I published a heartfelt, passionate yet extremely critical article by long-established Brentford supporter, Peter Lumley just the other day in which he made it quite clear that his most fervent wish is that he could put the clock back twelve months given that he vehemently disagrees with pretty much the whole ethos of the club and how it has been run since the departure of Mark Warburton was announced and given that I did not share his opinion, this has led me to rethink the purpose of my blog and the comments that my articles, as well as those provided by a variety of guest writers attract.
I started writing this blog in June 2014 as I felt that I had a lot to say about the club, my time supporting it, the way it had been run and often mismanaged and the games and players, good, bad and mediocre that I had watched over the years.
I simply wanted to pay homage to my favourite club, rejoice in the memories, and allow myself without any restrictions of time and space, bar self-imposed ones, to stretch out and write as much or as little as I wanted about any subject that took my fancy as long as there was some connection however tenuous, to Brentford.
There really did not seem to be any other vehicle out there in the ether that would have allowed me the self-indulgence to do so so I had to start my own, and much to my surprise and I have to say, delight, the tom toms seemed to sound almost immediately and pretty quickly I had built up a loyal following and an audience of seemingly like-minded supporters who appeared to enjoy, identify with and appreciate what I wrote and were not slow to add their own thoughts, comments, impressions and tales all of which added immeasurably to the overall look and feel of the blog.
There are now over one thousand people who automatically receive a copy of every article (not all of them read it though), some of whom I know in the real world, the others I feel as if I do even though we have never met and probably never will. It really does not matter as we share something precious and unique.
There has also been a spinoff book covering the momentous events of last season, Ahead Of The Game, which has sold remarkably well with a follow up title due this Summer – watch this space.
It has given me particular pleasure that a former Brentford footballer in Richard Poole has become a regular reader from his home in France and he often gives us all the massive benefit of his experiences as a player in the dark days of the early to mid 70s and it is good to remember and also ensure that we never forget the times in the not too distant past when the club struggled both on and off the pitch and its very survival was in question.
I have always made a point of encouraging contributions from readers of my blog as I feel that it is entirely appropriate and helpful for me to stimulate open debate on any subject related to Brentford FC past, present and future and to allow the blog to become a safe haven for informed discussion amongst Brentford supporters of all persuasions.
After all we are like minded individuals who share a passion for the Bees and desire nothing more than success and glory for our football team although we might well disagree over the optimum way to achieve it.
Some of us observe the world through red and white striped and rose tinted spectacles and can see no wrong and provide total and unconditional support, others identify, recognise and accept the club’s shortcomings, warts and all, and there are still others who find fault with practically everything that the club does.
My starting point is to allow everybody to have their say and to make themselves heard. This is a forum for everybody to express their opinion however left or right field and for others to comment accordingly. I might well not agree with what is being said, as was the case with Peter’s recent article but it is good to stimulate debate from across the entire spectrum of opinion.
My only caveat – I certainly do not want to use the word rule, is that everybody is treated with courtesy and respect however outlandish their views and that no personal or inappropriate comments are made. This is essentially an adult forum in the best sense of the word where there is no bullying or name calling and people are allowed the freedom to praise, grumble, reminisce or predict totally as they see fit.
That is not to say that should contributors put their head over the parapet they should not expect to face the rigorous scrutiny and analysis of everybody else who reads their words and it is entirely right and proper that they should expect comments, perhaps approval and agreement and maybe even mild criticism and opprobrium – but not ridicule, and they will then be able to defend and build upon their original position should they see fit to do so.
The key point is for us all to know just where the line is and when things have gone too far. We all know that there are vast swathes of the internet and social media where there are no checks and balances and anarchy can rule as there are no boundaries, moderators or manners.
BFC Talk is not one of those places, nor will I allow it to become one – nor I hope will all of you readers who play such a crucial role in its success and popularity.
I also do not want there to be a predictable house style or point of view.
Every opinion stated should be judged solely upon its merits although it is more than fair to say that I am a massive supporter of the Brentford revolution and what it stands for, as without Matthew Benham, his cash, fresh ideas, eagerness to take calculated risks and sheer chutzpah we would not be lingering down amongst the dead men in the nether regions of the third or fourth tier of the Football League, but we would have gone into freefall and it would be a certainty that our local derbies this season would be against Sutton United, Hayes & Yeading and Wealdstone in the Vanarama National League South rather than Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Charlton Athletic in the Championship.
That is how much we owe him and something that must never be forgotten and we therefore need to trust him and his management team implicitly without necessarily a slavish acceptance of everything he does – after all he is a mere mortal like all of us and mistakes have certainly be made. And this blog gives us all the opportunity to question what is happening, suggest alternatives but also to praise whenever our thanks and appreciation are due.
Last season set the bar impossibly high but it is pointless to continually hark backwards and talk about what might have been, for very good reasons those days have gone as have the management team and most of the players who made a near miracle possible.
That is simply the way of the world given the schism that arose between Matthew Benham and Mark Warburton that was totally beyond repair, the dictates of Financial Fair Play as well as the financial strength of our rivals who were able to induce our best players to leave but not without paying us for the privilege.
There is much to be happy about, so much more to look forward to and many lessons to learn from the marvellous ups and downs of the past year so let’s simply enjoy the ride, rollercoaster though it may be rather than nitpick to death.
BFC Talk is now the place for real Brentford fans to rejoice, carp, criticise, propose, suggest, celebrate, welcome and praise as we all see fit.
Let’s just do in the right way and remember who we could be playing tomorrow had things been done differently – and I am talking about Concord Rangers rather than Chelsea!