Despite a great start to life in the top flight, after clinching our club’s place in the Premier League with a never-to-be-forgotten Wembley win, the fear was we are still always a couple of defeats away from some fans reaching for the panic button on social media, and so it’s started. Beesotted’s Jim Levack reckons he’s going to have a break from Twitter for a week or two – here’s why.
As the early goals went in at Turf Moore, the armchair keyboard warriors went into a meltdown of negativity.
Their certainty of what’s wrong and who’s to blame is nauseating and nine times out of 10 based on nothing more than visceral gut instinct or unjustified prejudice.
It’s made all the more galling by the fact that many of them have probably amassed only five or six seasons watching Brentford.
That’s not a criticism but I can’t help thinking that the people who slate individuals behind a shield of anonymity never saw us lose at Carlisle and watched Carl Hutchings get his marching orders, never saw Trotta pummel the bar or looked on as we edged a dour midweek clash at Bury.
They’ve been fortunate enough to know nothing but success – and that’s a testament to Thomas Frank, his coaching staff and the visionary people we’re lucky to have at our club.
Some who should know better and have been watching us for decades should be ashamed at the violent knee-jerk reaction every time we have a few bumps in the road. It’s, quite frankly, pathetic and makes no attempt to look at the bigger picture.
I remember once driving back from Chester on April 24, 1982 where we’d won 2-1 courtesy of Chris Kamara and Gary Johnson, wondering what it must be like to support a successful side.
I’d often berated my dad with the words ‘why do I have to support Brentford?” as news of a narrow defeat at Barrow or Workington filtered through on the back page of the Evening News.
That sudden realisation that I’d never support a top flight team as the M6 unfolded ahead of me was like a kick in the stomach… and now I do. And it’s fantastic.
The first half at Burnley was a reality check – not that we needed one – that streetwise Houdini gaffers like Sean Dyche will always make it hard for us.
But surely anyone with half a brain knew that there were always going to be days like these. Hidings, hammerings, routs, whatever you want to call them, and sometimes against the sides you’d least expect.
But stop a second and take a look at the table for the Premier League – the toughest in the world – more than a quarter of the way in, and you’ll see we’re five points off the top six.
We’ve lost three on the spin against Chelsea, Leicester and Burnley, but before the Twitterati pile on – fill your boots btw I won’t be reading it – we deserved to win two of those.
“We didn’t win though, did we?” I can hear the red-faced wannabe managers who’ve all steered the Bees to European glory on Championship Manager, yelling in unison. But if you believe in the way the club is run then you’ll look at it slightly differently.
Performances are all that matter and as Thomas rightly said in his post match press conference, we’ve put in some damn good ones against some of the best sides on the planet.
Chelsea and Leicester were two games in a row where Bees fans could justifiably make their way home with a profound sense of injustice.
It’s the clinical edge that’s not quite there yet. My overriding memory of relegation in 1992/3 was of games dominated and lost 1-0, often gut wrenchingly late on too.
This time it’s different. We have a side that’s proved it’s more than a match for the best, which I’m certain will be strengthened in January by a recruitment team that is evolving us all the time… regardless of which division we’re in.
All of us need to be a lot more pragmatic this season because the targets are different. We want to finish as high as possible but if we don’t and stay up by a point, that’ll do me just fine.
We won’t scrape survival though. We have players who are improving all the time – forget the first half at Burnley, it was a bad day at the office – and showing their worth every game.
Sergi has been superb at right wing back although it’s an area we could strengthen to free him to roam, Christian is one of the best in the league in that position and Ivan and Bryan are learning the hard way that when the chances come, they have to take them.
If they didn’t have the ability, I’d be worried. They do and they’ll be fine. But for a few licks of paint on the woodwork, Bryan would be nudging double figures for goals already. Not bad for a 22-year-old in his first season in the top flight.
So you see, the negative stuff on social media won’t bother me one bit.
I just think back to that drive back from Sealand Road and remember that these are the very best of times.