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With Wednesday fans buzzing after knocking Steve McClaren’s Newcastle out of the League Cup, Billy Grant caught up with Terry Hibberd (@hoylandowl) from Owls Online on Carvalhal roulette, Forestieri the new Carbone and Sheffield United living in Wednesday’s shadow.

We’re hoping Wednesday will be so buzzing off the back of your win against Newcastle in the Carling Cup, you’ll forget to turn up on Saturday. I take it, it was a good night?

It was a great night and we played to a plan. Stay strong, be resolute, and unlock the door when we have the opportunity. It worked to a tee.

I would be VERY worried if I was a Newcastle fan. They were poor and with six of the side starting being same as those that started in the Premiership last weekend… it says a lot. But not to take anything away from our boys, every one of them deserve a huge pat on the back.

The result continues a very good recent upward trend of performances. Where in the previous rounds we’ve almost staggered to victory against lower league clubs, there was nothing staggered about this.

But unfortunately for you lot, I don’t think we’ll forget to turn up on Saturday. I can’t see it being an ‘After the Lord Mayors Parade’ type performance.

You made 10 changes for that match as your manager wanted to focus on the Brentford match. Do you think this made the players who came in more eager beaver … and took their chance well??

There’s no doubt that the lads who came in took their chance. But a lot of them have been on the periphery and played in quite a few games this season. It’s not like they’ve been left out in the cold. To be honest, I think there were only a couple of them who have featured only once ot twice so far this season – like the match winner, Lewis McGugan.

It’s a bit of a dream situation if I’m honest that we have so much to choose from and the fact that many of them are simply fringe players. The side we put out last night we would have been happy to be our first eleven last season. So it says a lot about the state of the club at the moment that for once we really do have strength in depth in almost every position.

Technically your manager has now got a selection problem for the weekend … or does he????

He loves a bit of squad roulette does Carlos Carvalhal. He keeps us guessing so god knows how your manager will be thinking they’ll be facing!

There have been quite a few dissenters towards the chop and change style that the head coach seems to have employed so far but as I said, recent results and in particular the standard of performances are slowly but surely bringing the fans around. And rightly so.

He selects players who he thinks are right for the particular game. Not just ones who are in form. It’s a different approach and it’s taking time to get used to.

But if it reaps the rewards then why not embrace the change. After all you lads haven’t done bad with a differing approach to management and player recruitment so far.

Last season Wednesday were dare I say it an average Championship side. You were struggling to score in this division and you didn’t provide a spectacle on the pitch. This season Wednesday are all change … new manager … a raft of new players … is this all good for Wednesday????

It’s an odd one really. Stuart Gray did a decent job. He brought our highest finish in the league in years. We weren’t struggling to stay in the division like the two previous campaigns but as you say… we were average. That really does sum last season up.

Our home form was shocking. Boring. Maybe just functional.

So while there was some reluctance to accept the decision to relieve Mr Gray of his duties, others were happy for the change.

Then this summer comes and we’re all thinking, what the hell was going to happen?  We started to sign players through a committee as there was no head coach or manager in charge. Some of them are unheard of (welcome to our party – ed). But the effort and finance put into things by our owner is nothing but positive.

The new gaffer was and still is s a relative unknown on these shores But he’s endearing himself to the fans in his press conferences and interaction with supporters.

We’ve been treading water for so long. The fans have stayed loyal for decades and it’s just nice to see everyone at the club as committed as we fans are and really giving it a proper go.

After all the transfer activity of the summer, who is looking like they are going to be your main men this season? 

Our main men have changed from week to week. I’d like to think there’s not going to be the odd few main men to be honest.

Fernando Forestieri is a player like nothing we’ve had at Hillsborough since the likes of Benito Carbone in the late nineties. Someone who gets you really off your seat, is very creative and so, so skillful.

I was over the moon when we signed him and in the few games he’s had, it’s easy to see why the Watford fans nicknamed him ‘Fessi’. He looks a bit like his Argentinian countryman on the pitch – a low centre of gravity, mesmerising with the ball at times.

But before anyone thinks I’m saying he’s in the same league as Lionel Messi, I’m not. But he’s definitely capable of higher than the Championship.

Our mainstays are Tom Lees and Keiren Westwood. They both came to the club as cast offs from their previous employers but have both been fantastic.

Westwood last season was almost the immovable object. There must have been many strikers wishing he’d just have an off day which didn’t happen.

Lees this season has grown so much and we didn’t think it was possible. He’s relatively young but such a leader. He reads the game well is a strong as an ox, and loves defending, you can see it.

Kieran Lee is another who gets better too. Seemingly he would only be on the fringes of the squad following the influx of new midfielders in the summer. But the new players appear to have inspired him greatness. His performance last weekend against Fulham was as good a showing from a central midfielder of ours as I’ve seen for a long time.

Your local rivals Sheffield United are definitely living in your shadow. Many would have put money on them getting out of Division 1 by now. But it hasn’t happened so far. And they’re doing their best to screw things up again this season. Can you give a balanced opinion as to why you may not be playing United any time soon?

To be honest, I love a derby game against them. It’s nothing like any other game. But we do chuckle when things continue being a little sour for them.

I did think last season they’d step up and push. But non-league Nigel Clough did a great job of holding up the tradition of them being perennial failures in the city.

They spent their biggest amount in years last season on a full back from Cardiff (John Brayford) and lord him up like he’s Roberto Carlos meets Stuart Pearce meets Ashley Cole and then he gets injured. To be honest, he’s not that good anyway. It seems never ending. They have some decent players for the third division. Billy Sharp going back there too in the summer I thought would be a great move for them this season. And even Nigel Adkins being installed as their manager made a few of us think they may finally start to reach for our coat tails.

But they’re a well supported outfit – in my opinion not a League One club. They should be in the Championship. But there’s just something odd down there.

The owner is a multi-millionaire from the middle east, but seems to be less of a millionaire than the rest who come from those parts of the world. It’s like they’re stuck in their pen and can’t figure out where the way out is – or the best way of formulating a plan to find it.

Saturday. It’s an important game for both teams as diseased in the Beesotted podcast below (forward to 49m 19 secs for a view from Wednesday Week podcast). We both need to get a little bit of momentum under our belts. Are you gonna play your A team or your B team on Saturday? 

As I’ve already alluded to, the team on Saturday will be the one that Mr Carvalhal thinks is the best eleven for that particular match. He works hard on looking to exploit any opportunity where there could be weakness in the opposition and picks the players who can do that regardless of if they didn’t play in the last game or not.

However, I can’t see him not selecting, Westwood, Pudil, Lees, Kieran Lee, Forestieri (if fit), and probably Nuhiu up front.

So there will be a raft of changes yet again. So it really is hard to say if it’s the A team or the B team … And I love it that we have that opportunity to have a squad like that.

I’ve had my fill of having just eleven key players then the and then a bunch of ‘and the rest of them’ subs.

Do you think you will get a result against the mighty MIGHTY Bees???

Although you lot play in the most horrific combination of red and white stripes on your shirts, everyone knows there’s a lot of respect between the fans. We love Griffin Park. The pubs on the corners of the ground. Everything.

And to be honest, it’s been a kind place to us in the past. We generally seem to get a result, and if we continue like we have in the last four games then I have to say yes we’ll get something.

Score prediction?

I think it will be a draw. Maybe that’s a little conservative but you lot aren’t too shabby – especially on your own patch. I’ll go for a 2-2 draw.


Billy Grant

Drinking in Brentford

Wednesday fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming. Colours are fine and there is no ‘bouncer culture’ on the doors of our boozers – not yet anyway. All fans are welcome and most fans usually cite Brentford as their favourite away-day which we’re quite proud of.

As is etched in common folklore , there were four pubs around the ground – unfortunately one closed down last season but rumours has it, it has opened up again in the last couple of weeks or so. The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option. The Royal Oak was the one that closed down … it may be re-opened.

Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) the  … The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd)  – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-frienly pubs and 30 seconds walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after the match in both these boozers (despite us losing)- and The Plough (Northfields Ave – 1 minute walk from the tube) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route on the Northfields pub crawl).

Easily the best way to Brentford is to get the Piccadilly line from Kings Cross to either Northfields or South Ealing (35 mins). Northfields is preferred by fans in the know as it has a decent pub crawl run on the way to the ground (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe). South Ealing has one posh pub en route that doesn’t really like football fans so we won’t even give it a mention here. It’s 20 mins walk from either South Ealing OR Northfields to the ground or you can get the E2 bus from Northfields or 65 bus from South Ealing for the short 5 minute journey.

Some fans prefer to take the tube to Vauxhall then get the overground to Brentford mainline station. Depending on your connection time, this could be a slightly longer route as you could be waiting for up to 15 mins for a train and the train takes 26 mins to Brentford. Including your connection from Kings Cross this journey could take you the best part of an hour as opposed to under 40 minutes (plus the journey to the ground).

If you do take this route, there is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … er …  the Pub by Brentford station.

For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the bridge. Great views over The Thames. It’s around 15 mins walk to the ground from here.

There are loads more too. A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.

Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Rd (ie. North) via Ealing Rd or Windmill Rd.