Brentford Independent Association of Supporters http://bias.org.uk Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:30:20 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 60193013 Fans Forum on Thursday http://bias.org.uk/2017/09/05/fans-forum-on-thursday/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 11:56:38 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=635156 A reminder that The Football Club have agreed to run a Fans Forum this coming Thursday.

The event will run from 7.00pm in The Hive at Griffin Park.

On the panel will be Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown, Chief Executive Mark Devlin, Sporting Directors Rasmus Ankersen and Phil Giles as well as Head Coach Dean Smith. Admission is free and the bar in The Hive bar will be open.

If you would like BIAS to ask a question on your behalf please send a message to feedback@bias.org.uk.

Read more at https://www.brentfordfc.com/news/2017/september/fans-forum/.

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Lionel Road Stadium redesign http://bias.org.uk/2017/08/15/lionel-road-stadium-redesign/ http://bias.org.uk/2017/08/15/lionel-road-stadium-redesign/#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:27:34 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=635137 The club has today released some details about its planned changes to the new stadium. BIAS was informed, in a meeting with the club last week, that they felt it necessary to conduct a de-risking exercise on the Lionel Road stadium plans, with the dual purpose of reducing cost and making construction easier.  We now understand that this work started in May 2016.

We are disappointed that this exercise has been carried out without any input from fans, who will be the ultimate users of the stadium, and that no consultation with fans or fan groups has been done as part of developing these changes. We believe that this meant that some important changes to the stadium and the business model that supports it have strayed from the interests of Brentford fans, in terms of the match day experience as well as the future sustainability of the club.

We urge the club, stadium team and Matthew Benham to relook at the changes with a focus on the impact on fans. To be able to do this, fan consultation is needed. BIAS will be participating in a fans forum (we’ll give details shortly), where groups and individuals can put their questions to Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown and discuss the impact of the changes. We should also be able to share notes from the pre-planning meeting at Hounslow Council the previous evening.    We would also like to express the need for Conor Hayes, Chairman of Lionel Road Development Ltd to be present so that technical questions can be clearly answered.

Ahead of the forum, the BIAS committee has set out our view on the headline changes to the stadium plans below. This is meant as a starting point for discussions, and we want to hear as many comments, ideas and opinions from fans before and at the fans forum, so we can feed these back to the club before the club’s target for planning approval in early September.

Below are some of the key changes that we understand are proposed:

Reduction in capacity to approx. 17,500 of which 2,850 will be “premium seating”: Premium seating includes hospitality seating, and seating at areas with the best views which will be sold at a higher price.  The revenue from this seating is key to the income levels from the stadium, which will have now have no reliance or plans to hold conferences and generate non-matchday income as originally envisaged. This leaves around 14,650 seats to be sold at a standard price. We are concerned that:

  • Because of the number and location of the premium seating, non-premium fans who currently sit in those areas, such as around the half-way line, will have to move to less desirable areas.
  • The number of standard seats allows very little room for growth or turnover of the regular fan base. While we are not currently hitting those numbers, with some growth, it could be hard in time for fans to bring their children, families etc.

Removal of club shop and club bar (i.e. the Hive) from the stadium, and moving Community Sports Trust offices off-site:  Because of the reduction in size, and the rearrangement of the internal space to facilitate broadcast space required to be “Premier League ready”, the club shop will not be part of the stadium, pop up retails units will be used which will not be available outside of match days, there will be no club bar, and the Community Sports Trust office will not be embedded in the stadium. We are concerned that:

  • Without a hub like the Hive, there would be nowhere for fans to gather, and nowhere for players to mingle with non-premium fans, i.e. outside of hospitality spaces. While there may be a privately operated bar in the residential area (though this is not assured), there is no clarity on when this might be opened, the size, or if football fans would even be welcome.
  • The benefits of bringing the BFCCST into the stadium will be lost, though the club has given assurances the overall facilities available to the trust will not be affected.

Reduction in potential standing area to 1,100 (current Ealing Road Terrace capacity 2,600): While not currently part of the stadium design ahead of an anticipated change in regulations in the next few years, the changes mean that the capacity of the allocated area has been reduced due to reductions in the walkway and circulation space in this area. This means that even if legislation were to allow a standing area to hold more people than a seated area, we wouldn’t be able to increase capacity without removing seating, further reducing non-premium seating.

Removal of potential to expand: The original plans had allowed some futureproofing works to enable one of the stands to be extended without the need to rebuild. This has been removed and the current expansion plan would be to knock down and replace a stand (likely the north stand). While this is not the biggest issue with the plans, coupled with the loss of overall capacity, this causes us some concern, particularly if TV money stops being the sole driving force of football finance in the future. In addition, there are losses to space reserved for expanding conference facilities, which increases the reliance on the success of the premium seating element of the stadium

We do think that there are several of the proposed changes that can be made without disproportionately affecting the fan experience. For example, some reductions in futureproofing space and facilities, simplifying construction by introducing a road to the north of the stadium and by changing the design from a two-tier to a single tier layout, and other smaller amendments.

BIAS understands that any new stadium has to be affordable. We also believe that it needs to be sustainable and right for fans. Once again we urge the club, stadium team and Matthew Benham to reconsider the nature and depth of these changes before they are agreed with the council and the developer, who, as we understand it, is currently liable to deliver the stadium as originally agreed.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build something that will be our home for not only the current fans but also for many generations to come.  No-one can be sure what will happen either on or off the pitch in the medium to long term and we need to ensure that our home is fit for all potential scenarios.

To get your views heard, please emails us on feedback@bias.org.uk or tweet at @BIAS_BFC

More detail on the changes are available on the Brentford FC Official Site and the Hounslow planning site:

https://www.brentfordfc.com/news/2017/august/lionel-road-update/ https://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=639&MId=10103&Ver=4

 

 

 

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BIAS Goes to Supporters Summit http://bias.org.uk/2017/07/21/bias-goes-to-supporters-summit/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:49:05 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=635036 Over the weekend of 1/2 July BIAS attended the annual Supporters Summit run jointly by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) and Supporters Direct (SD), as well as taking part in the FSF AGM. The event was held in the very impressing St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, and getting off the train at “Sergi Station” brought back great memories of our last trip to the town.
 
The day was opened by Malcolm Clarke, FSF Chairman with Ashley Brown – CEO of SD following with the introduction of the “Clubs in Crisis” panel. The theme of clubs in crisis, helping them, and helping fans prevent their club becoming one was a theme that ran through much of the day. The panel included representatives from the Leyton Orient Fans Trust (LOFT), Coventry City’s Sky Blues Trust and Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.
 
It was inspiring and depressing in more or less equal measure, from the incredible achievements of LOFT in securing a new owner of their club, to Coventry and Blackpool’s ongoing battles with their owners. While every situation is different, there were some common ‘warning signs’ for fans of other clubs to look out for. The descent into crisis is often a slow one, with fans looking with hindsight and seeing issues that could have raised alarm bells if they knew then what they know now. These included:
 
·        Cost cutting exercises
·        Reduction in engagement with fans / change in attitude to fans
·        Lack of transparency over key items such as stadiums, spending, staff changes etc
·        Owners acting autocratically, ignoring staff and advisors
·        Breakdowns in the running of the club, mistakes, bills not being paid etc
 
Questions from the floor included what can we as fans of other clubs do to help the crisis clubs? It is clear that in these long battles ‘campaign fatigue’ can be an issue, as fans dedicate all their spare time (and in some cases even their jobs) to work to protect the club they love. Support from other clubs means a lot, whether it is through fundraising, like at Brentford last season for LOFT, or away fans protesting matches that home fans are boycotting, or just joining a march or a protest day such as Fans United day. http://www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com/Site/LatestNews.aspx?NewId=76
 
Next up were the workshops, BIAS attended the update session on ‘Structured Dialogue’, which is meetings between the club and supporters groups mandated by the EFL. BIAS take part in Structured Dialogue with Brentford FC – as well as our regular meetings with club reps, two a year need to be with a senior member of staff, usually Mark Devlin. This has been working well for us, though we already had a good programme of meetings with the club.

The update showed that for lots of clubs the scheme is not working quite so well, whether that be because they aren’t getting the meetings, aren’t getting the right people to the meetings, or that the meetings aren’t being treated in the right spirit. For some fans, they can’t get representation at the meetings because they aren’t held with a democratic members organisation like BIAS, but instead with a club selected group of fans who are likely to support the club’s views and not ask tough questions. If you would like to suggest a topic for discussion at the next meeting between BIAS and the club, please contact us and we will put your views to the club, though please note conversations are generally about off-pitch rather than on-pitch issues.
 
After lunch, BIAS attended an ideas workshop for the campaign for lower away ticket prices in the EFL ran by Martin O’Hara from FSF, and Brentford (and the FSF)’s own Billy Grant. Because Brentford fans travel to away games in such brilliant numbers so often this is something that really affects many of our members.
 
Some of the ideas included updating the “twenty’s plenty” campaign to be EFL specific, writing to clubs to encourage the take up of reciprocal arrangements, naming and shaming clubs who keep prices high e.g. “thirty’s dirty” on social media, encouraging all fans to put pressure on their own clubs to reduce away prices and to offer reciprocal deals, and campaigning to end categorisation. Another key point mentioned was to try and make clubs release information on pricing for specific matches at the start of the season, or as early as possible, to allow fans to plan, and to vote with their feet and choose cheaper games. It is clear there is a lot to do, and BIAS plan to participate in the campaign fully, as we have so many regular away fans as members.
 
The closing session was with Guardian writer and author David Conn, who talked about his work covering the Hillsborough inquiry, and the incredible work of the families and survivors that has finally brought charges against six individuals associated with the tragedy. After that there were tours of St George’s Park, a screening of Wonderkid hosted by Supporter’s Direct and Brentford’s Brian Burgess, and a visit to some local public houses for networking! The FSF AGM was met with some slightly sore heads the next morning, the FSF AGM went fairly smoothly, with most of the motions passing or being referred to the national council for further discussion. For more detail on that, check out our twitter feed from the day.
 
Overall it was another good event and really interesting to see what other clubs are doing, and getting ideas for how we can all work together to improve things for Brentford fans and the wider football family.
 
Join the FSF here: http://www.fsf.org.uk/join/
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Boats to Fulham – tickets selling fast! http://bias.org.uk/2017/04/22/boats-to-fulham/ Sat, 22 Apr 2017 11:40:49 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=477304 Tickets are selling fast for our boat trip to Fulham next Saturday and the 1st boat has now sold out.  Don’t miss out and get your tickets for the 2nd boat today!

The Golden Salamander

The boats have been booked to take us down river from Kew Pier, which is located on the (South side of Kew Bridge) will depart at 11:00 and arriving at Putney Pier (South side of Putney Bridge) at 13:00.

If you are going, there’s no better way to go than a boat trip down the Thames and a chance to see all the famous landmarks – Houses of Parliament, London Eye, HMS Belfast.

 

There will be a pay bar on board, so bringing your own alcohol is not permitted. Please note that the boat is one way and you will have to make your own arrangements for the return journey.

Prices are £11.99 adults and £5 for U-18’s.

Please book on-line here on our EventBrite page.  Any questions drop us a email or contact us on Twitter.

Special thanks to Jim Walsh who has once again arranged this nautical trip.

Jim Walsh

Jim Walsh, Away Travel Specials

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Fan representation key if shares in club to be sold – BIAS statement http://bias.org.uk/2017/04/13/fan-representation-key-if-shares-in-club-to-be-sold-bias-statement/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:05:58 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=491225 BIAS has been asked to comment on recent rumours of a significant external investment being made into Brentford FC as reported in a number of national newspapers and on the Beesotted website.

We acknowledge that the current owner is a lifelong Brentford fan with an unquestionable commitment to Brentford and it is our understanding that he is not intending to dispose of the club. If a significant proportion of shares in the club were to be sold, it is fundamentally important that Brentford fans, heritage and identity are protected.

BIAS would campaign for any deal to include the guaranteed representation of fans, with a legal say in the future decisions, such as a portion of “golden” shares, board representation or similar protections be given to fans (such as joint agreement from BU and BIAS to allow certain actions to take place).

BIAS is very happy to have a Bees fan at the helm of our club, and we recognise that the owner may need to enter partnerships with the right people to improve the long term future sustainability of the club. However, we also believe that football clubs should always belong to their communities. As a result we feel there should always be an element of fan control and protection. We expect and would welcome consultation on what fan protections could be put in place as part of the structure of any deal, now or in the future.

BIAS is committed to working, with the club, towards the long term future financial sustainability of the club and its relationship with the surrounding community. Any deal should take into account the existing commitments to the new stadium, and the commitments and aspirations of the club to provide active and real community investments through the work of the Community Sports Trust.

Football without fans is nothing. Brentford is no different. And whilst we want to move forward, we will always fight to protect the heritage, identity and fans of Brentford Football Club.

Join BIAS for only £1 per month and add your voice.  Click HERE to sign up.

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Left Side Ealing Road: Brentford 3-3 Brighton http://bias.org.uk/2017/02/07/left-side-ealing-road-brentford-2-2-brighton/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:44:34 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=342503 What a game! A crazy finish to a pulsating match in which both sides had chances to have won it.

Left Side Ealing Road banner

Left Side Ealing Road banner

It’s not typical to come away from a game when your team has outplayed the leagues second placed team, scored three goals and produced a display from the top drawer, albeit for about 80 minutes at least and feel disappointed. However. That was the overwhelming feeling as I made my way out of GP on a cold Sunday evening.

The “if onlys” and “what ifs” are part and parcel of the game but if only Lasse had scored that pen to make it 3-0 and what if Tom Field hadn’t got injured, leaving us prone at the back and open to a last gasp equaliser…..

Rewind 8 days to the insipid display at Stamford Bridge, sorry to remind you of that l, then think how far we have moved on in these last two home games. Chalk and cheese. I would have bitten your hand off for the offer of four points from these fixtures. It has been the manner in which we have played as much as the results that have rekindled the belief that we do, in actual fact, have a very good team and some strength in depth to the squad.

With the departure of our talisman Hogan it has allowed others to step up and seize previously unavailable opportunities. None more so than our forward players, all of which look energised and more than able to fill Hogan’s large boots.

I suppose the biggest difference is the return to the starting line up of Jota, without doubt one of the finest players to don the red and white stripes in recent memory. His touch, balance and guile were a constant threat to a very good Brighton side.

The game started at a very quick tempo and it seemed to suit the new look Bees. It wasn’t long before we were creating chances with our quick movement and many stacking options. Jota reacted first to a good ball in from the right to give us a well deserved lead. 1-0

Further pressure from the home side ensured we kept the Albion penned into their own half for long spells and before two long skipper Harper Dean had doubled our lead as he reacted quickest to tuck away our second goal. 2-0 HT.

It was good to see the subs with a smile on their faces during the interval, a sure sign of good team morale. Although Romaine Sawyer’s looked like he was preparing for a hike up Mount Everest, with his hat, gloves and about Three coats…

The second half continued apace and both sides seemed happy to slug it out in pursuit of further goals. One brilliant run by Jota, down our right side culminated in him being brought down for a clear pen. After some futile protestations from a stretched Brighton rearguard, up stepped Vibe to surely put the result out of doubt…these are the pivotal moments of a game, score and it’s 3-0 and game over, miss and the belief starts to grow in the oppositions minds…the latter occurred and we did retreat but nobody expected us to concede twice within 4 minutes…2-2 and it’s becoming panic station central out there. Injuries and a bit of time wasting meant the 4th official signalled 7 minutes were to be added on. What to do stick or twist? Enter the super subs! Firstly, the under rated Konstantin Kirschbaumer burst forward and played a delightful one two with Jota before curling a cracking right foot shot past the excellent Stockdale to nudge us ahead. 3-2

Deep into stoppage time, almost the last seconds, Brighton showed us why they are so good by snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat. Hemmed got in front of Clarke and guided his finish beyond Bentley to deprive us of the win. 3-3 FT.

Bentley 7: getting his confidence back slowly although conceding 3 won’t help, pulled off a smart save at 2-2

Clarke 6: back at right back due to Colin’s absence, a little hesitant and struggled to make an impact throughout the game.

Field 7: Faced one of the divisions best players in Knochart, did get found out on occasions but stood up to him well generally. Good learning curve. Didn’t deserve the alleged verbal abuse he received outside the Griffin afterwards…

Dean 9: last two games have seen Harlee step up to the plate and deliver wholehearted and inspiring performances which have lifted his team mates with him. Good goal too. Keep it up!

Bjelland 7: steady but no more, won his fair share of tussles with Murray but lack of pace is a worry.

Nico 6: feel a little mean giving him a 6 but not as effective as usual and wasted a good half chance by blazing straight at keeper.

McEachran 7: has a more positive vibe about him these last few games, knows how to pick a pass and always looking for the ball. Put in another good shift.

Woods 7: more like his old self, he and Josh made the Brighton midfield look quite ordinary for long periods, has to show this side of his play in ALL the big games!

Josefzoon 7: another full blooded display by Flo-Jo, not as effective as in the Villa game but caused problems with his pace an trickery on the ball. Good start to his GP career.

Jota 9: MOM. The type of player you only ever used to see playing against Brentford. Who knows how long he’ll remain a Bee but just enjoy his talent. A class above throughout, took his goal well, won a penalty and assisted in KK’s dramatic third goal.

Vibe 7: worked really hard, link up play improving and almost scored before the missed penalty. Fans can associate with his passion, big thumbs up to him!

SUBS:

Canos for Josefzoon 7: he does really seem to love Brentford and good to see him back. Didn’t really impact on the game too much but saw quite a bit of the ball. Better to come.

KK for McEachran 8: all the weeks and months of bench warming seemed to inspire him into putting 99 minutes work into 5 as he tore Brighton apart like a man possessed. I have always liked the boy and pleased to see him score.

Alan Mac for Field 5: looked s little lost as an emergency left back and struggled to stem the flow in those last few minutes.

Dean Smith 7: a good week and four points gained. Decision making improving and not to blame for result today, now we have found, stumbled on a system that’s working, lets not change it!!!

Thanks for reading this and if you want to see my previous blogs you can fing them within the Blog Spot section of this site

Phil Flash

The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.

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Left Side Ealing Road: Brentford 3-0 Aston Villa http://bias.org.uk/2017/02/02/left-side-ealing-road-brentford-3-0-aston-villa/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:22:30 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=328876 Brentford 3-0 Aston Villa

What a transformation! Just 72 hours after wimping out of the FA Cup the real Brentford showed up at Griffin Park determined to banish all negative thoughts of Saturdays’ capitulation.

With Scott Hogan travelling in the opposite direction to his new team mates, on his way for a medical at Villa Park, the ex-premier league outfit took to the pitch in good shape, and playing better, recently at least, under the guidance of the vastly experienced Steve Bruce.

I remember a stat I heard prior to the reverse fixture in September, it’s stated that Aston Villa spent more money in the summer transfer window, prior to this season, than Brentford had spent in their entire history…Jaw dropping!

I suppose if you count Hogan c.£12m, Kodjia c.£11m and McCormack c.£11m and various others at between £5/8m, it would appear an unfair playing field. However, as I have alluded to so many times previously, it’s about spirit, desire and a willingness to go the extra mile for your team mates.

Last night at a very wet but supercharged GP we were given a masterclass in what can be achieved when these attributes are utilised.

Villa began the brighter of these two mid table sides, planting long balls straight up the middle for the dangerous looking Kodjia to run onto. Apart from one early chance which he should have put away the towering Harlee Dean kept him very much in his pocket for the remainder of the game.

The defensive stability seemed to course through to the midfield and forward areas as a new found self belief started to produce tangible returns. Firstly the very impressive Florian Jozefzoon, making his debut on the wing, having signed for an initial 6 month stay in West London, tore into the Villa rearguard and created openings for others.”Flo-Jo” soon had the crowd on his side with his desire to track back and close their defenders down. It wasn’t long before a lovely Brentford move culminated in Lasse Vibe opening the scoring with a well taken goal on 25 mins. 1-0

The hard working Nico Yanneris popped up with a simple second goal before the interval. 2-0

On the other side, the mesmeric Jota, starting his first game for the Bees in 17 months, showed us what we had so badly missed. A performance right out of the top drawer in which he showcased his prodigious skills and work ethic to the full. The only thing missing was a goal but how close did he come a minute before half time? The ball was stuck to his left foot as he passed defender after defender with consummate ease before rifling a pile driver that had the keeper beaten but not the top of the bar. HT 2-0

I was very honoured to be invited onto the New Road gantry during the break, courtesy of the excellent Mark Burridge and Dave Morley of Bees player fame. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by them and to share my passion for the club.

The second half started amidst pouring rain but it seemed to help the Bees as they played with terrific speed and skill and really zipped the ball about. The excellent Josh McEachran, improving rapidly with each game, pinpointed a pass into Vibe’s stride and he finished coolly to stick a third past the Villa keeper. 3-0

There was time for Josh Clark, KK and a brief cameo from Alan Mac to show us what we had missed, as they played their part as second half subs.

Without doubt the best team performance of the season and it leaves you scratching your head as to why we can’t play at this intensity from week to week.

Dean Smith proved here he can clearly manage but what is stopping us being more consistent? Formation. Personnel, coaching or game management…In all honesty it’s probably a little bit of each.

With the dreaded window now closed on Transfers, let’s build on the performance of last night, get some unity back within the team and coaching staff and push on to the end of the season. The nucleus of a good squad is there.

Bentley 7: Confident throughout, kicking satisfactory and little to do.
Colin 7: Held his position well in a back four rather than five, pushed on intelligently.
Field 8: Very neat for the most part, one or two little errors of judgement but overall very good indeed, lovely left foot.
Bjelland 7: Dominant in the air and super strong in a one-on-one challenge, if only he was jet heeled he would be a world beater…
Dean 9: Yes Harlee!! this is the performance level you need to achieve and if you do you can still be a top defender. One of his best, if not best game for the club.
Nico 7: His usual tigerish self but played a wee bit further forward and scored a well deserved goal for his recent efforts.
Woods 7: Gave a good all round impression of a central midfielder, tough tacking, good use of the ball, awareness of where others were but without producing anything spectacular last night.
McEachran 9: He is now turning in performances we had hoped he would produce after his big money move from Chelsea. Sheer class and what an eye for the pass that set up Vibe.
Florian Jozefzoon 8: The flying Dutchman made a breathtaking debut. Great pace and balance, good skills not afraid to get stuck in. Looking forward to seeing more of this energetic winger.
Jota 9: It’s really hard to know how he can get any better… his starting point is way up there above most players. He is truly a class act. His little dance down the right wing and the ability to beat his man with ease is sheer magic. Should be first name on the team sheet next Sunday and every game thereafter…
VIBE 9: (MOM) After a really tough start to the season and with all the Hogan nonsense ringing in his ears not to mention possible replacements, he kept his nerve, knuckled down and took his chances really well. Good Pro and getting back to his best.

SUBS:

Clarke for FLO-Jo 7: Nice little injection of pace and skill, gave a tiring Villa defence more to think about.
KK for Nico 7: Played his part in seeing out the game, good burst of energy.
Alan Mac for McEeacran 7: Good to see Macca back on the pitch, albeit for only 4 minutes, only surprise was a lack of a yellow…

Smith 8: Credit where creedits due, he mixed it up and turned it around from Saturday. Has the ability to manage at this level but only when he’s prepared to try new things. Fair play for starting Jota and dropping Sawyers, it was needed and he recognised that. Keep it up Smithy.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this.

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Left Side Ealing Road: Chelsea 4-0 Brentford http://bias.org.uk/2017/02/02/left-side-ealing-road-chelsea-4-0-brentford/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:18:27 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=319667 Chelsea 4-0 Brentford

Ever since we beat Eastleigh in the previous round and were drawn with our illustrious neighbours for a second FA Cup meeting in 4 years, I have been telling everyone I meet that the games against Villa and Brighton, in the coming week, were both bigger games for us this season. Therefore,am I disappointed with the result at Stamford Bridge yesterday? In a word no…However, the level of performance and overall character displayed by the side left a lot to be desired and I genuinely didn’t expect us to lay down and be totally walked over like we were for long periods of the game.

This type of game should be all about going toe to toe with our superior opponents. We are not able to compete with their control and finesse on the ball BUT we can get stuck into them and deny them both time and space to showcase these skills. We did neither for about 75 minutes of the game and as a consequence found ourselves chasing shadows after just 21 minutes, having already conceded twice and looking like they may have done an “Eastleigh” on us before half time.

To the teams credit, they came out in the second period and started playing like we have done in fleeting moments this season. We actually competed and got right in the faces of a strong but albeit much changed Chelsea line up. Surprise, surprise Les Bleu didn’t like it up them! In my opinion, that first 10 minutes of the second period was the time to take a gamble and throw on the big guns, Jota and Hogan. Mind you, what they were doing on the bench from the start is anyone’s guess…For all Smith’s talk last week of making changes to personnel, due to playing badly at Wigan, the single change was the benching of the impressive Field for the improving Barbet.

I think it’s worth noting, in terms of fairness, we are a very young side. I was looking at the ages of the starting line up and apart from the Danes Bjelland and Vibe the rest were all 25 years old or younger.We have been missing the experience of a McCormack type figure and have been all season.

In losing heavily yesterday we became the 10th successive victim to be beaten at the Bridge this season, looked at in perspective nothing to be ashamed about. 

Football isn’t about stats though really is it? (Sorry MB) it’s about players and blood and guts…We will have to step it up in the next month or so as we have some very tough game to come. 

As for the remainder of the transfer window…Who knows? If I was in Hogan’s shoes, I would forget about leaving by Tuesday, knuckle down and deliver on your promise to knock in 30 goals this season and in doing so your stock will rise so you can get an even bigger signing on fee in the summer and we can get £20m + for you!!

For those of you not able to get to the home match against Villa on Tuesday evening, please tune into Bees Player. I am pleased to announce that Mark Burridge will be interviewing yours truly in the half time break.

As always, thanks for reading and please check out all my blogs at www.bias.org.uk

Button 6: More and more questions being asked of him, Needs to come up with a few answers…
Colin 7: Reasonable game, didn’t seem overawed by occasion,
Barbet 6: got into some good advance positions but didn’t deliver the killer ball. A bit shaky defending.
Dean 6: Just came up short against good, mobile front line, manfully defended though.
Bjelland 5: Exposed for pace, or lack of it, an uncomfortable game for him.
Egan 6: Steep learning curve, but overall stood up well. Has a bright future.
McEachran 8: Our best player, didn’t look out of place with classy opposition in close attendance. Quality.
Woods 6: He looked a little lost out there, not effective and not quite at pace of game. Has to be better in upcoming contests.
Nico 7: Had a tough afternoon but kept battling and played with a spirit sadly lacking in dome others.
Sawyers 5: Confidence seemed non existent from the off. Poor touch, no work rate and little threat going forward. Needs to be taken out of the firing line and soon.
Vibe 6: Ran the channels, no real support from Sayers, ploughed a lone furrow and not going to win those battles up front I’m afraid.

Subs:

Hogan, Jota & KK (all 6) The game was over, our bright spell had come and gone, no influence on the game at all.

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Left Side, Ealing Road: Brentford 1-2 Newcastle http://bias.org.uk/2017/01/15/brentford-1-2-newcastle/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:17:41 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=289374 Left Side Ealing Road banner

Left Side Ealing Road banner

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Courtesy of the Clash

I wonder if the above has been the mantra of Scott Hogan this week??

With the player seemingly telling the press its up to the club if they accept offers and the club saying he remains at GP until his valuation is met, we as supporters can only guess and wonder what is going on…

Yesterday was a farce and reflecting on the whole sorry affair about this protracted transfer its time to sort it out as a club and notify the fans as to whats going on.

I’m not blaming Hogan, Smith or any individual for yesterday but as a group of people it needs explaining in full. With the Judas Tarkowski incident still fresh in our memories we don’t want to go down that route again.

Most sane people realize there is no longer any loyalty in football so if he wants to leave and play in the Premier League and treble his wages, good luck to him. Yes we did pay his wages for nearly two years when he was out injured but a £15m transfer fee would represent a pretty decent return on that particular investment.

GET IT DONE ON MONDAY AND LET’S MOVE ON!

So, with Vibe continuing up front and Bjelland back in the starting line up we took to the field in expectation against a strong Newcastle side albeit missing Shelvey and their African contingent, on cup duty in Gabon.

Within 2 minutes the highly dangerous Dwight Gayle had given us a fright cutting in at ease but shooting just wide. However after 18 minutes, he showed us why he is the divisions top marksman by scoring an all too easy goal…He again picked up the ball on the left touchline but was allowed to travel unchallenged deep into our area before clipping in past Bentley. 0-1 It was his last telling contribution as he was replaced soon after, suffering a minor injury.

Further chances came and went as the Toon blew away our defence in a torrid opening half hour.

To the Bees credit, we finished the half strongly, finally playing a more relaxed, passing game with Josh McEachran outstanding. HT 0-1

Playing towards the away fans (never liked this) in the second period, we again started quite slowly. However, slightly against the run of play we forced an equalizer on 51 mins. Vibe was in the right place to prod home from close range after a melee in the Geordies goalmouth. 1-1

From this point to the 75th minute, we enjoyed out best spell as time and time again we had the ball at our feet in dangerous positions but could neither find the killer pass or produce a touch of magic to break down a tough rearguard. Vibe was the closest , hitting the post and the ball running along/over the line….The fans around me were calling for a substitution long before Jota prepared himself to come on. Newcastle had made all three subs before we made our first, granted they were all injury related. Between the time from Jota taking his track top off and waiting to come on, we fell behind again to a sucker punch.

The impressive Perez played a delightful cross in with the outside of his right boot and Daryl Murphy, Gayle’s replacement, headed home from close range. 1-2

Even Jota couldn’t rally the troops for one final effort but he did look good gliding in from the right and firing in a shot that Toon keeper Darlow pushed away.

Hoff came on for the final 4 + 9 added on minutes. He did appear to have a genuine penalty appeal waved away when his opponent almost ripped the shirt from his back. These decisions almost always seem to favour the so called “Bigger” teams.

Introducing Josh Clarke with a minute to go of the extra 9…What’s that all about Dean??

On reflection, we gave them too much respect yesterday and reacted to the game situation rather than being proactive. It’s time to be more assertive, particularly at home!!!

Bentley 6: Seems lacking in confidence and kicking becoming wayward, did make a sharp save from Gayle though.

Colin 7: Bright spells going forward and energetic but sometimes a little naive defensively. Poor decision making between him and centre halves for Gayle’s opener.

Egan 7: We seem to have decided on the 3-5-1-1 formation now but Egan was better in a flat back four.

Harlee 7: Indecisive on a couple of occasions, letting the ball bounce and being too far away from opposing forwards.

Bjelland 7: Solid most of the time but he is prone to a gaff or two a game, lazy back header to Bentley nearly lead to another goal.

Field 8: He really has stepped up with a panache and an enthusiastic approach to the game. Oh, and he’s one of our own!!

Sawyers 6: Sorry to his loyal little army of fans but this isn’t good enough. He has had 20+ games in the championship now and we seemed to be carrying him for long periods of the game, he needs to get stuck in a lot more.

McEachran 8: I know he made a few mistakes but he was always trying to get on the front foot and find passes to the front players. Should have stayed on longer than Sawyers, as he was more effective.

Woods 6: Played too deep to be a threat to Newcastle, probing and busy but largely bypassed in a congested midfield.

Nico 7: His sort of game, up for all the 50/50 balls and worked tirelessly, a great engine on him too.

Vibe 7: His best performance for a while, had a few one on one chances that might have gone in with a bit more confidence, played more like his old self, scored and so easily could have had a second…Goal line technology anyone?

SUBS:

Jota for McEachran 74mins 7: silky, smooth, glides past defenders with ease, just need to get him fully match fit and watch him go!

Hoffmann for Egan 90mins. Pointless sub in my opinion, needs at least 15 mins on the pitch.

Clarke for Sawyers 94mins. Seemed to be a case of I have 3 subs so I will use 3 subs…We were chasing an equalizer Dean! Not trying to waste 30 secs by slowing things down.

Dean Smith 5: Got to step up now Dean, not your fault about Hogan but game management needs to change. Liven yourself up and give bench players more playing time or show them the door. Its the same 14 players being rotated week in week out.

The BIAS blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent BIAS policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to BIAS.

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Boat to Chelsea http://bias.org.uk/2017/01/14/boat-to-chelsea-2/ Sat, 14 Jan 2017 10:19:57 +0000 http://bias.org.uk/?p=286264 Once again BIAS and Jim Walsh are running a boat, or possibly even two boats from Kew to Chelsea Harbour, for the FA Cup 4th round match at Stamford Bridge on the 28th January.

Prices for the one-way trip are as follows: • Adults £11.99
Kids £5.90

The departure time will be at 11.00 from Kew Pier and should arrive at Chelsea Harbour around 13:00. The walk to Stamford Bridge is approximately 15-20 mins from the harbour.

The on board bar is reasonably priced and will be fully stocked. Strictly no Alcohol is to be taken on board (all drinks must be purchased on board)

The boat is one way only and you will need to make your own travel arrangements after the match

Tickets are available online here.

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