Spread the love


Jim Levack, journalist and life-long Bees fan, shares his thoughts on the Bees’ performance against Middlesbrough.

As the final whistle blew at the end of a rare home defeat for Brentford there was proof, if any were needed, that Mark Warburton’s side truly are a Championship force to be reckoned with.

And while a little part of all of us still revels in and feels the benefit of the ‘little old Brentford’ epithet, that inferiority complex which hung around at the start of the campaign really is now a distant memory.

Warburton warned his players to play the other team and not the name, and so far against Norwich, Derby, Boro – the list goes on – they’ve done just that.

The end of the Boro game and a quick scan of the television coverage confirmed some critical points in my mind.

The reaction of the Boro players spoke volumes for just how importantly they regarded the snatching of three points when even the most partisan in their dressing room must have acknowledged a point would have been fairer.

To use a phrase coined by a certain schoolteacher, the entire squad celebrated like they’d won a certain piece of silverware. Taking three points off ‘little Brentford’ meant that much.

There were fist clenches, congratulatory hugs and I think I even saw one of the backroom staff plant a kiss on Aitor Karanka’s cheek… make no mistake, they saw this as a pivotal win in their campaign against a side they clearly believe will be up there come May.

The Boro players’ deliberately downbeat post match interviews and general analysis of the game made little or no mention of the fact that they were extremely lucky to be heading back to Teeside with a rare double over the Bees.

The Sky reporters, as sycophantic towards the so-called ‘big clubs’ as many of the match officials we’ve seen this term, glibly allowed them to perpetuate the thinking to the viewing public that Boro had won without playing very well. Ergo Brentford weren’t much cop.

But the fact is Brentford also failed to hit the heights we know they can… but still – in my opinion – deserved a point, if not more, from the game at the very least.

It was all about the fine margins again, individual decision making and that element of luck that conspired against us this time.

They seemed a decent bunch the Boro fans, so I’m sure they’ll accept they rode their luck in the first half just as I’ll concede they grew into the game and managed it a lot better after the break.

My lads used to be managed by an old boy called Jim Bradley who constantly hammered into them the ethos that “It’s all about the performance”.

As a dad desperate to see my kids winning, I sometimes had to bite my tongue. But he was right, and I’m glad to say that it’s a way of thinking that has firm roots among the current management team.

The performance, though not at the same level across all 11 players we’ve grown used, to, was still mighty impressive… as the Boro celebrations testified.

The visitors looked predictable in the first half, trying to ping balls into the pockets behind the defence for Bamford to chase, without joy until the self inflicted penalty.

After the interval, they showed a level of professionalism – albeit with luck thrown in – to see the game out. Just.

But the fact is that Brentford will play worse and win, and Boro will play better but not be pushed to the very limit like they were by a team that has now come of age as an established Championship outfit.

Jim Levack