Tag Archives: Wanderers

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.

Bees 1-0 v Watford Warburton

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.

IMG_8206

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.18.47

ET phone home? Not with a Mercurycard

Nick Bruzon 

 

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Beware of Greeks bearing stretchers as ‘you know who’ takes a tumble

19 Oct

I’ll keep this brief today. Whilst the main weekend column focused on Brentford beating Rotherham United, there was plenty of other incident further afield than Griffin Park. Primarily involving Keith Stroud in the game between Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, where Arsenal loanee and former Bee Chuba Akpom flattened the card happy official. Accidentally, of course.

Chuba Akpom didn't seem happy to join the Bees  from Arsenal.

Chuba Akpom didn’t seem happy to join the Bees from Arsenal.

In a rare twist of fate for a Stroud game, it was the referee himself who was forced to leave the field of play early as he was unable to continue after the collision. He’d already shown four yellows by this point, although Akpom escapade unpunished. Given his reputation, I half expected a ‘red’ to be shown as a final act but it wasn’t to be.

Out of interest, in eleven games this season Mr Stroud has ‘only’ (and remember who we are talking about) shown 43 yellows and one red – that coming in our game at Bristol City. Could we see him turning over a new leaf? Time will tell.

For now though, here’s the moment. No sniggering, Brentford fans

Nobody likes to see an injury of any nature

Next up, who doesn’t like to see a goalkeeper finding the back of the net?

It happened on Saturday as Wycombe Wanderers lost out at Stevenage. Jesse Joronen was the man in the right place at the right time to open the scoring after ten minutes.

Red faces in defence?

And finally, Greek football. Surely everbody has seen this now but it would be rude not to include it. To be quite honest, I’m still convinced this is fake footage. The PG Tips Chimps did a better job moving their piano (kids, ask your dads). Surely nobody could be this clumsy?

However, just when the second division game against AE Larissa couldn’t get any worse for Ergotelis midfielder Leonardo Koutris, this happened,,,,

Where’s Keith Stroud when you need him?

Nick Bruzon

Brentford have the painters and decorators in as Bolton moved

11 Sep

With Brentford travelling to Leeds United on Saturday (and then no home game until Preston North End on September 19th) visits to Griffin Park have been a bit thin on the ground recently. Moreso, given the enforced break which was the result of the recent International fixtures.

But walking past the ground on the way to work yesterday, something seemed amiss. The iconic BRENTFORD lettering, in ‘stingray’ font (for the record) has been removed from the Braemar Road stand. Along with the club badge.

Our last look at the old lettering

Our last look at the old lettering

When had this happened? And why? Given how slow a news week it has been, surely there might have been a story on the official site? There can’t be many fans who don’t know that 2015/16 adidas training wear is now available or that Hospitality for every Sky Bet Championship match is currently on sale.

Instead, with the comms and media team seemingly on holiday, we’ve been left to figure this one out for ourselves. And, as ever, things aren’t anywhere near as sinister as being made out in some circles. Mark Devlin used twitter to confirm that the lettering is being replaced in time for the game with Preston. Moreso, it seems that we are sprucing up the exterior of the stadium.

On first glance at 7.30am, it had seemed as though we were reintroducing the red and white stripes that had graced the Braemar Road stand back in the late 70s/early 80s. This would have been a stunning effort and, to be fair, still might be.

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

The letters have gone, for now, but the painting has begun

However, walking back in the evening, the red has moved further across. Stripes may still be an option, of course, but if so then they are likely to be a lot wider than those we’ve had in the past. And the eagle eyed amongst you may also have spotted that the notice board area is now a very vivid pink

From an aesthetic perspective, I’ve no issue with the removal of the Stingray font. Moreso given it is to be replaced rather than just disappear. It always smacked of something that was desperately trying to be futuristic but has only ended up being looking horribly dated as the years have advanced.

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

More red, and pink, had appeared by the end of the day

The real question is, predominantly, why weren’t we told? Would it have been that hard? Especially at a time when you can’t move on the official site for all the tumbleweed.

Likewise, how can we afford this? And I ask given Cliff Crown’s excellent piece in the Reading programme about what an uneven financial footing the club are on, relative to our Championship rivals , “with total income in the bottom three in that league”.

I can’t imagine it has cost much relative to the transfer fees we are being compelled to raise but with a new stadium in the offing, is this entirely necessary? We’ve lost Stuart Dallas to Leeds but we do have some new paint! Or is it simply the case that a sponsor is covering the costs? Just a thought but with no official comms out of the club then people do like to clutch at any theory.

Whatever we are left with, nobody is in any doubt that Griffin Park has been on her last legs for some time. If we can do something simple to spruce her up a bit for the next couple of seasons, at no real expense, then happy days.

The other news of the day saw the game at Bolton being moved to a Monday night for the benefit of the TV cameras. This is infuriating but part of modern football at this level and, for us, a rare experience. If you think this is bad, imagine had we reached the Premiership.

I had a cracking time in Bolton last season (result aside) and was looking forward to a return trip this time around – although, perhaps, without the Zorb football.

Zorb football at Bolton

Zorb football at Bolton

Alas, it wasn’t to be and, instead, I’ll be watching this game from the comfort of the sofa. With barely a handful of tickets sold for Tuesday night’s trip to Middlesbrough, I fear this could be a similar scenario.

Its far from ideal but, them again, we’ve won midweek long distance away trips before. I’m sure we’ll do it again.

It would just be nice if there were some supporters there to witness it. Instead, here’s the video from last time out. Come for the Zorbs, stay for the commentary….

Nick Bruzon

Could there be an imminent return to Saunders territory?

11 Aug

With social media being dominated by talk of Andre Gray, Hull City and a transfer rumor that just won’t go away, Brentford fans could be forgiven for missing some much more positive news yesterday. Sam Saunders is back.

The ever popular wing wizard and dead ball specialist, who of course suffered that cruel injury just two seconds into the play off-final whilst on loan at Wycombe Wanderers back in May, was given a run out for the development squad at Birmingham City yesterday.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

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

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

The pitch was 'cutting up' at full time on Saturday

The pitch was ‘cutting up’ at full time on Saturday

Nick Bruzon

Wake up and smell the history. Warbs is at Rangers but some things don’t change

16 Jun

Mark Warburton is officially in charge at Rangers. We’ll get back to Brentford momentarily but there simply remains a final observation on the long running saga that saw Warbs, along with David Weir, sign a three year deal at Ibrox.

On giving his opening press statement, Mark showed that Rangers will present no challenge to him – certainly in his unique turn of phrase. I don’t necessarily mean the sort of straight talking we saw so much of last season. For example, “Am I the only one who thought that was a penalty? Maybe I should go to Specsavers if I am.”(after the home defeat to Norwich City).

Or “A bid is only a bid when it is at the right level, a realistic level. Quite frankly that was nowhere near our level” following one of Wigan Athletic’s many attempts to lure Adam Forshaw to their, eventual, doom.

Mark opted for an impressive pair of antlers to sign his contract

Mark opted for ‘signing antlers’ rather than the traditional football shirt when joining Rangers

I’m talking more about the unique lines he used to drop into normal conversation. Not so much football cliché, as I’ve never heard other managers use these, but what have eventually become known as ‘Warboisms’. Certainly on our area of the terrace, where it sometimes seemed he was going toe-to-toe with Billy Reeves in a battle for most creative use of the English language (and that is fully intended as a compliment, to both).

We’ve all enjoyed the fact that “The football department is in good shape” or Josh’s “raw, blistering pace”. Indeed, the latter to be used in conjunction with “Pitch geography” to help produce end product – perhaps teaming up with “Andre Gray – the thinking striker”.

But Mark hit the ground running at Ibrox, where he told the waiting media, “You walk around the stadium, the first time for me this morning, and you smell the history.”

Smell this history. What a wonderfully evocative image. Warbs – I’ll miss you, genuinely. Good luck at Rangers and enjoy it. The fans are in for a treat.

Back at Griffin Park, ahead of Wednesday’s League fixture list reveal Brentford will today find out who we are to be pitted against in the Capital One Cup. The good news is that we are seeded so could be drawn with anybody in the other half of the draw from Martin Allen’s Barnet to the Brentford old boy’s club at Wycombe Wanderers.

The draw takes place at 10am on Tuesday morning. And once that happens, we really can start to make the first of those plans for 2015/16.

The season is getting closer. Slowly…

The draw is early on Tuesday morning - who do you want?

The draw is early on Tuesday morning – who do you want?

Lots of goals. Lots of points. Lots of tickets.

4 Mar

What a Wednesday! Brentford fans were able to take stock of a stunning 4-1 victory over Huddersfield Town last night before then receiving great news from Fulham with the announcement of ticket allocation for next month’s derby game. We’ll get to Craven Cottage shortly but for those still in need of a recap from last night, Huddersfield were the latest to try their luck at Griffin Park against the free scoring Bees.

7 (seven) in the previous 2 home games (3-1 v Bournemouth and then 4-0 v Blackpool) have now become 11 in 3. A 4-1 victory was the least we deserved as Chris Long took just four minutes to get off the mark on his full Brentford debut.

His second, following fine work from Jota (how often has that phrase been used this season?) restored Brentford’s lead after Harry Bunn had given the Terriers brief hope. But if that goal reinstated Brentford’s supremacy in terms of goals, what was more amazing was how things remained level in terms of players.

Bunn and James Vaughan were both incredibly fortunate to avoid bookings after preening in front of the home supporters like a pair of coked up peacocks. The reaction from the Ealing Road was hardly surprising but justice was soon delivered.

Alex Pritchard made it three before midfield man of the moment, Jon Toral, followed up his hat trick from a week before with a smart strike from distance. Bunn, meanwhile, eventually found his way into the notebook although referee Kavanagh must have been suffering xanthophobia when it came to Vaughan. A number of cynical challenges were shown nothing more than an inconsequential talking to for the Town number 9.

The video highlights are now on YouTube

 

But a victory of magnitude does, in the cold light of day, make such anomalies almost an irrelevance. The key points to remember are another +3 in the GD column, a refreshing alternative up front and, most importantly, three more points as Brentford hit the play off spots once again.

And then the ticket news from Fulham was announced. An initial allocation of 4000 (with the option for a further thousand) means we’ll take up a fifth of the ground for the Bank Holiday game on April 3rd. As ever, full information is available on the club website and you can read that here.

As we saw last season at Leyton Orient, huge travelling support to a local derby can make a monumental difference.

Here’s hoping for a very Good Friday.

A day of strange, strange results keeps the table wide open.

1 Mar

Brentford’s 1-0 defeat at Birmingham City on Saturday was just one of many slip-ups from the teams in the Championship promotion mix. Only Watford could take advantage of defeats for Derby County and Middlesbrough (along with Bournemouth dropping two points at home to Blackburn Rovers) to make any progress up the table. And then there was Clem at Crewe Alexandra…

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.

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Clem predicts how many points he'll earn for Crewe

Clem predicts how many points he’ll earn for Crewe (or is that a crafty ‘pick’?)

Warbs the loan arranger as Birmingham City await

28 Feb

Friday’s build up for Brentford’s trip to Birmingham City (we’ll get to that game shortly) was filled with all manner of news; and not all of it good. I don’t mean over at Charlton Athletic, where the story about a couple caught by security cameras having sex in the centre circle turned out to be nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt to promote pitch hire. The club owned up to this fact yesterday morning and so rather than hitting the (centre) spot, it seems the amorous couple had been faking their orgasms.

Fair play to them. You have to admire a club with a sense of humour and the ability to have a joke –

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.

Sam prepares to drive to Wycombe

Sam prepares to drive to Wycombe

Lots of pretty play. No end product

22 Oct

Brentford were held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Sheffield Wednesday – our second in three days – following the trip to Wigan Athletic. It was a game that, on the occasion of our 125th anniversary, promised much but ultimately failed to deliver a goal or three points.

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.

Dear Hull, if you win the FA Cup celebrate like THIS

18 Mar

There was great work on the club website yesterday where, it seems, the Russell Slade sour grapes when Brentford beat Leyton Orient on Saturday have unearthed a sense of ‘official’ humour. After the unsporting O’s manager had, bizarrely, complained that Brentford “celebrated like they’d won the FA Cup” following our ten man away win against the second placed team, this video appeared on our Official YouTube channel.

Come on, feel the noise

 

I don’t think Slade realises what a colossal own goal he has scored in making those comments.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.