Beesotted regular and long-time Brentford journalist, Jim Levack, gives his thoughts on the weekend win over Queens Park Rangers and looks forward to more exciting times for the Griffin Park faithful before the season’s done.
Still coughing up to put two kids through university on their way to careers teaching sport and dance, me and the wife are both pretty skint.
There’s a couple of upsides though.
One – they’re both doing well either forging a career as a PE teacher at a school in Nottingham or signing onto a degree specialising in PE and ballet, acro, street and other names I’d once never heard of.
Two – by shunning a job like mine on newsdesks of daily newspapers to be outside and not chained to a desk, I get to read their considered views on competitive sport.
Their essays and dissertations, which I’m called upon to check for grammar and typos, has helped me look at sport in a whole new light.
The two “academics” use references throughout to support each point, backed by scientific data and social trend analysis. Most of it is way beyond my limited intellect.
But the two things that always emerge in every submission are the positive power of sport and the mental benefits it brings.
Thomas Frank’s post-QPR presser was a case in point, where he spoke of “giving supporters dreams” and being completely unable to understand why any player would want to leave Brentford right now.
Every player at the club is playing with a smile on their face, embracing the pressure each game brings, expressing themselves on and off the ball. In a nutshell, they’re loving every minute.
Mentality has a massive part to play in the game we love, and if you’re having fun every week and winning, you’re having even more fun… until you lose and that innate mental strength and belief allows you to ‘go again’.
There’s a direct correlation between the three pillars of enjoyment, confidence and success and I’m sure I could convince my son to compile a thesis supporting it. He’d probably tell me ‘no’ in a couple of words.
Part of that magic triangle surely lies in the backdrop or working environment crucial to us all, and might be one factor in explaining why Leeds struggle at the business-end of the season. Expectation is unrealistic there, and the fear of failure hangs heavy.
I chatted to plenty of people before the Rangers game, weirdly predicted a 3-1 win (I have witnesses) and shared my off the cuff verdict on the season so far – “as long as we keep playing this type of football and give it a good go every week, I really don’t mind if we go up or not.”
Heresy, you and the coaching staff – plus conditioning team and medical staff who do such an incredible job – may say. But I genuinely mean it, and think many other Bees fans do too.
These are golden days. Players manipulating the football like it’s on a string, pace, power, controlled aggression, discipline, craft, guile, sorcery… adjectives are endless. The coming together of power and skill watched close up is a thing of real beauty that, at times, leaves me shaking my head in wonder.
Yes, it’s great that a tinpot bus stop queue have it in their armoury to beat Rangers for bragging rights, but it was just another three points on a long march.
We may lose games in the run-in and some Brentford fans might have a moan – we’re good at that – but we have to and will remain realistic, grounded and humble. Three attributes some of the other title chasers appear not to have.
What we do have in our favour is a realism that’s absent at Elland Road. Top two is expected there – they’re Champions of Europe after all – and that must weigh heavy on the players, not acutely during each game but as an overarching pressure that can be the enemy of creativity.
The BMW might take the plaudits, but Dalsgaard, Henry, Pinnock and co are in the form of their lives, playing passes without even thinking about it. Sometimes without even looking, because they just know someone will be there. You can’t buy that.
Truth is we’re a few poor results and a couple of dodgy away games off being outside the top six, but I don’t really care, because like the squad I’m loving every minute.
I’d love nothing more than to start next season in the Premier League but with the benefit of Wembley and Cardiff finals, I know that it’s not the bee (sic) all and end all. Ask Yeovil’s fans.
If we stay in the Championship and keep playing this brand of scintillating football that makes us proud, it will only be a matter of time before our bus reaches its destination.
I’ll leave the final word to my eldest lad, who texted me from a stag do in Liverpool watching the Rah Rahs game surrounded by empty Guinness glasses and his mates, fans of teams including Liverpool, Leeds and Man United.
His texts, as the game was going on, read as follows:
WE ARE VERY GOOD AT FOOTBALL
In a pub surrounded by 20 lads who are purring over our football
That was brilliant. West London is ours.
Ten years ago as a 16-year-old at school, it was a very different story… that’s what makes it all the sweeter.