Keeping In Touch – 5/9/14

I’ve been away for the past few days and my wife and I have been fortunate enough to have been sunning ourselves on the beach near Marbella.

We normally go there in early October, but needed to reschedule at the last minute when my wife learned that one of her sculptures had been accepted into a forthcoming exhibition at The Mall Gallery.

For those of you already losing interest – don’t worry, I am about to get back on track.

I naturally went into a panic when she suggested going away in late August instead, as I was desperate not to miss any Brentford home games at such a crucial time in a new season full of hope, excitement and new challenges.

Marriage is all about compromise, letting the tiddlers go, and picking your fights extremely carefully.

Was missing a Brentford match worth having an argument over?

Do I really need to answer that question?

In truth, I was quite prepared to miss the trip to Rotherham, having suffered through that miserable hiding last season, the interminable drive home in the early hours of the morning, and the resultant teasing from a Millers supporting friend of mine who lives nearby.

Actually, he really wasn’t in the least bit arrogant or obnoxious after the result, but instead, he was rather apologetic and solicitous – an attitude that I found far more patronising and annoying than if he had jumped up and down in front of me celebrating his team thrashing the Bees.

Anyway, it was agreed that I would miss the Rotherham match, but what about the following week?

And that’s when the advantage of being in the Championship really sank in.

There was going to be an International break immediately after the Rotherham game, and we didn’t have a fixture for another two weeks.

It honestly took quite a while for this fact to sink in and fully compute, as I am really not used to discussing Brentford FC and International breaks in the same sentence.

My first problem was therefore solved.

I wouldn’t miss a home match during my holiday and I was prepared to compromise and give up the dubious delights of a trip to Yorkshire for the sake of marital harmony.

That led directly to the next obstacle.

How best to stay in touch with what was happening at Griffin Park during my absence?

Fortunately I was spoiled for choice.

Things have certainly changed for the better in recent years given the massive improvements and developments in communication technology.

Back in the early 1980s I made what turned out to be a life changing decision to move to New York City.

I ended up missing the majority of what were, in truth, three pretty drab seasons, and in those now unimaginable pre-internet days, I was sent carefully folded copies of The Middlesex Chronicle, lovingly dispatched by my Mother, to bring me up to speed, about a week or so late, on what was happening at the club.

Like all other football loving expats, I had to rely upon the elusive BBC World Service, and do my utmost to track down the unmistakable tones of Paddy Feeny who hosted Sportsworld every Saturday.

The problem was it constantly changed frequencies throughout the afternoon and was almost impossible to keep tuned into, even with the expensive shortwave radio I was forced to purchase.

The coverage also tended to cut out, invariably at exactly the wrong time, whilst the final scores were being broadcast.

I once managed to catch the hardly credible words “Brentford Four” and floated on air until the belated arrival of the English Sunday newspapers two days later confirmed that we had, in fact, only drawn at Scunthorpe.

The arrival and widespread use of the internet around the turn of the century totally revolutionised how we learned how our team had done.

I remember many hurried visits to internet cafes in places such as Florida, New York and Cyprus during a variety of family holidays, some with positive outcomes, but given the poverty of our away record, mostly not.

Times have changed and I’ve had a total information overload since I’ve been in Spain.

Luddite that I am, I have yet to get BeesPlayer to work on my iPad.

Frankly, despite the undoubted skill of Mark Burridge, Luis Melville and Billy Reeves I cannot bear to listen to live match commentary of Brentford games.

Every time the ball goes into our half I can picture it about to enter our net and it just does my head in.

On Saturday, I managed to keep in touch with the remarkable happenings at Rotherham despite a dodgy Wi-Fi connection, thanks to a combination of BBC Radio London via the incredible TuneIn Radio app, and a series of texts from Northampton Bee.

Pure agony and totally draining though.

Hoping against hope that my phone wouldn’t ping, or that the presenter wouldn’t announce: “there’s been late drama at Rotherham.”

In fact he did, and, resigned to my fate, I heard instead the miraculous and totally unexpected news of our second goal.

Far better than last year when our stay coincided with three defeats in an horrendous week, to Rotherham, Peterborough and Stevenage respectively.

Not, of course, that I allowed this appalling sequence of results to spoil my holiday in the slightest!

All this week I have had the wonderfully opinionated and comprehensive Griffin Park Grapevine to provide me with my daily fix of all things Brentford.

I have been able to wallow in its unparalleled coverage of match reports, transfer deadline gossip, the signing of Betinho, the departure of Adam Forshaw, moans about the venue and price of tickets for the 125th Anniversary Dinner, injury updates about poor Scott Hogan, the thoughts of trolls, bores, bigots and sages alike, and finally, club owner Matthew Benham participating in a surreal and probably unique Q&A session with supporters.

Truly something for everyone.

In the interests of marital harmony I’ve had to seriously restrict my time on the GPG over the past week and also barely managed to visit the Beesotted Message Board.

Despite my distance from the heart of the action in what was a frenetic week, I was able to keep myself fully informed and up to speed thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Tomorrow we are on our way home, tanned and replete, and I am looking forward to a quiet week ahead of total inactivity at Griffin Park.

After the week I’ve just experienced, even from long distance, I think I need a holiday!


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