Beesotted contributor and former Brentford FC programme writer Ian Westbrook casts his eye over the Bees’ next visitors Norwich City.
HOW ARE THEY DOING?
Norwich have made a superb start in their bid to make an automatic return to the Premier League.
After losing their opening game of the season at Wolves, everything has gone right for the Carrow Road side who have won four and drawn one of their other five league matches.
They earned back-to-back home wins against Watford (3-0) and Blackburn (3-1) and after winning the East Anglian derby 1-0 at Ipswich were held to a 1-1 draw by Bournemouth.
On Saturday they were 2-0 down to Cardiff at half-time but roared back in the second half to wrap up a 4-2 victory.
For a change, ex-Bee Lewis Grabban was not among the scorers at the weekend. The summer signing from Bournemouth had found the net in his previous four Championship outings and his five league goals make him the division’s joint top scorer.
The Canaries have also made a good start to their season’s cup campaigns with their 3-1 win over Crawley in the second round of the Capital One Cup earning them a third round trip to League Two Shrewsbury.
WHO’S THE GAFFER?
Neil Adams was appointed as Norwich manager in May after a spell in charge as caretaker boss following the departure of ex-Bee Chris Hughton in April.
Neil already had strong connections with the Canaries after playing more than 200 games on the wing in a five-year spell at Carrow Road from 1994 to 1999.
He also played for Stoke and Everton and had two spells at Oldham either side of his time with Norwich and won one England Under-21 cap.
After he finished playing, Neil returned to the Canaries in a coaching role at the club’s Academy and led the club to victory over Chelsea in the 2012/13 FA Youth Cup final.
When he was appointed as manager, Neil said: “It is a huge honour and I am immensely proud. The priority is to ensure that attacking, attractive and winning football is once again the norm for supporters.”
THEIR LAST VISIT
AUGUST 18, 2009 – LEAGUE ONE: BRENTFORD 2-1 NORWICH CITY
Promoted Brentford continued relegated Norwich’s miserable start to the season with our first home win of the season.
The sides had been two divisions apart the previous campaign with the Bees winning the League Two title and City being relegated from the Championship.
Norwich had also lost their first game of the season 7-1 at home to Colchester and on the day they arrived at Griffin Park they had changed managers with Paul Lambert being appointed to replace Bryan Gunn.
Lambert looked on from the stands as, after a goalless first half, Ryan Dickson put us ahead in the 51st minute when he headed in a long throw from David Hunt.
Hunt doubled the lead 20 minutes later when he drove home a free-kick from the edge of the area.
Future Brentford loan player Owain Tudur-Jones pulled one back with an injury-time free-kick but the Bees played out time to win the first Griffin Park league match between the sides for 50 years – and earn our first league victory over the Canaries since a 7-1 thrashing in 1958.
Brentford: Price, Foster, Dickson, Bennett (Osborne 27), Phillips, O’Connor, Saunders (Taylor 87), Weston (Kaba 76), Hunt, Wood, Cort. Unused subs: Bull, Bean, Franks, Williams.
JANUARY 6, 1996 – FA CUP THIRD ROUND: NORWICH CITY 1-2 BRENTFORD
Marcus Bent scored a memorable second half winner as Brentford pulled off an FA Cup shock to reach the fourth round for the first time in seven years.
The result earned the Bees, struggling near the bottom of Division Two (now League One) the Littlewoods giant-killers award for the result of the round after beating their Division One (now Championship) opponents.
An own goal by Jon Newsome gave us a 20th minute lead and the lead was doubled on the hour by a memorable strike which was made and scored by two players who were returning from injury lay-offs.
Nicky Forster raced down the right-hand side and, in front of the 2,000 travelling Brentford fans, put in a perfect cross for Bent to slam into the net.
Newsome atoned for his earlier error by pulling one back six minutes later to set up the inevitable nervy finish.
But Brentford held on to earn warm applause from the home fans at the final whistle and a fourth round trip to Charlton, which was rearranged after a postponement and which we lost 3-2.
Brentford: Dearden, Harvey (Martin), Grainger, Hutchings, Bates, Ashby, McGhee, Smith, Forster, Bent, Taylor.
Lewis Grabban, mentioned earlier, had three separate spells with us – two on loan and one permanent.
Lewis, who was at Millwall at the time, had his first loan spell for the last few weeks of the 2009/10 season. He scored on his debut against Leyton Orient and found the net again against Huddersfield.
After a one-month loan spell in October the following season, which was extended by two more months, he signed for us permanently in January 2011 following the release of Carl Cort.
In total he scored five goals for us that season, including two in the bizarre 4-4 final day draw at Huddersfield.
At the back, Norwich have centre-half Michael Turner, who played for us during the two full seasons of Martin Allen’s reign.
Turner played alongside Sam Sodje as we reached the play-off semi-finals and FA Cup fifth round twice in successive seasons.
After nearly 100 appearances in our colours, he moved on to Hull in the summer of 2006. He had three years there and another three at Sunderland before, in the summer of 2012, joining Norwich, where he has recently signed a new contract.
Off the pitch, Norwich have a former Bee on their coaching staff in Tony Parks – who joined them this summer as goalkeeping coach.
The former Tottenham goalkeeper joined us in August 1988 and in nearly three seasons made almost 100 appearances, one of which was in our FA Cup quarter-final at Anfield in 1989.
Lewis Grabban, as already mentioned, is Norwich’s top scorer this season.
After leaving Brentford he scored 18 league goals in a season for Rotherham and then 35 in two campaigns for Bournemouth.
Norwich’s squad is full of big names including England goalkeeper John Ruddy, Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty, who scored the winner in his country’s Euro 2016 qualifying win in Hungary last week and Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan.
Near the end of the transfer window they also signed Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar and Stoke striker Cameron Jerome.
It’s fair to say this is Brentford’s hardest test of the season so far but one that, after Saturday’s superb performance, Mark Warburton and the players will relish.
DID YOU KNOW?
Norwich were the second-ever winners of the League Cup – beating Fourth Division Rochdale 4-0 on aggregate in the final in 1962.
They won the first leg at Spotland 3-0 before finishing the job with a 1-0 victory at Carrow Road.
Cups have played a big part in Norwich’s history as three seasons earlier, they became only the third=ever Third Division club to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
They beat Manchester United and Spurs on their run before losing to Luton in a replay.
Pubs in Brentford
For Norwich fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match. There four pubs around the ground. The Griffin is closest to the away end and is very popular with away fans – but also very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and The Royal Oak (normally home fans only) are the other two options. 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) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-frienly pubs .. frequented by away fans in the know – and The Plough (Northfields Ave) 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) .. and for ale heads the Magpie and Stump real ale pub on Brentford High Street … A quick google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have an early start (or all evening) …