After yet another playoff defeat, Billy Grant asks Bees fans to rate their worst and least worst playoff losses in order to get a feel for where the Fulham game sat amongst the nine defeats.

No one likes to lose a match. Even worse, no one likes to lose to your biggest rivals.

On top of that, add a losing playoff final to the mix with the prize of playing in the Premier League and you have a list of absolute no-nos.

So Brentford’s loss to Fulham in the Playoff Final will have made many Brentford fans feel fairly gutted.

But as I sat there licking my wounds, I cast my mind back to Brentford’s previous playoff losses of which I have experienced all nine (eight from on the terraces and this final one in the pub). And feeling in masochistic mode,  decided to rank the finals in order of worst to least worst.

And quite amazingly, after having done that I actually felt much better. Losing to Fulham was bad. But there were worse. Much worse.

For me the playoff loss to Huddersfield still ranks as the biggest gutter. It was only a semi-final. But it was the gross injustice of it. We had a proper ding-dong of a season between us and Birmingham City that season fighting for that top spot. It was proper lively on and off the pitch. We ended up finishing second. A very good side we were too.

But we were resigned to the playoffs because the Premier League had decided to reduce its numbers. And in the end, a Jamie Bates missed penalty at Griffin Park was to end our promotion quest. That feeling of gutted I have felt only a few times since that fateful evening.

When comparing the Fulham loss to Huddersfield. And Stoke – another travesty of justice where we should have gone up automatically but fluffed it again and then failed to turn up at the final. And Crewe (although the pre match party ensured that this was one of the finals which was rather hazy). And even Yeovil, it pales into insignificance.

Yes we wanted to beat Fulham. But there was always something really strange not watching the game in a stadium. Especially a game as big as this. With your mates. And fellow fans. The whole pre-match build up. Getting to the pub at some un-godly hour. The whole pre-match buzz.

And losing the match was for me far easier to take – despite it being Fulham – than if we were in Wembley and had to trudge back down the Wembley way and onto the trains after the match.

The Fulham match ranked 5thworst for me. With Tranmere easily the ‘least worst’. We were just happy to be there. And with it being our first playoff loss we had no idea of the pain to follow.

Boro ranks in the bottom four somewhere for me. Possibly 7thor 8th. Helped by us having a tremendous night out in Middlesbrough after the match despite losing. Once again, we were just happy to be there.

Beesotted Asked Fans to Rank Brentford’s Worst Playoff Losses

Asking Bees fans to rank their playoff losses from worst to least worst, it was interesting to see what they came back with.

Huddersfield (2005) was voted as the worst playoff loss by most fans with Tranmere (1991) by far the least worst loss.

Interestingly, Fulham (2020) was ranked the second worst defeat by fans we spoke to and in the top four playoff defeats with over 80% of the fans polled. With Yeovil (2013) just pipping Stoke (2002)to 3rdplace and Crewe (1997) in 5thplace.

There was very little between Sheffield Wednesday (2005), Swansea (2006) and Middlesbrough (2015) – all seen as matches where Brentford were in reality not good enough to have achieved promotion. Sheffield Wednesday ranked as a slightly worse defeat than Swansea by a broader cross section of fans.

But there were more fans who put the Boro loss in their top three worse playoff losses than Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday.

Interestingly, the second highest number of fans voted Boro as their ‘least worst’ loss. Brentford had just been promoted from Division One and were expected to be relegated immediately. So the playoff run came as a shock to both the football world. And the fans.

In reality, we were just happy to be there.

As is to be expected, all five playoff finals take up the top five ‘worst’ sports in the table.

Huddersfield was the first big playoff loss. And a massive injustice – not forgotten by many fans.

The Fulham game was interesting with many people people citing the quality of the Brentford side and closely missing out on the Premier League as reasons for ranking it so highly as opposed to the nature of the loss.

Other fans used the fact that there were no supporters in the stadium to downgrade it’s ‘worse-ness’ factor – feeling that the back end of the promotion campaign had more of a surreal feel to it.

On the plus side, pretty much all fans felt comforted with the prospect that Brentford would bounce back from the Fulham loss – like they did against Yeovil as opposed to Stoke City and Crewe where the team regressed afterwards.

The Yeovil loss was ranked highly due to the fact that the Bees lost out on promotion to Doncaster on the last day of that season. But automatic promotion the following season mitigated many of the bad feelings festering from that playoff defeat.

The Stoke defeat was bad but seems to have slipped down the rankings – may because younger fans will not have experienced it. The Bees lost out on automatic promotion to a late Jamie Cureton equaliser at Griffin Park which was Reading promoted instead. The Bees had the pleasure of getting on back over on Huddersfield in the semi-final before quite literally not turning up for the final in Cardiff.

For the Crewe playoff final loss, Brentford were so, so bad it was barely even mentioned.

There was a common thread for all four playoff final losses – Brentford were favourites to win and failed miserably.

Paddy Hughes
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

I chose Fulham because it was the first time that I really believed that we would do it. The Premier League was in touching distance and I believed (I still believe) we were a far superior side to Fulham and on our day they couldn’t match us. But it wasn’t our day.

My least worst was Middlesbrough the first season in the Championship, unexpectedly got into the play offs that year over achieving and I was just happy to be at the party regardless of the result.

Gary Scammell
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Least worst was Tranmere – my first playoff memory – and we did well, falling by an unlucky goal.

The worst was by far was Huddersfield. We finished 2nd but didn’t go up . Bob Taylor missed a sitter up at Huddersfield. We played well that night at home but lost on penalties.

Brentford and play offs don’t go together. Never once have we had the football playoff gods shine on us – even when we have been the better side in the division that season.

Terry Essex Bee
Worst: Stoke – 2002
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

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I think Stoke hurt the most as we knew that the squad was to be dismantled after defeat. And a few tough years were to follow on and off the pitch

Simon Sales
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

We should have gone up automatically the season we lost to Huddersfield (only 1 team went up automatically that year) then we fluffed the playoff semis. Really painful

Adam Hobbs
Worst: Crewe – 1997
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

The Crewe and Stoke ones were one-off chances and we knew failure would see the squads dismantled.  I know we can bounce back from the Fulham one so it doesn’t hurt as much.

Middlesbrough away was one of the best nights ever.  Think I got back to my hotel at 6am

Cham Desilva
Worst: Yeovil – 2013
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Yeovil hurt the most as we should have gone up when we played Doncaster on the last day of the season and hit he bar with a penalty in the 90thminute.

The Fulham game was easier to get over as there were no fans there.

Nabbo
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

I remember all nine losses but Fulham is first because of the prize at stake, the failure to win either of the last two league games, Covid, Farewell Griffin Park and the fact that we lost to Fulham ffs. Unfortunately. fairy-tales don’t happen.

Yeovil is the second worst because of the Doncaster penalty.

Huddersfield is third worst because of restructure and finishing second as well as Bob Taylor’s miss at 1-1 in the away leg. The sight of Huddersfield fans celebrating with Warnock at Griffin Park was pretty gutting.

Stoke is fourth because of Cureton, Mark McCammon at QPR, the breakup of that team so quickly and the filthy weather in Cardiff.

Least worst? Boro. A shot to nothing. Too early for us in retrospect

Gary Murphy
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

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I just feel that we will eventually get to where we are looking to get to now despite the defeat. Previous losses have been disastrous for the club.

Andy Hong Kong Bee
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Sheffield Wednesday – 2005

Huddersfield was the worst because of the injustice of finishing second and the match going to penalties.

Stoke and Crewe were still bad because they were finals that we lost and ultimately resulted in a team breakup and years of rebuilding or plummeting.

The Yeovil and Fulham defeats were crap. But there was and is consolatory comfort that the overall upward trajectory would continue.

For the others, we just weren’t good enough over the two legs and sometimes were just pleased to be there.

Sara Loewenthal
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

Fulham is the worst because the prize was the highest and Mitrovic isn’t a nice fellow.

Damian Flenley
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Huddersfield for me was the most galling having firmly finished second a massive 15 points ahead of them, then losing on penalties at the end of the second leg at Griffin Park.

Fulham was tough to swallow but at least we finished level on points in the end.

 

George Pearson
Worst: Yeovil – 2013
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

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Strangely, the fact it was Fulham actually didn’t mean that much to me. The rivalry wasn’t palpable at all on social media.

The Yeovil game was by far the worst as I was adamant our talented stars would be stolen and we would need at least a few seasons to heal and re-strengthen. Looking back, I’m delighted how far off the mark I was. But I was distraught at the time.

Gary Paul
Worst: Yeovil – 2013
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

A common thread is how bigger sense of injustice was felt at the actual time.

Wednesday, Boro and Tranmere – I felt we had done well to get into the playoffs although being voted least worst playoff defeat is like being voted the tallest oompah-loompah in Willy Wonka’s factory.

Swansea and Crewe. I don’t think we really believed we were going to win. In hindsight, we entered them in ropey form.

Stoke was lost when Cureton scored for Reading not to mention the less-than-perfect Bury (RIP) result on Bank Holiday Monday. Also, I was catastrophically drunk which acted as an anaesthetic.

Huddersfield, Fulham and Yeovil felt like we had just blown out a definite shag – metaphorically speaking of course.

I went for Yeovil over Fulham, as I came out thinking we will never go up (play off hangover et al) after Yeovil.

Coming out of the Fulham match, whilst there is always the possibility of a f*ck up we now have a history of being able to learn and make the necessary adjustments .

Ann Stanford
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

We should have beaten Stoke & Barnsley to go up in second place this time around – not mentioning other matches through the season we threw away. Overall we were the best footballing side in the league this season.

Ginger
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Fulham (my first Brentford playoff final) hurt the most because with (unarguably) the best team we’ve EVER had in our history playing the best football (in my opinion) in the league this season.

I expected so much more against a team that hadn’t beaten us since 2016

In other words, I was already planning my premier league away days way before kick off

Keith Allen
Worst: Yeovil – 2013
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

The Fulham loss feels momentously bad. Yet I am able to take solace that the club is 100% on an upward trajectory.

It’s up there as with the most disappointing. But I wouldn’t say it’s the worst.

Darren Castle
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

I’ve seen all the playoff defeats since Huddersfield in 1995 but I think Fulham ranks worst for me for a number of reasons.

Half my family support Fulham and I still haven’t been able to speak to my sister since. The fact that we weren’t able to be there. The huge prize at stake. And not just losing this match but the two other opportunities we had to get promoted.

Then there is the prospect of one of our greatest teams and some of the best players I have seen at Brentford leave and the team be dismantled again.

I know this happens at the end of most seasons anyway. But the dream of being in the Premier League with the players staying for one more season and playing in a brand new stadium has been dashed.

Paul Harrison
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Fulham final ranks as the worst because it was for a bigger prize and we were so close in the league.

Oh and because it’s Fulham and their first goal was so cruel yet avoidable.

Having said that I’m more confident of a bounce-back than after Yeovil or Middlesbrough because the club is so well-run.

I think earlier playoffs would’ve ranked worse than the Fulham one because there’s not that same level of assurance that we will be competitive. But I can’t put them above Fulham because I didn’t experience them.

Ian Westbrook
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

The Huddersfield play-off was my worst-ever Brentford experience, mainly because it was so unfair. Finishing second and not going up automatically was bad enough. But then to lose the team who finished fifth – on penalties – was too much to bear.

Play-offs are a good idea for keeping the season alive. In the mid-80s, when Brentford spent the entire time finishing 9th or 10th in the Third Division, the season was always over in April.

I still hate them though.

Fulham ranked third for me because nothing will ever be worse than Huddersfield (at least I hope not) and I remember coming away from Stoke final feeling quite numb as once again, we had a really good team and blew promotion right at the end of the season when we should have gone up. Our performance in the final was flat.

In the Fulham final we again let ourselves down. We never played how we knew we could and another great promotion chance slipped through our fingers.

Martin The Dutchman Holland
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

Huddersfield was the worst without a doubt. That was our year .Penalties at home couldn’t be more galling. Boro away has the least worst as I had zero expectations

Sav Kyriacou
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

The worst defeats are the ones where we deserved to go up that season. Fulham isn’t top because it was a surreal situation and I feel removed from it.

Tim Street
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Probably age and circumstances have led to my choices.

As a teenager, Huddersfield and Crewe seemed like the end of the world. As I got older, they got easier to handle. This year’s final, I just felt completely detached from. But more due to not being there and knowing we wouldn’t be there for our first Premier League games in the new stadium if we won.

Greville Waterman
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Playoffs & Brentford are like Superman and kryptonite. We had three chances this year so we have nobody else to blame but ourselves.

Fulham did a job on us too and deserved their win. The potential prize was the highest too but given COVID, the whole situation seemed surreal and distant & therefore less painful. I’d have felt far worse if I had been at Wembley.

Clive Davis
Worst: Stoke – 2002
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

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I don’t remember Tranmere or Swansea for some reason so they are least worst.

Stoke was the worst for just a horrible day out in Cardiff. Raining. Both sets of supporters in red and white stripes. Following on from the last day of the season when we failed to go up against Reading. And the subsequent break up of our side.

I had to put Fulham second as, although I was quite sanguine about our chances in the playoffs at the end of the season, the fact that it was f*cking Fulham has made it hit home

 

Supes Marchant
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Middlesbrough – 2015

Huddersfield was gut-wrenching. A titanic battle over two legs decided on penalties. And even crueller with the Bees finishing 2nd when only the champions went straight up for the only time since the 1930s (or 40s).

Fulscum: it was horrible losing to rivals but I have confidence the tables may be turned next season. Plus missing out on promotion seemed less painful due to us not being in stadiums.

Singh Bee
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Huddersfield – 1995

The worst were Fulham, Yeovil , Crewe and Stoke because they were Finals and one step away from the land of milk and honey.

But each of those days we could not deliver despite our capabilities and form shown during season.

The last playoff final against Fulham was the most hurtful one.

Gemma Teale
Worst: Crewe 1997
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

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Crewe was worse than Huddersfield for me because I was a very new fan then and so while I was totally gutted, I wasn’t as big a fan as I was by 97. Also Crewe the whole day was miserable and every part of the match was abject as I remember it.

Otherwise, they get easier as you learn to not hope. But Yeovil moves up the rankings as it was a second biet of the cherry for us – after missing out on automatic promotion to Doncaster on the last day – and we didn’t turn up. Plus I was being sick all morning with nerves which didn’t help.

Boro was fine because there was never any hope.

Fulham jumps up the rankings a bit because there was hope. Also, it was very emotional personally. But it was definitely eased by not being there because it just didn’t seem real.  It still doesn’t seem like it happened.

In any case they were all absolutely miserable. Apart from the first one – Tranmere – when I was blissfully unaware that Brentford even existed.

Jason Wills
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

You never want to get beat by Fulham – especially after beating them home and away in the league. And double especially in a playoff final.

Middlesbrough away was not good. Weather was rubbish, and we were treated shockingly by the stewards – herded like cattle. We were completely outplayed up there on the day –  just like the Stoke final.

 

D Collins
Worst: Huddersfield – 1995
Least Worst: Tranmere – 1991

Although losing to F*lham is painful I feel that we are going to be just as strong next season so it’s not the end of the world. Especially if we go up and they get relegated again, which is a realistic possibility because they are shit. Singing BEES UP F*LHAM DOWN will be even sweeter

Losing to Huddersfield after such a strong season and finishing second hurt more for me

And not getting past Swansea with our saviour Martin Allen in 2005 was a killer. We knew it was the end of an unbelievable era and that was really, really painful. To have gone up with Martin would have been the stuff of dreams. So to lose at home knowing that he was likely to leave hurt really badly.

Losing to F*lham has been tough but it does set up the mouth watering prospect of us swapping leagues at the end of next season and that, especially if we can attend matches, will go a long way to healing these wounds

 

Graham Clarke
Worst: Fulham – 2020
Least Worst: Sheffield Wednesday – 2005

I always expect to win especially at Wembley which is why those losses are the worst for me