Tag Archives: Victoria Stadium

Get the goal, slow it down and secure the win. Easy !! And a possible ‘best ever’ shirt.

26 Mar

Well that was some weekend. Despite Brentford not being in action due to International weekend, the cause of our lay off has not been without it’s talking points. Alan Judge completed an emotional return to the Republic of Ireland team despite his side going down in Turkey. England fans completed an embarrassing return to Amsterdam despite the team going on to register a win. Over in Gibraltar, Liam Walker of Notts County scored the only goal of the game as the boys from the Rock beat Latvia 1-0, despite never having previously registered a win as a full member of FIFA. Get in you beauties! And could Andreas Bjelland be turning out in the mother of all shirts for Denmark tomorrow night?

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What a win for Gibraltar

We can only start with Gibraltar. Despite being 16/1 to beat a Latvia team who sit 75 places above them in the FIFA rankings, a return to the Victoria Stadium across the road from the airport after a two year soujourn in Portgual came with the most wonderful of results.

You can’t ask for anything more than a clean sheet, a goal and a win on your return home. And that’s what we got. Liam Walker stepping up after a tense game to hit the most delicious of dead ball winners, Sam Saunders style, with the clock almost at it’s denouement.

What a moment.  A first victory on home soil. A first victory as a FIFA member. A first clean sheet in, erm, some years. Regular readers to these pages will know of Gibraltar’s goals ‘against’ being the international equivalent of Birmingham City or Leeds United. Fishing the ball out of the net has been a lot easier then putting it in there. A statement that is made with absolutely zero offence intended. A statement made by somebody who has played (badly) at the same stadium that Walker made his mark and who was there as Belgium went beyond brackets late last summer.

The strides that Gibraltar have made on the international stage since becoming members of UEFA in 2013, for a nation of their size, have been vastly impressive. Both at international and also club level where Celtic were, of course, beaten by Lincoln red Imps in a 2016 Champions League Qualifier

And now we have a win. This is a moment of huge significance and how appropriate that it is Liam Walker who should get the goal. The record cap holder and, with this strike, heading to the top of the scoring charts. Whilst the Chipolinas and Casciaros of this world are, perhaps, the household names it is Walker who is currently ploughing a lone furrow as Gibraltar’s ‘export’ to the English football league.

Plying his trade for a Notts County team very much at the business end of the League Two table. A Notts County team that knocked Brentford out of the FA Cup in the third round and for whom Walker came on to the Griffin Park pitch to shore things up late on when the teams met back in January. We noted then his prowess and now it has been demonstrated in the most visible and global of styles.

Get the goal, slow it down and secure the win. Next stop, the Nations League in the autumn. Easy. In theory. I can’t wait.

The. Moment. Danny Higginbotham, eat your heart out

Before that is the World Cup. Whilst Ireland didn’t make it this time, we can’t let the moment of Alan Judge’s return to international football pass without mention. If Gibraltar’s win was of huge national significance, Alan’s own appearance was equally significant – purely for personal reasons.

We all know how he was set for Euro 2016 until that horrific assault at Portman Road left him with a double leg break that has taken the best part of two years to recover from. It is a journey that we have all taken alongside him in spirit although one cannot begin to envisage the tremendous psychological and mental fortitude that has been required to get him through what must have been some dark hours. Let alone the physical recovery.

Alan’s tweet – simple but beautiful

To see Alan put on a Brentford shirt once more has been a thing of beauty for Bees fans. Yet to see him in his national shirt really was the icing on the cake. Congratulations, Alan. What an honour and what a moment. Here’s to the next set of qualifiers…

The current round of friendlies concludes this Tuesday with Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard and their Denmark team entertaining Chile. Ordinarily, I’d call this as April fool but we’re a few days early. However, it would seem that when they  run out against Alexis Sanchez and co, the Danes will be wearing a quite unique shirt. One that celebrates their heritage and has been, apparently, put together by the fans based on classics over the years.

I hope this is true. It’s so bad it’s brilliant. Very much the Nicolas Cage of football shirts.

I’d love one.  

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Is this for real ? Wow !!

Nick Bruzon

Is this the worst free kick of all time?

2 Mar

Alan Pardew showing potential new owner Vince McMahon how much Newcastle United embrace the spirit of WWE. Deluded Arsenal fans (are you reading Richie Firth) still trying to convince themselves that ‘the treble is still on’. Brentford starting the next ‘unbeaten run’ with a draw at Carlisle United.

Whilst the major talking points of the weekend are clearly all about the madness at Newcastle, Arsenal and QPR matching each other ‘choke for choke’ or the ongoing state of League One, today’s column has found something you may not have seen on Match of the Day.

I’ve banged on about Gibraltar a lot this week, but last night they played their first match on ‘The Rock’ since officially becoming full members of UEFA.  The game, a 4-1 reverse to The Faroe Islands, saw the home side take the lead at their Victoria Stadium before, eventually, capitulating.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the result but the occasion. That, and the worst free kick you will, I am prepared to bet, ever see.

Former Manchester United and Stoke City star Danny Higginbotham, who has suddenly remembered he is Gibraltarian, was the man charged with executing a routine set piece just before the close of the first half. I won’t ruin what happened next; suffice to say that even Jonny Wilkinson would have been going some to match this.

You can find it here, after 01.17.10.  I’m sure Danny will blame ‘the wind’.

Higginbotham takes aim at the runway..

Higginbotham takes aim at the runway..

That’s not to belittle the GFA – from small acorns mighty oaks grow. Besides, The Faroes also struggled in the conditions as you’ll see five minutes earlier on the same video. Whilst the penalty they missed wasn’t, quite, up to Higginbotham standards it wasn’t far off.

As for Brentford, well I suggest you stick to @Bessotted for the match update this weekend. I didn’t travel and haven’t even seen the ‘highlight’s on the Football League show.

Hopefully, their service will be up to its usual standards, assuming Billy the Bee has now been able to compose himself sufficiently to write up his notes.

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Come on Billy – was it THAT bad a game?