When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! – 13/11/14

scMy last article suggested that the less recognition Brentford received for their incredible start to the season the better, and that it would be far more beneficial for us if we remained firmly under the radar, and our achievements to date remained largely unnoticed.

Several of our early opponents seem to have totally underestimated us and have ended up with a bloody nose for their trouble, and I was concerned that forewarned is forearmed, and we might well find the going tougher in the future once teams become less complacent, and begin to recognise that we are by no means a soft touch.

Given how cautious, superstitious and reactionary I thought most long-term Brentford fans to be, I fully expected that my comments would be well received and that the overwhelming majority would vote to tick the box for no publicity.

Not a bit of it!

I certainly misread the prevailing mood as quite a few of the responses I received certainly came from the Max Bialystock school of “When you’ve got it, flaunt it” and Eric Taylor, writing from Somalia, best summed up that viewpoint:

To be honest, you disappoint me a bit.

You write excellently and I follow you religiously.

Your writing is spot on, and for a Bees fan in Africa it’s how I keep up to speed with how The World Famous Brentford FC are doing as we speed towards immortality.

But I think you’re a bit tactical when you need to be more strategic. 

You need to marshall some basic facts.

We are Brentford fans.

Very few individuals are given that privilege.

We support the best team ever and only people mainlining heroin whilst smoking crack could possibly argue against that.

This month we are sixth in the Championship.

As the best and most real football club in the division (real in being we have no glory fans – nobody supports Brentford unless they are blessed) we’re destined for promotion to the Premiership.

The strategic bit, which I’d welcome your advice on, is how we beat Real Madrid in the Champions’ League final in forty-eight months’ time?

Ditch the small scale stuff about how we beat Manchester United in eleven months time, 0-1 (Saunders, 97 mins) or how Benham refuses Mourinho’s begging on his knees to manage us as Warburton signs a twenty year contract, and focus on the real big picture stuff !

Come On You Bees, and keep up your great work.

How can you fail to smile and nod your head in agreement with his comments and positivity?

Peter Herman was slightly more constrained and conflicted in his opinion and seemed to be betting each way:

I am still finding it all a bit hard to believe after so many years of disappointments, interspersed with a few short lived triumphs.

It sounds crazy, I know, but now I am actually beginning to worry about the possibility of our being promoted before we get to Lionel Road!

But as a Bees pessimist, my next thought is that we have still have a long way to go before we can even be sure of staying up.

Patrick Sutton is another one struggling to come to terms with the Brentford of today, but happy to accept things at face value:

As per usual your posts are written in such a dream way that I always have to slap myself when I have finished reading.

For me as a supporter of forty-six years I feel it is vital that I remain prepared to shed many more tears for my beloved Brentford, and that, in my humble opinion, is why I believe that as a club, first of all, we are now in a stable and healthy position thanks to Mr Benham’s shrewd business head, and secondly as a football club we have come so far, so let’s skip being under the radar and simply forget who is watching and talking about little old Brentford.

As a parent I get such a buzz every home game when I watch how excited my seventeen year old son is about travelling from our home in Wimbledon to watch the Bees, an excitement I have seen grow on his face since he was six years old.

I guess my point is though excited, blessed and proud to be a Brentford supporter I will always take it one game at a time and no matter how far up we go or how far down, I will always be a Brentford man and, in return for the way we are now, I can look back and say that all the tears in the past were well worth it.

Hope that all made sense.

Andre too sums up some of the confusion and ambivalence felt by so many of us:

I’m torn.

I’d obviously accept promotion at the drop of a hat.

But I wonder whether it would be in the longer term interest of the club if it happened this year.

Griffin Park is totally unsuitable for Premier League football and the new stadium won’t be ready until 2017 according to current estimates.

We’d have to negotiate a groundshare, pay for the privilege, and lose income as a result of being tenants elsewhere.

Inevitably resulting in less atmosphere and no fortress Brentford.

This is not an old fashioned and reactionary ‘nah, they don’t want to go up’ kind of comment.

But I’d rather hear about Brentford’s three year record in the Premier League against Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea rather than experiencing one season of crash and burn.

However, even that is better than nothing at all.

There’s no way of telling what the future will bring.

I’ll happily take the opportunties if they come.

Hence my confusion.

With hindsight, losing to Doncaster and Yeovil turmed out to be a good thing, however much it hurt at the time.

We are so much better prepared for the Championship this year.

But of course, we now know what happened the following year.

At the time, we could only feel the pain.

I can’t help feeling that the prospect of promotion this year scares the bejesus out of me.

But before then, there’s the small matter of picking up those twenty-three points for safety, and sixteenth would still be fine and dandy, just as it was at the beginning of the season, although on the evidence so far, we’re much better than that.

What am I thinking of?

The mere fact that I’m worrying about the prospect of playing in the Premier League, rather than wondering about what Conference football might be like, all in the space of seven years, says it all.

What progress.

Carpe diem.

Being promoted too early is such a luxury problem !

But let’s get those twenty-three points first.

butI think the fact that the words “Premier League” and “Brentford” can now even be mentioned in the same sentence without attracting guffaws of laughter or expressions of total incredulity and disbelief, really says it all.

Andre is quite right.

A mere seven years ago we were in freefall and it looked like we were only going in one direction, and it was backwards towards the Conference and likely oblivion.

AFC Brentford anyone?

Lucky not to be sacked at the same time as Terry Butcher, and probably only saved the axe as we could not afford to pay out any more compensation, Andy Scott somehow managed to turn the ship around and stabilise us, before winning a crucial promotion from the bottom tier the following season.

His achievements have not, in my opinion, received enough accolades as he laid the initial foundations, underpinned, of course by Matthew Benham’s financial support, which have been built upon so well by Uwe Rosler and Mark Warburton.

brI still have to pinch myself when I stop to think about how far we have come in so short a period of time.

Do you remember the days, not so long ago, in truth, when we fielded the likes of Simon Brown, Lee Thorpe, Craig Pead and John Mackie?

Honest journeymen professionals they all most certainly were, but how can you compare them to the turbocharged thoroughbreds we are so fortunate to be watching nowadays?

As long as we never start taking things for granted and become insufferably smug and develop a sense of entitlement, like the supporters of some other teams we could all mention, then I think we will be all right.

In the light of the above, Ithorpe have reconsidered my position and I now think that every Brentford supporter should simply take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

We know we are in good and safe hands and that the future of our beloved club will never be put in jeopardy by our enlightened ownership.

Let’s just recognise and take joy and pride in the undoubted fact that after being mediocrities and also rans for far too long, nearly all the component parts seem to be coming together at the same time.

We have a squad, a management team, an approach and a style of play that we should justifiably shout from the rooftops about.

peadWe really are that good and given a fair wind, some good fortune and no more crucial injuries, we are more than likely to get even better as we grow in experience and self-belief.

Who knows just how far we can go.

Certainly, we need Lionel Road and its enhanced revenue streams to come on board as soon as is humanly possible, but the future is so bright for Brentford.

As for the Premier League, is it a mere pipe dream, could it become a reality or are we in danger of becoming guilty of hubris and perhaps laying ourselves open to the prospect of nemesis?

mackieI have no idea but, you know what, I am becoming far more comfortable at the prospect of outsiders recognising and commenting about our achievements.

It makes such a pleasant change from being patronised and ridiculed.

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12 thoughts on “When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! – 13/11/14

  1. Your thoughts are further backed up by comments made to me today at work, where a fulscum supporting colleague admitted to a certain amount of trepidation at the prospect of playing us a week Friday. Whilst I too openly admit that the thought of playing in the premiership scares the bejesus out of me, i do desperately want to put THEM firmly in their place. Keep up the good work. I thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts. 😆

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    • Thanks David, next Friday is important and in its way far more than a normal game in terms of history and bragging rights, but in the great scheme of things it is just three points – but let’s beat the old enemy!!

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  2. Morning! As per usual you’re posts are written in such a dream way that I always have to slap myself when I have finished reading. For me as a supporter of 46 year’s I feel it’s vital I remain prepared to shed many more tears for my beloved brentford, and that in my humble opinion is why I believe that as a club first of all we are now in a stable and healthy position thanks to Mr benhams shrewd business head, secondly as a football club we have come so far so lets skip being under the radar and forget who is watching and talking about little old brentford. As a parent I get such a buzz every home game when I watch how excited my 17 yr old son is about travelling from our home in Wimbledon to watch the bees a excitement I have seen grow on his face since he was six years old. I guess my point is tho excited blessed and proud to be a brentford supporter I will always take it one game at a time and no matter how far up we go or how far down I will always be a brentford man and for the way we are now I can look back and say all the tears in the past were worth it. Hope that all made sense lol.

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    • Patrick, I am so pleased and flattered by your comment. You and I have been watching the Bees for pretty much identical periods of time and I think we both deserve what we are experiencing now after so many decades of frustration.
      If you don’t mind I am going to add your comment to today’s blog.

      Many thanks

      Greville

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      • Greville,

        I think you are right to be cautious and to want Brentford’s exploits to stay underneath the radar of the media and other, more wealthy clubs. I think that there’s a real danger that stringing a few wins together – however glorious and enjoyable for us – will prompt the media to overhype our actual potential this season.
        We can do without the ‘rags to riches’ type stories, which may go to the players’ heads and certainly make the opposition view us as a club to be taken down a peg or two.
        It will also prompt the possibility of more Adam Forshaw sagas in January and May. As you said yourself, despite career considerations, the possibility of trebling or quadrupling your wages – and getting a hefty signing-on fee – will turn young players’ heads, and any resistance will be futile, and possibly counter-productive in terms of giving future young signings the wrong idea.
        We should be able to continue to go about our business as we have been doing without having to deal with ridiculous expectations and external distractions.

        On the subject of promotion this year, I think on balance I’d take it. I think the club is too well-run these days to be swept aside if it all ends in tears after 12 months. Moreover, we’ll have the parachute payments behind us to consolidate our push for permanent status in the top flight. Besides which, I think Twickenham is probably the best stadium in the country, bar none!

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      • Grenville. I have just seen you’re reply and I feel chuffed that you have posted my comments tho slightly embarrassed lol. Looking forward to reading you’re next post.

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  3. Another totally unrelated comment: Is it possible to start filing your blogs in monthly folders? The ‘string of sausages’ is getting so long I, for one, am having difficulty scrolling down your latest effort. Having said that, I think the standard is getting better and better. I now turn to your blog before the GPG, which is praise indeed!

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  4. Greville..while as a supporter since 1953 (I’m 68 !!) I would dearly love to see the Bees playing in the Premier before my eventual demise but for obvious reasons not this season. Over the years I’ve seen many false horizons and a hell of a lot of poor administration from “The Board” Now we have a really good manager who is backed to the hilt by an amazingly (for Brentford) supportive Board of Directors, allied to a strong squad of young and experienced players. Mathew is the rock which this club stands and long may that continue. We need firstly to remain in the Championship for at least 2 seasons to consolidate our success so far this season (I consider 23 points to be a certainty) This will give our younger players a chance to learn from Dougie, Mac and co., in a couple of years they will be stronger, more tactically aware and experienced. Love your views, long may they continue.

    Peter Green

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