I love this time of year. The fixtures come thick and fast whilst the Third Round of the FA Cup beckons (for some!). Off the field, meanwhile, we are well into pantomime season. If you are lucky you might catch TV’s ‘The Fonz’ hamming it up in Richmond as the only Captain Hook who could get away with a double thumbs up and a “Heyyy!” whilst Alf from ‘Home and Away’ is sure to be calling some provincial theatre goer a ‘Flaming Galah’.
For me, though, the real star of panto season is Jim White – the Sky TV co-host of Brentford supporter Natalie Sawyer (I really thought that the club might have let us know she was a fan – they’ve really missed a trick in failing to ever mention it). Jim and the wonderful Natalie are, of course, the faces of Sky Sport’s transfer Deadline Day coverage.
The ‘Deadline Day’ coverage on Sky is compelling stuff. A case of real life imitating the Christmas panto. Cries of, “He’s behind you”, as a WKD laced teenager torments whichever hapless reporter has been sent to stand outside the gates to the ‘Stadium of Light’ in the snow.
The obligatory shot of Harry Redknapp leaning out of a car window to speak to the cameras – although he was nowhere in sight last year when Peter Odemwingie decided he just fancied a drive from the Midlands to Loftus Road – despite no deal being arranged or permission granted by his club (a story as odd as Simon Moore’s apparent ‘trip to the beach’). But when it comes to it, Big Jim scoops the honours.
The man who turns crossing from the studios in Osterley, live to the Bolton Wanderers training ground, into an art form. Despite nothing then happening.
However, with the good comes the bad for clubs like Brentford. We all have our favourites, we all know who are the stand-out players and we all hope that they have done sufficiently little to stay under the radar of those fat cats from the Premier League.
We’ve been burnt before by the mid-season sales of Nicky Forster and DJ Campbell where, had they stayed in TW8, promotion would have been a certainty. Sky’s wall-to-wall coverage puts this torturous wait to see if we’ll hang on to our ‘crown jewels’ directly into the living room. Cheer as Wolves decide to sell their entire first team. Boo at every mention of Griffin Park.
This year, Adam Forshaw is the man of the moment. The squad is settled and strong, but Adam really has been THE player of the campaign to date. The stand-out member of the team, with skills and goals to match. I am convinced he will end up in the top flight and with the potential to play for England – the hope is that he does it with Brentford. If he stays then we can only push onwards and upwards; should the club be made an offer ‘they can’t refuse’ then the task in hand becomes all the harder.
I rate Adam so highly that I’ve actually had to redraw my modern day ‘best ever Brentford XI’. A list of those players from the last 25 years whom, if at the top of their game, I’d name as the strongest team going from those who have graced the Griffin Park turf.
Maybe not always the most skillful of the players to fill their respective berths, but certainly the most committed. The team I’d love to have fighting for us and, until now, it has no current first teamers. Bruzon’s XI is:
Wojciech Szczesny, Kevin O’Connor, Terry Evans, Hermann Hreidarsson, Martin Grainger, Paul Evans, Paul Smith, Andy Sinton, Jay Tabb, Dean Holdsworth, Gary Blissett
However, so impressed have I been by the form of Adam that, for the first time in three years, there is a change to the list. Paul Smith is replaced by Forshaw (sorry, Smudger).
If Cliff Crown, Uwe or Matthew Benham are reading then I implore them – should we receive any offers then please do spurn them. If history has taught us anything, it is that selling Brentford’s prize asset results in long-term failure (whilst not, specifically mid-season, see also: Deano out; Murray Jones in).
I don’t care if it gives Jim one less thing to get excited about. I’m really not bothered if it means Natalie has a bit more ‘dead air’ to fill. Should Brentford be able to steer clear of Sky’s coverage, and Wigan’s cash, then I’ll be a happy man when the proverbial window eventually slams shut. Until then, could I just ask the Premiership managers to move along please, there’s nothing to see here… Adam who?