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Beesotted regular contributor Jim Levack was up in arms after watching the recent Gillingham game. Let him tell you why.

Brentford’s win over Gillingham may have marked a watershed in the current campaign, for a variety of reasons.

It was the kind of three points where the credentials of a side’s stickability are robustly put to the test under the microscope of national television.

The Gills under Peter Taylor are a sterner proposition and they mixed things up in treacherous conditions to provide the Bees with one their biggest tests yet.

That they came through it by digging in and grinding it out but still not “winning ugly” is testament to the balance in the side.

Walk your way through the side and it was difficult to find a man of the match… that the sponsors, pundits and fans had differing opinions said it all really.

For me, Alan McCormack is providing the steel we missed last season while anyone looking to make a few quid could do worse than take a flutter on Alan Judge, who has only been denied by some desperate defending in the last few outings.

But perhaps the pivotal moment in the season as far as I’m concerned was off the field and away from the post-match chat.

It was Orient boss Russell Slade’s petulant appearance before the Sky cameras that really reinforced my hope that Brentford are perfectly poised in the race.

If damning with faint praise guaranteed you points, then the former schoolteacher’s side would be way out in front. As it is his every utterance hints at a gnawing inferiority complex.

He’s got form too. His appearance on the Football League Show with the omniscient Steve Claridge oozed the same churlish reluctance to say anything nice about his team’s promotion rivals.

Admittedly Sky and Co feed him the bullets to respond in the soulless non-committal way he does, but I can honestly say that Mark Warburton and Uwe before him would have a far more mature attitude to things.

“I didn’t think it was a corner (The one that led to the Trotta pen)” he moaned, desperately seeking to detract from what was a fully deserved win and let’s be honest, dominant display.

Every Brentford positive led to a Slade negative or question mark, every good thing Gillingham did was lauded to the skies.

I don’t think he does himself any favours by being the cuckoo in the nest at games like this, but clearly the producers think it’s good telly.

If he’s trying to play mind games then he’s not very good at it… better to be outrageous than simply childish if you want to play that one, Mr Slade.

Let’s be clear though. His achievement in taking an unfancied side of over achieving yet clearly hugely capable players and having faith in players like Lisbie cannot be underestimated.

But the mark of a good manager in my eyes is to be able to react in the right way.

I’ve always liked Mick McCarthy who praised Brentford to the skies after our Cup win, and disliked David Moyes for deflecting attention from his Everton side’s demise by banging on about a plastic bottle.

Take note Mr Slade… your half term report in Media studies suggests you are falling behind the rest of the class.

 

Jim Levack
@Jmblee1