Spread the love

So how and where will you be watching on Tuesday? It’s a really tough one for me living well away from Griffin Park, but at the end of the day if I wasn’t with my two lads the day we finally did it, I’d never forgive myself.

We’ve a few beers planned and we’ll have a picture of my dear old dad in the room. If we miss out, we’ll raise a few glasses to a cracking season. If we do it, watch the pubs of Leamington Spa turn red and white.

So what’s my point? Simple really. It’s going to be weird not being with thousands of other Bees when the boys return from Wembley whatever the outcome. But it will be a longer, more drawn out joy this way.

Because if lockdown has taught us nothing else, it has definitely helped us realise the importance of people we care about in our daily lives.

It’s shown us the power of togetherness and emphasised the fact that we’re tactile beings who love to be close to those we like and love. The power of many Brentford fans or the joy of being with my lads.

That’s why we once gathered from all corners of the country to worship at our spiritual home of Griffin Park to celebrate, laugh, cry, fume and jeer. Together. Fear not, it will be the same at Lionel Road.

Football without fans is an ineffective substitute for the real thing, so being apart from the place in this of all seasons has been, at times, very tough to cope with mentally.

A void, but one that’s been filled to a large degree throughout the crisis by the ground-breaking and innovative work of our club’s Community Sports Trust, which has shown once again the true power of our club and how it can affect people’s lives.

If you’re still in any doubt about the vital role Brentford FC plays in linking the community at times like this then watch this short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAAz8ENG96Y – It’ll bring a smile and maybe a little tear to your face.

Best thing is that Brentford don’t just do it because it’s good PR, but because, thanks to people like Lee Doyle at its helm, they genuinely care about making a difference.

Which is why I was delighted that the Trust is throwing its weight behind an initiative which will help support key community projects and develop a new cycling hub at Gunnersbury Park’s new sports facilities.

All profits from the Brentford 1889 Challenge, which will see sponsored cyclists complete a total of 1,889 miles, will be donated to Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. Sign up here, raise £250 and grab yourself a free Cycling Jersey inspired by our Farewell Griffin Park kit.

I bought mine from the club shop because getting Villa, Birmingham and Coventry fans to sponsor me would have been a bit of an ask, but I’m still thrilled by this initiative. Here’s why.

I own around a dozen Brentford shirts from different eras, most of which – the far too baggy 80s ones aside – get a rotational weekly outing on the five-a-side pitch.

I never wear a Brentford shirt to home games, but the classic 60s crew neck makes an occasional appearance for the odd away game.

It’s important to fly the flag, even more so when you don’t live near Brentford. And in any case, I’ve grown to love the reactions it brings from rival Blues or Baggies supporting players.

But now the legs are going, cycling’s my thing. I’ve covered 1,600 plus miles this year, many of them to ease the pre-match nerves or as a victory ride.

But sadly, the days of me wearing one of the lovely new Commemorative blue Farewell Griffin Park shirts were well and truly over. Or were they?

Two years ago I asked the club when they’d be bringing out a cycling jersey. After all the Brentford Community Sports Trust had just completed Ride London as a team and wore Brentford liveried jerseys for the day.

But I waited and waited, and nothing. Fast forward to May this year and I was searching for a new jersey. Through sheer force of habit and yes, desperation, I searched for Brentford FC and cycling and expected the usual ‘no results…’ result.

Instead the magic words found a match. Saddledrunk, a small but highly regarded cycle firm in Ealing, had finally come up with a solution for us Bees loving lycra boys and girls.

Finally, I could look like Benrahma on a road bike… without the tricks obviously.

So, if you’re too old or fat for the shirt, why not get the jersey and ride with pride?

Jim Levack