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AFC Bournemouth have had a difficult start to the season and thanks to an unforgiving fixture list, have only one point from their first three matches.

That came from a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham on the opening weekend of the season, but since then they have lost 3-1 at Liverpool and 2-0 at home to Spurs.

However, they, like us, enjoyed a Carabao Cup win in south Wales on Tuesday – in the Cherries’ case with a last-gasp 3-2 win at Swansea.

Manager Gary O’Neil guided them to 15th place and safety last season, in the first year of their second spell in the Premier League.

However, he was sacked in June – less than seven months after being appointed as the club’s permanent manager – and replaced by Andoni Iraola.

Bournemouth’s first Premier League stay lasted five years and was the first time they had reached the top flight in their history.

They had a best finish of ninth in the 2016-17 season, but finished in the bottom half of the table in their other four campaigns – being relegated by a single point in 2019-20.

The Cherries have spent most of their league career in the third tier – although they did have a three-season stay in the second tier from 1987 to 1990 and a couple of two-season spells from 2013-15 and 2020-22.

They also won the first-ever Associate Members Cup, which became the Freight Rover Trophy, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy etc, in 1984, winning the final 2-1 at Hull, in the only year it was played outside Wembley.


As mentioned earlier, Andoni Iraola took charge in the summer.

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He is one of three Premier League managers, along with Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and Aston Villa’s Unai Emery, from the same northern corner of Spain.

Andoni spent almost all his playing career with Athletic Bilbao, making more than 500 appearances in all competitions as a right-back.

In his four seasons as captain, the side reached two Spanish Cup finals and the Europa League final as well as qualifying for the Champions League.

He finished his career with New York City and also won seven caps for Spain.

In his first managerial job, he led Cypriot side AEK Larnaca into the Europa League group stages before joining Spanish Second Division club Mirandes, who he saved from relegation and took to the Spanish Cup semi-finals.

In 2020, he took over at Rayo Vallecano, leading them to promotion to La Liga, via the play-offs, in his first season in charge.

He established them in the top division and reached the Spanish Cup semi-finals.


Brentford and Bournemouth have played each other in all four divisions and in all three cup competitions in more than 100 games since our first meeting on Christmas Day 1923.

Last season was the first time we had met in the top flight, and we picked up four points without conceding a goal.

Our first Premier League meeting in October ended 0-0.

In the January return, a goal in each half from Ivan Toney, from the penalty spot, and Mathias Jensen gave us a 2-0 win in a televised match and extended our unbeaten Premier League run to seven games.

Most of our other league meetings have been in the third tier, but we also met in two of our seasons in the Championship.

The first one was our first campaign at that level for 22 years with our first away game after promotion being at Dean Court in August 2014, and we slipped to a 1-0 defeat. The only goal was scored by Junior Stanislas in the 72nd minute, while Andre Gray hit the bar for us in the first half.

The return game in February happened just after the news broke that Bees manager Mark Warburton would be leaving the club at the end of the season.

And Brentford turned in one of their best performances of the campaign to beat the Cherries 3-1.

Jonathan Douglas gave us a ninth-minute lead after Alex Pritchard took advantage of hesitancy by Yann Kermorgant, but Marc Pugh levelled on the half-hour mark after a pass deflected off Toumani Diagouraga into his path.

Pritchard restored our lead in first-half stoppage-time direct from a free-kick, and then set up substitute Chris Long to seal the victory right at the end of the second half.

The victory denied Bournemouth the chance to go back to the top of the table and left us one point outside the play-off zone.


We also met four times in the 2020-21 season – twice in the regular campaign and also in the two-legged play-off semi-final.

The first two matches were played behind closed doors and the Bees did the double.

We won at the then-Brentford Community Stadium just after Christmas 2020 as goals from Henrik Dalsgaard and Tarique Fosu cancelled out Dominic Solanke’s opener.

In the return, we overcame Pontus Jansson’s sending-off to win 1-0 thanks to a late Bryan Mbeumo goal.

Each play-off match had a limited attendance.

At Dean Court, Arnaut Danjuma scored the only goal ten minutes into the second half – and when the same player struck five minutes into the second leg, our promotion dreams looked over.

But Ivan Toney equalised on the day from the penalty spot and then ex-Bee Chris Mepham was sent off before second-half goals from Vitaly Janelt and Marcus Forss gave us a famous 3-1 victory for a 3-2 aggregate triumph and a place in the Wembley final.


BBC Sport’s Mark Mitchener looks at Bournemouth’s campaign so far, how the change of manager has affected the club and Chris Mepham’s time on the south coast.

Q – How would you assess Bournemouth’s start to the season?

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A – Having been dealt a tough hand by the fixture computer – all three league games so far have been against teams in the top four of the early-season table – no-one can have too many complaints, particularly as the side are getting used to a new manager. There were half-a-dozen injured players sitting in the stands last Saturday, including two of the new signings, so Bournemouth are far from the finished article just yet.

Q – What changes has Andoni Iraola made since taking over in the summer?

A – Iraola’s football philosophy in Spain was dubbed “organised chaos” – and while the players (and fans) are still getting used to it, it has been encouraging to watch Bournemouth play more on the front foot, and further up the pitch, than they did under the more pragmatic Gary O’Neil and his predecessor Scott Parker. A high-pressing strategy brings risks, but fans hankering after the more attacking style favoured by Eddie Howe as Bournemouth rose up the leagues a decade ago, more likely to win games 4-3 or 3-2 than 1-0, should perhaps enjoy this season more than last.

Q – What do you make of the Cherries’ summer transfer business?

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A – Impressive. Owner Bill Foley has invested heavily during both transfer windows since he took control towards the end of 2022. The scale of Bournemouth’s summer spending surprised the BBC pundits when it was shown on last weekend’s Match of the Day, but recruitment has favoured younger players on an upward trajectory, rather than thirtysomethings past their best.

New full-backs Max Aarons and Milos Kerkez have already impressed, Justin Kluivert has played in all of Europe’s top leagues, while even greater things are expected of two signings who have not featured yet because of injury. Tyler Adams, the United States captain, looks tailor-made to fill the void left by Jefferson Lerma’s move to Crystal Palace as Bournemouth’s defensive midfield “enforcer”, while Alex Scott, the “Guernsey Grealish”, was the Championship’s top young player of 2022-23 with Bristol City.

All the newcomers seem encouraged by the chance of playing under Iraola – as is Philip Billing, last season’s top scorer who has penned a new four-year deal, a big relief as he was into the final year of his previous contract.

Q – What are Bournemouth’s aims for the season?

A – Foley has made it clear that he hopes for year-on-year improvement, and would like to be challenging for European football within five years. That may sound fanciful, but when his Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team joined the NHL as an expansion franchise, he said they would win the Stanley Cup in six years – and so it came to pass. So an improvement on last season’s 15th place would appear to be a minimum expectation, while Iraola – a renowned cup battler during his time in charge of Rayo Vallecano – would dearly love a good run in at least one of the cup competitions, having fielded a stronger than expected side in Tuesday’s win at Swansea.

But just as important to Foley’s “project” is growing the club off the field. Work continues apace on the new training ground on the site of a former golf course, which is due to open in a year’s time – and its completion may help pull the trigger on a new stadium (possibly where the current training pitches are in King’s Park), which Foley told TNT Sports last Saturday was in prospect within two to three years.

Q – How important is ex-Bee Chris Mepham to the side?

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A – Chris Mepham has had a slightly odd Bournemouth career, in that in four-and-a-half years since joining from Brentford, he’s now played under six managers – but it seems that whenever a new central defender is signed, Mepham is the man to make way. He was signed by Eddie Howe with an eye on the future, but was initially back-up to the established pairing of Nathan Ake and Steve Cook. Ake’s sale after relegation gave Mepham more opportunities under Jason Tindall, but he was back on the bench for the second half of 2020-21 as Tindall’s replacement Jonathan Woodgate preferred loan signing Cameron Carter-Vickers alongside Cook. Brentford fans will remember how that season ended – as Mepham replaced the injured Cook during the first leg of the play-off semi-finals, and was then sent off by referee Jarred Gillett against his old club as the Bees won the second leg.

After another change of manager, Scott Parker generally opted for Lloyd Kelly and new signing Gary Cahill in central defence in 2021-22, before Cahill gave way to loanee Nat Phillips in the second half of the season. Mepham was again the next cab off the rank, having to fill in at full-back early in the season, while towards the end of the campaign, was frequently brought off the bench as Parker’s “finisher” to help preserve narrow leads. Back in the Premier League, Mepham enjoyed a long run in the side in the first half of 2022-23 after Parker was replaced by Gary O’Neil, also earning a new contract, and was one of the standout players until injury and illness hampered his availability in the second half. This season, it seems initially that Mepham will be back-up to the preferred pairing of Marcos Senesi and Illia Zabarnyi.

Throughout all this time, Mepham has remained an automatic choice for Wales, whether or not he has been starting regularly for the Cherries. His professionalism and attitude have never been in question, whatever role he has been called on to fill. Clearly trusted and valued by a succession of managers, he is under contract to 2025 and remains important to the squad – even when he has not been a regular starter.

Q – What do you remember about previous meetings between the sides?

A – Plenty! Bournemouth and Brentford have met 118 times in league and cup games – with only Bristol Rovers (123), Reading (120) and Watford (119) being more frequent opponents for the Cherries. The geographical proximity of west London has made Brentford always a popular away trip for Cherries fans, as a refreshing change to heading up north every other week, and there have been some memorable tussles over the years. As well as the notorious “Stephen Hunt game” in 2004, which my BBC colleague Kris Temple recalled in these pages last time, there was Cherries legend Steve Fletcher’s only career hat-trick at Dean Court later that same season, Darren Powell being sent off for fighting one of his Bees team-mates (2009), midfielder Marcus Browning having to play in goal for nearly an hour of a League Cup tie (2002), the 1993 Christmas pantomime when Steve Cotterill missed two penalties and Vince Bartram scored a comedic own goal, Jamie Bates lobbing Bartram from the halfway line in the FA Cup a couple of years earlier… so many memories.

But one that stands out was the penultimate game of 1994-95 in the third tier at Griffin Park. League reorganisation meant there was only one automatic promotion place (with Brentford bidding to topple Birmingham), and five teams relegated. Bournemouth had only picked up nine points by Christmas, but a Herculean effort in the second half of the season had given them a sniff of survival. And Mel Machin’s side, roared on by a loud away contingent packed into the Brook Road Stand, ran out 2-1 winners (after surviving a barrage of six Brentford corners in the four minutes of stoppage time played). For the first time all season, survival was in Bournemouth’s hands – and was assured by beating Shrewsbury 3-0 in their final game, but despite the Premier League adventure that was to follow two decades later, those who were at Griffin Park that day in 1995 still recall it as one of the best Bournemouth away games of all time.

Q – Finally, can you give me a possible Cherries formation and line-up please?

A – It will probably be 4-3-3.

Neto in goal, and the back four will almost certainly be (right to left) Max Aarons, Illia Zabarnyi, Marcos Senesi and Milos Kerkez.

In front of them, probably Joe Rothwell or Lewis Cook as the deepest of the midfield three, behind Philip Billing and either Ryan Christie or Hamed Traore further ahead.

Out wide, there are a couple of options – David Brooks or Antoine Semenyo on the right, with Jaidon Anthony or Justin Kluivert on the left.

But it will definitely be Dominic Solanke up top.


If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Saturday’s 3.00pm kick-off and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via Buzz Box for free.

Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge and Brentford women’s manager Karleigh Osborne.




For Cherries fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 mins walk.

Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.

It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.

Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone

When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.

The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.

About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.

Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.

The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.

There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.

For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.

Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.

Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take 2 mins.

Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone

Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.

Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.

Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.

North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.

There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a or a

Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge

**** There is a train strike on National Rail on Saturday so please check ahead of your journey – there is no strike on the London Underground. ****

The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.

With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from Kings Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.

It is only 40 mins max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.

The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.

For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.

The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.

You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.