Will Aston Villa distract Brentford from visit of Leeds United ? Thanks, Sky.

4 Nov

Match day. Brentford host Leeds United in a TV game that sees us with the chance to theoretically move as high as ninth in the table. Subject to the small matter of winning and other results going our way. Yet at a time when we should be looking forward to this prospect or enjoying the result from last night’s game that saw Fulham lose (that’s 3 out of the last 4) at Wolves, instead the words on most supporters lips would seem to be Aston Villa. Or Boxing Day.

Yes, the latest round of TV games have been announced and our game with the Villans on December 26 has been pushed back to a 7.30pm kick. Well thanks, Sky. Don’t do us any favours in allowing an extra 15 minutes afterwards. This, a fixture where Brentford and Aston Villa had already agreed back on June 27th to bring it forward from a 3pm kick to a 2pm start.

The majority of fans are in uproar. One of the most sacred games on the calendar, bumped at the behest of a TV company. There is nothing finer than a Boxing Day lunchtime kick off. Blow out the cobwebs of the previous day, meet up with your friends, take in the match yet still return home in time for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (although any Roger ‘Bond’ will do), and high tea with the family. And that’s just the home supporters who live locally. Instead, we’ve had this footballing treat snatched away from us.

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Nothing says Boxing Day evening like Roger Moore at his best

The mechanics of Boxing Day travel are bad enough as it is. Let alone leaving Griffin Park at 9.30pm (allowing for any time the referee sees fit to add on for stoppages) to then make your way back into central London for onward travel to Birmingham or beyond. I’ve got friends in my group of close knit fans who live as far a field as the West Country. For them and the Aston Villa supporters it now becomes a logistical nightmare.

Personally I’m lucky in living within a stroll of Griffin Park.Yet even then, plans for a Boxing Day trip with Mrs Bruzon and Harry are now scuppered. It’s past his bedtime and one of us will have to stay at home with him to watch it on TV. Or, out of principal, listen to Mark Burridge . Tickets will need to be returned to the club. I’m sure I’m not alone. Looking around Twitter, there are plenty of fans up in arms about their own plans being ruined and now unable to attend.

Equally, there are some Brentford fans who do welcome the change. It gives a chance to get to the game. To return home from whichever family members they have been with the day before. To them good luck and I’m pleased. However, they would seem to be very much in the minority.

The club haven’t said much on this beyond the formal announcement. Albeit, Chief Executive Mark Devlin has taken time out to note that, short of a health and safety reason, we’ve no choice in this one. His own response to fans on Twitter is that : “Its not about ignoring fans. There is a broadcast contract with which we have to comply. Incidentally, the broadcast fee is £100k…. You need to provide safety reasons for saying no. We cant simply say ‘you can change that game but not that one – it doesnt work that way.”.

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Roy wins Twitter for Friday

I don’t know the terms of the Sky contract. I’d doubt many of us do. But after infuriating supporters last season when our New Years Eve game against Norwich City was shifted to an evening kick off, the broadcaster would seem to have done it again. And if the club really have their hands tied, as would seem to be the case from Mark’s comments, then it is most definitely one downside of playing at this level.

It’s great he takes the time to respond to supporters. Yet many still have questions and are seeking clarity from the club. Do the Bees and Villa really have no choice? I’d love to see Brentford come out and make some sort of formal announcement. In defence of those supporters impacted. To clarify how this works and that it was purely down to the contract. There’s no need to slag off our TV overlords but simply to state a few facts about the reasoning and the choices, if any, behind the decision. Like it or not, many fans are frustrated. If we’ve had our arm twisted then at least save yourselves the social media shitstorm that is kicking off.

Supporters Association BIAS has also jumped straight in with a strong statement, which you can read in full here. Rallying against the broadcaster, it “Deplores Sky’s casual treatment of fans who yet again face difficult journeys at an important time of year for many, for the sake of television fixtures.

The irony of Sky being present for the visit of Leeds United this afternoon has not been lost. Who knows what chants the terrace wags will come up with? What signs might be held up in view of the TV cameras? If only we had job lot of comedy red cards lying around.

As for today’s game, well it presents a fantastic opportunity for Dean Smith and his team. After setting the early pace, Leeds United have fallen away. Yet such was their start they still lie just outside the play-off zone and will no doubt be looking to make a swift return to the promotion pack.

Brentford, on the other hand, are one of the form teams in the country. Unbeaten in eight, the wins have been stacking up and goals have been flying in for fun. 16 points out of the last 24 have seen us push ahead of Fulham, within touching distance of QPR and moving up the table. Wednesday night’s win up at ‘ten times better’ Birmingham City was probably the sweetest of the season.

The mood is buoyant and I only hope supporters can focus on that today. I’m gutted about Aston Villa and the casual disdain Sky seem to have for the people who really count – the supporters.  I’ve already had it in the ear at home from Mrs. B. Even worse, my son said the cruellest words last night – Daddy. I don’t like football.

Hopefully that will change. I’m sure a lot quicker than any decision made by Sky.

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Nick Bruzon

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9 Responses to “Will Aston Villa distract Brentford from visit of Leeds United ? Thanks, Sky.”

  1. this_ain't_ rite November 4, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    im appy wid de villa outcomes mak no difference frm me point er view fank you sky! concerend dat we asnt won many at ome so dont presume leeds is done an dusted exepct yorkshir to com doon wid a glint in dere eyes an it wil be very tuff

    • Villa till I die November 4, 2017 at 9:11 am #

      Can anyone translate please.

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 4, 2017 at 10:05 am #

    Great article Nick. Also its great that you have acknowledged that for some the change is a good thing. Im one of those. For me all 46 games are away games and the Boxing Day game like every game (except today & night games) is always a whole day out where u dont see family & friends. For the first time in years i actually get to have a Boxing Day. Maybe completely selfish reasons but so is everyone elses.

    What does really annoy me are certain fan groups who thnk that they speak for all, when they dont, and completely ignore any viewpoint which isnt part of their agenda, and all claim to be the voice of the supporters, and im not just referring to the fanzine waving brothers here. This is why I always enjoy reading Nick’s last word, because he welcomes all views and opinions. I realise now that the Last Word does not refer to Nick but to all of us as he invites us all to have the last word (see what I did there?)

    • nickbruzon November 4, 2017 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks BQ. And I love what you’ve done. Good luck to other fan groups – although I’d note some of those protesting are self confessed ‘not fan groups’ (independent and proud). Their opinions no less valid. That’s football – its as much about view points.
      And mine, personally, is that the change has ruined Boxing Day for me and my family – normally one of the highlights in the football calendar. Glad it has worked out for you though – genuinely. Enjoy

  3. this_ain't_rite November 4, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    weel win!

    • mattdabee November 5, 2017 at 8:35 am #

      one weely happy bee here then lol

  4. HerzyBee November 6, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Nick and all readers……interesting and lots of passion being expressed……I do however want to speak up and say….don’t forget those who feel aggrieved will shout out, those that don’t, won’t ……. I guess there as many not inconvenienced as there are those who feel the opposite. Let’s also remember the away fans….Birmingham isn’t a million miles away, and the lack of public transport is all day, not just for 1930 but also a notional 1400 kick off. My guess is there will be a good turnout of Villains on the day, who will probably drive or come by coach…..as for Bees fans, don’t forget there are a large number of shift workers locally, who can possibly make the match after early/day shift working, whereas a 1400 kick off would have been nigh on impossible…

    I guess what I’m saying is, there are winners and losers here, we do have 7 1/2 weeks notice……. I’m sure it’s not a tragic event…..now Myanmar, South Sudan and Yemen are.

    You Bees!!!!

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