Tag Archives: Austin Powers

How to make friends and influence people…or not

29 May

As Brentford fans wait for the managerial void to be filled (May 30th being Mark Warburton’s last day in that role) there was plenty going on elsewhere yesterday as Southend United and Charlton Athletic did their best to alienate league rivals and supporters respectively. Meanwhile, the rumour mill was linking Everton and Brentford, again, although this time with a player moving away from Griffin Park.

First up though, social media. I’ve long had a sense of nervous trepidation when clubs use their official ‘twitter’ accounts for (alleged) comedy purposes or ‘getting down with the kidz’. At best it falls flat on it’s face in a cringeworthy mess; at worst it is nothing more than bullying. Very few get it right.

I’ll spare you another lecture on #trophyfriends – our own efforts in this field are legion (whether through the official club account or employees stating their opinions regarding the team). That said, Mark Warburton and (especially) Matthew Benham seem the exception to this rule with the latter providing a number of genuinely amusing moments over the season and his use of cryptic video clues to reveal transfer news.

Matthew Benham - genius and winner of social media

Matthew Benham – genius and winner of Twitter.

Then Charlton Athletic came along and seemed to buck the ‘official trend’ . Their comment when all at the Goldsands were celebrating a promotion for Bournemouth stopped the football world dead in its tracks and made us all think….what if? This, from the club that had earlier released the security camera footage of a couple ‘scoring’ on the centre spot after breaking into The Valley (not a euphemism) – later revealed to be a stunt to promote pitch hire.

Charlton Athletic - former kings of twitter

Charlton Athletic – former kings of twitter

Then yesterday it all came crashing down.

Seemingly, the club have taken exception to one of their supporters having the temerity to suggest they invest more on the pitch than off it. Putting aside his grammatical faux pas (‘there’ rather than ‘their’ ranks alongside ‘expresso’ as typos to infuriate) was there any other reason to respond in such cutting fashion? Moreso, via that most heinous of social media weapons – a meme (surely something which should be outlawed by the Geneva convention)?

Putting down their own fans - via meme….

Putting down their own fans – via meme….

But if this act of humiliating/bullying (delete as applicable) a supporter in front of thousands was bad enough, Southend United went one better (or should that be worse?) in regards to Leyton Orient.

In a time when we are, rightly, being constantly asked to show respect on and off the pitch, they’ve really let things fester after a spat that seems to have started in February. Revenge may be a dish best served cold but this is nothing more than kicking a fellow team in the nuts when they are down. Let’s see if they live to regret this in 12 months time…

Southend United - gracious winners

Southend United – gracious winners

As for Brentford and Everton, several news sources were suggesting the Goodison Park team are showing an interest in England U-20 star, Moses Odubajo. Hopefully, this is just one of the numerous rumours floating around cyberspace that we will be deluged with as the papers desperately look for something to talk about over the summer months.

Moses has made a fantastic step up from League One to the Championship; moreso, as somebody who started as a winger and had to be shifted to right back after injury to Alan McCormack – a position he went on to occupy for the rest of the season.

Mind you, it shows how well we have done even for it to be suggested that Everton are looking at a player form the Brentford first team, rather than us raiding their youth system as has happened so many times in the last few seasons.

And finally, in the latest updated from the FIFA scandal, Sepp Blatter released another statement saying that he was totally unaware of any wrongdoing and couldn’t possibly be expected to police FIFA. Or, rather, football as he conveniently removed as much reference to his own, allegedly, corrupt organisation as was possible.

In the end it all ended up sounding a little bit ‘Bart Simpson’…

Any excuse to crowbar The Simpsons into this blog.

The amalgamated Last Word season compendium: Tales from the football village (from Saunders territory to unchartered ground), is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full.

Running from July 2014 – May 2015 it contains some additional material and is available for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme. Including all the info on our own social media highs and lows, along with a full review of the season just gone, it’s the e-book that nobody is talking about – but that you might well enjoy.

   

Can Matthew Benham prove Clem wrong? Dr Evil??

12 May

With Brentford and Middlesbrough preparing for the return leg of their Championship play off, I saw an interesting piece in The Times yesterday from Mark Clemmit aka Clem of BBC Football League show fame. A well known Middlesbrough fan himself, he used the column to give his own opinions on Matthew Benham’s commitment to the well documented statistical model he intends to implement at Brentford next season.

Regular readers will know of my admiration for Clem’s reporting technique and the somewhat light hearted approach to statistical analysis that had been undertaken in the weekly ‘Clemwatch’ feature. Long regarded as the harbinger of doom by football supporters, he only saw the team he selected for feature on that evening’s BBC show win 7 (seven) times all season.

Clem finished his season at Watford - who lost the title in the 90th minute

Clem finished his season at Watford – who lost the title in the 90th minute

It was, as such, somewhat ironic to see him casting his oar into the murky water of statistics in an attempt to analyse Matthew’s plans. Although not as ironic as the fact that he was reportedly at Griffin Park on Friday, overseeing the home team fail to record a win. Again. That said, I’m sure Clem would take it as his beloved Middlesbrough chalking up another victory, regardless of his presence.

Regardless, I’d certainly recommend you try and get hold of this article if possible. And if Mark Warburton is reading, certainly a nice one to add to his future CV. Whilst acknowledging the success, so far, of ‘the model’ for FC Midtjylland in Denmark, Clem certainly seemed to land on the side of the traditional managerial structure over key performance indicators and mathematical analysis.

Fairplay to Clem for trying to balance this out, although his description of Matthew’s Smartodds HQ as “A cross between a giant dealing room and (from the Austin Powers movies) Dr Evil’s underground lair” was one that put all sorts of confused imagery into my head. If for no other reason than who would have been Evil’s mini-me and who his number 2?

Is Matthew Benham's HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil's lair?

Talk to the hand. Is Matthew Benham’s HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil’s lair?

Ultimately, nobody knows how this is going to pan out. Mark Warburton could be making a huge mistake in walking away from, potentially, the most progressive move in English football since Jimmy Hill proposed ‘three points’ for a win. I can say one thing though, Warbs will be doing his level best to make sure that the model is road tested in the Premiership. He has shown the fans and the team nothing but the most impressive personal performance since the news broke and , I have no doubt, that will continue.

Friday night will see our biggest game, to date, in living memory. And if you wanted even more intrigue, I saw a statistic that said Middlesbrough haven’t lost an evening game at the Riverside in six years. I have no idea if that is true or urban legend but, regardless, nobody can doubt the calibre of the opposition.

Given how much this game is worth, I’m sure the jinx-conscious amongst us will hope that Clem is in attendance once again. Moreso that Matthew, Warbs and the team give him plenty more to think about.

As we saw in last night’s game between Swindon and Sheffield United, which finished 7(seven) – 6(so close) on aggregate, anything is possible in the play offs. On Friday night, we find out what happens in this one.