Spread the love


Beesotted welcomes another contributor aboard – James Tippett opens his fanzine account with a look back at the first week’s Championship action at Griffin Park – with match-day two just over the horizon. Tuesday night in Dagenham wasn’t  easy viewing for the feint hearted… Bournemouth with their tails up could be just as harrowing!

On Saturday the starting gun was sounded to signal the start of the 2014/15 Championship marathon, and for the first time in 21 years, Brentford were among the pack.
The race this year looks set to be a tough one, with 18 of the 24 runners having competed in the Premier League marathon since it was established in 1992. We, Brentford, are joined by runners such as Fulham, Norwich, Cardiff, Derby and many others who will be looking to accomplish promotion to the top flight. 
This ‘marathon’ which I am alluding to is, of course, the Sky Bet Championship season. The long awaited visit of Charlton Athletic to Griffin Park on Saturday marked the beginning of the race. I’m sure many fans, me included, woke up on Saturday (Cliché Alert) feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I saw one tweet that read: “Opening day of the season, birth of first child, wedding day; in that order”.
It was refreshing to be back at an almost-full Griffin Park (the attendance was around 9,000) and the Bees got off to a steady start, with a 1-1 draw that prompted mixed reactions from supporters. Some feel that we should have won. After all, Charlton are a side who finished just clear of relegation last season and if we are to be harboring expectations of a top half finish then we need to be defeating sides like the Addicks. Furthermore, we were dominant for spells of the match, in particular the opening 20 minutes and the last 10. 
However, considering that we were a goal down and Charlton squandered a glorious chance to make it 2-0, I think most fans will be happy with the point. We could have gone on to seize all three in the dying moments but Judge was denied by the infamous Ealing Road crossbar and Smith blazed over from the edge of the area when he probably should have taken a touch. 
Both teams may have had more on the score sheet with Button in fine form to deny Charlton on a few occasions and Brentford narrowly missing out through Pritchard’s curling effort, Gray’s header which was well saved by the Addicks’ keeper, and Tony Craig who blazed over the bar from a corner. 
There are certainly positives to take out from this opening fixture. I think the summer additions that have been made to the squad have been good, with one or two needing to prove themselves. Pritchard looks quality to me, and I’m sure there must have been a few other clubs looking to capture him on loan from Tottenham after he impressed at Swindon last season. His quick feet and ability to run at defenders is impressive, and his curling effort from outside the box in the first half showed reminiscence of a certain Harry Forrester.
Additionally, his set-piece taking could also prove a vital asset. His talent is clearly getting him international recognition, with England boss Roy Hodgson taking to the Griffin Park stands on Saturday, allegedly to watch him. 
Odubajo is definitely one to watch this season, and if his goal against Palace is anything to go by then he looks well worth the £1million that Warburton splashed out to Leyton Orient for him. At £750,000 I’m still unsure about Scott Hogan. I haven’t yet seen him in action but this appears to be a bit of a gamble by Warburton. Having seen Will Grigg struggle to make the leap from League 2 to League 1, I’m worried that Hogan will follow Grigg’s pattern. We will have to wait and see once he returns from injury. 
Gray looks a good capture, and was certainly playing below his ability at Luton. He will score goals this season, and nearly grabbed one against Charlton with a header which was well parried by the Charlton shot-stopper. Tebar seems a great player, with a great first touch and an eye for a pass, he always seems so cool in possession. Tommy Smith and Nick Proschwitz will add a bit of experience and class into our attacking force, and once they gel into our team I think we will look very threatening. I for one am struggling to pick one out of the four forwards as better than the others, and there will certainly be stiff competition for a place in the starting line-up as far as our strikers go. 
One thing which the Charlton game did point out was that the “Adam Forshaw Saga” needs to come to an end, and I was relieved when Warburton announced that he was going to sit down with Adam early this week and thrash out a solution with him. Although I would love him to stay, I cannot see him playing for us come May. Neither can I see Wigan coughing up £5million for him, which seems to be our valuation of the player. With other clubs interested in his services, hopefully we will receive an offer from somewhere which does meet our requirements and we can use that money to replace. 
Looking forward to the league next fixture, Bournemouth away will be a tough one. After being promoted from the third tier, Eddie Howe’s side finished 8th last season, and look set to be up there again come May. They ran out 4-0 victors on the opening day, and we will have to take our chances if we want to get something out of this match. 
So, we are half a mile into the 26 mile marathon and the Bees have started steadily with signs of promise. Back at the starting line, however, runners such as Fulham, Norwich and Leeds are yet to have begun the race. Perhaps they have not heard the starting gun? This Saturday, Brentford travel to Bournemouth, who have sprinted into an early lead. Come the end of the race, Brentford will be looking to have finished somewhere in the middle of the pack.


Finishing in the bottom three is not an option. As long as we can maintain fitness, and do not hit a slump, we should be fine. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.


James Tippett