Brentford take on MK Dons today with the British press in uproar over boxer Tyson Fury and his reported sexist comments about Jessica Ennis-Hill and women, in general. Phrases such as, “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on their back. That’s just my personal beliefs. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe” don’t sit well at all. Maybe that’s just me, although I’d hope not.
Rather than give the heavyweight moron of the world any more publicity, I reference this specifically to show that sportsmen can often engage the brain only after already coming out with some ridiculous things. And as we are all aware, MK Dons boss Karl Robinson is no different.
Brentford fans still have a sour taste in the mouth following the controversial incident back in December 2012 when Robinson claimed a pint glass was thrown at him whilst leaving Griffin Park.
It was a bizarre allegation (if for no other reason than given our plastic cups in the hive, you’d have more chance of Nick Proschwitz scoring a goal than getting hold of an actual glass on match day) and one that was never taken forward by Police. This, despite the Daily Mirror running with the “Fans’ glass attack on boss” ‘story’.
Thankfully, chief executive Mark Devlin was on hand to diffuse the situation afterwards, explaining to anybody that wanted to listen to the truth that, “There was almost an incident but our stewards stepped in. Some beer was thrown, most of which hit our operations manager and a couple of stewards. I can categorically say no glass was thrown at Karl Robinson.”
Say what you want about MK Dons (and many have) but this, more than anything, is my abiding memory of a club for whom, I suppose, you can understand Robinson automatically being keen to avoid any references to plastic.
Regardless of our own desire to get three more points that would, potentially, take the Bees to level points Birmingham City in the play off zone, this game has that extra factor riding on it. Football fans have very long memories and I’m sure Mr Robinson can expect more than a few choice comments in his direction today.
As for the man in the middle this afternoon, it’s Oliver Langford. His current statistics show 43 yellows and one red from 17 games, of which only 3 have been without a card being produced. That’s approximately 2 .5 per game – a figure which looks very good on paper.
And if anybody is looking for how that sits in the wider officiating community, there’s always Keith Stroud to refer to as a the yardstick of heavy handed booking ratios. And nothing changes.
His 20 games ‘in charge’ this campaign have produced 80 yellows and a further five reds. Even I can do the maths on that in my head but for those of you with a ghoulish statistical interest, West Brom v Port Vale in the Capital One Cup and last month’s Derby v QPR league game saw the yellow card appear 17 times.
But for those thinking a Langford may be better than a Stroud, I’ll take you back to last season, October 2014, and the 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. My own comments from the Last Word archives, aside from, “‘Big‘ Nick Proschwitz could have won it at the death” (how little we knew then, although were already starting to fear) included the following assessment.
“Referee Oliver Langford earned the wrath of the crowd for that one, along with several horror challenges from the visitors which went unpunished or overlooked. Is it too much to ask for a bit of consistency and quality from the men in the middle?”
With the likes of Sam Saunders and, potentially, Jota just out of the cotton wool, let’s hope our players get the protection they deserve.
The club have also reminded people, for understandable reasons, to please turn up early for the game as supporters will be asked to undergo additional bag inspections, ‘pat downs’ and metal detector searches. The plus point to all this being (free chili aside) that we get the chance to hear a bit more of Big B Radio.
More importantly, those pre-match requests that have come in via the medium of Twitter.
As ever, the Brentford fans seem to be combining musical excellence with, at times, a subtle level of punnery. As such, it will be interesting if we hear some of these before kick off.
Although let’s hope Dean Russell’s fears prove unfounded – we may now be waiting until next season for Kurt and the marketing men to bring us a jumbotron TV but we do of course already have a new, improved tannoy public address system.
As the regular reader will know, I’m not a fan of Brentford ‘official’ using hashtags on Twitter but, I have to say that this is very much an exception. And you can still get involved using #BeeTheDJ.
Nice work Brentford. Here’s to three points.
See you at the game.