I described Saturday’s match and the start of a new season as a “resumption of a rite of passage” and one of the best things about the day was catching up with so many people at the ground who I hadn’t seen or spoken to since the curtain went down on last season after the Stevenage game.
I fully realise that at my age memory loss is beginning to kick in but it is remarkable how many people I saw yesterday and exchanged greetings and snippets of news with, without actually knowing their name, or they mine.
You know who I am talking about – the bloke from the Press Room (not you Dave!) and the guy in the Programme Shop to highlight just two of many.
We all have that one thing in common – an absolute and unshakeable love for Brentford FC and an insatiable interest in everything that surrounds it.
I am sure that everyone reading this would have a similar tale to tell too.
Would it therefore be a revolutionary idea if I suggested that instead of just saying “hello” in future when we see characters such as the ones that I have mentioned, that we actually take the time to find out who we are talking to as well as a bit more about them?
I remember having a season ticket back in the late 1970s and despite exchanging pleasantries at every match with the guy sitting next to me I never took the trouble to discover who he was, and this is something that I have always regretted.
It was also heart warming and quite moving to see so many families at the match, sometimes encompassing three generations of supporters.
That wonderful writer Duncan Hamilton wrote so memorably and movingly about his relationship with his father in The Footballer Who Could Fly.
His Dad, a former miner, and a man of his times, found it impossible to express or show his feelings and emotions and it was only through their shared passion for Newcastle United that the two of them were ever able to communicate.
“Without football we were strangers under a shared roof. Without football we’d have had nothing to say to each other. The game alone pushed us into one another’s orbit.”
My Dad started taking me to Brentford when I was ten but he soon cried off given his work and golfing commitments at the weekend and from then on I was pretty much on my own.
Sad, but that is just the way it was.
I well remember as a twelve year old, fighting my way through what seemed an impassable snowdrift and somehow making it through the blizzard to Kew Bridge where, frozen and with teeth chattering, I finally got onto a number 27 bus after the Guildford FA Cup tie was abandoned.
My wife was far too discriminating to come regularly and was turned off by some of the poor football on display on the rare occasions that I could inveigle her to accompany me.
Having given up on trying to change her mind during many years of non-achievement at Griffin Park, things changed a couple of years ago.
I had been burbling on to her for months about the revolution taking place at Brentford under Matthew Benham and Uwe Rosler, however my words had fallen on deaf and sceptical ears.
I went down on bended knee to beg her to come to the Chelsea FA Cup tie and the scales finally fell away from her eyes.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she was hooked, but she enjoyed the theatre of the occasion and was very pleasantly surprised by the calibre of our football.
I have just taken the bull by the horns and bought her a season ticket and hopefully she will come to a few games with me over the coming months.
It has been a long and hard road but hopefully now I can come to the games with my family, something that has long been an unfulfilled wish of mine.
So look out for me in Block B304 in the Braemar Road stand, and if I am on my own, you will know that I have become Billy No Mates again!