Friday, 20 February 2015

Cherry Chimes talks Brentford with Beesotted

Rival Lines

Match Preview
Brentford v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Besotted

I managed to get a quick word in with Billy Grant who write the Bees' Beesotted blog and podcast. He has had quite a week with all the goings on at Bentford FC this week so I was keen to know his thoughts on what the atmosphere is like on the ground.

Billy TheBee Grant writes and video logs for Beesotted blog. They do a video and podcast for every match. You can catch all Beesotted videos and podcasts at 

CC: How much are you enjoying the Championship visiting some big grounds and coming away with the points more often than not?

Beesotted: Our phrase is "We're just happy to be here". We came with the intention of keeping our heads above water but we've been pulling up trees and upsetting people in the process. The only thing that has soured it is the latest news about Mark Warburton leaving at the end of the season which I will talk about later.

But we've had great fun this season. Our trips to Forest, Leeds and Norwich were legendary. We absolutely hammered all three of them although the score didn't necessarily reflect that. We've been travelling well to considering our crowd averaged only around 5,500 three seasons ago. We took 1500 to Wigan. 2300 to Brighton. Must've been between 1500 and 2000 at Forest on a Tuesday night. Over 1,000 to Leeds and Norwich despite just after Xmas and extortionate ticket prices.

We feel proud when we meet opposition fans who give us plaudits. Forest, Norwich and Boro fans said unequivocally we were the best team they've played all season. Even better than your lot.

CC: Do you feel with the January signings that Brentford have enough to grab one of the automatic promotion places, let along a play-off place?

Beesotted: Everyone wanted us to get a striker. Andre Gray (£500k from Luton) has done a great job acclimatising from the conference to the championship. But it's all on his head. Our other striker Hogan got injured early in the season and we never really replaced him. For various reasons a striker never happened. Well we did get this kid on loan from Everton. Chris Long. But we were hoping for someone with a bit more of a goalscoring record.

The reality is we're doing brilliantly. Playing excellent football. When we played you at your place it was early days. We have gone I up three of four notches since.

Looking at the playoff places, we've scored the least goals and let in the most goals. Our one advantage is we win a lot of games. We've won one less that the top two (you guys and Derby) with 16 wins. If we stop winning its all over. So we need to score more to prevent that from happening.

CC: How do you feel about the prospect of ground sharing before the new stadium in Lionel Road is built for the 2017-18 season and if so who with - surely not QPR?

Beesotted: Personally I can't think of anything worse than watching football in another teams' stadium. Especially as it could possibly be for only one season. I would much prefer if we enjoyed our time in the sun on our own patch with our own mates rather than soul-less stadium filled with a bunch of johnny come lateleys who fail to add to the atmosphere. Don't get me wrong. I believe in growth. Fan growth. But that growth has to be organic and real.

There is talk of staying at Griffin Park in the short term if we went up. We are in the advanced planning stages of building our new stadium and the hope is, like Sunderland got with Roker Park, we might get some leeway if we got promoted with the Premier League allowing us to play at Griffin Park. There is even talk of keeping the terraces.

I couldn't think of anything better than Man United coming out of the tunnel at Griffin Park with its tight surround and only 1600 fans to cheer them on. If that were to fail, F*lham, QPHaha and Reading have been touted. It's cheaper to get to Sheffield with the special offers going around than Reading on the train. Plus they have no pubs and the stadium is quite soul-less. Forget that. Craven Cottage is an option. Doesn't quite sit with me though.

I don't actually hate QPR as much as most Brentford fans. Probably because I have a few QPR mates. Their stadium is very much like ours. Run down. Tight. And you can make a right good noise in there. Plus it's the most accessible by public transport and there are plenty of drinking options. It's the best of the three evils for me.

CC: Who has been Brentford's best player this season so far or who do you think has come on the most and improved their game?

Beesotted: David Button the keeper has come on leaps and bounds. Look at his save up at Carrow Rd v Norwich. Astounding. His save v Rotherham a few weeks earlier was also top drawer. Alex Pritchard on loan from Spurs. Quality attacking midfielder. Very very tricky.

But then Jota has had some great games. Got him from Celta Vigo for £1.5m. As has Alan Judge. Got him for not much from Blackburn in the summer after having him on loan half of last season. Tricky midfielders. Judge has been injured which is a shame.

Douglas has really upped his game in central midfield this season. But if anyone has gone from zero to hero it's Toumani Diagouraga. He was sent on loan to Portsmouth last season and could have left for Coventry but decided to fight for his place. Got a break in the team because of injury and went from fringe player to solid central midfielder in a Viera type mould. He's been excellent.

CC: How do you think Mark Warburton has managed to get more out of this Brentford team than Uwe Rosler did, is it a much different side?

Beesotted: Same side. Slightly different philosophy. Rosler was quite safe in his approach. If we went 1.0 up we would defend. And more than likely concede. Mark believes in attacking. Quality attacking football. Watford fans were stunned when we were 1-1with 10 men and not long to go and instead of shutting down we went for the win by bringing on another attacker.

He also backs his players 100%. He is very much a people person and knows how to get the best out of people. That's a rare quality. You can listen to him chat more on our weekly podcast.

CC: What do you think you think of Mark Warburton being let go at the end of the season?

Beesotted: It's a real shame he's going. He's a massive favourite with the fans and players. It's all down to a difference in philosophy. The owner Matt Benham wants to include a more scientific approach to the way Brentford find players and play our game. And wants to incorporate a more European structure to the club with a sporting director and head coach. Mark Warburton believes in a more traditional approach. They didn't agree and decided a while back, after it couldn't be reconciled, to go their separate ways.

He's here until the end of the season. Which is strange. It's definitely put a cloud on things. We needed to beat Watford really to get the feel good factor going but the early red card fluffed that. At Charlton we were just absolutely awful. Like the worst we've played all season. And probably the season before too.

He believes that he and his team are focussed on finishing as high up the table as we can. If anything, he has a point to prove. And the players will want to show how professional they are and not a flash in the pan. So the game against Bournemouth could go one of two ways. Either we could continue to feel sorry for ourselves and continue the caving in. Or we will really tear into you.

CC: Which game was the best Brentford victory that you've seen this season and why?

Beesotted: The most satisfying was F*lham. Haven't played them for over 15 years. Big rivalry. Friday night. Most people took the whole day off. It was lively by lunch time. They went one nil up. We equalised then scored in the 94th minute. Jota. Mayhem.

Other than that, battering Norwich at their place was satisfying. It was only 1-0 but should have been 4 or 5. Forest - we battered them too. Night game. Great day out. And Cardiff. First half we were on fire. 3-0 up within half hour. Then we just buckled in the 2nd half and the game ended 3-2 .. Could have been a draw.
CC: You have drawn the least games out of the top six teams, but do you think go all out for wins has cost you in some matches with late goals - I'm probably thinking of the Watford result here?

We're sh!t or bust. And in fact we normally score late goals. Never give up. So Derby was an injury time winner. F*lham was an injury time winner. The way we set up we continue attacking till the end. Watford we only let in that last minute goal because we were knackered. We were down to 10 men for 65 minutes I think it was. Watford were decent. Quick on the break. Moved the ball around fast. The way they kept coming at us it was only a matter of time. If we had 11 on 11 we probably would have beaten them. We went 1-0 up but couldn't capitalise. It was a great game of end to end football.

The theory is ... Win 4 and lose 2 is more points than win 3 draw 2 lose 1.

CC: How do you feel about Brentford's current home form going into the match against Bournemouth - confident?

Beesotted: Current home form is good. It's the cloud over the manager situation which can upset things. We had lost only twice at home in about 14 months. Ipswich, Brighton in the FA cup, Boro and Watford in the last month and a bit has really put a dent in that record. Only Ipswich was warranted though. We smashed Brighton off the park but couldn't score with a semi second string side. Boro we also played them off the park for much of the game but gave away a silly penalty and then had to try and penetrate their unpenetrable defence. Watford I've already spoken about. Let's see if we recover from the gloom of the last week.

CC: Brentford and Bournemouth in the Premier League. It couldn't happen could it?

Beesotted: Realistically. Probably not this year for us. One step beyond. Need a few more players. And need to score more and stop letting in so many silly goals. But saying that you never know. As a footballing side were good enough. You don't get too many sides saying you are the best team you have played for no reason. But I think it may be just one step beyond.

Saying that, if we take 7 points off you guys, Blackpool and Birmingham our tails will be right back up again. And .... Well who knows.

The best team we've played so far were Ipswich. Very organised. Boro were voted 2nd best. Again organised. Derby. Watford. You guys and Norwich were seen as more flare teams. Stylish. Except Norwich were rubbish when we played them at their place. Hoofball.

If I had to put money on it I'd say probably you guys and Derby will go up. Boro in the playoffs.

CC: Thanks Billy for sharing your thoughts with us. Billy is back later as he is giving us all a pub guide to Brentford and if you also visit his site you should find some return questions and answers to Cherry Chimes.

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