Billy Grant looks at the news in and around The Championship and gives a lockdown lowdown

Farewell Griffin Park?

Griffin Park
Today – Saturday May 2nd – should have been the final league match at Griffin Park with Brentford playing hosts to Barnsley in a game. Who knows what the day would have had in store. The pubs would have been buzzing from 9am as fans flocked from near and far to TW8 to pay their due respects to the stadium which has been a second home to many over 100 years.

The likelihood was by 2.30pm, we would have confirmed a place in the playoffs. It would have been a tremendous day regardless.

But with the tragic of events as of late meant today’s knees up has been curtailed.

Personally, a few weeks ago I had to go through the motions of cancelling the hotel rooms I had booked this weekend in the TW8 area. It was hard to bring myself to press that ‘cancel’ button as I knew would be the final confirmation that our celebration day (and it was going to be a huge celebration) was off. Put on ice. And possibly never to actually take place.

With question marks around the end to this current season and the start to next season, the likelihood that Griffin Park’s final game was the 5-0 hammering of Sheffield Wednesday is a hard pill to swallow.

Saying that. Brentford will soon have two stadia available to play football in. Even when New Griffin Park (aka Lionel Road) has been built, the original Griffin Park stadium will still be standing. No work is due on demolishing the old stadium for quite a while.

So you have to ask the question. When the new season starts – whenever that is – why not let the FIRST competitive game back with fans be at Griffin Park? Even if we have officially moved to New Griffin Park.

What a tremendous celebration that would be.

Yes there are rules. Not playing matches in two stadia in one season. Playing matches in all-seater stadia.

But these is unprecedented times. And surely the authorities could make an exception for a one-off. Especially when you consider the circumstances.

I have to admit. I personally would actually look forward to the prospect of a farewell final competitive Griffin Park match much more than a playoff semi-final shown on TV with no fans in attendance and no ability to enjoy the experience with your mates.

So I’m going to hold that thought as my one shining light at the end of the Griffin Park tunnel.

Something to look forward to.

I’m sure someone out there can make it happen.

Canos Misses The Action but Questions Premature Season Resumption 

Brentford’s Sergi Canós celebrates Ollie Watkins of Brentford’s (R) opening goal. Middlesbrough v Brentford. Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd

Sergi Canos is well on the road to recovery. The winger, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury for six months, has – by all accounts – pretty much fully recovered from his injury and has been clinging on to the possibility of playing once again this season.

In an interview with The Independent, after admitting how much he missed his regular training sessions, when the Brentford winger was asked about his impending return after injury, he replied :

“I miss every day; every training session, because that’s the opportunity to feel like I’m footballer again. To do what I love.”

“I miss football so much and this situation has given me the opportunity to prepare myself to come back this season. But after you think is it worth it? Is it worth playing this season? Is it worth putting people at risk again?”

This is no doubt the view of many players who face the prospect of having to go back to work in the next month or so in uncertain conditions.

You can check out the full Independent article right here

Will Championship Clubs go Straight to Playoffs?

With the world in lockdown amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the English leagues are in a quandary as to how to move this current season forward. 

The EFL have stated that their preferred contingency for promotion from the Championship if the season cannot be completed as normal would be to promote Leeds and West Brom and play the play-offs as per current positions to determine the final place.

If that were the case, Brentford would play Nottingham Forest and Fulham would play Preston which has left fans of teams like Bristol City, Millwall and Cardiff – who are just outside the playoff zone – seething.

The thinking is that these matches could take place at a neutral venue as a one-off match behind closed doors. 

A relegation mechanism is still to be decided. 

The Premier League feels that it will find a way to finish the league. In a meeting on Friday they remained undecided but confident of finding a way forward.

The Championship is still deliberating it’s options. And the word on the street is the TV money that these two leagues receive – as well as the financial windfall teams will receive for getting promoted from The Championship – is enough motivation for the clubs to find a result. 

There has also been the idea of freezing relegation from the Premier League  and expanding the Premier League to up to 23 teams (meaning Premier League clubs would have a small share of the TV pot) thrown around. This solution would avoid any possible legal challenges from potentially relegated Premier League clubs and also potentially promoted Championship clubs. 

In a meeting between the EFL and League Two clubs, officials were informed of the ever-growing possibility of supporters being unable to attend matches until 2021 and it is being highly likely that next season will commence behind closed doors.

An expert on Sky News on Friday felt that it could even be 2022 before fans were allowed to congregate en-masse.

What a depressing thought.

League One and Two Clubs are heavily dependent on gate receipts. Hence the reason why they are more likely – in many people’s opinion – to opt for ending the season than playing matches behind closed doors whilst shouldering great losses. Particularly the bulk of the clubs who have nothing to play for.

However, there is a balance-up. As Sergi Canos said in his interview (above), there is also the safety of the players and coaching staff to consider. And their feelings.

How do the players feel being put into this situation? Surely their views should be considered.

How are you able to guarantee each player’s safety in a contact sport?

Interestingly a report in the Guardian on Friday has stated that US researchers have come up with a COVID-19 test that could potentially identify carriers BEFORE they become infectious and spread the disease.

If this is the case, this could be a game changer for fighting the pandemic. And could clear the way for football to start scheduling matches again.

However, there is also is the factor that football has to be careful on the diplomatic front. Clubs may be able to gain access to tests. But how will it go down if players are seen to get tested before the likes of key workers such as NHS staff.

The Beesotted crew discussed this and more in the lockdown podcast part 2 (below)

Lockdown Podcast Part 2

 

The Beesotted crew met once again in The Virtual Joint to discuss all manner of non-footballing activity asking the question – after the rumour that the German Bundersleague is due to resume in mid-May – is there light at the end of the non-playing tunnel in the EFL? And if so, when are we likely to see football again? 

They also discussed FC Midtjylland’s idea of holding drive-in football matches – genius or rubbish?

Plus they discussed Brentford’s recent accounts which saw them file a £20m profit. 

You can catch the latest Beesotted podcast by clicking here

Benrahma the New Mahrez?

Saïd Benrahma of Brentford celebrates scoring the opening goal Brentford v Queens Park Rangers, Griffin Park, London. Picture by Mark D Fuller/Focus Images Ltd

We may be mid-lockdown. With no football on the horizon. And no clue as to when this current season will finish never mind when the transfer window will take place and the following season will start.

But that hasn’t stopped the media in their quest to garner clicks with Said Benrahma now supposedly being on the radar of Brendan Rogers at Leicester after being dubbed Leicester’s next Riyad Mahrez.

Arsenal are also rumoured to be sniffing around our Algerian Messi.

Lets get this season over with then we can deal with the rest.

New Griffin Park Season Ticket Sales

Brentford’s New Stadium dubbed “New Griffin Park” – still under construction

Despite the lockdown, sales for season tickets for Brentford’s new stadium  – dubbed New Griffin Park – have reached 7,500 with appointment moved from the appointment centre to online. 

Fair play to Brentford who are well on track to gaining their 10,000 season tickets target. 

Thomas Frank was delighted with the news. 

“It is great to hear that so many fans will be joining us in our new stadium next season. I know it is a difficult time for everyone at the moment, but I hope football can be a bright spot for all our fans in the coming weeks. 

It is very important for us to make it our home and our fans will play a vital role in that. To know we already have so many of you signed up for next season is brilliant. Please stay safe and at home and we will all see you soon”

#RetroBrentfordMatchday

Brentford fans at Blackburn. FA Cup 5th Round 1989. Photo: Billy Grant (@billythebee99)

Lockdown has it’s bonuses. And after a visit to the loft, Beesotted have discovered a plethora of goodies in the Retro vault from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

This includes video footage and photographs from an era where the Brentford team – overall – was not as talented as the team we have today. But we had some excellent individuals in the side in an age when any small result meant so much to the players and the fans alike. And team spirit was huge.

Beesotted are currently pulling together the first of our features – based on the 1989 FA Cup run. This feature will include Articles. Videos. Photographs. And a podcast with fan memories from the matches including the big days out up at Blackburn and Liverpool. 

If you have any tales to tell about any of the FA Cup 1989 matches, please drop us a line at beesotted1992@gmail.com

And – time permitting – we’ll also look to pull together pieces for the year we won the Second Division in 1992. The Anglo Italian Cup in 1992. The year we won Division Three in 1999. Winning the league in 2009 and a few more.