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The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “brentford promotion”

Nostalgia with Brentford programmes over the last 70 years. Football really does change. Part 1. 1971-2011


With around 4000 programmes to go through you may be viewing a number of posts from me over the next few months. I pulled a random bundle out that were mostly Brentford programmes and a few surprises too.

Sometimes I hear moaning about the cost of programmes but did you realise that back in 2011 Brentford fans were already paying £3 for their programme? A few names in the Charlton line up one recognises, Ben Hamer ( what a wasted career he has had to date, languishing in premiership reserve teams last few years), Yann Kermogant ( who in contrast has been immense) and Jason Euell. A few names in the Bees squad that I really do not recall, Blair Adams, Dale Bennett and Kirk Hudson for example. Pim Balkestein, who to me deteriorated rapidly during his time with Brentford, Mike Grella ( one of the worst Bees forwards of all time) and the wasted talents of Myles Weston and Sam Wood, who had the talent to progress far higher than they ever did. A young Sam Saunders adorns the front cover. IMG_2755The next programme was from 1978 and forms a series of programmes from games against teams that have sadly become non-league along the way. Brentford v Workington programme cost 10p and reflected that Paul Bence was the Bees captain of the time. Anyone who ever went to Borough Park, Workington, might be surprised to know that the record attendance there was 21,500 v Man Utd, back in 1957-58. A lesser surprise is that Workington never had a player capped. A few interesting hairstyles of that time were viewed in the programme. FullSizeRenderIMG_2754A few names in the Brentford team that I recall well, Gordon Sweetzer, Roger Cross and Jackie Graham. For those that never saw Jackie Graham he can best be compared to a latter day Ryan Woods. Small, bustling, energetic and always 100% energy player. The programme notes make “sombre” reading with talk of hooliganism amongst Bees fans. In fact this was almost entirely the topic of the first page. Some context though is that this relates to the theft of a Brentford scarf from a fan (by another Bees fan) and warnings of no fireworks please! The game was played on November 3rd.

The final programme in this sequence comes from Brentford v Scunthorpe in 1971. This is a signed programme and seems to have maybe 8 autographs on the front cover. I cannot recall how I managed to get this! Maybe others can untangle some of the names on the programme. I can find Peter Gelson, Gordon Phillips, Bobby Ross . IMG_2749

Brentford V Hartlepool. 27th October 2012. A look back.


In football a lot can happen in 5 minutes, as for example at the end of last season which saw Hartlepool relegated to the National Conference and Torquay survive. In 5 years a lot more can happen, so it was interesting when sorting through old football programmes ( I have maybe over 5000, more possibly, some dating back to 1923) to find three programmes in the same pile together. All from 2012.

  1. Brentford v Hartlepool. League 1. From the 25 player names in the Bees team 8 to my knowledge are no longer playing football, although KOC of course remains coaching. FullSizeRenderNone are playing in the premiership ( although Foresaw was last year), 7 play in the championship and the ten remaining  are scattered in the lower leagues and non-league. Brentford can be regarded as to top 10 championship side, whereas Hartlepool have the please of their first season in non-league to contemplate, three divisions below Brentford. Looking through the programme none of that current Brentford U-18 team playing that week seem to have made careers in football. However a quick glimpse through the U-21 team that week shows Alfie Mawson, Jake Reeves, Josh Clarke who have all had excellent league careers. We had a sporting director called Mark Warburton who made some salient points in his programme notes. He talked a lot not only about the quality of a player and what is needed for the club, but also knowledge of their off-field character. Mark Devlin writes an eloquent piece about what needs to be done in the years leading up to Lionel road in 2016. IMG_2728
  2. Mansfield V Darlington. This was a game played in the Blue Square Premier, the National Conference. Mansfield were a team beginning their upward surge that took them back to the league, whereas Darlington as we know were on a downwards spiral, that has only just ended essentially this season with them moving to a ground of their own. Two names stood  out in the Darlington side. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, as I had breakfast by chance with his grandparents in a small cardiff hotel before the Brentford v Port Vale 2001 Football League Trophy Final, and guess who scored one of the Port Vale goals that day in our 2-1 defeat. By this time he had 350 league appearances and could be termed a veteran. The other name that stands out is the England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. He was playing for Darlington in a side that frankly was getting hammered each game. He was signed on loan from Sunderland and even at that stage had earned schoolboy honours for England. I recall he had an outstanding game and looked a real talent even then.
  3. Carshalton v Lincoln City. FA Carlsberg Trophy Second Round replay. Lincoln were a club in real decline then. Playing in the conference with no indications of desire to regain league status. Carshalton were playing in the Ryman League with a number of decent players. Carshalton dominated the game and won convincingly against a Lincoln side looking totally disinterested. The Lincoln manager was a certain David Holdsworth. I wrote a blog back then about the game https://arcticterntalk.org/2012/01/18/carshalton-athletic-3-lincoln-city-1/
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So how times have changed. Hartlepool are now the non-league side. Lincoln City had a superb season last year and would be potentially a favourite for promotion again this year.  Brentford have moved on impressively to have ambitions of the premiership. Darlington are on the move up and can be expected to regain league status in the next 4-5 years. And Lionel Road should be built by 2019. Maybe the 2016 was a mere typo….

The Jota Situation. Very complex to interpret this right now


All Brentford fans would have seen the upturn in results and performances after the New Year with the return of Jota, and this was evident from his very first game in the FA cup against Eastleigh. Not only were his performances excellent but it was also the impact he had on the rest of the team, the work ethic was better, the smiles returned to faces and in many games he made the goals that Lasse Vibe scored. The Spanish contingent with Sergi Canos cannot also be underestimated. That relationship is a good one both on and off the pitch.

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Jota smiling on his Brentford return

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Jota on the wing

We know very little right now other than that the Brentford hierarchy are not agitated by these rumours of an imminent bid. This means one of two things. They are confident he will stay, possibly with an increased contract offer. Alternatively they are resigned to him going, expect an overinflated fee and have replacements lined up.

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On social media the fans views are broadly those who feel that selling him

sends a message that Brentford are not really aiming at promotion, and feel let down, or those who take a more realistic view that at the moment Brentford simply cannot refuse to sell a player if the price is right.

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For what it is worth I will give my view. I think Jota should stay. Two reasons. Firstly from his own viewpoint he has had a shaky couple of years until January. We cannot ignore that he returned to Spain to Eibar and whatever the reason for his return ( some unspecified issues) they clearly impacted his performances and his psyche. He mostly did not get into the Eibar first team. Jota would benefit from a season of stability to demonstrate consistency . Secondly, even in this era, loyalty should be rewarded and for him to stay and then in a year (if he wishes) to leave at a higher price, would be the best solution for all concerned. What is required though is a contract extension. Brentford cannot and should not be in a position to allow him to leave for zero money in a year. Another year playing at the top of the championship would not be such a bad thing as for me if I were a premiership club I would be cogniscent of the above but also would wonder if he really is ready to claim a first team place?

At the current time he is with the squad for their pre-season European trip and the musings are that he is not disturbed by the rumours of an imminent bid. Let us see what happens. West Ham,Burnley, Newcastle and Everton , need to make their own decisions based on the above.

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Jack Bonham signs 1 year contract extension . And heads out on loan. Does this make sense? 


The Jack Bonham story is a curious one from start to finish. Clearly had or has good potential but a series of gaffes has condemned him to B team football for two years at Brentford. The usual sighting of Bonham is carrying out coats or warming up. Always with a positive happy smile and attitude. Did fans assume wrongly he was content to be sitting on the bench?00007309

I can only comment on what I have seen and other than his first team league debut away at Barnsley he has looked frankly modest and at times nonleague standard. His B team performances have been uninspiring and most fans expected him to be released at the end of last season.

The other side to the story is that he has had little opportunity to play and develop the focus and concentration skills that keepers need. The league cup game against Oxford showed that he was prone to errors but playing in a makeshift defence did not help him. B team games lack the intensity of competitive football and especially for a keeper are not helpful in career development .

So we move forward to the end season away game at Barnsley where although the pressure was off on the team it was massive on Bonham. In simple terms a last chance saloon. A proper game in a hostile stadium . Jack was man of the match. A bad game here and I have no doubt he would have been released.

The club clearly feel as most fans do that he needs regular competitive football and I would go further and say that this should have happened a year ago. The next 6 months at Carlisle will help him enormously. The one year extension with the first 6 months on loan is a bit like an each way bet.  Brentford have two quality keepers now and up and coming young keepers too. Ellery Balcombe. So I suspect Bonham will not be a Brentford player this time next year. Possibly in 6 months even if Carlisle sign him in the transfer window. The longer odds are on Dan Bentley leaving and Bonham again being a second string keeper.

Although this all seems sensible and gives all concerned options, I do have a worry that with 3 keepers in a small squad we are potentially giving up a squad place for an outfield player.

Carlisle are a good side and can be expecting to challenge for promotion this season. That kind of good pressure will be good for Bonham and Brentford. I think this is a good move for the club on balance.

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It is anyone’s guess which Brentford team will emerge on saturday against Bristol City


On paper this is should be a Bees win and in fact my prediction is a comfortable 3-1 victory. However as many times this season Bees are capable of being brilliant or being dire and rarely in between.img_1308

Bristol city are in fact a decent side and I am surprised that they sit on the edge of the relegation places however the reality is that they are likely to survive as there are some awful teams in our division this season. Wigan and Rotherham have booked their visits to Southend and maybe Fleetwood already. They need the points and will not be easy to beat, with Tammy Abraham a good finished goals are likely.00007680

What might be the Brentford team? If bjelland is fit I would expect him to start ahead of Egan based on Dean Smith’s previous team selections, though personally Egan and Dean are the strongest central pairing we have. I would like to see Tom Field have a few games before the end of the season and for the same reason above expect him to start with Rico Henry on the bench. Upfront Vibe and Jota surely, with a midfield of Woods , possibly McCormack, Canos, Sawyers.00007400

Selection decisions? Should Josefzoon also have a run in the side? Difficult one, as that would be in place of Canos.

Looking ahead to next season, the other area that Bees need to strengthen is the reserve goalkeeper position. Jack Bonham does not seem to have the ability to play at this level and frankly both Bonham and Hoffman would benefit from regular football at a lower level.

In the remaining games this season I would like to see our first team for next year develop and go on a decent run. where we finish is not really important in that 10th or 13th makes zero difference, but carrying forward momentum is important. I have no wish to see fringe players play who have no future at Brentford. Lets hope saturday brings 3 points as a birthday present for the 70 year old Peter Gilham. But lets not put him in goal!

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Wandering Around In Wolverhampton. A day out at Molineux.What is it like for away fans? And Hoffman was 15/2 to score the first goal. Wolves 3 Brentford 1


Lets start with the game. This was not a classic at all. The first half was low tempo and there were  serious indications that 0-0 might suit this game. The second half revolved around Brentford essentially giving three goals away. The first and most important one was an error by josh McCeachran giving the ball away and Wolves run 65 yards and score. The second one Daniel Bentley will be dissapointed not to have a free kick, and the last one when Brentford were chasing an equaliser was a typical last minute breakaway goal. This was never a 3-1 game and in fact 1-1 might have been a fair reflection of the play. Brentford were not at their best today and the midfield contributed little either creatively nor goal wise. The Brentford goal however was a beauty, a shot from Kalkai that was unstoppable. Wolves were not that great and seemed to be auditioning to be a mid-table side. The crowd of 20,000 contained 631 Bees who made a decent amount of noise.

The referee was abysmal. all 20,000 spectators were agreed on that one. He failed to see a clear Wolves handball in the penalty area that I saw from maybe 75 yards away. The linesman too. I despair about officials these days.

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Molineux is a decent ground and the fans/stewards a friendly bunch. The cost of 30£ though was at the steep end, though not as much as the 43£ being charged today by Sheffield Wednesday. The ground is on the edge of town and essentially in the University campus area, surrounded by university buildings and flats. An ASDA completes the splendour. This is a real city ground. Parking is easy enough and £5 will buy you a parking space in one of the local car wash sites and decent travel advice would be to enter the city via the M54 so taking the long way round. The club strive to keep their young fans happy and there was a small fair ongoing in the car park area of the ground which contained amongst other things the smallest Nando’s in the world. Other unusual sights included a barbers shop as part of the ground. Does any other club have a barbers shop integral in the ground?

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Inside the ground it is clear that this ground has and can accommodate premiership football. Four decent size stands and away fans are unusually given the lower tier of one the stands that run pitchside, so get a decent view. My only quibble is the huge area between the pitch and the stand that allowed a large wide grass strip where stewards sat on chairs, or in one mans case, slept in his chair.

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So a good day out, little pricey but a ground well worth seeing. Lastly 21 Bet might want to have a re-think about both the odds and the plaeys they lay odds against. I almost choked on the prospect that the odds of forst scorer were equal almost for Hogan, who was playing, and Hoffmann who was not even on the bench. Curiouser and curiouser.

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Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

An interesting acronym for FC Kaiserslautern


Does look suspiciously rude……

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Brentford 1 FC Kaiserslautern 1. The Bees are back.Photographs and Thoughts.


On a hot sunny afternoon this was a good workout for both teams that played a competitive match in terms of effort without a great deal of end result or indeed physicality.

There was the curious sight of the scoreboard using maybe a bad acronym for FC Kaiserslautern…….1K4A4368

1K4A4547bestAs is the norm a number of substitutions in the second half rendered any interpretation of whether this was a good or bad display meaningless. Overall Brentford played with the same style as last season and looked a decent side. No one stood out today on either side. The work rate however was superb for a pre-season game. 1K4A4468

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FC Kaiserslautern brougt almost 1000 fans it seems and there was a fair amount of cabaret between their fans and the Brentford stewards, mostly all good humoured and in fact well stewarded with no incidents that I saw.  If their fans can be described as having a uniform it would be multiple tattoos and a flag per person, the noise from them was massive. They played an open style of play and it was no surprise that their goal came from quick running down the wing with an accurate cross on the floor that was finished neatly. In contrast Brentford goal came from an own goal scored from a corner.

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Own goal gives Brentford the lead

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Sam Saunders

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A busy Maxime Colin

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Romaine Sawyers

From the new players Romaine Sawyers looked industrious and moved seamlessly at times from central midfield to the wings. Sam Saunders played the game more like it was a league game and looked fit and interested throughout.

There were a number of nice touches in the game, not least the minute silence for the Munich victims, and the general noise and support from the FC Kaiserslautern fans. At times even a little too vociferous and some needed reminding that a minute silence means just that!

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The stewarding was also appropriately relaxed and fans had a great afternoon in the sun.

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Ipswich 1 Brentford 3. Photos to Show that The Old Brentford Are Back


The result was important here as this seals the impossibility of relegation and takes Brentford up to 13th in the table and a maximum of 9 points in a week. The game was marred by the terrible injury to Alan Judge who after a reckless challenge from the seemingly unrepentant Luke Hyam suffered a double fracture of his leg.  After the tackle and when the players became aware of the seriousness of the injury it was clear that tackles on Hyam were strong and Jake Bidwell had words for Hyam as he left the pitch.

00002703 I cannot recall such anger from a  Brentford team over a challenge such as this. At a minimum it was reckless and the conspiracy theorists argue that Hyam picked his man. The only person who truly knows is Luke Hyam. What I will comment is that having seen the tackle in real time and watched it on TV many times, that there was no necessity for this tackle. It was dangerous, reckless and is the type of tackle that can end careers. there seemed little sympathy in the ground even from Ipswich fans at his eventual sending off. Good management might have dictated that he was replaced as he became a peripheral figure after that unpleasant challenge. And as of 24 hours after the incident he has posted nothing on his Twitter account to offer anything resembling repentance or even good wishes to Alan Judge. He will be a marked man at Brentford for many years to come.

What was both refreshing and encouraging for next season was to see that the workrate and tackling so much missing this last few months was clearly back. The midfield were both skilful and combative and Sam Saunders for me had one of his best ever games in a Brentford shirt. Lass Vibe scored two superb goals that maybe he might not have scored even 2 weeks ago.

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Sergi Canos gave the kind of display that should make Brentford want to sign him on a permanent contract and the 18,845 crowd included  559 Bees fans who made more noise than the 18,000 Ipswich players. Canos ran, tackled and fought for every ball. He was magical.00002822

The introduction of Jonathon Douglas in the second half did galvanise Ipswich a little and Douglas was involved in most of the decent passages of play that Ipswich had. My own view is that I would have him back at Brentford any time.

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Ipswich Town are a friendly football club and to some extent one wonders if that hampers their desire to return to the top tier. Certainly there was nothing in evidence to show that Mick McCarthy has great tactical or even motivational tactics to produce. Talking to the local fans it was clear that they feel his time has come and he should move on. The fans and the stewards are some of the most friendly football fans in our division.

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Sam Saunders epitomised the spirit shown by the Brentford players as in the photograph below.

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Even the fringe Brentford players when they came on,  and will surely feature more in this injury melee that surrounds Brentford , did their part. Gogia looked interesting and created trouble for Ipswich and Kerchbaumer also had his best game in a Brentford shirt. The photo below of a snarling Jonathon Douglas is a classic.

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Mention has to be made however of the defence who have been heavily critiscised this season, by many including myself. They were imperious. Maxim Colin was both skilful, creative and tough tackling and is the kind of player we need in the summer to boost our chances of promotion next season. Harley Dean shows the dominance to contain Freddie Sears and make him look almost anonymous. 00002828

00002830The only negatives apart from the dreadful injury to Alan Judge, were the cost to get in that Bees fans had to pay £32.50. This is too much for Championship football. Even for the home fans excluding travel, this takes the cost of a game over £100 for a couple.

But this week and maybe the day belonged to Lasse Vibe who looked every inch a Danish International striker. We should applaud him. 00002817

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