Are we nearly there yet?
Well, we have certainly reached Unbearable on the excitement gage as we’re now less than a fortnight away from kicking off our first second tier game since the #CrashtonGate fiasco of May 1993. Over two thousand lucky Bees have already returned to Griffin Park to see a nice little continental friendly against French side Nice and a nice big advert for Matchbook on the New Road roof. I wonder what odds I’d have got on the Bees triumphing trois-deux?
You will most likely also be reading this after the Family Fun Day on Sunday, which will include a big team photo for anyone wearing that bespoke Bees adidas home kit I may have previously mentioned on here. One of the now traditional pre-cursers to the season ahead, I’m sure kids of all ages will enjoy meeting the set of players who have the chance to become Gods rather than just plain old Heroes to Bees fans.
When I were a lad, I remember meeting new signing Francis Joseph at a similar event. Although Joe Joe had a real go, he couldn’t get us out of the third division, which was brilliantly called the Third Division back then. Maybe if his strike partner Tony Mahoney hadn’t had his leg shattered then he would have done. We’ll never know. What we do know is the group of players we had last year did take us up. Some have moved on but our net quality index has surely increased with this summer’s new arrivals.
I went to bed that night clutching my autograph book filled with the signatures of Francis, Gary Roberts, Jim McNichol et al. Kids of all ages present at the 2014 Fun Day will now be able to treasure the names of Odubajo, Gray, Pritchard et al. While I was obviously unable to come home and check Youtube for clips of Joe’s goalscoring exploits at Wimbledon, most people will now have witnessed footage of our new additions’ best bits at their last clubs.
Tenacious P, as Beesotted’s Twitter feed renamed Pritchard during the Nice game, has a show-reel mainly featuring him in the white of Tottenham Hotspur, the parent club we are loaning him from. In those snippets of brilliance, he reminds me of a trimmer Paul Gascoigne and that’s not just his temperament. His skill on the ball, particularly his quality from freekicks, has me licking my lips more than Neil Shipperley during a typical donut intake. The boy has a massive future ahead of him if he is managed well.
In Barnet and Nice, he has already tortured two opposing teams while wearing in our red and white stripes. The early signs are there will be plenty of Championship defenders feeling they’ve been hung, drawn and quartered by the time he has finished with them.
One of Francis Joseph’s main assets was his pace. While you could maybe liken him to a typical 100m sprinter, In Moses Odubajo, we seem to have a slightly shorter version of Usain Bolt.
Last season’s #BeesUpFulhamDown was a beautiful finale to a remarkably dramatic season. If only justice had been delivered in the Championship Play Off Final and QPR had stayed down to complete the West London triumvirate. Imagine their ageing, sorry their ancient, back line playing against the pace we now have in the final third.
You’d have to even fancy Joe outrunning Richard Dunne and Clint Hill but just imagine the likes of Moses or Andre racing them to the ball. Yes, Rio Ferdy and, Bees Fan, Agent Caulker may have since joined their defensive ranks but had Derby taken their deserved place in the Premier League you have to doubt even Arry could have justified the wages of his two acquisitions on a Championship budget.
Andre – that’s Andre Gray, who now has goals in his last two games and doesn’t seem willing to quit his habit of scoring goals. Most promisingly, you sense the percentage of one on ones we will see converted over the next season will be significantly higher than the last three.
It’s now that I remember the whole #AreWeNearlyThereYet analogy of the kid on their dream holiday to Florida. They are at the hotel, they are actually at their apartment door. They are pulling at the handle, telling their parents to hurry up with the unpacking, there’s enjoyment to be had for all.
“Come on, stop messing about, let’s go and have some fun for f**ks sake”.
The parents aren’t impressed and tell the kid to take a moment to think about things. Yes, this is an exciting time for all but don’t spoil it.
Don’t be a brat.
Calm down, calm down.
Now, chances are, if you’re forty upwards, you will have read those last words in a Liverpudlan accent. That’s thanks to the catchphrase of the ‘Scousers’ from the mid 90s Harry Enfield television programme, which was brilliantly called The Harry Enfield Television Programme back then.
So, right now, as a Brentford supporter waiting for the Championship, rather than the kid waiting for Disneyland, I have a similar vision. I see Jake Bidwell, Adam Forshaw and Frank McPartland in curly wigs and tashes telling me the same.
Calm down, calm down.
I started this series of articles because I wanted to capture the growing sense of genuine optimism transcending
anything TW8 has ever seen before. Even the Doom & Gloom merchants are realising these days, it’s a different Brentford, innit?
There are times when you can truly believe that the Sky (Bet Championship Title) really is the limit for this group of players and their astute management. They are by far and away the best collection of footballers I’ve ever known to grace the ever greener grass of Griffin Park. I wonder even if that team of the 1930s could match the flair that will be on display over the coming months.
But remember, calm down, calm down.
There are a few teams this season with budgets far greater than ours. Every single team in the division has more recent experience of that level than we do. Even Rotherham’s wait to return has been less than half of ours. We’re lil ole Brentford, the nice team with the pubs on the four corners of the quaint, old ground. We’re there with the Big Boys.
Don’t go over expecting.
Just because you’re going to Disneyland don’t expect to become best friends with Buzz Lightyear. Add a little perspective. We have strikers bought from League Two and even Non-League. They’ll be up against seasoned internationals. They don’t deserve to get a look in.
Fulham have paid £11million for one player. That’s eleven million of your finest English pounds sterling. For one player. Eleven million of your finest English pounds sterling for one of your finest, er, Scottish footballers. We should be in awe of that type of expenditure.
Cardiff City have signed Adam Le Fondre. Put him on the pitch and goals are guaranteed. When we go to Blackburn, just how many times do you think we’ll have to see Jordan Rhodes celebrate another goal? We were priced out of moving for him when he joined Huddersfield. What kind of wonga must he be on now? Probably more than Moses, Andre and even Premier League Pritch put together.
See, calm down, calm down.
We shouldn’t stand a chance of even surviving. Look at Yeovil, look at Doncaster. They say you need luck in football. One Direction Rovers or whatever their called these days are the luckiest football team there has ever been. You know why. Yet, the luckiest football team there has ever been were relegated straight back down to League One after just one season alongside Gary Johnson’s Somerset set. It’s a massive ask to stay up when you go into a new league.
If we stay up, if we reach the heady heights of 21st in the Championship, that will be our highest finish for, well, for most of our lives. So all this talk about heading for the Premiership? Calm down, calm down.
So, having got rather carried away for the last thirteen AWNTY articles, this is the talk we needed to have.
Take a moment to remember where we’re coming from. If come May we’re occupying 21st place, we should all celebrate like we’ve won the you know what.
It’s not like that though is it?
That’s like the kid being told, “you’re very lucky to be here so be thankful if you manage to catch a glimpse of someone dressed as one of the Aristocats”.
Most of us realise we are in the midst of something wonderful and possibly on the brink of something even better.
There may well be the odd occasion over the next stage of this team’s development where we are brought down to earth with a bump. There may be the rare day when the pedigree of those teams familiar with this level comes to the fore and our talented, but mostly inexperienced, group have a bad day at the office.
If that does happen, then it will be time to just ponder on where we have come from and just calm down, calm down.
I still have every faith in this coming season seeing more good days than bad. I’ve been trying to throw in a few worst case scenarios but they just seem so unlikely to be anything more than a rarity. Just as the kid in Florida should be taking in as much as they can, so should Bees fans.
Thankfully, just as that kid’s parents will be there recording moments on their phone for posterity, you can bet Beesotted will be at Griffin Park and all the other fine Championship stadiums, capturing all the excitement as it happens and sharing it with the world.
As a Brentford fan who cannot get to as many games as I would like, these videos are the next best thing. I cannot wait to see the delight in the faces of the supporters who are lucky enough to be witnessing the next chapters in this enthralling story.
So, however much I try and calm down, calm down, I am bashing at that door to the 14/15 Championship campaign and shouting, “stop messing about, let’s go and have some fun for f**ks sake”.
Are we nearly there yet?
We sure as heck are.