Sunday In Paradise – 14/12-14

JotaI thought I would take a bit of time after yesterday’s three-one victory over Blackburn Rovers as I simply wanted to savour the moment before reflecting on the immensity of our achievements so far this season.

So let’s recap just where we are.

After twenty-one games, almost half a season, we find ourselves established in fifth place in what is the toughest league that most of us have ever seen Brentford play in.

We are a mere two points behind the leaders and we have left massive clubs such as Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Wolves, Fulham, Reading, Brighton, and now of course, Blackburn, trailing in our wake.

Indeed, we have already beaten eleven teams – yes eleven teams, including all of the ones mentioned above, and I suspect that before the season began there were many worriers, doubters and pessimists amongst our fan base who would have been content if we had managed that feat by the beginning of May.

We are finally daring to dream and even speculate out loud at the prospect of little old Brentford actually playing Premier League football next season, without being laughed out of court or theatened with being sectioned.

And it is not just us, even the august Sunday Times mooted the same hypothesis today and did not dismiss it out of hand.

We have already, by mid-December, amassed as many points as Yeovil managed in an entire season in 2013/14.

We are playing football of the Gods, football of a quality never before seen at Griffin Park in our lifetime.

The fans are flocking back to watch this phenomenal team with nine consecutive attendances of more than ten thousand packing into Griffin Park, supporters who are relishing the sumptuous entertainment that is being served up for them.

We play a fluid, dynamic, attacking style of football, with players switching and interchanging positions, with centre halves pushing forward, fullbacks cum wingers, and a lavish collection of midfielders who are more lethal in front of goal than most strikers.

We play without fear and with total self-belief as we now know that at our best and at full throttle we can match or indeed, surpass any team that comes up against us.

We never sit back and adopt a hold what we have approach.

We attack relentlessly, harass, press and squeeze the life out of the opposition.

I never fail to marvel and take delight at the sight of gnarled and cynical Championship defenders on their way up for a corner looking anxiously and with stunned bemusement over their shoulder at the sight of three Brentford attackers hovering with menace on the halfway line just waiting for a quick breakaway.

They just haven’t come across a team like us before and currently the league is finding it hard to deal with us.

hareWe play with one striker yet pepper the opposition goal with shots from all distances and angles. We had twenty-two goal attempts in our last away game yet only scored once – go figure it out!

Two of our midfielders have already scored five times and I suspect that at least three of them will reach double figures by the end of the season.

We have coped just fine without one of our best players from last season in Adam Forshaw who has become just the latest in a long line of players who have discovered to their cost that the grass is certainly not greener elsewhere.

I suspect that Simon Moore, Harry Forrester, Clayton Donaldson and now Adam are all having second thoughts about their decision to move on. Maybe they are crying all the way to the bank but their careers have stagnated without the coaching and support systems they enjoyed at Brentford.

The lesson is simple and straight forward. If someone wants to leave then they can, as long as it suits all parties and we receive full market value. Nobody is irreplaceable.

Given the choice who would you prefer to have in our current squad, the four former heroes mentioned above or David Button, Jota, Andre Gray and Moses Odubajo?

I know what my answer would be.

Our scouting and analysis teams have led to players of immense quality joining the club and the main problem will be trying to keep the likes of Moses and Andre Gray out of the clutches of the rapacious predators who will certainly come knocking at the door in January.

Jota is perhaps the most talented player to grace Griffin Park since Stan Bowles, and he is only going to get better as he starts to come to terms with the new challenge that he is facing.

The ball appears to be glued to his left foot as he drops a shoulder and leaves defenders trailing in his wake. He is the master of the ball with instant control and he is calm and deadly in front of goal.

He now plays on the right hand side with license to drift inside onto his wand of a left foot and opponents are beginning to double-team him as his threat is becoming more widely recognised. jot

Alan Judge had a far quieter match than normal yesterday, which simply meant that he was here, there and everywhere, the fulcrum and catalyst for nearly everything good that we did.

He is the best and most influential signing that the current Brains Trust has made as he demonstrates an obvious delight in playing football and is bubbly and full of infectious joy.

As well as being one of our best players on the pitch I suspect he is probably the life and soul of the dressing room.

If it isn’t enough to deal with the threat of Jota and Judge then opponents have to face Alex Pritchard and his mesmerising skill on the ball. He has learned that ability is not enough and his lung-bursting run when he covered for Jake Bidwell yesterday and dispossessed an opponent down by our corner flag gave proof to the fact that he has also bought in to the team ethos and understands that what you do off the ball can be as valuable as a defence splitting pass.

Moses Odubajo has moved seamlessly from being a thrusting right winger to becoming an attacking fullback of immense potential who has snuffed out all of his immediate opponents as well as providing a huge attacking threat. Of all our players he could perhaps go the furthest and maybe even gain full international honours.

Andre Gray, with six goals in his last seven matches has quickly learned how to play the lone striker role and has begun to run large defenders ragged. He too is beginning to make a name for himself and ideally he can fulfil all his aspirations at Griffin Park.

Mark Warburton’s quiet and effective approach encompassing a policy of empowerment and positive reinforcement has struck a chord in the entire squad and has been a massive factor in the incredible recent improvement in David Button, Toumani Diagouraga and Jonathan Douglas who have developed into top Championship players.

Harlee Dean has suddenly transformed himself from being an effective stopper and has now become a reliable and marauding centre half, strong and confident on the ball who is keeping the magnificent James Tarkowski on the bench.

Most importantly it is now such fun being a Brentford supporter.

We are following a team that is on a crest of a wave and is well and securely run both on and off the field.

Blackburn’s Gary Bowyer is one of several opposition managers who have made their envy for our infrastructure plainly evident and we are becoming an exemplar of good practice throughout the game.

Is this really Brentford we are talking about? The Brentford we know so well and despaired of so often down the decades, as opportunities were squandered, parsimony ruled, players were sold and never replaced and cracks merely papered over, has been replaced by this smooth, sleek, turbocharged machine.

Personally I find the pace of our progress hard to process and I am doing my best to keep grounded and have minimal expectations.

We all know things could go pear shaped, but somehow, I just do not think that they will.

We are for real.

Our players, management and support teams are just so talented and organised.

The victory over Blackburn was an eye-opener for me as it was obvious that the Brentford team was playing well within itself and had more gears if required.

It was a totally professional performance without a hint of flamboyance or fuss and we made a recent Premier League team chase shadows and look second best.

What is certain is that there is a lot more to come.

Maybe this is our year and we should simply accept it, stop worrying, just enjoy the fun and as Steve Tongue memorably stated in The Independent today:

We are one of London’s Cinderella sides and are already having a ball.

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16 thoughts on “Sunday In Paradise – 14/12-14

  1. The observation of us really being in about 3rd gear and having a 6 speed gearbox at our disposal was my overall takeout from the day’s play.

    My trips up to Griffin Park, that start on the A303 just before it heads into Wiltshire, will become more regular if this form continues into 2015. My wife has been warned, OK she hasn’t, but you get my drift 😉

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  2. Good article, if there was ever a time to be a brentford fan this is it… The standard of football is mind-blowing, the strength of our side is down to philosophy which starts with MB and ends with the youth set up. Great times!

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  3. Another well worded update on the soon to be Hollywood story surely, ‘ THE RISE OF THE RED ARMY’ starring alan judge, jota Harlee dean etc. What a performance we all saw on Saturday and now the celebrations are becoming a normal part of being a brentford supporter there is no surprise anymore we are just a bloody good team. Can I also mention and say well done to the ground staff as the pitch looked in great condition on Saturday.

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  4. Hi Greville,
    It is very pleasing for me to read your articles and I am really regretting emigrating to N.Z. all those years ago,I could only dream of seeing what you are all now witnessing long may it last

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  5. NIce article Greville and glad to see your team doing so great this season….

    I am an Ex-Pat Luton Town fan and find following all of the English Leagues tough with schedules and timezones so I concentrate on only 2 things now, Luton Town and Andre Gray, inspirational player and glad to see him settling in and still playing as superbly as he did for us last year.

    All the best in your promotion bid

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    • Well you must be happy then with Luton doing so well. As soon as they hired John Still I knew they would be on their way back to the Football league – not before time to, given that the regime running the club now seems open and beyond reproach.

      As for Andre Gray…. What a prospect. he is playing upfront on his own and leading defenders a merry dance.

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