As Brentford go down to Walsall, FCM can FC….

9 Jan

Walsall are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup; Brentford are out. This is the simple fact after The Bees went down 1-0 in torrential conditions. Don’t let the weather disguise anything though – the Saddlers wanted it more, they deserved it more and they made Brentford look very much second best. But it was the half time shenanigans involving FC Midtjylland which still leave a bitter taste in the mouth long after the final whistle has blown.

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View from the terrace – David Button slips in the rainy conditions

Let’s be clear – I don’t know where this club would be without Matthew Benham. The amount of investment he has made in Brentford FC, along with his bold vision for a new stadium at Lionel Road, have taken us from the brink of meltdown to the brink of the Premier League.

I also know he has numerous other business interests – primarily Smartodds, Matchbook and the aforementioned Danish Champions. Frankly, I don’t care about that when I’m at Griffin Park cheering on the Bees. Good luck to him and everything but I support Brentford. I wanted to see MY team try and progress in the FA Cup today.

What I didn’t want was the most sycophantic parading of another football club, on a lap of honour, around our pitch.

What I didn’t want was to be asked to applaud them for nothing more than being fortunate enough to be drawn against Manchester United in the Europa League.

What I didn’t want was to be reminded over the P.A. system that our co-director of football, Rasmus Ankersen, splits his time between the Bees and FCM where he is their chairman.

At a time when we were being played off the park after putting in one of the most abject first half displays I can recall for some time – Swift and McEachran in particular being totally anonymous (what do Chelsea put in the water of their youth team ?) – this was a time to focus on our team in our cup competition. Not one of Matthew’s other investments.

By this logic can we expect Smartodds employee of the month to be afforded a similar privilege against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night?

With fans fearing we’ve seen the last of Toumani Diagouraga – and if ever a game was crying out for him it was this one, although I understand he was injured – what I didn’t want was an over crowded and directionless central midfield.

I bumped into Rasmus outside the pub before kick off. I did have a chat with him about the FA Cup and he came across as very pleasant. However, that doesn’t cut the mustard when we then witness what happened next – both at half-time and during the game.

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Will we be seeing the back of Toumani ?

Imagination free substitutions (Judge aside) in a game where it was apparent after the first twenty minutes that somebody with the pace and experience of Sam Saunders was exactly what was required. Instead, we had sideways pass after sideways pass and then like for like changeovers. What Macca did to be hauled off I don’t know – along with Harlee, Jack and Jake he really stood out as wanting to get involved.

The only saving grace being that at least Alan Judge showed some invention when he came on and, as importantly, cup tied himself. Yet when we did get in on the Walsall goal, their goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to pull of a couple of stonking second half saves. Full credit to that man.

The FA Cup is HUGE in this country. With a direct parachute into the third round, even allowing for a handful of changes from the regular starting XI, I’d have thought we’d have been bang up for this one and a potential tilt at breaking the Wembley hoodoo. Instead, we had to stand through a first half no-show followed by the bizarre parade.

It was a monumental slap in the face to everybody who had paid hard earned money to get into Griffin Park. And I’m sorry if that bucks the corporate line. I’m not employed by Brentford FC and I’m certainly not a supporter of FC Midtjylland. Why would I be?

I have no connection with that club beyond knowing that, amongst others, one of the men most responsible for our transfer policy has his attention split between us and them. This is not a dig at the statistical model. Indeed, it genuinely hurts to say anything negative about the club I’ve supported since 1979.

This is a dig at the fact that when we should have been focusing on the FA Cup, instead there seemed to be a genuine expectation that we’d fawn at the temple of Midtjylland.

Good luck to them in Europe. For Matthew’s sake I’d hope they do well. But on a day when I helped my son make his first ‘tin foil trophy’, I’m ending it feeling thoroughly dejected about what happened today at Griffin Park.

Nick Bruzon

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4 Responses to “As Brentford go down to Walsall, FCM can FC….”

  1. Jim Rourke January 9, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    I am embarrassed to say I saved my money. But Nick, WELL SAID.

    We now need other well respected bloggers and websites – you know who you are – to write something along the lines today is not acceptable.

    We have come many miles from the league away trips to Macclesfield where I had my car broken into. We lost. I accepted driving back with broken windows. It was part of the territory and acceptable.

    Brentford. Be clear. Today is not.

  2. RebelBee January 10, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Great blog, fine words that come from adversity. 2 poor defeats on the bounce and scant regard shown to the cup (again). Transfer rumours and concerns over the quality and strength of the squad, feels like august all over.

    DS needs to get his side & tactics sorted for Tuesday and we need a big reaction.

    As for the half time parade, wrong, just plain wrong!

  3. Lanesar January 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Split loyalties do not work, Rasmus and his Danish circus can do one.
    The truth of the matter is we will sell off Bees players line them up with his recommended imports which would not surprise me if there was a financial kick back of some sort.
    Diagoura, judge, will be followed by Bidders, McCormack , Dean. So many players entering the final year of their contracts yet the club do nothing apart from looking out how to make a quick buck. Said it before and say it agin rip out the heart of the team and it become soulless, no aspirations , no future. Rasmus and Phil Giles are what are the mismanagement committee. Pack your bags back to Midji land and give us are club back.
    Rasmus OUT !!!!

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    I think you sum up my feelings perfectly about yesterday. It was heartless, lacking in energy or enthusiasm and just so an utterly depressing display. Swift & O’Connell were dire, and McEachran put in another worrying anonymous performance.

    On the other hand, Walsall were outstanding. Very impressed with Evans, O’Connor & young Rico Henry who had a fantastic battle with Sergi all afternoon. But the outstanding player on the pitch was Romaine Sawyers. Best oppo performance since Mo Diame for Hull. Has to be on our radar.

    But like you, the most annoying aspect of yesterday was the FCM parade at H/T. After such a dire first half to be subjected to FCM on our pitch in front of our supporters, being told to applaud as they were accompanied by the Bees’ official jester, Cliff Clown. I was not one who applauded, but had to refrain myself in telling them in no uncertain terms to get off our hallowed turf!

    Why were they given the lap of honour, yet every home game when an old Bee legend is presented to the first few rows of the Braemar, they then get shuffled off. Id have rather seen the likes of Bliss, Marcus Gayle & Ijah be the ones to have a lap of honour, as they are the ones who deserve it.

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