Tag Archives: Uwe Rösler

Cliff crowns a great day which even ‘that trumpet’ can’t ruin.

25 Mar

With Friday’s column bemoaning the lack of Brentford related activity over the International break, it was another case of exquisite timing as the club confirmed later in the day that work has now begun at the Brentford Community Stadium site on Lionel Road South. Over in Dublin, John Egan was in the squad for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last night although a rogue musical instrument threatened to outdo even the much maligned (and rightly so) alleged band of the England supporters.

But first, Lionel Road. There’s not too much to add in regards to the Stadium announcement beyond a huge sigh of relief and gratitude at this latest news. It seems almost an eternity away since the club’s plans were approved by Hounslow council back in December 2013. The Bees were then in League One and Uwe Rosler was (technically) still our manager although his move to Wigan Athletic was coming somewhat quicker than ours to a new home. Indeed, looking back on the BBC report from the time it notes that, “The Bees hope to move to the 7.6 acre site on Lionel Road from Griffin Park for the 2016-17 season.

Of course, we have had further referrals and the CPO to go through since that point which have delayed proceeding somewhat. And whilst , at times, I can’t help but think of Lionel Road without the words “Monorail, monorail” going through the head, finally things are under way. There was another ebullient statement from Cliff Crown whilst, along with the article on Brentford official, a new website launched at brentfordcommunitystadium.com in which supporters will be kept abreast of developments.

The only slight downside about his news being the lack of obligatory photograph featuring Cliff, Mark Devlin et al leaning on shovels and wearing hard hats. But, given this current stage of the project involves clearing the site in preparation for the main build, perhaps this construction related favourite is still to come.

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It really IS happening.

The other Bees related topic from yesterday was, of course, John Egan’s selection for the Republic of Ireland. Whilst he had to be content with a place on the bench, this remains a huge honour and it can’t be long, surely, until he wins his first cap. With another home game scheduled for Tuesday, a friendly with the darlings of Euro 2016 Iceland, he may not have long to wait. Here’s hoping that fully deserved honour comes John’s way imminently.

One thing that armchair viewers won’t be hoping for is a return of ‘that trumpet’. Far be it from me to criticise another nation’s culture and perhaps this is well received part of their International game. Personally, my own belief is that, much like goal music, spectator performed musical instruments should not be allowed anywhere near a football stadium. Whatever the form.

The list of offendors is a well travelled one. Who could forget the sound of the Vuvuzelas from World Cup 2010? About the only positive to be gleaned from England’s ineptitude in that one being that an early exit spared domestic supporters being obliged to put up the droning cacophony.

Then there’s John Westwood. The self proclaimed Mr. Portsmouth. Him in the stove pipe hat, wooden teeth and dreadlocked fright wig whom the cameras seem contractually obliged to make a beeline for whenever Pompey are on TV. He looks like he needs a good wash down with some bleach and a wire wool brush (think  – Russell Brand and his spray on perm-wear leather effect trousers)  whilst the noise, with that incessant ringing of a hand bell or use of a trumpet, must mean that season tickets in the near vicinity come with a health and safety warning.

Portsmouth bell

Can’t give Westwood the full oxygen of publicity. Bell. End of.

But, of course, the prime offenders are the alleged England supporters alleged band. Regular readers know the drill at this point. If you want the usual rant about the stale, off key parping and flat renditions of jingoistic greatest hits from Bernie Clifton and his uninvited cuckoos in the nest then you’ll find it here (along with a lot more nonsense).

They’ve always been the low point. Until now. And the lone trumpet at Ireland’s Aviva stadium. Who was it? Why was it? How can a solitary instrument cut so clearly through what was, by all accounts, a fervent and vocal crowd.You’d have heard this thing above a jumbo jet taking off. It was so shrill that, by all scientific fact, only dogs should have been able to hear the bloody thing.

Yet here it was. Clear as day. As annoying as Westwood guesting in the England ensemble with a vuvuzela. If there’s one thing that’s good for unifying football fans it’s hatred. Not of each other but of wind instruments.

And this was the consummate in unwelcome hot air. Not even the sound of Jota’s refrain could lift this into the realms of acceptability.

Matthew Benham has already made it quite clear that goal music will never, ever happen in his time. Let’s hope the ban extends to trumpets when Lionel Road is complete.

Nick Bruzon

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Dean Smith. If you are reading (you aren’t) I’ve got a few questions.. .

4 Dec

Norwich City 5 Brentford 0. Cripes. That’s bad. Really, really bad. And I mean from the Bees’ perspective. Up against a team touted by their own support prior to kick off as ‘pedestrian’, ‘slow’ and ‘dull’, a team who had lost five in a row prior to this one – that’s LLLLL – didn’t they administer a humping of royal proportions ? No complaints with Norwich. You can only beat who you are up against and that would seem to have been the grand total of naff all.

We’ve all caught up on what happened by now, surely. Whether through being at the game, listening on Bees Player, catching up on the video highlights c/o Sky, reading the match report, following the observations of those on social media or just a combination of the above. Yet at a time when we needed to pick up where we left off in that final half hour against Birmingham City, instead we picked up where we spent the entire game against Barnsley, Fulham, Wigan..etc . 1 step forward 8 steps back.

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The sky video shows how 1 on 3 outside the box became a penalty and 2-0

Prior to this one Dean Smith had gone on record as saying,”Sometimes we can catastrophise defeats and that leads to a demise in confidence.” If previous defeats were being talked up as a catastrophe , I can’t even begin to imagine what he makes of this one. What he can do next or how he can rejig his team and remotivate his players?

Hints are dropped in his interview on official  where Dean tells us:  “It is a performance that I thought I wouldn’t see from this group of players” before adding “I had a chat with the players and that performance can’t happen again.”

Come on Dean. Have some balls. Please. Your team who, prior to this had only won 1 in 8, have been blown off the park by the side with the worst form in the Championship. Incredibly, even Rotherham United (currently 1/50 to be relegated) managed a point over that period. For the record, 29th October against Ipswich Town. Is that response  – one which ended with ‘we go again’ style talk of future results – really the one you felt best in the circumstance?

Perhaps harsher words were exchanged in private rather than a simple chat. Here’s hoping, because something needs to be said. I recall Uwe adopting a similar line in the post match interview after the debacle at Stevenage a few seasons ago. Things transformed themselves from there as opinions were made clear in the dressing room – from all sides.

Indeed, Daniel Bentley alluded to it in his own ‘official’ interview where, amongst other things, he has come out and said: “I think I can speak for myself and the boys that I am embarrassed with that result. We weren’t good enough all over the pitch …. It was totally unacceptable. If there is stuff that is underlying then there comes a time when it needs to be said. After that tonight it was probably overdue. There’s only so long you can go without saying things that need to be said”.

What was said? By whom? And to who? Whilst I doubt we’ll ever know, let’s hope this has now cleared the air and given both Dean and his squad some element of clarity. Saturday sees us play Burton Albion, locked immediately below us in 19th place on 22 points. With the Bees in free fall – there’s no other word for 6 defeats in 8 and a mere four points over that period, something needs to change around and fast.

There’s only so much optimistic glass half full spin one can try to impart on this torrid run from a season which had begun so brightly. Fans are turning on each other in social media – always a bad sign that things are less than rosy in the garden – whilst yesterday even saw our Chairman Cliff Crown compelled to delete his own tweet about being entertained pre-match by his Norwich City counterparts Ed Balls and Delia Smith.

I’m not sure I follow the furore, here. Hardly a case of Nero fiddling given Rome had yet to start burning at the time he published that one. Indeed, whilst taking the post down in retrospect was probably a sensible precaution given the vitriol flying around and bad vibe amongst the Brentford faithful, it now makes him look as though he’s done something wrong.

We’ve all seen it and presumably such activity happens in football stadia up and down the land every weekend (mutual boardroom diplomacy and hospitality rather than Cliff name dropping B list celebrities like Ian Moose on a footballer’s birthday). Unless, of course, they were discussing rumoured transfer activity.  Although to be fair to Cliff, I don’t think he’d have been so naïve to post such a comment if that had been the case. Surely?

Look, it’s very easy to be wise after the event but even putting himself in that position in the first instance, given how we’d been performing recently, probably something that in the cold light of a day should have been reconsidered. Had we won, it would have all been seen as the bonhomie which it was and nobody paying any more notice. We didn’t and now look.

Positives on waking up this morning? Struggling here. About all I can come up with is the fact that for all we’re on the slide, the bookmakers still see us finishing the campaign mid-table. Brentford are currently 25/1 to be promoted and 10/1 to go down. Indeed, looking at the relegation suspects, aside from aforementioned Rotherham United there are still another 9 teams considered more likely than the Bees to be plying their trade in League One next season.

That said, three points against Burton on Saturday are essential. For more than one reason. Dean – if you’re reading (you aren’t) I’d love to hear how you are going to make that happen?

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Current prices to go down. Rotherham great value

Nick Bruzon

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Where’s Billy when you need him?

1 Dec

Brentford head into Saturday’s game with Norwich City on the back of three successive defeats and only one win out of the last 8 games. That recent hat-trick of ’nil points’ against Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City has only intensified scrutiny on Dean Smith with supporters starting to ask where the next win is going to come from. This is probably not how Dean envisaged his one year anniversary at Griffin Park (which the club announced on Twitter yesterday) and so it will be very interesting to hear what the press ask him today.

Dean SMith and Mick

Dean Smith at the start of this season

Here’s hoping they ask some hard hitting questions, for once. Less money for old rope and more action would be nice. With the king of gentle probing Billy Reeves currently out of action until the end of the year, there’s been nobody to really step up and fill his boots in recent weeks.

Ahh, Billy. The deadly assassin. Practiced in the dark art of asking that killer ‘to the point’ question, albeit delivered in the most charming and almost apologetic of styles, I’d love to know what he would put to Dean at the moment in regards to the current run and his approach to the game with Norwich City. Can anybody pick up the gauntlet?

Billy and Uwe

So Uwe. Stevenage…..?

Nobody could pretend we’re not displaying anti-form at the moment, certainly result wise. Is it as simple as just needing that little twist of fate; for something to go our way? Certainly we had the lion’s share of possession and chances against Birmingham – just couldn’t quite put more than one of them away for well documented reasons. Or is it more down to his team selection and substitution strategy  – the later of which has seemed dreadfully late, reactive and decided using a roulette wheel in recent weeks?

Being more down to earth, are the team just finding their level in the Championship this season? We’ve been wonderful at times; awful at others. The table doesn’t lie and so he (and we) can have no complaints with 16th based on what we’ve seen. The questions are now – Dean, what are you going to do about it? When are we next going to win a game?

I saw a comment on Twitter last night in regards to the aforementioned one year anniversary. Official highlighted his win ratio and a reply was posted comparing him to previous managers.

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Whilst not strictly true – who could forget the Marinus experiment – further investigation via the medium of our most recent result records at Soccerbase.com has revealed this isn’t too far off the mark. Looking at managers who have been in charge over the last 10 calendar years – so starting with Martin Allen who left at the end of the 2005/06 season – the ranking for all those occupying in the Griffin Park hot seat, including caretakers  is as follows :

51.28%  Mark Warburton (41 wins out of 78 games)

50% Lee Carsley (5 out of 10)

43.79 % Uwe Rösler (60 out of 137)

43.55% Martin Allen (54 out of 124)

42.85% Nicky Forster (9 out of 21)

38.1% Andy Scott (64 out of 168)

36.73% Dean Smith (18 out of 49)

25% Barry Quinn (1 out of 4)

22.22 % Marinus Dijkhuizen (2 out of 9)

21.74% Terry Butcher (5 out of 23)

16.67% Scott Fitzgerald (4 out of 24)

13.04% Leroy Rosenior (3 out of 23)

0% Alan Kernaghan (0 out of 1)

So no surprises up at the top and one which will no doubt have many asking the eternal question – why? That’s been and done. Much like Jota, Stuart Dallas, Moses Odubajo, Andre Gray, James Tarkowski (well perhaps not) et al, crying over it isn’t going to bring him, or any former fan favourite back to Griffin Park . Is it?

Besides, I’m more interested in the ‘here and now’. Discussing the win ratios with one New Road observer last night, he has pointed out something which stacks up far more interestingly than overall career percentages. Recent form. Look at the result records in Marinus’ last 9 games and Dean’s most recent over the same period…..

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Marinus form

dean-last-9

Dean Smith form

Matthew Benham doesn’t strike me as the trigger happy sort so those calling for a change (there are some, apparently) would probably be better putting their energies elsewhere.  From what we’ve been told, the Marinus experiment ended because of more than just results. Yet at the same time those of us on the sidelines only have results to go on. And at present they aren’t great.

If Dean was ever going to give an invigorating press conference, then today would be a good day. If Brentford were ever going to get back to wining ways, then Saturday against a Norwich City team whose current form read: LLLLL, would be the perfect time.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Come on Dean – let’s see what you’ve got.

Come on you Beeeeesss!!

Nick Bruzon

 

Tony Craig day is here as an inevitable pun is released into the wild.

30 Jul

Brentford travel to Millwall this afternoon for Tony Craig’s thoroughly deserved testimonial. Elsewhere Championship rivals Wolves, a club we have focussed on a lot more in recent years, have finally succumbed to the almost inevitable in providing the most expected of bad punnery.

First up, Tony Craig.  His transfer to Millwall in July of last year was a particularly disappointing one. As we’ve noted previously, he was one of these players who gave his all in a Brentford shirt over three seasons in which he was one of our standout players.

Tony bounced back from a dubious red card administered by Keith Stroud during the infamous battle of Bramall Lane in the year of ‘that penalty’. He was a colossus at the heart of the defence during our promotion season in which he scooped the player’s player of the year award.

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Tony – as seen on the club site after helping the Bees to promotion

One particular game from that campaign, home to Oldham Athletic and just into Warbs’ managerial tenure following the departure of Uwe, was notable for one of the most incredible pieces of defending I’ve ever seen, described at the time thus:

On the only occasions Athletic really threatened, Tony Craig was there to mop things up. The highlight of which being a 5 on 1 breakaway in the first half where he stood his ground, kept standing and did sufficient to fend off the Oldham hordes. Lesser players could have been forgiven for lunging in but not Tony. It was my moment of the game – until the goal itself”.

There was no fuss and no showmanship with Tony for Brentford. That’s not to say he wasn’t skillful but he just got on with his game. No more so was the difference in attitude between him and the more outrageous players seen than in the Championship fixture with Wolves at Griffin Park back in November 2014.

That was the one where, you may recall, Bakary Sako was due to play against us in golden boots, encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Tony was the complete opposite. The anti-Sako, if you will. For one terrace wag, whose identity I’ll protect, the sight of even neon teale or electric pink boots on a Brentford player will usually elicit a cry of, “Rubbish. I like Tony Craig. Sensible, no nonsense footwear.”

Tony played the full 90 minutes that day as Wolves and Sako were locked out, leaving TW8 on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing. It was part of that #Novemberkings phase (please ‘official’, let’s never use hashtags again) that saw Warbs win manager of the month, Tony feature prominently and the Bees get within a sniff of the table top.

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Bakary Sako’s boots failed to sparkle

Indeed, his absence from the side in the back end of the season coincided with some defensive howlers but, more importantly, a seeming fragility across the defensive area of the team when, perhaps, his experienced head would have been the perfect tonic. Whilst he remained available for selection, Warbs kept faith. with his chosen two.

I can’t knock him for that and the end result was Brentford reaching the Play-Offs. Itself, a phenomenal achievement when viewed independently. However, I do also wonder had Tony stayed in the team, might we actually have gone one better and achieved ‘automatic’?

We’ll never know but what better way to celebrate then by getting along to Millwall this afternoon? Admission is just £10 for adults and, more importantly, Tony is using the proceeds to make a donation to Headley Court, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre which treats injured members of the Armed forces.

The other Bees news is the just announced (Saturday morning) signing of Callum Elder on loan from Leicester City for the season. Filling the gap at left back made by Jake Bidwell’s departure for Loftus Road earlier this month, the move was one which had been very widely anticipated.

Fair play to the rumour mill, it has been spot on this season. Either they’ve upped their game or the Brentford press team have become leakier than the Fulham defence. Regardless, this can only be good news on the playing front and nice to see a change from the normal ‘signing photo’. This time around, we’ve gone for the rarely seen line up of the shirt  / contract combo.

And talking of Wolves earlier ( a link made with all the subtly of Bakary Sako’s boots), it has been announced overnight that the Molineux club have parted company with / sacked manager Kenny Jackett.

This is an inevitable part of modern football life. Moreso in the Championship where managers seem to have the longevity of a cornetto in a greenhouse. Yet, I feel a particular affinity to Wolves.

Despite the initial mocking from a minority of their fans in regards to how big they were compared to ‘little old Brentford’ (somebody should use that one) it’s fair to see we’ve given as good as we’ve got over a wonderful last three seasons.

There was the 2013/14 League One campaign where, despite a record number of points for the Bees and that huge unbeaten run, Wolves stormed to the title with a final total of 103. In any other season our own 94 would have been more than good enough for top spot.

However, the following two campaigns have seen Brentford fare better than Wolves, positionally. 2014/15 saw our two clubs locked on 78 points, with the Bees reaching the play-offs in fifth and Wolves coming so close to edging out Ipswich on that incredible final afternoon. In the end, it was a goal difference gap too far but 7th place still not one to be sniffed at for a newly promoted club.

Last season saw a 7(seven) point gap split the teams with Dean Smith’s team ending it in 9th and Wolves 14th. The moral high ground for Brentford and some consolation for the £250 bet proceeds lost as a result of our being beaten (deservedly so) to that League One title.

So it was sadness that I woke this morning to the news of Kenny Jackett’s departure. Undoubtedly a huge club with big ambitions  – whether new or otherwise – (hello, is that the marketing team?) he has perhaps been an inevitable casualty of failure to make an immediate return to the top flight.

On the other hand, a rare opportunity for lazy headline writers and lazier pun makers. Chin up Kenny, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to go again soon.

No jacket required kenny original

No words required

Everton lend a hand but are the players revolting?

18 Mar

Nobody could deny Thursday wasn’t interesting at Brentford. Matthew Benham’s cryptic clue was (I am assuming) unravelled when the news was announced that we’d signed striker Leandro Rodriguez on loan from Everton. Doctor, Knee, exit – Leandro, Rodriguez, Everton. Of course! I guess that’s why Matthew is the multi-millionaire club owner and I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

The signing of Leandro marks an attempt to arrest our barren patch in front of goal that came to a sad climax last weekend when, of course, head coach Dean Smith elected to go into the derby clash at QPR with no striker on the pitch. Whatever point he was trying to prove backfired spectacularly as the Bees failed to trouble the scorers and rarely looked like coming close.

That said, we are where we are and this can only be seen as a step in the right direction. The Everton youth production line has certainly been a beneficial one for the Bees in the past. Club captain Jake Bidwell and Adam Forshaw both joined Brentford from Goodison after initial loan spells whilst, but for injury, Conor McAleny and Chris Long both looked set for big things. Here’s hoping that, without wanting to put too much pressure on the young man’s shoulders, the Everton-Brentford connection can do it again.

The other interesting thing about this transfer, assuming you find this sort of thing interesting, was in regards to the announcement of the news. It’s often been noted how ‘off the pace’ we look compared to our rivals and, again, this would seem to have been the case yesterday looking at the release time of stories on the News Now website.

10.31: Everton striker Leandro Rodriguez leaves on loan. Liverpool Echo

10:59: Brentford sign Everton Uruguayan Forward Rodriguez. Beesotted

11:18: Dean Smith makes first Brentford signing as Everton striker joins on loan. Get West London

11:40: John Swift called-up to England Under-21 squad. Brentford FC – Official Site

13:09: Rodriguez Loaned To Brentford. Everton FC – Official Site

13:20: Leandro Rodriguez signs on loan from Everton. Brentford FC – Official Site

13:22: Brentford sign Everton’s Rodriguez. BBC

And with that, it was officially all ‘official’.

Leandro signs

Breaking – everywhere else first. Leandro puts pen to paper

I’m sure it was a case of waiting until the ink had dried on the paperwork but for Beesotted to be almost two and a half hours ahead of the club with this comm does make me wonder how they do it. And ‘official’ don’t. Or just can’t. Moreso as, whatever protests you’ll hear from fans/staff, Dave and Billy are pretty much on the money with everything they run on their site. Who was that last interview with? Oh yes, Matthew Benham.

No doubt the local press get wind of these things from their ‘sources’ and our hands are tied to an extent but, at least, surely we could ‘turn the key’ at the same time as Everton? Or had they just ‘gone rogue’?

Still, at least we were all ahead of the BBC whilst, unlike with Toumani, pictures of Leandro wearing a Brentford tracksuit hadn’t appeared all over social media two days earlier. Compared to that, three hours isn’t too bad in the grand scheme!

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As somebody once said

The other news of real interest yesterday, where the club most definitely did have the lead, was the update given by Alan McCormack during the press conference from the Jersey Road media centre. The ‘live tweeting’ of press conference updates by ‘Brentford official’ HAS been a real positive in recent weeks. This one was no exception as Alan revealed that Jake Bidwell had orchestrated a ‘players-only meeting’ the Monday after the QPR debacle.

In a subsequent article that you can read in full on the club website, he has been quoted as saying , “We all sat on our own and we said what needed to be done: what needed to happen this week and every week towards the end of the season…..a few people said a few things. We spoke about what we are good at and what we need to do better. Everyone wants to win as much as the player beside them. The attitude of the players in training on Monday, Tuesday and today has been exceptional

 Wow. Are the players revolting? Is Dean losing his dressing room? Or was this a sign of Jake making his mark as captain and the squad facing up to those areas where perhaps they could be doing things differently? Let’s all hope this is very much the latter.

Either way, the last time we were advised of a frank ‘dressing room discussion’ came following the League One clash at Stevenage where Uwe was man enough to listen to his players and then tell all to Billy (Reeves, not Grant).

Following that, the rest was history. Stunning history . Brentford put it all behind them  to embark on that epic unbeaten run en-route to promotion and the Championship. Here’s hoping for more of the same against Blackburn on Saturday.

Three points and I’m sure we’ll celebrate like we’ve won the FA Cup. Now where have we heard that one before…?

Billy and Uwe

Uwe once elaborated on a frank discussion – the rest was history

Nick Bruzon

Is this today’s big unveiling?

26 Nov

Is this today’s big unveiling? I don’t mean at Leeds United, where their stunning 2016 calendar goes on sale, but of course at Brentford. Whilst we’ll get to Elland Road shortly, in TW8 we are five days on since Lee Carsley announced he’d spent his last game in charge of the first team. However, at the time of writing (Thursday morning, 6.30am) we are no closer to knowing who will succeed him in time for the televised game at Bolton Wanderers on Monday.

On what is, traditionally, ‘press day’ at the Brentford Media Centre, could we meet the new man? Or woman? Few clues have been given out beyond the mention of names as diverse as Pep Clotet, Justin Edinburgh, Uwe Rösler and, erm, Neil Warnock. Even our beloved local press, so often happy to chuck any ‘transfer related double swoop’ name into the mix, in the hope that some mud sticks, have gone silent on the topic. So will we find out today?

I’m no wiser. As a humble blogger my own knowledge is no greater than anybody reading although I share your enthusiasm in wanting to find out who the next occupant of the monogrammed training wear will be.

What I can confirm is that, currently, my own availability is yet to entice Matthew Benham to pick up the phone. With a 100% win ratio as co-manager of ‘Brentford Legends’ and a failed (on the assumption that nothing got ‘lost in the post’ ) application to manage Preston North End back in 1990 on my C.V., this can only mean there is a ‘big gun’ lined up.

Although if not…Mr. Benham – I’m still good for it.

Preston letter

Could the reply still be lost in the post?

The other reveal that is definitely due is that of the new Leeds United 2016 calendar. Apparently this has been deemed ‘controversial’ but I think it’s nothing short of pure class. Put together by nightclub owner and friend of Massimo Cellino, Terry George, it features the players in what could be deemed ‘unconventional’ poses.

Certainly , it bucks the trend from the standard ‘match action’ calendar that contains the sort of pictures we see on websites and in programmes, day in day out. The club have even put together a launch video on YouTube showing the players in everything from their smalls to fishing gear.

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All of which got me both admiring the brilliance but also wondering if there is time for us to go down a similar route. Assuming, of course, that the marketing team don’t already have something similar lined up.

‘Brentford is Brilliant’, proclaim signs all around the town. What better way to show this than have the players involved in a series of shots celebrating our heritage?

David Button juggling hot plates in Brentford Tandoori. Harlee Dean feeding the ducks at the canal. Alan Judge at Brentford County Court.Lewis Macleod picking up the leaves in St.Paul’s Park.

Perhaps, though, we’ll leave Sam Saunders away from the car wash.

Sam Saunders

Could we have a new Mr. January 2016 ?

Leeds calendar dinner

The video shows more briliance

 Nick Bruzon

And the winner is….announced very early but fully deserved

6 Nov

Brentford fans have woken up to the news that Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers has just been made all that harder. This, after Lee Carsley pipped Steve Bruce of Hull City, amongst others, to the much coveted ‘Manager of the Month’ award for October. And whilst, of course, Lee deserves nothing but the hugest congratulations, the associated ‘jinx’ that comes with it (scoop the award, lose your next game) will be something he needs all his powers to overcome.

Spoiler alert - its a Bees double for October

Spoiler alert – its a Bees double for October

Considering Lee’s long-term reluctance to take on this sort of role, one can‘t deny the impact he has had although, equally, he is quick to recognise the help provided by his assistant, Paul Williams. In an article that went live on the official site in the small hours of Friday morning (somebody may have been reading at 1.35am ) he said, “If I could cut the award in half, he would get the other half. I see this as a reward for a great team effort over the month.”

Whoever gets the kudos, to be recognised in such a fashion just five weeks after taking over from Marinus is an incredible achievement. The transformation has been a stunning one whilst, whatever else happens this season, Lee has guided us to victory over our fiercest rivals.

Whilst the jinx worthy amongst us may now be worried about what comes next on Saturday, the oft-quoted stat regarding the post-award defeat is one that has, to be fair, bypassed Brentford in recent years. Both Uwe and Warbs (twice) have managed to dodge it. Could Lee continue that trend at Blackburn?

Well, Brentford supporters will be hoping that October’s player of the month is available to help him with this challenge.

Alan Judge made it a Brentford double, picking up the onfield prize. And if Steve Bruce thought he might have had a shout for the managerial top spot after Hull City had stormed to the top of the Championship table, nobody could have disputed Alan’s reward.

Three goals and four assists have seen the Bees firing on all cylinders and the opposition left very much in his wake. His absence was definitely felt in Tuesday night’s game against Hull, such is the impact he has had. The club’s YouTube video, whilst ending on a precautionary note about his potential availability for this weekend, sees the Judge in enthusiastic form talking about the month just gone.

Congratulations due to Alan.

Whatever happens this weekend and this month, the season has a long way to go. Lee Carsley and his back room team have done a stunning job in reversing our fortunes. Regardless of results, it is as much the way we are playing football.

With the likes of Josh McEachran, Jota and Lewis Macleod due to return to first team fitness soon, that style of football is one we could be set to enjoy even more.

Nick Bruzon

As Uwe is sacked, who’s next on the sausage train ?

20 Oct

Well that all came out of nowhere. Whilst we’ll get to Brentford (and begin the Wolves preview) shortly, along with another new idea for Lionel Road, we can only begin at Leeds United where former Bees boss Uwe Rösler has been shown the door by Massimo Cellino. In his place, Steve Evans jumps straight from parting company with Rotherham United to becoming the Italian’s sixth head coach in 18 months.

You couldn’t make it up. Uwe, who had previously struggled with a doomed Wigan Athletic before being relieved of duties, didn’t stand a chance given the controversial owner’s previous track record. And now, just 12 games into his new career at Leeds, it’s all over. The FA followed this up by promptly banning Cellino from running his club after being found guilty of another tax offence.

But just when it couldn’t get any crazier, a 2013 quote from Evans began doing the rounds. For anybody who has had his or her head in the sand for the previous 24 hours, it’s below.

Evans - now on a rolling contract at Leeds (add your own punchline)

Evans – now on a rolling contract at Leeds (add your own punchline)

We all say things that we ultimately live to regret but this is a whopper. Even more bizarre is the line, “I want to be the captain of a Cruiseliner, not The Titanic”.

By what stretch of the imagination could Rotherham United have ever been considered a Cruiseliner? A pedalo, perhaps. We all know Evans loves shooting his mouth off but even by his standards this one was odd.

Given his vociferous personality and Cellino’s ‘no-nonsense’ approach this is either going to be the ultimate stroke in managerial genius or the Italian will be looking for manager number 7(seven) by Christmas. I’m betting on the latter option.

Will Steve Evans find it 'plain sailing' on his new Cruiseliner?

Will Steve Evans find it ‘plain sailing’ on his new Cruiseliner?

As for Uwe, what next? He left Brentford in a great position to return North where, sadly, things haven’t gone to plan. The Bees kept going without him whilst we all know what happened next at Wigan and now Leeds. Supporters are already muttering about him coning back but I think that Cruiseliner has long since sailed.

Much as there is emotional familiarity there, the club kept going without him. I’ll be eternally grateful for the position he got us to but it was Mark Warburton, with the backing of Matthew Benham, who was ultimately able to make the big step.

Then again, but for that penalty…. (hey, it’s been a while).

Back in West London, the development squad recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace. Moreso, considering Brentford were 2-0 down in the second half. However, a Montell Moore effort and two Sam Saunders goals in injury time (or ‘Autumn’ as its known on the training ground) were enough to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Mark Fuller catches the moment on the official club site

Mark Fuller catches the moment on the official club site

The win is great news, but even better is the thought of Sam Saunders returning to such imperious form. One thing the team has been crying out for is the sort of flair and enthusiasm brought by the likes of Sam and Jota (thanks, Dougie).

Whilst Charlton Athletic on Saturday is probably a bit too optimistic, could we see him back in time for an appearance in the QPR game on Friday week? What a time to come off the bench that would be.

The main reason we are talking about all of this is because the Wolves game, originally scheduled for tonight, has been put back 24 hours. Us football fans are very much creatures of habit and to play midweek on anything but a Tuesday feels somewhat odd. It shouldn’t but it does.

Much like when we lose the toss and the opposition does the sneaky trick of making us swap ends so we kick ‘the wrong way’ in the first half. It is a situation that rarely ends well (go on statisticians, prove me wrong) and leaves me feeling less than comfortable.

On the plus side, it means the players have had a bit longer to recharge after Saturday’s win over Rotherham but will it make a difference? For those of us not going, Mark Burridge, Ciaran Brett and Mark Chapman provide the Beesplayer comms. Where we can find out.

And finally, Lionel Road. Whilst we are still awaiting that photo of Mark Devlin and Matthew Benham leaning on shovels as we finally ‘break ground’, discussion around the stadium, and how it will look, continues. And overnight, the possibility of the Brentford monorail has risen from the ashes once more.

By possibility,I mean in no more form than just my own warped imagination where a photograph of the St. Pauli sausage train crossed my social media timeline. Whilst now, sadly, defunct, back in 2010 the VIP seats at the German club were served by this most special of train services.

The St.Pauli sausage train has, for now, been suspended

The St.Pauli sausage train has, for now, been suspended

Running every five minutes from the club kitchens, it brought hot bratwurst to those in the top seats. Presumably, to be washed down by the individual beer pumps at every chair.

If Matthew Benham is reading (you never know) how about something similar at Lionel Road? What finer way to have your pie served than without even having to leave the seat?

At a time when we are looking to make the new ground that little bit different (and the ‘hot seat’ idea is already one that has previously met with approval), how about it?

Nick Bruzon

Will Liverpool loanee feature for straight talking Marinus?

12 Sep

Brentford visit Leeds United today as part of a three day stint up North that will also see them based in the area until returning home following the game at Middlesbrough on Tuesday. After being deprived of domestic football for what seems like an eternity, thanks to the International calendar, things are now back with a bang as we get the chance to see the new look Bees squad in action.

It is a chance that I am desperate for. There is a very honest article on the club website with Marinus where even ‘official’ Brentford describe the start to the season as ‘turbulent’. I’ve made no secret on these pages as to how much I admire his straight talking and this interview is no different.

Admitting to learning more in the past two months than the previous four years, Marinus also notes, “It can be like a new beginning….“The squad is clear, we know who is in and who is out. The past few months – with not knowing who was leaving and coming in – has been difficult but now everyone knows who is in the squad and who they will compete with.”

It is that point which has been of particular resonance to all of us. Whilst, clearly, there has been some upset at the likes of Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Moses Odubajo (Hull) and Andre Gray (Burnley) all leaving, the additional injuries to the like of Jota, Bjelland and McEachran have given the squad an unexpected makeover. And not for the best.

But with several new additions and players returning to fitness, the head coach knows who he has to play with. The really interesting thing will now be who he picks to face Leeds Untied and what he does with them. I’m not even going to start trying to name the team for this one. Will Ryan Woods start? Could Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos put in an appearance? Just how good could Marco Djuricin be? Or will Marinus leave the initial tinkering to a minimum?

Could Sergi Canos be wearing a Brentford FC shirt today?

Could Sergi Canos be wearing a Brentford FC shirt today?

I don’t envy Marinus the problems he has been hit with at the start of this season. It has been a baptism of fire although, after what seems like months ago since the opening game 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town, we are only four games into the league campaign.

There’s an awful long way to go and with four points so far, the Bees have all the potential to start moving up the table. Supporter Rob Young, a guest contributor today, gives a much more eloquent take on this subject and I’d thoroughly recommend a read. I’ve kept my own thoughts a lot briefer so as not to steal his thunder.

Like Brentford, Leeds United also had four points from their first four games, until an excellent win at last season’s high fliers Derby County last time out saw them hit the magical 7(seven) marker. They’ll be ferocious opponents today and, no doubt, keen to avoid the double defeat inflicted on them by the Bees last season.

Uwe will, of course, have personal pride at stake here and with the Elland Road outfit seeming much more settled, the only thing I will predict is a much tougher challenge ahead of us today.

Back home, the spruce up of Griffin Park mentioned in yesterday’s article continues. The good news is that the Braemar Road forecourt does, indeed, seem to be incorporating the return of red and white stripes. This is great news for us traditionalists / older fans who recall these with fondness from back in the day.

Now, if Mr Benham could go the whole ‘retro’ hog and also give us a giant Castle badge or perhaps even a Funky Bee….

Griffin Park paint job - day 2. Is this the return of Stripes?

Griffin Park paint job – day 2. Is this the return of Stripes?

Nick Bruzon

A nice problem but I’m desperate to get back to normal

8 Sep

As a Brentford fan, international break proves a largely unsatisfying experience. With Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) and Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic) now departed, the interest in Northern Ireland (for the majority of us) has waned somewhat. Instead, our involvement this week remains sparse with Lasse Vibe’s place on the bench for Denmark in their 0-0 with Albania the only Brentford related presence at full International level. Even Gibraltar’s late goal in Poland, via the boot of Bristol Rovers Jake Gosling, was insufficient to get this fan excited. Being 8-0 down already will do that to you.

For all recent talk of the progress being made by the Boys from the Rock, it was a case of further punishment as the Poles advanced beyond brackets and closer to double figures with over ten minutes left on the clock. Even broadcaster Ian Abrahams (@BroadcastMoose on twitter) found sufficient time to put down the pies and poke fun at UEFA’s newest member.

Very clever

Very ‘clever’ – it’s Gibraltarians though, numpty

England play Switzerland tonight, with all focus on whether Wayne Rooney can get the goal required to move past Bobby Charlton as the all time leading goal scorer for the Three Lions. It’s a record to be proud of and interesting to note that both have taken 106 games to make the 49 goal figure. The England striker is 4/1 to grab the opener and 6/5 to score at any time tonight. In front of a large crowd at Wembley, and with qualification for EURO 2016 assured, expect the record to go.

That said, the excitement of Gibraltar scoring, home nations on the verge of qualification and England going ‘great guns’ still don’t help satisfy the big hole in the League calendar. Having reached the Championship, Brentford players now find themselves twiddling their thumbs. As does this supporter. The defeat to Reading seems an eternity away already as we now await the trip to Elland Road. The game against Leeds United will, of course, see us renew acquaintances with Herr Rösler and Stuart Dallas on Saturday.

With the transfer window closed, Marinus knows the make up of his new look squad. I’m desperate to see what he does with it ! Off field Jota dropped a promising message onto twitter last night. The Leeds game will be way too soon for his return but great to see him chomping at the bit to get back in action. Sentiments, no doubt, shared by supporters.

Is Jota back soon?

Is Jota back soon?

Otherwise, Lasse Vibe’s stunner against Reading has been named ‘goal of the month’ for August. A landslide victory, and rightly so, you can see that below. However, nice though it was to watch this again, it’s no substitute for seeing Brentford in action.

An enforced break is just part of Championship life and, if this is the price to pay for promotion, hardly one to complain about. It’s more a case of adjusting to what we have been used to for so long – football every Saturday and build up to it/ fallout from it every week.

That said, I can’t wait for the weekend. International intrigue is all well and good but nothing, quite, compares to that moment when your club walks out at 2.55pm on a Saturday afternoon.

He’s got that Vibe (come on, I’ve waited four games…)

Nick Bruzon