Saturday, 3 November 2007

Buzzing with the Bees

Having rather summarily described Griffin Park [pictured] as not so much "a theatre of dreams right now, [m]ore like a parking lot of gritted teeth", in my previous Exeter programme column, I atoned for my neglect last weekend by paying Brentford a visit. Since I was up in London and my friend Kevin Scully's beloved Leyton Orient were away at Doncaster, we decided to trek westwards to catch the Bees in action against Lincoln City. They consigned their opponents to the bottom of League Two (the Fourth Division, as I shall always consider it), with a late goal securing a 1-0 victory.

Brentford was my late grandfather's team, and the site of my first ever live football experience, a 2-1 win against Notts County. Back in 1967 it seemed a lot bigger (the small child's inflated perception, a la James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist), and of course the open terraces at each end had gone. I was also sitting in the opposite stand. Or 'the wrong side', as it inevitably felt. The first half was as dire an excuse for a game of football as I have seen for a long time, and made me reflect on the fact that the top of the Blue Square Premier, where my local Grecians play, is at least as good, quality wise; probably better. The second half was a distinct improvement, with some entertaining goalmouth scrambles.

It's the mistakes that really count at this level, however. As the person I was sitting next to observed, there were some skillful moves which didn't quite make it to fruition. He usually watches Aussie A-League, from whence Brentford boss and former England centre-half Terry Butcher came, after his time at Motherwell. The standard there is quite a bit higher than this, probably the equivalent of top half League One or lower half Championship, I'm told. The weather's a lot better, for sure.

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