The start of the new season has certainly been a positive one for Brentford after the opening day demolition of Rotherham United, however, you’ll probably only be able to read about it online, following the demise of our once flourishing local news outlets. Experienced Sports Journalist, and Beesotted regular, Jim Levack, shares his thoughts on the demise of the local press.
It might have been an emphatic start to the season on the field, but yesterday marked a very dark day in the history of Brentford Football Club off it. For the first time in the club’s professional league existence there was no local media representation at the game.
It’s a damning indictment of the lack of investment in local and regional media, but also a tragedy for the club and its fans at a time when the side’s potential has never been greater.
Sure, we now have Beesotted (you can read our match report here) and Westlondonsport.com but the likes of the Ealing Gazette, Hounslow Chronicle and Richmond and Twickenham Times now no longer bother sending reporters to Griffin Park.
Fair enough, the need to fill column inches in print probably isn’t as great these days with online presence far more important, but to not send a reporter to the game is a disgrace.
Trinity Mirror, owners of the Chronicle for which I was proud to work for almost two decades, have pulled the plug on anything worthwhile journalistically… and it breaks my heart.
Their sole contribution to covering the Rotherham curtain raiser was a live twitter stream which they presumably took from the excellent ifollow coverage. If supporters unable to make the game want that, the club and Beesotted do it already.
The company, now well advanced down the insulting and loyalty losing clickbait route, are far from the only guilty party though as cost cutting and clickbait copy take precedence. And I’m sure – in fact I know – their journalists are as frustrated as I am by the cuts.
Bottom line is that if you want news about Brentford you can trust these days, the local media – and I don’t include the Standard in that – is not the place to go.
It’s all a far cry from the days of George Sands, the Chronicle’s sports editor from the 40’s to the 70sn who attending a total of 1,126 uninterrupted Bees games between December 1953 and May 1976.
He missed just one Brentford match in all his time with the paper when he was in hospital over Christmas in 1953.
Back in the bad old Noades and Webb days, I worked very closely with Beesotted’s Dave Lane to hold the pair of them to account.
The allegations the Chronicle made were brave and on one occasion led to me and people close to me being threatened by the former Palace man. We knew we were printing the truth and so did he. And he didn’t like it one bit.
The Chronicle’s then sports editor Ron Lewis trusted my judgement and my sources, which were impeccable and came – sometimes – from people within the club furious at the way it was being run.
It was a scary time too, being summoned to a meeting with Webb at a hotel near Heathrow to reveal my source and having Noades issuing legal threats at me down the phone. But I held firm because this was my club.
Fast forward more years than I care to count and we are incredibly fortunate to have an owner that has nothing but good intentions for our club.
But we don’t now have a local media presence to analyse, question and go into depth about anything with the passion that we once did, and that is very sad.
I’m a great believer in accountability and genuinely feel that had there been a strong local media presence in Kensington, the views of the families living in Grenfell Tower whose pleas for help fell on deaf ears would have been picked up and taken higher.
Football clearly isn’t as important as life and death despite what Shankly once said, but it’s a terrible shame that the once vital local reporter no longer exists at Griffin Park.
We are lucky that a decent number of the national media or agency staff who come along week in, week out have a soft spot for the club and do a great, professional job.
But there’s just no substitute for that ‘under the skin’ passion and knowledge that a local reporter like George Sands can have.
The best we can hope for is that Brentford reach the Premier League. Then I’m sure the local media will be all over us again.
MORE RECENT CONTENT
MOST READ CONTENT
Leeds's automatic promotion hopes are back in the balance after a dramatic Good Friday programme in the Championship.They have been locked in a battle with Sheffield United for second place, behind Norwich, who seem favourites to win the title, with both Yorkshire...read more
Millwall next. They really need the points. The Den is going to be a cauldron. The Beesotted crew of Billy TheBee Grant. Laney (briefly). Matt The Allard. And Savvy Bee met up in the virtual joint to discuss the Reading loss. The B team winning the Middlesex Senior...read more
The news that Said Benrahma will be missing for the rest of the campaign is a big disappointment to all Bees fans. The young Algerian has enjoyed a hugely succesful first season in English football, and hopefully, will still be at the club next season as the Bees aim...read more
Racism and Diversity Discussion with Ex Brentford Player Marcus Gayle. Beesotted Pre-Ipswich Lovesport Radio Show
Derby fought out an exciting, edgy, niggly match at Griffin Park. Six goals. But the day was shrouded by allegations of racism at Griffin Park by the Derby bench. The Beesotted crew of Billy TheBee Grant, Dave Laney Lane and Liberal Nick joined Johnny in the...read more
With Brentford set for a mid-table finish and Ipswich all but relegated from the Championship, the focus for Wednesday's match among Bees fans at least is on one thing - the Griffin Park return of Alan Judge.Judgey will always go down in Brentford folklore as the man...read more
It has been another up-and-down season for Saturday's visitors Derby, who arrive at Griffin Park clinging on to the final play-off place.In recent seasons, the Rams seem to have been in the thick of the promotion race until around February, before falling away and...read more
Beesotted’s supply teacher, Condorman, casts his eye back over the class of 2017/2018. The dust has now settled on another enjoyable year at Brentford High School with the pupils again setting some high standards against other places of learning who often...
Derby County’s ‘agricultural’ playing style at Griffin Park earlier this season really frustrated Brentford fans who were stunned that one of the division's biggest spenders and most illustrious clubs had resorted to such extreme negativity in the 1-1 draw. Whether it...
With the transfer deadline looming and one or two Brentford players having to make decisions about their futures at Griffin Park, we thought it would be interesting to delve into the brand new Big Book of Griffin Park again and contrast how transfer negotiations have...
Griffin Park has witnessed many things in its long and eventful history, and although time is running out for the old girl with the new stadium about to be built, we all hope there’s some significant history yet to be made at our proud old home. However, I can’t see...
The most significant event to happen at Griffin Park after joining the Football League in 1920 was, without doubt, the appointment of Harry Curtis as the club’s manager – some may even go as far as to say it was the most significant moment in the club’s entire...
Ex Brentford striker Bob Taylor joined the Beesotted crew, Marcus Gayle, Kev O'Connor and a room full of Brentford fans at the Fullers’ Brewery for the traditional end of year Bees-Up. A hilarious evening in which he told of his partnership with Nicky Forster as one...