Tag Archives: Turf Moor

After shocks in the the cup, could Bees now follow suit in the league?

21 Feb

With all the talk currently about FA Cup upsets – Arsenal beating Sutton United and Lincoln City recording that famous win up at Turf Moor being the pick of the fifth round shocks  – one could be forgiven for overlooking the Championship. Yet it continues to come at us faster and furiouser (is that even a word?) than Vin Diesel in a souped up Dodge Charger. Tonight is no exception as Brentford face the gruelling trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

A midweek visit to Hillsborough really is about as hard as it can get for Dean Smith and his Bees. Despite reverting to a more traditional back four and a much more attacking shape, the problems have now started to appear at the back where Brentford have shipped 10 goals in the last three league games. Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, know that a win tonight will take them up to third place in the Championship table.

Whilst Newcastle United, who won again last night against Aston Villa, and Brighton seem to have the top two slots locked down, anything is still possible. And with the pair of them meeting next Tuesday at the Amex. something has to give there shortly. Wednesday will be chomping at the bit for a chance to slip in between them when that happens.

Will Dean stick or twist? His reshuffle has won the plaudits but, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be winning that many games. Despite the hugely impressive performances against Aston Villa and Brighton, both Preston and Wigan were games we could well have won yet, despite scoring twice and leading in each, have thrown them away with a series of defensive mishaps.

Whilst I’m all for this new look team set up – and hope we stick to it against divisional whipping boys Rotherham United on Saturday – perhaps discretion is the better part of valour tonight. If not in terms of playing five defenders then, perhaps , a personnel switch to add some muscle to the middle (calling Mr McCormack) or maybe he’ll accommodate the return of John Egan / Yoann Barbet.

One thing is for sure. With ex-Bee Jordan Rhodes now plying his trade for Sheffield Wednesday and doing what he does best (i.e. scoring goals) any mistakes will be punished by a team looking to consolidate their place in the play-offs.

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Once a Bee; now an Owl

Brentford’s task will be made all the harder by this game having been moved to a midweek due to our involvement in the FA Cup fourth round. For logistical reasons alone, expect fewer Bees fans to travel. The train isn’t an option (unless you stop over) whilst work gets in the way for many. Hats off to those making the effort tonight, that’s for sure. I salute you and wish I could be there. Instead, it is Mark Burridge and Beesplayer for me.

The other hurdle to overcome will, of course, be ‘that band’. Regular readers know the drill at this juncture and although oft repeated, they can’t be allowed to pass without a brief mention. Off key renditions of ‘seven nation army’ or ‘The Italian job’ washed down with Bernie Clifton’s jingoistic greatest hits are no replacement for an atmosphere. Let’s hope those that do travel are of loud voice.

Sheffield wednesday band with trevor francis

That. Band. Never forget.

The bookies have Wednesday as odds on favourites. The Bees are close to 4/1 to come away with the points. There’s more chance of finding a role of sellotape in our local Morrisons than of Brentford recording a win, if club sponsor 888 are to be believed.

Wednesday are good, no question. But Brentford aren’t 18/5 bad and one thing we have in us is goals. After a weekend of shocks in the cup, could we now see the bookies upset in the league?

At 7.45 tonight, we find out.

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Nick Bruzon

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On a day of incredible shocks, have we found a new ‘best worst ever’ ?

19 Feb

With no Brentford action over this weekend there’s no real Championship action to talk about today. Instead, there’s a flashback to yesterday’s column looking at the FA Cup and the best/worst of football films where, it would be fair to say, one has most definitely got away. First up though, Lincoln City and their incredible FA Cup win at Burnley.

What can you say? It was the archetypal cup tie and a captivating game from start to finish. Andre Gray and James Tarkowski were amongst those left looking very much non-league (please, stop sniggering) whilst Joey Barton’s second half collapse in the box was a piece of football acting so bad it made When Saturday Comes, one of the films under discussion in yesterday’s column,  seem positively Shakespearean in comparison.

Here’s hoping the FA take some retrospective action. It was a terrible example for any young children who may have been watching etc etc etc and a chance missed by the BBC. Whilst, rightly, focussing on Lincoln’s incredible triumph Barton was mostly glossed over. Whilst he was discussed, his antics would be described on Match of the Day as “Just Joey’s game” – see also, his shove in the face of Terry Hawkridge.

It may be “Just Joey’s game”. It’s not the FA’s, though. Old habits seemingly just can’t go away as the whole sorry performance was glossed over. No irony has been lost today with this tweet subsequently resurfacing.

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What a performance from Lincoln. How nice to be talking about City rather than Red Imps of Gibraltar on these pages. And what a disaster for Burnley. If only they’d played like that when Marinus took Brentford to Turf Moor last season. Come to think of it, the way we played that day, we’d still have gone down .

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Turf Moor last season. Any excuse to crowbar this one in – love that unicorn

It was a wonderful cup upset with another one appearing on these very pages. One of those rare instances where yours truly has actually called something correctly. It won’t last although, whilst I’m on something of a streak, let’s tempt fate and back Brentford to beat Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

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The other topic under discussion yesterday was the portrayal of football on screen. The good, the bad and those efforts which crossed over into both camps. Yet one was missed. One I’d never, ever heard of yet now seen, am giving serious consideration to tracking down if the trailer is anything to go by.

Big thanks to supporter Marc Loewenthal for sharing, this : Hot Shot.

Coming soon. To a betamax near you

The 94 second trailer features, amongst other things : temporarily washed up Pay-lay (that’s Pele to you and I), an up and coming hot head,  an 80’s synth pop soundtrack and a training montage.

A training montage ! A. Training. Montage. In a trailer ! How good must this film be that they can afford to offer up this most iconic of sequences in the teaser sequence?

With a script that seems hammier than Joey Barton’s acting, the producers may aswell have just lifted it straight from the bucket marked , “One was a cop who played it straight. The other wasn’t afraid to bend the rules to get results. Yet, somehow, this unlikely pairing could just be the ones to crack the case and save the day

Nice one , Marc. And thank you.

Good luck Lincoln City in Sunday’s draw. As for me, I’m looking forward to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

Can Brentford bounce back?

Nick Bruzon

What to do on FA Cup weekend? The best (and worst) of football film plus an offer for the fans.

18 Feb

With Brentford having gone missing in action at Chelsea last month, it means we’ve got a free weekend. Instead of a league game against Wolves at Griffin Park, our would be visitors host our FA Cup conquerors in a fifth round encounter that has all those classic ingredients to serve up a potential potato skin. As for Bees fans, we’ll need to put the tinfoil back to regular use and find something else to occupy us until we visit Wednesday on Tuesday. Sheffield, that is.

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For Brentford fans, the tin foil has now reverted to normal use until next season

So? What to do ? Of course, there are still the televised games. These include the aforementioned encounter at Molineux aswell as the one at Turf Moor where Andre Gray, James Tarkoswski (is he still even there?) et al provide the Goliath role as Lincoln City pay Burnley a lunchtime visit.

That one’s well worth a watch, purely for the novelty factor of seeing Burnley playing the role of giants. Yet, at the same time, I’ve got a sneaky feeling this will be the one where we have a weekend shock. Whilst the ties at Wolves and Sutton United are the obvious TV draws, expect the top class opponents, and also Arsenal, to go through. Yet with motivation, form and the entire country behind them, Lincoln look remarkable value.

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But if watching Chelsea is a painful reminder of what might have been then could I suggest an alternative? A football film. Regular readers, should such a thing exist, will know of my love of these. The pinnacle of the genre being Escape To Victory.

This has it all. Actors playing football, badly. Footballers acting,very badly. Michael Caine alongside Pele. Sylvester Stallone sharing screen time with Bobby Moore. John Wark’s moustache is worth the entrance fee alone. Come for the facial hair; stay for the Ardiles flick.

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Pele scores as the Allies escape to victory.

Yet for every Escape to Victory and, to a lesser extent, The Damned United, Fever Pitch, Mike Bassett: England Manager or even TV’s Dream Team, is a Green Street, a Soccer Dog (and the even weaker sequel, Soccer Dog: European Cup) or The Goal Trilogy. The football film is a veritable minefield of weak acting, poor script and overly laboured cliché.

Aside from Luis Figo doing ‘Just for Men’ (still got it, Figo) the only on screen football to transcend both good and bad is, perhaps, When Saturday Comes. It is a film so loaded with cliché it is fit to burst. Hard drinking park footballer Jimmy  – played by 37 year old Sean Bean  – eventually gets his break for Sheffield United after stuffing up his first trial before taking on Manchester United in an FA Cup semi final.

It is a film so loaded with inaccuracy (an FA Cup semi final at The Blades home ground, in the middle of winter, being just one of many) that you have to wonder just who gave this script the green light. And, of course, it is a film with Emily Lloyd displaying the worst Irish accent this side of Alan Partridge telling TV execs, “There’s more to Oireland, dan dis” .

Yet this underrated classic is so bad it’s brilliant. It goes beyond nonsense and into the realm of unintentional comedy gold. No mean feat for what, on paper, should be a complete car crash of a movie.

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If you haven’t seen this, you haven’t lived.

And thus talk of football films brings us, with all the subtly of an Alan McCormack challenge, bang up to date and back to Griffin Park.

Next Tuesday, 28th February,  sees Brentford and Sky Sports joining forces for an exclusive screening of the film Wonderkid.  The short film looks at one of football’s biggest issues – that of homophobia in the modern game – with Brentford doing their part to help raise awareness.

It is a cause we’ve always looked to promote and now the Bees are tackling this from a different angle, through the medium of cinema. The football film is a tricky enough genre to get right as it is, let alone with the added pressure of a serious issue. Yet, at the same time, I can’t wait to see how this goes and how it is received.

Full information about the event, including how to get free tickets, is on the club website now. See you there.

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Nick Bruzon

Are we stronger after the transfer window closes?

2 Feb

The transfer window has closed. Burnley got their man (one of them, at least), Alan Judge remains a Bee (for now) but no real inward activity for Brentford. Given our considered approach and much-derided model, that shouldn’t come as any real surprise. But is it the right move?

To be quite honest, one always feels a pang of disappointment when we have no news about inward signings. Such is the way we have been conditioned in recent seasons to accept a flurry of crazy, last-minute action. Instead, we also saw several untried names depart and the return of one player from a loan.

For me, and given where we are, there are several points to draw from yesterday.

First up, and being realistic, we aren’t going to leave the Championship this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it to happen (upwards) but I think even the most optimistic of Brentford fans would accept this is as long a shot as a Nick Proschwitz hat trick. We’re 7(seven) points off a very strong play-off zone whilst current form isn’t great (4 wins in our last 13 games).

Instead, this will now be a period of consolidation. Which of the new boys can cut it and where will we really need to strengthen? Yoann Barbet and Maxime Colin have already shown they are class whilst Ryan Woods is getting better each game. Will the likes of Andy Gogia, Philipp Hofmann, Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Josh McEachran (who has also been in the rise in recent weeks after a disappointing start) be able to match the aforementioned players?

Don’t forget we have the untapped potential of Lewis Macleod still to be seen in first team action whilst record signing Andreas Bjelland and striker Scott Hogan continue their recovery from long term injury.

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Yoann Barbet has certainly made an impression recently

What is of infinitely more importance is what we do over the much longer summer window that, this season at least, ran from June to September. Will Alan Judge be sold? Will Harlee get a new contract? Will we look to extend the likes of Jake Bidwell and David Button? Will we continue the shredding of the previous squad? Will we be looking up to the Barclays Premier League or down to the Ryman equivalent?

Yesterday’s article included the quote made by Rasmus Ankersen back in September, saying : “The goal is to get stronger after each transfer window.”

Are we stronger now? Well, in terms of current playing strength I’d have to disagree. Although not as ruthlessly as some might expect.

No squad could afford to lose the likes of Jota, Tarkowski or Toums and honestly say it was stronger. The flipside of this is that the emergence of Max Colin and Yoann Barbet in recent weeks, who we hadn’t really seen much of in the early season, has been like getting two new players. Josh has definitely improved and we have the potential of those three long-term injuries to look forward to.

Financially, we’re in a better position for sure although officially nobody knows how much we’ve been paid for anybody this season. The question will be how, if at all, will this be invested at the end of the season?

As for James Tarkowski, the sorry story comes to an end with the player certainly seeming pleased with his move. Nobody could knock what he did in his time at Griffin Park and it was a shame it all ended in such confusing, angry and emotional circumstances. You can’t knock anybody for wanting to be close to a sick family member and, perhaps, it’s best that’s where we should leave that side of things.

The only other point to make on the subject is Burnley – what was with the official ‘signing photo’ ? The brilliance of his shadow mullet, the 1970’s veneer effect boardroom and awkward pose have not been missed.

As for our lower key departures, Josh Laurent is already at Hartlepool whilst Ryan Williams has been snapped up by football’s greatest tweeters – Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Few could dispute that Montell Moore has had his own issues and so, perhaps, a fresh start is best for all. Time will tell on that one.

I must admit, I did have to perform a double take when the message flashed up that R.Williams had left Brentford. Were the Scots looking for somebody to help build them a new stadium? Were their fans voicing too many opinions and so in need of being patronised? Instead, it was simply the departure of our much touted free-kick specialist.

Then again, with Alan Judge and Sam Saunders in the side, he never had a chance.

Nick Bruzon

 

A goal scoring hero returns for TV clash

15 Jan

Brentford entertain Burnley this evening. On the one hand it is a battle for the promotion play-offs and a chance to get one over Sean Dyche but there is more to it than just that. Bees fans will, no doubt, be hoping our boys can teach him and Andre Gray a footballing lesson. Many remain unhappy about the net result of the striker’s sale whilst the unsettling rumours surrounding James Tarkowski and Alan Judge have been as welcome on the terrace as a visit from ‘the phantom farter’ (if you’ve ever stood in the vicinity, you’ll know). Chuck former QPR employee and motormouth Joey Barton into the mix aswell and, I think it would be safe to say, we might have quite an atmosphere tonight.

Will Tarks and Judge play? One would only assume so. I’ll be furious if either is missing. That said, Sean Dyche can’t be blamed for trying to both acquire and unsettle the players just ahead of the game. Dean Smith confirmed yesterday that the Burnley boss had put in a bid for our leading scorer and player of the season to date.

We saw the same thing happen with Andre Gray just before we played at Turf Moor earlier on the season. Dyche finally got his man with Brentford happy to sell for a lorry load of cash despite his scoring 2 from 2 against both Ipswich Town and Bristol City. The Bees very much missed his cutting edge in that game at Burnley although, equally, even with Dean Holdsworth, Robert Taylor and Lloyd Owusu up front I think we’d have struggled to score in that one.

As was noted in the Last Word at the time, Marinus seemed obsessed with ball retention and pass completion – to the point that out 62% domination saw the ball rarely cross the half way line as time and again it went across the defence and out to the midfield before heading back to David Button.

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.”

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The Bees at Turf Moor – as our pitch looked like a ploughed field, theirs was magnificent

So can we do any better in front of the Sky cameras tonight? It’s true that Burnley look in ominously good form with their 5-0 win on Tuesday night. Likewise, their mini slump has ended with them still sitting in an excellent league position. Whilst they’ve only won 3 times in the last 10, they’ve picked up 10 points out of a possible 15. Andre Gray leads the divisional scoring charts on 16, having now broken clear of a chasing pack that includes our own Alan Judge.

Yet we have our own incentives to win as noted at the top of this column. Likewise, three points will lift us up to 9th and within touching distance of that play-off zone once more. I’d imagine Sergi Canos will start this one, having moved back to the bench in midweek, although I wouldn’t be upset to see Sam Saunders hang on to his place. Personally, I thought the wing wizard gave a very good account of himself against Middlesbrough.

As ever, the main question is going to be one of where the goals will come from. Is Marco Djuricin ready to start? Will The Hoff be given a chance from the off? Or does Lasse Vibe retain his place? I have no clue as to which way Dean Smith will jump but, personally, would stick with Lasse given the current options.

Which, as I put the industrial sized crowbar away, talk of strikers brings us onto tonight’s guest of honour – Lloyd Owusu – who is being welcomed into the Brentford ‘Hall of Fame’. Signed by owner/chairman/manager Ron Noades from Slough Town in 1998, his impact was immediate. 25 goals followed, including the Third Division title decider against Cambridge United. The denouement of that season saw the final game of the season become a battle to be Champions at the Abbey Stadium and Lloyd was the right man in the right place to help Brentford bag the honours.

Leading scorer 3 times in his 4 seasons, he stayed with us right up to the end of the Steve Coppell era and that play off final (spoiler alert – we lost) at the Millennium Stadium against Stoke City. It was a sad end to a great career at Griffin Park and more so as, out of contract, he left for Sheffield Wednesday.

Three years later there was better news for Bees as the hero returned. Martin Allen brought him back to Griffin Park for a further two years. 2005-06 saw him bag a further 14 goals in 42 games that resulted in another play off appearance – we lost. Injury blighted his final season but, by that stage, the legend had been born.

The arms raised high in the air and the chants of “Ooh Ooh Ooh” from the terrace have become an iconic image, and sound, for those who frequented Griffin Park at the time. Equally, Peter Gilham going into meltdown every time he launched into a lung busting scream of “Owusuuuuuuu!

Here’s hoping for some more tonight.

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Lloyd Owusu – back at Griffin Park tonight

Nick Bruzon

Things could be a lot worse. One of these refs could be next up

24 Aug

It has been a traumatic week or so for us Brentford fans. We’ve had all the angst of transfer rumours involving Bristol City and Hull before the eventual sale of Andre Gray to Burnley. Chuck into that a 1-0 defeat to the Turf Moor outfit on Saturday (where my own opinion remains that the performance was somewhat ‘flat’).

Andre's sale has upset a lot of fans

Andre’s sale has upset a lot of fans

There has been all the bad news about injuries – the prognosis on Andreas Bjelland and now Jota being the latest blow to Bees supporters. And, of course, we have the terrible state of the Griffin Park pitch although at least that should be ‘fit for purpose’ by the time Reading visit at the weekend.

On the plus side, the crowd seem in very good spirits with Matthew Benham’s name being sung long and loud at Burnley, along with that of kitman Bob prior to kick off. We still have a very strong squad and it’s not as though this team can’t play football. Four points out of the first three games is far from the end of the world for a side who, don’t forget, remain relative newcomers at this level.

Besides, things could be worse. We might have suffered the Keith Stroud effect. Brentford fans need no reminder of the pain this man in the middle has caused us in the past. The game at Sheffield United in April 2013 (the season of ‘that penalty’) saw him award four spot kicks whilst brandishing 9 yellows and 3 red cards – including a very harsh pair for Tony Craig and Clayton Donaldson.

He is a man whose reputation for card wielding precedes him and so to have already survived an encounter with him (the win at Bristol City) makes me a happy man. Indeed, his performance in the game at Ashton Gate where he made just two booking, along with his customary red, seems somewhat ‘relaxed’. There was actually a case for it being two reds and so, for once, Mr. Stroud has shown some uncustomary restraint.That, or he just missed the foul on Tarks.

The Stroud montage - those days are in the past. Aren't they?

The Stroud montage – those days are in the past. Aren’t they?

That said, I must offer a word of caution should we be the beneficiaries of a return visit any time soon. In the three games he has taken charge of so far this season, Stroud has shown a total of 15 yellows and the aforementioned red. 6 at Crystal Palace and 7 (seven) at Brighton in the season opener show our favourite ref remains as on form as ever.

However, the real reason for mentioning Mr Stroud is that he is not alone. Whilst, statistically, there are few to match him, he has plenty of competition when it comes to the art of, physically, issuing the card.

With Stroud, as the montage shows, I always get the impression of a child bullied at school. Somebody who is finally able to get some pay back without fear of retribution and thrust a card at the face of the latest aggressor, whilst turning his back on the player he has deemed unfit to stay on the field of play. There is no room for discussion, no margin for error and not even time for any eye contact. Keith has spoken and usually begun to walk off with the card still in the air.

So it was with great pleasure that I stumbled across this article yesterday, from Adam Hurrey in the Daily Telegraph. It is one that was written back in April but, having had it referred from two separate sources, it is clearly something that people feel strongly about.

Here it is. Fill your boots and enjoy … A referee’s guide to brandishing a card.

(You need to click the coloured text, mum)

Nick Bruzon

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.

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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

As Burnley await Brentford and Andre Gray, is this a gamble from Matthew?

22 Aug

The inevitable has finally happened. After weeks of speculation linking Andre Gray with Hull and an unsuccessful £9 million bid from Bristol City, Burnley met both the asking price and the striker’s aspirations to secure a deal that sees Brentford smash their inward transfer record by a country mile.

Whilst, officially, ‘undisclosed’ it is a fee that is universally reckoned to be 3 Lewis Grabbans (or, at current prices, the equivalent of 9 Will Griggs). One would go crazy trying to extrapolate that outwards to the equivalent in Proschwitzs.

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

Gray is now a Claret. But surely that should be a 7 (seven) ?

This isn’t the doom and gloom that you’d believe from looking at social media following the news. For starters, the sort of money being talked about is incredibly hard to resist. Nine. Million. Pounds!! An 18x increase on what we paid just over a year ago.

Burnley have been unable to complete the paperwork in time so Andre will have to sit this one out from the stands whilst, for the Bees, it means our choice of strikers still includes full Danish international Lasse Vibe and German U-21 Philipp Hofmann. These are players of proven quality and hardly the equivalent of being left with the aforementioned Proschwitz.

Tom Moore - still showing the love for Dougie on this Twitter profile pic

Tom Moore – still showing the love for Dougie on his Twitter profile pic

Besides, as West London’s premier journalist Tom Moore has written in his own take on this news, “The Bees may yet be better off, if they are able to secure the replacements they want at the club…

Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen are intelligent people and will have been working on replacements all summer, in the expectation Gray would go.”

An obvious statement, perhaps, but a very true one. Whilst the price tag was a massive inducement to sell, it is still a decision that will have been considered on myriad other levels. Like Tom, I have no doubt the club have targets in mind and we’ve already seen a few names bandied about in the prelude to the sale being confirmed.

If nothing else, the speculation is finally over. We can now move on, knowing who makes up a squad that has, don’t forget, still seen more come in than go out over the last few months.

Let’s be clear – I would have loved to see Andre stay. He has already hit the ground running this season and will no doubt have every success at Burnley. But he has gone. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Brentford fans won’t change a thing.

For sure, Matthew Benham has taken an on-field gamble in allowing a proven goal scorer to leave, but getting overly upset about this pays a tremendous disrespect to both the rest of this team and his own, longer term, plans. Keeping his cards close to his chest is something that Matthew has done exceedingly well over the last few seasons as, time and again, we’ve been caught cold by his and the club’s transfer plans.

As a fan since 1979, Matthew will be well aware of our own history and what happens when you replace a Dean Holdsworth with a Murray Jones. Indeed, we’ve already scored six goals in two league games this campaign and, whilst two have come from Andre, the rest were very much shared around with Tarks, The Hoff, and an Alan Judge brace rounding things off.

On that note, yesterday saw good news with Alan credited a second against Bristol City after a meeting of the Dubious Goals Committee (a group whom I can only imagine meet in an oak paneled drawing room, quaffing brandy by a roaring log fire whilst sitting in leather wing-backed chairs). As the Irishman himself noted on Twitter afterward, “Nothing dubious about it clearly mine

The Judge gives his verdict

The Judge gives his own verdict

The other point of note was something suggested last night by one terrace wag who has asked if Brentford are adopting a policy of allowing somebody to join our next opponents?

Jonathan Douglas signed for Ipswich Town in time to tackle Jota and help concede two goals after he had entered the field of play with his new team in a seemingly unassailable position. Next up, the club agreed a fee with Bristol City at a time that Andre had been heavily linked with a side we would go on to beat 4-2 last weekend.

Then, the day before we are due to visit Burnley, we have completed the sale of the player who found the back of the net 18 times for Brentford last season. What next, Jack Bonham to Reading?

Andre will be missed, no doubt. I do also wonder if given his sharp, upward, career moves that Burnley fans could be saying the same thing in twelve months time? As he has already noted on his new club’s twitter feed, “Last season was a test for me, but that learning curve is why I’m at this club now”.

So there you go, cynics. It’s not all about the money. Burnley are the next rung on his career ladder. And if ever Brentford fans needed a motivation to get behind our team and show Andre which is the club on the up, then we’ve got the perfect one at 3pm on Saturday.

See you there.

Ande has the Last Word, for now

Andre has the Last Word, for now

Nick Bruzon

Andre Gray going to Burnley as Hull and Bristol City remain frustrated.

21 Aug

Andre Gray’s move to Bristol City still not complete but told it’s likely to go through later today”. Not my words but those of our esteemed local sources on Wednesday as yet another rumour surrounding Brentford and Andre has subsequently fallen flat. And next he’s off to Burnley. IF you believe what you read.

Andre - remains a Bee (again)

Andre – remains a Bee (again)

This is all getting somewhat tedious. Whether it is just Andre’s agent hawking him around like a spare Panini sticker, a genuine desire from the player to leave or Matthew Benham even making an improved contract offer behind the scenes, all we actually know so far is that: Hull City have had their enquiry for the player politely declined whilst Andre did not want to join Bristol City – despite their incredible bid. Whilst one would assume there is no smoke without fire, Steve Cotterill at Bristol City won’t be dialing 9-9-9 (million pounds, that is) for a while.

Indeed, the BBC (another source convinced the Bristol deal was ‘done’) have now had to reference Marinus as saying that Andre is back in training with the Brentford – although their story seems more about the frustrated desires of Steve Bruce (a specialist publication if ever I heard one) at Hull City.

Yet no sooner had the heat around the Bristol story been extinguished than Burnley have become the latest Championship rival being linked with a bid for the player. And you thought this was getting tedious earlier?

Well, it IS true. In one sense. I fully expect Andre will be going to Burnley. Albeit on Saturday, with the Bees travelling to the Lancashire club for our latest Championship fixture. Just as the in-demand striker started at Ashton Gate last week, and scored, I’ve got everything crossed (that can be) in the hope that the same thing will happen this weekend.

The irony of Brentford travelling to Turf Moor given the current state of our pitch has not been lost. I’d certainly settle for any, let alone more, turf although at least repairs are finally underway.

Visitors to Griffin Park on Thursday would have seen the contractors hard at work (below) whilst the club published a full update in the afternoon where they clarified, amongst other things, that the specialist ‘Motz’ turf we are using will be put down between Monday and Wednesday. They further added that this, “ Is usually match-ready 24 hours after it is laid” (again, please disregard any Steve Bruce imagery).

Brentford beach - our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Brentford beach – our latest attempt to persuade Andre to stay?

Anyway, as ever you can get all the proper facts about the pitch on the official club website. I’ll certainly be vising later today as the fallout from yesterday’s press conferences is published.

I’m very much looking forward to what the always straight talking Marinus Dijkhuizen has to say about Andre, Burnley and Griffin Park life in general. If nothing else, we might actually get some proper facts about what is going on.

As I’ve said before, I can’t blame the local journalists for running with transfer rumours. It is the nature of electronic media these days, where information (whether accurate or not) is instantly accessible to everybody and visitors to websites are key. But they are in serious danger of losing any credibility they may have had if they cannot be taken seriously.

I don’t envy the journos from that respect – its much easier to sit here and write a blog where its nothing more than opinion on what we can see going on around us. But I just think we all need to learn to take a deep breath and not treat everything in the media as 100% Gospel.

Blah. Who needs a lecture from me? Nobody. Instead, we’ve got a cracking game lined up as Championship action returns. Let’s focus on that instead of rumour.

Roll on Saturday. See you there.

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable

At times, these club sauces would be more reliable

Finally. Some positive ‘off field’ news.

18 Aug

Watching Bournemouth going down 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield last night, the nagging thought was, “That could have been us”. Not in the losing part – Brentford have got four points from six this season – but in general Premiership participation. Whilst Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City fully deserve their chance to take on the likes of Liverpool as part of the regular campaign, it was yet another reminder of how close we came last season.

Good luck to them. Seriously. Eddie Howe’s team game a very good account of themselves although if I hear the phrases ‘offside’ and ‘controversial’ again it will already be too soon. But, equally, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of admiration for last season’s rivals at the reward for their success – a chance to mix it with the, so called, ‘elite’ of English football and have their games beamed all round the world. This, despite the inconvenience to fans of Monday night fixtures rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon.

The Bees haven't played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

The Bees haven’t played at Livepool since the FA Cup 6th round in 88/89

However, there’s no point Brentford fans wishing life away on ‘if onlys’. We had our chance but couldn’t, quite, take it. Let’s move on and use it as the inspiration to go one better this time around.

The good news is that despite the horrendous slew of injuries we have suffered and the worst playing surface since, well, ever (I’ve seen better pitches on Dragon’s Den) the Bees have had an unbeaten start and lie third in the early season table. To put that in West London terms, we are three points clear, already, of both Fulham and the Loftus Road mob. Whilst the league is a marathon, not a sprint I’d rather start the campaign ahead of our rivals than behind them.

It’s a crying shame tonight’s game at home to Birmingham City has had to be postponed due to the aforementioned pitch. Momentum has been killed stone dead and it gives the other teams a chance to steal a march on us. Much like the aforementioned marathon analogy, I’ve always said that “points in the bag are better than games in hand” (just about the only two football clichés that are worth their salt) but with James Tarkowski being the latest addition to the casualty list after suffering that facial injury on Saturday, could this delay be a blessing in disguise?

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Tarks suffered a blow to his nose

Likewise, it gives new right back Maxime Colin extra time to bed in with his new team mates although then, of course, presents Marinus with a (nice) problem for Saturday’s trip to Burnley – does Alan McCormack make way for the new boy from Anderlecht?

Questions, questions, questions and, ultimately, not worth getting overly hung up about. The pitch is spannered, the game is off and there’s nothing else we can do about it except wait for the weekend.

The other selection poser Marinus may well be considering is that of Sam Saunders. The fan favourite played 70 (seventy) minutes of the development squad game on Monday, bagging a goal in the process. Could we see a return, even on the bench, for the perma tanned wing wizard?

As ever, Twitter was the place to be for the up to the minute news on that one. Along with the club breaking the news of his participation and sharing the latest action, Sam later responded to the question, “Could Turf Moor be Saunders Territory?”, with the update ”very much hoping so, hopefully have a good weeks training and let’s see

You don’t need to be a genius to be aware of the effect Sam has on the team and the fans. His enthusiasm and ability are second to none – the Boxing Day game at home to Ipswich Town bring a prime example of what he can bring to the side.

Whilst places shouldn’t be given based on former glories (as Jonathan Douglas discovered) I’d love to see Sam back in the team on merit.

We’ve had a bright start to the league campaign.Could our enforced rest tonight actually help it get even better?

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon

Sam lasted over an hour on Monday afternoon