Tag Archives: Village

There’s more than one anniversary to commemorate. Could the same thing happen again?

23 Feb

With Brentford due to entertain Rotherham United this Saturday, the game sees a much heralded anniversary being marked – fifty years since the Loftus Road mob failed in their attempt to cast the Bees out of Griffin Park and take over the club. Whilst the club are understandably, marking this date with all the correct protocol and build up, it has overshadowed another anniversary. Namely, Friday 24 February being two years to the day that the Bees enjoyed 74% possession and an incredible 43 shots in a 4-0 Championship defeat of Blackpool.

Of course, the club have numerous articles on the doomed QPR affair. You can see the latest on ‘official’ at present (well worth a look) whilst the Rotherham game sees the event being given formal recognition.

Yet the Blackpool game also deserves a look back. If only for the manner in which Brentford played so soon after the news that Mark Warburton would eventually be moving on, unable to co-exist alongside Matthew Benham and his (then new) ‘mathematical model’.

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Warbs – more popular at the time than the prospect of the mathematical model

Of course, nobody knew then what we do now. It was decision which seemed crazy at the time . Moreso, given that the Blackpool game seemed a vindication of everything the club had done to get to that point. Equally though, it is one which now sees us about to embark on a fourth season of Championship football. The thought of any QPR style buy out nothing but a bad memory as Matthew Benham’s investment in Brentford continues apace.

So with Saturday seeing us prepare to play Rotherham United and (frankly) jeer QPR, the Last Word takes the chance to step back in time and remember, as if ‘live’, what we did against Blackpool. It was as close as we’ll get to those wonderful brackets that come with 7(seven) goals. Then again, with the divisional whipping boys next up, could Brentford do the same again two years on…..?

25 February 2015. 4 goals, 43 shots, 74% possession. That’s some mathematical model.

Brentford blew aside Blackpool last night like a crisp packet caught on the breeze as they recorded a second win in as many games. The 4-0 scoreline does little to reflect the one sided nature of a game in which we registered 43 shots to the visitors 2 and had 74% possession. Blackpool, who spent much of the game with ten men following a red card for Charles Dunne, offered nothing and, being honest, could have made the long journey home on the wrong end of a bracketing had we been that bit more clinical.

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Those shots in full

As it was, Jon Toral recorded a hat trick with two early goals starting proceedings and looking as though the floodgates might open. With the crowd exhorting Toumani to shoot at every opportunity, expectation was high. Even ‘the left side, Ealing Road’, joined in with the cheering before meeting the good natured retort “You only sing when your winning” from the rest of the stand.

Instead, it stayed at two until just after half time when Andre Gray’s effort eventually squeezed though, and off, a sea of legs for 3-0. And that was it until Toral was forced to make room on his mantelpiece for a match-ball as he stabbed home from close range just before the final whistle.

4-0 was no more than we deserved but with everybody above us (barring Bournemouth who play tonight) winning, it was an essential result. Yes, we could have had more but three points had to be the priority against a team who were desperate for a result and, for a moment, looked as though they might even grab the opening goal.

However, it was just a moment and, with the threat gone, Brentford recorded a victory that sees us sitting immediately outside the playoff zone, just two points off third place. All talk of Matthew Benham’s mathematical model has been pushed firmly to the back of the mind as 7(seven) goals in two games suggest something is working just fine as things currently stand. Hey, we even scored from a corner (albeit, the traditional ball into the penalty box rather than the much maligned ‘short’ variety).

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In the interest of balance I’m looking for a negative about our performance but it is hard to be truly objective when the opposition offer so little. You have to really feel for their fans making that journey for that level of resistance.

Being über critical, the only thing to elicit any form of inward groan, short corners aside, was some of David Button’s distribution. Whilst we used to think even Natalie Sawyer’s feet would be better suited to clearing the ball, that part of his game has still improved so much that a rogue effort does really stand out now. There’s good reason the fans chant “England’s number one”.

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Better than Button? Natalie Sawyer feet pictures feat Mark Burridge, too.

Warbs’ stock continues to rise as the post match discussion in the pub was very much one of “What next”? Matthew Benham has made his intentions clear and so certainly seems to have gone too far down this track for a reversal of opinion. The popular Mark Warburton, meanwhile, has said he won’t be able to work within such a structure.

However, there is an alternative which could keep both parties happy. If Matthew wants a mathematical model then I have two words which, I am sure, would prove a popular decision – Rachel Riley.

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First look at the artist’s impression of a mathematical model etc etc etc

And, as ever, if you would like to read more about that incredible period then you can do so here…….

Nick Bruzon

How can the same stuff happen to the same guy twice as Rangers meltdown? Can the same scoreline happen again as Bees travel North?

11 Feb

Well that’s been a busy few days off. Most of us have woken to news that Mark Warburton, David Weir and Frank McParland have, apparently, all ‘resigned’ at Rangers – something our former manager claims to know nothing about. With the Scottish club announcing that Graeme Murty is in charge, things could get interesting in the dugout at 3pm. Back in Brentford,  Josh Clarke and Dean Smith (nothing more than coincidental timing, I am sure) have both signed contract extensions whilst on pitch, not that one exists as yet, Hounslow council have given rugby club London Irish permission to ground share at Lionel Road. Yet all these are mere appetisers ahead of the main course – our trip to Preston North End.

Of course, we can only start at Deepdale. Brentford annihilated Preston 5-0 at Griffin Park earlier in the season and, based on current form, the casual observer would only expect more of the same. We’ve scored six goals  in our last two games – the first of the Hogan free era.

Aston Villa were despatched as simply as a half time balti pie offered to a hungry supporter. There was literally no resistance from the former Premier League team who were left looking somewhat like a pub side. The only disappointment being that 3-0 was scant reflection of a game where there was only one team in it.

As for Brighton on Sunday. 2-0 up and with a penalty opportunity to make it three, that one looked very much like another win fro the Bees. That it ended 3-3 was as much testament to the quality of our opponents (still very much promotion favourites and title contenders) combined with, perhaps, a touch of naivety from Brentford as the lead was retaken with 95 minutes on the clock. No criticism though. It was an honour to be part of the crowd for that one.

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KK is in there, somewhere, celebrating a late, late ‘winner ‘ against Brighton

Yet, as we’ve mentioned before, part of this resurgence is as much down to Dean Smith’s new formation. Lasse Vibe just one of five players to get on the scoresheet in front of two wide men and two centre backs in Harlee Dean and Andreas Bjelland. More room in the middle. Jota destroying all comers and looking a class above anybody trying to stop him. With a bench that includes Josh Clarke and Sergi Canos aswell as the finally back in favour Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Alan McCormack, Dean seems to have got the balance just right. Can he do it again for a third successive game ?

Surely he’ll go for more of the same today? Although Preston are five points above the Bees, they haven’t won in four games. We know we have the beating of them and that was in a team without Jota. Yet the BBC report that with John Egan fit again, he could return to the starting line up.

All being well, this is nothing more than opportunistic journalism. And this is meant as no disrespect whatsoever to a player who has more than justified his own contract extension. Yet playing with a traditional back four, albeit one where the defence still push up, has been nothing short of revalationary. A breath of fresh air after what could, politely, be described as some turgid, sluggish and inconsistent performances.

Come on Dean, here’s hoping you have the same courage of your convictions away from home as at Griffin Park. The bookies still have Preston as favourites  – only 2 defeats in the last 12 at home likely helping their position – but the new look Bees are a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to see how we fare on the road.

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Jota helped destroy Brighton. And Aston Villa

Rugby is the other news to make us sit up and take notice – Mark Warburton at Rangers aside, where one can only wonder what on earth is going on. In a communications debacle to make our own media team seem like Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, the Glasgow club have released a statement to say he has quit whilst Warbs seems unaware that he has, supposedly, penned his resignation letter.

This is a situation where nobody comes out the winner. Aside from, perhaps, Celtic whose 27 point lead over closest challengers Rangers and Aberdeen seems even safer than ever. With alleged new destination Nottingham Forest already having named their interim management team, could Mark Warburton find himself temporarily out in the cold again?

It was 10 February 2015 when the story about his ‘replacement’ at the end of Brentford’s Championship season was leaked by The Times. The club handled news about that one terribly – the only way worse could have been had we included a hashtag – as Warbs , in public at least, carried himself with dignity whilst retaining the love of players and supporters alike.

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Warbs , Jota and the team on the day of village-gate 2015

Two years to the very day, it has happened again. Another announcement about his position, this time at Rangers, clouded in confusion and controversy. Who’d be a manger. Or  in a comms role…

As for the rugby, well it seems that London Irish will be the new tenants at Lionel Road, once the stadium is built. Hounslow Council have granted permission for a ground share at the new stadium. Official tell us us that “Progress on the implementation of the Brentford Community Stadium project is continuing apace, ahead of a moving in date of the season 2019/20. The full story is on the club website.

And finally, if you can get through all the adverts , pop ups and surveys on their site, (Get) West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore has another video. Do check it out, it’s well worth a look.

Until then, here’s to Preston.

Nick Bruzon

As Rangers rumours get a little mixed up, Tom and Tom raise spirits with video double

22 Dec

Well, that was an odd day for Brentford fans. With the Rangers  / Jota story now changing tack in the Scottish press to suggest that former Bees boss Mark Warburton has flown to Spain to speak directly to the popular midfielder, South of the border those reports have been roundly, erm, scotched.

For one reason, I can’t believe this has happened purely because it would represent a totally illegal approach to a player still contracted to Brentford. Rangers wouldn’t break the rules in this fashion, would they ?

Warbs only ever came across as nothing but an honourable man at Griffin Park. Who could forget his performance on Sky Sports News after the Village-gate story about his eventual departure from Griffin Park broke. He was nothing but the consummate gentleman and professional defending both the club and Mr. Benham as he looked to rally his troops and supporters.

Bees 1-0 v Watford Warburton

Warbs , Jota and the team on the day of village-gate

Ok . Let’s say for argument’s sake that Mark had taken a quick Spanish holiday where he happened to bump into Jota.  Are we really expected to believe he’s then gone telling the local media? As ever, the ’stories’ are supported by nothing more authoritative than that coverall phrase “Record Sport understands” (something as concrete as : “a source close to the club”) to describe a “secret trip at some point in the last seven days”.

One can only assume the Rangers manager is speaking to his lawyers at the moment or contacting the paper to retract this article. The position it now places him in would seem one at odds with the rules of how football is governed and transfer business is carried out.

Thankfully, West London’s Premier Journalist Tom Moore was on hand to save the day and dampen the hopes of the Ibrox faithful.

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Jota isn’t going to Rangers – Tom has it on the nose

His article – which is well worth a look just for the video shot in a live office environment where Tom is, at times, drowned out by the woman who deals with the competitions on line – pours cold water on any such rumours.

Catching up with Dean Smith, Tom quotes the Brentford head coach as saying : “I know we’ve had no contact from Rangers. He’s our player and they’d have to come through us first..….I’m sure that’s just speculation. I’m not sure Mark would go out there to speak to one of our players. They would have to contact us to speak to one of our players for sure.”

Perhaps Rangers are best focussing on an equally bizarre story – their Twitter spat (is there a finer phrase in cyberspace?) with Little Mix over the Christmas Number One  – rather than pursuing a player they have no authority over. If, indeed, they are actually doing so. Hmm. A rumour gone wild? Who’d have thought it?

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The aforementioned video also includes Tom’s take on the Scott Hogan speculation, our current form ( “Good enough to survive in the division but not good enough at this stage to reach the top six in the league”) and who he sees as our standout player. Take a look. It’s a good one….

The other video to catch the eye yesterday was one which appeared on Twitter. Whilst we’ve probably all seen this, it is one so good it deserves another look. Take a bow, Tom Field.

Surely a full 90 minutes are next on the agenda. Not only are we yet to concede a league goal when he is on the pitch but now he’s only goner and pulled this out of the hat….

Nick Bruzon

Bees, Bolton, Rangers and Warbs all on the brink

4 Apr

There will no doubt be plenty to talk about over the next few days with Brentford and Bolton both knowing a lot more about where our respective clubs will be next season following Tuesday night’s clash at Griffin Park. Yet that same evening many of us will likely have a fair bit of interest North of the border where Mark Warburton is, for the second successive season, on the brink of taking his team into the Premier League. This time though, it will be his Rangers side rather than our beloved Bees.

For us,  the weekend results have all but (officially) doomed Wanderers. The end to both their Championship status and our relegation fears could come at full time should the Bees make it two wins in a row.  It won’t be easy of course. Brentford’s position is by no means a false one (tables don’t lie) and indicative of a sub-par 2015/16. Of course the reasons for that are numerous and have been well documented – although the answers as to whether there have been more rights or wrongs this campaign remain to be seen.

Indeed, despite the huge disappointment felt as Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham parted company after coming ‘so close’ (do Brentford ever do anything but ‘so close’?) is it fair to even call this campaign ‘sub-par’?

Well, only after our fate is assured either way will we be able to answer that question fully but whichever way you look at it, glass half-empty or half-full, to be facing the prospect of this third season in the Championship can only be viewed as a stunning positive.

And yes, I know I’ve made this point a lot in recent weeks but it is needs to be acknowledged. Cripes, we’ve spent enough time analysing all the frustrations, problems and ‘if onlys’ that have got us to this point. Safety first, please, and then we can properly take stock of all that has happened. And all that might have had we not switched models.

We all loved Warbs. To see him and Rangers storming it in Scotland hurts, but not in a bad way. Not like ‘that penalty’, Ray Biggar or any of our play-off campaigns. It is great to see Warbs continuing his success and is something I can only wish him well on.

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Warbs – in there, somewhere. The day of ‘Village-gate’

With the greatest of respect to Marinus, Lee Carsley and Dean Smith, I’d love to have seen Warbs able to stay on at Griffin Park. That’s not a dig any any of the candidates who came next but, simply, me wondering where we would have been had this most loved of men (and potentially more than just a handful of his squad) been here still. Yes, there were things he might have done differently but to finish fifth in your first full season managing, in the Championship, after getting us promoted from the First Division, is the sort of stuff you could write a book about or two…. (hey, if I can’t be unsubtle in my own blog then when can I?)

Instead we can only wish him well for Tuesday night as Rangers host Dumbarton, standing on the brink of a return to the Scottish Premiership. Warbs left with an incredible reputation as a debutant manager yet also as a man who carried himself with dignity in some very trying times.

Of course, my head and heart will be at Griffin Park hoping we can secure another win that will put us in a position we’d have taken with arms wide open three or four years ago. Yet, at the same time, I’ll have half an ear pressed to the terrace tranny, wondering if Mark can continue the fantastic start to his managerial career.

Good luck Mark. There’ll be thousands down here wishing you well.

As a final thought, and totally unrelated, who remembers the Brentford FC phone card? For that matter, who remembers phone cards full stop? Given these days of mobile phones, it seems crazy to think we’d even use call boxes or have pre-loaded ‘credit’ cards to allow us to make phone calls when on the move.

But we did. 1990 seems like only five minutes ago to me and, back then, Third Division Brentford were at the heart of the ‘mobile’ revolution. Digging through the back of the cupboard this morning I’ve stumbled across a few old membership packs – how I wish we could bring back the ‘funky bee’ in some form – and our own venture into the ‘phone card’ market.

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Back then, it was all about the Funky Bee

Mercury didn’t last that long. Having the card was great. Having a Mercury phone to put it into was an altogether different prospect. But stumbling across this has brought back some fond memories. If nothing else, just seeing popular club physio Roy Clare as part of this squad.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Mostly down but, now the Bees are back on the rise once more, I’m desperate to see us carry on our climb to new success.

Here’s to three more points on Tuesday night and then we can, barring disasters, start to make some plans for the biggest Championship season yet.

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ET phone home? Not with a Mercurycard

Nick Bruzon 

 

And you thought football was a village…..we aren’t alone!

16 Mar

In a season where communications, or lack of, have been one of the key themes for Brentford supporters trying to get our heads around the club’s new direction it seems there is a similar sentiment across London at Charlton Athletic. That said, the ‘problems’ faced by the Bees seem miniscule compared to those at the Valley. Yet given how raw last season’s ‘Village-gate’ affair still feels to many, yesterday’s press release from the Addicks has struck a chord in what some might deem a similar scenario. Namely, that of a patronising and nonsense packed ‘official statement’ on a club website.

Football is a village’ is a line that will be forever steeped in infamy at Griffin Park. If ever we were looking for an opposite to, “They celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup” then here it was. To this day, I still don’t know who came up with that gumph, who thought it was our best response to the leaked stories surrounding Mark Warburton and why, in retrospect, nobody has come out and suggested we might have played that one a little bit better. Still, enough has been said about that sad event on these pages to warrant further discourse (although if you’d like to read more…..)

Then, yesterday, it all come flooding back as the Charlton media team decided to crank the Village factor up to 11. To be fair, they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Sunday’s home win against Middlesbrough which, hot off the back of a victory at Griffin Park has given them renewed hope of survival, was one marred by a number of protests against Roland Duchatelet and chief executive Katrien Meire.

Amongst other things, a coffin made an appearance whilst several whistles in the crowd did their best to disrupt the players. Kick off was followed by a deluge of beach balls onto the pitch and several fans walked out on 74 minutes – to signify the amount of goals Charlton have shipped so far this term. There was even a somewhat unsavoury pitch invasion which, against type, the watching Sky TV cameras gave full prominence to .

I can sympathise with the club in wanting to do something. Likewise, they’ve even waited on this until Tuesday in order to let the immediate heat go out of the situation and then give it their most considered response. But there are ways of doing something and then ways of doing something. If I didn’t know better I’d suggest our own comms team had been transferred out of Griffin Park and taken up residence at The Valley.

Last Sunday, some individuals did not come to The Valley to watch the game and support the team, but came to create disorder on the pitch and interfere with the players and the game. Disorder which is, allegedly, needed to drive change in ownership and management

Those aren’t my words but the opening salvo of a ‘toys out the pram’ response that makes the football village seem almost Shakespearean in comparison.

Other ‘highlights’ include, “Some individuals seem to want the club to fail. This is a confused approach, since following this logic leads to exactly the opposite of what we all want: staying in the Championship” and

Allegations regarding the CEO are misrepresented and are continuously used as a method to discredit and fuel personal abuse, hatred and with a risk to personal safety”.

You can read the full statement on the Charlton website. It’s a sorry state of affairs for their supporters, many of whom I have no doubt are backing the team to the hilt. Instead, at this time of need, they are all being tarred with a brush of ne’er do wells in a statement that reeks of paranoia.

Football is, without doubt, something bordering on a religion and obsession to many. It is part and parcel of our lives, our friendships are based around it whilst, for many, the choice of club is a generational thing handed down by parents keen to pass on the torch. Simply put, we are bound to our teams in a symbiotic relationship where everything that happens to them impacts us one way or another.

Sure, Charlton had to make some sort of reaction. Yet given the frustrations which have been building over the course of this season and came to a head on Sunday, doing it in such a fashion is yet another example of a club owner’s failure when it comes to making friends and influencing people.

For all those unhappy with certain aspects at Brentford this year, please have some perspective. Whilst we’ve certainly hit a bump in the road on the pitch, off the field Matthew Benham and his team have started to open up more to the fans in the last week whilst you can’t deny he is a Brentford fan through and through.

Football isn’t a village, it’s more than that. Our top brass would do well to continue realising that.

Please let’s not ever release a statement like this (again).

Nick Bruzon

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It stinks at Charlton

 

Could current form see one of our hopes go South?

16 Feb

Come on Middlesbrough. Last night’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United raises a worrying concern for Brentford fans. Specifically that we might have to play them again next campaign. Whilst Boro’ remain in the top two, their form has hit somewhat of a rough patch with two defeats , three draws and just two goals coming in their last five league games. For a team that has beaten the Bees 6 times in the last two seasons, there is a large section of the Griffin Park faithful that will be more than happy to see them promoted to the Premier League.

Of course, we must remember that most delicious of clichés. Namely that the league is a marathon not a sprint. Believe me, I’d be much happier having the sort of form that Middlesbrough are currently ‘enjoying’ rather than that of the Bees. The point is made more to illustrate how interesting the top of the table has become.

Just three points separate first placed Hull City and Brighton in fourth. Even Sheffield Wednesday, who of course put 4 past Brentford on Saturday, find themselves just two wins off the top as the race for ‘automatic’ has locked up once more.

It’s a lovely problem to have and one that, 12 months ago, we were caught up in. Village-gate had been and gone as, with the season’s low point of ‘Charlton away’ behind us, Brentford prepared to get back to winning ways. Of course, we didn’t quite make it despite a heroic effort in, arguably, the most exciting campaign in living memory. Fifth place saw us consigned to an eighth play-off campaign where the combination of a prospective visit to the ‘W’ place, along with games against Boro’, meant that usual service ensued.

That was then. This is now. Surely Middlesbrough have too much about them to trouble Brentford for a third, successive, season? Presumably recent acquisition and former Bee Jordan Rhodes will be the man to complete their stellar line up rather than the Faustino Asprilla to their Newcastle United? If nothing else, I just can’t see Aitor Karanka having a Keegan style meltdown

Any excuse to show this one.

Still, if Brentford fans think things are ‘bad’ at the moment (trust me, they aren’t), then do take a look at Leeds United. Despite some stunning signings of their own, including Stuart Dallas and the free scoring Toumani Diagouraga, there remains unrest at Elland Road. And not just from Steve Evans trying to find a tracksuit that fits him.

Controversial owner Massimo Cellino seems intent to take on the TV companies whilst fans, who had been promised a buy out, took to projecting images onto the stadium after the Italian went back on his word. The Yorkshire Post (@Yorkshirepost) were amongst those leading with some incredible images before kick off last night.

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Now THIS is how to make a point

Let’s not pretend all is perfect at Brentford currently. Despite Matthew Benham’s life saving investment over the years, many are frustrated by the subsequent decimation of the team that achieved so much last campaign. Current form sees us sliding down the table whilst Dean Smith can’t buy a win (or a goal) at the minute.

But like Middlesbrough, I’m sure this is just a short term thing. We’ve come too far to throw it all away and I’m convinced the rebuilding operation we’ve put ourselves on (team, rather than stadium) will continue over the summer. Like it or not, Brentford are on a path of consolidation now. Last year’s team are nothing more than a warm and fuzzy glow who will rank alongside the heroes of yesteryear.

Instead, let’s just hope that Phil and Rasmus know what they are doing when it comes to any summer recruitment. Barring a miracle / disaster, we’re going to have two London derbies to look forward too along with another chance to take on a Leeds United side who haven’t beaten Brentford in our last 6 encounters.

As for Boro’, perhaps its best all round if they just exit the Championship and do what a club of their size should, conceivably, have done last time out. Good luck in the top flight !

Until then, we’ve got a game against Derby County coming up. All being well, a run out against another play off contender will be just what the doctor ordered to fire us back to winning ways.

Princess Royal Middlesbrough

Never again will still be too soon

Nick Bruzon

As Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley stories gather pace, what’s actually happening?

5 Jan

Two days in to the dreaded transfer window period and already Brentford have been deluged with rumours and stories concerning our star players. Alan Judge and James Tarkowski have, supposedly, both been attracting interest from Burnley whilst the former has also been the subject of a derisory  bid from Sheffield Wednesday.

I’m not a massive fan of discussing transfer rumours but even by normal standards the silly season has started early. And ignoring them won’t make anything just ‘go away’. Moreso when you look at the sources. Everybody from Sky Sports to the West London websites and Beesotted have jumped on the Judge ‘story’.

I take the piece from Beesotted most seriously of all. Dave and Billy seem to have that incredible knack of knowing the right people behind the scenes and winkling out the facts from any story. Whilst I’d don’t take everything they say as 100% Gospel, recent seasons have shown us that they invariably get it right. When other sources are chucking enough mud in the hope that some sticks (followed by an “as exclusively revealed….”), the Beesotted boys generally sort the wheat from the chaff.

And their article suggests that Sheffield Wednesday have offered to triple Alan’s wages which, if correct, one would think is something that currently we’d struggle to get close to. Whilst, of course, Brentford are not obliged to sell this season’s top performer, those sort of figures are sure to turn anybody’s head and make having to listen to ‘that band’ every week almost bearable.

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Any new player at Hillsborough will have to listen to this

With Burnley also reported to be after Alan, I can only see this heading to a similar bidding war as the one we saw between the Clarets and Hull City over Andre Gray during the summer. How it turns out will be a very interesting test of both Brentford’s resolve and plans aswell as the player’s own personal preferences. I have no insight on either factor so, rather than speculate, can only sit and wait for the next move. And it’s not a comfortable position to be in.

Burnley have, of course, also been lined with James Tarkowski. This after fears that Michael Keane would be on his way to Everton. However, with The Lancashire Telegraph now claiming that aswell as having a bid for James turned down, Burnley will be hanging on to Keane (“I’m going nowhere” is his purported quote) could that one die down ?

The Tarkowski story was one also reported by Beesotted (via their Northern ‘contacts’) and so seems to be one doing the rounds up that way, too. But, again, there’s nothing us regular fans can do about it apart from sit tight and wait to see what happens next or who Burnley are linked with. At this rate, I’d fancy them to go sniffing after Nick Proschwitz, such is their fascination with everything Brentford.

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Tarks – hopefully us Bees fans will have better days, too

And, as ever, there is nothing out of Griffin Park. On the one hand I fully respect their stance of refusing to comment on speculation. There’s no point in adding fuel to any fire. On the other, the days of sticking your head in the sand are long gone.

The Internet makes information available at the drop of a hat and people are happy to share it, read it or speculate on it in a bid to generate headlines, satisfy their own desire to ‘be in the know’ and stir up sales. I can only imagine agents to be sitting back and rubbing their hands at present.

The alternative is we come out and make a definitive statement. To say that the club have had bids (or not) but have turned them down. That we have no need or intention to sell and both players are under contract. That we’re building this side to push for the Premier League and have no desire to sell a key player to a play-off rival.

Of course, that will never happen. It’s just not the way we operate and comms haven’t exactly been our strong point in recent years – who could forget the ‘success’ of Village-gate or the Marinus debacle? Besides, when money is involved and the window has another four weeks to run, such a statement would be as valuable as the Chairman’s ‘vote of confidence’.

But like it or not, the fans have read the stories. The websites and news outlets are talking about them. It would be nice to see us at least try.

Until then, we’ve got an FA Cup game to think about on Saturday. I can’t imagine either player will feature (and only because of the chaotic calendar that sees 3 games in 6 days). But you can bet your  bottom dollar what conclusions people will draw from that.

Press day at the Brentford media centre could be an interesting one this week.

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The  Internet makes ‘hiding in the sand’ a tough option for the likes of Rasmus, Phil and the media/comms teams

 

Nick Bruzon

Phil Giles gets personal

2 Dec

I hadn’t planned on doing a Brentford column today. The Huddersfield Town ‘kit obsessive’ feature for the match day programme needs completion and is tempting me like a siren. Although this particular siren is one bedecked in ‘Matchwinner’. All being well it could be a piece to rival that of the Hull City AFC article – a personal favourite from this season’s campaign to date.

huddersfield-town-goalkeeper-football-shirt-1993-1994-s_2349_1

Did Huddersfield’s 93-94 goalie shirt make the cut?

But then, like many Brentford fans, I received a ‘personal’ email from co-director of football Phil Giles yesterday following the appointment of Dean Smith as our new Head Coach.

In Phil’s own words, this was, “to give you a bit more insight into what has been happening over the last few weeks, on behalf of both Rasmus and myself.” The message, which has also been published on the club website and can be read here, then goes on to explain more about the thought process behind ‘The Marinus Experiment’, the excellent role played by Lee Carsley and the move for Dean Smith from Walsall.

Likewise, Phil elaborates on the coaching side of things, the club (and Matthew Benham’s) philosophy aswell as what he and fellow co-director, Rasmus Ankersen, are up to.

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Phil (left) and Rasmus. Co-directors of football at Brentford

Fairplay to Phil, despite his previous assertion that, “In Lee’s last post-match press conference, he discussed the possibility that the Nottingham Forest game would be his last in charge,” he does now acknowledge that “After the Nottingham Forest game, Lee said that it would be his final game in charge.

That former statement was a point that particularly rankled yours truly, along with the general radio silence on the comms front. It is one area I’ve been somewhat critical of this season and as much because of the painful way that Mark Warburton and ‘Village-gate’ was handled back in February.

At times it has seemed as though Brentford struggled to learn from that lesson. Even down to painting a picture at the September Fans’ Forum that everything in the garden was rosy, Marinus wise, before sacking him three days later.

So for the club to update supporters so proactively needs to be applauded. We are where we are and you can’t backdate history to fill in the blanks of things that could/should have been said at the time. But this does now buck that trend. It is a statement out of keeping with most football clubs, let alone ours.

There is a distinct difference between saying nothing and going the other way – trying to explain the mindset behind your decisions and rationale. Phil’s message most definitely falls in the latter camp and was a very welcome breath of fresh air on the comms front. Whether anyone at the club has read these pages (you never know) or it just marks a new approach, either way the intent is very clear.

Nobody can doubt the passion of Matthew Benham and his team, the investment made in Brentford Football Club and the drive towards the Premier League. That’s the tough part and we are doing it so well.

Simple things, like communication, should be an absolute given. You may not agree with everything that was said in the message but how good just to see us making this effort.

Nice one, Phil!

Twitter wag PG

There’s always a Twitter wag  – I can’t take credit for this

Nick Bruzon

Five days and this is the explanation? It feels a bit ‘villagey’

28 Nov

So as expected by just about everybody, with the Bolton Wanderers game on Monday night and no new head coach in charge (are we waiting for a sacking at Swansea City?), Lee Carsley will start his second stint as caretaker at Brentford. Or, should I say, he “Will continue as head coach”, if you read the official statement.

Despite Lee’s own admission last week when talking to Billy Reeves at BBC Radio London, “That was the last game for myself and Paul today” he finds himself back in charge of Brentford – at least in the short term. And it is a decision which makes absolute sense, given the circumstance, although how we have got there remains what could politely be described as somewhat ‘peculiar’.

The interview with Billy seemed pretty definitive about his own position and forthcoming future, in which Lee went on to add, “I am going to miss all this. It has been a fantastic couple of months”.

And by peculiar, I specifically mean the five days of media and comms radio silence before Phil Giles published his statement yesterday, saying , “In Lee’s last post-match press conference, he discussed the possibility that the Nottingham Forest game would be his last in charge.”

The Possibility? Apologies, but that bears repeating. The..possibility. Seriously. That was the opening gambit. The phrase, “That was my last game” seems like a nailed on statement to me.

Come on. We aren’t a bunch of idiots and all know what we heard. Equally we know that this sort of process can take time and, after the start to the season, every Brentford fan wants the club to get this right. But handling things like this has produced the expected reaction – and by no means directed at Lee who the fans, myself included, are just chuffed to have back in time for (at least) one more game.

Twitter was awash with comments, all of those I saw along very similar lines. And you can ignore social media all you want, but this is the gut reaction of the people coming through the turnstile.

 

And there are plenty more along those lines. The point being that fans didn’t seem overly thrilled at how things had been handled. That said,at least we had the calming influence of the aforementioned Mr. Reeves to add to the mix.

Billy on Lee

 

Let’s be clear, I want to know what as going on as much as the next person. I wrote as much about the current scenario in yesterday’s column. Equally, whilst it may well have been Lee’s intention to step down after the Forest game – something Phil and Rasmus were also expecting – no immediate follow up statement , followed by five days of silence before this latest effort lends an almost ‘villagey’ feel to proceedings.

We’ve not been great at PR for years. Here’s another example. The most frustrating part of this being that it doesn’t even cost anything – just a bit of common sense.

Still, I’m sure this will all sort itself out but it doesn’t half leave a bitter taste in the mouth. That phrase about being able to organise parties and breweries springs to mind.

Things are going great on the pitch. I fully respect Lee’s decision and, indeed, am really pleased he’s agreed to continue in the short term.

Here’s to it all continuing on Monday at Bolton.

Nick Bruzon

 

The stuff of dreams becomes a nightmare

5 Nov

What a time of contrasting managerial emotions for Brentford and QPR. Hot off the heels of our derby day victory over the Loftus Road outfit (a three points that Derby County then enjoyed on Tuesday night) Rangers have parted company with Chris Ramsey. Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has just been announced in the shortlist for manager-of-the-month.

I take no pleasure in anybody losing his or her job. Regardless of the team. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago we were embroiled in Village-gate and Mark Warburton was hot favourite to take over at QPR. Instead, with Tony Fernandes announcing that he was close to announcing his ‘dream manager’, Warbs eventually went to Rangers (the Glasgow incarnation) whilst Chris Ramsey took over at Loftus Road.

How things changed. Rangers exited the Premier League; Brentford came to within a play off game of making it. And now, with the Bees on the charge once more, QPR continue their slide downwards.

No doubt their fans and top brass will be worried they are looking like following the recent likes of Wolves directly into the Division One. With it, will come potential games against the likes of Mansfield Town, Carlisle and Accrington Stanley next season. Whilst I can’t see it happening it does show how fleeting football form can be.

Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has received the expected ‘reward’ for an October that saw us pick up 12 points out of 15 and four successive wins. Will he scoop the final honour? Well, being honest, I expect it to go to Steve Bruce at Hull City – they were unbeaten and a point better off. Likewise, victory over us on Tuesday (albeit in November) saw them reach the top of the Championship table.

The Bees came close but couldn't get past Hull on Tuesday

The Bees came close but couldn’t get past Hull on Tuesday

Either way, it is a tremendous reversal of form following the days of Marinus and Roy.

And nowhere more has this been typified than in Alan Judge, who is also up for the player-of-the-month award. His four assists, three goals and scintillating play make him a very genuine candidate for this award. Ironically, former Bee Andre Gray, who has been scoring goals for fun at Burnley, could be a very serious rival for this one.

Whatever happens, I’d rather be in our situation than that of Rangers who, this morning, will be sorting through the monogrammed CR tracksuits and starting the search for their next dream manager.

As for us, whilst I’d hope Lee wins the prize I can’t look past Steve Bruce. Although, should he do it, then get ready to bet against Hull City at the weekend.

We all know how that jinx normally works.

Alan Judge - has been on fire (not literally) in October

Alan Judge – has been on fire (not literally) in October

Nick Bruzon