No football. No Allan. No joy.

17 Dec

What can we say? Hot off the heels of Brentford seeing the game with Manchester United pulled after the visitors cited an increase in positive covid tests, the same has now happened for our own weekend trip to Southampton. With numbers in the Bees’ camp on the rise, the Premier League has agreed to postpone the game meaning that half the top flight fixtures this weekend have now fallen victim to the pandemic. Head coach Thomas Frank is amongst those calling for a temporary suspension of fixtures, saying “Everyone is dealing with it, and everyone has a problem at this moment in time. To postpone this round, and the Carabao Cup round, will give people four or five days to clean training grounds so everything is fine; you break the chain in every club.” Instead, we’re down to watching Everton or Liverpool.

It is a bold idea ( a fixture halt rather than Everton) although, as it stands, seems unlikely to gain traction. Boris is singing “Everything Is Awesome” whilst promising he won’t put the country in lockdown and the Premier League are looking to push on through despite an ever decreasing cycle of playable fixtures. Spurs, Leicester City and Manchester United are also amongst those to have a second game cancelled as the list of teams currently able to play each other gets smaller and smaller. Barring some form of miracle, I can’t see our league cup quarter final with Chelsea going ahead next week although if it does, it’ll be interesting to see who is available for selection. Peter Gilham, Cliff Crown, Buzz, Buzzette, Woody and H amongst those making their debuts for Brentford?

Nero fiddled…

There’s no irony lost in December being the month where we traditionally see fixture congestion yet now being the one falling victim to cancellations all round. One can understand the league wanting to steamroller as much through, given the restart of European competition aswell as the FA Cup in the New Year. Finding those gaps in the calendar to play delayed fixtures is going to be even trickier than ever.

The common sense approach is as suggested by Thomas – put a temporary brake to proceedings and give everyone a chance to reset. Start again on an even footing whilst also avoiding the sort of last minute stitching up of supporters as we saw for the non-game with Manchester United or the even later postponement of Burnley-Watford. 

For me, Clive, certainly the route I’d advocate. Everyone knows where they stand and it means we can all start afresh. The last things anybody wants are clubs fielding squads picked from deep into the U-21s, a lop-sided list of games played, other teams having an unfair backlog through no fault of their own and, of course, supporters left in the dark. 

Whether this is just happy-clappy nonsense or has any chance of playing out is, I suspect, very much in the former camp. If nothing else, TV coverage (especially over the Christmas period) leaves a huge void to be filled. Indeed, with football an already dwindling commodity and the wallet stretched, it would be hypocritical to pretend I wasn’t hugely grateful for the opportunity to stay in and watch Chelsea host Everton last night. At least, before kick off. Everyone’s favourite Brazillian – Pele, Socrates, Zico…Allan  – being benched for the entire game was hardly the stuff of festive cheer in our house. 

Allan remained on the bench last night

All we can do at the moment is stay safe and be careful. To hope that we don’t have the surge that is already in evidence. That this is the flash in the pan predicted by some. Most importantly, that everyone looks after themselves as best we can. Life is feeling shit, again. The summer promised some respite after three lockdowns and an entire season played behind closed doors. I daren’t even think about the potential of supporters bing locked out in the New Year. The way things are going, nothing would surprise me. That trip to Anfield for the Liverpool game on Jan 15th already has the feeling of being somewhat optimistic. 

Here’s hoping we’re all together for Brighton on Boxing Day. For Manchester City on the 29th. For now, that’s the best we’ll get. Most importantly, get well soon everyone and see you soon-ish.

Nick Bruzon


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