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I’ll be the first to admit many parts of this pre-season series of articles have shown off my immature side. My hope has been that comparing the journey to the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship season to a kid going on holiday to Disneyland has given me licence to act like that child who constantly asks are we nearly there yet? As this week has gone on though, I’ve found myself trying to be a bit more responsible and view the near future from a more grown up perspective. On Airline Analogy, you could say I’ve been feeling like the father of the annoyingly excited child. I’m still thoroughly looking forward to the experiences ahead but I have more of a past to compare them to and am keeping my feet on the ground.

Twenty-two years ago, ahead of that last, brief visit to Tier Two, there were warning signs that all wasn’t going to be fun and laughter. While watching the Brazilian football team bring the whole nation crashing to its knees last night, I couldn’t help but look at the forlorn face of Fred and think I’ve seen that expression before. With the plainly named striker brought in to replace poster boy Neymar, the expectation proved too much and boos rang round the Belo Horizontale stadium when his face was shown on the screen shortly after being subbed. I think, though don’t quote me, his team were only 5-0 down at that stage.

Frederico Chaves Guede, to give him his full name, reminded me of Murray Worst Replacement Signing Ever Jones, to give him his full name. Brought in to replace the fairly irreplaceable Dean Holdsworth, Jones had to be seen to be believed and his infamy is well chronicled elsewhere.  Looking ahead, rather than back, I’m confident there will be no facial expressions mirroring Fred or Murray during the next season.

Twenty-two years ago, I was clearly unable to look at the websites of the teams Brentford would be facing over the coming season and compare their pre-seasons. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get round to going to the library and checking through each of our to be opponents’ local rags to get any info either.

However, having just spent a fair bit of time on the official sites for the twenty-three teams lucky enough to visit Griffin Park for a league game between August 2014 and May 2015, there seems nothing to be afraid of. Comparing the footage available from the official Bees site, as well as some of the additional paid for media, it just seems we have things completely set up for success.

At this stage, people will have varying scopes of what success means to them and no doubt, the management will be keeping theirs relatively quiet. Target One of a promoted team will usually be to “consolidate” and avoid a swift return to where you came from. Doncaster and Yeovil failed miserably at this level last year but there is absolutely no way we will be down there.

How can I be so sure? My main reason once again stems mostly from psychology. Believe me, from watching Youtube clips and reading interviews from all other Championship teams, I tell you now, no other team has a spirit, cohesion and is likely to maintain a team ethic, like the Bees. I have no doubt there is plenty of ‘banter’ happening throughout the different training camps. However, from Birmingham in Ireland* and Bolton in Scandinavia down the alphabet to Wigan in Uwe’s usual pre-season country and Wolves in Ireland*, I have seen nothing like the spirit shown in Florida where our lads are clearly buzzing. (*Ryan Air must be running a special offer from the Midlands).

There is plenty of theory written by clever people on Team Work and Team Building with one of the most famous being Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. This, along with many others theories, helps illustrate what a good place our squad is in.

Forming is at the start because it comes at a time when members of the team are finding their place in the team and sizing each other up. Maybe let’s pop over to Rotherham for an example of this where those players left from last season will be checking out the eleven (is it still eleven?) new signings and wondering if they’ll stop them getting their own reward of a chance in the Championship.

Storming is when the individuals are starting to feel part of a team but might still challenge each other and the leader of the team about how things are done. This seems to shout out as what happened during that turning point last season inside that Stevenage away dressing room.

Norming sees a growing sense of ‘togetherness’ as members of the team establish who does what and how everything is done. This is something we saw when Macca made the right back spot his own, JD shored up the midfield and we went on that decisive run.

Finally, you‘ll get to where you want to be, performing. This is where we were at for the majority of the season and where we obviously want to be right from the off against Charlton. The team is focused on the task it has and importantly on the relationship everyone has with each other. Yes, it might sound a bit business speak, but this is where the team will develop a real synergy. It is where the new season, with the addition of new signings, can knock teams back a step or two or three.

From witnessing clips of the new lads singing their X-Factor songs, playing beach volleyball, and having a fishing competition, it is clear the trio of new players, and also two of the backroom staff, are being included in this togetherness. It is a togetherness I have not seen displayed at any other Championship team and suggests that the Bees will enter the new season immediately at the performing stage.

For Bolton fans, there is a four minute Youtube clip of them going to an airport, booking in, getting on a plane then doing some exercises once they get to their Nordic training ground. The only ‘banter’ there is one player showing whoever is filming that the bloke sitting next to him has fallen asleep on the plane. Haha, get that on Soccer AM. It’s #BoltOnTour if that’s your thing. I mean seriously, go compare that to Sam Saunders’ marigolds and Harley getting his face slapped with Grigg’s fish.

Wolverhampton Wanderers followers meanwhile have a clip where you can spend a few minutes watching their players run round their town centre. Wow, I wish I was there.

There are no notable videos for Brighton but you do get new manager Sami Hyypia stating it’s, “all about the running” at this stage of pre-season. Our Sam’s Florida interview spoke of how it’s been ball work from the off, even if some of it did seem to be, “disguised fitness” work.

So, it’s not just the psychological aspect. Yes, I’m biased but from what I’ve read and watched it honestly feels our preparation to this season is second to none in this new league. Listen to the Mark Warburton interview from the US and you cannot fail to be enthused by the methods and facilities he is describing.

Meanwhile over on www.bcfc.com (.co.uk takes you to Bristol City so be careful), there is one picture of Clayton Donaldson I saw on his first day training with Brum. He looks more miserable than poor Fred on the bench last night. To me, he looks like a man who may be regretting certain decisions he’s made. Looking at the rest of his team mates too, I cannot see Birmingham City finishing above us.

I go through the list and there are quite a few teams I cannot see finishing above us. I’m not going to say we are going to skip through this Division straight to the Premier League many of us have spent, again the last 22 years, cursing. I won’t be surprised if we end up there sooner rather than later though and maybe now is the right time to remind you we have NEVER lost a Championship Play Off match.

Oh yes, there are some teams I think we will find it tough against. Derby County remind me of us in League One last season. A horrific end to the previous term will either kill you or make you stronger. Dominating a piss-poor QPR side at Wembley only to lose to a rare last minute Bobby Zamora strike which didn’t end up in Row Z must be up there with our penalty shenanigans. I believe they won’t want to face that pain again and have, currently, kept enough of their skilled youngsters to ensure they won’t need the Play Offs again.

I’d say Wigan could be up there if I didn’t know too much about their manager’s cautiousness and inability to kill games off. I actually fancy Middlesbrough to have a good season along with Neil Adams actually proving his worth as an up coming coach and Lewis Grabban continuing his goalscoring feats at that level to keep Norwich up there.

For all the other teams though I see many reasons why we can fancy our chances against them.

Teams like Blackpool who have another new manager, hardly any players and have lost Tom Ince who finds himself at Hull City after being linked with Monaco and Inter Milan. Hmm. There have been weird goings on at the Football Ground near the Pleasure Beach for years now.

Teams like Charlton whose strange Belgian connection fooled a few Bees fans into thinking something similar could happen to use given Matthew Benham’s new interest in FC Midtjylland. I think we can be rest assured the models are rather different.

The Clue Master has suggested there will be a gap before the next one although even reading between the lines (or Tweets) you can make up your own clues. He did say that Premier League teams prefer their youngsters to go through pre-season training at their parent club before going out on loan. The full letters behind the initials PB were bandied about a lot last week by some who correctly identified Odubajo & Gray as signings before the official announcement. If this individual does makes the short switch from his employers then it will be one of the most exciting signings I can remember. The rumours about a cultured left foot being purchased from Yorkshire JUST CAN’T STOP appearing on line either.

It seems there will be further additions to this team over the next month. With Frank McParland’s experience and the whole intelligence we seem to have throughout the management, you can be pretty sure that any players who do come in, will be a good fit, however bad their singing voices are.

So, with just one month to go before this experience really does begin, having looked at what has been set up for us, I have every faith that everything is in place for it to be a truly memorable time. Ah man, I do have to ask again, are we nearly there yet?

Luis Adriano