I still sometimes find it hard to believe everything that has been happening at Brentford FC.
Is that really my team, little old Brentford, that has, in the space of three short years, been transformed into what is probably one of the best run, most ambitious and progressive clubs in the country?
A club that is beginning to establish itself in the Championship, plays a beautiful short passing style of positive, attacking football and possesses a burgeoning Academy system that is the envy of its rivals.
Surely not, and I fully expect to wake up one morning and find out that it was all really a dream and a product of my wishful thinking, and that in reality we remain in twelfth place in Division One and are looking forward to our next match at home to Walsall with Charlie MacDonald and Gary Alexander plodding away together upfront.
But it is all true, and yesterday’s activity simply reinforced how efficient and well organised we are at the moment.
Poor Scott Hogan had no sooner managed to get himself fit after his niggling ankle injury when his studs caught in the turf shortly after he made his Championship debut as a substitute late on in Saturday’s victory at Rotherham and he went down with nobody else anywhere near him.
It looked bad at the time and first reports from the Club Medical Team have confirmed that it is a serious injury to his left knee.
This is an awful blow to a young player who was looking to make the most of his opportunity and hopefully he will make a complete and speedy recovery.
Even before the loss of Scott I felt we were light in numbers up front.
Andre Gray was establishing himself as first choice as the lone striker employed in our 4-1-4-1 formation, with Nick Proschwitz covering on the bench.
Montell Moore had appeared briefly, but despite his raw talent he needs time to develop.
At Blackpool we had been reduced to using Tommy Smith as an emergency striker late in the second half.
An interesting move that ended up with us adopting a unique 4-6-0 formation as we clung onto our win.
We therefore needed to replace Scott Hogan as quickly as possible but, particularly given the International break, I fully expected that we would wait until the loan window reopened next week before making our move.
I should have known better!
That would have been so “Old Brentford” – instead we went out yesterday and made yet another incredible signing that none of us saw coming.
Betinho, a young Portugal Under 21 international striker from Sporting Lisbon was signed on loan until the end of the season.
A player with a boggling 60 million Euro release clause, he was yet another prospect who impressed Mark Warburton in the Next Gen competition and from what footage you can find on YouTube, he looks like he is an amazing young talent with a real eye for goal.
We must allow him time to settle and ideally minimise our immediate expectations, but we might just have hit the jackpot.
Congratulations are due yet again to Frank McParland and his recruitment team who acted so swiftly, efficiently, and, most importantly, so quietly.
We don’t make a fuss about our transfer dealings these days, unlike other clubs, in particular one in the North West that I’m far too polite to mention.
We keep things confidential and operate underneath the radar, and very little seems to leak out in advance.
Frustrating that might be for all us fans who love transfer gossip and speculation, but it is the right way to conduct your business.
I think it is fair to say that apart from Alan Judge, who was always going to be a prime target, the identity of all our signings remained a secret until they were done deals.
In today’s world of social media and camera phones that is quite some achievement.
We have managed to secure twelve, yes twelve, new signings of a quality pretty much unheard of since perhaps the mid thirties – and no, my memory does not go back quite that far!
We now have three high calibre Spanish players and one Portugese, and, by the way, doesn’t it seem weird to have players who are known by one name only in Jota and now Betinho.
We really are in the big time now!
Assuming the new players gel, and some of them might well need some time to settle down in a new environment, I feel that we have every chance of establishing ourselves as a real force in this new division.
Alan Judge, Alex Pritchard, Andre Gray, Moses Odubajo, Marcos Tebar, Jota, Jon Toral, Scott Hogan, Nick Proschwitz, Tommy Smith, Daniel O’Shaunessy and now, Betinho.
That is quite an assembly of talent!
Of course we have taken a chance in not going the route of bringing in established Championship talent, but that requires a massive financial investment unless you settle for the type of journeymen brought in by the likes of Rotherham.
They did take a chance last night on a young unproven striker in Oldham’s Jonathan Clarke-Harris, who is a real gamble, but in my opinion, better someone like him than a Matt Derbyshire.
Through the out door finally went Adam Forshaw.
We have already talked this one to death and it simply comes down to the fact that he wants to play elsewhere.
Time will tell if he made the correct decision.
He has so much talent and is such a dedicated professional that I’m sure he will succeed and not disappear into the same black hole as Harry Forrester, Simon Moore and others of similar ilk.
We apparently got top dollar for him and the money was reinvested even before his departure was confirmed – more evidence of “New Brentford” and of how we conduct ourselves nowadays.
Alfie Mawson also had his loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers extended until January.
He is a real prospect and I think that he has a decent chance of making a career for himself, hopefully at Brentford too.
We go into the prolonged International break with a full squad who now have some time to get to know each other and train together.
We also have a couple of players away on International duty.
Heady times, indeed!
Losing Scott Hogan was a real blow, but rather than just accept the situation, we have taken the bull by the horns and made a massive positive step in replacing him in the manner that we have.
Slowly but surely people within the game, and even some commentators, are beginning to take note and realise what we supporters already know.
There is a revolution afoot at Griffin Park.
We are on a journey and it promises to be an exhilarating ride.