We would generally finish around half way in the Third Division, occasionally flatter to deceive with a late run towards the Playoffs, sell any decent player for buttons at the first sniff of interest from a higher placed predator and survived on less than five thousand fans drifting through the turnstiles together at five minutes to three.
We got by on a conveyor belt of recycled journeymen like Paul Maddy and Gary Stevens, the odd promising local youngster or bargain basement capture from non-league, and every so often we would really row the boat out and bring in a creaking old warhorse such as Ron Harris or Micky Droy.
A last faltering step on their journey to the knacker’s yard.
Our standard of football was basic and pedestrian.
A goalkeeper continually throwing the ball short to a defender would have been told in no uncertain terms, by manager, team mates and supporters alike to stop this tomfoolery and kick the damn thing away as far as possible down the pitch.
We knew our place and we understood exactly where we were situated in football’s food chain – below the salt, not speaking unless spoken to and unlikely to ever make waves.
Now look at us:
Promoted to the Championship on the crest of a wave of sublime attacking football.
Attracting near five figure gates with over five thousand season ticket holders.
All ticket matches are now the norm rather than the exception.
A brand spanking new stadium at Lionel Road is on the horizon.
Three games to come this season against Fulham.
Optimism oozing from our every pore.
We have already spent around two and a half million pounds this close season on the likes of Alan Judge, Moses Odubajo, Andre Gray and Scott Hogan and brought in our first ever million pound player.
We are now standing up for ourselves and are not allowing bigger fish like Wigan to bully us out of our prime asset in Adam Forshaw.
This is now a completely different club which is totally unrecognisable from the one I started supporting all those desperate, long years ago, and I just love what we have now.
Ambition tempered with realism and pragmatism.
A club owned and run by businessmen who are also supporters, steeped in the tradition of the club, who understand and appreciate its history and heritage as well as its place within the local community.
Despite the progress we have made and the realisation that to support Brentford nowadays it is really necessary to suspend disbelief, I was totally taken aback by last night’s breaking news.
According to reports from the local press and social media, last night the club surpassed itself and rose to even dizzier heights totally beyond our wildest dreams a few short years ago with the imminent signing of young Celta Vigo attacking midfielder José Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo, commonly known as Jota, who has apparently agreed a three year deal with Brentford, with the move due to be announced shortly, for a fee of around 1.3 million Euros.
No over the hill journeyman, Jota is a well regarded emerging star who was loaned to SD Eibar last season where his eleven goals helped them to promotion to La Liga.
There is, quite frankly, amazement in Spanish football circles that we have managed to pull off such a coup and signed a player of his calibre before the bigger fish even got a sniff of his potential availability.
I have just watched a video of Jota in action with open mouthed amazement.
He is totally mesmerising.
The ball seems glued to his foot as he probes for openings.
He sees passes that never looked on to mere mortals, he has an eye for goal, real pace and is brave and good in the air.
Jota is the whole package and looks to be the complete footballer.
And he is coming to Griffin Park too!!
Believe me – Eddie Hutchinson he ain’t!
So hats off to Frank McParland and his team, and Jota’s signing simply reinforces Brentford’s ambition as well as their viewpoint that there is real value to be found in Spain, where, owing to the lack of financial stability within the game, talented players such as Jota and Marcos Tebar can be signed for realistic sums that the club can afford.
From good, honest, journeymen pros such as Craig Woodman, Gary Alexander, Charlie MacDonald, Myles Weston, Danny Foster and Michael Spillane to our current squad packed full of gifted young talent in just three short years!
Our progress is almost beyond belief and our wonderful journey is gaining more momentum by the week.
So wake me up – I’m dreaming!