Making the best of a crumby situation all round.

21 Oct

Brentford travel to Sheffield Wednesday this evening in a game where, sit down, one can only wish ‘that band’ were present. Not a typo. Oh to hear their moribund trumping. Their off-key renditions: Now that’s what I can jingoistic music. For no other reason than it would mean fans were allowed inside the ground. Instead we remain firmly behind closed doors. The closest thing possible to sit inside the confined quarters of a stadium lounge, enjoying food, drink and the game on a big screen, when the real action is taking place in the fresh air on the other side of the wall. That, the scenario playing out at Bristol City v Middlesbrough last night and one which has already been reported many times. The sheer ludicrousness of this situation lost on nobody, no matter how tightly social-distancing rules were, I am sure, being applied. We’re all desperate to get back in. Instead, we’re stuck with TV games in tumbleweed swept grounds. Fans confined to barracks rather than enjoying the fresh air in yet another example of the double-standards being applied to when it is, and isn’t, deemed safe to be near other people.

If only for real rather than cruddy photoshop

So we have coverage on Sky TV and i-follow ‘VIP’ (for those who chose to freeze their season tickets) as the next best thing. And it isn’t even close. Of course, I’m grateful for the opportunity to still see the Bees in action but let’s not pretend it’s the same. We’re all chomping at the bit to attend a game in person. To get our first taste of Lionel Road. The closest we’ll get to that is our own take on the ‘big screen / club lounge’ experience. Saturday’s offer for the trip to Stoke City has, I understand, seen heavy interest. This, even with a price of £40 for adults and £30 for children including food and beer (for the adults). 

I was tempted, but aside from the £100 it would have cost me, Harry and Mrs. Bruzon to attend personally speaking I want my first taste of the new stadium to be in a real match scenario. Not some ‘close but no cigar’ situation. Bullseye for the 21st century. ‘Look at what you could have won’. 

Fair play to the club for arranging. It will be of huge appeal to many – if only for the communal coming together and the chance to get some small look at our new home. If you don’t agree then don’t pay. Simple economics and Brentford doing nothing more than trying to make the best of what is a crumby situation all round. Balancing demand v numbers. Do it for free / token costs and we’d be flooded – then you get people upset about missing out. Lose-lose all round. So it’s not for me, Clive, but the closest we can get. For now.

Still, it’s all secondary compared to the news about Brentford supporter Jamie Powell. I’d imagine most fans have seen the devastating story on social media over the last few days. This, about his awful illness and the crowd-funding effort being launched to help raise the £350,000 to support treatment for an aggressive bone cancer in the skull. The club, the fans and the players are all behind this whilst my fellow blogger Luis Adriano wrote a quite wonderful piece yesterday which yours truly couldn’t even get close to emulating. You can find that here whilst I’d urge everyone to visit the ‘Just giving page’ to read more and donate if you can.

Life certainly deals a crappy hand at times. One can’t even imagine the anguish Jamie and his family are going through at present. It puts our own problems into perspective. Whilst, of course, not everybody will be in a position to contribute, it really is one of those where if you can then every penny counts.  

Getting back to matters more mundane, this evening’s game. Experience says that Sheffield Wednesday aren’t going to make it easy. We’ve always struggled at Hillsborough and our hosts are already eating into the -12 point deficit they began the season with. As such, I can’t see this being any easier. I’d also suggest that overly dwelling on the past isn’t going to help any.

Crack open the cliches but it really is 11 v 11. Empty stadia do make a significant difference. Away games much more of a leveller. Ivan Toney is firing them in for fun and Thomas Frank used yesterday’s press conference to confirm he expects the Championships leading scorer will be available to play. Likewise Emiliano Marcondes. This, following the game with Coventry at the the weekend.

I’m not stupid enough to even try and call this one. The bookies make Brentford favourites ; our hosts are 5/2. I take that, combined with Saturday’s solidity, as a positive. We’ve got through the first game of the post-Benrahma era with a win. Tonight will be a much sterner test but one I’m intrigued to see play out. Even if it has to be from the comfort of the sofa.

Last time out. Ivan did his thing against Coventry before injury denied him a hat-trick.

Nick Bruzon

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