It has been a traumatic week or so for us Brentford fans. We’ve had all the angst of transfer rumours involving Bristol City and Hull before the eventual sale of Andre Gray to Burnley. Chuck into that a 1-0 defeat to the Turf Moor outfit on Saturday (where my own opinion remains that the performance was somewhat ‘flat’).
There has been all the bad news about injuries – the prognosis on Andreas Bjelland and now Jota being the latest blow to Bees supporters. And, of course, we have the terrible state of the Griffin Park pitch although at least that should be ‘fit for purpose’ by the time Reading visit at the weekend.
On the plus side, the crowd seem in very good spirits with Matthew Benham’s name being sung long and loud at Burnley, along with that of kitman Bob prior to kick off. We still have a very strong squad and it’s not as though this team can’t play football. Four points out of the first three games is far from the end of the world for a side who, don’t forget, remain relative newcomers at this level.
Besides, things could be worse. We might have suffered the Keith Stroud effect. Brentford fans need no reminder of the pain this man in the middle has caused us in the past. The game at Sheffield United in April 2013 (the season of ‘that penalty’) saw him award four spot kicks whilst brandishing 9 yellows and 3 red cards – including a very harsh pair for Tony Craig and Clayton Donaldson.
He is a man whose reputation for card wielding precedes him and so to have already survived an encounter with him (the win at Bristol City) makes me a happy man. Indeed, his performance in the game at Ashton Gate where he made just two booking, along with his customary red, seems somewhat ‘relaxed’. There was actually a case for it being two reds and so, for once, Mr. Stroud has shown some uncustomary restraint.That, or he just missed the foul on Tarks.
That said, I must offer a word of caution should we be the beneficiaries of a return visit any time soon. In the three games he has taken charge of so far this season, Stroud has shown a total of 15 yellows and the aforementioned red. 6 at Crystal Palace and 7 (seven) at Brighton in the season opener show our favourite ref remains as on form as ever.
However, the real reason for mentioning Mr Stroud is that he is not alone. Whilst, statistically, there are few to match him, he has plenty of competition when it comes to the art of, physically, issuing the card.
With Stroud, as the montage shows, I always get the impression of a child bullied at school. Somebody who is finally able to get some pay back without fear of retribution and thrust a card at the face of the latest aggressor, whilst turning his back on the player he has deemed unfit to stay on the field of play. There is no room for discussion, no margin for error and not even time for any eye contact. Keith has spoken and usually begun to walk off with the card still in the air.
So it was with great pleasure that I stumbled across this article yesterday, from Adam Hurrey in the Daily Telegraph. It is one that was written back in April but, having had it referred from two separate sources, it is clearly something that people feel strongly about.
Here it is. Fill your boots and enjoy … A referee’s guide to brandishing a card.
(You need to click the coloured text, mum)