When I was just out of my teens, Brentford reached Wembley to play Wigan in the Freight Rover Final.
My overwhelming memory of the day, Robbie Cooke’s goal aside, was seeing Terry Hurlock lead the team onto the pitch beneath the old fashioned scoreboard with the name of my team on it.
I’d seen England there countless times, but this was Brentford at Wembley, pure excitement and adrenalin… and to be honest I let it happen without taking it all in.
Other highs and lows followed, Peterborough at London Road and Crewe, again at Wembley – there was simply no way of getting off the emotional roller coaster.
I was older then and starting to understand what these moments meant in terms of a whole life.
Last season was the nadir, but it was almost as if that agony too was meant to happen, so we could all truly appreciate what we have now.
Had we gone up, it might – as Yeovil are finding – have been too soon. Now we are ready, both on and off the field as if the last few pieces of a jigsaw have been found under the sofa.
Of course, there are plenty of games left and there may be twists and turns to come, but for the first time in my life at Orient I saw a Brentford team comfortable in their own skin with a nice blend of technique, steel, exuberant youth and ‘been there, done that’ maturity.
Those attributes will prove even more important in the next 11 games,
Mental strength plays an increasingly big part at this stage as a Wolves outfit fresh from a midweek stutter at Crawley will testify, but this Bees side have proved that shouldn’t be an issue.
Maybe it’s age that has made me adopt more of a que sera, sera attitude, but in reality it’s that for the first time in a long time I and other Brentford fans now know they have a side – no, squad – that will always give their best.
If they do that from now on in, it will be enough.
If they don’t and it isn’t, then maybe it still isn’t our time.
If that happens, in 20 years time when this squad have finished their football careers, they’ll look back and wonder how they didn’t cross the line.
I don’t think it will come to that, and the honest truth is I didn’t even bother checking every 80 seconds to see how Wolves were doing in midweek, because it really is all about us now.
As long as Mark Warburton’s side stick to their principles and follow the plan, they will give themselves the best possible chance of making Wigan and Crewe an even more distant memory.
And for all the younger lads in the squad – make sure you cherish every moment and never have any regrets.