Finally. Match day at Griffin Park. Brentford entertain Ipswich Town with the smart money wondering just which of our players they’ll attempt to break this time around (hey, we may aswell get it out early). Charlton Athletic, already as popular as a Mexican at Donald Trump rally, have ‘gone again’ whilst, with Lasse Vibe continuing his quest for Olympic gold, USA goalkeeper Hope Solo has done her very best to make events at the Valley seem (relatively) sane.
First up though, we can only start with the Bees where Ipswich Town are the first visitors to Griffin Park in 2016/17. It would be fair to say that Brentford very much ended with the advantage over Ipswich last time around.
A 3-1 victory at Portman Road for Brentford, including a brace for Denmark international Lasse Vibe, was a fine win in game marred by that brutal assault on Alan Judge from Luke Hyam. It was one that left the Irishman with a horribly broken leg and his Euro 2016 ambitions in tatters whilst Hyam was only booked. It took another foul, on Ryan Woods, to see the correct sentence eventually administered.
The preceding fixture, to open the campaign, had seen Ipswich snatch (metaphorical) defeat from the jaws of victory. 2-0 up and cruising, the arrival of Jonathan Douglas for the Tractor Boys with just 12 minutes left on the clock saw two very late goals conceded and the former Bee put Jota out of commission for the next few months.
What can we expect today? No idea, being honest. I’m not a pundit, just the numpty on the terrace. The first few games of the season are always so hard to call and, with Bees fans still not clear on our first team (moreso with the aforementioned Vibe on Olympic duty for Denmark), it remains hard enough to predict Dean Smith’s starting XI, let alone the result.
With Ipswich having already got off to a flier with a 4-2 home win over Barnsley, like the Bees they came crashing back down to earth with a mid-week 1-0 EFL cup defeat at the hands (or should that be feet?) of league 2 opposition. Losing at Portman Road to Stevenage hardly the ideal prep for today’s game.
I’ll be happy to avoid defeat and any more serious injuries. Ipswich fans always travel well and have done nothing in the past but provide friendly banter in the pubs around the ground before and after kick off. With hot weather promised here’s hoping for a great afternoon, a clean game of football and, perhaps, victory by the odd goal in three for the Bees.
And for the rest of the look at Ipswich Town you can catch up with two new, regular features on our opponents that will be appearing before most home games. The Last Word on….. and Kit Obsessive, are available now.
Aside from Championship football, there can’t be anybody who didn’t read about the crazy goings on at Charlton Athletic yesterday. One supporter being sent a letter saying that they’d have to pick up their Season Ticket in person and that it would only be handed over if a good behaviour contract was signed. Apparently some “not particularly constructive” comments about the club on social media had upset the top brass at the Valley
With Roland Duchâtelet crying in the corner like a timid schoolboy after being picked on by the mean kids, the club have taken the step of saying that the ticket will only be handed over in exchange for a signed promise that they “refrain from posting derogatory or inflammatory comments regarding the club or people representing the club in the future on any social media websites” .
This is just staggering. Caught in possession of flares or bringing beer bottles onto the terrace, fair enough. But being rude about Katrien Meire is hardly grounds for a banning order.
If Brentford were to adopt this stance then a cursory glance at the GPG would see our average attendance instantly cut by about a quarter. And that’s just from supporters criticising each other, let alone discussing our management.
Fortunately for Mr Banana and the rest of his cyber gang, freedom of speech is alive and well at Griffin Park.
When the question was put to Matthew Benham on social media yesterday, our own chief executive Mark Devlin responded within minutes to confirm:
Elsewhere, Lasse Vibe continues his quest for Olympic gold this evening. Denmark take on Nigeria in a quarter final that kicks off at 8pm. Having been absent this long, I’m sure Dean Smith is hoping to have the player back sooner than later. Yet, at the same time, should the Danes keep their run going then nobody could deny the morale boost of seeing Lasse back at Griffin Park with a medal around his neck.
Meanwhile, in the women’s football the USA were knocked out by Sweden on penalties yesterday. And, it would be fair to say, goalkeeper Hope Solo has not taken defeat well. She produced a stunning rant , packed full of more sour grapes than Steve Evans drinking Blue Nun with Ian Moose and Russell Slade.
“I’m very proud of this team” she said, “but I also thought we played a bunch of cowards.The best team did not win today”. Solo added, “They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their gameplay was.”
This, having earlier calling a halt to proceedings before the decisive spot kick to request a new pair of gloves. An unsporting move that proved ultimately futile.
Whatever you think about the Olympic ideals being tarnished by Russian doping scandals, the spirit of sporting behaviour remains one of it’s strongest principals. What a shame Solo forgot about this and produced a terrible example for any young children who may have been watching etc. etc. etc.
Swedish coach Pia Sundhage nailed it though, responding with the wonderful comment: “I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio; she’s going home.”
For once, choice language the absolute order of the day.
Going somewhere, Solo? Only home! And for the record, it’s football. Not soccer.