Tag Archives: Vicarage Road

Move over Cameron Diaz. Bees face their own ‘Bullseye’ moment.

15 Dec

Easy come , easy go. Not so much the latest Tier 3 restrictions imposed in London which means Brentford fans miss out on the chance to visit Lionel Road for the Reading, Newcastle United and beyond games. Urghhh. More, the world of celebrity support. With the Bees due at Watford for a crucial top six six-pointer this evening, none other than England cricket legend Monty Panesar popped up last night to pledge his support for Thomas Frank’s team. Could we have another superstar to join the ranks of Dean Gaffney, Rhino from the Quo, Adam Bluetone and Natalie Sawyer? Or is this merely a short term love affair, given Monty’s apparent support of Luton Town?

I’m all good with this. Fully fledged transfer or short-term support at the expense of the rivals. Luton and Watford have never been the best of friends, he says politely. Personally speaking, as a Brentford fan there’s no finer sight than watching FulhamL or Quarter Pound of Rubbish imploding. Of seeing Birmingham City self-destruct (Dean o.g. “Apologies to those who travelled. The fans deserve better” ) or Leeds United fall apart. Again. Whomever it is inflicting the fatal blow. So if Monty wants to  follow suit and give us an extra cheer, regardless of whether his motive is genuine affiliation or interim support, then go for it.  Half and half scarf, anyone?

Monty is a Bee. Perhaps for one night only?

And we’ll need all the support we can get. Thomas Frank used his press conference to highlight the challenge presented by Watford. “It is a top six game against one of the relegated sides who have transitioned well. They are one point off the automatic promotion spots so it is going to be a very tough task. In terms of conceding goals, they have the second best defence. They defend extremely well and play with an experience that makes it very difficult to beat.

As ever, there was that wonderful turn of phrase. The performance of Vitaly Janelt, fast becoming a fan favourite, was noted by Thomas who described how, “He has hit the ground sprinting” but those of you fed up with substitutions better look away.. “It is about trying to balance between getting the core in the team right while still freshening it up in some positions. We have to use the subs well because freshness will be a big part of success throughout the season”. Not my words. The words of Thomas Frank.

And we all know why. So get used to it. Tonight won’t be easy, that’s for sure. But it is one of those where the opportunity is wonderful. A chance for Brentford to leap frog Watford in pursuit of an ‘automatic’ place. We’re no pushovers ourself, of course. 11 games unbeaten and Ivan Toney scoring for fun. The defence generally locking things out game on game whilst the win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday saw attacking intent of the highest order. Brentford will present as big a challenge to our rivals as they do to us. 

If only we could get in to see it. The trip to Vicarage Road always an enjoyable one (aside from trying to get out the car park at full time). Alas, visiting fans are nothing more than a flight of fancy at present. A pipe dream up there with seeing Cameron Diaz wearing a Brentford shirt. 

Even home support has been knocked on the head as quickly as it was dangled in front of us. A two game carrot cruelly snatched away as London moves back in to a Tier 3 restriction from Wednesday. Those fortunate few (4,000 fans and 200 directors) to have been present for Blackburn, Derby and QPR respectively now back on the Follow or Sky Sports – as is the case tonight, with an 8pm kick off. Those lined up for Reading on Saturday seeing the opportunity now denied them. Even worse, the visit of Newcastle United for the league cup quarter-final on Tuesday also impacted. Another to be played out in front of no more than Matthew Benham, the board and a handful of journalists. Urghhh. Frustration, he wrote.

And then Sergi popped up to say his thing on Twitter. Positivity coursing through his veins, as ever.  “You really made a difference when you all came to the stadium. We will miss you but we need you behind us for the games coming up! You can still make the difference from home. POSITIVE and TOGETHER! Come on @BrentfordFC

From the seat in my kitchen, I’m struggling to match him this morning. Having finally seen supporters inside Lionel Road it felt as though we had that extra lift. As though things were heading back to some small semblance of normality. Now we’re back to square one.

Backing the team is no issue. As ever. Being there to do it in person a real highlight. Now it has been taken away once more. A crappy year getting crappier. Much like that moment at the end of Bullsye. “We hate to do this to you”, Jim Bowen would say (oh no you don’t), “but we’ve got to show you. Look at what you could have won…”. 

Rather than a speedboat it was a chance to watch an actual game of football.

Look at what you could have won…..

Hey. I’m the lucky one. Part of the 4,200 who have been afforded the opportunity. I get that and am truly grateful for being amongst the first fans in. I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must have been the last few days, knowing you had a ticket for Reading but also hearing the news updates and waiting for the inevitable axe to fall. Gutting. Yet even watching a game on TV with the fans present has felt ten hundred times better than seeing it played out in front of an empty stadium. Now we are back to square one.

As Thomas himself said, “We are sad we can’t have fans for the next few games. I can’t wait until we are done with Coronavirus but we will carry on”.

Too true. Until then, its back to the sofa. Sitting there, in spirit at least, with the rest of our fans and, perhaps, Monty Panesar. Metaphorically speaking.

Roll on 8pm See you there.

Nick Bruzon

Was this the craziest day in Championship history? (pt.2)

3 May

In all the excitement of Brentford lining up a play off semi final with Middlesbrough (highlights now released), we’ve not yet looked at the very top end of the table where Watford and Bournemouth were locked in a battle to see who would lift the Championship title.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Did Clem play an unwitting part in the final direction of the Championship title?

Did Clem play an unwitting part in the final direction of the Championship title?

Hats off as a great season comes down to the wire.

2 May

Today’s the day the Championship gets settled. Brentford fans all know the maths in regards to our game and those involving Derby County and Ipswich Town. Meanwhile, at the very top of the table Charlton are the only ones who can stop Bournemouth getting promoted although (and I apologise to Watford fans) it will be the Cherries who lift the Silverware. Plus we’ve the latest from Steve Evans at Rotherham United

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Who am I to argue??

Who am I to argue??

What do you want? Information.

16 Feb

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

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

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Woeful week sees Bees lurch from crisis to debacle

15 Feb

A dreadful week for Brentford off field ended in calamitous style on it. Instead of consolidating our play off spot and, even, aiming higher we’ve slipped to 7th(seventh) place after this woeful defeat to a Charlton Athletic side who hadn’t won in three months prior. This, following the loss to Watford on Tuesday, has compounded a ludicrous five days where the performance at The Valley was every bit as embarrassing as ‘that statement’ and the subsequent tumbleweed out of Griffin Park.

This isn’t a question about the ‘support’ of Matthew Benham.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

A big Bees crowd were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The Bees fans were (mostly) focussed on the game and showing their support

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The situation stinks as Bees fans leave The Valley

The stuff of dreams or nightmares?

13 Feb

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

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

The latest managerial updates provide stark roundup

12 Feb

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

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

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

11 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

People spread rumours in the footbaling village

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

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

My wake up call to this story via Broadcast Moose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The players show just what Warbs means to them

The players show just what Warbs means to them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Irony strikes but can a leopard change his spots?

10 Feb

Brentford host Watford tonight in a game where three points will see us ‘officially’ safe and past the relegation high water mark of 54 seen in 2012/13. More importantly, with Championship leaders Bournemouth hosting Derby County, something has to give at the top end of the table. And, with the Hornets currently occupying the final play off spot, a win for the Bees will have the more noticeable effect of starting to see some real clear water between us and the rest of the chasing pack.

Back in September Brentford travelled to Vicarage Road and went down 2-1 in a game where a soft penalty and a stunning goal from Matej Vydra were enough to render the (temporary) equaliser from Jonathan Douglas as meaningless.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage - those days are in the past

A cheap excuse to drag out the Stroud montage – those days are in the past

Clem, Watford and Elton step into Christmas in style

14 Dec

As Brentford were putting Blackburn to the sword, I still had half an eye on Watford where Sir Elton John was in attendance to officially open the new stand at Vicarage Road, named after their former chairman. Of course, a new stand is always a good thing (indeed, we’d seen it almost finished when Watford had beaten us in October) but my principal interest was in the presence of another special guest. Clem from the BBC Football League Show.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

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

As close as Clem got to Elton - but at least it's another three points

As close as Clem got to Elton – but at least it’s another three points