Tag Archives: 9

Deploy the fishing rod emoji and brace for impact after points deduction

22 Mar

Poor old Birmingham City (yeah, yeah, yawn – I’’m “obsessed”). With Brentford having caught right up with our Championship rivals, to the extent of being a single point behind them with a game in hand as we head into international break, that gap has suddenly leapt to a whopping 8 in our favour. This after Sky and BBC WM (amongst others) today reported the point deduction awarded to the St. Andrews outfit for breaching profitability and sustainability regulations. It is a sanction meted out as a result of the club losing  £37.5m in the 12 months up until June 2018 after Harry Redknapp had gone shopping the previous summer. That, of course, a spending spree which saw Jota, Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean added to a wage bill that may have been ten times better for the players but has proven anything but for the club. With any punishment for the fan led assault on Jack Grealish in the Aston Villa game still lurking in the wings, who knows if there could be more to follow?

Yeah, yeah. I’m obsessed. Apparently. I love it though and don’t deny focussing on Blues. A lot. If for no other reason than they are a great yardstick as to our own progress. Can a team who plays fair and invests wisely, yet frugally, out play a free spending outfit with Premier League experience and a big stadium? A team who once had their moment in the sun but are now very much in the top flight shadows. See also: Leeds united, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough.  

Having finished above Birmingham for the previous four seasons in the Championship we’re now in serious danger of making that five out of five since promotion from League One. And it is magnificent.

Of course there’s the arrogance of so many fans on social media. Of course there are the cracks about being ‘tinpot’. About ‘little’ ‘teams like Brentford. But they are an irrelevance to me and to most Bees. Bring it on. All day long. We eat that crap for breakfast. It keeps us going. Inspires us. See also: Leeds United, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough. Size counts for nothing. Quite frankly,  the bigger you think you are the harder you fall. As is now being proven. The Twitter tears today are a quite magnificent thing to behold.

Of course there was big mouth Harlee Dean and his infamous ‘ten times better’ quote. As diplomacy goes, it was up there with Martin Rowlands and Russell Slade in the cult hero stupidity stakes (typo). Henry Kissinger, he ain’t. But we more than made our point about that in the two games which followed as Brentford scored 7(seven) without reply to secure another win double for the season. The post match lap of honour and singalong, as Big Bee Radio went rogue, the stuff of legend.

Yet for me the fascination – and it is one – with Birmingham City goes back to the late 80s / early 90s. I’ve written about this before and so apologies in advance but some things bear repeating. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth will be well aware how our paths crossed over and over back in the day.

1990-91 saw us go head-to-head in an epic Leyland DAF Southern zone semi with the Blues. Having already disposed of them in the FA Cup second round, Brentford could have fancied themselves as knock out football favourites. But with Wembley beckoning ,  there are no prizes for working out who eventually won both legs to record a  3-1 aggregate win.

Deano and Bliss

The 91-92 Third Division title race famously saw things go our way in the final game of the season as Huddersfield Town and Gary Blissett ‘did the needful’ at Peterborough. A moment made all the sweeter by Saint & Greavsie having already used their Saturday morning show to congratulate Birmingham on being champions.

Things weren’t so sweet the following season as  Birmingham edged past us in the battle to be named the least bad of our respective sides. Both teams fought a desperate, and in our case doomed, battle against relegation from Division One (now the Championship) with that final game humbling at Bristol City being enough to sink the Bees and save the Blues.

However, the coup de grâce was delivered in 1994-95 where, thanks to the joys of Premiership restructuring, there was only one automatic promotion place to the Championship available. With both teams neck and neck at the top, one game stood out like a sore thumb on the fixture list. For months in advance the trip to St. Andrews, only three games before the denouement of the campaign, was the one we all thought would be the crunch match.

Sure enough, it was. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of a packed stadium, where a win for Brentford would have made it all but mathematically impossible for even us to stuff things up, it was Blues who came out on top with a 2-0 win. To this day, I’ve been unable to watch half-time guest of honour Jasper Carrott. I’d love to blame psychological scarring from that result but, in fact, it’s more just his material. Ahhh, insurance claims.(kids, ask your dads).

Oh well, despite defeat at least we were still in the play-offs…..

And now, bringing things bang up to date, the nine point deduction sees us overtake Birmingham City once more. It is as familiar a tale as Brentford cocking up a play-off campaign. I’m not going to deny a smile upon hearing the news yet equally, I’m now desperate to make sure we finish the campaign ten times better off then them. Points wise. Let’s make sure that we’d have made it five successive finishes above Birmingham on playing ability alone, regardless of any punishment. 

So, yes. I DO focus on Birmingham City. A lot. But it is as much about the history. About showing how far we have evolved. Rising up out of the primordial swamp and leaving the dinosaurs behind us – in more than one case . Shrewd ownership has proven that you don’t need to spend big to spend clever. The current rumours about Saïd Benrahma are proof alone of that.

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Just how much is he worth now?

Ultimately, a nine point deduction will make no immediate difference. City won’t go down whilst they were never in any real danger of assaulting the play-offs. Current form alone (LLLL) was conspiring against them. Yet this does, at least, look to mitigate against those trying to buy their way to success without having the resource to do it. Trying to consistently spend beyond their means, whatever the consequence . However fairly the others are doing it. Aka – cheating.

Big spenders, beware. And also owners looking to hire Harry.

Screenshot 2019-03-22 at 13.59.52

Not my words but those of the BBC

Nick Bruzon

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Moses gets a chance to ‘celebrate like’ etc etc as Bees play numbers game

28 Jun

The flurry of transfer activity at Brentford this week as we prepare for life in the Championship has got me thinking. What is the protocol when recruiting a new player? That is, once the niceties of negotiating terms, signing contracts and posing for a photograph with the shirt are done away with?

Specifically, how does he choose his squad number? Indeed, does that even form part of the contract talks or is it simply handed down by the manager from the pool of available ‘spares’?

And would the current squad get first crack at any new opening? With Clayton Donaldson heading to Birmingham City (although, like Marcello Trotta, his profile still remains in the ‘team’ section on the Bees website) that coveted number 9 shirt is now available.

New boy Moses Odubajo, who was announced on Friday as having joined from Leyton Orient has already bagged number 10. Rumoured to be for a fee over GBP1million, per the East London press, this is great news. Who knows if the sight, and Russell Slade’s subsequent talk, of those ‘FA Cup like celebrations’ helped sway his decision?

One would presume that yesterday’s other new signing (announced along with contract extensions for David Button and Stuart Dallas), the free scoring Andre Grey from Luton Town, has his sights on that vacant ‘9’.

Was it a wasted opportunity for the likes of Alan Judge (18)? Could James Tarkowski (26) and Adam Forshaw (4) have negotiated between them to give the central defender that position’s traditional 4? Indeed, does it even matter to players or are they the superstitious sort that, once allocated a number, keep it until they leave a club (or beyond)?

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Does a squad number make a difference?

Obviously, it makes no real difference to what happens on pitch but, whilst I’m all for progress in the game, I’m ‘old school’ at heart. Seeing a team line up numbered 1-11 gives me a certain reassurance that it ‘looks right’. An additional little ‘good luck’ omen (to sit alongside the lucky shirt, magic pants and pre-match pint). Or perhaps I just have OCD?

Watching the (so far) all-conquering Netherlands in the World Cup they have achieved this feat despite the permutations possible in a 23-man squad. Has their manager Louis van Gaal (real name: Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal) just ‘got lucky’? Or has he had the balls to name his first choice starting XI well in advance and then allocate 12-23 amongst the rest?

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The all conquering Netherlands team , numbered 1-11 on the BBC website

I can only hope it is the latter and if so, whilst I don’t care a jot about the tribulations at Manchester United, then self-confidence of that nature is sure to work wonders after the debacle of the David Moyes era when he arrives at Old Trafford.

Still, for Brentford fans, they are opponents’ for 2015/16. This season, let’s concentrate on getting out of the Championship.

Forget ‘survival’ – I’m aiming high. And with Matthew Benham’s cryptic clues now being unravelled (they were obvious, really…), we are certainly putting together a young, exciting and attacking squad to start that charge.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s season 2013/14) – amongst other things – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.