Tag Archives: Frankie goes to Hollywood

Lewis will stay another day. How about Scott as Santa Saunds does his thing and FA get heavy

21 Dec

Well that was a day of seasonal good news. Brentford were very much in the festive mood as Lewis Macleod was given a contract extension despite his long term injury whilst down the road at West Middlesex Hospital, the squad were very much doing their own ‘Santa’ thing. Not so seasonal, but of equal interest to Bees fans, was the five match ban handed out to Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United for racial abuse. This, given a similar punishment suffered by our own Alan McCormack back in October.

First up though, the positive news. Brentford have shown many times how we look after our own. There  is the well documented way that Scott Hogan was treated during his own lengthy recovery period (18 months out) after suffering that awful injury just a few games into his Griffin Park career. First class medical treatment all the way and a contract extension were the order of the day as the club showed huge faith in a player who has since began to pay that back in bucketloads.

Scott’s goalscoring record is such that there is genuine worry amongst the Bees faithful we’ll be cashing in come January. He went on that stunning run towards the end of last season as he edged his way back to full fitness whilst now, only Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United sits above him in the scoring charts. Imagine those two together. Actually, don’t. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Then there was the contract extension offered to Jota as our talismanic midfielder (if Sam Saunders was Spanish….) was allowed to go back to Spain on loan, for personal reasons. Who could forget his letter to supporters at the time where he promised that , “This isn’t “goodbye” but more of a “see you later” ? Who could forget our own signal to the player in offering him a contract extension despite the fact he was moving away from Griffin Park – albeit a move that, despite our deepest fears, one still hopes remains a temporary decision.

And now Lewis Macleod has become the latest beneficiary of Matthew Benham’s backing of his players as the former Rangers man has been give a year’s contract extension which will see him tied to Griffin Park until the summer of 2019. This, despite like Scott at the time of his injury, barely a handful of appearances since joining the club and the youngster now facing a long period on the sidelines.

When the road to recovery must seem long and torturous, with no guarantees at the end of it, one can’t begin to imagine what a boost this faith in individuals must be. At a time when all around are getting on with what they do best – playing football – to see how much we value those on the sidelines and are prepared to make such a public statement of belief is a huge, huge thing. We’ve done it in thee past and no doubt will do it again.  Here’s hoping for a Hoganesque payback when Lewis is fully fit.

It was interesting, also, how he got into the festive spirit by emulating one time Christmas chart toppers East 17. The boy band, of course, occupying the penthouse suite at the hit parade hotel back in December 1994 with their ‘Stay Another Day’ single.

Despite being number one at Christmas, rather than an actual Christmas record in the vein of Slade, Wizzard, Coldplay or Shakin’ Stevens (whose own effort is not only the best Christmas song of all time but the best pop single. Ever), the band’s use of fake snow and furry parka jackets in the promo video now sees them embedded deep into festive culture. (See also: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – The Power of Love. Not a Christmas record yet still now considered one based upon the time of release)

As such, it was great to see Lewis getting involved with his own choice of seasonal attire at yesterday’s contract signing. As ever you can read the full story, with the proper photographs, on ‘official’.

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Next up, Sam Saunders. Can he do anything wrong? No, being the answer as the ever popular midfielder was amongst those who made the trip to West Mid to hand out Christmas presents to children on the Starlight Ward. The pictures and the comments from the players on Social media spoke for themselves and showed, yet again, just how much this club does for our own local community.

One can’t begin to think what it is like for these youngsters to be in hospital at any point, let alone during the Christmas season – a period that traditionally sees celebrations at home and time spent with friends and family over the prolonged school holidays. As such, a gesture of this nature is one that can only be very well received. Wonderful work from all at Griffin Park. Yet again.

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From the positive to the not so. The story of Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey being given a five game ban for what is described as : “Aggravated Breach as defined in Rule E3(2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality” is one that hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst our own support.

Of course, we have our own parallel with the five game sentence handed down to Macca back in October after he was found guilty of : Using abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official in the 52nd minute of the game against Cardiff City on 19 April 2016, contrary to FA Rule E3(1) . Moreso, given his offence was, “An “aggravated breach” as defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference to gender.

Back then this column wondered : This is a huge ban and if nothing else Alan would seem to be patient zero when the FA have decided to clamp down hard. Yet, also, they’ve now drawn a line in the sand which I’ll be very keen to see how strongly they enforce ongoing.

And here is your answer. Another breach of rule E3(2) and another five game ban. If players were operating in a new environment about what is deemed acceptable before, there can be no doubt now. Speak in such a manner towards officials or fellow pros – pay a very heavy penalty.

From an on-pitch perspective, it means Shelvey will be missing when Newcastle United come to Griffin Park for the televised game in January 16th. He’ll be a huge loss to the Magpies, if his performance on our own trip to the North-East was anything to go by. At one point it looked as though he was going to inspire a Geordie bracketing as the home team set off at 100mph, with the Bees caught cold in the starting blocks, and Shelvey providing ‘assists’ for fun.

I can’t pretend to take any pleasure from a story of this nature on a day of such seasonal goodwill. But, at the same time, it would be hypocritical not to realise what a helping hand it offers us. Knowing that Newcastle will be missing one of their danger men, and the architect of our own downfall last time out, when the battle of the Championship’s leading scorers takes place.

Still, all that is some time off. For now, we’ve got Christmas to look forward to and the hope that Scott is still a Bee by the time that game takes place. I’ve no doubt our faith in the player will be rewarded come January…..

Nick Bruzon

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Don’t do it Buzzette – when mascots lose their head.

4 Mar

It would be fair to say that Brentford mascots Buzz Bee and Buzzette are two of the better behaved in the football world . From Wolves to Wolfsburg and Dunfermline to Swansea, the age-old matter of mascots getting ‘carried away’ was brought to the fore again at the weekend.

You’ve probably seen the video clip sweeping the Internet from Sunday’s Bundesliga encounter between 1899 Hoffenheim and Vfl Wolfsburg. The game has since attracted the public interest  – less for the 8 goals and more for the ‘accident’ that befell the home team’s mascot, Hoffi the Moose, as they notched their fourth goal of a 6-2 win.

Rushing to celebrate with the players on the pitch, rather than leap the barriers Hoffi managed to trip over them and, quite literally, lost his head . For those who’ve had theirs buried in the footballing sand – which is almost where Hoffi ended up –  you can see the incident here.

Seeing this has put my in mind of some of the more infamous mascot moments. Whilst the downside of the next clip means you need to sit through a few seconds of Angus Deayton, stick with it. It’s the moment where Brentford’s League one rivals Wolves,  saw their ‘Wolfie’ take on all three of Bristol City’s ‘little pigs’ single-handed.

Sadly (for research purposes), I’ve been unable to unearth any footage of Swansea’s ‘Cyril the Swan’ who, amongst other misdemeanours, once performed a pitch invasion that culminated in his ripping the head off Millwall’s Zampa the Lion.

Cyril then proceeded to drop kick it into the crowd. That said, you can still read the original BBC report (check out the ‘old school’ internet) here.

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Cyril – about to punt Zampa’s into the back of the Cyg-net

However, my particular ‘lowlight’ of mascot mayhem is, almost certainly, Dunfermline’s Sammy the Tammy. Back in April 2011, he took to the field in a derby game with local rivals Raith Rovers in a home made tank before marching to the half way line and appearing to take pot shots at the opposition fans.

All this accompanied by the subtle soundtrack of ‘Two Tribes’ (go to war)., by pop music’s Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

The moment has been recorded for posterity, with Tammy losing his head (metaphorically rather than literally) about three minutes in.

Whilst there is nothing positive to be said about football violence, there is something mildly amusing about a punch up between a six foot anthromphised Wolf and some equally weighted piglets.

However, even I would draw the line at Buzz Bee, in a home-made Sherman, taking aim at the Fulham fans next season.