Brentford 2, Newcastle 4

Ready or not...the 38th and final match of the season  Third season: One more time! Last game of the season and come half-time the GTech Stadium was bathed in misery. Trailing 0-3 to a Magpies side still in with a slim chance of booking a European berth for next term, the Bees must have been thankful the relegation nightmare was over. Only Nottingham Forest had separated them from the relegated trio in the drop zone. But then, as so often happens – to Brentford, anyhow – that same team emerged after the break as if they had been issued with a magic wand. The goals deficit looked more like a challenge than a prison sentence; the visiting players regular human beings rather than superstars from the planet Invincible. And so it was until thirteen minutes or

Episode 42: Thank you Mr Crombie

Mihir Bose, former BBC Sports editor, talks to David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, and political commentator Nigel Dudley about his memoir Thank you Mr Crombie - Lessons in Guilt and Gratitude to the British. Mihir grew up in India, just after Independence, part of a wealthy family with a hierarchy of servants, where as a child he was treated like a little prince. Had he stayed there and remained a partner in what is now India's accountancy firm, he might have made millions as the country developed. Instead he came to Britain to pursue his passion for journalism. He met David and Nigel not

Brentford 0, Fulham 0

It promised to be a London derby of thrills (Regulión v Castagne)... Third Season: Double dishwater Flashback to a year ago, when Brentford travelled to Anfield with high hopes of beating Liverpool in their own backyard. After all, the Bees had beaten them 3-1 at the Gtech Stadium earlier in the season and were nestled at number nine in the Premier League, having already been victorious over both the Manchester clubs as well as Chelsea, Thomas Frank and his team were on a roll. Liverpool didn’t oblige that day by handing the Bees another win, Mohammed Salah – who else? – scoring the game’s only goal, but the visitors produced a spirited performance and to retain their ninth place come season’s end. Brentford had properly arrived in football’s top fli

Brentford 2, Sheffield United 0

Image above: Ever-involved Maupay takes a tumble Third Season: Win at last At last! Having put together a small but respectable list of drawn games, Brentford managed to collect three points from a desperate Sheffield United, who finished the afternoon at the GTECH Stadium even more firmly cemented to the foot of the Premier League. Bad luck, United. But the Bees’ success catapulted them into fourteenth in the table. Okay, they had slipped to fifteenth by the end of the weekend, but this was a cataclysmic event for an injury-shredded squad whose recent poor form had begun to convince all but the most diehard fans that relegation was either just around the corner or, maybe the corner after that. It is by no m

Brentford 0, Brighton & Hove Albion 0

One for the camera: Yarmoluik attempts to squeeze through the Brighton ranks Third Season: Clean sheets times two At the end of a gruelling match, when neither side managed to establish superiority, Thomas Frank was to observe, wisely, ‘If you can’t win, don’t lose.’ Those fans travelling from the Sussex coast in the hope of a positive result for their favourites appeared not to agree with the home chief coach’s sanguine view. Excitement was high on their menu and go hang the cost, which was not exactly dish of the day for the Bees. ‘Boring, Brentford’ chanted the visiting fans, and in case anyone missed the subsequent message, they continued to broadcast their mantra: ‘Boring Brentford’. Those more interested in obtaining a point or several

Brentford 1, Manchester United 1

Image: Brentford FC Third Season: New dawn? A new dawn has broken, has it not? Okay, Tony Blair said it first after the Labour Party’s general election victory of 1997, but it can be argued that Brentford’s magnificent performance against Man United was equally for the record books, and that despite only one goal being scored by the home side and one point – precious that it was – rewarded for their evening’s work, those who were present will never forget the occasion. The Bees quite simply dismantled a famous side whose last game had been a 4-3 Cup win over Liverpool. Statistics in this game, collated by the BBC, revealed such as 31 shots for Brentford against 11 for MU. And 84 touches in the opposition box to a mere 15 for United? What about corner

Episode 41: Prime Ministers in election mode – from the pipe-smoking Harold Wilson to the dishwasher-stacking Rishi Sunak

The Three Old Hacks have long memories. Former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley have been covering the nation's major events for decades and are well placed to compare and contrast the pre-election antics of politicians. Harold Wilson smoked a pipe in public, in an attempt to appear a 'man of the people', but smoked cigars in private, recalls Nigel. There was that excruciating video of Ed Milliband attempting to eat a bacon sandwich in public, and the video with Tony Blair eating cereal with his kids in his kitchen which put the

Brentford 2, Chelsea 2

Third Season: Magic moment Head coach Thomas Frank was gushing in his praise following a second-half thrilling performance by his makeshift team. Understandable, for Brentford dominated play for every minute at the Gtech Stadium other than that when Chelsea scored an equaliser against the run of play to hand the visitors a precious point. How about the first half, do I hear you ask? Well, would it be all right if we didn’t discuss the first half? It wouldn’t be all right? I see. So here is a brief résumé – composed from Brentford’s point of view – of a little over 45 minutes: Yoane Wissa had a shot blocked by Chelsea goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic, Zanka cleared a goal-bound ball when Mark Flekken was beaten all en

Episode 40: But is it democracy?

The Three Old Hacks discuss the power of the people. Recorded the day after the chaotic Gaza vote in Parliament, they consider the safety of MPs, the leverage voters have to influence them, the impact of a powerful grassroots movement supported by social media and also the power of TV drama to galvanise public opinion, as evidenced by the TV drama Mr Bates and the Post Office. They discuss the leadership of the Conservative party. "It always used to be said that the great success of the Tory party was that the membership didn't really have a say on anything" says Nigel. "Now the membership has a voice thr

Brentford 1, Liverpool 4

Images above: Pre match nerves: with so much at stake even Buzz look pensive; Roeslev puts the boot in; photographs Liz Vercoe Third season: No mercy Mersey Some you win and some you lose and sometimes one or two or three other competitors can, without trying, form a cabal. Hence Manchester City played Brentford at the Gtech Stadium just a fortnight after Liverpool rolled into town and now will meet Thomas Frank’s team again on Tuesday of next week, at the Etihad Stadium. Meanwhile Arsenal, having edged the Bees out 1-0 at home last November are poised to entertain them at the Emirates three weeks from now, when several key Bees will still be suffering from injuries that have blighted the club’s progress this

Brentford 1 Manchester City 3

De Bruyne lines up an attacking triangle with hat-trick-scoring Foden on the left and newly returned Haarland Third season: City bounce back Great, scintillating football for the first 45 minutes, with a splendid goal and every hope that the Bees could pull three much-needed points from what has developed into a troublesome second half of the season. But, as all Brentford faithful supporters know, one shouldn’t count their points before the final whistle, and even then it’s worth double-checking in case the opposition scored once or twice when we aren’t looking. The opening of the game, once the Bees realised they were not playing the big bad wolf, just one of the best sides in the game, saw the Gtech scratch-eleven responding with gumption and do-or-die en

Brentford 3 Nottingham Forest 2

Bringing ultimate versatility: Ivan Toney relishing being back centre stage Third Season: Welcom back Ivan Thomas Frank made no secret of what he hoped to get from the game: Ivan Toney to score and the team to win. Too much to ask? Not really, especially as Toney was on the scoresheet at 19 minutes to equalise Forest’s three-minutes opener. It wasn’t any old goal, of course. Toney was playing his first match following eight months’ suspension (266 days, actually, since Nottingham Forest lost 1-2 at the Gtech). Toney scored that day also – a free kick not dissimilar to his comeback strike, except that was from even further away from the goal. This time it was also controversial, causing some of the Forest camp to howl when Toney moved the ball slightly

Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

The always agile Lewis Potter Third Season: The Cup underfloweth Question: which is the most painful – losing 1-4, or hanging on for a 1-1 draw? Clue: the draw was achieved, if that’s the word, after the opposition had a player sent off after just nine minutes. Answer: Don’t ask! Or simply seek the opinion of any of the Brentford faithful who turned out in the hope that their team would take revenge on a Wolves side that delivered a drubbing at the Gtech Stadium in the last home game of the season. Surely early-season promise could not evaporate at the determined hands of the Molineux men?  Or the Crystal Palace squad, which won 3-1 the week after? Is this the second of the rapid hat-trick against Brentford by Wolves (put February 10 in your diary if a glu

Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4

Wolves arrived with fangs bared Third Season: The Wolves at the door It never rains but it pours – and it certainly did when a reinvigorated Wolves side dropped by to contest the Bee’s final home game of the year. Struggling to find eleven players with plenty of first-team experience, Thomas Frank did the best he could, avoiding selecting any passer-by who looked injury-free and up for a kick-about. But even his spirit must have been dampened. Residual damage to nine or ten regulars may have made his job nightmarishly difficult, but then nobody said it would be easy. Even the much-improved Wolves’ squad could not have dreamed that Brentford would help them out when the going got really rough. Nathan Collins, for example. One of the few first-team regular

Brentford 1, Aston Villa 2

Charades: Janelt and Ghoddos act out "force field" Last home game before Christmas, Sunday 17 December So much for Christmas cheer. Those supporters, home and away, who ventured to the Gtech Stadium to watch some classy football from the Bees and their high-flying Midlands visitors must have wondered whether tin hats were required when the game exploded into a bad-tempered display of petulance and scuffling. What triggered the troubles? Could it have been a foolhardy flying tackle by Ben Mee, which resulted in a yellow – no, hang on a minute – a red card, reducing the Bees to ten men after 71 minutes? Never a red card, was Thomas Frank’s view. Or perhaps the simmering became an open fire when referee David Coote failed to award a penalty as Neal Maupay r

Episode 39: Piers Morgan, hacking and the unseemly side of journalism

The intrusions into the private lives of celebrities rehashed by the phone hacking case brought by Prince Harry against Mirror Group Newspapers represent a "dreadful low" in the history of British journalism, says Mihir Bose. The High Court ruled that Harry was a victim of phone hacking on multiple occasions, as were his friends. Former BBC Sports News editor Mihir discusses the "cheap and tawdry" tactics of their fellow hacks with Economics Editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley in this week's Three Old Hacks podcast. Thank you to Bill Kay for writing in and you can view his f

Episode 38: Holding the line for a free press

The Culture and Media Secretary Lucy Frazer has intervened to scrutinise the sale of the Daily Telegraph to a company backed by the Abu Dhabi ruling family, over concerns around public interest. Would they interfere with the editorial in pursuance of their interests? It wouldn't be the first time a newspaper owner had tried it, with more or less success. The Three Old Hacks, aka Sunday Times Economics editor David Smith, political analyst Nigel Dudley and former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose,  compare notes on interfering owners with whom they have worked over their long careers. Listen to the podca

Brentford 3, Luton Town 1

One down, three to go, Yarmoliuk hares through the Hatters Hat’s off to Bees Having been given a dusting by Liverpool and then edged out by Arsenal, the Bees were patently determined of getting back to winning ways. They need not have worried. Last season qualifiers for the Premier League, The Hatters – so named because of the town’s history in the titfer trade – have been struggling since its start and their visit to the Gtech Community Stadium did nothing to suggest happier days were imminent. The first half saw Brentford dominate the visitors, creating a string of chances without converting any of them into goals. Early on, Bryan Mbeumo came close, firing a shot past a post. Sadly, this has not been exactly a rarity in his game, but the paucity of Luto

Brentford 3, West Ham United 2

Players and fans salute the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal's Last Post Hammers’ bubbles burst Three matches, three victories, nine points – that’s all it took to see the Bees emerge from the doldrums into Premier League sunshine. Following a three-nil limbering up against Burnley – even the presence of celebrity Alastair Campbell couldn’t disguise the Lancashire club’s deficiencies – followed by the courageous 2-0 turnaround against Chelsea, the Bees resumed their pattern of invariably getting the better of the pride of East London. On this occasion they managed it with a much-needed goal by Neal Maupay, who hadn’t scored a PL goal since last September (for Everton) and must have been thinking he’d lost the knack. He has played well in his

Episode 37: Three Men in a Boat navigating British Journalism

Our podcast with The Three Old Hacks, aka former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith, and political analyst Nigel Dudley, has been described as 'the modern equivalent of Jerome K Jerome's book Three Men in a Boat' by broadcaster and journalist Lucy Beresford. Like George, Harris and Jerome they are old friends who consider themselves overworked and in need of a holiday (always). Like the River Thames, they have a tendency to meander. Theirs is not so much a travel guide as a commentary on the state of British journalism based on their experiences over the p

Brentford 3, Burnley 0

Image above: Burnley's Roberts before his second yellow card Third Season: Singing in the rain ‘Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink’, said my mate Charlie as Brentford’s secured their first victory since 19 August to the accompaniment of torrents from the skies. It could have been worse: had the clouds decided to join the afternoon action nearer the kick-off, a flotilla of small boats might have been required to rescue the players and match officials from a flood. As it was, the Bees found some of the form enjoyed in promising performances at the beginning of the season, most satisfying a 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. But that was then and now was now, when supporters were busy calculati

Brentford 0, Arsenal 1

Image above: Brentford v Arsenal, Wednesday 27 September 2023; still from YouTube video EFL Cup: Third Round Following a dismal performance against Everton, Brentford set out to re-establish themselves as a power in the Premier League. The fixture list dictated they would have to take on Arsenal in a third-round tie of the ELF Cup to achieve such lofty ambition, but hey, who said it would be easy? Not Arsenal, that’s certain. Head coach Mikel Arteta fielded a starting line-up that lacked some of his squad’s more glittering talents but still presented a lesson in slick passing that made the home team – only a couple of changes from the Everton game – look like… well, look very much like the same bunch that had been unceremoniously thumped 3-1. Aaron R

Brentford 1, Everton 3

Off to a bad start with Schade injured in the warm up Third Season ... Second Defeat The first omen of the day arrived in the match programme, where Alex Lawes warned that beating struggling Everton might not be as straightforward as form and the League table suggest. Then, in the warm-up, Kevin Schade took a tumble and received treatment on the pitch before disappearing at a limp towards the dressing room. Uh, oh! If one was to count the devastating injury suffered by Rico Henry at Newcastle, this made a hat-trick of bad luck (a quartet if including the renewed injury problem of Ben Mee), which as anyone’s superstitious mum would tell them, signalled potential disaster. Never doubt the foresight of those superstitious mothers. When the football got underway

Episode 36: A perfect profession for spying

Former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley continue setting the world to rights with their podcast Three Old Hacks. This week their subject is spies, and how the journalistic profession lends itself to approaches from foreign powers. Listen to

Brentford 2, AFC Bournemouth 2

Image above by Liz Vercoe Third Season: Last gasp catch-up The good news is that the Bees’ unbeaten record in this fledgling Premier League season remains intact. The bad news is that missed chances and a collection of defensive errors meant only a late, late show of Bryan Mbeumo’s undoubted talent enabled them to pocket a point. For the uncommitted fan, there was much to admire in this late summer contest at the Gtech Community Stadium. Bournemouth, with only a point gathered from the three games played prior to this one, offered a lesson in immaculate passing that often had the home defence scuttling about like headless chickens in their own penalty area. Brentford, meanwhile, scored an early goal, conce

Brentford 1, Crystal Palace 1

Image above: Celebrating Kevin Schade's goal; picture Brentford FC Third Season: Honours even There were two outstanding incidents in a match that rarely excited – one of those encounters that linger in the memory for no more than a few minutes. The first surprise was a ferocious cloudburst that sent many supporters of both camps scurrying to the back of the stands. The second was a Brentford goal that may well figure highly next May in TV viewers’ polls to decide the best of the season. First, the rain, which drenched thousands without any of them realising the irony following the delay in starting the first game if the new season – no water was to be had anywhere in the stadium or the sky. Fortunately, Kevin Schade’s goal was so grand that all memory o

Brentford 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Henry returns as fast and furious as ever Third Season: Here we go again! As I was saying before being rudely interrupted by the cricket season, what a terrific campaign Brentford conducted in finishing ninth in what was only their second Premier League experience. Was it a footballing flash in the pan? And can it be repeated, or even improved upon, in the months ahead?  Read on for the highlights of a 2023/24 debut, during which these questions were not necessarily answered but gave us a hint or two. But first, to set the scene, a few quirky pre-match points – quirky because we are talking Brentford, after all. The matchday programme, for example, in which the squad lists on its back page did not include their shirt numbers. Confusing for those who don’t

Episode 35: What the Nigel Farage ‘debanking’ saga tells us about British journalism

Much has been written and said about the Nigel Farage ‘debanking’ story. Thinking a client is a ‘disingenuous grifter’ or a xenophobic racist is not supposed to be a good enough reason for a bank to deny someone an account. But what about the journalism involved in breaking the story? Was the BBC’s Business Editor Simon Jack right to have broadcast a story based on the word of a very senior figure within the bank? Yes, the Three Old Hacks - aka former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Sunday Times Economics Editor David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley - are unanimous that he should have been ab

Episode 34: Gamesmanship and Protest

The Three Old Hacks, aka Sunday Times Economics Editor David Smith, former Sports News editor at the BBC and author of many books about sport, Mihir Bose, and political commentator Nigel Dudley, have been chewing over the week's news - in particular the cricket, and whether or not the Australians have behaved abominably. Warming to their theme, they discuss gamesmanship, colonialism, the Just Stop Oil protests and the efficacy of protests at international sporting fixtures in general, recalling disrupted matches now lost in the mists of time. (And yes, irritating though they may have been, the

Brentford 1, Manchester City 0

Goalkeeper Raya, team captain for the day, v City's Walker Second Season: Glorious Finale So near, but oh, so far. Brentford would have to beat the Premier League champions, and then Spurs and Aston Villa lose, for them to be leapfrogged into a position that would deliver a place in next season’s Europa Conference League. With manager Pep Guardiola allowing some of his key players having a rest day and others to sit on the bench, the Bees duly delivered. Spurs and Aston Villa duly didn’t, both achieving last-day victories. But were the home side, and the Gtech Stadium home crowd, disappointed? Not a bit. The post-match celebrations of ninth place in the League, and now the only team to have beaten City home and away during a spectacular season, might easil