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Beesotted contributor and lifelong Brentford fan Ian Westbrook explains why the Reading and Wigan games should be a celebration of our achievements, not a case of wondering what if….

Last Tuesday, on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster I was one of 575 Bees fans who was able to travel to the same stadium to see Brentford play Sheffield Wednesday.

I travelled on the supporters’ coach with a good friend, had a fascinating chat with the club’s assistant kit man about his job during the journey, met an Owls friend for a drink pre-match, met another friend in the away end, watched the match – and got home safely.

In 1989 we all know that tragically 96 fans, some of who may have used the same turnstiles as us, weren’t so lucky.

I am now almost certain we won’t make the play-offs this season.

Does it really matter if we don’t go up in May? Given what I’ve said – not really.

And these are the other reasons why.

Like many of you reading this article I’ve watched the Bees for a long time – in my case for more than 43 years.

In that time I have craved a season like this. A Bees side – our club – in one of the top two divisions, playing sparkling football with great players, beating big-name teams and winning away games in front of 20,000+ fans.

Instead, with the exception of the 1992/93 season, when we were in our current division but didn’t play great football or beat many big teams, most years have mainly been one of four scenarios:

– Mid-table mediocrity, especially in the 1980s when we used to finish between 9th and 12th almost every season.

– Losing in the play-offs or the FRT/LDV/JPT final

– Occasional relegation

– And last but not least, six glorious promotion campaigns

I would have given anything to be mid-table in the Second Division (Division One/Championship) for a few years, to be regarded as a half-decent club by schoolfriends and then workmates, to play opposition who everybody knew, against big-name players instead of just being stuck in the bottom two divisions the whole time.

Yes it would have been amazing to go into the Premier League next season – but would it have been a year too early?

When Marcello Trotta missed that penalty it was my joint worst moment in football with the 1995 Huddersfield play-off defeat – but in reality it proved to be a good thing as another season in League One benefitted the players and meant we were a force to be reckoned with when we did reach the Championship, unlike the experience suffered by Yeovil and Doncaster.

Were we to be in next season’s Premier League (and I know we can still make it), it would be with fewer than 11 weeks between the play-off final and the top flight’s earlier start to next season.

In that time we would have to find a new manager, who presumably will sign a load of new players – and we may even have to leave Griffin Park if our plans to upgrade our dear old ground proved unacceptable.

Not going up doesn’t mean we are stuck in League One for yet another season – no, it means we are still in the Championship, somewhere we have wanted to be for years.

Let’s enjoy it – 2015/16 promises at least two and more than likely four west London derbies, more trips to some of the country’s top stadiums, six fixtures against teams currently in this season’s Premier League and at least 23 more matches at Griffin Park.

This season has been amazing – the best in all my years supporting the club.

Yes we had a chance to go up but if any of us had been offered a top eight place in August – despite our flirtation with the top two and time in the top six – we would be lying if we said we wouldn’t have taken it.

The final two games shouldn’t be about criticising the players or moaning, they should be a celebration of all we have achieved over the past three years – campaigns where we have been fighting for promotion every time.

They should be about thanking the likes of Harlee Dean, Jake Bidwell, Jonathan Douglas and Toumani Diagouraga, who have been part of the side for four seasons or more.

They should be about congratulating Andre Gray – a man who was playing in the Conference 12 months ago but has scored 15 goals in his debut season in the Championship. Yes he has missed chances, but how many other players have had such a good goalscoring record having made such a massive jump in divisions?

They should be about showing our awe at the individual skills of players like Alex Pritchard, Moses Odubajo and Jota – Brentford players and men we could only have dreamed about playing for the Bees when we sunk into League Two in 2007.

And most importantly of all, they should be about thanking Mark Warburton for becoming only the third manager in the whole history of the club to lift Brentford into the top two divisions – and only the second to help us flourish there.

I wish him well in his future career and personally wish he was staying in charge at Griffin Park next season.

And I will always be convinced that the pivotal point of the season was when the decision to let Warbs move on, which had seemingly been known for a while, became public on the morning of the Watford game.

The results prove it – in the 15 Championship matches before the Times story we won 11 and lost four but in the 15 after the revelation, including the visit of the Hornets that night, we have won five, drawn five and lost five.

With the exception of the superb performances against Bournemouth, Blackburn, Fulham and Derby we just haven’t looked the same, something has been missing and I believe the fallout is what has ultimately probably cost us the chance of promotion.

Still, let’s move on and look forward to two parties on the next two weekends – and if we can regain our top six place, then maybe I would take that Premier League place after all…..

Given the law of averages, it must be about our turn to win a play-off final!