Are we all set for a jolly boys (and girls) outing? The quarters are beckoning….

16 Feb

Oh my. The FA Cup fifth round is here. Opportunity is very much knocking. Watford are already through to the quarters after winning 1-0 at Loftus Road last night. Now we’re getting ready for our shot as Brentford fans begin to countdown for Sunday’s trip to Swansea City. There’s plenty to whet the appetite for that one today with Newport County hosting Manchester City and the visit of Millwall to AFC Wimbledon. That’s before you even get to the likes of Doncaster v Crystal Palace or Monday’s final game denouement that had TV producers reaching for the ‘coverage selection’ button the second Chelsea v Manchester United came out of the hat.

We can only start at the Liberty Stadium. On paper, there isn’t much to grab the neutral about the prospect of Swansea City v Brentford. Whilst both clubs and their fans will be viewing it as a wonderful chance to progress, it hardly has the upset potential of Manchester City at Newport County. The follow up story to Wimbledon’s wonderful humiliation of West Ham (winners of the trophy in 1980 and World Cup in 1966) from the previous round. Don’t let that fool you for a second. This one is huge and I can’t wait.

You could hear the collective groan echoing around TW8 and the GPG as the decision was made to move this to a Sunday afternoon, 4pm kick off for the benefit of BBC Wales. I’ve said my piece on that decision already and we just have to move on now.

With the prospect of a rail engineering works ruining it for everyone, the club sprang into action quicker than Neal Maupay running though on goal with the announcement of free coach travel to the game. Along with the reduced ticket prices , it was about as supporter-friendly a gesture as one could get. Consequently, myself and Harry are the ones now re-upholstering the tinfoil trophy that has seen us through the previous rounds. An £11 return trip for two of us, including entrance to the game, a bargain in anybody’s book and the reason The Bees will be there en-masse as the coaches filled up in nano-seconds.

Jolly-Boys-episode

Who doesn’t love a coach trip ?

It’s not going be easy, that’s for sure. For either team. Only four points separate Brentford and Swansea City in the Championship table. Advantage traditionally favouring the home side as we’ll be running out in that glorious brown and orange. Here’s hoping for a repeat of the performance at Rotherham in that one, rather than a repeat of the performance just about anywhere else on the road whilst wearing this most stylish of shirts.

The good news for those deeming this to be some sort of jinx (honestly, I’ve never heard such nonsense, now where are my lucky pants?) being that we’ll have a new goalkeeper’s shirt making its debut. If what a source close to the club told us plays out, this one promises to have us kit nerds salivating.

The other factor to play more into the hands of Sunday’s eventual result is, of course, our recent form. We’ve only lost once in the last 12 whilst the midweek victory over Aston Villa was just about as comprehensive and stylish a performance as one could ever hope to see. Truly, Brentford were magnificent. Dean Smith left shell-shocked at full time and chuntering all sorts of nonsense about his team ‘deserving it’ (change the record) after Neal Maupay sent the hone fans wild in the 91st minute. Even now, Saturday morning as this is being written, I have a huge grin on my face thinking about that moment.

DzUgxbOX0AED83K

This one from Brentford official said it all about Wednesday

Prior to that and, excusing the Forest game, it has been a case of scoring at least three goals a game in the previous five. A streak that coincided with Brentford playing stylish football with confidence and swagger. The ball being moved around the team for fun as we took the old mantra of “Push up, Brentford” to heart. It was a self-belief that was in evidence once more on Wednesday night. Here’s hoping Swansea City get to experience it themselves on Sunday afternoon. 

For sure they’ll be feeling as upbeat as we are. A home draw is the first thing any club hoping to progress would ask for in the later rounds of the FA Cup. Swansea have had that prayer answered  whilst on pitch have had a fairly strong start to 2019, winning five out of their nine games played so far in all competitions. They’ll no doubt fancy this in their own back yard whilst also have the benefit of ‘Mark’ Lawro Lawrenson using his BBC prediction column to back the Bees. Trevor Nelson and DJ Big Zuu (literally no idea – parents, ask a kid) going for the home side.

My main concern with this is Lawro’s assertion that, “I am backing Brentford to stay unbeaten, and get through on penalties.” We all know the nonsense he spouts these days and his presence as a pundit or co-commentator is generally greeted with the same fear felt by a pre-match press room buffet as Ian Moose approaches. But penalties? Seriously? You’ve got to think our name is on the cup if that’s going to happen. Here’s hoping he’s right. You can read that one in full, here.

Otherwise, its going to be a case of trying to make today feel as much like a normal Saturday as possible. I make no apologies for being excited or loving the FA Cup. Perhaps it’s an age thing but this tournament remains, for the supporters, about as exciting as it gets. The nostalgia, the romance, the potential, the shot at glory and even the cliches. 

I saw a quite wonderful tweet from @DeanCornish1966 yesterday about the Newport – Manchester City game, noting that:

ITV news preview on Newport v Man City just included:

2 x ‘The whole town is buzzing’

1 x ‘biggest match in history’

1 x ‘David v Goliath’

3 x ‘unbelievable’

1 x ‘dare to dream’

1 x ‘Gulf in class’

2 x ‘dreams are made of’

1 x ‘stacking shelves’

If ever there was close to a full house in cup upset bingo then here it was. But it’s what makes this trophy so special. Even now. It’s why I’m taking a five year old boy on a marathon coach trip to see if we can equal our furthest ever progression. Or perhaps even go beyond.

I’ve no doubt that when me and H are sitting down this evening to see if Newport can throw a potato skin under the feet of Manchester City (that’s one which ITV missed), the talk will be all about what awaits on Sunday afternoon. 

That, and maybe seeing if we need to add another layer of tinfoil to our replica trophy. 

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We’re all up for the cup

Nick Bruzon

5 Responses to “Are we all set for a jolly boys (and girls) outing? The quarters are beckoning….”

  1. Jack P February 16, 2019 at 9:15 am #

    It’s 8.45 on a Saturday morning and I have scoured the internet for the latest news snippets and articles, including your own, about the mighty Bees and tomorrow’s outing to darkest Swansea. Yes, some readers will deem me sad, and yes there are more important things to worry about, e.g. when will the North stand begin to rise from the soil at Lionel Road, but my main concern this morning relates to the FA cup cliches quoted in your latest piece, and the appropriateness of your use of the term ‘potato skin’ rather than the more usual ‘banana skin’. In footballing terms it is of course the potential upset created by one of the countries ‘big’ teams playing one of the lower league ‘tinpot’ teams and coming unstuck in the world’s premier cup competition. Indeed as I type, Mike Bushell, the rather unorthodox sports presenter on BBC breakfast, has just referred to Watford avoiding the banana skin presented by last night’s tie with that outfit from Shepherd’s Bush. (Incidentally he squeezed in another cliche you overlooked, namely ‘fairy tale’).
    The comic hazard featuring in comics and cartoons ever since Mr Gutenberg, or was it Crompton, invented the printing press, has always been the banana skin and typically illustrates an unfortunate person stepping on same thereafter cartwheeling into the air and landing unceremoniously in a heap nearby. So your article creates intrigue – have you conducted some coefficient of friction tests and discovered that potato skins are more slippy and as a result more hazardous, and if they are, is it just the skin or the peeled version which would tend to have a degree of a flesh attached to it? I would submit that both versions are much less likely to be casually discarded or strategically placed where I live in the shires, but perhaps this is not the case in West London? Perhaps it is the loaded potato skin you are thinking of and I could see that such a product with its cream cheese or other sloppy filling would have the potential to create mayhem. Rumour has it the Chairman of the fake Bees from North London had ordered a quantity of said items to be scattered in and around the Brentford dressing room ahead of our recent visit. It nearly worked but I would submit he should have gone with the more reliable curved yellow fruit product supplied by My Fyffe (other banana suppliers are available). Anyway, potato or banana? One for the survey monkey or for debate to while away the hours during tomorrow’s coach journey up and down the M4. COYB!

    • nickbruzon February 16, 2019 at 11:27 am #

      I have no words beyond….magnificent.

    • nickbruzon February 16, 2019 at 11:27 am #

      PS An upturned potato peeling / skin is amongst the most hazardous and treacherous items known to mortal man

  2. Rob Osborne February 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi Nick.

    From my beano, dandy and sparky reading days… surely its a banana rather than potato skin?

    Sadly cant make it myself but hope the team give you and your lad a special day. These are the moments you remember the best.

    • nickbruzon February 16, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks Rob. Think you may be on to something but I do prefer my version

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