Tag Archives: West

As Sam says farewell does ‘that song’ still apply? And Wigan appear out of nowhere.

21 Jan

Sad times. Sam Saunders has left Brentford for Wycombe Wanderers. We all suspected this was coming after the midweek update from co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen to West London’s premier journalist, Tom Moore. And then, on the eve of our trip to Wigan Athletic, the news was confirmed.

I said my piece on Sam during the week. It’s available here. Feedback at the time from the likes of Twitter and Facebook was unanimous in agreement. A first for The Last Word but, undoubtedly, this due to the calibre of the man being discussed. Likewise, when the news was confirmed, the tributes were legion, with this one from Tom Cox being my pick of the bunch.

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So there’ll be no regurgitation today from your’s truly. Instead, here’s the farewell message from the man himself. Even in leaving, he hasn’t failed to raise a tear and a smile. That song….

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Whether ‘that song’ still applies remains a matter of conjecture for married men and women everywhere. One thing that will definitely remain in perpetuum is the area known as ‘Saunders territory’. It’ll be a long time coming until somebody in red and white can hit a dead ball at goal so sweetly and so consistently. So long, Sam. And thanks for all the goals.

As for Wigan Athletic on Saturday, it seems to have almost crept up on us. Aside from Sam, all the talk of West Ham, Scott Hogan, Chelsea and the FA Cup tickets has provided a huge diversion. All of a sudden it is match day morning and Wigan await.

Club sponsor 888sport have the home side as favourites. I don’t see it. Brentford were magnificent for huge swathes of the game against Newcastle United whilst, of course, won handsomely at hapless Birmingham City on our last road trip. A blockbuster form Nico Yennaris sealing the points in that one.

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The bookies here rarely wrong. But surely this is too generous?

Will Scott Hogan feature against Wigan? Unlikely. Given Dean Smith’s comments prior to the Newcastle game followed by an abrupt u-turn when the teams were announced. Something one could just about give him the benefit of the doubt over until the striker failed to make it off the bench. The whole thing smelt very fishy.

Perhaps that’s why we are priced at almost 2-1 to beat a team buried deep in the relegation quagmire. A team who are only being kept off the bottom of the table by virtue of Rotherham United’s ongoing ineptitude.

Brentford are stronger with Scott Hogan, no question. But even without him, Lasse Vibe has started finding the back of the net, Josh McEachran was amongst those to have a great game against Newcastle United whilst the deliciousness of Jota is a luxury we are beginning to enjoy the taste of once more .

There’s more to the team than just one man. How Dean Smith juggles those pieces is, as ever, the conundrum.

At 2.15 we find out.

Nick Bruzon

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Dean talking buttocks as Newcastle match day arrives and Chelsea details emerge.

14 Jan

Saturday morning, 7am. It’s cold out side, very cold, but thankfully the snow has failed to materialise in Brentford. With the FA Cup behind us for now (although the club did confirm details about the Chelsea game on Friday – more below) it is back to League action for the Bees as Newcastle United are the visitors to Griffin Park.

In the red corner, Scott Hogan. He’s the man, the man with the midas touch. Worth his weight in gold, and goals, he’s been finding the net for fun this season yet now finds himself the absolute centre of transfer speculation as those West Ham stories just won’t go away.

In the blue corner (with orange trim), Dwight Gayle. Outright occupant of the penthouse suite in the Championship leading scorer hotel. Scott’s 14 are still 5 behind the Newcastle United man who showed first hand back in October how deadly he can be. Gayle’s brace contributing to a 3-1 win over the Bees at St. James Park and he hasn’t looked back.

So the big question, will we see them face off today? From one respect the good news was Dean Smith’s confirmation in Thursday’s press conference that “Scott Hogan’s buttock is fine, he has trained all week and is available for selection,” The pair were due to speak yesterday to assess the situation and then, come 2pm (or closely after) we’ll get our first look at the team sheet to see if Lasse Vibe retains his place up top or Scott walks straight back into the side.

I can only expect the later. With no fee having been agreed or deal signed then one can only presume he’ll be leading the line. Unless Scott is having some form of hissy fit à la Diego Costa or Dimitri Payet (how angry must Chelsea and West Ham fans be today?) then surely the chance to prove his mettle against the second best team in the division will be the perfect shop window for a player harbouring dreams of top flight football at some point in his career. Whether that be next week or next season.

As Dean went on to add (and you can find the full article on ‘official’ ), “I fully expect him to want to score a hat-trick against Newcastle United and show people who may question his Premier League credentials that he can do it.”

No Brentford fan wants to see Scott leave but is anyone naïve enough to think we could turn down figures in the region of £15million? More to the point, given what he has been through in his career to date, would anybody really stand in the player’s way?  Scott will go to the Premier League at some point soon – whether January or the summer. Of that, have have absolutely no doubt. He’s just too good.

Today could well be our last chance to see him at Griffin Park. At least, in the red and white of Brentford. We’ve only one more home game until the transfer window closes and that’s an evening kick off, on January 31st, against Aston Villa. I’d love to see him starting that one but in my heart of hearts I fear we’ll have said farewell by that point.

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Come on Scott. Could today be the last time we’ll see scenes like this?

Instead, let’s just live for the moment. Can Harlee Dean and crew keep out Dwight Gayle at one end, leaving Scott free to try and catch Newcastle’s free scoring goal machine at the other? Here’s hoping. This  afternoon’s game has goals in it, no doubt. The only question being just how many?

The one piece of news that the club have been able to confirm is that surrounding the FA Cup fourth round tie at Chelsea. It was announced yesterday that that game will be a 3pm kick off on Saturday 28th January. A not surprising decision but, at the same time, given the home team’s subsequent league fixtures there was always the thought it might be brought forward to Friday night or even Saturday lunchtime.

As with our previous visit to Stamford Bridge, we’ve been allocated all 6,000 tickets in their ‘Shed’ end. Details of sale are yet to be released although with the game only a fortnight away expect this to be imminent. The pricing structure of £30 adults and £15 kids is (relatively) competitive – I’m still baulking at the £41 charged by Leeds United –  so filling that end to get Chelsea rocking won’t be an issue.

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Everything we know about the Chelsea game in two tweets

With a home game against Brighton and the aforementioned Villa match immediately after that one, it has all the potential to be a wonderful few weeks for Brentford.

This time ten years ago we were playing games against Leyton Orient, Yeovil Town and Carlisle United as the Bees eventually finished the season a the bottom of League One. Now we’re talking about selling players for £15million whilst taking on some of the biggest names in English football.

It makes you think.

For now, though, it’s all about Newcastle United. See you there.

Nick Bruzon 

Double goal 7(seven). You couldn’t have made that finish up.

8 May

9th. We’ve finished 9th !!  Brentford continued their stunning run to the denouement of season 2015/16 with a 5-1 humbling of Huddersfield Town. In a quite bonkers afternoon that saw Middlesbrough promoted (sorry Brighton fans, genuinely, but ‘manager of the month’ rarely lies) and Burnley crowned as Champions amidst bizarre scene at Charlton, Scott Hogan took his strike rate to something that must be approaching an average of 5 goals a game whilst Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos bid a very fond farewell.

Where do you start from the Huddersfield game, though? For a season that saw Brentford involved in what Dean Smith agreed was a relegation scrap as recently as 19 March, things have taken a turn for the surreal. We’ve scored 24 goals and won 7(seven) out of the last 10 games. Formwise, that puts only Brighton above us. Five more of the goals total coming yesterday to make it 9 for the season against The Terriers alone.

We don’t, generally, do match reports on these pages. The highlights are already doing the rounds and , if you haven’t seen them yet, do take the time to catch up with these. The quality of every goal – from Sergi Canos grabbing the opener on just 21 seconds  – to substitute John Swift blasting the fifth home as we approached full time is to be admired. Lasse Vibe shot home from the edge of the box after a delightful ball from Canos whilst man of the moment Scott Hogan grabbed another two.

Having spent muchh of the last 18 months with his leg in a brace (I’d imagine) how brilliant to see him now grabbing one on pitch. A brace, that is. The opening 64 minutes was the longest we’ve seen Scott in action since the oh-so gradual and carefully managed return from that sickening injury. Having lasted 45 minutes in the previous game (the 3-0 over Fulham) making it as far as the hour allowed Hogan to get the goals which took his total to 7(seven) for the season. Not a bad return !

Sergio Canos also made it 7(seven) for the campaign in what was, barring some form of transfer coup over the summer, his final appearance for the Bees. Surely he will only be Liverpool bound when the next campaign kicks off in August ? Certainly, his twitter feed suggested that this would be the case.

Sergi sign off

If this transpires to be the case then we can all, truly, say we’ve had the pleasure of watching a prodigious talent emerge. I’d love to see Sergi back next time around and, whilst stranger things have happened, can only imagine a place at Anfield will be calling.

His mood was one shared by all the players on social media. After what must have been some horrendous pressure at various points this campaign and some harsh, albeit warranted at times, criticism of the set up the flip side is that when they have been let off the leash it has been an absolute joy to watch.

Rasmus nailed it in the recent video when he noted that a team wins three in a row and you think they’ll never lose again. Certainly, that’s how it has felt.

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Lasse wins at Twitter as the squad end in high spirits

Injury has forced a rejig in the midfield with Josh McEachran and John Swift undergoing an enforced rest. Nico has stepped up in style whilst Scott has made his well documented return. KK and Gogia have started to show what ‘the model’ (please note: traditional recruiting is also involved) has suggested whilst even an experienced pro like Sam Saunders has pushed onwards and upwards. With this has come the results.

The only slight disappointment was on Bees Player where the assertion was made of Dean Smith supposedly berating Scott Hogan for not going down in the box but, rather, staying on his feet, with the Bees 1-0 up. I’m all for winning games but I’d much rather we did it by fair means. Let’s hope this was simply a misinterpretation of the conversation rather than a terrible example for any young children who may have been watching etc etc

That said, we won. Handsomely. We’ve finished the season in 9th place which would be an incredible achievement in its own right. Let alone when you factor in the challenges of FFP enforced sales, The Marinus experiment, pitchgate and that quite dreadful start to 2016. I stand by what I said about these things at the time but, equally, who isn’t thrilled at how Brentford have emerged from all of this?

For the record, Fulham and QPR also both recorded  final game victories. As such, although we ended the season as the top side in London outside the Premier League, the lead over our West London rivals remained at a ‘mere’ 14 and 5 points respectively.

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QPR and Fulham could only watch the red and white express

Are we the finished article? No. But I’m not alone in feeling tremendously positive going into the summer break. Given the low points of the season have ben particularly painful, to end it on such a high has left all around Griffin Park with a huge buzz. Who knows just what a fully match fit Scott Hogan will do whilst we have the added advantage of finally saying goodbye to Middlesbrough.

Whether you believe in bogey teams or not (and for somebody who swears by ‘lucky pants’ and the ‘motm curse’, to criticise would be somewhat hypocritical) nobody can deny that in 4 league and 2 play-off encounters since our return to the Championship, Brentford’s record with Boro’ reads:  P: 6  W: 0  D: 0  L: 6 .

For now, it’s time to catch our breath once more. Hey, when we went up to the Championship on that famous day against Preston,  if you’d have been offered 5th and 9th from our first two seasons there wouldn’t have been anybody amongst us who wouldn’t have bitten the hand off to secure that.

I love seeing the Bees do well. I thought that last season was not the “punching above our weight” that so many people claimed but, actually, a wonderful triumph of ability and team spirit based around the infectious warmth of Mark Warburton. We got where we got on merit.

With that well documented parting of the ways, this season was always going to be a tough one. Moreso given the other issues noted above. I stand by my assertion that we could have handled ourselves better off-field, comms wise, but you live and learn. Hindsight is always wonderful.

Something, perhaps, the owners at Charlton Athletic could learn. Amidst understandable  scenes at The Valley, their supporters showed just what they thought of the people in charge. Even ‘official’ twitter had somewhat of a Freudian slip (or sabotage from within the ranks? ) as their campaign came to a sad climax.

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Whatever you’ve thought about our lowest points this season, things could have been an awful lot worse. Still, sad though I am for Charlton, their fate lies elsewhere.

For Brentford, we’ve got watching the play-off finals to look forward to and the final Premier league fixtures to see who joins us next season. There’s the new shirt to be released whilst the promise from Kitman Bob that his BBGiveaway will return.

Oh,and there’s been the small matter of Euro 2016 in the summer. Whilst Alan Judge will be missing, could the presence of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane at yesterday’s game have any additional significance? The local press believe he was checking on Town winger Sean Scannell but with Scott scoring those two goals, could there be a surprise call up in the offing?

I’ll leave that thought here……

However, as a final observation, for me (Clive) Twitter user @MrJamie88 nails it in words and pictures better than most could hope to.

Enjoy.

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Do the body and legs match?

Nick Bruzon

The one stat that tells the story of the season

3 May

Whilst the majority of the football world were, rightly, congratulating Leicester City and Burnley on their respective Premier League accomplishments last night, over in TW8 there was equal cause for celebration. Not that one time Brentford loan star Jeff Schlupp was now a top flight champion but QPR losing 1-0 against Andre Gray and his team mates means that the Bees end the season as the highest placed London team in the Championship table.

With only one game to play, there’s now an insurmountable five point gap between us and the Loftus Road mob. Fulham aren’t even at the party. Hey, the table doesn’t lie.

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The ‘as it stands’ table does’t lie

If ever there was an incentive to really go for it on Saturday against Huddersfield then here it is. The chance for Brentford to really stretch out that lead over QPR whilst, at the same time, even overtaking Birmingham City (whose game at Cardiff won’t be the easiest) and snatch 9th position in the final table.

Whatever happens, considering the ups and downs of a campaign that saw us lose players, head coaches and, at one point, games like they were going out of fashion this is a stunning achievement. Perhaps not at Leicester City levels but still not one to be sniffed at. Moreso given how Dean Smith was talking about a relegation battle as recently as March.

I’m not going to pretend Burnley are our new best friends. The memories of the Gray and Tarkowski sales still linger heavily although it would take the most churlish amongst us not to see the joy in the supporter’s eyes when that final whistle blew. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to offer their players – even Joey Barton-  congratulations on a job very well done. It would take the most churlish amongst us not to thank them for putting the final nail in the coffin for any hopes QPR had of overtaking us.

Likewise, we can take some pride in the fact Andre honed his skills and began the  season at Griffin Park. Now he has taken his game to new heights and it will be intriguing to see how he goes in the top flight where, of course, there is further silver lining in the fact that the ‘promotion’ clause in his transfer will now be activated.

Not that the club ever reveal details of transfer fees, of course.

For now though, there’s that all important season ending stat. It may not be up to Luis Melville standards but there’s no denying it:

Brentford are kings of West London Championship football and there’s nothing QPR or Fulham can do about it.

Maybe next season, chaps .

West London football map

Nick Bruzon

KK ‘signs’ but is Bjelland next as the Red Imps draw?

30 Jun

What a Tuesday. Whilst the Brentford clubsite remained silent on the subject of transfers, with the exception of Alfie Mawson joining Barnsley, elsewhere it seemed that there was plenty to pick up on. No more so than in regards to Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Andreas Bjelland, where in the case of the former even his own Admira Wacker team took to Facebook to wish him well on his move. And there was Champions’ League intrigue where Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar faced FC Santa Coloma of Andorra in the first leg of a tie that would see the winners pitted against Matthew Benham’s own FC Midtjylland.

But we start in Austria and that Facebook announcement, confirming what we already knew after Matthew Benham’s video clue followed a leaked photograph on Friday.

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 ! 

Is this the biggest ever? The time Birmingham City ruined the party

14 Mar

Has there ever been a more meaningful game between Brentford and Leyton Orient?  It’s a question that Billy Reeves put out there on Beesplayer during the Carlisle game and which he posed again during the week on Twitter.

The obvious answer is ‘no’ – this is the big one for both teams. We all know the current stats and the very likely prospect that, as things stand, one of the Bees, O’s and Wolves will end up as League Champions. Likewise, that one of this trio will miss out on automatic promotion and, thus, be cast into the hell on earth that is the chance to play at the W place near Ikea in North London.

So far, so good. However, for Brentford there has been a bigger game. Cast your mind back to season 1994/95 when David Webb was at the helm. This, at the time when he was still purported to “wear a magic hat”, according to the words of the then popular terrace chant, rather than the era when the spelling of his name had been changed to W£bb.

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.

Who is the real fox in the (commentary) box for El Capito?

13 Mar

This weekend sees one of the biggest London derbies for years. I don’t mean the Premiership scrap for the Europa League spot between Arsenal and Tottenham. Much as it is amusing to see the Wenger boys throwing it all away, that’s their issue. My attention will, of course, be on ‘El Capito’ –  the East v West battle at the top of League One between Leyton Orient and Brentford at Brisbane Road.

The game is a sell out. Not bad for a third tier game with a lunchtime kick off. But then, why wouldn’t it be?

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.

Dear BBC. Please don’t do it, however good the cause

22 Jan

Brentford haven’t even faced this Friday’s trial by TV against Gillingham yet already our next ‘on air’ encounter has been announced.

Not surprisingly the visit to, current, League One top dogs Leyton Orient has been brought forward to accommodate our friends at Sky. Thankfully, from some respects (the boat crew may not agree), rather than a shift to Friday night it remains on March 15th but is now a lunchtime kickoff.

Realistically, this was always going to happen. Brentford and Leyton Orient are the top two sides in League One and so this could end up being a real six-pointer (along with a chance for Sky to crank out all those East meets West type lines).

To me, it makes no difference. The number of travelling supporters will, one would imagine, remain largely the same regardless of 12.15 or 3.00. It’s too big a game  – it can’t be too often you say that about Leyton Orient  v Brentford!

Interestingly, chief executive Mark Devlin took to twitter immediately after the announcement to discuss ticketing and canvass opinion. It seems we have a choice between an allocation of 1600 or 3700. The former figure, surely too low, but is the top whack optimistic?

In my opinion, no. It’s a table-topping clash and Leyton Orient IS an easy away ground to get too. If you aren’t taking the boat trip then its simply a case of jumping on the Central line at Ealing Broadway and putting your feet up for an hour – not literally, keep those seats clean please.

The other TV news yesterday was one which, being honest, upsets me somewhat. The BBC have announced that David Beckham is to appear in a one-off return of Only Fools and Horses.

I loved this show when it was originally shown – although I think we’ve all seen the clip of Del Boy in the bar perhaps once too often (spoiler alert – he falls over). However, it’s not been on for over a decade and for good reason – it ended on a high whilst the cast are, to be polite, getting on a bit.  It’s going to be impossible to resist a trip down memory lane and take a look but I fear a car crash. Moreso, when you then add Mr Beckham into the mix.

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The BBC have announced the return of Del Boy and…David Beckham

The man who singlehandedly secured the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain loves doing his public bit and, with this in aid of Sport Relief, it’s natural he’ll be involved. But a good cause doesn’t necessarily justify resuscitating the long dead corpse of one of the nation’s favourite programmes.

Equally, everybody knows  – footballers can’t act.

We’ve all seen Figo doing his ‘Just for men’, the classic ‘Escape to Victory’ (“We can win this”), Eric Cantona is currently masquerading as a French farmer but the king acting stinker is, of course, Vinnie Jones.

To be fair, the former Wimbledon man set the bar high with his surprise debut in ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, but its been downhill since there. Very much a case of the law of diminishing returns, he was single handedly responsible for destroying X-Men: The Last Stand whilst has also flexed his acting muscles in a range of films that includes ‘Swordfish’ and ‘Garfield: A Tail of two Kitties’.

Hey, I’ve no problem with a wooden, bad, actor. Just look at Jason Statham – a 21st century Steven Seagal. He does what he does, and does it very well. But, with footballers, it just stretches the bounds of entertainment that bit too far.

Sadly, things seem too late for Beckham and ‘Only Fools…’, judging by the publicity stills already published. I can only cross my fingers and hope we don’t have another Vinnie – ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ moment….

Re-create the Peterborough spirit

1 Jan

To Brentford fans of a certain age, the mere mention of Peterborough is synonymous with one thing  – Gary Blissett grabbing the winner at London Road as the 91/92 season came to a close.

With that goal, of course, Brentford whipped the title from under the nose of Birmingham City whilst Peterborough also went on to join us in the second tier of English football the following season.

Whilst that subsequent campaign was one which included Murray Jones as the ‘new’ Dean Holdsworth (move along please – nothing to see here) and the gut wrenching injury to Terry Evans as the Bees were relegated (if only he’d been fit), there were plenty of highlights along the way too:

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.