99 problems but a pitch ain’t one.

9 Jun

The tumbleweed is starting to clear. The absence of Brentford from our lives will soon be coming to an end as the trip to Fulham next Saturday lunchtime (June 20th) sees Championship action recommence. Following this is a rapid fire conclusion to the campaign as our 9 remaining games take place in little over a month, culminating in the ‘last ever’ game at Griffin Park against Barnsley on Wednesday July 22nd. With all games available to season ticket holders on I-follow and TV coverage being given a huge boost, its a case of move over Sky Sports Leeds United. Whilst you won’t be able to be there in person, there’s every opportunity available to see the on-pitch action pan out with our next game  (West Brom at home) also selected for main channel coverage.

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On pitch action will return

The good news is that season will at least come to an end on pitch, however artificial that may feel. Others haven’t been afforded that opportunity. With Leagues across Europe and at home already calling full time early, even League One clubs seem set to bring 2019-20 to a close today with the morning news reporting that they are going to vote to curtail the season and leave the final table based on a points-per-game ratio. Missing out on seeing Brentford in the flesh will be painful but at least we’ll be able to see the Bees in action.

My word, it hass felt like an eternity. With nothing but constant bad news for the last few months, football has probably been low down on most people’s agenda. That’s not to say it hasn’t been missed. The amazing feeling of coming together denied us by an invisible killer. That communal gathering and Saturday afternoon ritual, of which 90 minutes’s action is so often the meat in a social sandwich of pre and post match meet up, something we’ve not been able to enjoy for endless week after week.

Jonathan Burchill cut to the chase on Twitter yesterday, posting a picture of his Fulham ticket and  noting that when he bought it, could never have guessed this match would be postponed for 99 days. Now it is almost here. Brentford travelling just down the road to pick up where we left off. Injuries hopefully healed and the team chomping at the bit. We’ve already played at Griffin Park – judging by the social media video clips posted – as part of the road to recovery but now we get the chance to do it for real.

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Whatever ‘real’ means these days. No fans and no atmosphere is gong to make for a very strange experience. Fulham aside. For the players and the supporters. Fulham aside. Probably the only people to come out if it as winners will be the officials, especially at Griffin Park where the touchline reminders of the rules so often delivered to the linos will be sadly missing. Who will rise to the occasion? Who will struggle, rattling around an empty stadium? Will the fans be given any chance to get back in and, if so, how many will that be or when could it even take place?

I guess the one thing we can be fairly certain of is that the 5-0 trashing of Sheffield Wednesday way back on 7th (seventh) March will be the last time we have the pleasure of attending a game at Griffin Park in person. The ‘last game’ will be one played out in front of nothing more than handful of press and officials. Barring a miracle, that ship has surely sailed. It’s a topic we’ve done to death already – both on social media and these pages. Banging on about it now, at a time when we actually have something to look forward too, won’t change that fact. Even if we will of course pick up on it once more as we head towards the visit of Barnsley 

For now, we’ve got action incoming. And that’s a real boost, even if it is going to be very odd. There’ll be surreal TV coverage whilst the club have announced that match day programmes will be produced. Each of the final five programmes will also include a limited-edition postcard, whilst that Barnsley game will see a 134-page, A4 printed programme to say Farewell Griffin Park. You can read about that in full here.

More to come over the coming days, no doubt, but until then we’ve got a trip to Fulham to prepare for. Even if us mere mortals aren’t allowed to travel.

The only other news of note, for these pages, was the conclusion of the ‘Griffin Park Favourites’ charity auction Top Trumps pack last week. I’m amazed to say that these went for a staggering £155, with funds already received and paid on to the Community Sports Trust.

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Whilst keeping the names of the bidders secret, it would seem as though there was a furious bidding war between three figures who appeared in the pack. In the end , though, I haven’t a clue who it is that won them. Certainly not a name I recognise. Brentford fan or Top Trumps collector? Who knows. Either way, I can’t thank our supporters enough for taking part.

And if anybody wants to go again, then please do shout. The pack has already been redesigned for a more personal ‘friends and family’ version. If nothing else, to celebrate both the Fulham programme prank and some really crowbarred punning.

What’s to say further tweaks couldn’t be made and another order placed for anybody who may want in….

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Wife of Brian – even Mrs. B liked that one 

Nick Bruzon    

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