Lifelong Brentford fan and journalist, Jim Levack, shares a rousing message ahead of the West London restart derby with Fulham at Craven Cottage. Brentford fans may not be there in person… but we are right there with you!
When you hear the clatter of studs on concrete and the chatter of team-mates as you walk out to play these next few weeks, it will be like the time you started out on this journey.
Those days when you dreamed of being a professional footballer, waiting to be spotted, waiting for your big break which finally, deservedly, came.
Back then you played purely for the joy of the game, the thrill of the ripple of the nylon net bulging, a shot sneaking inside a chalked goal, the crunch of a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle or a breathtaking fingertip save.
The joy of the moment and the comments from team-mates afterwards were what made you always want more.
Remember end to end two-a-side matches in the park as players drifted off, headers and volleys and beating your mates with a perfect strike just as the ball was becoming impossible to see against night’s dark veil.
Recall the thrill of that goal and roar as you celebrated it, bottle it, then magnify it thousands of times. That’s what you’ll be playing for now. It’s back to the basics, back to your roots. Without the pressure of us lot.
Football in its purest form untainted by everything. You, the ball, the goals.
Sure, it’s going to be different, very different. No crowd, no noise, an eerie silence but – be honest – how often did you hear the crowd when you were starting out?
It’s a ‘great to have’ but it’s going to be even stranger for sides used to having 20,000 fans week in, week out. And that’s not us… yet.
For “little old Brentford”, a side brimming with more technical ability than almost every other in the Championship, this is the chance to spectacularly take advantage of the new level playing field.
Home advantage – were Fulham’s clappers any help anyway? – will be gone. Desire and the ability to play beyond the silence will be the pivotal factors.
Preparation will also be key and that’s an area where our club’s painstaking approach and attention to detail might also tip the balance. We’re all hoping that your undoubted technical ability allied to desire and passion will be enough to target one of the top two spots.
But there’s one other crucial factor that you should never underestimate as you emerge from the hubbub of the tunnel to a silent stadium. We will be with you. Always.
George at home in Bedfont, Nick who usually travels from Devon, Midland Bee Mike who has renamed his house ‘Braemar’, ‘Junkyard’ Ben from Yorkshire, Colin from Oxfordshire, Gary from Ealing, Tim in Hanwell… all will be enjoying the release that only football can bring as these next few weeks unfold.
When we score and you celebrate to a ripple of applause in the ground, shut your eyes and take a second to imagine them and the rest of us at home instantly forgetting all that’s happened in these last three months. We will be with you.
We might be watching on TV but they all share the same hope. To see you play the scintillating football we’ve grown to love. Do that, entertain us, lift the shadow of this vile virus by giving it your best shot and we will be more than happy whatever the outcome.
The togetherness you’ve shown throughout this crisis has not gone unnoticed by any of us and when times are tough, that can be an incredibly powerful force.
Like the best teams we win together and lose together, so remember this – when you walk out to play, you will most definitely not be alone.
We will back you unconditionally. Because that’s what families do.