“I knew very little about Max when we signed him. I knew he was a right back and I knew he was French so I assumed he was pacey, tough and ate frogs leg croissants for breakfast. However, it was obvious right from his first appearance that we had a real player on our hands”
Rather than another piece about how we’re not out of the woods yet etc, I thought I’d focus on the boys that were bees. It is true that the win against Ipswich was a huge leap forward for us and the momentum carried over from the destruction of Hull will be sending us into Bolton later today at breakneck speed. However, I shall save my review of the Easter period until the dust has settled in the Macron.
When Redknapp was in the midst of a spending spree, I can only assume his petrol tank was running low so he left his cheque book in Griffin Park along with a sign-up sheet and took the first 3 names off the list. Either that, or he picked 3 of the best Bees in the hive and buzzed them over to St Andrews before the 11pm deadline struck. Whatever the circumstances were that lead Jota, Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean to arrive in Small Heath, we must all count our lucky stars that they did.
What’s Hotter Than Jota?
A couple of months ago I wrote an article about Jota that was somewhat misunderstood by those that would rather read headlines and assume content, rather than actually read the piece. In it, I stated that we were desperate for a creative playmaker and harped on about how we were in dire need of a player that could grab a game by the throat and force a turnaround in fortunes. I went on to claim that we possibly had such a player on the bench but for some reason, Stevie C was adamant that his £6 million backside was better suited to warming plush plastic dugout seating than wasting time on a football pitch.
I was a touch critical of Jota when he first arrived and I think myself and other fans were
within our rights to question the record signing, although I know I certainly heaped some
unfair expectations onto his little Spanish shoulders. However, whilst not living up to his
price tag during the early stages of his Blues tenure, it was obvious to every fan in the
ground that Jota HAD something. Whether it was pace, accuracy, silky skills, or just a
lovely flowing head of hair, Jota had something that we knew we just weren’t seeing yet.
It’s fair to say that since Gazza, Jimmy and Pep arrived though, Jota has found his smile
and brought his skills to the forefront of his game. Jota has tunneled his way out of the far
depths of Cotterill’s afterthoughts and etched his name so firmly onto Monk’s team sheet
that at this point in time only an injury (God forbid) could lead to its removal.
Although if we’re honest, based on Jota’s last couple of games I’d probably still roll him out
to the wing and let N’Doye push him round in his wheelchair rather than drop him.
Jota is involved with everything good about Blues’ attacking prowess since Monk appeared
on the scene. Whether creating chances or finishing them, he has been an absolute
handful for opposition defences recently. In addition to this, we have found in Jota
something that we have been sorely missing for quite some time; a decent set piece taker.
I love Gardner to bits, but his corners and free kicks are more like clearances, whereas our
little Spanish wizard finds his man more often than not. When that man is Lukey Jukey,
good things can and will happen.
The Dean Machine
Whilst Jota took some time to find his feet at St Andrews, Harlee Dean arrived with a bang
and earned himself the captains armband during Morrison’s short absence. Harlee
became somewhat of a fan favourite early on in the season and is the only member of the
Brentford Three to be gifted with his own song. The fact that his name has the right
number of syllables and is easier to rhyme than “Maxime Colin” and “Jota” has nothing to
do with it…. honest.
Dean is a rock at the back and although I thought highly of Ryan Shotton, he is more than
an adequate replacement. Were we to ever need a substitute captain again, Harlee’s
name would be first on my list and during tough times he is the on-site General that we
need. Dean is a good old-fashioned, kick you into row Z defender and has been
consistently solid. Injuries at the back have caused shake-ups and unfamiliarity, not least
with the loss of Jonathan Grounds (I miss you Groundinho), but Harlee has taken
complete ownership of his position as well as taking the care to warm himself to the fans.
Harlee is a potential future club captain and a proper Blues defender.
Maxime Colin is a cool enough name, but if he were ever to have his own cop show, Max
Wingback would be the perfect moniker.
I knew very little about Max when we signed him. I knew his was a right back and I knew
he was French so I assumed he was pacey, tough and ate frogs leg croissants for
breakfast. However, it was obvious right from his first appearance that we had a real player
on our hands. Max has the engine of a 747, makes very few errors and isn’t afraid to run at
the opposition before tracking back to fulfill his defensive duties. It’s no coincidence that
Jota’s better early games always occurred when Max was playing behind him too.
Colin is consistently heralded as man of the match on social media post game and for me
is the pick of the Brentford Bunch. I’d personally say he is our signing of the season with
players like Vassell and Stockdale not too far behind him. Max has not had a bad game in
a Blue shirt since signing for us and whilst I prefer him at his more natural right-back
position, he’s doing a grand job covering for Grounds whilst Wes is busy proving that
Cotterill’s claims about our Youth system are utter drivel.
In addition to regularly being the best player on the pitch, Max comes across and a
genuinely great guy. When Brentford came to visit early on in the season, they gave
Harlee dogs abuse and threw their fair share of insults in Jota’s direction. However when
Max was unfortunately stretchered off early on, he got a standing ovation from the visiting
drones. This was a classy gesture on the away fans’ part but also showed the respect for
the character of the man being carried off.
Max Wingback is the critical keystone in the Dean/Max/Jota trifecta and he was sorely
missed during his time on the sidelines. A consummate professional and the scourge of
opposition wingers, I could make a compelling argument for Colin to be in strong
contention for player of the season. Max IS tough, he IS pacey and he is also a class act.
I’m afraid I cannot confirm the frog leg breakfast though.
By Mark Watson