With the news of James Tarkoffski refusing to play against Burnley still leaving a worse taste in the mouth than a stadium burger, it was news of another player who is leaving Brentford that brought nothing but good vibes and best wishes from the Griffin Park faithful. With Jota confirming his much anticipated 18 month loan move to SD Eibar in Span, it sees the departure of one of the most exciting players we’ve had the pleasure to see play in living memory.
Probably more important in the immediate short term was his method of delivering this news. A heartfelt and emotional letter shared on social media. “This isn’t “goodbye” but more of a “see you later” he notes about a decision “based solely on personal circumstances” . A glowing tribute to the club, his team mates and the supporters also includes the news that he has signed an additional year’s contract extension with Brentford.
The letter is still up on Twitter or you can read it in full at the bottom of this article. As a supporter I’m gutted but from a personal perspective you can only appreciate the situation he has found himself in and respect this decision. Contrast this with the news from Friday night prior to the Burnley game just to see who leaves Griffin Park with their head held high and nothing but best wishes and who skulks off with their tail between their legs.
“Jota. In the last minute”.
It is a phrase and chant that has become as familiar as, “Ooh Richy Cadette in the back of the net”, “ Big Ben Burgesssss” and “Owusuuuu” But then again, why wouldn’t it?
If ever there has a been a player to turn it on in style, at THE most important time, it was Jota. The moment of his goal against Nottingham Forest, and that solo run across Griffin Park towards the directors’ box in celebration, was something I’ll never forget. But the goal at home to arch rivals Fulham was the last minute winner to top them all.
The goal wrapped up a deserved three points as, with the clock well into the 90th, it looked as though our chance to secure all three points and second place, our highest league position in 62 years, had gone. Then Jota arrived. His shot from distance left the goalkeeper flat-footed and sent the crowd bonkers.
And what he did in the home game, he repeated at Craven Cottage. With the game surely safe at a mere 3-1 to the Bees, and the Brentford supporters reminding our hosts what happened previously with (another) rendition of “Jota, in the last minute”, the Spaniard duly obliged. Again. A beautiful half volley into the roof of the net from twelve yards out gave the scoreline an almost surreal feeling.
Even this season, but for a rogue linesman he’d have tied up another win at Craven Cottage. With the scores locked at 2-2 his beautiful header, in acres of space, secured the points before the official’s flag took them back with an ‘offside’ decision that TV subsequently proved wrong.
You can pick your Jota moment. For many, it was the wonderful solo goal up at Blackburn Rovers which inspired the infamous ‘Burridgegasm’ up in the Beesplayer commentary box. An incredible run and strike that summed up just how good he really can be and how lucky Eibar are to have him back in Spain.
Mark Burridge and Jota – the dream team
Flicking through my own season review (the cover of which was inspired by that goal against Forest), it’s incredible just how often his name comes up in relation to some trick, run, assist or stunning goal. You can’t replace a player of this ability yet, at the same time, one who always came across as a welcoming and friendly individual.
Brentford’s loss is very much Eibar’s gain. Despite our loss, I’ve never seen a player depart with such an outpouring of love and respect. Social media was awash with good wishes and tributes as the news broke. Such is the measure of the man.
Farewell, Jota. And THANK YOU. I hope we see you again.