Tag Archives: Milton Keynes Dons

Move along, nothing to see here (especially for travelling fans)

12 Nov

Welcome back, Brentford fans. The Last Word has had a few days off as I’ve been concentrating on MK Dons (I suppose somebody has to) ahead of their visit next month. And what a few days it has been. We’ll be bang up to date with the Burnley TV announcement which has followed what could, politely, be called a period of ‘managerial upheaval’. Chris Ramsey at QPR – gone! Kit Symons at Fulham – gone! Gary Bowyer at Blackburn Rovers – gone. And all this hot on the heels of Guy Luzon at Charlton going before most fans had even left South-East London last month.

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

Defeat to the Bees saw the end of Guy Luzon at Charlton

As I said after Ramsey’s departure, I take no pleasure in seeing anybody lose his or her job. Those sentiments still hold true. We’ve been through it ourselves already this season when the Marinus experiment (something that even now sounds like the sort of prog rock band BBC Billy Reeves might listen to whilst compiling a match report) came to a somewhat premature conclusion.

However, what is interesting to note is how soon these dismissals came after the respective teams had played Brentford. Blackburn dismissed Gary Bowyer after our 1-1 at Ewood Park, Luzon had gone within moments of Charlton being hammered 3-0 by the Bees at the Valley whilst at least QPR gave Chris Ramsey one more game after they’d lost to us. Then swung the axe.

Is there anything more to this than coincidence? Are Brentford still viewed by others as the yardstick of mediocrity? And, as such, failure to beat us is deemed to be the final straw on the proverbial camel’s back?

Anybody who saw what we did last season would be a fool to subscribe to that theory. Likewise, those who have troubled to actually look at what we have done this time around, especially under Lee Carsley. But people are very much set in their ways and attitudes, choosing to sneer about ‘stats’ and still laugh off Brentford as some insignificance of minor irritant – much like a mosquito troubling a T-Rex.

And that’s just the way I like it. We’ve now got international break where, subject to injuries, the likes of Alan Judge and Lasse Vibe could be on duty whilst John Swift has been called up for the England U-21s. Instead, those outside TW8 will no doubt overlook all this, which suits me fine.

Forget ‘Little old Brentford’ (urghh). Forget ‘#BigNewAmbitions’ (please, can we all forget about that). Move along, there’s nothing to see here. Let people ignore us or dismiss us. We’ve got ten days to drift into the back of peoples’ consciousness once more and continue our discreet push up the blindside of the Championship table. Moreso, with the likes of Jota and Sam Saunders pushing for selection, we’ve only got more opportunity to spring a few surprises.

Jota's Instagram account gives encouraging news

Jota’s Instagram account gives encouraging news

And then Sky TV has come along to promptly ruin things for us with that rarest of things – a televised Championship game that doesn’t involved Leeds United. Instead, our game at home to Burnley has now been brought forward to Friday January 15th at 7.45pm.

From a timing perspective, this one is a nightmare. Saturday 9 January (subject to TV, of course) sees the FA Cup third round. We then entertain Middlesbrough on Tuesday night – a huge challenge in it’s own right given recent form between our respective teams – before lining up against Burnley just three days after that.

It’s always a busy time of the year, no question, but purely from a fitness perspective to deny ourselves that extra night to recover can’t be a great thing. Middlesbrough and Burnley are at the business end of the table for good reason. They’ll be tough enough opponents as it is, without things being made any harder for us by powers outside of our control.

Then there are supporters. Not all of us have the luxury of living in West London. Whilst many do, there are a lot of Bees for whom the trek to Griffin Park is a carefully planned ritual. As one terrace observer put it to me last night, “It’s annoying. I can pull the ‘leave early/work from home’ thing every so often but twice in a week is now book a holiday or choose a game I’ll have to miss.”

@Gandalf3819 was equally frustrated on Twitter last night, adding, “That’s great, another game missed because some of us do shift work! Talk about selling our soul!” This was promptly followed by a hashtag that I don’t think the club will be using on the next marketing campaign.

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Andre is coming back sooner than we thought (even without brackets)

Look. I have no doubt we’ll be told that this is totally outside of our control but, equally, I’d be interested to hear how hard we have fought against this. Or, indeed, does the club actually believe that it is in our own interests – after all, we do get increased revenue from the TV money.

With success comes TV money and the price of that is fixture upheaval. Just imagine what would have happened had we actually made it to the Premier League this season. I accept all that but did it really have to be that weekend?

The fans could be paying out for three games in a 7(seven) day stretch immediately after the Christmas and New Year period. A problem further compounded by the fact that Season Tickets don’t cover the FA Cup.

As for the players. Well, our squad may be big but it is notoriously fragile. One New Road wag asked me last week if Lewis Macleod is actually made out of balsa wood, following his latest setback for the development squad. The prospect of three games in such close proximity is one that must have the medics quaking and the recovery coach (I’m sure we must have one) filling the ice bath already.

Hey, it could just be me and, actually, people welcome this. That’s football and this is my opinion. However, I’m keen to see if the club or even BIAS, the independent voice of Brentford supporters, make any further comment.

Moving on, I mentioned MK Dons and their temporary role in shutting own the Last Word at the top end of this column. Well, my focus on them has been in regards to the ‘kit obsessive‘ article that appears in the matchday magazine. Specifically, as they’ve presented a challenge even bigger than facing Middlesbrough, Burnley and Team X over the space of a week. From a kit article perspective.

Whilst other clubs have afforded us the luxury of over a century worth of shirt design to select from, with MK we have just over a decade.

A mere 11 home shirts since they forced their way into existence has made it somewhat of a tougher challenge than normal. But after trawling through a back catalogue skimpier than Britney Spears swimsuit, we’re there.

And I think you might like this one. Well, I hope you might like this one. You might like this one.

On December 5th you can make up your own minds. Enjoy.

Nick Bruzon