Tag Archives: Wycombe

Who is The Masked Signer?

2 Feb

Take it off. Take it o… No, enough of that. At the start of a massive week for Brentford, the transfer window creaked shut with the loan signing of Winston Reid from West Ham, resplendent in face mask although disappointingly unchewed biro,  whilst there was a favour at Watford from the Loftus Road mob. We’ve got our own game at home to Bristol City on Wednesday (the game in hand on Swansea City) whilst Norwich City visit Millwall tonight and then play the, hopefully third placed, Swans in an epic showdown this Friday.

Winston joins

The signing of an emergency centre back was an obvious one. With Pontus Janson and Charlie Goode both currently out of action, it left us only Mads and Ethan as the regular starters. In Winston Reid we have a player with big league and International experience. A player who began his career at Midtjylland in 2005 (just how far back to Rasmus’ records go?) and has close to 200 games for West Ham. With a huge run of back to back weekend/midweek games coming up, having some extra experience and competition out there will be vital. His last action has been out on loan at Sporting Kansas City who let him return when that expired. Here’s hoping their loss is our gain.

The rest of the window saw loan deals tied up. Said Benrahma has now officially completed his transfer to West Ham (so we can put ‘loan update’ out of its misery), Patrik Gunnarsson, Jan Žambůrek and Luka Racic have returned to the fold. Samman Ghoddos has completed his transfer in. Those heading out for the short term  are Dominic Thompson, Patrik Gunnarsson, Ellery Balcombe and Halil Dervişoğlu.  And that’s it. Business concluded. The squad strengthened in our usual fashion – as much by returning B team members, that bit more experience under their belts, than anything else. More importantly, nobody out (let’s not forget that Said had already long gone). The squad now locked in and ready for the second part of the season.

I saw a tweet prior to the second half against Wycombe saying, “And some of you don’t think we need to sign anyone….? Deluded as f**k.” . Hmmm. Not sure I quite agree with that and whilst it felt grim after Admiral Muskwe got a second Wycombe equaliser just prior to half-time the second half proved (yet again) that football is a game of 90 minutes. That one early miss from Sergi Canos does not make him the devil incarnate as some would suggest. Wasn’t that a penalty earned and a blockbuster goal for the Spaniard in the second half? 

Sergi got my vote on Saturday ; Josh was first class

Where I would agree we had an obvious gap was in defence. You can only stretch it so far and any further injury would leave us brutally exposed. That gap has now been covered. I can’t see Winston stepping in to the team immediately but at least, now, we have extra options. Mads and Ethan don’t need to be run into the ground.

Elsewhere, Championship action took an unexpected turn last night when Watford missed out on the chance to go second. They went down 2-1 at home to the hoops from Shepherds Bush. Unexpected for sure but it leaves them  a point behind Brentford having played two games more. Should Millwall pull of something similar when Norwich City visit this evening it will leave that gap to the top as six points but with the same two games in hand. Cripes. The Championship just reeks of potential and has never felt more open. Yet whatever favours are delivered and results go our way, doing the business against Bristol City – a game already rearranged twice due to Corona Virus (‘suspected’ and actual) – will be the absolute priority.

That one kicks off at 7.45pm on Wednesday evening at Lionel Road. Here’s hoping Mark Burridge is already limbering up those vocal cords. I’ve got a feeling its going to be epic.

Nick Bruzon

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Bring out the brackets.

30 Jan

What an afternoon. What a result. What a performance. A hat-trick for Ivan Toney. Individual strikes from Tarique Fosu, Josh Dasilva, Ethan Pinnock and Sergi Canos (the net is still bulging) all adding up to a magnificent 7(seven) for Brentford. Despite scoring twice to go in level at half time, Wycombe Wanderers had no answer to the second half explosion inspired by a resurgent Sergi, a rampant Tariqe, Josh oozing class and Ivan back to his goal scoring best. With Norwich City dropping points against Middlesbrough, Wednesday’s game against Bristol City has taken on an even greater dimension. That’s for then. For now, its all about the Bees earning a further GD swing of +5 and the unbeaten league run continuing ever onwards.

Indeed there were…..

Brentford were magnificent. A 2-2 half-time scoreline about as frustrating as they come. Sergi had conspired to head over with just a few minutes on the clock before Ethan Pinnock buried a corner from Matthias Jensen. 1-0. Open the floodgates. Or, rather, don’t. Instead, show uncharacteristic indecision and let your opponents back into it. The lead lasting barely five minutes before Uche Ikpeazu levelled it up with a wonderful strike following a spate of possession form the visitors that had all the hallmarks of the inevitable equaliser. 

No matter, Brentford pressed on again. The goal sat waiting to be filled. Saves made. Posts hit. Openings unconverted. Agony cranking up until Tarique Fosu was awarded the goal that made it 2-1. For me, Clive, it was Ivan Toney’s all day long. Fosu, who played an absolute blinder today, stabbing home when the ball was already well over the line. It will no doubt be given to Ivan eventually and we’re already calling it as such. 

Whomever was credited at the time, the only thing that mattered was it crossing the line. Having taken the lead, we wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Surely? Oh, we did. This time the lead lasting just two minutes before Admiral Muskwe restored parity just prior to half-time. Yet another demonstration of chances counting for naff all if you don’t bury them. Credit to Wycombe, they knew what to do when the moment came. Brentford had been profligate ; the visitors clinical.

Whatever Thomas Frank said at half-time , he needs to bottle. Talk about the mother of all pep talks. There was only one intent when the boys can back out – kill this one off and do it fast. Fosu was there first, then Ivan Toney with another of his ice cool penalties low to the right. A 4-2 lead with little more than ten minutes played and, this time, there was no choke. No invitation to our guest to get back into the game. Brentford strangled the life out of it before a blitzkrieg assault at the end saw the day end in 7th (seventh) heaven.

Sergi absolute leathered it home after fine work from Josh. A run and cool finish fro mIvan made it six and the hat-trick before man-of-the-match Dasilva completed the rout. The final three goals coming from 81 minutes onwards. Who knows just how crucial these may turn out to be come the end of the season? Only Swansea on 18 are even vaguely close to a GD that now reads +21.

We could have been down at half-time. We weren’t. The usual faces were laying into Sergi once more (well, I suppose with Charlie Goode and Emiliano missing they had to go for someone). Football is a game of 90 minutes and my word, didn’t we prove that ? This is the team that never gives up. That refuses to be beaten. That plays, and celebrates, together. You could see what this one meant. You could probably hear the screams from our house half way down to Lionel Road.

Brentford are now in third place. Two points off Swansea and six off Norwich with a game in hand on both. This season has plenty of twists left in it but you can’t ask for more than we got today. Sure, luck was ridden at times but the history books, and the table, don’t lie. And I know what both of those say.

We started the day saying this one had the potential to be Biblical. It was beyond that. It was immense. Finishing of the highest degree once we got our shooting boots properly laced up. I’d love to be there in person but its not too shabby following from home. Now bring on Bristol City…..  

Nick Bruzon

This could be biblical…..

30 Jan

Are we all over the Swansea City foul fest now? All being well Brentford fans are now fully focussed on Saturday afternoon’s game with Wycombe Wanderers, even if Swans’ supporters are still justifying their team’s own somewhat robust approach to Wednesday evening’s 1-1 draw. Certainly, going by the comments to Thursday’s column… That’s nice. Good luck to them. For the Bees, this represents another chance to continue an unbeaten run in the Championship that stretches back to late October and ‘that’ 3-2 slip up in Stoke. The one with the defensive experiment. Well, we’ve all learned a heck of a lot since then and now find ourselves nipping at the heels of the top placed teams. Reading’s victory over a Bournemouth team rapidly perfecting their own Fulham tribute act has catapulted the Royals above the Bees, for now, but its all so tight at the top that should we pick up all three points this afternoon, second place with games in hand is more than attainable by 5pm. Should other results go our way.

Wednesday has been and gone – let’s just move on now

These are exciting times, no doubt. If the snow which was thought to be that great leveller never quite materialised against Leicester City on Sunday, the elements could play much more of a significant role today. At the time of writing (7(seven) am) its torrential outside and has been for the last few hours (at least). The ground in TW8 will already be sodden and the rain shows no sign of abating. Great conditions for those that like slick, passing play. For those that remember to pack the extra long studs.

Things are biblical in Brentford this morning, that’s for sure, but with the Bees looking to make their own exodus from the Championship it couldn’t be more apt. Let’s just hope there’s a great flood of goals to match the downpour. Ivan Toney’s recent hot streak may have hit the skids but he is still playing quite wonderfully. The timing of his runs (where only being man handled can stop him) and link up play to those who are finding the net still worth their weight in gold. Or should that be goals? This afternoon’s visit from the Championship’s bottom side, who haven’t played in the league since a 1-3 defeat to Middlesbrough, could be the perfect opportunity for him. Of our divisional rivals, only Huddersfield Town have conceded more goals this season and a visit from a leaky defence in the rain could be just what the doctor ordered.

Of course, football is never that easy. Gareth Ainsworth’s team have certainly tightened up their act and are even winning games now. We laboured to our own 0-0 at Adams Park back in November and so won’t be under any illusions about this being a formality. Anything but. Talismanic behemoth Adebayo Akinfenwa may not have troubled the Championship statisticians so far this campaign but his presence alone makes the front man a huge distraction for the Brentford defence. Keeping the ball down the other end will be key. Dominating the midfield the way we’re going to win this one and break down resolute opposition.

Fortunately, Matthias Jensen was on fine form at Swansea City. See also the returning Josh Dasilva who did well to avoid another early exit fro matt game. Albeit on a stretcher, given the non-stop assault he was subjected to in the first half. Thankfully, referee Mr Brooks was on hand to ignore it all. Today we’ve got David Webb (rather than W£bb) in the middle so let’s hope for a little bit more protection in the slippery conditions. 

The heart says comfortable win today. The head says I’ve been a Brentford fan far too long to take anything for granted. However, let’s put the neck on the block and call it. 3-0 Brentford. There you go. Having got the last two league games spot on (somehow) its a hat trick that will be as welcome as it will be unlikely. Bring on 2pm when we find out the team and baton down the hatches for another afternoon on the sofa. Urghh – I’d love to be soaked to the skin this afternoon, so cold and wet that all feeling has been lost to the fingers. Unable to feel my nose and rain running down the glasses. We all know why that’s not possible so instead, let’s just hope the Internet holds up. Let’s wait for Mark Burridge to do his thing on the microphone.

Bring it on and see you there. In mind if not body. There’s always social media. Enjoy the game and here’s to the right result come 5pm. No pressure, lads….

Nick Bruzon 

Where’s Keith when you need him? Swans try to break our arms with their wings. And their midfield. And their defence.

28 Jan

Look positive. Brentford remain unbeaten in the Championship since late October. A 1-1 draw at Swansea City saw our hosts punch, kick and elbow their way back to second place in the table. Two points ahead of the Bees but with an additional game played. They travel to Rotherham on Saturday. We’ve another showdown with Wycombe Wanderers at Lionel Road. It was a game that we’re all left feeling hard done by after dominating play yet being kicked off the park by Steve Cooper’s unattractive brand of physical and cynical football. Clearly, he’s a fan of that approach and when you get a referee as innocuous as John Brooks was then its understandable why. It was a game crying out for the no-nonsense card waving of Keith Stroud but we were given Ray Biggar 2 . With Josh Dasilva , Vitaly Janelt and Sergi Canos amongst those being particularly brutalised Keith would have stamped it out in a moment. Instead, the only stamping was from a Swans team allowed to haul us off the ball with abandon and despite being, eventually, reduced to ten men still saw Jake Bidwell’s elbow to David Raya go unnoticed as the equaliser drifted in .

Sour grapes? No. Frustration? Yes!! Swansea are a rock solid team with a, generally water tight defence. They’re where they are for good reason. Some fair, some foul. It was a mammoth game for us and we more than matched the home team. Raya rarely troubled as Brentford took the game by the scuff of its neck and drove forward. Unfortunately, Swansea took Brentford by the scruff of our necks and did all possible to kill it. Rico Henry came oh so close in the first half as did Bryan Mbeumo. At one point he and Henrik tripping over each other to head the ball home fand, instead, conspiring to miss. No matter, it would come soon. 

The magical Matthias Jensen opened up the Swansea defence as easily as he would a packet of fish fingers to free Josh in the second half. Surely now. Surely….? Nooooooo. The ‘keeper got in the way as the goal opened up. But eventually the pressure paid. With Swansea finally down to ten men after Kyle Naughton was eventually shown a second yellow card (having previously dodged more bullets than the lovely Debbie McGhee facing a blindfolded Paul Daniels back in the day),  there was Tarique Fosu to head home a Dalsgaard cross in the 74th minute. 

Get in!! Our house erupted. Crisps in the air. Percy Pigs scattered everywhere in a celebration of relief and excitement. A goal and a man up. Dominating the game. This could only go one way. And sure enough, it did. It’s Brentford, innit?

To be fair, this one wasn’t down to us. A free kick given away near there touchline was delivered in to the box by Conor Hourihane. IT WAS a great ball in, to be fair, but should still have been meat and drink to David Raya. Instead, he was surrounded by Swansea players with Jake Bidwell unable to match us by fair means so resorting to foul. His elbow to Raya seen by everybody but Mr Brooks. Amazing. How? We were already screaming at the tv before Hourihane’s delivery was able to continue unchecked into the back of the net. Even Thomas called it at full time saying “I think it (the equaliser) is a foul. I think there’s an elbow in the face and with VAR it would be disallowed, but the ball is put into a brilliant area.”    

I’m not stealing the photo for this one. No idea what the legal people at ‘Rex Features’ are like but do check out the BBC match report for the full, unadulterated evidence of just how blatant this was.

Thomas was, as ever, being diplomatic. There was no ‘think’ about it. It was there and clear to all. Instead, the scores were level and from that point on every effort was made to run down the clock. Every ‘foul’ on the home team milked to the absolute nth degree. Poor Andre Ayew – please could somebody check in on him today and give us the ‘all clear’. They way he flopped around like a fish out of water had me genuinely fearing for his life.

Credit to Swansea. They had a job to do and did it well. Credit to Steve Cooper. Sometimes ugly works. Dirty play and brutal assault have their place in football if the referee won’t punish the assailants . As it was, Mr. Brooks still showed five yellows (including the second for Naughton) but on any other night, or with Keith in charge, one could honestly have expected the game to be abandoned and a nominal 3-0 win awarded to Brentford due to the Swans having insufficient players left on the pitch to continue.

You get the point. There’s no point me moaning anymore. I’ll leave that one to Harry who was unaware his own full time moment was being captured ! Instead, its on to Saturday and the visit from Wycombe. Destiny still well well in our hands. A win would have been marvellous but the most important thing is that we didn’t lose. Didn’t allow Swansea the chance to get further ahead. If there was any justice we’d have gone home with all three points but that’s not how football works. Oh well, we’ll just have to see what the weekend brings. With Rotherham beating Middlesbrough in some style last night, I do wonder what twists the weekend may still hold?

Nick Bruzon

Is our form all down to one player?

23 Nov

Well, we’re back in action. Whatever that means. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers was a masterclass in frustration for a Brentford team that had endured similar in the previous game – that 0-0 with Middlesbrough before International break took hold. We’ve back to back fixtures with Barnsley and then Quarter Pound of Rubbish before the weekend. With them, the opportunity to fine tune our game and get the goals flowing once more. Likewise, a chance to prove we are a team. That all our woes (if you can call being six points off second place ‘woes’) are not the fault of one man. Yes, the online hate mob were back and Sergi is once more the player in their sights.

Sergi gets stuck in on Saturday

It was a terrible game played out in a Craven Cottage atmosphere. Rattling around an empty stadium no longer working to our advantage as it did last season when it was a short term ‘novelty’ (and that word is used in the loosest sense). Brentford adjusted to it quickly. Everybody else has caught up. Football is now much more of an 11 v 11 thing with the lack of crowd and passion dragging everybody down. Fans frustrated on their sofas. I know I am.

Its awful. I want to be there. Cheering them on. Screaming. Giving the lino what for. Instead, we still have that sterile feeling of what, to all intents and purposes, has the feel of a reserve game. This should be the Championship. Instead it feels like The Football Combination.   

That’s not to lay all the blame for an awful afternoon at the feet of the Corona Virus crowd restrictions. Brentford still struggled to break down resolute opposition. As we did against Middlesbrough. Fair play to Wycombe. Despite us having the better chances – Bryan Mbeumo in particular and Josh Dasilva late on – they were few and far between. Our hosts locked us out and stifled all flair. Another vital point on the board for the Adams Park outfit. The Bees lacking the tactical nous to get through them – even with the much demanded pairing of Forss and Toney getting a run out for the final half hour.  

You know what? Had Sergi been at his very best then we might have won. But you could say that about anybody outside of the defence. All our frustrations are not the fault of one player. He’s not been at his creative best the last few games but who has? We’re not scoring and we’re not creating. That’s not because of one man. Cripes, some of the replies to this one….

Here are the simple facts. After 12 games we’re in eleventh and a mere six points off second place. We’ve not lost in five league games, conceding just two goals over that run. In Ivan Toney, Brentford have a player going neck and neck with Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong at the top of the Championship goal scoring charts. Let’s not forget, either, we’re in the quarter finals of the League Cup. A tie with Newcastle United , and the bizarre possibility of being one step closer to European football, awaits.

This time last season, played 12, we were in thirteenth place and 8 points behind second placed Leeds United. We’d limped out of the League Cup at the first attempt, to Cambridge United.

Nice work, Sergi et al. We’re doing better than last season, in much tougher circumstances ! Frank IN ! The table doesn’t lie.

Then and now

So yes, it has been tough going the last few games. We’ve not fully found our feet, that’s for sure. In part it’s down to the environment. In part we’re still acclimatising to those departures and new arrivals. Still finding what the best option is. Still recovering from injuries that continue to come thick and fast – Ethan Pinnock was the latest to miss out this time around.

Perhaps, even, still getting over the play-off campaign. Urhghh, watching the awfulness of FulhamL on Sunday lunchtime as they made it 7(seven) defeats out of 9 games was an absolute kick to the nuts. They truly are dreadful – but enough about their penalty taking. Surely we’d have held our own heads higher and put in a better performance than that? Built on our squad rather than readjust to new starters.

It hasn’t been fun in recent games but my own personal take on it is that nobody deserves the torrent of abuse being directed at individuals or the team. We’re hardly in the same position as Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. The Bees aren’t losing, we’re better placed than this time last season and we’ve got a trip to Barnsley on Tuesday night. It won’t be easy but the Championship never is. For years it has been described as the most competitive and exciting in Europe. Few could deny the former this time around, even if recent games have been somewhat lacking on thrills.

Now bring on Barnsley. Then the small matter of a visit from the Shepherds Bush team……

Nick Bruzon

Is this the funniest joke since records began? No. More importantly, will Neal start today?

20 Jul

“She drags me all the way from Billingsgate to Richmond to play about the weakest practical joke since Cardinal Wolsey got his nob out at Hampton Court and stood at the end of the passage pretending to be a door.” Not my words but those of TV’s Edmund Blackadder. And words which have now been surpassed by Huddersfield Town making the utterly predictable reveal that their ‘sash’ shirt was a fake after we were finally treated to the real thing. On matters closer to home, Brentford travel to Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon where there will be more than a passing interest in Thomas Frank’s starting XI.

huddersfield shirts

Umbro rescue Huddersfield Town supporters. At the second attempt.

Let’s start with Huddersfield Town. Why not? With Brentford fans still basking in the glory or our own Umbro designs for 2019/20, knees jerked on Thursday when the Terriers ‘revealed’ their own effort for the forthcoming season. The oversized sponsor’s sash, promoting a bookmaker, prompting immediate horror from those who fell for it and scorn form just about everybody else. The horrors of online betting. The obvious breach in regulations. The fact that Huddersfield were playing along in a joke at their own expense.

Most crucially, the abject awfulness of the alleged kit. How do you even cock up a sash shirt? This should be impossible, given it’s a universally accepted fact that this is a look which is up there with the very best in shirt design.  That Huddersfield managed to mangle it so badly, at their own expense, whilst simultaneously pissing off almost the entire fanbase is a PR stunt that has well and truly backfired. Except, of course, for Mr. P who has more than earned his pound of advertising flesh. I mean, who wasn’t talking about them in footballing circles?

And then, surprise surprise, it was all revealed to be a hilarious prank. Despite us being nowhere even close to April 1st. To quote Blackadder once more, “I thank God I wore my corset, because I think my sides have split.

On the plus side, the new look unveiled by Huddersfield Town is magnificent. Hats off to Umbro for pulling this one out of the kit bag. They really are on fire this season. Even better, the official incarnation of the Huddersfield shirt has the luxury of being sponsor free. It’s just a shame their fans had to go through all that nonsense to get there.

palace vasco peru sash shirts

Crystal Palace. Vasco Da Gama. Peru. All prove it should be impossible to mess up a sash kit.

Right. Wycombe Wanderers v Brentford. There’s one topic on everybody’s lips. And it’s not whether we’ll be wearing black and yellow. Neal Maupay. Will he start? Will he be here at the start of the season? Have there been any bids? Are we really preparing the way for his departure with the reported acquisition of Bryan Mbuemo from Troyes?

Persaonlly, I take the offerings from sites such as Football League World and HITC with a huge dollop of salt – when it comes to actual facts, they’re normally about as on target as a Murray Jones and Nick Proschwitz dream team. Yet when Beesotted are talking about it (and you can read their thoughts here) then stand up and take notice.  Should the Mbuemo story prove correct, might he even be an acquisition rather than a replacement? Matthew Benham does love to surprise us.

Ultimately, nobody really knows. This is all part and parcel of being a Brentford fan these days. Trust in the long term set up and overall squad balance, tempered with the more immediate angst at the prospect of saying goodbye to any one of several club heroes.

No matter how philosophical one has to remain about the quite wonderful way in which we conduct our business, football is an emotional game. We all love the likes of Neal, Said, Ollie, Sergi, Romaine. To name but a few. The immediate reaction to any combo of them leaving would see us gutted – no matter what comes next. Just look at the plaudits for Yoann Barbet, despite his eventual destination. then again, look at who has signed up at Griffin Park in lieu of him and Ezri. It works!

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Here’s to more in 2019/20…..

So Neal may start at Wycombe. He may be on the bench. It doesn’t really matter in terms of serving up a clue about longer term intention. Unless, of course, the likes of Billy Reeves can get to him after the match and administer a gentle probing so we can hear from the man himself about his own thoughts.

One can dream.

And finally, time is running out on me annoying you about the annual Last Word season review e-book for your kindle, iPod telephone or other electronic reading device. However, with all proceeds received from the £1.99 sale price going to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust its worth a mention. 

You can download it here and whilst it’s shonky, whilst I’m still spotting typos in it and some of the jokes are almost as weak as The Huddersfield shirt launch, what better way to while away your time on the commute to work, the toilet, holiday or just simply relive some of the exciting moments from last campaign as we wait for 2019/20 to start? If nothing else, it has a whole host of material not previously published on this site. That’s meant as a good thing, by the way.

Thanks. As ever.

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Nick Bruzon

Time for a Halloween horror show? Will ten times better Harlee be left to eat his words?

1 Nov

There’s not much more we can really say going into this one. Brentford travel to Birmingham City this evening for a game where our ex-captain Harlee Dean has ensured that the Bees have nothing to lose and everything to gain with his words prior to the weekend’s 0-0 draw against Aston Villa. And closer to home, Yoann Barbet and John Egan have been getting into the Halloween vibe as they’ve been out and about meeting some very excited young fans.

But first, St. Andrews. Tonight’s game had already been one heavily laden with anticipation following our recent transfer activity. If Wycombe Wanderers are sometimes referred to as Brentford B (such has been the procession of players from TW8 to Adams Park) should Birmingham share twin town status with Brentford ? Scott Hogan moved to the city, c/o Aston Villa, in January. A move which, sadly, hasn’t fared that well and sees him already touted for a ‘cut price’ sale.  Then of course we had that gut busting triple whammy over the summer. Jota, Harlee and Maxime Colin all sold to Birmingham City on deadline day for a cool £12million.

It would be fair to say that the immediacy and surprise of selling three fan favourites to a divisional rival left many frustrated. Myself included. Yet now the dust has settled it is Brentford who find themselves four points (effectively five when you factor in our goal difference being 13 better) clear of the Blues. The chance to really prove a point was something that already had fans keen to get to this one.

And then Harlee opened his mouth to make ‘that comment’ about his current team mates relative to his former ones:

“We’ve got quality in that squad. I’ve been in teams where we’ve finished fifth in this league and missed out on promotion by play offs. And this squad is ten times better than that. Its just about getting the balance right.

Ten. Times. Better. I’m still laughing. We were awesome that season. City have been bang average this time around. Understandably he’s come in for all amount of scorn in regards to this claim. A claim which was followed up by his side’s lethargic draw with Aston Villa on Sunday. Hey, at least they kept a clean sheet although Jota will still be kicking himself about the chance he missed when clean through.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Say what you want. Nobody can doubt the size or history of Birmingham City. Yet reputation and former glories count for nothing when you are slugging it out in the Championship. Something Leeds United, Aston Villa et al have found out when they take on…..teams like Brentford. Whilst Dean Smith may not be viewing this as any form of grudge match, you can be sure our fans are well up for this and are going to be out to make themselves heard. Bring it on…

Off field, the club celebrated Halloween by playing trick or treat on some of our locally based Junior Bees. John Egan and Yoann Barbet donned the fancy dress to knock on the doors of some very excited young fans.

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A familiar face welcomed visitors

If you haven’t seen the film already, you can catch this below (and the full story is on official). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This club is second to none for embracing the local community and our fanbase. Whether it be the family fun day, open day at the training ground or the Christmas party the players are never anything but 100% genuine; the club are only ever 100% into it. I can’t imagine a Manchester United or an Arsenal doing all of this, for free, on such a regular basis. Getting out into the community or giving the fans a chance to meet their idols. The reaction from the kids says it all and there’s a huge THANK YOU from me given Harry’s chance to participate.

Although in retrospect, and given what is coming this evening, perhaps best that his comments at the end were more to do with the Buzz Bee pumpkin lantern and less with what he said off camera about a former captain. To the current one….

John. Yoann. Thank you. And if you could go and lay on another Halloween horror show, at St. Andrews, that would be fantastic.

The players do their thing. HB is really into satsumas…

Nick Bruzon

Lunga off target, Kamohelo en route and Leeds / Wycombe go kit crazy

7 Jul

All the talk in Brentford circles yesterday was about the imminent signing of Kamohelo Mokotjo from FC Twente. There’s not much these pages can add on what’s already been said – South African international defensive midfielder, currently undergoing medical – so we’ll leave the bulk of that one to the likes of Beesotted for now . Besides, there was more kit news out there – with Leeds United and Wycombe Wanderers the latest to dazzle.

First up though, two further points on the Mokotjo story, assuming it proves to be correct. Given Beesotted are getting behind it, you can assume this one is a fairly safe bet. Their record on rumours is second to none.

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Is Mokotjo about to become a Bee ?

Both are observations from Twitter. First up, from South African Manchester United fan Lunga Biyela. His bio describes him as a sports writer although it also refers to to both “May the Force be with you” and “#JediBatman”. Additionally, his ‘pinned’ tweet is a lightsaber battle montage and his header photo shows a brass band at a Man U game so I’m not sure how credible a footballing authority we can take him to be.

That said, he had an opinion on the move. An opinion which was somewhat ridiculed and tells you all you need to know about how much many football fans still have their heads buried in the corporate sand. Nice to see Brentford fan Roy Beckerson, amongst others, winning that one.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 05.57.41The other thing of note was a bit closer to home and came via Ben Plumb. Given the recent cringy nonsense from alleged ’Steve Bruce’ & co at Aston Villa (if nothing else, would he REALLY call the boss a solitary ‘Dr’ in a text conversation) , a request has been put out there.

Of course, the club are saying nothing – no change there – but a flag has been raised. Nice one, Ben. Couldn’t agree more. Given me a signing shirt/scarf and picture of the player with pen poised over contract any day.

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Next up – kit. Wycombe Wanderers and Leeds United were amongst those to go yesterday. Starting with Leeds, the Elland Road outfit’s just has to be seen to see believed.

Not so much the gold trim or extraneous amount of Kappa logos but more the fit. It is less stitched together as practically painted on. I can only imagine this is going to look horrific on anybody who has ever eaten a cake or half time pie. Even Sir Bradley Wiggins would struggle in this one.

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The official blurb is great. The shirt is described as Kombat Skin 2018 technology which will be impossible for the opposition to grab whilst, at the same time, magically improving performance standards. Given their recent scores against Brentford, it’ll take more than a spray on shirt to help Leeds on that front .

On the plus side, my sources close to Elland Road (Gibraltar) tell me this is purely the player version. There’s no need for fans to go on a crash diet as it does also come in a more forgiving supporter ‘friendly’ sizing.

As for Wycombe – their new goalkeeper shirt is very much a sight for sore eyes. Or, should that be , a cause of them. It is absolutely stunning. I love it. Whilst not as stylish as our own red ‘away’ from last season, even to call them lurid would be something of an understatement.

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Let’s be clear – I love these. What brilliant shirts. Supposedly designed to put opposition strikers off, you can’t deny they are eye-catching . Perhaps something for our own kitman Bob to think about next season ?

AUTHOR’S PLUG – (it’s all for charity).

And if you’d like to read more about last season including  wins over Villa and Leeds, amongst others then please don’t forget (how could you?) that the regular season review e-book remains available for download. This one is titled ‘Welcome home, King Jota’ and this time around it is for a great cause. All funds raised are being given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Likewise, any subsequent sales from the previous versions.

Containing the least bad of the blogs from May 2016 to May 2017 and a bit of new material too, you can pick it up, here. It’s just £1.99.

So why not do something great to help our club. What else will £1.99 get you? What better way to spend some time on the commute to work, the beach, by the pool or even hiding out in the toilet at the office?

For less than the cost of half a pint on match day, it’s the season review that has been designed to fit in your pocket (if you are using an i-phone).

Nick Bruzon

 

No fight, No clue, No nothing. Worst. Display. Ever (and that’s just Dean) as Bees go down at Chelsea.

29 Jan

Chelsea 4 Brentford 0 . Well played Chelsea. You can only beat what is put up in front of you and what comes next is by no means meant as either criticism, or over exuberant praise, of our hosts on Saturday. But that was atrocious.

An FA Cup scoreline most outsiders would have expected before kick off yet one which, with the players at Dean Smith’s disposal could have been so much closer. More to the point, with the players at Dean Smith’s disposal it should have been one which involved some passion and fight. Instead, he rolled over and had his belly tickled.

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Stat of the day going into this one..

The BBC match report has the highlights as does Match of the Day on the I-player, approximately an hour and nine minutes in. If you must do it to yourself, I’d suggest going with the latter option purely for Gaby Logan’s sub-Partridge introduction to the game “Two years ago Chelsea lost out to League One Bradford City in the Fourth round. Today’s opponents also started with ‘B R’ and ended in ‘Ford’ but could Brentford give the Premier League leaders another FA Cup thumping?

The answer was a categoric “No”.

It is said that games can hinge on a single moment. This one was the exact moment Dean Smith set up his team. Chelsea were never going to be at full strength with matches against Liverpool and Arsenal in the coming week. Even I could see that and my managerial experience has been limited to two games at the helm of the Brentford legends.(P2 W2 D0 L0. Just saying).

The only chance of getting anything out of this was to go for it from the off, get in their faces and then grind it out later on if needs be when Chelsea brought their big guns on.

Instead, we stuck to the five defenders and four midfielders in  a system totally devoid of any attacking intent. Tom Field was demoted to the bench. Jota and Josh Clarke sat along side him, with Scott Hogan helping make up the numbers. Wing backs without wings. I’ve seen more flare and width on a kipper tie. Brentford invited Chelsea to come at them and it was a tactical decision that was doomed to fail.

We will be going all-out to win the game” promised Dean on Thursday. His team and their tactics – a Marinus era display of sitting deep then passing it sideways and backwards rather than forwards – gave the impression that we would be going all out to sneak a turgid draw.

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Was this Dean’s game plan, left on the Stamford Bridge steps?

It was total exhibition stuff from Chelsea. Rather than Diego Costa, I was half expecting Antonio Conte to bring on the Harlem Globetrotters in the second half .

The opening forty-five was so abject from Brentford that the biggest cheer from the visiting fans came at half time with the news that Paul Hayes had put Wycombe 2-0 up at Spurs. Along with the likes of Aaron Pierre, Myles Weston and Sam Wood (Marcus Bean and Sam Saunders having to be content with a place on the bench) The Swans giving a perfect lesson in how to take on a below strength team at the business end of the Premier League in their own back yard.

I heard supporters berating Romaine Sawyers and Josh McEachran – claiming the latter had been more interested in his recent ‘golf photos’. Neither had great games, granted, but they were as much a product of the tactical decisions going on around them.

Tom Field was dropped. Why, Dean? Why? Even if he was as tired as you made out, at least start him for an hour then bring on Barbet for the defensive role once we are ahead. Given the line he’d spouted two weeks earlier about trusting his players in regards to ‘not picking’ Scott Hogan (because of course, that was your decision and not at all influenced) then why his sudden reversal? Tom had absolutely nailed that position in the last few months and this was as big a slap in the face as a manager/head coach (whatever) could deliver.

There was no attacking intent on the left. Barbet either too scared, or simply not allowed, to try and take it forward. No width on the right. Josh Clarke and Jota were both overlooked in favour of a 5-4-1 formation in which all 5 sat back and all 4 passed it sideways. And backwards. It was an open invitation for Chelsea to come at us. It was an invitation which required no RVSP and no second chance. It was an invitation which came with a party bag marked ‘goals’. Only Daniel Bentley and the linesman’s flag keeping the first half score respectable.

It was abundantly clear what was going to happen. Invite them on and pay the inevitable price.

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Pre kick off. Yet worse was to come. Much worse

Just look at the way the two managers/head coaches (whatever) performed. Smith, cutting a solitary figure standing motionless on the edge of his technical area. He was a man reverting to the same abject characteristics of his ill-fated predecessor, Marinus Dijkhuizen. He was a man displaying all the passion of a waterlogged stats graph and about as much technical ability.

His opposite number Antonio Conte was like a man possessed. A demented conductor, directing an orchestra of understudies. There he was, driving them on with every gesticulation. A man constantly encouraging his team and barking out orders. This, despite them being two up against a side whose sole purpose seemed to be ‘don’t lose’.

As for the Scott Hogan decision, who knows what was going on there? If there was any chance of taking anything out of the game he should have started. Or been dropped. There’s no room or place for wishy-washy nonsense. Whatever point either he or Dean are trying to prove at the moment is not in the best interests of this team.

The opening twenty minutes of the second period showed just what would happen if we decided to cross the half way line. Attacking the Shed end that housed the 6,000 Brentford fans we began the half the way we should have started the first.

And then it fizzled out as Chelsea started to play again.

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An impressive arena. A less than impressive performance

Only poor finishing and Dan Bentley had kept the scoreline vaguely respectable in that first period. With Romaine Sawyers (whose role yesterday eludes me) unable to go forward,  three static central midfielders passing it amongst themselves and the defence stretched (how can five men get stretched?) the only question was how many Chelsea would get. That it was only two, and eventually four, is a miracle in itself.

In Matthew we trust” , I wrote earlier this month. Well I stick by that. The problem being his trusted lieutenants. The players are there. The talent is there. The motivation and formation isn’t.

For gosh sake, I could have done a better job at motivating them and setting up yesterday . If that was a team designed to go ‘all-out to win the game’ (Dean’s words, not mine) then perhaps he needs a new dictionary or coaching manual.

We haven’t got a divine right to roll over anybody before us. Likewise, Chelsea are where they are for good reason. Roman’s roubles have allowed them to build a squad that is sweeping all before it in the Premier League. But if our ultimate fate was to lose, at least show a bit of passion. A bit of fight . Make a half-arsed attempt to try and get something out of the game instead of trying to chase it when it was already lost.

The most attacking intent shown by anybody vaguely connected with Brentford was from the paunchy geriatrics in the upper tier at full time, as a crazy punch up ensued amongst some agitated supporters.

Instead, we were left with the aforementioned stat of the day from Standard Sport still holding true. We’ve never had a better chance of putting this one to bed. Instead, there was no kapow from Dean Smith.

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Nick Bruzon

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