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As positive as we all are at Beesotted towers ahead of the Bees’ play-off matches with Swindon Town, and victory at Wembley Stadium, history has shown us more than most, that nothing is taken for granted. Our positivity is bourn from the knowledge that THIS Brentford team is arguably the best we have seen in modern history, rather than ‘our right’ to be promoted, so let’s use this catalogue of misery to spur us onwards and upwards.

1990-91 Bees v Tranmere, H 2-2 [Evans, Godfrey], A 0-1
Brentford’s first foray into the play-offs ended in semi-final woe, the Bees faithful had their hopes raised thanks to a last gasp equaliser from Kevin Godfrey in the home leg which sparked wild scenes and a pitch invasion. It was hoped that the prolific Holdsworth-Blissett partnership could take the tie at Prenton Park, but Rovers won through by the narrowest of margins in a tense match on The Wirral. Brentford pushed hard but couldn’t make the breakthrough. Automatic promotion the following season made amends for the disappointment I suppose.
Misery Rating 7

1994-95 Bees v Huddersfield, A 1-1 [Forster], H 1-1 [Grainger]
Many Brentford fans are still scarred by Bob Taylor’s open goal miss in front of a packed away end up at the McAlpine. Brentford played well and should have taken a lead back to Griffin Park, but The Bees didn’t have to wait long before going ahead on home turf. Martin Grainger smashed home from the spot; little did we know at that stage that penalty heaven would turn to penalty hell later the same evening. The Terriers levelled midway through the second half to send the match into extra time. If that wasn’t nail-biting enough, the dreaded penalty shoot out ensued, and you don’t need me to remind you that we lost 4-3 on pens. Yep, it was tears at bedtime and Dave Webb’s troops were left sobbing in the centre-circle while we set off to drown our sorrows. Still no Wembley final.
Misery Rating 9

1996-97 Brentford v Crewe [Wembley] L 1-0
Confident Brentford were in no mood for a repeat of their previous semis elimination and took a healthy lead away from Ashton Gate, they really did look genuine promotion certs against City. Boy, how wrong we were to raise our hopes. The fact that David Webb went AWOL before the Crewe game at Wembley, not even giving a team talk before the match, will remain one of life’s mysteries, Brentford were never in it against The Alex and looked a shadow of their previously free-flowing selves in that god-awful white with black pinstriped strip. Carl Hutchings played a blinder, clearing off the line at least twice, but Crewe deserved to win by a far bigger margin. Rubbish.
Misery Rating 9

2001-02 Bees v Huddersfield, A 0-0, H 2-1 [Powell, Owusu] Bees v Stoke [Millennium Stadium] L 2-0
Oh jeez, here we go again, please put away all sharp instruments before continuing! Anyone got the Samaritan’s phone number? Steve Coppell and the lads had bounced back well from the final day disappointments against Reading at Griffin Park, The Royals nicking second place and automatic promotion from under our noses. There was a certain inevitability about ultimate playoff failure though, several players and the manager himself had made their excuses to cop-it-and-hop-it to other clubs once the season had ended, and important loan players weren’t ours to keep. Huddersfield were dispatched with in relative comfort in truth, despite the narrow margin and Andy Booth’s early opener at GP, which lined The Bees up for another monumental kick in the balls, this time in sunny Cardiff. Stoke City took a 2-0 lead without breaking sweat, somebody by the name of Deon Burton had his scoring boots on that day putting Stoke one up, then Ben Burgess scored an own goal just before the break. The Brentford end at half time resembled a scene from one of those gruesome, Dickensian, Hogarth drawings. All in all, one of the worst days in my life if truth be told. And we were supposed to have the lucky changing room!
Misery Rating 10

Part two tomorrow you luck buggers!

Dave Lane