Brentford: “Can We Play You Every Week?”


The Boro taunt was a dagger to the heart of broken Brentford fans as they trudged dejectedly out of Griffin Park. Again.  They had hoped to see their heroes beat Boro in the league for the first time since the war but instead drifted away nursing a grudge while jubilant visitors squealed with delighted and punched the air with joy and relief. Again.

I’ve got no grudge against Brentford. There is no historic score to be settled there. They’ve never stole a player from us or inflicted any serious defeat. We’d remember that.  The people at the club are friendly enough and the fans largely harmless. So, *meh *

But the indifference is certainly not requited. Oh no. In fact I don’t think the locals like Boro very much. There was an air of latent animosity laced with fear right from the off.  Which is fair enough. Because we ALWAYS beat them.

Every time we go there the Brentford fans are left seething at some great imagined injustice. Every time they are left faced red faced with rage.  This time it was Adam Clayton taking the final few minutes flak after hacking down Judge as he burst free with a foul so obvious that the in-play bookies stopped taking bets on it.

That was their last chance to claw something back after an end-to-end game that they bossed for long spells only to get caught cold at a set-play.

It seems no matter what they do, how well they play, whatever the pressure and balance of play in their favour, Boro somehow win.  In the last three visits they have suffered two outright muggings that have later featured as Crimewatch reconstructions and a last gasp scrambled winner that punctured their Wembley dream.


            Have you seen this man? Dani Ayala suspected of absolute mugging 

I’m not complaining. I’ve watched the closing stages of all of them in the very tight press box with my stomach in knots listening to a sound-track of nearby nuclear Bees face fizzing, whistling, yelping and bitterly denouncing Boro for every football crime possible.

Going into the game Boro had won the last nine games straight in league and cup going back to 1986 under Bruce Rioch with the aggregate score an pretty convincing 20-3. Make that 10 now and 21-3.


                Another angle is presented to support Ayala’s claim for an assist

The home crowd were incandescent, swearing, snarling, pointing and howling at the moon and soon a myth was born: that Boro had kicked them out of the game, had cheated them. It was an historic injustice.

In the days after the first leg, keeper David Button and then mis-spelled own goal specialist defender Harleeee Dean took it in turns to shout their mouth off about how Boro were a rubbish long ball team who could only score from set-plays- how to win friends and influence people … and do the opposition team-talk for them.

In the two games after that, both at the Riverside, ruthless ‘route one’ Boro put six past them and the rent-a-quote twosome have played with targets on their back, berated at every turn by Teessiders.

This time they will go away and feed their sense of injustice and feel they “deserved” something. And maybe they did. It’s a cruel game.

The win took Boro six points clear of Derby at the top and eight points clear of third placed Hull with a game in hand.

Next season Brentford’s nightmare may be over. They won’t have to face us.


What we (I) said before kick-off….


BACK to basics and with a rocket up their arse…  Boro will go into the game with Brentford tonight still smarting from Los Hairdryos from Karanka after failing to win a game  that was almost embarrassingly one-sided in the first 45 minutes.

Forget the pre-match Faustian bargaining and the post-match spin as fans persuaded themselves that FA Cup exit to Burnley would inevitably be a “good thing” that increased the chances of promotion to the Premier League. There is no evidence of that. Yes, there may be fewer games but who knows what the effect will be in denting the aura of invincibility, bursting the bubble of self-belief and staining the clean sheet record.

Aitor was furious. He simmered through the post-match media set-plays. He wanted to win the game. He wants to win every game.  He wanted to keep the clean sheet and unbeaten records going. He wanted the lads from the bench to come in and grab the game by the throat and give him an impossible selection headache for Brentford and Bristol City.  And the players were left in no doubts after the game that he was unhappy. We waited in the tunnel a season’s record of maybe 25 minutes for the  post-match interviews.


             Nando’s tasty treat last time down at Griffin Park. Seconds on the menu?

So Boro will go to Griffin Park fired up and hopefully the Bees will feel the backlash. Two wins this week – which on paper is perfectly achievable – will seize control of the Championship, cement the top spot and pile pressure on the rivals who know any slip up now could leave them trying to bridge a yawning chasm and catch a team that rarely lose a game let alone two in a row. So that’s the stakes.

Brentford? Well, they are much improved since last time we played them but seem to be in disarray. After bizarrely parting company with successful supremo Mark Warburton for not completely buying in to the analytics project the club have lost momentum, direction and key men. Now, two managers later,  at least two more players want out.  Yesterday holding midfielder Toumani Diagouraga slapped in a transfer request which was denied. Fans are unsettled and the team are inconsistent.

Boro beat Brentford four times last term when they were at their best including twice in the play-offs and then added another victory earlier this season. That won’t make it a shoo-in. It will be tough. It will be hostile as they don’t seem to like us and some fans still think we “kicked” our way past them to get to Wembley.  But back at full strength – the seven rested against Burnley will return – I expect them to make it six wins on the  bounce. Despite Saturday’s set-back I’m sticking with the 2-0/3-0 winning formula. What say you?

Usual drill: predict the score and how the game will pan out and anything else you want. Then all meet back later to swap notes. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post as Brentford’s wifi is notoriously patchy and then we have to get across that London to the pub hotel. But you lot crack on without me.  Jarkko! You’re in charge.


176 thoughts on “Brentford: “Can We Play You Every Week?”

  1. Just on the expat stories, I still remember my first day at my current workplace. I was doing the usual ‘drinking through a hosepipe’ induction process, sat back for a second to let it settle and stared up at the ceiling…only to be met with the sight of bloody great steel girders imprinted Dorman Long & Co. Can’t tell you how proud it made me feel, and I’ve now bored the life out of the local staff telling them my father, grandfather and great-grandfather all worked at the company that made the steel that’s holding their bloody building up.

    1. Kookaboro

      I had the same thing. Went to Argentina on the Monday a journey of 22 hours on the Saturday feeling alone went for dinner at a converted warehouse upmarket at a refurbished dock in Buenos Aires. Surrounded by Argentinians Brazilians and guys from Chile.

      One asked where did I come from in England and looked above me to see the exposed steel beams. And I pointed up to them that’s where I come from they said “Dorman Long Middlesbrough” it really made me homesick!!


  2. Good point KookaBoro, I have been in the middle east for 36 years and have always been part of a group of Boro supporters, In Qatar in 1980 there were only 2 of us, Bahrain about 4 or 5 and Saudi is teeming with them. Bumper stickers and Rory toys in the back of the SUV everywhere.

    Also strangely enough, the neutrals always support Boro against the established team so we never feel alone. Since Sat TV in the 90’s I have rarely had to watch a Boro match on my own.

    Teesside’s principal export is the expats, both north and south of the river . . . and that accent is very difficult to lose.

    My only regret is that the Club make it hard for the Diasboro to participate, overseas loyalty cards/schemes are few and far between.

    UTB – I see in the Arab news today that we get a mention, Bristols manager has been fired and we are their entertainment for this afternoon.

    Revenge, revenge!! Give us 3 points please.

  3. Twitter tells me that Bristol City become the 17th Championship club to change their manager since the start of 2015.

    Who are the few managers who have served longer than Aitor? He won’t become the longest serving manager in Championhip any time soon, either as Boro *might* iscape the league in May …

    Up the Boro!

  4. It used to be the case that managers were shown the exit after being beaten by Boro but it seems either nobody expects to beat us anymore so no point waiting until after the game – or possibly if a club is looking to get rid of their manager then they can’t risk them somehow beating Boro as it would make them unsackable for quite a while after that potential result.

  5. Following Peter Calvert’s amusing tweet, I just checked Kike Sola’s entry on Wikipedia and he does indeed appear from his profile to be more of an aging white dwarf (age 87, height 3′ 3″) than a mature star in the making.

  6. There was one period when we were personally responsible for the sacking of at least three managers of Tottenham, the action went as follows. We beat them badly at home (about 3 0) a club official appeared after the match to announce that the manager was busy packing his bags so he was not available for interview. We thought it was a complement to us, what they were really saying was, we can tolerate anything but being beaten by those gits.

    **AV writes: I think we left six dug-out bodies in our wake last season. Not bad from 23 clubs.

  7. “Kike Sola received a Red Card for a high tackle on Javier Mascherano”

    Bearing in mind Boro Fans’ propensity for holding and nurturing a grudge like a living thing, to be savoured at length, and chuntered about incessantly, then Kike Sola would be an excellent addition!

    1. GHW

      That makes him a Teesside urban legend already in my book!

      Who cares about his goals ratio, appearances and injuries etc. My only doubt would be how high was the tackle? Chest, neck or head level?

      Not that I’m a stereotypical Boro fan with a propensity for holding and nurturing a grudge for long.

  8. Ian,

    Peter Wilson came out to Australia and was a coal miner south of Sydney in Wollongong which in the 60s had a very strong football league as opposed to the number 1 sport Rugby League. This was due to the high number of British and European expats working in the mines and steelworks. He was Australia’s first World cup captain in Germany in 1974.

    Apparently he still lives in the bush inland from Wollongong he was a big strapping Blonde (must be those viking genes) uncompromising centre half. He became a recluse and never attended any reunions for the World Cup team. My count is 10 Aussies who have played for the Boro.

    As for Dorman Long we in Sydney obviously have the number one icon the Coathanger as it is referred to, but I always remember stopping at traffic lights years ago and glancing over at the railway bridge at Epping and seeing those immortal words ” Dorman Long Middlesbrough” on the steel girders it gave me goosebumps.
    You can take the man out of Middlesbrough but you can never take Middlesbrough out of the man or Lass !

  9. It is a moot point whether the tackle on Mascherano is accorded the same status as Morrison leathering Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

    Personally I suspect James kicking the winker is a higher points tariff because we all saw it live on TV, there was more previous with Ronaldo, it wasn’t even a challenge, it was not even on the pitch and he was wearing a Boro shirt.

    Morrison for me though Solas does come with brownie points for his tackle.

  10. I am afraid that the signing of Enrique Sole makes us lazy. Fans don’t need to invent a new sond for our solar-powed striker. Ole, ole…. Kike, Kike etc.

    I hope he adapts to the team as quickly as Stuani. Next a defending midfielder, please.

    Up the Boro!

  11. The gazette has an article about a chap who stands to win over £6000 if Boro get promoted having bet £940 pre season. He can cash in now and make £3888.

    These were the odds after our defeat by Hull

    Boro: Title winners – 5/2 Promotion – 8/13

    Hull City: Title winners – 5/2 Promotion – 8/11

    Derby County: Title winners – 4/1 Promotion – Evens

    Brighton: Title winners – 5/1 Promotion – 11/8

    Burnley: Title winners – 7/1 Promotion – 7/4

    Reading: Title winners – 22/1 Promotion – 4/1

    Sheffield Wednesday: Title winners – 40/1 Promotion – 8/1

    Birmingham: Title winners – 66/1 Promotion – 16/1

    Ipswich: Title winners – 80/1 Promotion – 14/1

    We are now 1/3 for the title and 1/16 to go up. Still barking in my eyes.

    1. If he doesn’t cash in the I guess he’s essentially been asked if he’s prepared to bet nearly £5,000 (£3,888 + £940) to win £2,000 on Boro winning the title with a five point start and an extra game – it would be a brave man who doesn’t collect as there are probably less risky bets to win two grand.

  12. He has to cash in for the reasons that you set out.

    I’m curious 1. Does everyone have to speak English all the time at training?

    I’m curious 2. Does Bristol justify an overnight stop or does the team and the AVmobile travel down on Saturday morning?


    AV writes: Yes, Aitor insists on English (where possible) in training, in the changies and in the restaurant. All his staff use English too. And yes, Bristol in an overnight. Fly down Friday after training, swimming and technical/tactical meeting early evening. Sat morning so gentle stretches etc before coach to ground. Not for us mind. Driving at sparrow’s fart.

    1. Boro would travel probably the journos and radio guys travel on the day had one overnighter this week got to keep the price of the gazette down.

      **AV writes: Exactly. We’re hitching.

      1. ‘AV’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Premier League (circa. 2016-17)!’

        Our very own journo superheroe takes to the road, thumbs up, as he spans the length and breath of the land seeking out avant garde stories to fill the imaginations of his thirsty dedicated readership.

        Having grown a hipster beard and had it dyed red and white for the occasion, he intrepidly bounces from one motorway cafe to the next on ‘borrowed’ wheels, intent on visiting every ground where the Boro play away. Detailed logistical planning (motorway map) and steely (Dorman Long manufactured) pen in hand, AV braves all challenges and dangers to ‘get that story’!


  13. Thanks AV,

    It looks as if Burnley have really stepped up a gear since beating us. They’re all over Brentford. Something very odd with Tarkowski refusing to play. That can’t happen very often.

    **AV writes: Isn’t he on the verge of joining Burnley? Maybe have been “odder” had he played against them and, for instance, conceded a penalty. Maybe he wants to avoid any question over his integrity.

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