Well that was a bit of a letdown. Today should have been one of the most exciting days of the season, one which I had been looking forward to for weeks with a heightened sense of anticipation.
The Brentford players returned to training this morning preparatory to their trip to a swanky US training camp next week.
All should have been great as indeed it was until I opened up the Birmingham City website and was greeted by the sickening sight (above) of our hero and talisman Clayton Donaldson being paraded on the St. Andrew’s pitch.
In truth Clayton’s departure did not come as a total shock and last week I had written what I thought was a measured article about the pros and cons of his impending decision.
In other words I thought that I had prepared myself in a calm and rational manner to face life at Griffin Park PC or post-Clayton.
Well I was wrong.
All was fine even when the horrid news was confirmed on the Brentford website.
He had gone and left us for one of our rivals, deadly enemies too from the past in Birmingham City, a club that seemed to be in financial disarray and meltdown.
That was sad but I could cope with the disappointment and all seemed manageable until I saw that dreadful picture of him in Birmingham.
My heart missed a beat and an almost visceral feeling of loss, pain and sickness permeated my entire body.
How could you do this Clayton? How could you desert us?
He really has gone. I know I have to face this fact however hard it is to accept.
We won’t see those lung-bursting runs any more. He won’t score those match winning goals for us again that seemingly snatched victory out of certain defeat.
Remember Portsmouth and Peterborough and the countless other times when he almost singlehandedly carried us over the line.
We won’t see that infectious smile and pure joie de vivre. We will really miss his unheralded and much appreciated work for the Community Sports Trust.
True we also won’t see him screw up any more one on ones, and certainly no more penalty kicks, and I suppose for that we should be grateful.
Today though is a day of mourning. Clayton came with high expectations and more than fulfilled them.
Now he has gone and I am very, very sad.
Football is a game that stirs the soul and the emotions.
I thought that I was old and cynical enough to take most things in my stride but Clayton leaving has really affected me and I’m sure many other Brentford fans too, as he represents everything good, solid and positive about the game and his skill, approach and very presence will be sorely missed over the coming months.