Beesotted contributor, Jim Levack, looks back at a memorable afternoon down by the river in Fulham.
A well-known Bees fan who shall remain nameless approached me around an hour before yesterday’s demolition of Fulham, with some words of warning.
He’s a bloke normally renowned for his indefatigable optimism so when he suggested “I’ve got a bad feeling about this. It’s a bit like the Wembley build-up,” it did slightly dampen my mood.
A pint later though and I was back in the game, telling anyone who’d listen that I’d have taken 21st place at the start of the season so anything we achieve now is dreamland.
I personally don’t mind admitting that I haven’t given the play offs or so called promised land of the Premier League much thought.
A large part of that is because I’ve been enjoying the incredible football we’ve been playing so much that it’s been a joy to watch almost every game this season, sometimes irrespective of the result.
But the mystery individual’s apprehension did come back to me as I walked the dog the morning after the unforgettable afternoon before.
It got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the rout of our neighbours down the river marked a watershed in the history of our club.
It also got me thinking – “again!” I hear the Beesotted boys shout – about the utter absurdity of Mark Warburton’s imminent departure, but that’s one for another day.
Make no mistake, yesterday’s was a landmark win because, although it was just another three points, it underlined the fact that if we reach our levels as a club we can beat anyone.
The decision to create a singing area proved inspirational, with the wave upon wave of sound sweeping across the Putney End so loud that shoppers on the Kings Road must have heard it.
Mark Devlin’s tweet that it may not be repeated because of the “poor experience” for some fans is a shame and should at least be an issue for further ‘safe standing’ dialogue or exploration. There’s a good opportunity for the club to be innovative and brave on this issue.
On the pitch there were a few hairy moments, proof if any were needed that it ‘s sometimes a thin line between winning and losing. If Matt Smith’s lob finds the net, it’s a different game.
But this Brentford squad is, above all, comfortable with each other, confident on the ball, technically gifted and monitored by the performance department to within an inch of their lives.
Because of that I didn’t share the pre-match reservations of that fan because we now have players – and yes, a management team – that isn’t built on a fragile foundation thanks to Matthew Benham’s vision.
Quite simply, I now know that if we play like we can, we can go toe to toe with any side, and yes I’d include bottom half Premier League outfits in that.
Bees fans, and I include myself, have long had an endearing, inferiority complex built deep into our psyche. That changed yesterday.
“Fulham are you listening” rang out the chant – you know the rest of the lyrics – and it was sung with a clarity and resonance that suggested the balance of power is firmly tipping our way now.
As the 6,200 Brentford fans headed for home smiling through the rain, there was a dream-like quality to a day which will live long in all our memories and one which – like Orient last season went a long way to ending our ‘big game bottlers’ tag for good.
The name Brentford is now no longer preceded by ‘little old’ but by ‘progressive’ –and here’s the best bit, our close-knit family of fans will always be down to earth and humble because of what has gone before.
It’s a lesson that could be learned by the press team at struggling Fulham, whose amateurish and churlish website match report showed little humility and was laced with bitterness, making it the perfect Saturday morning read for all Bees fans.
Apparently Dallas’s goals were the result of poor pressing, the hosts were denied a “stonewall” spot kick (best not mention the one they did get then), every Brentford effort that missed was “miles over”, every Bees tackle was “crude” or “cynical”. Wonderful stuff if you’re of a red and white persuasion.
Whatever happens over the next six games and beyond, yesterday showed we are playing with a freedom and lack of pressure that only being the rank outsiders can bring.
So my advice to that bloke in the pub is relax, enjoy the ride and see what happens because whatever happens it’s been the best season ever to be a Bee.
* PS – Will the bloke in the pub reveal himself below? Let’s see.