation very much the way of modern existence. Not even living, in the traditional sense, but more existing from one day to the next. That’s how it feels at times and is a small price to pay for not dying, I suppose. Let’s never forget those key workers battling on the metaphorical frontline or keeping those services we so often take for granted up and running. It’s not so much the staying indoors as the not knowing when it will all end. When life will return to normal. If, indeed, it ever can to the same extent as what we’ve enjoyed prior to all of this. 

That’s the gloom out of the way. Yesterday was fun. Yesterday had football. Yesterday had Brentford doing what we do best – interacting with supporters on a face-to-face basis. Rather than kicking off against Wigan (“I think we’d have won that, Dad” – HB’s considered verdict), 3pm saw the live webcast with Director of football Phil Giles facing off to 200+ Bees fans aswell as a couple of what we’ll politely call ‘randoms’ – think a humour level that would make Mrs. Brown’s Boys seem like Morecambe and Wise.

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Phil faces off to fans

 Hats off to Trevor Inns and the GPG for setting this up. Nobody seemed quite sure how it would work but after the opening few minutes had seen interlopers, barking dogs and racists ejected we were all well into the flow. Phil taking questions on anything and everything Brentford related from a video wall resembling a giant version of the Celebrity Squares game board. No limits being placed on what could be asked and no punches pulled in the answers being given.

There was talk of the relationship between Pontus and Rasmus that had seen the players make the decision to defer wages after our Captain had heard about what was happening at Leeds United. Likewise, how his move from Elland Road had been the easiest bit of transfer business we’d ever completed.

Phil telling us that his preference would unquestionably for the season to be played out, whenever that may be. Even though contract situations may then cause complications with, legally, any club surely having their hands tied in retaining players.

That the continuation of the season would ideally not be behind closed doors – the difference between playing that way and in front of supporters described in unequivocal detail. 

Phil explained how the players were staying fit and engaged. How Thomas was in constant contact with them. How some of the B team – youngsters away from their families – had returned home.

He talked about  his own role, about Matthew Benham, about finances and about the new stadium. There was hope for those wanting to see a return to Griffin Park as it was discussed how we were obliged , by league rules, to finish the campaign in the same stadium as we had started it. Albeit noting that Tottenham seem to have circumnavigated that regulation.

There was even team news with the confirmation that Pontus was definitely fit for Fulham, Phil understanding that he would have started that one.  

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what was discussed. A close to two hour chat seeing everybody being give the chance to ask what they wanted. A session that as supporter Paul Reddick noted on Twitter afterwards, meant :  “I actually forgot about COVID-19 for a couple of hours so well done for that”.  Hear! Hear!

For me there was the additional aspect of a peek behind the curtains. A look into the front rooms (and back gardens) of those who switched on their webcams. Who was that making Malteser cakes? Dave Lane enjoying a quite delicious looking beer. It was all happening in Greville Waterman’s kitchen at one point whilst others just kicked back with a cup of tea waiting their chance to ask a question or simply take in all the information. And was Adam Hobbs really in the pub or was it a case of digital trickery as he phased in and out of existence in the foreground?

In all seriousness, it was just so nice to see those familiar faces once more. Many of whom we knew. Others, recognisable by sight from a Saturday afternoon. For this reason alone, it felt even more engaging. 

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If you are going to take part, why not make the most of it?

All being well the technology exists to play this back out. Certainly, there was a ‘recording’ light in the top corner. Otherwise, Billy Reeves kept his journalistic skills well honed, transcribing the chat to Twitter. You can pick up his thread here. Being honest, and I apologise now if I have misquoted Phil from memory, it’ll be more accurate than these fuzzy recollections.

It simply remains to say huge thanks to Phil, the club, Trevor and his team in bringing this to the fans. To making a Saturday afternoon feel as ‘normal’ as it possibly could in the circumstances. Of giving us all a chance to do what we do so well as a club – talking to fans. Of allowing the supporters an opportunity to come together.

Here’s to the next one where I understand a certain Mad Dog will be in attendance……..  

Nick Bruzon

0-0 at Griffin Park as the Lionel Road fan forum provides the main highlights.

26 Aug

Brentford 0 Woves 0 . A point apiece probably a fair result as both sides ended this one guilty of missing gilt edge chances. For The Bees, Jota and Maupay. For Wolves, some players. At the death, it was almost a case of Doncaster Rovers all over again as a fluffed dead ball (Nico’s great, but he’s no Sam Saunders) saw a three on one break saved only by the linesman’s flag. And that wasn’t the worst of them. Yet before all this was the lunchtime fan forum to discuss the Lionel Road updates.

Joining compere Billy Grant at the event were Chairman Cliff Crown, director Nity Raj (also CEO at Smartodds and Matthew Benham’s lawyer, as he was introduced), Mark Devlin, Dave Merrit from Bees United, Trevor from the GPG and representing BIAS, Gemma Teale. The hour and a half session was split between the panel answering pre-submitted questions before going to the floor.

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

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IMG_9932

Last minute preparations from the panel

 

Large

The new look Lionel Road picture as doing the rounds

 

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Jota on a sortie forward

Nick Bruzon

Big new ambitions? Or downsizing? What do you make of stadium news?

17 Aug

Thursday morning. We’ve all had time to digest the news out of Griffin Park. Namely that in a week’s time Brentford FC will be presenting plans to Hounslow council for an amendment to our design for Lionel Road  – the key points of which include : a location move (3 metres south),Premier League quality ‘outside broadcast facilities within the stadium itself, the relocation of BFC Community Sports Trust outside the ground and the capacity reduction from 20,000 to 17,250. The target date for all of this is now late 2019 / early 2020.

The statements on the club site and in the programme from Cliff Crown & Mark Devlin have gone on to further elaborate on the reasoning about this in what, I have to be honest (and I’d say this to their face) reads an awful lot like a game of buzzword bingo in places. Especially with regards to the housing element of the project which is so key to making it a success.

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 16.13.22

 

Lionel Road monorail

Lionel Road. A new look – sans monorail – is coming

 

Griffin park GP

Griffin Park. Wonderful but not a long term future

 

Nick Bruzon