Tag Archives: Yeovil

Bring on the Blades. Time to chop down the Forest

5 Aug

For gods sake… you don’t want to go up Brentford’. ‘Smith out’. Just some of the tongue-in-cheek comments after Brentford crashed out of the play-off zone and down to eighth place as the Championship kicked off in anger on Friday night. A win for Nottingham Forest combined with a point apiece for Sunderland and Derby County saw the Bees overtaken before we’ve even got our boots on. But with the trip to Sheffield United finally here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived.

Of course the table is purely in an embryonic and predominantly alphabetical state at present. Whilst Mark Warburton and his Nottingham Forest team will undoubtedly be pleased with the win that sends them temporarily top of the pile, it is nothing more than a statistical nicety for now. Newcastle United were bottom of the lot with nil points after two games last season and look how that all turned out.

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Forest top the lot. Temporarily, I’m sure

Yet to see things event starting to move around after months of 24 teams showing P 0 has got the spine tingling. Months of Aston Villa topping the lot by virtue of their place in the dictionary over the rest of the Championship. Thankfully, that statistical glitch has been resolved and the normal order of things can start to take hold once more with, for the record, their standard score of 1-1 available at 11/2 this afternoon when Hull City are the visitors. I mention this purely for research purposes.

But we digress. As ever. Today is all about Sheffield United and Brentford. Thankfully Keith Stroud is not in charge – and for anyone late to that party, let’s just say that when our big chance came a few years ago, he saw red. Plus ça change. Regular supporters know the drill at this point so let’s leave that one here. Another rant on his performance won’t help today’s proceedings.

Instead, Stephen Martin is in charge. His own record in 2016/17 was a very healthy 78 yellows from 35 games officiated. He only showed 3 red cards all season – ironically, the same amount as Stroud showed in that one night at Bramall Lane back in April 2013.

Mr. Martin was our own man in the middle just once let time out, as The Bees secured a 2-0 win over Ipswich Town in our opening home fixture of that campaign. John Egan grabbed a brace then but could he do it again today ?

Well, the one thing we can say is that Harlee Dean won’t feature today following his one match suspension that carried over from the end of last season. Given that ban and the injury to Sergi Canos, my own personal selection would be a starting XI comprising: Bentley, Colin, Egan, Barbet, Henry, Mokotjo, Woods, Jozefzoon, Jota, Wakins, Vibe.

Will Sergi be fit? Is Dean able to fit the wonderfully impressive Kamo and player’s player of the season Ryan Woods in the same team? Has Josh done enough pre-season to make it a real selection dilemma? Might we actually be able to hang on to Jota ? Who’d be a head coach? Tough decisions to be made today but what a nice position to be in.

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Jota impressed in the rain against Celta Vigo

As for Sheffield United, they’ll be up for this and then some. Of course, we all know Jack O’Connell and Simon Moore from Griffin Park, but the Blades are so much more than that. 100 points from a League One title winning campaign tells its own story whilst the likes Preston, Burton, of course the Bees and even Rotherham United (for a while) have shown how well teams can do when making that step up.

I very much expect Sheffield United to be in that category rather than joining the likes of Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers in bombing straight back out of the Championship and further down the leagues. Boo hoo. Shame. Move along now.

I’m struggling to call this one. The heart says Brentford, both teams to score and a narrow victory. But aswell as strong team we’ll be playing to a packed house and a crowd chomping at the bit for a taste of higher division football. Could the anticipation and expectation work to our advantage? Will it be the proverbial 12th man for the home side? Would we be happy to come home with a point ?

One things for sure, we’ve had three year’s experience playing at this level and at these marvellous stadia. Whomever Dean picks will be key. An obvious statement but he has as many personal decisions as tactical ones to make. The likes of Josh, Ryan, Andreas and Yoann will all be expecting too play. What about ever reliable Nico Yennaris?

Roll on 3pm when we find out. I cannot wait !

And as a foot note, huge congratulations to long time local boy Sir Mo Farah after his stunning performance in the World Championship athletics last night. There can’t be anyone who hasn’t warmed to his infectious enthusiasm and vast determination over the last ten years as he has made scooping gold medal after gold medal look almost effortless. His ‘golden’ post box near Isleworth station on the way through to Griffin Park is a constant reminder of just what he has achieved. Last night was yet another example of his incredible talent.

Nice one, Mo !

Nick Bruzon

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Is Ian wrong, again? Can we do it? Newcastle v Brentford is here.

14 Oct

Just one more wake up until the weekend and the return of Championship football for Brentford. With it, the much anticipated trip to Newcastle United and our chance to catch up with the Magpies in the heart of the play-off zone should we get three points. Should….

International break is always a tough time. Much as I love following the football fortunes of Gibraltar, it has been another period of little satisfaction. Results wise, that is. 0-4 and 0-6 losses to Estonia and Belgium, the latter seeing Christian Benteke record the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history, have given plenty of time to think things over on the domestic front. As for England, that’s a whole other world of pain.

So whilst Saturday’s game has always been a standout fixture on the calendar with (cliché alert), the game at Newcastle one of the first we looked for when the fixtures were announced, the long wait through a barren international weekend has given even more food for thought.

Everybody is saying to treat it like another game, myself included. That’s right, of course. Play the team, not the occasion. Yet, at the same time, one can’t help but be swept up with the moment. For a club that have, until recent years, been more accustomed to playing the likes of Newport than Newcastle there is an enormous swell of pride at where we are now.

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The last time we played Newcastle in the league, Phil Holder was the Bees boss

I’ll doff my hat to statistical guru Luis Melville when he proves me wrong but I can’t imagine we’ll have played in front of a crowd this big before. Whether in modern times or ever. The attendance at the W place for the 2012/13 play-off final was just short of 42,000 whilst our FA Cup quarter-final with Liverpool in 1989 was just over.

The flip side of this being that we thoroughly deserve to be where we are. This, our third season in the Championship, is the result of an awful lot of hard work on and off the pitch. Much of it unseen. Finishes of 5th and 9th have been no flukes, despite the many challenges we have faced – including those of our own making.

Yet still people sneer and write us off. Ian Holloway started the season by describing us as a club that were regressing, promptly tipping us for relegation. How wrong that one has proven so far as, instead, Brentford find themselves in 7th(seventh).

Indeed, so far have things changed that yesterday he used his Sky Sports column to predict we’ll win the game!! Indeed, he even held up his hands to admit, “I jumped to conclusions at the start of the season when Brentford couldn’t keep hold of their good players like Jake Bidwell. I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction. Dean Smith and the squad are proving me wrong. Good on them.

With Newcastle already having lost at home to Wolves and Huddersfield Town in the league, their last outing at St.James’ Park saw that epic 4-3 win over Norwich City. Yet even that one saw them going into injury time 3-2 down.

And with Scott Hogan having just scooped the Championship player of the month  award for his own goalscoring feats, could Ian be onto something?

The bookies don’t agree. Club sponsor 888sport have us at 21/4 to win. In real terms that means – put £10 on; get £62.50 back. Too good to be true? Free money? Or do the bookmakers know what they are talking about?

At 3pm on Saturday, we find out.

And if you’d like to read more, Ian’s full piece can be found here.

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Do 888 know something we don’t? (other bookmakers are available)

Nick Bruzon

Three years on, can anybody get past Sergi?

28 Apr

Yesterday was one of those wonderful days for Brentford fans. Not the fact that it was three years since ‘that’ penalty, although the club did make a point of this (to the minute) on ‘official’ Twitter. More, that Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos has given us another reason to recognise his brilliance as the goal of the season video was released.

First up though (and briefly) it shows how far we’ve come that the crossbar affair can now held up as some sort of anniversary. If not one to be overly celebrated then certainly something that will never be forgotten. That can only be a good thing too because it hadn’t really been mentioned by anybody. Ever. Out of adversity comes triumph and all that.

Certainly the Bees picked themselves up in some style and despite the heartbreaking play-off defeat at ‘The W place’, the rest is history

Nobody particularly needs another discourse from me on the subject. There’s been plenty written already about the subsequent fall out and Brentford’s spectacular surge to the fringes of the Premier League although if you would like to read more etc etc…  (hey, it’s been a while).

No, the main reason for yesterday’s excitement was because it saw the contenders for goal of the season released. And with voting now open, there’s an incredible shortlist for the Sergi Canos v Reading (a) award.

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Bees Player viewers see Sergi celebrate that incredible effort

Yet, yet, yet. Is the winner such a foregone conclusion? Yes, it was a strike that the rewind button (or is it a ‘back arrow’ these days?)  was specifically made for but there are some other wonderful moments in there.

Ryan Woods in the same game was pretty special too whilst you can only admire Lasse Vibe’s acrobatics v MK Dons. How about Marco Djuricin’s quite wonderful control and turn to put himself in a goal scoring position against Preston North End or the unadulterated emotion of his winner agasint the Loftus Road mob?

John Swift hit a beauty against Bolton whilst there’s a fantastic four from Alan Judge. That’s a third of the entire shortlist dedicated to one man alone yet each of them ‘A rated’ class!

That said, as one Ealing Road observer would later note – “It would be nice for Judge not to win an award, just to give him a rest and stop him getting up and down all night.

Can anybody outclass Sergi?

Twelve absolute stunners and whoever does win, there won’t be any complaints. For me (Clive) despite all of this there’s still no getting past Canos. But if you don’t take my word for it (and frankly, why would anybody?) then there are two other tell-tale signs.

First up,  Mark Burridge’s commentary. You’ll find the two Reading goals about four minutes in and, it’s fair to say, our commentator par-excellence has a moment to rival his infamous ‘Burridgegasm‘. The one when Jota scored ’Brentford’s goal of the 21st Century?’ against Blackburn Rovers last season .

Secondly, Sam Saunders. The regular reader may be aware our number 7(seven) is my favourite player. We all have one and, for me, it’s Sam.

In a way I’m glad his run and strike against Leeds United wasn’t on the shortlist. It would have made the vote a much trickier one. For about two seconds.

Yet whilst questioning it’s absence on social media last night, none other than the great man himself popped up to reply that the “celebration was worth it alone” before making the  magnanimous acknowledgement that, “only winner young Sergi

If it’s good enough for the man who has made those wonderful strikes from ’Saunders territory’ his own over the years, then who are we to argue?

Sergi. Better get that speech ready for the awards night.

The master has spoken 

Nick Bruzon

Will it be a red card for Mark or is all now forgiven?

27 Feb

Brentford travel to Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon, hoping to build on the back of Tuesday night’s 3-0 win against Wolves. On paper, the neutral would probably mark this as an ‘away’ on their coupon. The Millers are struggling in the relegation zone whilst online bookmakers show the Bees as slight favourites. But no pre-match bet can ever factor in that most random of elements – the referee. Today’s is one who, over the early stages of his career, managed to earn himself a ban for having at dig at Liverpool (amongst the several other clubs he managed to upset).

Mark Brown is our man in the middle today and, being honest, his stats are very impressive for this season. I don’t recall him troubling us in the past whilst 71 yellow and 2 red in his 21 games over 2015/16 suggest a record that is hardly in Trevor Kettle or Keith Stroud territory . The only slight caveat being that the four he has officiated at Championship level (he is yet to grace the Premier League) have seen 16 bookings and a red.

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Mark Brown – as seen in his Football League website bio (worth a read)

Of course, this could just mean the Championship is a more physical place and, likewise, two of those games have involved Birmingham City. In those encounters alone, 11 of the 16 yellows, along with one of the reds, were shown.

During his first season as a referee, Brown himself was shown the red card. He received a three week ban in 2011 for making fun of then Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on Twitter. Specifically, his highlighting the Reds’ unlikely chance of winning the Premier League that season.

The football authorities took a somewhat dim view of this although, personally, I think it simply demonstrates his excellent knowledge of football. Liverpool have struggled to win a raffle over the last 10 years but, maybe, this Sunday will be different.

Trawling the internet (or, rather, typing ‘Mark Brown referee’ into google) took me to the BBC, where November 2013 saw him upsetting Dave Kitson of Oxford United. His assessment included the terms “horrific“, “horrendous“, and “He is probably the most arrogant man I have ever come across on the pitch in my life”.

According to Burnley fan site, ‘Clarets Mad’, that debut season saw Brown “ridiculously” send off Kieran Trippier for two yellow cards. They go on to note that manager Eddie Howe (during his spell of not being a Messiah), “accused him of being too influenced by the crowd

All of this was a while ago, of course. Brown doesn’t appear to have troubled anybody too much in recent seasons and his forays into the Championship would seem to suggest his career is now on the rise. Here’s hoping. There’s nothing worse than a card happy ref to ruin what should, otherwise, be a fascinating contest between a side fighting for survival and a Bees outfit who will be keen to show that Tuesday wasn’t a one off.

I’m full of confidence in regards to Mark. Stats don’t normally lie and those previously mentioned instances are in the past. Besides (crowbar alert) we could have Trevor Kettle ruining the show. When I said at the top end that no pre-match bet can factor in the ref, there is always an exception. And it is Kettle.

His reputation has now become so synonymous in the football world with poor performance that supporters are placing bets on his awarding a penalty / showing red today ( at odds of 6/1 and 4/1 respectively, for the record). The game is the bottom of league two clash Dagenham and Yeovil. With all to play for in a desperate struggle, could this come in…?

Whilst, ordinarily, no-one wants to see those sort of bets come in (punters aside), the pun potential of “players in hot water”, “tempers boiling over” and “T. Kettle left the manager steaming” can never be overlooked.

They are always a favourite of the Bees Player commentary team who, as I get that crowbar out once more,  will be a lifeline for many today. The Bees’ travelling support has been wonderful this season but another trip to Yorkshire so soon after Sheffield Wednesday is a huge undertaking.

As such, I’d imagine today’s two man team of Mark Burridge (our commentator par excellence) and Ciaran Brett (whose punditry skills are fast growing on me and, being honest, is stronger when working in a less crowded commentary box) will have a significant audience. Certainly, I’ll be amongst them when the show goes ‘live’ at 2.30pm.

Whatever cracks were made at the top end of this column about it being an ‘away’ win, I see it as anything but a guaranteed. Simply put, Rotherham have to win given their precarious position at the wrong end of the Championship table.

Let’s just hope the Bees show the same commitment that they did against Wolves. Likewise, that Mark Brown continues the same form he has shown this season.

Rotherham table

Are bums starting to squeak?

Nick Bruzon

The Last Word season review

28 May

What a season that was. There were the highs of Brentford doing the double over Fulham and emulating our fellow ‘tinpot’ team Bournemouth in causing more than a few surprises. There was the satisfaction of outperforming the previous campaign’s rivals in Wolves and going all the way to the play offs where Middlesbrough would prove ferociously tough opponents.

My own 'moment of the season'

My own ‘moment of the season’

Equally, we had the lows of Darren Bent’s last gasp equaliser at Derby County, the realisation we may have to leave Griffin Park early, some bizarre use of social media and, of course, the much telegraphed departure of Mark Warburton despite all he had achieved. The ‘football village’ is certainly something that will live long in the memory.

There were the underdog stories as The Bees (and from a personal level, international Gibraltar) took on teams that, before the competition had started, nobody gave us a chance against. How little do pundits know…?

Most of all, though, were just great times. As unfancied Brentford took on all before them and, rather than doing the same as Yeovil and Doncaster Rovers in going straight back down to League One, confounded all expectation.

As such, the events of the 2014/15 can now be downloaded onto your kindle (or electronic reading device) in the amalgamated Last Word season compendium: Tales from the football village (from Saunders territory to unchartered ground).

Running from July 2014 – May 2015 it contains some previously unpublished additional material and is available for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme. What better way to relive the events of the season just gone – whether on the train, the plane, the way to work, by the pool or even just the toilet? (and don’t answer that !)

Thanks for reading these last two seasons. The normal nonsense will continue on this site over the summer as we count down to the next campaign.

Available - now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

Available – now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

Farewell to the king as season wraps up

26 May

What a Bank Holiday Monday. Mr Brentford, Kevin O’Connor, has officially ‘hung up his boots’ whilst over at Wembley, Norwich City made an immediate return to the Premiership after ousting Middlesbrough 2-0. And then there was more managerial intrigue at Griffin Park where the name of Marinus Dijkhuizen was the one on everybody’s lips after Jurgen Klopp’s admission he could order a beer in Spanish seemed to rule him out.

Jurgen Klopp. Sorry, but before we get any further that does just bear repeating. Even to be mentioned in the same breath is utterly bonkers yet, at the same time, symptomatic of how fast Brentford are accelerating. Talking to a source close to the club this morning, there is no official news out there yet although a tongue in cheek thought that, now Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Real Madrid, could his sudden availability cause any shortlist to be redrawn?

Middlesbrough. Whatever you feel about the way they kicked us off the park and ran down the clock, I do need to spare a thought for their fans after yesterday’s Championship play off final. Nobody wants to go through that and, perhaps, Brentford most of all can share that pain after eight unsuccessful attempts to get promoted in this fashion.

Warbs was on the Sky Sports pundits panel (as Harry's knee seems to have recovered)

Warbs was on the Sky Sports pundits panel (as Harry’s knee seems to have recovered)

Worse, it means a return to arms for ‘that drum’ next season. I’ve long been an advocate of the thought that musical instruments should not be allowed within 100 yards of a football stadium (see also: Yeovil, Portsmouth – bell, Bernie Clifton’s alleged England supporters alleged band). The supporter equivalent of ‘goal music’, any team needing these to kickstart the atmosphere need to take a look at themselves.

On the plus side, it gives us a chance to test ourselves against a team who, being fair, probably gave us the hardest time of any other opponents all season. 4-0 and 1-0 defeats in the league were followed by 2-1 and 3-0 reverses in the play off semis. Just as I enjoyed showing Wolves how far we’d come since last season (the 4-0 home win being the last thing they probably expected) I’m already keen to see how we fare against Boro’ next time around. Whoever out of Klopp, Dijkhuizen, Ancelotti, Warburton (you never know), Redknapp (leftfield, but…) this is one encounter that is going to be key to our season 2015/16.

But one person who won’t be playing any part, on pitch, is club captain Kevin O’Connor. Social media was awash with tributes after the club finally got a hashtag spot on and made the following announcement :

no comment needed

no comment needed

What can you say? If ever there was somebody that typified a team, that had been through the lows and the highs, that wore his heart on his sleeve but always played the game in the fairest possible style – it’s King Kev. So few players see out their career at one club but Kevin, in his 501 games, has joined that elite group.

Even during the hullabaloo of, and subsequent fallout from, ‘that penalty’ he did nothing but carry himself with the utmost of dignity. Yet how sweet was it to see him nail that last minute spot kick in the play off semi final at Swindon in the very next game?

Over his 501 games, Kevin has played in just about every position for Brentford. Except goal. But even that almost happened – certainly if you were to believe Hayes & Yeading from a few years ago.

Could King Kev have ended up playing in goal?

Could King Kev have ended up playing in goal?

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Kevin will know what an absolute gentleman he is. Whether lining up with the fans to try and buy a beer (that didn’t happen) at the impromptu street part following promotion against Preston, just stopping for a chat in Braemar Road after a game or at the pre-season fans’ days. Whatever the occasion he has always taken the time to welcome the supporters.

Kevin – you’ll be missed on pitch but, at the least, your legacy continues in the new role at Griffin Park. Thanks for all the good times.

And finally, if anybody is looking for some holiday reading or just wants to reflect on what has been, frankly, an incredible season then the 2014/15 review is now available for download. Featuring the least bad bits of the Last word, some poor editing and even a bit of new material you can get it here for less than the price of a Griffin Park Balti pie or matchday programme.

Thanks for reading – here’s to pre season.

Available - now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

Available – now. If you fancy the season in one , pocket size, place

Who will lose their bottle first and who will grow a pair?

22 Apr

Defeat for Millwall at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night may not have had too much relevance to Brentford on the surface but, infact, it does have some bearing on Saturday’s trip to Reading. Whilst Rotherham United can still get sucked into the relegation mix, that result does mean that with the bottom three teams having only two games left and a 7(seven) point gap, Reading are safe from that fate with only four sides now able to be sent down (technically five if Brighton were to suffer a goal difference catastrophe).

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.

View from the terrace  - Jon total almost makes Brighton's goal difference worse

View from the terrace – Jon Toral almost makes Brighton’s goal difference worse

Brentford pass their Reading test

5 Oct

Well that was tense for a while but in the end Brentford secured another league win, this time at the expense of a Reading side whose second half performance made the game an awful lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

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.

Reading, Cureton and Evo stir the full range of emotions.

3 Oct

Reading visit Brentford on Saturday for a game that reignites the strongest of feelings, almost 15 years after their end of season trip to Griffin Park saw one team promoted to the Championship and the other leave with their players and fans distraught.

For those of you for who the memory of ‘that penalty’ against Doncaster is still a fresh one, this was a totally different pain.

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.

Who joins Brentford in the Championship next season?

11 May

I woke up on Sunday morning to realise I still didn’t know the final result. Not Eurovision (although that had needed a double take to make sure Jonathan Douglas wasn’t moonlighting) but who would join Brentford in the Championship after the Preston North End – Rotherham play-off semi. A quick search of the interweb revealed that, like the preceding Peterborough – Leyton Orient clash, the match finished all square at 1-1.

What it also revealed was a fact I had been unaware of, thinking previously that Sheffield United were the equals of Brentford in having the worst record at the play-offs. Infact, Preston have lost their last eight attempts, compared to our ‘paltry’ 7 (seven).

It is a statistic that I apologise for quoting. I am sure Lilywhites fans must be as fed up with hearing the media (let alone a mere blogger) use it as we are about the press banging on about the climax to last season and some sort of penalty incident.

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.