Matthew Benham Versus Massimo Cellini – No Contest! – 28/9/14

saville1.thumbI don’t normally write two blogs in a day.

It really is quite hard enough to write one!

Given how they read I suspect you all think I knock them off in about ten minutes or so.

Unfortunately the truth is somewhat different.

These articles don’t write themselves and generally it takes quite a while to compose my thoughts and set them down on paper.

Very often I sit there looking at that empty computer screen winking back malevolently at me and have absolutely no idea what on earth I am going to write about, but somehow it all seems to come right in the end, the words begin to flow, and, given that quite a lot of you make positive and helpful comments too, and seem to come back for more, I must be doing something right.

I watched the Reading versus Wolves match at lunchtime with great interest and was impressed with our former loanee George Saville who used the ball excellently, but ran out of steam soon after halftime.

He missed a wonderful chance when set free on goal and also still seemed to be playing on the edge, all too ready to flare up and react to any provocation and it was evident that Reading set out to wind him up and clearly succeeded in their aim.

Given that we play them next weekend I watched Reading carefully.

They were as neat and tidy on the ball as you would expect from a Nigel Adkins team but were porous and vulnerable at the back and left gaps that we could surely exploit.

For a home team they seemed to create remarkably few chances, but still scored three times, yet more evidence that the finishing at Championship level is far more clinical.

I then tried watching a terribly one-sided Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and a horribly limited Burnley team who I fully expect us to be playing against next season.

Albion were no great shakes themselves, but were far better than their opponents, and won in a canter by four clear goals, with Saido Berahino scoring twice and looking a real handful.

huntHopefully his short loan spell spent slumming it at Griffin Park was a bit of an eye opener for him and helped him grow up a bit.

It would certainly appear that he was taught some manners by Uwe Rosler and Gary Alexander and he does seem a more mature young man now.

I have also spent some time browsing the Sunday newspapers looking, as I always do, for former Bees plying their trade elsewhere up and down the food chain, and what really interested me today was not so much who played yesterday but more importantly, who didn’t.

Missing from action for whatever reasons were regular stalwarts such as Marcus Bean at Colchester, Ryan Dickson and Gavin Tomlin at Crawley, and Leon Legge at Gillingham.

Most remarkably, Craig Woodman, a permanent fixture in the Exeter City team, was also absent yesterday through injury.

More concerning for me was the continuing absence of stalwart David Hunt from the Oxford United squad.

mc2He is one of my favourite former Brentford players, as, just like Marcus Bean, he was always totally committed to the cause, as well as having the time to engage with supporters.

I hope that he is simply injured and not slowly slipping away from us next to be seen playing outside the Football League.

Of course that happens to every player eventually but he surely still has so much to offer.

What caught my eye though more than anything else, were the remarkable photographs of the eccentric Leeds United owner, Massimo Cellino standing behind the goal alongside the (currently) adoring away supporters.

Apparently he arrived at the ground accompanied by his minders and did not stay in the Directors’ Box but first sat amongst the Brentford fans in the Braemar Road Paddock before being removed from the home area to stand with his fellow Leeds fans in the Brook Road end.

Now what was all that about?

Was he so filled with passion for his team that he could only express his support sufficiently by standing behind the goal with his fellow supporters, or was it just more evidence of his need to be the absolute centre of attention, and milk the love, support and homage of the Leeds faithful, especially on a day when his new manager was taking charge of the team for the first time?

mc 1Perhaps he was reinforcing his diktat that “I, Massimo am still Number One at the club” and making sure that everybody else was aware of the fact and duly recognised it.

Given the problems that Leeds United have faced in recent years, maybe their supporters are glad to have him and are prepared to accept his idiosyncrasies.

Perhaps they are just grateful for his attention and support and feel that he will restore them to their past glories.

Who knows?

Maybe they are correct and he will in fact be successful.

His early decisions and ability to change direction without apparent rhyme and reason do not fill me with any great confidence and I suspect it will be a turbulent ride for everybody connected with the club.

To be honest I keep thinking about John Hurt, who gave such an unforgettable performance as the megalomaniac Caligula in “I Claudius”.

Personally when I read about his antics, which have, of course attracted massive tabloid newspaper headlines, I just sat there and gave thanks for the people who are currently running our club so quietly, unobtrusively and effectively.

We have a strategy and a plan both on and off the field, from top to bottom, and we seem to be keeping to it, and you know what, it is working because it has been well thought through and is eminently sensible and pragmatic.

We have previously been subject to the whims of dictatorships and seat of the pants leadership, and personally I find that approach annoying, upsetting and totally exhausting.

No football club should be subject to the whims of one person acting alone without any checks or balances.

And it never works for long either.

I have no problem with Leeds United and I wish them every success apart from when we next play them later on in the season at Elland Road, but I know which team I would rather be following, and I well suspect which club is better run.

benhamThe Leeds United fans were good natured in defeat yesterday and recognised and accepted that they had been second best on the day, but they were, perhaps understandably enough, pretty patronising about “little Brentford” and they described us on their message boards as a small club with a terribly old fashioned stadium that in previous years they would not even have deigned to play in a preseason friendly.

Well, times have changed and I far prefer our immediate future to theirs.

Oh and I believe that Matthew Benham has also been known to stand on the terraces with his fellow Bees fans, but given his lack of public profile and desire to remain incognito and firmly behind the scenes, I suspect that hardly any of them even recognised him!

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