Tag Archives: James Norwood

New striker signing could see football’s most iconic shirt deal in tatters.

19 Jul

Sure, Manchester United may have finally beaten Brentford in the race to Christian Eriksen’s signature (a wait that has taken them almost as long as that for a league title). Yes, we’re all seeing the same clickbait ’stories’ about Ivan Toney – move along, nothing to see here and then insert emoji of your choice. The question of which defenders will be fit for the start of the season hangs heavy in the air, as Thomas evaded that question on Saturday with all the ease of Mathias Jensen playing a through ball. Besides, there are wonderful new signings in the shape of Keane Lewis-Potter, Aaron Hickey and Albania international goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, who has swapped Lazio for Manchester United Lionel Road. Fair to say there’s plenty going on at present yet the top, top news is a story which you may well have missed. It comes to us from Barnsley via Ipswich Town and Tranmere Rovers, amongst others. Prolific striker James Norwood has found a new home but, in the process, has inadvertently ruined one of football’s greatest bromances. Namely, that with his long-running shirt sponsor – Bees’ fan, err, James Norwood.

James Norwood, left. And right.

Those of us with an interest in all things EFL will be familiar with James Norwood  – the player. The lower league goal machine who has been banging them in for fun since 2009. Primarily at Tranmere Rovers but more recently doing the business for Ipswich Town. Supporting him all the way on this journey through the footballing pyramid has been namesake James Norwood. A Brentford fan as well known in TW8 as being the one who these days lives in California yet seems to have an incredible knack for making it to most games. Something which, for the record, has been as applicable to our time in League Two as it is now we’ve made it up the charts.

James (our James) is a man for whom the initial novelty of sponsoring the player at Forest Green Rovers has turned into an almost ritualistic routine of keeping that run going. From The New Lawn to Prenton Park, James has been there. Perhaps not making it over for every ‘meet the player’ bash but still with another shirt for the wardrobe and another programme entry saying: James Norwood. Sponsored by: James Norwood. Something which in itself could well cause those out of the loop to think the talismanic goal scorer was also somewhat of a narcissist. For the record, he isn’t. As far as I know. 

The move to Ipswich Town in 2019 saw James continue his fine run of sponsorship form. Norwood and Norwood becoming a partnership as well known in club circles as Morecambe & Wise. Ant and Dec. Guns ’N Roses.

Mrs. Norwood, perhaps, wondering why her husband keeps running off to Europe to hang out with a footballer from teams he doesn’t even support. At face value, her confusion perhaps understandable but you can’t put a price on a great tradition. Moreso, one which has been going so strongly for so long. Until now, where disaster has struck…..

After three seasons at Portman Road, Norwood was released by Ipswich at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. Barnsley made their move and two days ago our man signed for the Oakwell club. All well and good except herein lies the problem. The Barnsley Supporters Club have moved faster than Toby Tyke in a mascot race (oh, we haven’t forgotten at Brentford…..) to secure the prestigious player sponsorship slot. 

Norwood is now a Tyke

You can’t blame them. A new hero joining the ranks and the chance to associate themselves with this footballing demi-god.

The not so good news is that it means our James Norwood is now out in the cold. His fine run over and the chance to continue football’s longest running  / most bizarre shirt sponsorship now in ruins.

There was nothing malicious about the new incumbents’ move. How were they to know up front?

The question now being whether fair play, gallantry and a sense of honour may intervene to see them step aside? A question of whether Barnsley can do anything to help broker a truce that would see this long running saga continue?

Come on Barnsley. Come on CEO, Khaled El-Ahmad. Is there ANYTHING you can do? Otherwise, this one will end with James Norwood (our James Norwood) forever remaining an ex-tractor fan.

Might this one see an 11th hour reprieve?

Nick Bruzon 

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Is there any Bank holiday fallout or just some perspective?

31 Aug

Calmed down yet after the Reading result? Some Brentford fans were sending Twitter into a GPG level of meltdown last night with a series of rants that were as tragic as they were hilarious. I love this club as much as anybody but we’re only played four league games this season. Brentford have an identical record to Chelsea (P4 W1 D1 L2) and victory in the ‘games in hand’ will take us to within a point of the play offs.

Absolutely, some of the ‘sideways’ football being played has been at odds with what we have been used to recently but as has been said before, we do have a new team. Likewise, the sale and replacement of club favourites has been frustrating for many and I can well sympathise with that, too.

If anything, we’ve been spoiled rotten by success over the previous four or five seasons. I’ve seem some real dross at Griffin Park in the 35+ years I’ve been a supporter yet the last few campaigns have been nothing brilliant. We don’t have a divine right to win anything or buy our way to the top like Chelsea or Manchester City (who found another £55 million just yesterday for Kevin de Bruyne).

Instead, I’d love to see some positivity and get some perspective. And let’s start with the head coach. It would be wonderful if Marinus could get involved a bit with the players or with the fans. This may not be his style and he may not feel he needs to but, come on man, go through the motions at the very least.

Clearly he has passion and cares – look at the tongue-lashings administered to the fourth officials. So why does this not carry over to the crowd or the players – at least in the public eye?

Marinus can cut a lone figure as he observes the 'action'

Marinus can cut a lone figure as he observes the ‘action’

It’s amazing the psychological impact that having a manager (whatever) who seems to give a damn can have on the supporters. I wrote yesterday that this lack of interaction, “still sits uncomfortably with me. It really will be something we all have to adjust to over the coming months.” And adjust we will, but it would be nice if Marinus could make some attempt to meet us half way.

Then there are the fans at Griffin Park. Supporter James Norwood contacted me yesterday with his own thoughts on the atmosphere, or lack of, saying:

“I have never, ever seen Griffin Park so silent. Seen, as I couldn’t hear anything, except the Reading fans who cheered on their team throughout. The score line and the teams’ on field efforts reflected the silence. I tweeted as such and many Reading fans (unfortunately) retweeted it. These are young men and they got minimal support from the stands.

The entire first half, we applauded but we never sang a note. The vocal fans from Berkshire helped out with choruses of “Your support is f*****g s**t,” and “shall we sing a song for you.” No wonder we were 2 nil down by the break and lucky not to be 5 nil down.”

He goes on with his analysis, noting: “How different from the atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium and the free flowing football thanks to the referee Martin Atkinson, who offered a refreshing approach after the disaster of the referee who officiated our match with Reading and in the words of Belle and Sebastian “gave us f**k all.”

I am a Brentford fan and I have been so since 1992 and will be until the day I die, but I have never known any other club to give so little in terms of vocal support. Yes, we pay, yes we show up, and yes we are great critics, but we’re not great supporters and that translates into the players confidence on the field.

Maxime Colin, in his Brentford website interview ahead of his first game said “I hope that I will play my first home game on Saturday. My friends tell me that the fans are very loud and strongly behind the team.” I think he was thinking about another team.“

Ok. Time for a bit of positivity with the ‘other stuff’ from the weekend. Amidst all the noise I’ve not seen much mention of how well the pitch took following the previously documented debacle. As one observer on the New Road noted: ‘No holes or sand, took the water well and played nicely when we bothered

At least that is one area we should, all being well, not need to worry about ongoing.

The pitch (c/o James Norwood) looked lot better than Reading's kit

The pitch (c/o James Norwood) looked lot better than Reading’s kit

And then there was Channel 5 and their latest episode of Football League Tonight. It seems they have taken further feedback on board with another attempt to remove the gormless planks standing behind Kelly and George from our eyeline.

I don’t mean Adam Virgo but, rather, the additional supporters loitering near the ‘big screens’ and studio walls, cluttering up every interview shot.

Whilst a few still remained visible, the vast majority are now ‘off camera’, meaning we could focus on the (still somewhat awkward) interviews.

These loitering numpties are a thing of the past . Virgo remains

These loitering numpties are a thing of the past . Virgo remains

This show lurched onto our screens as a screaming car crash but the producers have, to be fair, listened to what supporters want and, over the course of the next few weeks, moved to a more traditional model.

There’s a crowbarred analogy I could stick in here but not even I’m that unsubtle. Instead, let’s just all have some faith.

And, finally, Jota has had a haircut. The talismanic midfielder may currently be suffering from an ankle injury but he took to social media at the weekend (Instantgram, I believe) to show off his new look. I’ll leave the sartorial comments to his admirers, of whom there seem to be a few, and instead let’s just hope this throws any would-be suitors off the scent ahead of the transfer window slamming shut on Tuesday.

Same player; new hair. Move along, there's no Jota here

Same player; new hair. Move along, there’s no Jota here