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The dreaded Close Season is upon us.  At least, for me, it’s dreaded because this is my worst period of the year.

Trying to replace Brentford with shopping, the cinema, long afternoons in the pub, or whatever, is not even close to setting off to Brentford games in the hope that we’ll win (and therefore celebrate like we’ve won the FA Cup).

So, whilst my personal guide to the forthcoming Close Season might not quite be the same for everyone, maybe it might help you to fill some time over the next few months.

Transfer Rumours:
This is one of the most exciting parts of summer as you check the different Brentford websites for ANY snippets of information about inbound and outbound players.  Make sure you fruitlessly search for rumours, gossip and news around 4-5 times a day, in the vain hope that we sign full internationals on next to nothing wages.  Be prepared to Google any potential new players to the club and look at a small paragraph of information on Wikipedia before deciding that they’re already not good enough for Brentford.

Rejoice in the fact that we’re not involved in them and actually watch them.  Look at the heartache that reminds us of the pain and suffering we have been through.  From Thursday 8th May until the following Saturday 17th May, there are play-off games almost daily.  Make sure you support Wigan against QPHa.  Don’t miss Russell Slade celebrating a win over Peterborough and see if he celebrates like he’s won the FA Cup.  Watch an agitated bloated Steve Evans lose it at some point against Preston.  Pee off the missus by watching the League 2 play-offs.  FYI, the Championship Play-Off Final is on the 24th May, League 1 is on the 25th , and League 2 is on the 26th.

Persuade Your Missus:
That £343 for an Early Bird season ticket on the Ealing Road, bought before 4pm on Monday 16th June, is well worth it. Your missus will surely understand that Championship opposition is well worth it, that it’ll entitle you to priority purchases for crunch all-ticket games or priority purchases for away games with limited tickets (such as the invasion of Foolham), and you get priority on choosing a seat when Brentford move to Lionel Road.  What missus in their right mind would not support your decision to take advantage of such value for money?  Yup, less than £15 to watch a league game!  You have around 5-6 weeks to utilise your powers of persuasion!

The New Fixture List:
The arrival of 9am on Wednesday 18th June, provides all Brentford fans some of the best talking-points for the Close Season. The release of the fixture list means that we start plotting our season out. Which games are going to be etched on your brain as definites?  Which games might we have to give a miss?  Ok, ok, let’s be honest, the first two questions will be:  When’s Foolham?  And then, when’s QPHa?  This will mean that the entirety of your day at work on June 18th will be spent organising your season ahead!  Good times!

Charity Games in May:
There are two Charity matches on at Griffin Park in May.  Friday 16th May sees two Brentford supporters’ teams (with possible ex-Bees guest appearances), raising money for a local charity.  It’s a great chance to come down, support fellow Bees fans, and watch some of the finest football you’ve ever seen grace the hallowed turf.  Kick-off is at 6.30pm.

The other Charity game is on the following Sunday (18th May), and features a local youth competition (Kick-off at 10am), with the main match between the Sponsors, Skyex, and a team made up of ex-Brentford players, including:  Stuart Nelson, Carl Hutchings, Sam Wood, Marcus Gayle, Mark Phillips, Rob Quinn, Gareth Graham, Marcus Bean, Glenn Poole, Darren Freeman, Sir Bobby Taylor, Nathan Elder, Mark ‘Supermarket Trolley’ McCammon.  All Charity Games at Brentford are free admission.  www.brightskycharity.co.uk

The World Cup:
Oh my god, have I never been less excited about a World Cup for such a long time.  Not since, erm, 1994 when England failed to qualify.  England’s chances of getting out the group stages are still pretty slim, but thankfully, with no other football on during the World Cup, it does mean that we get a chance to see some of the world’s finest footballers put their acting and diving skills to the test, with hopefully, some fantastic skills on show too.  Really hoping that England can pull off a few upsets, and that we don’t go into the competition with any false expectations, as anything more than group stages will go down very well.  The World Cup kicks off on Thursday 12th June, with England starting their campaign at 11pm on Saturday 14th June.  The World Cup final will be played on Sunday 13th July.  That’s 64 matches played over the month and presuming that none of them go into extra-time and not taking into account injury-time, that’s 5760 minutes of football to be watched!!!

Other Sport:
Fancy peeing off your missus even more by monopolising the TV to watch other sports?  From Tennis, to Egg-Chasing, Cricket and Athletics, there’s a whole host of events to keep you occupied throughout the summer until we get together again in July for an exciting pre-season campaign, to prepare for our first match back in the Championship on August 9th.

Whatever you do during close season, enjoy it and prepare yourself for what will be the most immense season in our history, and do support whoever is playing against QPHa during the month of May!

Dan “Leicester Bee” Suh