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Brentford haven’t beaten Forest at Griffin Park in over 66 years. The Bees are in the midst of a decent run of four wins and a draw whereas Forest have just beaten arch-rivals Derby to get their fans buzzing. To find out exactly what is going on in the Trickies camp, Billy Grant caught up with Forest blogger Sean Hockett from Garibaldi Tinted Spectacles (@G_T_Spectacles) bout Freedman, the A52 Derby .. and spending too much dosh.

Forest haven’t had the best starts to the season. Just 4 wins so far this season – against Rotherham, QPR, birmingham and Derby – seeing them hovering just 4 points above the drop zone. What’s gone wrong ?

FFP, injuries, Mr. Dougie’s tactics, the inability to put the ball in the back of the net – a quick look on Twitter or online will garner a myriad of reasons proffered from a lot of Forest fans. I don’t think it’s all “gone wrong”. We’ve been playing well and this game of margins has been our harshest critic. Losing by the odd goal and not taking our chances has been our downfall so far this season – except that game against our oldest of rivals. I’m a glass half full supporter, so it’ll all come right soon enough.

I was there in the Upper West Bridgford stand on a Trojan horse scouting mission for your match against Derby. The East Midlands Derby is a biggie so must have been great to get one over on your arch rivals.

 

It’s taken this international break for us to be able to peel ourselves from the ceiling. That win was huge and in the grand scheme of things hopefully we can push on from here, rather than do what we did last season, which was beat Derby, lose the next 2 and sack our manager. The manner of the win was great to see. We dominated the game, controlling possession and nullifying the opposition. A very good win and a huge performance.

Forest have been slapped with a transfer embargo which prevents you buying players. Saying that, you did over-spend to get yourself in that position and it didn’t quite work out. Has Dougie Freedman helped to steady your ship.

I think he has. He’s cut out the dead wood – players happy to take a pay cheque and do little else – made some astute acquisitions in the free agent market – Matt Mills, Jamie Ward – and recruited the services of some good players on loan – Ryan Mendes, Nelson Oliveira and Jonny Williams. It shouldn’t really be the job of the manger to sort out the finances of the club, but that seems to be Dougie’s M.O. I do hope he’s given the chance to manage the team once we’re out of FFP and the coffers are available to actually buy players again. I don’t think he’s had that opportunity with any club he’s managed so far – he deserves the chance.

You showed flashes of a being decent side last season. Weren’t you riding high early on in the season but you fell off dramatically ? What effect has selling quality players like Antonio had?

You’re absolutely right, it all looked so rosy in the beginning. A club legend at the helm and winning lots of games. Then we lost two key players – Chris Cohen and Andy Reid to injury and we never really recovered. As for selling Antonio, well the “give it to Antonio” tactic was never a good thing in my opinion. There’s no doubting his quality and he did score a lot of goals for us, but we were very one-dimensional. Selling him – which also means our transfer embargo will be lifted next summer – made us play a different game, one that involved all the players on the pitch – and that’s always a good thing, don’t you think? Yes we miss his goals, but I reckon in the long run it has benefitted the club.

You and Leeds United were responsible for creating silly season – you buying Assombalonga for £5m from Posh and Leeds selling xx to Fulham for £9m. After that everyone went “We’ll have a piece of that” including us of course – bagging a nice £9m for Andre Gray 12 months after we bought him for £500k from then non-league Luton. Our recently deposed manager Marinus Dijkhuizen was truly shocked about how much money was swilling around the championship. Will Forest have to rethink how they do business do you think?

Well, we were slapped with a transfer embargo under FFP rules, so we’ve had to. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with others clubs come the time they release their annual financial reports and the Football League get involved. I think the way the allowable losses have now been structured – an accumulative amount over three seasons rather than an annual loss – will benefit clubs. It allows them to plan better, showing future wage expenditure and the like. But there’s the big, glittery Premier League ball floating in the distance that mesmerises some of the Championship clubs and their hierarchy, so you never know who’s going to commit to a big spend hoping it’ll bring the promised land sooner rather than later. Dougie’s got his house in order though and I hope our owner has taken note that throwing money at it is not always the answer.

Assuming you are going to have to be more frugal that you have been in the past, possibly selling big-money players – who do you think will form the caucus of your future Forest team?

Well, if you’re referring to the players, then the likes of Mancienne, Mills, Hobbs, Lansbury, Vaughan and Walker aren’t a bad group to build around. That is, of course, if they’re given extended contracts and want to stay. In fairness, if we don’t do well in the next couple of years I can see Lansbury leaving for pastures new in the Premier League – he’d deserve the chance to show what he’s got. We’ve also got Ben Osborn who’s come through the ranks, a good winger in Oliver Burke, a quality full back/ centre back in Alex Iacovitti and another quality midfield playmaker in Jorge Grant, so our academy players – some of which have already made the step up to the senior squad – are waiting in the wings. The future’s bright.

Speaking to Stephen Moon from the London Trickies on the Beesotted Pride of West London podcast (below) he reckons that you have been playing well this season but have been unlucky. Is that a fair assessment?

Absolutely. There’s been a couple of rank performances, but on the whole we’ve competed, been organised, played some nice football and just not taken our chances.

Forest don’t have the best of away records. What are you hoping for at the weekend?

Well, as I’ve already said, my glass is always half full, so I expect us to win every game we play. If we perform like we did against Derby I’d be very pleased with that. We’ve (generally) looked very good away from home – kept our shape well and worried a few teams – so more of the same please. And another great goal from Tyler Walker like last season would be nice as well.

Give us a score prediction

I’m going for a bullish 1-2 win for the boys in the Garibaldi.

And you can catch up from more musing from Sean on Forest Blog Garibaldi Titned Specs right here.

Billy Grant
@BillyTheBee99

Drinking in Brentford

For Forest fans coming along, you are probably aware there are 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 until a few weeks ago – unfortunately one closed down to leave only three now. 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).

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 the Beesotted fanzine main pub – a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-friendly 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 – one 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 King’s 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 Victoria Line 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 King’s 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 rather retro (in a good way) Express Tavern and 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.