Tag Archives: Where Are They Now

Number four is…not going to Wigan (we hope). The Forshaw/Holdsworth difference

29 Jul

Back in early July Matthew Benham took to Twitter to declare that new faces would be coming in to Brentford whilst no key players would leave. True enough the squad has been strengthened whilst, if reports circulating on Monday are to be believed, management have turned down an offer from Wigan Athletic for Adam Forshaw.

The club website, as ever, made no mention on unsubstantiated rumour but one can only trust that Matthew has been true to his word – assuming a bid has even been made, of course. And if the story is true, then what a statement to make. This is a team looking to consolidate – not cut loose it’s best players when the first rivals come knocking.

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 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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Would the real A.Gomez please stand up? A programme poser.

25 Apr

Our reader may recall the weekend’s ‘unseen pictures’ article from promotion day in which I wondered whether the Burnley supporters had got one over the Brentford programme team back in the mid-90s?

The picture in question, supposedly from the Burnley London supporters club (but more likely Benny Hill), was just one of many from a stash of publications that contained a cornucopia of unintentional comedy aswell as, more importantly, presenting a fascinating documented history of the club – ranging from fashion to the general look and feel of Griffin Park though the ages.

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Denny Mundee wins a man of the match award in 1994 ( in front of the club ‘Thunderbirds’ wall). His tailor awaits Marcello’s call

As evident was the real interaction with the supporters and nowhere was this better seen than through the letter’s page. In these days of instant email and fan forums, the ‘open letter’ is becoming much more of a dying art.

Which is a real shame because is something the club specialised in for years. Where else would you find gems such as this that has, genuinely, had me wondering all week if Gomez met Gomez?

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Without doubt the matchday programme has stepped up it’s game over the years  (it is award winning this season) and has traditionally encouraged supporter interaction. We see this of course, with Andrew’s kind souvenir donation whilst I had four enjoyable years writing ‘Where Are They Now’ and (the previous incarnation of) ‘The Last Word’ but that’s not what I’m pushing for.

Instead, I’d love it if we could see a return of the ‘old school’ letter’s page. Perhaps, “Ask Mark” (which could refer to Devlin in his role as chief executive or Chapman as programme editor).

I understand that any publication is always going to look at ways to improve whilst some may see letter writing as a backwards step. However, with a club that is as open as Brentford, then what a great opportunity for supporters to share their views in print or pose any questions on a regular basis?

Failing that, how about reproducing a few historical curios from ‘programmes of the past’? The club is not beyond a bit of nostalgia, as we’ve seen with this season’s ‘old shirts’ feature.

Of course it is important to move forward but at the same time, there’s no harm in remembering where we’ve come from.

Sheer Bliss…..for Philadelphia

4 Sep

With the excellent ‘Big Brentford Book of the 90s’ just launched, I’ve gone all nostalgic. The excitement; the promotion; the dodgy away shirts and, of course, the goals. As such, it seems an appropriate time to catch up with Gary Blissett – the man who, for many, was  THE Brentford player of that era. A headline writer’s dream (The Chronicle were never shy of a ‘Sheer Bliss for Brentford’) he helped knock his beloved Manchester City out of the FA Cup before scoring our title winning goal at Peterborough.

When I last caught up with him (for the very first ‘Where Are They Now’ in the matchday programme), Gary was living out in Germany and coaching at Elversberg. Things have moved on somewhat in the intervening years and now, alongside another Bees legend in Allan Cockram, he is based in the USA – still working in football but taking a very different approach to the traditional one of the ‘former pro.’ I spoke with Gary recently to hear more about it.

Soccer Sounds; Urban cage events – you seem to have gotten involved in various football related ventures. What are you up to at the moment and how is it all going? All’s going great and according to plan, although it’s been a long journey over the last two years. I am actually visiting my girls in Germany at the moment, and Allan is still in Philadelphia coaching Kids the ‘SoccerSounds’ Way. Its got to the stage where one of us needs to be there if the other needs to go home, which is good I suppose…

Why the States? It will take me all day to explain why the States, Nick. But once we arrived and met the people where we were, we knew there was something here that we could give to the kids over time. SoccerSounds grew and developed and more and more people got involved. It was then an easy decision to then decide we should stay.

How have they taken to it – both the football and the two ‘Brits’? We want first and foremost, the kids to have fun playing football. They are learning technique and becoming scholars of the game through the way we coach and teach. They seem to be taking to it and yes they seem to like the 2 Brits..

From what I’ve seen, most of the time it seems to involve you and Cockers on some sort of US road trip. Good fun? The road trip was a one off. We travelled from PA-LA in a truck and a 24ft Trailer that had 2 of our 3 Cages inside. A round trip of nearly 7000 miles for Mia Hamm Foundation and also Ethan Zohns Grassroot Soccer Foundation. And, yes  – it was good fun. Although we had a few scary moments.. (Editor’s note: if you check out the ‘SoccerSounds’ website / Facebook pages , the pictures and videos suggest that ‘good fun’ was definitely on the agenda)

What’s Allan like to travel and work with? Image        Cockers is great to travel with as he gives everyone on board the vast knowledge he has of life, and the world, in general. He can peel oranges like a World Champion and doesn’t fart so much, which really helps when 5 lads are travelling across America and back!! We are both old pros so easy to work with as we both have the same ethics when it comes to our beautiful game

Good social out there? Or is it all work? Its 95% work. We do have a social but it mainly consists of lying on the sofa watching Premier League at 7am on a Saturday morning through the day because of the time difference and having a couple of cheeky ones in the afternoon as Al is cooking the evening meal. (Not really a Social is it?)

There’s a picture of the lads with Billie Jean-King? How did they get to meet her? We do work for The Women’s Sport Foundation of which BJK is the founder. She really is a great inspiration to all sport’s people, especially kids, and she loves what we do and what we are all about.

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(Cockers and Bliss meet a sporting icon)

I’ve seen also on your site that you do ‘blindfold practice’. What’s that all about about? The Blind Sense Training is a way of accelerating the Muscle Memory (Myelin) Its something that’s revolutionary in training and I cant give to much away at this stage except to say Allan trained with The English National Blind Team for a week and it blew him away!!

What about Germany? The last time we caught up(then for the match day programme) you were out there. Is that still home? We actually live in an apartment in Philadelphia, but next year we will be putting into perspective of where home is and will be. We have 3 Year 01 Visas so we are looking to be here at least till 2015

Are you still involved with the football at Elversberg? I’m not involved with Elversberg anymore, no. 

Brentford have had a preseason tour to Germany the last two seasons – have you been able to take a look at all? Yes. I follow Brentford all the time whether it be a pre-season friendly or a League Game. I’m always interested in how they are doing as I have a lot of friends in Brentford who I am still in regular contact with.

And what is Uwe Rösler’s reputation like abroad? Do he or The Bees get much media coverage? Not in Germany or USA, where you only see Premier League. (It’s a shame really as they would see how real clubs survive and are supported). In Germany Herr Rösler is a well respected Coach, Manager and ex-player.

As for the Bees themselves, what do you make of preseason and the opening games? Good start.. May it long continue!!

What’s your opinion on Uwe? Uwe will be a Premier League Manager within the next few years if he continues the way he is, maybe Man City?

Where will the Bees finish? Top!!

Will you be able to get across to England for any / many games? Not looking good to get over unless I am back in Germany in May when I may have a cheeky trip to West London.

Knocking Man City out of the cup or getting the promotion-sealing goal at Peterborough? Winning the League was the highlight of my career……

It seems an appropriate comment on which to wrap up. With Peterborough already going great guns in the League this season, what price a Gary Blissett to pop up and do the same at London Road this time around?

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(The day we beat Manchester City in the FA Cup – signed by the great man himself)