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Beesotted contributor Nemone Sariman was as pumped up by Metallica as the Brentford team was on a night to remember at The Gtech against Manchester United.

Our home game against Manchester United last season was probably the best day of my life*. Four goals (including Bryan Mbeumo’s Goal of the Season), a clean sheet, Cristiano Ronaldo humiliated, not being last on Match of the Day (yes, we DO care about this, and anyone who claims not to is either a liar or doesn’t know what Match of the Day is) … what’s not to love? 

*Husband, if you are reading this, yeah, our wedding day was great, too.

Obviously it would have been something of a stretch to hope for this season’s game to better that, or even to match it. And it didn’t. But it wasn’t far off. Somehow it was as if a switch had been flipped, and The Bees meant business right from the start … beginning with the walk-on music. 

Now, please hear me out. I love Hey Jude as much as the next person does. I even love the bit where it’s supposed to be “Let her under your skin” but everyone sings “Let her into your heart”. But, although it warms the heart in a special, nostalgic way, fighting music it ain’t. 

Enter Sandman, on the other hand: now THAT’S proper fighting music. Not that I tend to put music on when I’m about to have a fight with someone, but you know what I mean; if I ever did, it would be growling, pulsing Metallica rather than jaunty, jolly Beatles. 

At the time, we all said, “Ooh, this is different. I wonder why they’re playing this?” Now we know. 

The husband, much later: “What was that music they played just before the football?”

Me: “It was Enter Sandman by Metallica.”

Him: “How does it go again? Duh, duh, DUHHH-duh duh, duh, DUHHH-duh …”

Me: “No. That’s Mission Impossible.”

Anyway, every single one of our magnificent Bees had a good game that day. Passing, keeping possession (including one magical moment when Yoane Wissa managed to do so by somehow passing the ball to, erm, himself), challenges, keeper distribution, all were on point. The media will, no doubt, be full of how poor Manchester United were, but I shall say it again: we made them look poor. All the money on the pitch (and the bench) was meaningless, with stratospherically-salaried names such as Rashford and Fernandes barely even visible; I almost had to check the team sheets again afterwards to see whether they had even played. My United-supporting friends had warned me prior to the match to “watch out for Mainoo”. Main-who?

The only thing that worked against us that night was our finishing. One United fan even declared on social media afterwards that their Man of the Match was the woodwork. But at least we were creating chances, which is surely better than not creating chances? 

After outplaying one of the top teams in the country for almost ninety minutes, the officials announced nine minutes of added time. Now, numbers aren’t my strong point – in fact, if I need a number question answered, I ask one of my Year 10 students – but the reaction around the stadium suggested that nobody understood where this number had come from. My conspiracy theory is that disproportionately large chunks of added time are a tool used when the bigger club doesn’t have the result that they want, to give them time to make it work. Also, rightly or wrongly, my brain doesn’t see The Bees as kings of the last-minute smash(es?) and grabs in the same way that Manchester United are. Somehow, I just couldn’t see these two factors working together in our favour. 

And, for a few minutes, they didn’t. 

After the Mason Mount goal, the atmosphere drained from the Gtech like air from a deflated balloon. At the risk of sounding like a petulant brat, it just WASN’T FAIR; we had been the better team throughout (with Manchester United’s own supporters later taking to Facebook and The ‘Gram to acknowledge this), and it just seemed so wrong for them to come away with all three points. As a teacher, having told my students that effort is always rewarded by results, had I started to believe my own lies?

Then Kristoffer Ajer happened, with a genius assist from Ivan Toney. 

The Gtech positively exploded, and this time the away end was the deflated balloon. And, judging from the media’s reaction afterwards, I wasn’t alone in the feeling that it would have been a huge miscarriage of justice had we not come away with at least a point. We kept up the fighting spirit right through to the final whistle, and it paid off. 

One salty United fan on Facebook said – on OUR club’s page – words to the effect of, “Yeah, yeah, you carry on celebrating a draw.” We will, thank you very much. I’ll take pride and a celebration over the widespread United response of disappointment and embarrassment anytime. 

Nemone Sariman