My 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’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.
Being promoted too early is such a luxury problem !
But let’s get those twenty-three points first.
I 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.
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.
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.
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?
It makes such a pleasant change from being patronised and ridiculed.