Ian Westbrook’s TW8 diary

Icy response
Brentford’s Alan Judge nearly learned the hard way not to mess with Bees owner Matthew Benham.

Twitter followers of the club benefactor will have been surprised to see this message in their feeds towards the end of August:

However, Judge was spared the drop into the Southern League Premier Division as the message was Benham’s light-hearted way of responding to being nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge by the midfielder.

Benham in it for the “long haul”
Benham recently took part in a question-and-answer session on the popular fans’ messageboard Griffin Park Grapevine.

He answered questions on a huge variety of topics – not all football-related – and confirmed he was not thinking of stepping down from his role, saying “Yes, here for the long haul.”

Benham also said the club would always sign a local or homegrown player over an overseas player if the two were at the same level and would cost the same, and that if the club was to reach the Premier League before the new stadium at Lionel Road was ready, they might have to groundshare.

Concentrate on the league
Brentford fans have an unusually long period without any cup football to watch after the Bees’ exit from the Capital One Cup at the hands of west London rivals Fulham.

Two benefits of playing in the Championship are not being involved in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and not joining the FA Cup until the third round in January. It also means less uncertainty over extra midweek fixtures for supporters.

Talking of Tuesday and Wednesday night matches, there seems to be a strange imbalance in the way the fixtures have fallen.

While Brentford have two midweek matches in September, one in October and one in November, there is a four-week period when February turns into March when they have home matches on three out of a run of four Tuesdays.

Mouthwatering matches
A look at Brentford’s fixture list for the rest of Sepember shows just how exciting it is to be in the Championship.

While September 2013 brought run-of-the-mill matches against Bradford, Tranmere, Leyton Orient and Coventry in the League, all familiar opponents over recent seasons, as well as AFC Wimbledon in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, things are very different this time around.

On Saturday week the Bees’ campaign resumes with a home game against Brighton (last met in March 2011), followed three days by a visit to Griffin Park from Norwich (last met in January 2010).

The following Saturday, 20 September, Brentford travel to Middlesbrough for the first time since April 1987. Then the hosts played at Ayresome Park so this will be the Bees’ first visit to the Riverside Stadium. Then Leeds visit west London on the final Saturday of the month for only the second time in league action since 1953.

Finally on Tuesday 30th, Brentford make the short trip to old rivals Watford – the first time they have played at Vicarage Road since August 1997.

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