Can Pele inspire Brentford or will Wednesday escape to victory ?

26 Sep

Brentford fans were given the chance to warm up for the weekend football ahead of the game with Sheffield Wednesday by enjoying Friday night’s derby between Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. And we’ve got a visit from footballing (and cinematic) royalty today, kind of…

But beginning at Craven Cottage, it really was one of those awful yet compelling choices. Our two local rivals going head-to-head with no way that both could lose. Whilst, ordinarily, you’d hope for a red card laden 0-0 in this sort of game, if one side has to win then at least it’s nice to see the other on the back end of a spanking. And what a thrashing was administered as Fulham ran out 4-0 victors.

The Rangers website described it as “another night to forget for QPR at Craven Cottage” although I much preferred Bees fan and Bluetones’ guitarist Adam Devlin’s take on things:

Adam shares what we were all thinking

Adam shares what we were all thinking

There was a debatable/condescending (delete as applicable) point made in the Sky commentary that it was, “The great West London derby” alongside the semi-apologetic caveat “with all due respect to Brentford”. Anybody with half an eye on football knows full well that the phrase ‘with all due respect to’ means anything but. A polite way of saying,”we are miles better than you ”.

Aside from my own loyalties to the Bees, a half full away end and a crowd of 19,784 compared to the 23,271 present for our own game in April suggest otherwise. Those visiting supporters who did travel provided all the excitement of a children’s magic trick as the TV coverage suggested a somewhat muted atmosphere. This was less,”The great West London derby” and more ‘The Great Soprendo’ (kids, ask your dads).

On the plus side, at least Fulham now know what it feels like to score four goals at Craven Cottage.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 08.02.39

The stats don’t lie….

And so on to all matters Sheffield Wednesday. Not that there’s too much to say at the moment. Brentford supporters will, hopefully, have been buoyed but the updates from the management team during the week at the fans’ forum, along with the news that one of the dirty dozen (that’s the injury list) is due to return. Marinus confirmed on Thursday evening that James Tarkowski was over the knock that had kept him out of the game at Middlesbrough and the win over Preston North End in our previous outing.

The visit of Wednesday is the second of three home games in a row for the Bees and a victory today, whilst by no means a guarantee, will take us to exactly the same position as we were in last season – 11 points after 8 games. It would take us past our opponents, level with Fulham and just one point off QPR (and the teams currently in the play offs) with a game in hand.

Whilst it is still a bit early into the campaign to make an informed decision on our prospects for the season overall (only after ten games can we say that the table has ‘taken shape’) today would seem to be the perfect example of – cliché alert – taking every game as it comes. The short-term rewards for a win are tangible and some which should, one would hope, add to the already charged atmosphere at Griffin Park.

And finally. Pele. To many, the greatest footballer of all time. To me, moreso. The greatest footballer of all time abut also the greatest footballer-cum-actor who starred in the quintessential ‘football/POW escape’ crossover movie, Escape To Victory.

I’ve waxed lyrical about this film, many times so will spare the regular reader another lecture – suffice to say it comfortably nestles in my all time top ten films alongside the likes of ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, ‘Star Wars’ and the Vin Diesel classic ‘xXx’.

Pele - a footballing and acting giant

Pele – a footballing and acting giant

So imagine my excitement to read on the official site that he will be the guest of honour at the training ground today for the Pelé cup. This, as the club have announced, being “A special tournament honouring one of the world’s greatest ever players and featuring some of the best up-and-coming talent in Europe.”

Sadly, they then went on to announce that this tournament is, “Behind closed doors and strictly no admittance.”

I have to be honest, initial feelings were of immense disappointment. Why plaster this news all over the cub site on a Friday afternoon but then make it clear we couldn’t come along without prior arrangement? A footballing demi-God will be walking amongst us, just not the supporters. Were they worried we might witness the latest round of the training ground injury jinx?

It seemed to be the equivalent of that moment on TV’s Bullseye during the show’s finale – The Gamble. The competing couple had stuffed it up. The cash, the ‘Bendy Bullys’ and the washing machine or decanter set from the prize board had all been frittered away in pursuit of a speedboat.

Then Jim Bowen would give the ultimate kick in the nuts and utter the immortal lines, “I hate to do this to you, but let’s look at what you could have won”.

Out would come the obligatory boat, but there was no way anybody was getting near it. In footballing terms, Pele is within our grasp but strictly ‘off limits’.

Bullseye - another pair try to win Jim Bowen's speedboat

Bullseye – another pair try to win Jim Bowen’s speedboat

Thinking more about it this morning, I can only imagine the security nightmare that an open house ‘meet and greet’ with Pele would have caused. Our stewards are indifferent enough as it is at times on matchday, let alone with an undetermined number of people turning up unannounced at Jersey Road. Equally, this could have been as much at his request as the clubs.

That said, there are ways and means of saying things. Why share this exciting news but then make it clear in such blunt terms that we aren’t welcome? Moreso, given the open house policy we’ve all become so used to in the past.

Of course the club are going to want to share such news this but there are ways and means. If you are going to big up this sort of news, at least explain why it is being done in private or why not even have held a competition to allow a few supporters along?

Being honest, given our game with Sheffield Wednesday I can only imagine the climax of the tournament would cut across this anyway. Whilst the thought of meeting Pelé is, of course, an incredible one I’d rather be at Griffin Park with my friends.

Instead, I will simply remain in awe of the great man, think about ‘what might have been’ and perhaps crack out ‘that’ DVD once more.

A goal to rival the 'Ossie flick'

A goal to rival the ‘Ossie flick’

Nick Bruzon

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