Tag Archives: Mark Warburont

Joyless Joey misses the point as Fulham await Bees

31 Mar

This time next week Brentford will have a much better idea of how serious our Championship promotion aspirations are. We’ll be waking up after the home game against Nottingham Forest whilst, before that, comes the trip to Fulham on Friday.

I really cannot wait for that one. Its been a long time coming and with over 6,000 Brentford fans present, The Cottage is sure to be rocking – as much as it can rock, given the deluge of foam hands reported to be on display. It would be fair to say that both Fulham fans and Bees are anticipating a lively afternoon with several of our respective ‘forums’ – cottagecorner and the GPG (amongst others) – running lengthy streams on what this game means and what they are expecting.

It's tight at the top with 7(seven) left to play

It’s tight at the top with 7(seven) left to play

For me, it is simply a chance to get another three points whilst, if we are successful, helping push our neighbours another step close to relegation. I’d love to take the moral high ground and say ‘this is just another game, with wining the most important thing’, but local pride counts for one hell of a lot. And whilst, sadly, Blackpool, Wigan Athletic and Millwall seem to be doing everything possible to tie up the bottom three, I can still dream.

We haven’t played each other too much in recent seasons but whenever the F word is mentioned I’m instantly taken back to season 1991/92. A 1-0 win at Fulham on October 5th (my 21st birthday game and one from which I still have the away shirt given that day –and will be worn on Friday) was followed by that end of season 4-0 demolition at Griffin Park.

Four up at half time, it was one of the most astounding performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing and, of course, was soon followed by promotion at Peterborough United. It’s probably an omen too far to compare this one to that but, at the least, we have already won the first game – the late, late show in front of the TV cameras at Griffin Park in November. Jota was the man of the moment, following up Harlee’s thunderbolt as a dominant Brentford turned around a 1-0 deficit.

Equally though, it’ll be great to get back to League action after an international break that seems to have lasted longer than Ray Biggar doing ‘injury time’. The positives have seen impressive performances from the likes of Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas and Alex Pritchard (who made it onto the pitch again last night during England U-21’s 3-2 win over Germany).

The downside of all this international football, lack of Championship programme aside, has been having to listen to the gumph spouted by Joey Barton about the likes of Gibraltar competing in the qualifying groups. Truly he is a joyless man (and that’s probably the politest thing I can say about him in print).

Not withstanding the rights of these UEFA members to compete (and nobody needs another lecture on the struggle Gibraltar have been through to become ‘team 54’), if you do away with anybody not deemed of sufficient stock then one wonders what is the point of even having a qualifying tournament.

Of 54 UEFA members, 24 will make it to the finals anyway – just under half. By Barton’s logic (surely an oxymoron if ever I heard one), why not take things a step further, dispense totally with the chance of upsets, romance, competition and just jump straight to a semi final pool involving Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy?

Let’s be honest, the likes of Scotland or Wales aren’t going to trouble anybody once we get to the finals in 2016 so what’s the point of cluttering the calendar giving them a chance to qualify or, heaven forbid, allowing them to play competitive football rather than friendlies?

Nobody has divine right to be ‘any good’. English teams aren’t exactly blazing a trail in European competition whilst the World Cup was hardly a glorious triumph (for the one ‘Home Nation’ to qualify). Despite the hype, it’s been a long while since the engravers have even had to be placed on standby yet the likes of Barton seem to think that only one result ever counts – England 1966. Move on Joey, wonderful though that was the footballing landscape has changed. Football is constantly talking about inclusivity – pushing teams that UEFA have granted membership to outside of their competition is hardly the way to demonstrate this.

This is one you could write a book on and, frankly, I’ve got better things to do than overly concentrate on the International game in a, predominantly, domestic column. But I couldn’t end this without a big ‘congratulations’ to Lee Casciaro and his Gibraltar team mates.

Their equaliser at Hampden Park against Scotland on Sunday was the stuff of dreams. A first ever goal in International competition for the boys from the Rock.

Us Brentford fans, of anybody, should know what it feels like to defy expectation this season. Whilst I can’t see Gibraltar coming close to being at the business end of qualifying for a while, the time will come.

Still, with the greatest respect to Gibraltar, for me it is all about Fulham on Friday. Bring it on….

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Sky viewers saw Lee Casciaro make history