Brentford may have thumped Huddersfield Town 4-2 yesterday but it was a game that very much played second fiddle to Jimmy Hill. As news of his passing at the age of 87 spread around the football world, the terrace was awash with talk of this former Bee (who featured 87 times between 1949 and 1952) and his myriad accomplishments in the game.
Three points for a win, abolishing the maximum wage, TV punditry (he is acknowledged as being the first to introduce a panel, for the 1970 World Cup) and the first electronic scoreboard are amongst things credited to Jimmy.
Then, of course, there‘s his work as a TV presenter (primarily ‘Match of the Day’), his own forays into management, roles as a director and even a chairman.I could go on.
Suffice to say we’ve lost somebody whose influence on the game is still felt today whilst, for us terrace supporters, Jimmy was somebody we grew up with in our front rooms every weekend. We watched him, we listened to him, being honest we sometimes got annoyed with him but ultimately his opinion was one we always talked about.
Rest in peace, Jimmy.
But if Jimmy was very much one for pushing the envelope, yesterday’s opponents are a team currently trying to return to their former glories of top-flight success. The 1920s and 1930s saw them as one THE teams to beat but these days I’d imagine most fans would settle for staying in the Championship.
And after a minute’s silence in honour of Jimmy Hill (impeccably observed, for the record), Brentford and the Terriers locked horns. Thirty minutes later and it was effectively dead as a contest with the Bees having stormed into a 3-0 lead.
Sergi Canos got the first, after a sustained period of build up in which John Swift (also aided by a fortunate ricochet) was key. It was a delightful finish from just inside the box after Swift had threaded the ball through. The Liverpool loanee turned his man on a sixpence and fired home. 1-0 and not even five minutes on the clock.
Fifteen minutes later and the lead was doubled by Lasse Vibe who hit an absolute screamer past Jed Steer in the Huddersfield goal. ‘Worldly’ and ‘Thump’ were the first two comments on my social media timeline from the usual observers but even they fail to do justice to the power, precision and technique employed by the Danish international. It was an absolute screamer.
“What a goal. What a fantastic goal,” exclaimed Mark Burridge on the Beesplayer commentary (and whose YouTube highlights are now online). I couldn’t agree more.
What a fantastic goal, indeed
Equal credit must go to James Tarkowski, whose defence splitting pass left Vibe onside and clear. Aside from this, he and recalled partner Harlee Dean (Jack O’Connell can perhaps count himself unlucky) had a quiet first period. Buzz and Buzzette could have played there and the score would have remained the same.
The third came via the boot of Alan Judge on the half hour. A low free kick taken from close to the touchline, and well beyond the area of what is commonly known as ‘Saunders territory’, eluded attackers and defenders alike to drift straight in. 3-0 on thirty minutes and game over.
Huddersfield gave us a scare scoring immediately into the second half. ‘Old’ Brentford would probably have gone on to concede another on 75, leaving us a squeaky final quarter hour. But, instead, we went down the other end and restored the three-goal cushion.
Alan Judge was, perhaps fortunately, deemed to have been fouled in the box. But the ref’s decision stood and the Irishman made no mistake from the resultant spot kick for 4-1.
By my calculations, that now makes him the leading provider of assists in the top four divisions of English football. Yesterday’s article talked about how he, Matt Ritchie and Cesc Fabregas were all level on 20 since the start of last season. But with neither Premier League player providing a killer through ball or penultimate touch, I reckon that should now put Alan clear.
The other point of (personal) note from yesterday’s column was my own comment that, “I can’t envisage another 4-1, although that would be nice”. On a day when we remembered Jimmy Hill, it was just another reminder of how little most of us know about football punditry.
In the end, it wasn’t quite 4-1. Nakhi Wells pulled another back for Huddersfield whilst Jota and the impressive Max Colin also had chances to push the score beyond 4 and close to those mythical brackets that go with 7(seven) goals.
One day Brentford. One day.
Instead, the Bees move up to ninth and just two points off the play-off zone. With the busy Christmas period now upon us, the next few weeks could really see if Brentford have the ability to push on and emulate last season or if this will be a campaign of consolidation.
With Alan Judge on such form, Lasse finding the net and the likes of Sam Saunders, Josh McEachran, Max Colin and Jota back in selection contention could we start to dream the impossible dream?
Next up sees us at home to Brighton and Hove Albion who, of course, lost their unbeaten record after going down 3-0 to Middlesbrough yesterday. With the Bees scoring 8 in our last three home games, we have every opportunity to inflict two in a row on the Seagulls.
Can we do it? See you on Boxing Day to find out.
Until then, why not go to google and type in ‘Jimmy Hill’ ?
Visionary. Pundit. Footballer. Fashion Icon. Truly, there was nothing he couldn’t do.
Jimmy, you’ll be missed.