Brentford yesterday announced the arrival of new Spanish midfielder Marcos Tebar Ramiro and on first examination via the tried and tested fan scouting resources of Wikipedia, YouTube and FIFA Soccer, the former Real Madrid player appears to be an exciting prospect.
He is not the first Spaniard to play for the club as Javi Venta had a short spell at Griffin Park last season and winger Jose Gallego made six appearances way back in 1946.
Born in the Basque Country, his family fled to Britain to escape the ravages of the Spanish Civil War and he has the distinction as far as I’m aware of becoming Brentford’s first overseas player.
I know I’ve set myself up with that last statement and fully expect some anorak statto will pedantically correct me if I neglected to mention some long-forgotten Lithuanian fullback who played a few reserve games before the war – and just in case anyone thinks otherwise, Cyril Toulouse was born locally in Acton!
Brentford’s track record with foreign players has been fairly up and down in recent years with some magnificent successes tempered by some dismal failures – Herman Hreidarsson and Jide Olugbodi everyone?
Herman’s arrival in 1998 was a massive shock. Since when did little-old Brentford ever pay seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds for a player?
Later on in Ron Noades’s reign that and many other similar questions would be answered!
Herman bestrode the pitch like a colossus, light years ahead of team mates and opponents alike in terms of his speed of thought and pure ability although his early appearances were littered with goal-costing errors as his seemingly casual approach was at odds with the hustle and bustle of the fourth tier of the English game.
He soon settled and scored a classic staggeringly confident winning goal against promotion rivals Cardiff.
Herman was far too good for us and was soon off to Wimbledon for a massive two and a half million pound fee – a sum we have since come nowhere near matching until perhaps the sad day when Adam Forshaw eventually leaves us.
Iceland has provided a fertile hunting ground and the peerless Ivar Ingimarsson went through the entire 2001-2 season as an ever present without once picking up a yellow card – a record I sorely wish he had tarnished by kicking Jamie Cureton up in the air just before our nemesis broke our hearts when his late goal cost us promotion.
Polish midfielder Detzi Kruszynski was a massive influence in helping us win the last six games of our Championship season of 1992 but his influence soon waned.
Dutch defender Pim Balkestein also started well as a loanee but seemed to lose focus and interest after signing permanently and faded away.
I was a massive admirer of sweeper John Buttigieg, winner of over one hundred caps for Malta, who was signed by Steve Perryman seemingly oblivious to the fact that the sweeper system was totally unsuited to his squad.
Others also flattered to deceive.
American striker Mike Grella fired nothing but blanks apart from one amazing never to be repeated night when, touched by genius, he put AFC Bournemouth to the sword with a four goal performance. He now attempts to repeat the feat wth the Carolina RailHawks.
Marcello Trotta was also on an emotional rollercoaster during his two loan spells at the club. Thankfully it all ended well with promotion after the trauma of the previous season.
Let’s end with the truly bonkers Jean-Phillippe Javary. Signed from the mighty Raith Rovers despite rumours of a previous involvement with Barcelona, the midfielder was much hyped by Ron Noades but turned out to be a total damp squib and left in ignominy after strange goings on during a reserve match at Cheltenham.
We all all hope that Marcos has a longer and more successful stay at the club than Javary and maybe, just maybe, there a plan afoot for the arrival of a previously unknown twenty goal foreign striker – hopefully somebody more potent than the late unlamented Clyde Wijnhard or Lorenzo Pinamonte.