Tag Archives: campaign

Could we go one better with next season’s third shirt? A groundbreaking opportunity awaits.

5 Feb

Finally. 24 hours after the majority of our Championship rivals, Brentford get the chance to get back into action. And what a test it will be, against league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion. Although, of course, that should now read ‘former’ league leaders after Newcastle United regained top spot on Saturday.

With third place Reading also picking up a point yesterday afternoon, the pressure will be on the Seagulls to really go for broke. Brentford, of course, will be looking to build upon Tuesday night’s tonking of Aston Villa. We looked at the forthcoming challenge in the previous column which you can find here.

However, today I wanted to mention the Football v Homophobia (FvH) campaign. Don’t worry, this is no attempt at cod moralising or patronising anybody. The last thing anybody needs, the LGBT community especially, is an article that goes all preachy.

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Yet with February being designated the international month of FVH, today’s game with Brighton has been selected in support of the campaign. You can read more about this on Brentford official where the article notes that as many as 72% of fans have heard homophobic abuse at football matches.

Thankfully, and as we’ve mentioned many times before, at Brentford this would seem to be very much the exception rather than the rule. Aside from an odd incident at Newcastle United this season from a few of the visiting fans, this isn’t anything I’ve encountered before. Home or away. It’s just one of the many reasons I’m glad I can bring my son,family and friends to Griffin Park.

And so, despite no real issue of homophobia at Brentford, the club continue to back the campaigns and make all the right noises. We support the rainbow laces promotion, print the statements on the website whilst the excellent matchday programme will, no doubt also contain similar messages today. Likewise, we also have the @LGBT_Bees group on Twitter who are well worth a follow.

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Harlee Dean shows his support earlier in the season

Yet, equally, it does sometimes feel a little bit like lip service and some clubs going through the mentions. That’s no disprespect to Brentford, who certainly push the right buttons, but more an observation about football in general. How do a club really nail their colours to the mast? Or, rather, their kit?

German club VfL Bochum have long been noted amongst supporters for their late 90s kits, which sported the rainbow colours so closely associated with the LGBT community on one half of the chest. Yet whatever the connotations of this colour scheme, this  was no precursor to the FvH campaign.

Instead it was a case of taking sponsorship to Coventry City levels (the Sky Blues famously attempting to bypass football regulations by incorporating Talbot’s ’T’ directly into their early 80’s kit design). The rainbow colour scheme was actually that of club sponsors Faber, who ran the German lottery. However well meaning this shirt may be considered by the casual observer, it was chosen for nothing more than commercial gain.

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The Bochum kit (with Faber logo inset)

But it did get me thinking. Why not introduce the rainbow colours to a shirt? Even just for one match ? Event specific shirts are hardly uncommon these days and it would be a wonderful way to bring awareness to a new level. Nobody could deny the that the Bochum effort got people talking, even if for the wrong reasons.

One can only presume that contractual / commercial reasons would probably get in the way of such an enterprise before it got off the drawing board. Yet if any club and Adidas wanted to lead the way in throwing their support behind the FvH campaign, then what a groundbreaking way to do it? Even if just by tweaking the colour scheme on the famous shoulder stripes?

Bochum have shown this could be done, albeit by accident. How about Brentford do it for real ?

I’d be proud to wear this or some similar variant. Even if it was for one night only.

Would you?

 

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Could this be in Bob’s locker next season?

Nick Bruzon

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As Birmingham City await, the Bees help give homophobia the boot

25 Nov

Saturday afternoon sees Brentford host Birmingham City in front of what is sure to be a big crowd at Griffin Park. Will the Bees get back to winning ways? Can the Blues continue a run of form which has seen them climb to fifth in the Championship table? Will this one peter out to a draw as two normally tight defences come head to head?

Whatever the result, there is as much significance in matters surrounding the game as there is when Mr Madley (Andy, not Robert of Leyton Orient infamy) puts the whistle to his lips and blows to start proceedings at 3pm. It is Rainbow Laces weekend. A weekend where Brentford  have joined forces with Stonewall to demonstrate that homophobia is unacceptable whilst making it clear that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are welcome at every level of sport. And with apologies to the club for shamelessly lifting from their own article (which, if you’d like to read more, you can do so in full here in full here) thousands of people across Britain, from fans to players, will lace up this weekend as part of a UK-wide campaign to make sport everyone’s game.

It is an event that I gather the club have been planning since September, Captain Harlee Dean has already been pictured in the promotional photographs whilst the matchday programme features a quite wonderful piece of cover art. Hats off to the club for looking to innovate here. We’ve already had a fan designed front page feature on the award winning edition produced for the Barnsley game but this takes things to another level. Classy art and a campaign that, one would hope, all supporters can give their backing to. Great job to all in the media dept and the team behind the programme.

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This is a subject we’ve looked at before, during ‘Football v Homophobia’ (FvH) month a couple of years ago. It is one that is close to my heart and primarily because prejudice and bigotry are a neanderthal attiude that would, frankly, be an insult to neanderthals. But, equally, for no other reason than for some years now the ever-evolving group of friends I watch The Bees with has included a couple whom, for months, I had no clue were in a same sex relationship. And why would it even matter? For me, it’s all about supporting my team with my friends.

What difference does it make to you? What difference would it actually make if the likes of Sam Saunders, Harlee Dean or anybody at our club were to tell you they were lesbian, gay, bi or trans?  To be quite honest one or all of them might be. I just don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t care. Without wanting to get preachy, an individual’s sexual preference is a relevant to me as what they order off the menu at Nandos (the staple hang out of footballers after training, if social media is to be believed) . I neither know or, more importantly, care.

That isn’t meant to trivialise the issues faced by the LBGT community. Quite the opposite. I just genuinely don’t understand why other people get so hung up about it.

I’ve been coming to Brentford since the late 1970s and, thankfully, unless I am being horrendously naïve, homophobia isn’t an issue that usually rears its head on the terraces. My own son has been joining me at games for three seasons now and I love the fact that we have such an inclusive atmosphere at Griffin Park. If there wasn’t one, we wouldn’t be here.

That said, I’ve personally been witness to the odd incident this season whilst most people with eyes on the game or social media accounts will be aware that this is still a larger issue in football. Just look at the press surrounding the unsavoury build up to this year’s League Cup tie between West Ham and Chelsea.

However, the difference now is that whilst this may have been ‘the norm’ back in the 70s and 80s, people are realising that in the 21st Century it is just unacceptable behaviour. And, quite rightly, they are  pushing back on it. Whether in as simple a form as asking fellow fans to hold back on the language or in a more sweeping statement such as the one made by the club in dedicating their programme cover to raising awareness. It is a wonderful gesture and, certainly, one publication I’ll be looking to pick up in or around the ground this weekend.

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Harlee Dean shows his support

Nick Bruzon

QPR – Brentford game gives additional food for thought.

30 Oct

QPR 0 Brentford 2. Sorry. Just had to say that again. Our first win at Loftus Road since the mid-60s is something worth celebrating. Moreso, given the manner in which it was achieved.

Yesterday’s column looked at the highlights and (mostly) positives from that game but one thing missing from that one was a reminder of footballing past. Not the QPR fans fighting amongst themselves, as has been widely reported but more an attitude on show that was, perhaps, more associated to the era of our previous victory in Shepherds Bush.

1894 – Nettie Honeywell founds the British Ladies’ Football Club “With the fixed resolve of proving to the world that women are not the ‘ornamental and useless’ creatures men have pictured”.

1920 – 53,000 turn up on Boxing Day to watch Dick Kerr’s Ladies of Preston play St. Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park.

1921 – The FA bans Women’s football from being played in grounds used by it’s member clubs.

1969 – The Women’s Football Association (WFA) is created with 44 member clubs.

1971 – FA lifts the aforementioned stadium ban.

1991  – Wendy Toms becomes the first women named as a ‘fourth official’ in the English football league. A role followed by her being named the Leagues first female referees’ assistant in 1994, before eventually graduating to the Premier League.

1999 – Over 90,000 spectators attended the Women’s World Cup Final.

2015 – England come third in the Women’s World Cup.

2016 – Ginsters launch their ‘food for hungry men’ campaign at EFL grounds in England.

Welcome to the strange world of football, 2016.

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After the important message delivered by the FA in regards to their views on the role of women in football with the five game ban handed out to Brentford midfielder Alan McCormack for abuse to an official including reference to gender, this is what we get.

At a time when child obesity is at an all time high and we are doing everything possible to encourage healthy lifestyle through fast paced sporting activity rather than fast food, this is what we get.

When the women’s game continues to evolve and becomes more popular than ever before, this is what we get. An advert that comes across as sexist and stupid. Hungry men are welcome, but hungry women better go elsewhere.

Come on. It’s the 21st century; not the 1920s. Is there really any need for this? Is it even appropriate? With discrimination against women and homophobic ranting quite rightly castigated as a by-product of darker times that needs to be eradicated, we’re offered what is at best a strange celebration of macho culture and at worst comes over as stealth sexism.

Would it have been possible for the EFL to tell Ginsters where to stick their snacks? Should they have done or is it simply an over-reaction? For all their promotion of gender issues and healthy living when it suits, to then take this style of advertising revenue seems somewhat case of double standards.

The eagle eyed amongst you have may have noticed a similar advertisement  in prime position by each of the goals at Griffin Park earlier in the season. These have since been removed but were, from what I understand, part of a centrally driven advertising campaign rather than any proactive effort from Brentford to try and corner the pasty market.

Look, I’m not a complete idiot. I get that a pie, along with the half time bovril, is part of football’s rich tapestry. Indeed, I’ve had many a ‘chicken balti’ at Griffin Park whilst was once lucky enough to try the boardroom specials (and they are a culinary treat that would have Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood salivating).

But why should this be exclusive to men? Why should our female fans be deemed surplus to requirements when the chance comes to quash their hunger with these artery-busting treats? Why should progressive, family clubs such as Brentford be dragged along with, and tainted by, an advertising campaign that seems very much a relic of the past?

Quite simply, would it have been that hard to swap the word ‘men’ with ‘fans’ ?

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Nick Bruzon

Get your hands on a signed shirt while we await a strip tease

10 Jun

The Brentford pre-season countdown is on.

Season tickets bought for dad and junior – check.

Booked some risky weekends away that could clash with any number of games when the fixture list is released – check.

New home shirt – no sighting.

I admit it. I have an unhealthy obsession with this as any regular reader to this column will know. And one of the highlights of close (or is it closed?) season is the release of next year’s kit.

Despite clubs normally releasing theirs at a rate of knots, so far only 9 of the 24 Championship teams have shown their colours so Brentford aren’t alone. And of those 9, just Ipswich Town and Rotherham United are the only ones to release their full range. Truly, it is a torturous wait.

When it happens, Brentford do make a habit of doing things differently, although we are yet to match Blackburn Rovers’ effort from last season (below). Infact, to be fair, no club is yet to match Blackburn Rovers’ effort from last season – a stunning masterclass in video. It was a great effort, on a par with Southampton’s teaser campaign this time around.

Birdy – dressed for success. Off the pitch, at least

That’s not to say we don’t try to be different. The 2011 away shirt was revealed in the window of a bath showroom (being the then sponsors), whilst last year saw the five day drip feed campaign aka Mark Devlin’s strip tease.

Brentford launched the 2011 away shirt in a sponsor's shop front

Brentford launched the 2011 away shirt in a sponsor’s shop front

I really enjoyed this and hope we do something similar this time around, when the news is eventually able to be revealed (twelve months ago we were already ‘in the know’). Let’s just hope the away shirt doesn’t follow the same path of the unfortunate leak that occurred and somewhat killed the magic.

But, if you can’t wait then there is other shirt news. What better way to celebrate last season than with a fully signed squad shirt?

Get your own fully squad signed shirt

Get your own fully squad signed shirt

There are six of these currently on eBay; being auctioned by Sky Bet with 100% of the proceeds going to the Reverse Rett charity – the only UK charity exclusively focused on speeding treatments and a cure for Rett Syndrome ( a neurological disorder that strikes little girls around the time of their first birthday affecting nearly every aspect of their lives; taking away their ability to walk, talk and use their hands) and related MECP2 Disorders.

Be quick though. The auctions end at midday today (Wednesday) so speed is of the essence. A fantastic chance to do your bit for a great cause and, at the same time, pick up a stunning souvenir of an incredible 2014/15.

You can bid on the shirts here. Good luck.

And if anybody at the club is reading, then we await the date / other shirt news with intrigue. Or, at least, I do…

 If you do want to read more about the events of 2014/15 (shirt and football related), 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.