A mere couple of years ago it would have been hard to imagine Brentford playing a competitive match against Wigan, separated as they were by the chasm of two divisions.
Our paths had last crossed in 2003, and in the years since then Wigan had climbed to the heights of the Premier League where they seemed to have established themselves, won the FA Cup and also competed in Europe.
Yesterday saw the two teams meet at the DW Stadium on equal terms and it is testimony to how far we have come that the general mood in the Brentford camp is one of acute disappointment that we came away with only one point after a nil – nil draw rather than the three that our performance probably merited.
Football people are generally pretty guarded in their post match interviews, particularly if they have been given time to allow their emotions to calm down, but it is easy to read between the lines when listening to the thoughts of Mark Warburton, Tony Craig and David Button to understand that there was more than normal riding on yesterday’s match, and that the Bees felt that they had let their illustrious hosts off the hook.
As it is Brentford remain firmly ensconced in tenth position and Uwe Rosler’s Wigan are hovering uneasily just one point above the relegation zone and the knives are now out for the Wigan manager.
There was a marvellous turnout of well over a thousand Bees fans at the game, some of whom, no doubt, adopting the role of tricotteuses revelling in the problems that Uwe is currently facing.
I wish him no ill and wrote in great detail the other day (http://tinyurl.com/ozjh9y2) about Uwe and how much he achieved at Griffin Park.
We were good for him as we gave him the platform, infrastructure and support to act as the stepping stone to the prime job he eventually earned back home in the North West, and he helped to lay the foundations that allowed Mark Warburton to step in and take us to our current position, something that the majority of Brentford fans feel would probably not have taken place had Rosler remained in charge.
Rosler had an immediate impact at Wigan, leading his new team to the Playoffs and FA Cup semi Final but last season ended in heartache for him and his expensively assembled squad are now struggling to keep their head above water.
Yesterday was their seventh match without a win, and for all their possession Wigan barely made David Button break into a sweat.
Of course exceptional players like Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and James McClean don’t become bad ones overnight and they did cause Brentford some problems with their ability and movement, but tactically Brentford did a job on their opponents and stifled their threat.
Wigan too were boring and negative in the extreme, totally lacking in confidence and relying alarmingly on a strange hybrid quasi long ball approach which saw a plethora of sideways and backwards passes at the back being followed by a series of aimless thumps upfield which were easily dealt with by an organised and largely untroubled Bees back line.
Adam Forshaw was totally wasted playing in a deep defensive role in front of his back four and the threat of two reputed Brentford preseason transfer targets in Oriol Riera and Andy Delort was easily snuffed out.
Ironically it was Forshaw who almost cost his new team the match when, dawdling on the ball, he slipped and was robbed by the marauding Jonathan Douglas who sent Andre Gray away with a clear run in on goal, but his lob, greeted with a banshee howl by the effervescent Billy Reeves on Bees Player, landed on top of the unguarded net rather than in it.
I read two comments this morning that rather sum up the view of many of the Wigan faithful on their message boards today.
One said that Forshaw was supposed to be Brentford’s best midfield player whereas he saw three far better ones out on the pitch yesterday wearing the yellow shirt of Brentford.
There was also bemused admiration for our always keeping three men upfield at Wigan corners in comparison with Uwe’s customary all eleven men back policy.
Yes, we were also patronised by the Wigan fans who felt that it was a bit beneath their dignity to be playing a team as small as Brentford, and that they should only need to turn up to beat us, but there was also some grudging acknowledgment of the quality of our football on the day.
Moses, Jota, Douglas and Pritchard also went close, but not close enough, and one point was our reward when perhaps three were within our grasp.
The fact that Scott Carson, the Wigan goalkeeper was by far and away their best player also speaks volumes of how well we performed.
We were a team, Wigan a disorganised and demoralised shambles that, like Leeds United, are going nowhere at present.
I have no wish for Uwe to lose his job, but perhaps it is time for another behind closed doors meeting, similar to the one at Stevenage last season, so that some home truths can be discussed and perhaps the air cleared, as it is plainly obvious that they are not a happy camp.
So there were a lot of positives again yesterday as confidence must now be sky high throughout the entire Brentford team.
The quality and depth of the squad will surely be tested over the coming six days, with two more tough tests in store for us against Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers.
Sheffield Wednesday have a decent away record, and Bolton will be revitalised by the appointment of Neil Lennon who led them to a rare away win at Birmingham yesterday.
The Championship is relentless and Brentford will also have to deal with the numbing and exhausting effect of the travelling involved over the week, with two long journeys to the North West of England.
There were also five bookings yesterday meted out by an inconsistent referee in Tony Harrington, and James Tarkowski will have to sit Tuesday out whilst he serves a one game suspension.
Harlee Dean will step in seamlessly, and he will surely prove highly effective in terms of countering the height, strength and aerial ability of the opposition.
Jota played his first full ninety minutes yesterday and is proving to be a valuable acquisition whose influence is growing with every game as he gains in confidence and match fitness.
Can he, Douglas, Pritchard, Odebajo and Judge manage another two gruelling games over the next few days or will we see more of Diagouraga, Tebar, Toral and Dallas?
Who knows, but I do expect to see some players rested or rotated.
There is also the perpetual ongoing situation upfront where Gray runs his socks off for an hour or so and is then replaced by the willing Nick Proschwitz who offers a totally different type of threat.
Betinho remains on the bench where he has sat untested since his brief run out in the dying minutes of the Norwich defeat last month.
Surely that situation must change soon, ideally over the next few days.
I appreciate the difficulties for a young man of settling into a new, unfamiliar and confusing environment, with the problems of language, diet, loneliness and climate, as well as having to grasp and assimilate a different way of playing the game which requires him to provide more to the team than just being an explosive goal threat.
The bottom line, however, is that we need a minimum of three functioning strikers and hopefully his period of settling in and adjustment is coming to a close as it is surely time for him to be given his opportunity and play his part.
Other than that there is, of course, nothing to quibble about as the Bees march on.
We are beginning to establish ourselves in this tough division.
We have certainly come a long way and I feel that the journey has barely begun.